Jump the Shark

Hopefully, you all know what that phrase means and where it comes from. If not, you’ve been hiding under a rock since 1977 when the phrase began to take form. For those that still don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m referring to the Happy Days episode when Fonzy jumped the shark on a pair of skis. It is widely regarding as the episode when the show started it’s decline (however, it stayed on the air for 6 more seasons). Now, when a show is said to have jumped the shark, it’s on it’s decline.

The phrase even has it’s own entry in Wikipedia. And as always (in case you didn’t notice), the Fonze is wearing his black leather jacket (yes, even out on the ocean, he’s wearing his black leather jacket.) Plus, he’s got a yellow banana for flotation. Yes, the little drawing above is correct, he’s rocking a banana. It even comes included with the action figure. Jumping the shark hasn’t been limited to just Fonzie doing it. Even Homer has gotten in on the action…


Fonzie Jumps the Shark

Now, if you watch the scene closely, you can see so many things wrong…

  • First off, if you look at the jump and “shark cage”, it looks to be about 60-70 feet that he needs to jump to clear the cage. Not saying it can’t be done, but he doesn’t appear to going very fast when he makes the jump.
  • The show a large shark swimming in about 4, maybe 5 feet, of water with no sign of the under water “cage”. Later they show a much deeper underwater view. Serious lack of continuity, but not the only one.
  • Richie Cunningham is driving the boat and asks the Fonze, who’s skiing behind the boat, if he’s sure he wants to do it. The Fonze gives him a thumbs up… I’ve been behind a boat a lot, and rarely have ever heard the people in the boat talking.
  • Finally, at the 1:21 point in the clip above, you see a good shot of the jump, the shark cage, and what can only be an incredibly large pier just on the other side of the shark cage. Who sets up a ski jump to that as the skier hits the ramp, the boat runs into a pier?
  • Just after the Fonze crushes on his landing, they switch to a shot showing him skiing away from the front. See anything missing? Like maybe a “shark cage” and possibly a jump ramp? They are both mysteriously gone.
  • Meanwhile, Richie, who’s driving the boat, continues to look at the Fonze, giving him a thumbs up, and really by now, should have driven the boat into the pillars holding up the pier.
  • The show the boat turning to the right to whip the Fonze up to the beach, however he cuts out on the right to ski to the beach?
  • Amazingly, his leather jacket appears to be undamaged by the salt water?

Horton over at the Ball of Spray posted this article from TV Guide where they (the writers) defended their decision to write the scene. My take… if they can make action figures from it, it can’t be all bad… plus, it gave me an excuse to find some goofy jump the shark pictures with Google Image Search.

Someone recreated the scene using Legos...

There is rumor of a new phrase taking form to replace “Jump the Shark” (or at least be the movie equivalent), but off the top of your head, who knows where the phrase “Nuke the Fridge” comes from? Anyone? Anyone? The answer is below the last funny jump the shark image I found…

The answer is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Didn’t see it? Not many people did… it wasn’t a good movie. The phrase refers to an early scene where Indy jumps into a lead lined fridge to save himself from a nuclear detonation. The explosion hurls the fridge (and him) along ways away, far enough that he can exit the fridge and look at the mushroom cloud. Surprisingly, the fridge appears to be the only thing to survive the blast. Everything else has been demolished. Sadly, the scene didn’t make into the trailer (although you do see the nuclear bomb).

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