Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jumping the Shark

This drawing was inspired by an episode of Happy Days, a little known television series that served as a springboard for the mega-hit, Joanie Loves Chachi. In September of 1977, Happy Days' Cunninghams took an infamous trip to the beach. While they were there, among other riveting plot lines, Arthur (a.k.a. "Fonzie") was challenged by a bunch of beach-toughs to water-ski off of a jump that led directly over some stock footage of a variety of deadly sharks. Having roughed up a jukebox prior to their vacation, the Fonz was feeling pretty brave, so he succumbed to the prodding of the beach boys (probably not the ones you're thinking of), suited up in his leather jacket and his finest denim cut-offs, and did the dumbest thing anyone on that beach or in their living rooms had ever seen... he jumped the shark.

This episode of Happy Days undoubtedly won several Emmy Awards, but that's not its only accomplishment. It also established a phrase that has come to signify that a show is out of good storylines and has most likely run its course: "jumping the shark." For example, Scooby Doo jumped the shark when Scrappy Doo showed up, The Brady Bunch jumped the shark when the lady met this fellow, and Flipper jumped the shark when he and Bud inadvertently swam into shark-infested waters... though that last one was more of a literal shark-jumping and was actually kind of heroic.

Anything can jump the shark... a TV series, a relationship, a greaser in a leather jacket and never-nude cut-offs, or even a blog. This blog jumped the shark when I became obsessed with animal jug bands, and this blog post jumped the shark when I mentioned Joanie Loves Chachi. She does, though.

10 comments:

Kevin Keele said...

I was reading the other day that the phrase "Nuke the Fridge" (refering to that silly scene in the latest Indiana Jones movie) is on it's way to replacing "Jump the Shark." Not sure which I prefer. Great post!

Aaron Ludwig said...

Did "Joanie loves Chachi" ever jump the shark? It's still on, right?

Adam Koford said...

You seem pretty convinced Joanie still loves Chachi. How can you be so sure? Once you read my Joanie Loves Chachi fan fic, you'll see they've since moved on to other lovers, with comical results!

Penelope Red said...

Haha, Never-nude. hahaha.

Heather Dixon said...

I would say the Smurfs jumped the shark when Sassette showed up. Eeeeep

Carolyn said...

What a cute illustration! Fun!

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Jenny said...

Just had to You Tube that Fonz episode. The short shorts are just classic. Jus sayin'.

Steve Casper said...

Just happened across your work, whoa what an awesome find! I absolutely love the consistency of your work. The gestures and expressions are terrific! I also watched several of your videos on youtube. Man, keep on bringing the inspiration, you're incredible. I totally mean this as a compliment but I see some Milt Kahl and Don Bluth influences. 2 of my favorites!

ljay said...

I never thought I'd live to see the day when anyone would write " Happy Days, a little known television series...". I remember the day when every single person in the US watched that show or at the very least knew of it. I must confess I myself enjoyed it quite a bit! Anyway, another great post. Love your work, both the art and the editorials!

MIKE said...

Ha reading this reminded me of Tom Cruise on Oprah and how he "jumped the couch".