Every January millions of people create lists of things they hope to accomplish in the fresh year ahead. Some might try to battle the bulge, while others will want to try and curb their spending. I do the same thing year in and year out, however this time I thought I might actually try a list that I would probably stick to more. To make it even easier, I’ve limited myself to just one. So here in no particular order (sorry, I had to) is my Television Resolution for 2011.
Number 1: Try harder to get people to stop using the phrase “Jump the Shark” incorrectly.
Anyone who knows me can tell you that nothing irritates me more than when people give up on a show just because they don’t agree with a storyline direction (“Glee” fans, I’m looking at you), except when that opinion is followed by a declaration that the show has “jumped the shark.” Those words are my equivalent of nails on a chalkboard; I cringe every time I hear them. For those unfamiliar with the term, a show is considered to have “jumped the shark” when a it has reached it’s possible peak creatively and has now resorted to cheap stunts and odd story lines. “Jump the shark” originated after a particular episode of “Happy Days”, in which the Fonz literally jumped over a shark on water skis. Whether or not Happy Days was actually in decline (as TV Guide points out, the show ran for many years after that) at the time can still be questioned, however in hindsight that moment does sound rather ludicrous.
Lately though, it seems that a lot people have taken that phrase too hastily, and now use it for anything they just plain do not like. A character you love gets killed off, well they must have jumped the shark. A new love interest for a main character is a dud, well then that is a definite jump the shark moment, right? Well, not exactly. Bad decisions happen, and even though we really don’t like to see it on our favorite shows, it is a reality, but it does not mean we should give up so easily. Especially in shows as young as “True Blood” and “Glee”, which although I don’t think they have anything wrong with them other than they can be a tad uneven at times, have a lot of time to grow and still create more magic. At least wait until the fourth year before thinking your shows have completely run out of steam, because honestly it can happen (as the unfortunate “Heroes” proved.)
Well, hopefully my rant has served its purpose. I am not saying people should not be critical of the shows they love, in fact I think that is a great thing. I just do not agree that it is fair to assume that a shows days are over because they took a chance that backfired. Of course, if it happens a few more times, then that is a completely different story, don’t you think?
Watch the Fonz literally jump the shark here.
Jumping the Shark, Wikipedia
Kate Stanhope, Happy Days Writer Defends Jump the Shark Moment, TV Guide