I am a TV watcher. And I have been for a long time. Although my parents didn’t allow unlimited access to TV, I am sure, I don’t have a real memory of them making me turn off the TV that often. When I was younger, we used to eat dinner around 6:00 every night so that I could be done and on the loveseat in front of the TV in time for “The Jeffersons.” Around that same time, as a treat, I was sometimes allowed to stay up until 10:30 to watch “Three’s Company.” My favorite shows of all time were “The Facts of Life” (complete first and second seasons available on DVD now!) and “Kate and Allie.” I also went through a time when I loved “Family Matters,” followed by the “Seinfeld” era and the Age of “Friends.” Now, I have an all-consuming addiction to “Law and Order: SVU.” SVU on USA? Yes, please!
Anyhoo, where am I going with this? Well, sometimes, when you are watching a favorite TV show, something might happen that makes you cringe a little. It strikes you as a harbinger doom, as you wonder why, WHY, your favorite show would go down a road that so clearly leads to a dead end. And that, my friends, is where jumping the shark comes in.
On an episode of “Happy Days,” later on in its run, the Fonz, while on water skis, jumped over a shark. And that is where America got the phrase “jumping the shark.” Many people point to that moment as the one that signalled the end of the run of “Happy Days.” Now, there is an entire website dedicated to other shows doing just such a thing.
A common way that shows jump the shark is by bringing together, as a couple, two main characters who have some romantic or sexual tension. Perhaps we have even been rooting for them to get together. They would make the perfect couple! Can’t they see they’re in love? And then it happens. They share a kiss, and we feel…let down. Did that just happen? Where is the show going to go now? We have been waiting for this to happen, and now it has, and now what? Oh, no; I think they just jumped the shark. Some examples of this happening? Tony and Angela on “Who’s the Boss?” Maddie and David on “Moonlighting.” And some might even argue, Rachel and Ross on “Friends.”
I mention this because I am concerned about two of my beloved shows right this very minute! If you have not seen the season finale of “The Office,” STOP READING NOW! And for those still reading, HOW could they have Jim kiss Pam at the end of the VERY FIRST SEASON?!?!?! WHY? Why would they do something that could possibly be classified as jumping the shark so early? What the hizzle? I am a little concerned about this. And on “SVU?” Am I the only one noticing some romantic tension between Stabler and Benson? And where do you think that’s going? AND WHAT ARE THEY THINKING? PLEASE don’t get these two together! It will totally mess up a good thing.
Okay, TV freakout over. Back to our regularly scheduled day…