Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Jumping the Shark

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...


amandamonkey said...

Well, I won't even mention the baby boom goin' on at Scrubs during what may be their best season.

I totally think the writers are getting Stabler and Benson together, BTW.

patrice said...'s the second season of the office. not that I don't kind of agree with you, but if you watched the british version, this follows it to a T. that said, the british version only had 2 seasons and a 2 hr finale special, so...they had nothing to lose by making it come to that end.

I used to be big into SVU (we called it SUV) but now am not. no real reason, I guess. it was always my thought, though, that stabler's marriage was broken up by the writers in order to pursue that romantic angle.

PreppyGirl said...

Ya, it's the second season of "the Office" and it is kinda following the Brit-com's path. I know they kissed but I have a feeling it will get drawn out. She might not marry Roy but will she really break up with him? We'll see in the fall. - And I don't really think it jumped the shark per se. It was nicely unexpected but not a crazy stunt.

Whatever happens, I hope it stays just as interesting!! The writers are good, they'll know what to do. Then again, I trusted the writers on Friends and they set Rachel up with Joey - disaster. At least Ross and Rachel got together in the end.

Can't wait for season 3!

gunngirl said...

I haven't been keeping up with The Office. Too much TV, too little time!

I have to say that we could TOTALLY hang out and watch TV together, I loved all of those shows you just mentioned. I can't believe you mentioned Family Matters. I was all over TGIF in the day, along with Perfect Strangers and Just the Ten of Us.

God bless you and your love for SVU. LOVE that show! I'm not seeing any real hot and heavy ST between Stabler and Bensen. But I like the way things are now. I like their relationship, I want them to be concerned for each other, very close, protective, but nothing more.

Why I think a love thing is a bad idea is because Bensen is a tough chicka and I don't want it seem like she can't be with a bunch of guys and not end up in bed with one of them. She can hold her own with the Men, I think and I don't want this fragility to ease in.

Love, love, love this post. I think I'll have to elaborate and continue on my own blog.

Steph said...

I so love Law and Order SVU!! I love it when they have marathons!!

Kat said...

I hate the hype of "season finales", they're a bit dramatic all across the board. Whether it's jumping the shark or not, it's a bit too much. I have my shows that I love and I'll watch them next season if there's a big cliff hanger or not.

Oh, I finally did my d.

Betty said...

I certainly thing that the same could be said of Grey's Anatomy, why did they jump to so many conclusions in the season finale, it hasn't been around for long enough. Gives the show a big hurdle to jump over to keep viewers watching, hope they have good stuff up their sleeves