I've posted a couple of times on the "Fear the Beard" relief pitcher/closer, renegade Christian Brian Wilson, and it appears the gang that won their pennant at the last minute and went on to win The Series just won't go away. "San Francisco Giants to Star in Reality TV show" reads a recent headline. Indeed, the "Cable television channel Showtime has teamed up with World Series champions San Francisco Giants to air a reality series about the behind the scenes life of a professional baseball team."
I wouldn't mention this, but as a lover of words, pop culture and Americana in general, I was pulled in by the headline "San Francisco Giants Reality TV Show: Are They About To Jump The Shark?"
I'd never heard the term "jump the shark." It is, to me, hilarious. Here, from the urban dictionary, is the basic definition: "a term to describe a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity. Origin of this phrase comes from a Happy Days episode where the Fonz jumped a shark on water skis. Thus was labeled the lowest point of the show."
The Fonz, straight white guys' alter ego, is a hilarious, very American, character. Played by Yale Drama School graduate Henry Winkler, The Fonz upset suburban sleepiness by his very presence. Not just a ‘lock up your daughters' character, but, with his turned up t-shirts and low class wit, an antidote to the implied practicality on which we were raised. The plot twist was that The Fonz was terrified of sharks and, to overcome this phobia as the show was waning, they had him water ski over a shark.
A fuller definition of jump the shark: The precise moment when you know a program, band, actor, politician, or other public figure has taken a turn for the worse, gone downhill, become irreversibly bad, is unredeemable, etc.; the moment you realize decay has set in.
Tom Cruise jumped the shark the moment he jumped Oprah's couch. An even fuller explanation of jumping the shark is on http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JumpingTheShark
I'm not recommending it, but you can buy jump the shark mugs, tshirts and magnets.
Causes Kevin Arnold Supports
Poetry Center San Jose, East Palo Alto Police Activities League (EPA PAL), Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Yale Writing Conference, Gold Rush Writers