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Archive for March 5th, 2022

Jump The Shark

Posted by Admin on March 5, 2022

When someone or something jumps the shark it means the person or thing has hit a new low in delivering quality, relying on gimmicks to hold people’s attention. Yes, when jumping the shark, whatever the action, it is perceived by others as a seriously misguided attempt to regain attention for someone or something that is no longer as popular as it once was.

Over the past few years, a number of politicians have allegedly been jumping the shark according to mainstream media including, but not limited to, President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump at the top, to Connecticut Governor Edward Milner “Ned” Lamont Jr. on through to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and New York Senator Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

In 2021, Harvard University elected its first-ever atheist chaplain and earned the reputation as being the first Ivy League University to jump the shark by electing an atheist chaplain to lead their religious community. Yes, the man who described himself to the media and followers as being a “devout atheist” was named president of chaplains at Harvard University.

Opinion contributor Bernard Goldberg saw his OpEd piece published in The Hill on 21 October 2021 with the headline “What Will It Take To Get The Woke Folks to Jump The Shark?” The piece began with this tidbit of information:

On Sept. 20, 1997, Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, better known as “Fonzie,” or simply the “Fonz,” made history — of sorts. That’s the day he jumped the shark.

Bernard Goldberg was actually mistaken about the date Fonzie jumped the shark. That happened twenty years earlier on 20 September 1977.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE 1: Bernard Goldberg is an Emmy and an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award-winning writer and journalist. He was a correspondent with HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” for 22 years and previously worked as a reporter for CBS News and as an analyst for Fox News.

However, in 1997, Jon Hein created a website registered as, Jump The Shark, where he published a long list of television shows that had, in his opinion, jumped the shark, indicating at what point that had happened.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE 2: Jon Hein sold Jump The Shark Inc. for over $1 Million USD in 2006. According to an interview with Jon Hein, the website was always something he did in his spare time, and was never his day job. It was never his intent to make money from the website however when he was offered $1 Million USD by Gemstar (the owners of TV Guide) on 20 June 2006, he decided it was a fair offer and accepted it.

INTERESTING SIDE SIDE NOTE 1: Jon Hein graduated from the University of Michigan in 1989 with a double major in communications and history.

On 23 October 2009, Steve Duran used the phrase in the title of his article “Who Or What Caused The NFL To Jump The Shark: Was It Goodell or London?” for the Bleach Report. It was the year after the housing crisis of 2008 in the US which was, at the time, considered to be the worst economic downturn in almost 80 years, and the NFL was charging fans and arm and a leg to attend games and watch them on pay-per-view.

There is an old saying in television, it’s called, “Jumping the Shark.” Fonzie jumped a shark while wearing his leather jacket and from that point forward the show stopped being relavent [sic]. Granted it was a long spiral down, but most assuredly the direction was down.

Just a few years earlier, Washington Post staff writer Ann Hornady reviewed Angeline Jolie’s movie “The Cradle of Life” and when her review was published on 25 July 2003, it wasn’t a particularly favorable one. It wasn’t completely unfavorable either, however it did end with this commentary.

There’s a phrase for franchises that have outlived their freshness: “jumping the shark,” referring to an infamous “Happy Days” episode featuring Fonzie on water skis. In “The Cradle of Life,” Lara Croft doesn’t jump the shark — she’s much too refined for such blatant pandering — but she does manage to take it for a ride.

Everything points to the television show “Happy Days” as being the moment when the spirit of jumping the shark came alive with character Arthur “Fonzie aka The Fonz” Fonzarelli played by American actor Henry Winkler jumped over a shark with water skis while wearing his trademark leather jacket.

But jumping the shark at that point in time was just a scene in a television episode and not an idiom.

According to Chris Hutchins of Cox News Service, that happened later. In an article printed in the Chicago Tribune on 20 March 2002 titled, “When Shows Jump The Shark” the journalist stated: “Jumping the shark was coined by Jon Hein of New York City.”

This led Idiomation back to Jon Hein who, as we knew at this point, was responsible for creating the Jump The Shark website in 1997. This meant that it was agreed by all parties that the phrase was coined sometime between the episode in 1977 and the creation of Hein’s website in 1997.

Tropedia indicates that Jon Hein coined the term with his college friends in the mid-1980s while still in college, and a number of reputable websites including IndieWire support that assertion based on an interview on the Howard Stern show in the summer of 2006.

The IndieWire article reported that Jon Heim created the site a decade after the idiom was coined, which means the idiom came about sometime in 1987.

However, other sources claim the idiom was coined by Jon Heim and his roommate Sean Connolly, not solely by Jon Heim, and not by Jon Heim and a group of college friends, in 1985 while they were attending the University of Michigan.

In fact, in an interview with the University of Michigan newspaper Michigan Today on 19 February 2016, Jon Heim shared with reporter Alan Glenn how the idiom came about.

I was sitting with my buddies at 807 South Division and we were talking about when our favorite shows started to go downhill. A couple examples came out, and somebody said, “Happy Days.” My roommate of four years, my freshman roommate all through graduation, Sean Connolly, who’s an ROTC guy, and very, very funny, said — not in a joking way — “When Fonzie jumped the shark.” There was a pause in the room because we all knew exactly what he meant … Throughout college, we’d use the phrase.

Idiomation therefore pegs the idiom to late 1985 and attributes it to Sean Connolly as does Jon Hein.

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