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Archive for the ‘television’ Category

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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MacGyverism

Posted by Admin on February 5, 2022

It wasn’t very difficult to track down the meaning or history of the word MacGyverism mostly because it was a straight road to where you might think it would lead. According to the Collins Dictionary, MacGyverism refers to any person who uses the resources at hand to successfully resolve a situation in which they find themselves.

Angus MacGyver, played by American actor Richard Dean Anderson, always found ingenious ways to get out of what seemed to be impossible situations from 29 September 1985 through to 21 May 1992 on the U.S. television show MacGyver. He was a fictional secret agent and a strong ally to social and environmental causes who relied on the practical application of scientific principles and on-the-spot inventiveness using everyday items at his immediate disposal.

To most fictional characters in the series as well as viewers watching the show, MacGyver used random and useless pieces, tying them together to create an unexpected and effective way to counteract inevitable danger certain to spell his demise.

The items he used most often were his Swiss Army knife, a roll of duct tape (which he conveniently kept in his back pocket and flattened so it would fit without creating bulk), a sturdy plastic ID card, a Timex watch, strike-anywhere matches, paper clips, chewing gum, and a flashlight. The character was a multilinguist fluent in English, Russian, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and American Sign Language, and he know International maritime signal flags as well as Morse code.

All this was possible for MacGyver in light of the fact his character was written as having a genius intellect and a penchant for improvisation and adaptability.

The term MacGyverism is derived from the television character and his amazing ability to overcome dangerous situations most others would be unable to survive.

On 19 October 2006, Hudson Street Press published “What Would MacGyver Do? True Stories of Improvised Genius in Everyday Life” by Brandon Vaughan. The book, according to the blurb, was inspired by the fictional character Angus MacGyver and included this passage:

Inspired by television’s Angus MacGyver (played by Richard Dean Anderson), a secret agent who relied on his brains and scientific prowess – not to mention duct tape and a Swiss Army knife to save the day, the “MacGyverisms” recounted range from the concrete (using Chex Mix to provide traction in an icy parking lot) to the intangible (saving a relationship with the perfect turn of phrase).

The term has also led to the verbs “to MacGyver” and “MacGyverize.” In fact, “to MacGyver” was courtesy of Stephen Lunch on 1 August 1997 in his article published in the Orange County Register.

To fix something without benefit of tools or a manual is called “to MacGyver” a solution after the television show in which Richard Dean Anderson disarmed nuclear bombs with paper clips.

In an interview with MacGyver producer and writer Stephen Downing for the Christian Science Monitor published on 24 December 1987, David R. Francis wrote this:

“[MacGyver] relies on his ingenuity and knowledge, rather than violence, to complete dangerous missions. [Downing] calls the use of science techniques as “MacGyverisms.”

It sounds to Idiomation that those who enjoyed the television series took to MacGyverizing because they liked what the main character stood for and how he didn’t have to rely on violence to get himself out of scrapes.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE 1: Stephen Downing retired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 1980 after more than 20 years of service. He rose to the title of Captain of Detectives, and he established homicide investigation techniques that continue to be used to this day. He was a Commanding Officer of the Juvenile Division and then the Commanding Officer of the Southwest Area where he designed and implemented the first functionally integrated police operation in law enforcement dealing with gang activity.

INTERESTING SIDE SIDE NOTE 1: Stephen Downing’s son, Michael P. Downing has also served as an LAPD Deputy Chief, and served as the Commanding Officer of Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations, becoming the interim Chief of Police after Chief William J. Bratton stepped down in 2009.

However, it was a year earlier in 1986, in the second-season episode 3 titled, “Twice Stung” that the character of Joanne Remmings (played by Pamela Bowen) used the term. Later on in an episode of “Stargate SG-1” the character of Samantha Carter (played by Amanda Tapping) used the term.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE 2: Richard Dean Anderson played the role of Colonel Jack O’Neill in “Stargate SG-1” which aired on 27 July 1997. The series was a spin-off from the movie “Stargate.”

There was a MacGyver reboot (23 September 2016 to 30 April 2021) that ran for four seasons which starred American actor, model, and producer Lucas Till in the role of Angus MacGyver. As you can well imagine, the MacGyverisms continued.

And so Idiomation has pegged the term to 1986 and episode 3 of MacGyver as the source of the term. The next time someone says you’re guilty of a MacGyverism, smile. You’re being compared to a genius-level who adapts well to unexpected situations.

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