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TV's Biggest Jumping The Shark Moments

Updated on July 8, 2012
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You really have to love the media. They come up with all these curses and syndromes and whatnot to explain why a good show goes bad. Like the Moonlighting Curse and claim every show goes downhill once the couple gets together. Supposedly Moonlighting was ruined because Dave and Maddie had sex, which was pure BS. As someone who watched the show, it went downhill because they couldn't get out new episodes and they started focusing too much on DiPesto and Viola, two background characters. It had absolutely nothing to do with Dave and Maddie getting together.

As for the debacle when Tony and Angela got together on Who's The Boss it wasn't them getting together that sandbagged the show, it was them totally changing the dynamics of the show that turned viewers off. Granted, Tony couldn't be Angela's housekeeper forever, but when they changed their roles in the relationship, they lost their magic.

It's the same with this Jumping The Shark thing that was born when Fonzie jumped a shark on Happy Days. The thing is the media never got that that was who Fonzie was. He was always doing unbelievable things like that. So it wasn't some moment that went too far and ruined the show. Fonzie could snap his fingers and have women come to him, he could bang a juke box and make it play without putting any money in. He may have been the first prime time Elvis impersonator when he dressed up in a white suit like Elvis and sang, "Heartbreak Hotel." He jumped his bike over a bunch of trash cans. The moment Happy Days really jumped the shark was when Richie Cunningham aka Ron Howard left the show. Fonzie was flashy and over the top, but it was Richie who was the heart and soul of the show and when he left so did the heart and soul of the show. It was never the same once Richie left.

Anyway, here's the jumping the shark moments from the TV show's both past and present that are most memorable [at least to me].

The Vampire Diaires -- Undermining The Mythology

I really think Julie Plec is the worst thing to happen to the supernatural genre. She's watered down the vampires on the show so they're basically humans with fangs. In season three, what little powers they had she eroded. She totally threw out the mythology for whatever story gimmick she wanted to pull. Like the rule that the older the vampire the stronger. She threw that out the window to appease the Caroline fans still whining because Caroline didn't punish Damon enough for how he treated her in season one. So she had Caroline beat up Damon. Only problem is Damon is 150 years older than Caroline and that's physically impossible. So Plec threw out the lamp excuse that if you're made than a younger vampire can beat up an older and stronger vampire. Plec didn't stop there. Caroline's beloved daddy, Bill Forbes, could resist being compelled by a vampire. I'm sorry, the only way he could train himself to do that is if a vampire kept trying to compel him and he trained himself to resist it and what vampire would do that? Fans were also yapping about why vampires weren't sired to their makers, so Plec made Tyler sired to Klaus then had Bill Forbes show him how to break the sire bond, which should be physically impossible. Even vervain has lost it's power, since vampires can become immune to it if they drink a watered-down version of it. If you're going to have a show about supernatural creatures than let them be supernatural and follow the rules you established about the species.

Dharma And Greg -- Let's Make It A Dramedy

Dharma and Greg was this cute light-hearted romantic comedy show about the relationship between a conservative lawyer and a free spirit. Then someone had the bright idea [I'm guessing it was Chuck Lorre] to try to make the show a drama/comedy or a dramedy. First, Dharma almost cheated on Greg which totally damaged Dharma and Greg's relationship. Then at the season end they had this big cliff hanger with Dharma and Greg getting into a car accident. When the show returned the next season Dharma couldn't walk. If a show is successful as one thing don't try to turn it into something else.

Laverne & Shirley -- Move To Hollywood

Laverne and Shirley were two small town girls who worked in a brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It totally changed the whole vibe of the show when all the characters were transplanted to Hollywood. The charm that the show had rapidly vanished. It just wasn't the same.

Grey's Anatomy -- The Singing Episode

Grey's Anatomy airs reruns on my local ABC station on Sunday nights and then the same episode airs on The CW the following Saturday night. It finally came to the point in the show where they had the singing episode. Twice I tried to sit through it and twice I turned it off before I was even halfway through the show. I sat through that atrocity once; I can't do it again. Grey's Anatomy is a gritty drama, it's not a musical. What the heck was Shonda Rhimes thinking when she came up with that atrocity? Thankfully, it was only an isolated incident.

Roseanne -- Dan Really Died

It's beyond me why Roseanne did it. It was the last episode of the show and she reveals that when Dan had a heart attack that he died and everything that happened after Dan survived his heart attack never happened. I'm sorry, Dallas can get away with making a whole season just a dream because JR without Bobby was like a hamburger without fries. We viewers were willing to accept the whole dream thing if they undid killing off Bobby. There was no reason to kill off Dan aside for some cheap dramatic moment.

Lost -- Season Six

Lost went one better. While Roseanne may have ruined the show in the last episode, Lost ruined the show and killed any desire you had to ever rewatch it for the entirety of season 6. The problem was they created mysteries without any idea how to solve them. When they did try to solve them they were lame and so full of holes they could be Swiss cheese. Locke got no pay-off for his faith except for his body to be taken over by the Smoke Monster. The reset didn't work and it was just an afterlife fantasy world where everything and everyone revolved around Jack Shephard. Some people actually made it off the island but they weren't considered important enough to show what happened when they got home. Only glorifying Jack was important. I was so angry that they screwed viewers like me who weren't enthralled by Jack I cried. I'm still mad and I will still get in an argument with Lost fans claiming I just don't get the beauty of the ending.

The Secret Life Of The American Teenager -- Fourth Of July Is A Gay Holiday

Who on this planet doesn't know that the Fourth of July is our nation's birthday? Apparently the idiots on Secret Life, because proclaiming that the Fourth Of July was a gay holiday was but one of the many horrific stereotypes this show put out for several weeks running. It all began when George started suggesting Ann was gay because then it wouldn't be his fault they broke up, and he kept it up for other selfish reasons. That bit him in his butt later when one of the gay rumors being spread was he made women gay. Along with since Ann way gay so was Amy because of the gay gene. And it just went on and on and you just wanted it to stop. What made it worse was the show didn't run some PSA explaining they were just exhibiting all these gay stereotypes as a way to educate and to show how ridiculous and untrue they are. Instead they ran their usual PSA about teens having sex.

Friends -- Joey and Rachel

I thought the show jumped the shark when they went there and I never really liked the show much afterwards. I know some fans liked it, but there are fans that will like anything. It just seemed to totally go against both these characters personality. Thankfully, they finally ended it without them doing the bumping uglies. It got to the point you wondered who was going to hook up next.

The Brady Bunch -- Cousin Oliver

This one spawned another syndrome the media uses to explain why a show's going bad. That's adding a cute kid to the cast. However, Cousin Oliver wasn't cute. He was annoying and creepy. You just wanted this annoying little creep to go away. At least I did. If you're going to add a new kid to the cast, he should mesh well with all the other characters, and Cousin Oliver stuck out like a sore thumb.

Dark Shadows -- Who Are All These People?

The last six months of the show all the actors were playing different characters. This wasn't one of the regular characters going back in time, this was a whole new show with just the same actors and the same name. The bad thing is when the show was cancelled viewers never got to say goodbye to all the characters they knew for all the years the show was on the air.

There are a lot of ways for a show to jump the shark. For them to try and become something they aren't as in the case of Dharma and Greg. Or for a show to start undermining it's own established mythology like The Vampire Diaries. It's why writers should always think about the possible consequences of what they're writing before they write it, because they could be committing a faux pas that will bring their show down around their ears. So be true and consistent to your characters and established facts and don't try to turn your show into an entirely different show like Dark Shadows did and The Vampire Diaries did this season to a smaller degree by making it all about The Originals. And if you feel the well has run dry creatively, then maybe you should do what other shows have done. Face that it's time to call it a day. It's always nicer for a show to bow out gracefully instead of staying and becoming so bad it gets cancelled.


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    • profile image

      Lost Fan 

      6 years ago

      I guess the reason you get so mad at those Lost fans is because you know you didn't understand the beauty of the ending.


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