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The Origin of "Jumping the Shark"

Updated on June 28, 2013

Origin of the Expression, "Jumping the Shark"

Have you noticed the growing popularity of the expression, "jump the shark" by cable news talk show hosts? Most recently, I heard Keith Olbermann say that Republican minority leader, McConnell, "jumped the shark" when he likened the FBI questioning of the underwear bomber, Abdul Mutallab, to an interview by Larry King. This wasn't the first time I'd heard the expression, "jump the shark," but it piqued my curiosity about the origin and meaning of the expression. This led me to the video below of Fonzie jumping the shark way back in 1977.

According to Wikipedia,"The expression was coined in 1985 by Jon Hein, who would later create the web site Hein explained the concept as follows: "It's a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now's all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it 'Jumping the Shark.' From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same."

Some are currently wondering if President Obama has "jumped the shark." (I'm not one of them.)

Fonzie Jumps the Shark


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    • Moulik Mistry profile image

      Moulik Mistry 

      9 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

      Very interesting info - nice to know...

    • agvulpes profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      Just a small comment from someone living in Australia. I have never heard of that description but it is very apt.

      It is no business of mine but it would appear as an example that America 'jumped the shark' when they elected G.W.B. all those years ago? So don't blame Obama!

      As the old saying goes "you get the government you deserve"

    • JOE BARNETT profile image


      9 years ago

      interesting term,never heard it before. Obama? he get's a b- in the first quarter.he is working. . .they . . .are not! long way to go!

    • H P Roychoudhury profile image

      H P Roychoudhury 

      9 years ago from Guwahati, India

      It is new but sounds nice. Thanks.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      interesting one..tnx 4 sharing^^

    • ledefensetech profile image


      9 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

      Huh, that's a new one to me. I rather think Obama "jumped the shark" last spring, but time will tell.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Tnx for the comments, all.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      New to me thanks

    • breakfastpop profile image


      9 years ago

      This is the first heard of this expression and as usual it will not be the last. Thanks for the explanation, Ralph.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Interesting info on a phrase, to bad it had to fall on political crap the first shot. Especially the childish blame game, every president inherited something. Freddy Fender coined "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" long about then as well.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Me neither. But I am concerned that the economy Obama inherited will get worse and he will unfairly be tagged with "owning" it. It saddens me that Congress is so inept in every quarter. I hate the greedy, selfish bastardos who all contributed to getting us in this mess. George was too dumb to do it alone.


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