How Has Jump The Shark ... Jumped The Shark?
Here we see an excellent recreation of The Fonz in the act of jumping the shark!
Jump The Shark has entered the popular English lexicon, and I used to think "Hey!" was cool
If you don't know what jump the shark means, you've already probably jumped the shark
I was inspired to write this article originally because I was thinking to myself about Craigslist.com and how I believe it has jumped the shark. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past ten years you've probably heard the phrase. Originally it referred to a character named Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli also known as "The Fonz" or "Fonzie" on one of the campiest shows of all time called Happy Days. The Fonz, played by Henry Winkler, was the epitome of cool on the show. He satiated (or helped to, along with the cast of Sha Na Na) the 1970's appetite for all things 1950's. Anyway the long and short of it is that after many years on the air, the writers began to struggle for interesting content. Which inevitably led to an episode with Henry Winkler jumping over an enclosed tank of sharks on water skis with a leather coat and shorty shorts on.
The now defunct (or defunked if you prefer) JumpTheShark.Com was a website created by Jon Hein of Howard Stern fame. Although he was already a VP for a prestigious New York company, he went on to sell his website for over a million dollars to the TV Guide company, ironically enough, a publication that has undoubtedly jumped the shark in it's own regard! The former website (which TV Guide apparently has watered down to a "celebrity gossip" section on their website, like we need more of that!) anyway, the former website JumpTheShark.Com used to allow users to vote for which episode of their favorite program was the episode where the series took a dive in content quality.
Weird Al & Craigslist jumped the shark together
Has Craigslist jumped the shark? Have you jumped the shark?
I like the phrase, "jump the shark" because of it's campy quality and inherent pop irony. Maybe that's why I enjoy Craigslist.Com too! You can't find a much more strange collection of lists, people and things for sale than on Craigslist.Com, I think for many people, Craigslist IS the internet! But alas! What has happened to that sweet golden goose? Have you poured through the jobs section lately? It's spammers heaven in there. Are there any real jobs to be found anymore? Or is Craigslist now the sole property of obsessed misfits with their missed connections and people offering $3 an hour to help them move refrigerators? I guess this is a rant, but positively not aimed at Craigslist.Com, I really hope that the site can rebound from the ocean of spammers and scammers that have permanently pitched tent there. I found a great gig there a few months ago, all I had to do was wade through a few hundred spam emails and voila! Real paying work! Maybe Craigslist hasn't jumped the shark, maybe I have?
Have you jumped the shark?
I sometimes wonder if maybe I have jumped the shark. According to Wikipedia, a website that dares to be gobbled up by the toothy fish of the pop culture sea itself, Jumping The Shark is:
an idiom used to describe the moment of downturn for a previously successful enterprise.
I formerly had a pretty high paying job in Chicago as a working arm of the legal system. The money got better and better, but also became more and more difficult psychologically as I knew that what I did brought some suffering to others, not to mention a fair share of threats to my well being. Still, at the time I enjoyed eating sushi once a month, went to movies pretty regularly, paid all my bills on time, put a couple bucks away. So maybe around six months ago I gave that up, moved up north, and staked a claim in my art and writing career. I'm hoping that when I moved, I didn't jump the shark. I'm hoping that as of yet, I haven't reached that Fonzie-esque level of success! Just because I've got the sideburns and know how to say, "Hey!!!" doesn't make me a caricature of myself? Or does it?
I've made mistakes in my life, but at least I've never donned water skiis, a leather jacket, and shorty shorts, then jumped over an enclosed tank of sharks. Alright, maybe metaphorically I've made the jump, but I jumped the shark my way, in regular length shorts thank you very much.
This article is dedicated to Henry Winkler, the only guy who really jumped the shark, and the only guy who will never jump the shark!