What Does “Jump The Shark” Mean?

What Does The Phrase Jump The Shark Mean? 

In essence, jump the shark is a playful idiom when a TV series has lowered quality/artistic value. For instance, a TV show is thought to have jumped the shark when there is a poor change in writing or when a bad plot twist ruins the story for fans. 

Examples Of Using Jump The Shark

  • Man, I liked that show until it jumped the shark! It was going so well until the writing just became tacky and unbelievable! 
  • I think the show jumped the shark after season 3 when they began killing off my favorite characters.
  • For the most part, I enjoyed the show, especially the beginning. However, after some more thought on it, I really can’t shake the feeling that it jumped the shark about halfway through.

Where Does Jump The Shark Come From? 

Most people believe that jump shark most likely originated from the popular TV show Happy Days. The term has been tracked down to a specific episode aired in 1977 called Hollywood. 

In the episode, one character was challenged to jump over a shark that was contained near a beach. Even though he doesn’t want to, the character eventually accepts the challenge due to peer pressure. In the scene, he makes his way to the shark with water skis and jumps over the shark. Almost seen as the climax of a person/situation, it is clear why TV shows are said to only decline after they have jumped the shark.

Related: Check out our “common expressions” section for more articles like this!


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