Posts Tagged ‘jump the shark’

The Fonz Jumps The Shark!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

35 years ago today, on September 20, 1977, Happy Days aired an episode in which the gang travels to California for Fonzie’s screen test. The Fonz is challenged to waterski over a shark, and dressed in swim trunks and his trademark leather jacket, he accepts the challenge:

Here’s the pivotal “jump the shark” scene:

The episode marked the beginning of the show’s fifth season, and Happy Days remained on air for an additional six. In 1997, web guru/radio personality Jon Hein created the site, using Happy Days’ “jump the shark” moment as the ultimate indicator of when a TV show begins to decline. The website pointed out such moments in hundreds of television shows, and the phrase “jump the shark” quickly became pop culture lingo, essentially meaning the beginning of the end, or utilizing gimmick over quality. (The site now connects to TV Guide’s list of “jump the shark ” moments.)

Here’s what the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler, had to say about jumping the shark:

Learn more about Happy Days at our show page and watch Henry Winkler’s full Archive interview.