Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jumping the Shark Part 1: The Phantom Menaces

Two things to start: First, I know my blog has been all about movies for the first three months, but sometimes a blogger  just has to change gears in order to keep me writing, second I am tired of television shows lasting past their prime!!!  I was driving home and I heard an ad that had the them song The Office (USA version), and thought "That is one show I am giving up on!"  There is a term for television shows that have gone on too long, and that term is "Jumping the Shark."  The term comes from an episode of Happy Days (1974-1984) when the Fonzie actually jumped over a shark with his motorcycle.  I think the phrase is overused by people, and they try and pinpoint the time when shows "jump the shark" but there are just several shows on the air that need to call it quits.

The Office (NBC, 2005-2013)  I loved watching Michael make a fool of himself, and Jim and Pam make eyes at each other, date, fall in love, get married and have a baby. Then there was Dwight's beet farm, Angela's disapproval, Phyllis and her big jugs, Stanley ornery nature, Kelly being a ditz, Ryan lazy, and of course Andy just being Andy.  The show has a great ensemble with new characters, and now a new boss on the way, but without Steve Carell as Michael Scott, the heart of this show is gone!  I think once Jim and Pam had the baby this show "jumped the shark." Two characters who we all know and love had their happy ending, that's all we needed.  I did love this past season, and seeing Holly and Michael together again, and Michael's last episode was great.  I think the show should have ended, Mary Tyler Moore style with Sabre closing everyone finding new funny jobs, and walking out hugging each other (with Michael).

Desperate Housewives (ABC, 2004-2012)  I remember Marc Cherry saying "I am going to end this show after year 7" and that did not happen we are entering year 8 of this show.  The novelty of this show show wore off after year one, and season two atrocious.  Season 3 was a little better, but this show never found its grove again.  I understand that having a show that is a success is hard to walk away from but the jump in time is where most would say this show "jumped the shark."  I think this show was a one season wonder.  Like Glee the novelty wore off, and the shows quality faded and dipped quickly.  I stopped watching this show the season before the time change and could not happier to have Sunday nights for better shows.

How I met your Mother
How I Met Your Mother (CBS, 2005-Present)  I am going to paraphrase Jerry Maguire for a second, show me the mother!!! I loved this show in the beginning, it almost realistically describes living in Manhattan (much better than Friends at that) and was just a cute show with a great premise.  Somewhere 6 seasons later we are lost in a tangled mess, and we are no closer to finding the mother of Ted's children.  This show is renewed for two more years, really?! I love Barney and his portrayer Neil Patrick Harris as much as the next as the next person, but even Barney would be telling a fake story to ditch this show.  I don't know if there is a specific moment when this show "jumped the shark" but I am ready to jump ship if they don't do better storytelling.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC-2005-Present)  Cut to Meredith falling in the water drowning, dying, talking to Denny (ugh) and coming back to life, "JUMPING THE SHARK!" I kept watching.  Cut to Izzy having sex in the hospital to a hallucination of Denny because she had a brain tumor "JUMPING THE SHARK!" I kept watching.  I can handle the back and forth romances but this show has been sloppy with that. Lexie to George to Alex to Mark, George with Meredith then Callie then Izzie then on his own.  I gave up this show when they killed off George.  I remember watching the season premiere after that, and stating.  I can't keep going!  The only person I would watch this show for is Sandra Oh, even Chandra Wilson's character lost her spunk.

Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit (NBC, 1999-Present) This show without Stabler and Benson is not SVU!  I think this should have ended a few years ago because the procedural sheen wore off.  Throwing in new characters will not make this show worth watching again.  I think this show jumped the shark when they got rid of Diane Neal. In the beginning this show was about the crime and the character development of the shows actual full time characters.  Today SVU is revolving door for guest stars to score an Emmy nomination.  People like Sharon Stone, Robin Williams, made the show campy rather than something to applaud.  I recently watched the episode with John Stamos and fell as though the show had just lost its emotional heft, and the the guest appearances are a novelty.

'Weeds' Character Spawns New Femme Series for ShowtimeWeeds (Showtime, 2005-2012) The premise is great, a suburban mom turns to dealing drugs when her husband dies and leave her with no money.  The first two years of this show was genius, but the plot got tired as they tried to invent even crazier places for Nancy Botwin.  This past season where she and her family were fugitives was terrible, and the season before that was even worse.  Usually Showtime knows when to shut it down, but this show has been a big success for them.  I believe this is the last season, but Nancy and company jumped the shark somewhere around the time when Nancy burns down her whole housing development at the end of season 3.

Ironically most of these shows got their start in 2005, maybe it was something about the year or maybe the shows networks don't know when to give up!  I hope that these shows end soon or that fans revolt and stop watching.


The Office will close it's doors in May, and How I Met Your Mother will end May 2014 (Desperate Housewives, Weeds have ended).

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