If you happened to catch last month's "Happy Days 30th Reunion" special, you might have heard Gary Marshall, the show's creator and producer, talk about the Fonzie episode where he water skis over a supposed shark in the water and saves the day.
"Jumping the Shark" has become an urban legend to identify a TV program that has produced such a far fetched episode, alienating its viewers, and going down the path towards cancellation.
As Gary pointed out, that episode in an early season of the series didn't effect the show, since it went on and on for 10 seasons.
This year, I feel that last week's episode of "Monk" has "Jumped the Shark" If you happened to have watched the episode, "Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas", you noticed some perculiar traits about the character which wasn't the Monk of previous episodes. While he uses his sleeved elbow to press the "up" button on the elevator in the casino lobby, he later touches the inside thumb print screen without asking for his trademark, handwipe. He later plays poker and actually touches the chips without asking for handwipes. His unwashed hands seem to be grabbing everything and anything in this episode. Even with the Sharona character leaving the series, I feel that for Monk fans, this episode is definitely the one that sends the series to a probable cancellation further down the road.
Other series such as Judging Amy, have already Jumped the Shark when her character leaves her potential husband at the alter. Boston Legal, however, has not Jumped the Shark. It has reversed the course of the Practice and, has become, in my opinion, a very watchable program.
I hope that Desperate Housewives can resist Jumping the Shark. We have two studs who find themselves liking to "play" with each other and last week we're caught by Teri Hatcher's character together in the neighbor boy's swimming pool.
Feel free to nominate the program or programs you feel have Jumped the Shark. Also check out, http://www.jumptheshark.com