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Jump the Shark Paperback – August 26, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Revised edition (August 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284104
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284104
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,602,815 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's a truism that the entertainment industry can never leave well enough alone. With few exceptions, TV shows, movie series and entertainers all go on producing product well after their prime. The popular Web site jumptheshark.com which takes its name from the ignominious Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumps over a shark on water skis elaborates on this truism, chronicling the moments when TV series began their slides into embarrassment. Hein, the site's creator, expands the site here, taking aim at not only TV shows, but also musicians, celebrities, athletes and politicians. It's a risky move on Hein's part because, as he himself notes, one of the first signs of a show's doom is the spin-off. The book's television chapter offers some deliciously catty pop criticism. Hein judges Family Ties, Beverly Hills 90210 and ER for fin spottings (Alex Keaton is born, Brenda goes abroad and Dr. Ross leaves, respectively). The writing is at times strangely ambivalent, as Hein's theory of entertainment entropy ensnares just about every show imaginable, even ones he obviously likes (with the exception of The Simpsons, which miraculously escapes his eye). Like a producer with a smash hit sitcom, though, Hein can't leave well enough alone and wades into deeper waters. The celebrities chapter is especially unfocused, swiping at everyone from Cher to Francis Ford Coppola. Still, it's a light and easily digested read. Fins are definitely spotted, but the book never quite jumps the shark itself.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Bitingly funny. -- The Boston Globe

Hilarious -- US Weekly

Customer Reviews

Best to read this amongst friends to really get the debate going.
James N Simpson
I also disagree with some of the author's opinions on what jumped the shark, and I wish he would show more proof.
Jason
I've given over 20 copies to friends...and they love it just as much as I do.
Skip

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Felipe on July 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The concept "Jumped the Shark" itself jumped the shark with the publication of the book "Jumped the Shark."
The website concept of "Jumped the Shark" was received ecstatically by generations of TV fans who felt betrayed when their favorite shows either become self-conscious, sold out in some way, cheapened themselves, introduced "cute" characters or otherwise became too stupid to tolerate. The application of a term to this phenomenon was well overdue and viewers were grateful to have their observations and gripes validated and recognized through the website.
Well I guess it was inevitable that the Jumped the Shark �movement� would itself jump the shark. This happened with the publication of the book "Jump the Shark," which aside from being an obvious attempt to cash in on the idea, fell far, far short of the standard set by the website. Why?
1. The website itself has/had an "underground" appeal to clever people who observe culture with some degree cynicism and awareness. Now, the book is available in airports. It has been mainstreamed. Enough said. But I will say more.....
2. A big part of the appeal of the website is that it gave a voice to EVERYONE because the commentaries were reader-submitted. This allowed irreverence, biting humor, dirty comments, sentimentality, subjective opinions. What does the book offer? The MOST repressed, watered-down, careful, edited, appealing-to-the-lowest-common-denominator, flavorless analyses of when shows jumped the shark. Obviously, not all opinions and thoughts could be reflected in the book, but it is clear that the author went way out of his way not to offend and the result is a bland work indeed.
3. The truly fatal flaw was that the concept became "self-conscious,� a fatal flaw for many of the shows that are reviewed.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on October 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The "Jump the Shark" website is one of the most entertaining websites out there, due to its lively discussion forums about TV shows that, at some point, started declining in quality never to return to its former glory. The episode or event in that TV show's history when that happened is when it "jumped the shark". Of course, there are differing opinions on when this may have happened, if it ever did in the case of some shows. The problem with putting this in book form is it becomes one man's opinion that is codified as THE expert opinion on when shows (and baseball teams, politicians, celebrities, and musicians) jumped the shark.
Some opinions, of course, are hard to argue with. There is little argument that, for example, the Andy Griffith Show jumped the shark when Barney left Mayberry, or that the Boston Red Sox jumped the shark when they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Some, however, defy logic, because some of the greatest successes took place after the supposed "shark jump". For example, it states the Mary Tyler Moore show jumped when Mary changed apartments. In my opinion, that's totally wrong. Some of the best shows of the series (including the classic "Chuckles Bites the Dust", which many critics rate as the top TV show episode of all time) happened after Mary moved into her new place. Richard Nixon was said to have jumped the shark with his early-1950's "Checkers" speech. How can someone jump the shark and then later get elected president twice? Nixon obviously jumped the shark at Watergate, but then, the author had to save that one for the whole Republican party.
This book is great as a discussion (and argument) starter, but I think the website is better because there differing opinions are offered. I disagreed with too much in this book to give it more than three stars, and I'd have to say that, when this was made into a book, "Jump the Shark" jumped the shark.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Skip on December 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
From the first page this book is a non-stop crack-up. I've given over 20 copies to friends...and they love it just as much as I do. This Hein guy knows more about TV then just about anyone. And his stories about celeberities, athletic figures, and politicans jumping the shark are not just funny but really insightful. You deserve a few laughs and this book delivers. Hein has invented a new way of seeing popular culture. He must be an amazing man and I wish I were related to him. I'd give it six stars if I could!!!!!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Vaughan on December 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I don't agree with those who say this book in itself has "jumped the shark". I like that it doesn't just stick to TV shows like the website. If it were just like the site, what would the be the point in buying the book? I thought the music section was great. I didn't much care for the sports section since I am not really a sports fan, but that didn't diminish the book in my eyes. Fortunately, the book lacks something the website had too much of: arrogant posts that basically said, "If you don't like what I like, then you must be a ....." The book maintains a sense of fun without being mean-spirited, and it's an interesting read.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Pamela A. Middings on December 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is great as a light, humorous read! As a kind of "amateur pop culture critic" myself, I love to read critiques in general, esp. when a good dose of humor is thrown in. So naturally, this appealed...having not been to the related website, I can't compare it to that, but let's just say sudden giggling fits would emanate from my room as I sat and read the description of Styx's Kilroy Was Here concept and tour, the opening sentence of the Jethro Tull section: "That flute. That damn flute.", etc, etc....lotsa catty fun, I recommend it!
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