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Jump the Shark Paperback – August 26, 2003
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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.
Bitingly funny. -- The Boston Globe
Hilarious -- US Weekly
Top customer reviews
Something clicked in my young mind. I realized that something had happened to my favorite cartoon. Something unusual. Something that had forever changed the dynamics of Scooby Doo. I didn't realize hit at the time, but Scooby Doo had officially "Jumped the Shark."
"Jumptheshark.com" is one of my Top Five websites. Being part of the TV generation, this book is part "stroll down memory lane," and part shooting gallery. It has all of those old shows that you remember, but it has the point when the show tanked.
Anyone who is part of the TV generation will love this book. It is a companion volume to the famous website. Though it is not as extensive at the website, it has a better analysis and illustration on the TV shows. I like the sidebar trivia questions.
But this book is not limited to Farnsworth's brainchild. IT includes jabs at sports, rock bands, and our favorite Politicians. Democrats jumped the shark with the Mondale-Ferraro ticket, and the Republicans jumped with Watergate (obviously.) By the way, Nixon jumped with the Checkers speech.
This broad ground, of course, leaves the door open for more volumes, which I eagerly expect.
This book takes a humorous look at pop culture, and laughs at the events and people that make us laugh. Enjoy
THE SHARK, written and read by Jon Hein . . . if you're
not familiar with the concept, it is the exact moment when
things go bad on a TV show . . . this was first noticed
on THE HAPPY DAYS when Fonzie literally jumped a shark
on water skis . . . the series was never the same afterwards.
Hein expanded the concept to encompass many other
TV shows; in addition, he developed a popular website
to share his ideas.
In JUMP THE SHARK, he also looks at musicians, celebrities,
athletes, and politicians . . . while some of this was interesting,
I enjoyed the TV part most--perhaps because I grew up on many
of the TV shows that he mentions . . . also, reminiscing about TV
can be fun; the same can't be said, for example, when thinking
Yet I did get several chuckles when thinking about how DALLAS
turned around when a whole year was wiped off the books because
of Bobbie's dream . . . or when BEVERLY HILLS spotted a fin
the year Brenda went abroad . . . now those were incidents
that merited discussion--much of it quite profound, if memory
serves me correctly.