Jumping the Shark is the moment when an established long-running series changes in a significant manner. This can range from something relatively small like the introduction of a new gimmick, all the way up to the magnitude of a full-on Genre Shift, in an attempt to stay fresh. Ironically, it is this moment makes the viewers realize that the show has finally run out of ideas. It's reached its peak, it'll never be the same again, and it's all downhill from here. It's Ruined Forever!!!
This expression originates from the episode of Happy Days in which Fonzie, dressed in his trademark leather jacket, literally jumps over a shark on water skis. The scene was criticized as betraying Fonzie's character development; in an earlier landmark episode, Fonzie jumped his motorcycle over fourteen barrels in a televised stunt, which left him seriously injured. After the stunt, Fonzie confessed that he was stupid to have taken such a dangerous risk just to prove his courage. Thus, the shark jump was seen as Fonzie forgetting a very important lesson.
For a show that depicted universally-relatable adolescent and family experiences against a backdrop of 1950s nostalgia in its early seasons, the shark-jumping incident marked an audacious turn that many viewers believed was for the worse. Initially a supporting character, the lionization of an increasingly-superhuman Fonzie became the focus of the entire show. The series continued for seven years after Fonzie's shark-jumping stunt, with a number of changes in cast and situations. It was also really boring. Despite this, "jumping the shark" is often erroneously used to describe a moment that leads to a show quickly ending or getting cancelled; while this certainly has happened, Happy Days proved a show can run for a long time after the jump and remain popular.
Some examples of clues which may (although by no means necessarily) indicate that a show's made the "jump":
- A popular character is removed from the show or even killed off. This is especially likely to alienate the audience if the method of removal seems unsatisfying or mean-spirited. This can be considered a single-character form of The Firefly Effect. The standard candidate for this treatment is the heart/the chick, who will usually also be an introverted, quiet, and relatively passive character; the executives are likely to prefer a character who is Hotter and Sexier and easier for the writers to develop, and probably played by an actor who has greater artistic ability.
- The writers pen a replacement character who isn't as compelling as the one who left.
- A new character is introduced (or not) who earns the hatred of the fandom for whatever reason. Though in most cases, it is because the audience either feel that the new character disrupts the dynamic between the already established characters (and not in a dramatically satisfying way), or that said character comes across as superfluous or gimmicky and doesn't really add anything new and/or substantial to the cast, or simply that the character gets a disproportionate amount of attention.
- In cases where Real Life Writes the Plot, when the actor playing a character core to the show's success dies and a decision is made to also kill off the actor's character. This will often force hasty, if not awkward changes to a program that gets, at best, lukewarm acceptance from the audience.
- The Other Darrin: Same Character, Different Actor.
- And sometimes, as with the Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Different Actor, Different Character, Same Archetype.
- A child character is added to an otherwise adult cast (or worse, is put in after the original kids in the cast grow out of the "cute" phase).
- During the website's heyday, Ted McGinley was named the "patron saint of shark jumping": His appearance in a series spelled its doom. These days, his appearance alongside a mention of this trope is a Lampshade Hanging.
- The Scrappy is given more spotlight and screentime, which sometimes exonerates him through character development, but more often turns him into a Creator's Pet.
- An existing character evolves in a way that flattens rather than enriches them, or which contradicts prior depictions of said character. This can streamline a character in an appealing way, but more often it offends and alienates the fans.
- The Official Couple resolves their Unresolved Sexual Tension too early and shippers start to lose interest in the show.
- A character becomes a Creator's Pet or a Canon Sue.
- A Breakout Character gets too much screentime. While it pleases fans most of the time, it will sometimes mean the show becomes just a vehicle for the character.
- The protagonist degenerates into an Invincible Hero, or worse, a Failure Hero.
- A character learns a valuable lesson, only to have to relearn that same lesson, over and over again, until the audience loses patience with him/her.
- The show's premise is radically altered, such as having the characters change careers or move to a new location.
- Conversely, the show (which is supposedly based on a coherent story arc rather than a series of episodic events) drags on too long without any sort of progress or resolution. May be the result of too much filler or over-reliance on Failure Is the Only Option or the Reset Button. If the plot is based on a Myth Arc, dragging it out too long or piling plot thread upon plot thread without resolution may lead to fans getting the impression that the writers are just making it up as they go along and subsequently tuning out.
- The show experiences mood whiplash in an unbelievable manner, typically a result of executive meddling wanting to make the show darker and edgier or lighter and softer.
- A jarring rise/decline in the sliding scale of villain threat, unless it's written well and/or used for comedic purposes, such as a big bad trying to take over the local 7-11 being usurped by one bent on destroying the galaxy.
- One of the writers puts too much of themselves into the show, to its detriment. They may use it as a pulpit to preach their personal beliefs in a heavy-handed manner, or to display personal kinks which squick the audience out. Common results include author filibuster, drastically increased sightings of straw characters, issue drift, and going cosmic.
- A baby is added to an otherwise-adult cast, resulting in ill-suited addition of childish themes and endless babytalk from characters who were once intelligent-speaking adults fatally altering the character dynamic.
- The plot is resolved with one too many plot twists or retcons which are inconsistent with the overall narrative, poorly executed, or just plain stupid, turning the audience away.
- A show's moment of awesome, in the sense that the show never lives up to said moment again, despite trying.
- The official couple (or beta couple) keeps breaking up and getting back together, to the point where it just aggravates not only the characters but the audience as well.
- The plotlines and subplots become too formulaic. (e.g. monster of the week, negative space wedgie, etc.)
- The storylines, character dynamics, etc. are so farfetched or over-the-top that they stretch the audience's willing suspension of disbelief way beyond its limits.
- Too much (or in some rare cases not enough) padding, especially true if "No, really, it gets better!" The audience is likely to grow impatient and give up.
- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Too much angst (or worse, wangst) makes the audience lose sympathy for the characters and tune out.
- A major plot point is apparently resolved only to be immediately unresolvedover and over again.
- Too many Bottle Episodes gives the audience the impression that there's no more effort put into production.
- Too many continuity errors.
- A Romance Arc overtakes the series; a non-romance plotline key to the story is shelved in favor of focusing on the couple.
- The series has done every plot typical to its genre possible, and even rehashed stock plots it has done before. (Especially prevalent with long-running Sitcoms.)
- A show set in a mundane setting has aliens appear suddenly in an episode (like what they did with Happy Days).
- A relatively minor Franchise Original Sin snowballs into something much less easily overlooked.
- The show starts relying too much on "special guest stars" (especially if they're celebrities playing themselves) which wreck the verisimilitude of the show.
- Graphical gimmicks such as 3D are used to shore up failing character development.
- The Movie of the series is released, after which the creativity level of the actual show starts to wane. Smart executives will tend to watch a show/franchises's level of popularity, and the release of the movie is usually timed to coincide with said franchise's peak. As a result, it will tend to be a sign that it's all down hill from there.
- The show moves the existing cast to a new setting. Particularly when accompanied by a Real Life move from a random-seeming tax-incented location to inside the Southern California studio zone, so the cast and crew can be available for other projects.
- For games, a Scrappy Mechanic is introduced that changes the balance that made the older games fun.
- A particular gimmick or recurring joke that becomes endearing or otherwise perceived to be core to the show's appeal is dropped, either with or without explanation.
- The show keeps saying how awesome something is, but doesn't actually let you know why (e.g., the characters are promoted to a higher rank, only to get less gadgets and fight even weaker villains).
- They do a Musical Episode or worse, a Clip Show.
- The show tries too hard to stay "current", even when it doesn't make any sense, or when the writers are obviously two decades behind the times.
- A show attempts to become more hip or lose focus by trying to be too many things to too many people. For example, franchises originally associated with a hardcore cult/geek fandom attempt to attract mass mainstream appeal.
- Over-reliance on fanservice, toilet humor, Slapstick, or other forms of turd polish or cheap, lowbrow humor.
- Too many sequels or spin-offs, each one less creative than the last.
- For animated series, Art Evolution that does the exact opposite, i.e. making the animation even choppier than fluid.
- Too many attempts at turd polishing.
- The series does too much pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator. Bonus points for certain Talk Shows that started off pretty varied and even erudite, and then decayed into Point And Laugh Shows for the sake of ratings.
- A couple, usually one that doesn't receive much positive representation, such as an LGBT pairing, becomes endeared to the audience (especially audience members that identify with them)...only to have it revealed that they're just friends or roommates, or that they're cousins/siblings/etc.
- One of the cast members gets into an embarrassing real life scandal. This frequently becomes more interesting than the show itself.
- If your show has been relocated to a family timeslot, that means that now you must now censor yourself.
- The creator of the show gets kicked upstairs or simply "sells out". This means that he can't micromanage his creation anymore. Alternatively, said creator or other key members of the staff that contributed to the work have departed for other projects. Either way, more the better for others to insert their own vision.
- The main cast member becomes either the executive producer or co-executive producer. This often becomes "their show" to the detriment of their resentful co-stars. It often shows onscreen.
- A show's producers (usually a cult show produced or co-produced in Europe, the UK, and sometimes Japan) decide that it's time to go for an international audience. (e.g., Americanization.). These shows are typically already known to an international audience hence their cult status. It is often agreed that these shows have a charm due to their distinct non-American style and lose something when the overseas producers either decide to internationalize or get Americans involved in production.
- A real-life couple in Hollywood is cast as the lead couple, and puts too much of themselves into the characters they play.
- An important role is given to a relative or significant other of some key player behind the scenes, regardless of how competent or well-suited that person is (or isn't). For example, the role of Alice is given to the director's girlfriend.
- A Non-Actor Vehicle.
- A key cast member decides to leave. Especially true of long-serving and/or original cast members. Amplified if said departing cast member also happens to be the last original cast member.
- The creator of the show becomes sick of this particular work, and tries to sabotage it intentionally.
- The show is relocated to a timeslot such as 8 PM Friday night, or Otaku O'Clock, when fewer people are going to be watching, or channel hops to a less successful network.
- The staff folds under unreasonable demands of Moral Guardians (bonus points if they didn't bother researching the show) which can enrage fans no matter how small the changes to the show are.
- Alternatively, the creators give in to pressure to make the material "edgier" even when such an approach doesn't fit the tone of the series.
- The show gains enough star-power to sell by itself and/or the creator becomes a house-hold name, which may led to the writers ignoring their editors and higher-ups out of the assumption that the work will be a hit even when viewers say otherwise.
- The writers start fighting with each other over whose canon is better while forgetting to make stories worth watching.
- A Promoted Fanboy becomes the writer/director/producer. As a result, the show in question may become susceptible to personal overindulgences in Mythology Gags, Internal Homage, excessive Shout-Out, Actor Allusion, Fan Wank and other sorts of love letters to the show. This tends to happen with long running or multigenerational franchises.
- A production that had been based in some unusual location likely chosen for tax credits is moved to L.A. so that those involved can be available for other projects.
- Some key person behind the scenes becomes the subject of serious allegations (most commonly, rape, sexual assault, Domestic Abuse, racist/sexist/homophobic comments or tweets, or sexual harassment), and audience members decide they want nothing to do with anything this person is involved with, even just tangentially.
- The show appears on a network that has little or nothing to do with its genre, and becomes a symbol of that channel's Network Decay.
- A Writer's Strike results in the usual writers leaving the show, and new writers coming in that just can't measure up, or over-reliance on Bottle Episodes and the like in order to keep the show going.
Generally caused by executive meddling and/or being screwed by the network. Too many shark jumping moments in a row can spell seasonal rot. The specific form of executive meddling which causes this will often be a non-fatal form of The Firefly Effect. This is when the show continues for some length of time, but the executives will get rid of the initial premise in an attempt to increase the show's appeal, and the attempt to do so backfires.
A related term is "nuking the fridge", a reference to an infamous scene in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. There is little agreement on the differences between jumping the shark and nuking the fridge; commonly named ones are that nuking the fridge is more sudden, more severe, tied to lazy writing rather than attempts to stay fresh, and even specific to film rather than television.
Contrast Growing the Beard, Win the Crowd. For a related phenomenon, see Franchise Original Sin. When it's whole networks instead of just shows, see Network Decay; for print magazines, see Magazine Decay. When a work gets its act together and regains its fandom after such an event see Win Back the Crowd and Sophomore Slump.
When the people start claiming something's a shark jumping moment immediately after it happens, see Ruined FOREVER.
Because there are too many real life examples, and it is probably the most subjective article we have, none will be listed. It is guaranteed that any show of sufficient length (more than two or three seasons) will vary in quality and thus this can start arguments. This page only lists overt lampshades of the phrase instead, preferably self deprecating ones.
In-Universe Examples Only (which allows references to the term):
- Knights of the Dinner Table #151 is titled "Jump the Shark". It features Gary Jackson coming Back from the Dead. On their back page jokes section many issues back, normally consisting of fan submitted jokes, they themselves put together a list of examples of what would be jumping the shark for their comic and the above example was included on the list of possibilities. According to the writers though, the plans to bring Gary Jackson back were in the works before this list was published, making this a Self-Deprecation. Now we'll have to see if the Unresolved Sexual Tension between Brian and Sara is resolved (if it's even a two way street).
- Ultimate Spider-Man issue 67 is titled "Jump The Shark", as it's the second half of the Body Swap storyline between Spidey and Wolverine, a two-part Breather Episode following the very bleak Carnage story. To boot, both issues opened with a mini-comic of Bendis apologizing to the reader and engaging in a lot of Self-Deprecation. "Even I couldn't milk three issues out of this..."
- During Spider-Verse, Miles Morales believes his life has reached this moment as he's being chased by the police while riding in a sentient Spider-Mobile. Animated Ultimate Peter suggests it was earlier, back in the cowboy Spider-Man's world.
- A particularly oddball issue of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye features a bar titled "The Jumping Shark" as a Funny Background Event.
- In Light and Dark The Adventures of Dark Yagami, this is referenced and lampshaded during a boat chase. "They did a bunch of jumps over a wall and a cruise boat but missed some sharks and didn't jump them (ITS AN INTERNET THINGY)".
- In Jake English's Mysterious Theater of Scientific Romance from the Year 3000, season 3 ends with everyone gathering around to watch Cronus jump a shark. He fails.
- In the short House fanfic titled, well, "Shark", House wakes up in bed with Cameron, Cuddy and Wilson. They quickly realize that they've fulfilled just about every shipping combination, and start to worry if they still have an audience.
"Maybe we can string this out...but let's face facts. We've not only jumped, but boned the shark."
- In Sharknado 2: The Second One, Fin runs across the backs of several sharks to reach his friends. Martin jokes, "Talk about jumping the shark!"
- The creation of Indominus rex in Jurassic World is fueled by the executive's desire to attract new visitors, and counteract the Park's lower entry rate. This is lampshaded by one park goer.
"Jurassic Park didn't need Indominus Rex!"
- Vin Diesel jumps the submarine in the eighth The Fast and the Furious film. Also a kind of Bilingual Bonus when you realize that the sub is an "Akula" class sub.
- Referenced near the end of Game Night. After the protagonists have spent most of the night dealing with a murder mystery game being hijacked by a real kidnapping, it turns out that was just another ruse set up by Max and Annie's neighbour. When another set of criminals shows up, Max assumes it's a last-ditch twist and declares that the whole thing's jumped the shark. Unfortunately, these bad guys are very real.
- In the Arrested Development episode "Motherboy XXX", Barry Zuckercorn (played by Henry Winkler, Fonzie himself) visits Buster on a dock, where his hand has been eaten by a seal. On his way to make a Product Placement for Burger King, he is forced to physically jump over the shark.
- In the self-referential 200th episode of Stargate SG-1, Marty responds to the suggestion of doing the Wormhole X-Treme! movie with Thunderbirds-style puppets by sarcastically suggesting that they have Puppet O'Neill jump over a puppet shark on a scale motorcycle.
- 30 Rock: in the episode "The One With the Cast of Night Court", Jenna Maroney was blamed by Harry Anderson, Markie Post, and Charles Robinson for making Night Court "jump the shark" for her three part episode as werewolf lawyer Sparky Monroe.
Harry: You made us jump the shark! You're the reason we didn't have a tenth season!
Markie: I had just bought my second home when they brought that idiot werewolf lawyer in!
Jenna: (insulted) Uh, that "idiot werewolf" paid for my hand reduction surgery, okay?
- The fifth-season premiere of Reno 911!, entitled "Jumping the Shark", featured Lt. Dangle actually attempting to jump over a normal fish tank containing a small shark. Naturally, he doesn't quite make it over, and Hilarity Ensues. Incidentally, it was the first new episode to be aired after the release of The Movie, which can also be a major shark-jumping point for some shows.
- An episode of That '70s Show in which Fez, imagining how cool it would be to be the Fonzie, has a daydream of himself performing the original jump. Hyde comments that this was the worst moment in television history, and Fez confesses that he stopped watching the show after that. It's interesting, because this is more of a modern perspective rather than one commonly held at the time it aired... like pretty much everything on That '70s Show.
- In the last episode of Boston Legal after Alan accepts Denny's proposal of marriage Denny says "It'll be great! Like jumping a shark!"
Chuck: It's not jumping the shark if you never come down.
- An episode featured a kid who is believed to be the third Winchester brother. The name of the episode? Jump the Shark. Oh yeah, and the diner where they meet the kid? Cousin Oliver's. Complete with a poster advertising "Fonzarelli's Water Skiing Event". Played with in that he really is their brother, but is already dead, and he stays dead.
- Referenced again at the end of the episode "The Real Ghostbusters".
- One episode of House had House, bored out of his skull during clinic duty, constructing a racetrack from medical tape, tongue depressors, and cards. At the end of the track is a ramp, and under the ramp? A shark. Cuddy catches the car in midair, before it reaches the shark. Whew...
- An episode in The X-Files is titled "Jump the Shark". In it, The Lone Gunmen—the quirky trio of conspiracy theorists that had lasted the show's entire run and gotten their own failed spin off—end up thwarting a terrorist's plot to use a neurotoxin made from sharks (somehow). Unfortunately, they died in the process.
- Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has an episode about making and taking dares that incorporates one character jumping a bicycle over a tank with a shark in it.
- In the Pushing Daisies (somewhat rushed) finale, the Victim of the Week was killed by accidentally leaping into the mouth of a shark. Lampshade Hanging? You decide!
- Web Soup host Chris Hardwick used this phrase when a video in their Things You Can't Un-See segment was legitimately disgusting and nauseating. It was a gaping foot wound, which was crawling with live maggots.
- Community Season Finale: Troy wants to move in with Abed, but genre savvy Abed says their friendship would jump the shark if they did. Troy responds that when Fonzie literally jumped the shark, it was the best episode ever.
- The Trailer Park Boys episode "Jump the Cheeseburger".
- Attack of the Show! did a parody of Discovery Channel's Shark Week with their own jump the shark week, where each day they would jump the shark in classic fashion. Methods included being attacked by a cougar a la 24, having a Dallas style murder mystery, having a Cousin Oliver show up, and having an evil twin a la Knight Rider.
- Wipeout couldn't resist mentioning the trope; an episode featured an elimination game called "Jump The Shark", where players had to, well, jump over a spinning shark.
- In the Angel episode Smile Time, the owner of the titular puppet show made a deal with demons to keep his show on the air when it was losing ratings. Unfortunately, he neglected to read the fine print. While the term "jump the shark" is never actually used, Gunn's research reveals that the demons have tried this before - "You see the last few seasons of Happy Days?"
- CSI has two examples:
- The episode "Two and a Half Deaths" features a scene where Brass mentions the term Jumping The Shark to Grissom. Unfamiliar with what this means, Grissom asks and Brass is about to explain what it means when a scream switches the focus onto something else.
- In the show's final episode, Grissom is clearly aware of it as he holds up two severed shark fins to a bunch of cops and says "Looks like someone jumped a shark".
- In the last series of Made in Canada, the trope is discussed by the main characters in the episode "Beaver Creek Jumps the Shark", both regarding the Show Within a Show Beaver Creek (they differ on when the series jumped the shark, but several of the usual candidates - a Cousin Oliver (actually named Oliver), supernatural elements, Shipping Bed Death, a musical episode, a live episode, a real time episode, a guest appearance by Ted McGinley - are mentioned) and their own lives. In the latter case, their lives all seem to have begun their downward slides courtesy of some moment involving their Pointy-Haired Boss Alan Roy.
- Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps once had lead character Jonny attempt (off-screen), to exactly emulate Fonzie's stunt. Given that he died in the attempt and it was a live episode, the producers were no doubt Lampshading these facts. At one point Janet even does a Fonzie impression. The title of this "very special episode"? When Johnny Met Sharky.
- The last but one ever episode of The Colbert Report literally did it in the opening credits.
- In the season four premiere of Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex lied to the reporters that Lady Gaga was going to jump over a shark tank while riding on a motorcycle.
- Lampshaded by JBL and Michael Cole on the 9/27/13 edition of WWE SmackDown when Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali used flutes to charm Santino Marella's Cobra in the middle of a match with Heath Slater.
- This was also lampshaded by Edge during an episode of The Cutting Edge in 2010 during his feud with the Anonymous RAW General Manager. As he put it, they went from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin stunning Vince McMahon to Edge arguing with a computer. This eventually led to Edge going on a crusade against everything stupid in the WWE.
- Maid RPG specifically lampshades this for one of its example games, which due to player twinkery went completely and irretrievably Off the Rails (which, of course, never happens in real sessions). After Yugami, Kamiya, and Hizumi manage to derail the game into something resembling Fist of the North Star:
Hizumi: See this? This is a shark. And here I am jumping over it. I'm jumping over a shark here. Shark? Jumping. Over.
- Kingdom of Loathing contains a certain item, equipped in the torso slot, which drops from a shark. As usual, the item description contains several "examples of what plot elements may cause or be symptomatic of jumping the shark."
Still, you can wear it around your adorable new baby cousin, or to the wedding that dissipates all the interesting romantic tension in your life. Or you can put it on the new person cast to play your best friend, or wear it to your new job in another part of the city, or during the Old West flashback episode of your life.
- That last one became Hilarious in Hindsight when West of Loathing came out, along with it's corresponding challenge path.
- One of the skills in the Avatar of Sneaky Pete special challenge path is "Jump the Shark", which gives you extra experience points but causes Sneaky Pete's "studio audience" to hate him (which can actually be useful to some of his skills).
- In Tony Hawk's American Wasteland, one of the missions involves feeding imbecilic oil rig worker Mega's pet shark, Fonzie. That involves jumping over him on your board for some reason. Keep in mind that Mega's the kind of guy to name a shark Fonzie unironically, completely unaware of it meaning anything deeper than "That guy on that show I watched when I was like five. He was cool. Ayyyyy!"
- In Hallrunner, a game on the Videlectrix website (a gaming website hosted by the creators of Homestar Runner), the object of the game is to make your way through various obstacles while running down a neverending hallway. Upon coming to each obstacle, the player has the option of talking to it, fighting it, or jumping it. If the player chooses "jump" when the obstacle is a shark, he gets the response "You jump the shark. Just like homestarrunner.com."
- In Skate 3, the player attempts to jump over a statue of a shark in the opening cinematic. He fails, which is a setup for you to use plastic surgery to create your character. You can jump it in the actual game.
- Jumpman Zero has a level called "Jump The Shark", which is basically a big underwater room with a shark in it.
- Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has a trophy titled "Jumping the Shark", which you can get for destroying 10 Hammerhead enemies in the game.
- World of Warcraft has a daily quest in Krasarang Wilds called Jumping the Shark. In which your character, with his or her bare hands, jumps on a shark and beats the daylights out of it. This is far from the most outlandish thing most characters have done by this point.
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon features a scene where Rex launches a car over a shark...well, a Sharktopus, to be more exact. HUD even describes the objective as simply "Jump the shark".
- In Saints Row IV, the final mission is called "Punch the shark"(even though no actual sharks are involved). "Jumping" it just doesn't quite cut it anymore.
- BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend has Ragna say that Valkenhayn is jumping the shark when he prepares for his Uber-Verboten Attack in his joke end.
- As a self-deprecating joke, a TV show literally called "Jump The Shark" figures into the plot of the Deadpool video game. Apparently it consists entirely of Fonzie-expy contestants jumping over a shark tank with a motorbike.
- Lampshade Hanging on it in this strip of Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures.
- In Bitmap World, the phrase is used to indicate its very silly and literal meaning. The creators insist that this does not mean their relatively new strip (at the time of publication) is headed in that direction.
- In Bruno the Bandit, the protagonist literally has to jump a shark, to be more successful getting readers.
- In Calamities of Nature a direct reference to Happy Days is made when jumping the shark.
- Schlock Mercenary uses a gag about a shark tank and a motorcycle ramp as a promise that even though the strip's invoking Time Travel as a Reset Button, it's just this once and that's not what it's going to be all about from now on.
- The 542nd strip of The Order of the Stick is named "In Azure City, Shark Jumps You!". In addition to the obvious Russian Reversal, this is also an actual description of the strip's contents.
- Melonpool, after a decade of time-travel history-changing shenanigans, had gotten so convoluted that the author decided on a massive retcon, whose fuzzy science rationale actually had the acronym Jump the S.H.A.R.K..
- Irregular Webcomic! addressed Jumping the Shark (both literally and figuratively) in a arc starting here.
- Clip-art web comic Partially Clips lampshades its own potential shark-jumping here.
- A Freefall strip features a shark tank, but warns people away from jumping over it.
- In Absurd Notions, several years in, the characters buy an aquarium and get a pet Bala shark. They decide that, given that they introduced the shark as a new character to breathe new life into their lives, which had gotten boring, the only honest name to give the shark was "Jump".
- This and the Cousin Oliver trope gets referenced in this Something*Positive strip where the writers for Monette's show discuss future plots.
- Gordito in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja literally jumped over a winged, flying shark. The alt-text defended the move with "Look, it was the only way he could dodge it". Of course, by Dr. McNinja standards this isn't that unusual an event.
- Heywood in Mynarski Forest replicated the Fonz's jump, in the strip's background, in mocking recognition that the comic had just had two stories in a row turn out to be All Just a Dream.
- xkcd has this comic's Alt Text of "Dinosaurs totally jumped the ichthyosaur when they got rid of the brontosaurus."
- Bob the Angry Flower ramps a shark on a motorcycle. Into space.
- In Unwinder's Tall Comics, Unwinder laments the decline of his former favorite webcomic:
Unwinder: Nutflix? Oh goll, Mildred, that comic basically jumped the whale shark. THE LARGEST SHARK ON EARTH.
- Inverted, but taken literally in Sandra and Woo.
- In the end-of-chapter commentary strips by two minor characters of Errant Story, one of them carries waterski's and announces she'll try to jump a great white, prompting the other to note that the writer just did that. The immediate followup was an amusing subversion of JTS, too.
- Commissioned officially announced it jumped the zombie on November 18th, 2009.
- Mentioned by name in Questionable Content when Faye finally stops being even the least bit curious about Pintsize's antics.
- PvP combined it with Breaking the Fourth Wall in this strip and also used it here.
- Bug Martini: Signs Your Life has Jumped the Shark
- Ansem Retort had this to say, after Jesus turned Marluxia into a gay dragon:
- Robbie and Bobby makes a reference in a short storyline where Robbie and Stephen Hawking switches brains.
- Persona 3 FTW had a comic where the leads lamented over having to switch to the summer uniforms, followed by Fonzie jumping the shark. JC confirmed that he doesn't like the summer uniforms. Still doesn't.
- The Zero Punctuation review for "LEGO Indiana Jones" was the first to feature a new opening video and hardcore metal theme song, as opposed to the (copyrighted) Suspiciously Apropos Music of previous shorts. In his sign-off bit of snark, Yahtzee predicts oodles of e-mails predicting this as "his shark jumping moment".
- In a similar fashion, episode 15 of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series had this exchange at the end:
- As the entire thing is a Shout-Out to Happy Days, This Oxhorn WoW Machinima has a character literally jump a shark... and shoot it in the same motion.
- The Nostalgia Critic refers to it on occasion:
- In the Rocky IV review, where a completely ridiculous robot that drives in is introduced as the Shark-Jumper 5000, and the introduction of Game Boy in the commentary for the Captain N: The Game Master review.
- Mentioned twice in the Independence Day review, although he didn't think the movie was good in the first place, so he was likely confusing the term for a Wall Banger.
- Mentioned with a whole rant about how much the shark is abused in the review of The Neverending Story III, when the Rock Biter rode a bike, singing "Born to be Wild". Although since he made it clear the series went downhill with the second movie, this again was misusing the term. Then again, there is no accurate fan speak term for that moment popular enough for him to rant that way about it, so it slides by with Rule of Funny.
- Shark Jumping is dedicated to reviewing TV shows (such as How I Met Your Mother, Glee, or The Fairly OddParents!) and occasionally even movies, trying to pinpoint the exact moment they jumped the shark.
- Bonus Stage: Joel exclaims "Come quick! We're about to travel over Shark World! I don't know why we haven't done this already." In another episode, Joel states that there are "some sharks [he] refuses to jump".
- The title card at the end of the first episode of Madd Man reads "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Jumped The Shark On The First Episode"
- Two Best Friends Play. After making two episodes independently, they were picked up by the Machinima Youtube channel. They referenced this "selling out" in their next video, Donkey Kong Country Returns, by having Kong physically jump over a shark enemy.
Matt: Jump the shark! Jump the shark!
Pat: I don't wanna jump the shark! ...Aw, we jumped it.
- Invoked and parodied in the episode ''Trollin' '' of The Annoying Orange
- This post in the fan-made Just a Useless Bunny Touhou Ask Blog parodies the common changes done by Executive Meddling that often lead to this, complete with a final panel of Reisen water skiing over a shark.
- From RedLetterMedia:
Mr. Plinkett: I don't jump sharks, I fuck them for breakfast.
- Upon Bardock realizing he's gone into the past in the Episode of Bardock special of Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
Bardock: OF ALL THE STUPID! [Headdesks the ground] ASININE! [punches the ground] SHARK JUMPING BULLSHIT! [headdesks again, goes Super Saiyan]
- Parodied in one the Next Time On Bear Shark segments in which the shark jumps a pen full of Fonzies while on water skis. The sequence doesn't actually appear in the next episode at all.
- Another sketch took the concept Up to Eleven in "Jump The Shark": A new SpinOff is introduced, Tony Hawk appears as a Guest Star, two characters get engaged, they move to a new building, Amir gets replaced, and Jeff gives birth to a baby Supreme Court justice. Finally, the whole cast gets replaced at the very end with a younger cast.
- In Death Battle, when Wiz describes the Flightpack from Robocop 3 as part of their analysis on "Robocop vs Terminator", he mentions that it "helps (Robocop) jump sharks".
- Beth Elderkin (a reviewer on YouTube) has a show called Shark Jumping where she and her friend Tim Sampson try to determine exactly when a series jumped the shark.
- Rooster Teeth has a t-shirt that has the phrase "YOLO" jumping a tub with a shark on it.
- The Game Theory episode Why I Gave the Pope Undertale starts off with MatPat saying that despite the backlash the episode The Truth about Sans got, he still liked it, prompting this exchange:
The Pope (portrayed): That's the one where Game Theory jumped the shark.MatPat: No it isn't! [Beat] No it isn't!
- Apparently, jumping the shark is one of the most important duties for employees of the Shark Punching Center.
- Becomes a Visual Pun in the 100th episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Vinyl Scratch and Octavia Melody are riding on a giant DJ-platform on wheels to make it to Matilda's wedding in time. As they fly down the road, the station jumps over a plush shark doll for a split second.
- Sealab 2021: "Sharko's Machine": Sharko (A Cousin Oliver parody who is Marco's half-shark illegitimate son) is seen jumping over several Fonzies during an absurd Hard-Work Montage.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
- "Sweet Stench of Success", when Bloo becomes an advertising icon who gets his own sitcom spinoff. The preview after the very first episode is "tune in next week when Deo jumps a shark!"
- In the final episode, "Goodbye to Bloo", Bloo thinks Mac is moving away forever, and tries to come up with something big they can do for their last day together. After Mac shoots down several of his suggestions as things they have already done before (they are in fact references to the plots of previous episodes), Bloo decides that the only thing left to do is to Jump the Shark. Unable to find a shark in time, he settles for walking over a fish with a paper fin on a bowl.
- Kim Possible addresses thoughts on jumping the shark, by hanging up on Ron when he brings it up. This Fanfiction takes the idea a bit further, parodying Happy Days and then revealing it all as just a dream.
- One episode of Squidbillies shown Rusty watching a TV show in a dramatic way, showing a Mailman delivering mail into a mailbox. What is worth a mention in this article is Early commenting on the show with the trope name.
- In an episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo? where the gang goes to the set of an action film, the director ends up modifying the script to have Scooby and Shaggy launch on a motorcycle over a tank of sharks. Velma remarks, "Never thought I'd see Scooby-Doo jump the shark."
- One "Previously On" for a two-part episode of South Park had scenes of Fonzie about to jump a shark cut in. Then when he makes the jump, he gets eaten, seeming to say "Not yet, viewers".
- My Life as a Teenage Robot "In-Des-Tuck-Able" serves as the final episode where Tuck is performing a series of dangerous stunts including riding a motorcycle over a Shark Pool. Brad provides the lampshading.
"Once you jump the shark, the show is over."
- The Simpsons:
Troy McClure: That's it for our spinoff showcase. But what about the show that started it all? How do you keep "The Simpsons" fresh and funny after eight long years? Well, here's what's on tap for season nine: Magic powers! Wedding after wedding after wedding. And did someone say, "long-lost triplets?" So join America's favorite TV family, and a tiny green space alien named Ozmodiar that only Homer can see, on FOX this fall. It'll be out of this world! Right, Ozmodiar?Ozmodiar: Damn straight, Troy my man!
- The series lampooned this trope by showing an episode where Bart buys a race horse (Lisa already did that), Lisa notices Marge's gambling problem (we already know that) and adds an improbable twist that horse jockeys are elves in disguise (complete with schlocky musical number). Lampshaded by Comic Book Guy when he is seen wearing a "Worst Episode Ever" shirt.
- One Couch Gag had the family do it to land on the couch, only for Homer to lose both legs.
- One of the Clip Show episodes featured a song lampshading both clip shows and the sort of absurd plots that normally constitute a shark jump, complete with a still image of Homer on waterskis.
- This one also constitutes a Meta reference, since in an interview Matt Groening said that you'd know The Simpsons had jumped the shark when they introduced a Great Gazoo-style character.
- "They'll Never Stop 'The Simpsons'" (which was part of a Clip Show) features an image of Homer jumping over a shark (about 28 seconds in), just before launching into a series of stupid ideas that the show could pursue in the future. Note that two of them sort of wind up happening in later seasons.note
- During the Teen Titans episode where the Titans chased Control Freak into TV land, Robin finds himself on some kind of action challenge show being forced by a suspiciously familiar looking host with a funny accent to waterski off a ramp, at which point a shark leaps out of the water underneath him.
- In The Replacements, Dick Daring jumps the shark twice in the second episode of the first season, with a Fonz lookalike appearing both times.
- The Fairly Oddparents:
- A Cut Song from The Movie ''Channel Chasers" had Timmy jumping a shark with a guy who looked a lot like The Fonz.
- Also in the later episode that introduces Wanda's twin sister Blonda, the B-plot of the episode consists of Timmy doing various "EXTREEEEEME!!" stunts. The very first stunt was him rocketskating over a shark tank.
- Fanboy and Chum Chum referenced jumping the shark during the episode "Total Recall". One of the shows they liked had the title character, an octopus spy named Agent 8 jump a shark. They found the show got better after.
- Dante and Randal in the Clerks: The Animated Series reminisce about the iconic scene from Happy Days, except in their recollection, the shark came back and ate Samuel L. Jackson.
- In The Venture Bros. the Monarch references this trope regarding henchmen. You say "jump" they say "what shark".
- The series finale of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is literally all about this trope. Bat-Mite, tired of the show's Lighter and Softer nature, conspires to get it cancelled in the hopes that it'll be replaced by a Darker and Edgier Batman show. He does this by using his Reality Warper powers to inflict several classic shark jumps on the show, including giving Batman a love interest and sickeningly cute daughter, inserting obvious toy tie-ins, changing Aquaman's voice actor (to Ted McGinley, no less), giving Ace the Bat-Hound a very familiar nephew, moving the show to Malibu, and finally making Batman use guns. Ambush Bug (voiced by Henry Winkler himself) tries to save the day by telling Batman that they're in a TV show and if they don't get back to normal fast, declining viewership will destroy their world. They're too late to save the show, but at least they manage to salvage its dignity. As for Bat-Mite, not only does he not get what he wanted (the replacement is a CG-animated show about Batgirl), but Ambush Bug points out that since he's part of Brave and the Bold, the cancellation affects him too, and a silly character like him would never be included in a Darker and Edgier Batman show. Bat-Mite vanishes into thin air, while the other characters have a party and Batman thanks his viewers for their support.
- Team Umizoomi has an unusual variation where a shark jumps with the Team.
- Mentioned in the Regular Show episode "The Heart of a Stuntman".
- The Transformers: Rescue Bots episode "Movers and Shakers" features Blades, while dealing with the rogue robot that was the episode's problem, jumping over a statue of a shark and even saying the Fonz's catchphrase.