It's..... The happiest blog on earth
Fonzie literally "jumped the shark" — on water skis — in a 1977 episode of Happy Days. Three decades later, the writer of that episode insists "I still don't believe that the series 'jumped the shark' when Fonzie jumped the shark."
It's fun to get his perspective, and he remembers that at the time, no one expected this episode would become infamous.
"...what I definitely remember is that no one protested vehemently; not
one of us said, "Fonzie, jump a shark? Are you out of your mind?"
"In a more perfect universe, then, the catchphrase for a cultural phenomenon going into decline would be 'that's when Chachi showed up.'"
Believe it or not, the phrase "Jump the Shark" was actually coined 13 years ago, in 1997. The "Jump the Shark" web site appears on this list of my favorite internet moments.
Hollywood script-writers were almost giddy. They not only appropriated the phrase, but began pre-emptively including it in their own scripts. Fez on That 70s Show imagines himself jumping a shark like Fonzie. In the opening credits of The Simpsons the family water skis to their living room couch while Homer's body is devoured by sharks. The X-Files names an episode in their final season "Jump the Shark."But maybe Henry Winkler, the actor who'd played Fonzie, had the best response. In a 2005 episode of Arrested Development, he plays the family's lawyer, and in one scene they're standing on a pier, next to a very small, beached shark. As Winkler says goodbye to skip off to lunch — of course — he...jumps over the shark.
Click the image to watch the scene on YouTube
In real life, Henry Winkler actually was a recreational water skier. So finally, here's some exciting screengrabs from the Happy Days episode that started it all.