jump the shark

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jump the shark

1. In television programming, to resort to using an obvious or unbelievable gimmick in a scene, episode, or storyline as a means of maintaining viewership, especially when the show's quality and/or popularity has begun to decline. The phrase alludes to the sitcom Happy Days, in which the character Fonzie (Henry Winkler) jumps over a shark on water-skis in the fifth season. This show used to have some of the wittiest writing in television, but they really jumped the shark when they introduced a contrived alien invasion in the seventh season.
2. By extension, to signal, especially through a conspicuous activity, event, or maneuver, a decline in the progress or evolution of something (e.g., a company, a brand, a political endeavor, etc.). The global tech giant, whose smartphone brand transformed the everyday technological landscape, seems to have jumped the shark this week when they revealed a line of computer-synced sneakers touted as their new flagship product. The governor was accused of jumping the shark during his re-election campaign by joining in with the cheerleading squad at his former high school's football game.
See also: jump, shark

jump the shark

To undergo a sustained decline in quality or popularity.
See also: jump, shark
References in periodicals archive ?
These are the kinds of projects that could be seen as a sign of jumping the shark if this wasn't a movie genre built on men in tights.
In their strange, shallow trade it's called jumping the shark, reinventing a tired brand.
It also discusses that jump-the-shark moment, albeit while misrepresenting what jumping the shark means.
They call it jumping the shark after an episode of Happy Days in which the Fonz did just that.
They call this moment jumping the shark in honour of the time the Fonz jumped the shark on Happy Days - a symbol that they had run out of things to do.
Evans, 41, moaned: "Hell's Kitchen last night did what we call in TV jumping the shark.