Is your sitcom ready for greener pastures? Has the show "Jumped the Shark?"
At www.jumptheshark.com you can find out. The name itself comes from an episode of Happy Days where a water-skiing Fonzie, in cliffhanger style, literally jumped over a shark. When a show grows lame, it jumps the shark. Featuring over a dozen indicators to help fans determine whether or not a program has jumped the shark, the website contains a comprehensive list for nearly every television show ever aired. The indicators vary from the common devices of "character wedding" or "special guest star" to the more obscure "Ted McGinley" alert.
When former Revenge of the Nerds star McGinley guests on your favorite program, its days are numbered. A warning to fans of The Practice and The West Wing--McGinley appeared on both in the past year.
Some shows have jumped the shark more often and in more ways than others. And despite the presence of these indicators, the debate is fierce when it comes to many love-em-or-hate-em shoes like Dawons's Creek and Ally McBeal. Other shows have never jumped: Sex and the City and, surprisingly, Law and Order.
Yet, if there is one source of shark-jumping agreement it is that NBC's once proud-as-a-peacock lineup somersaulted over the shark a while ago--tallying the votes, it appears Frasier, Friends and ER haven't each just jumped the shark, they've hanglided over the dorsal fin.
--By Martin Barna