On Sept. 20, 1977 — 39 years ago today — the Fonz literally jumped a shark on Happy Days. Soon after, a new phrase would enter the lexicon of TV terminology. “Jumping the shark” signifies the moment a series uses a gimmick or bad storyline in a desperate attempt to re-ignite interest in the show.
For Fonzie and the Cunninghams, their Happiest Days came to an end at the climax of a three-part storyline titled “Hollywood: Parts 1, 2 & 3.” This tale of tales culminated in the Fonz’s putting on his water skis and proving he was no coward by stunt-jumping a tiger shark. I know what you’re thinking: They covered that much story in only three episodes!? Yes. Yes, they did.
Happy Days never recaptured its original magic after this episode, and radio personality Jon Hein later coined the term to describe those moments in other shows that signal their decline. Here are some of SuperFan TV’s favorite “jump the shark” moments, which you can revisit in the video above.
1. Roseanne Wins the Lottery
Roseanne, “Millions From Heaven”
Season 9, Episode 2
2. Felicity Cuts Her Hair
Felicity, “The List”
Season 2, Episode 2
3. A Very Grey’s Musical
Grey’s Anatomy, “Song Beneath the Song”
Season 7, Episode 18
4. Brian the Dog dies …
Family Guy, “Life of Brian”
Season 12, Episode 6
… and then, he doesn’t
Family Guy, “Christmas Guy”
Season 12, Episode 8
5. Enter the Great Gazoo
The Flintstones, “The Great Gazoo”
Season 6, Episode 7
6. The Fonz jumps the shark … again!
Arrested Development, “Motherboy XXX”
Season 2, Episode 13
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Tell us what you think! Are there any “jump the shark” moments we forgot? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, or leave your comments below. And check out our host, Khail Anonymous, on Twitter.