I guess I am going to have to show my age a bit for the purposes of this post. It is all about Jumping the Shark. I have always assumed that the phrase came from that episode of Happy Days where Fonzie, quite literally, jumps a shark (I think there was more than one shark actually). The miracle of the internet, as well as the endless information at Wikipedia, seem to prove me right.
However, there is a site called Jumptheshark.com (I linked directly to the Happy Days page since they use a horrible frame format that makes it tough to find anything) that has hundreds of people arguing that the show jumped the shark long before the actual shark jumping episode. That got me to thinking…
Do you remember the theme song? I do, but I remember two different theme songs. A quick google search found me a page that has they lyrics to the theme song, both of them actually, you can see that here.
How in the hell can I remember the theme song that plays during the first season when I was actually born that same year? I have never watched it on Nick at Night or any other old re-run station. Did they actually repeat the episodes that often back in the 1970’s that I am able to remember both of the theme songs? I don’t know, it just seems odd to me that I can remember a theme song that would have only been on the show for less than a year when I would have been less than a year old. In fact it took me a lot of thinking, and the eventual google search, to remember the other theme song, which then came back immediately, come on sing along, “Sunday, Monday. Happy Days. Tuesday, Wednesday. Happy Days. Thursday, Friday. Happy Days. The weekend comes…” But why do I also remember the “one, two, three o clock, four o clock rock…”, and remember it more so than the other theme (the other theme being the one that was on the show for the majority of the show’s run)?
I am thinking that, no matter how small my little brain was at the time, I thought the show started to slide down the slippery slope to crap long before the Fonz literally jumped over the shark. If I remembered any of the episodes with the theme song that played for about nine years I would probably think differently, but come on. I remember the theme song that was scrapped about the same time as my birth, I remember the episodes that were recorded the year of my birth. I must concur that Happy Days jumped the shark long before the shark jumping episode.
I probably didn’t see any episode prior to 1981 or so that was not a re-run, but, in my mind, the ones that have that classic song as the theme are far superior to any of the later ones. That all being said, Happy Days literally jumped the shark, for that we should applaud them. It must have taken a lot of balls to throw away such a lucrative franchise over, arguably, the most implausible plot line in the history of television. If Happy Days hadn’t jumped the shark, we might refer to this action as kicking Chrissy.