Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Jump the Shark* *When Good Things Go Bad: TV Edition

2003 update of 2002 original edition, from Plume
Jon Hein
Jump the Shark* *When Good Things Go Bad: TV Edition
Bought new for $10.00
Slightly worn paperback

Hein founded jumptheshark.com, which in its glory days provided outrageous often opposing opinions on when TV shows had gone bad, as when Fonzie water-skied over a shark on Happy Days.  He came out with a book that offered either the consensus of the site or his own opinions on such shark-jumping, and not just for television, but movies, music, and even politics.  This is the TV chunk of that book.  And it has little of the raucous fun of the website.  Not only that, but, for someone who thinks he's obsessed with pop culture, Hein gets a lot wrong.  (And it's not like he doesn't have a long list of people in the thank-yous at the end.)  These errors range from calling Velma of Scooby-Doo "Thelma" (after getting it right earlier), to saying Belushi and Aykroyd left SNL at the end of its fifth season (with Bill Murray replacing them), to screwing up the chronology of the seasons on Mork & Mindy (and there are only four), to saying that Cindy on Three's Company was "the first of many Chrissy replacements" (and there are only two).  No doubt there are other errors on the shows I never or seldom watched.  The book might have nostalgia value for some-- including for Alias, which premiered in 2001 and I've never even heard of-- but, well, you'd get a lot more out of the website.

Except that Hein sold it to TV Guide, who killed it.  Yeah, talk about shark-jumping.  Still, "jumping the shark" remains a handy shorthand for a recognizable phenomenon.

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