thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Avast! A Shark!

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Sarah S.

My last (and first, ha!) post was on the women of Sons of Anarchy, and how the show seems uncertain how to handle strong, non-stereotypical female characters and so, by season four, they were beginning to dissolve. In terms of Gemma and Tara, the show gave us an uptick of interesting behavior, plot twists, and potentials at the end of the season but the season itself ended with much ridiculous, silly, semi-coherence. Alas, I fear that SOA may have jumped the shark.

Pondering the possibility of shark jumpage led me to another question, a serious question that I ask here to serious watchers of media: Has a show ever jumped the shark but recovered? Put another way: Is jumping the shark forever or can it just be a blip? Any examples of shows that did jump but then still stayed aboard their water skis? Or do we need another term for shows that seem as if they’re going off the rails (to mix metaphors) but then recover like “Mad Men dodged the bullet”?





  1. Hmm good questions! I was thinking that Buffy might be a good example of a show that jumped the shark and then came back swinging (fan opinions vary, but I thought seasons 4 and 6 were fairly dismal, with episodic exceptions, but I got right back on board for season 5 and 7).

    But in general I feel like shows don’t make great recoveries unless it’s some kind of situation where the original showrunner left (causing a downturn) and then came back. Maybe that’s because the point where shows jump the shark tend to be when they’re running out of storylines/natural character development possibilities, so events get crazier and crazier but stop having consequences. What do you think?

    On a sidenote, I heard Henry Winkler on “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” talking very charmingly about the jumping the shark episode. Apparently his adorable Jewish-German immigrant parents kept being like, “Tell the show what a great waterskier you are!” because they were worried about their son’s job security (even though he was the Fonz!!). I love that fact.

  2. I totally heard that “Wait, Wait” and thought that, clearly, Henry Winkler was the most charming person in the world! Ever.

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