Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Stoned Nailmaker's
“Jump the shark” Post, Part One

The following is my list of the moments at which TV shows began that slide to sucksville. The opinions are entirely my own of course.

Happy Days

This show was more accurately described by MAD Magazine as Crappy Days gave us the phrase “jump the shark”, referring to that horrid, brain-cell killing episode when the “Fonz” jumps over a shark while driving a motorcycle. I disagree. The moment came when after they raped, mutilated and murdered an idea of a series taking place in the fifties, they went further and decided to make the “Fonz” really “cool” thus elevating awesome stupidity and ignorance into “cool”. Defining Episode the “Fonz” doing Hamlet. (The Bard would have killed himself if he Had not already been dead.)

Cast of Happy Days

The Beverly Hillbillies

This show is an example of TV thinking during the sixties. Basically a bunch of “city slickers” decide to make fun of country people by portraying them has stupid and ignorant. An example of urban contempt for country life. The show started in the toilet and went down from there. When the show went off the air Time magazine said it was “the best indication of an improvement in network taste”. Defining moment when Granny thought that Elle-Mae was marrying a real “frog” and would have little “tadpoles”.

Cast of The BeverlyHillbillies


Diana leaving. Afterwards it became obvious what a bunch of worthless, contemptible losers the regulars were. The sort of people you would see bleeding to death on the road and leave to die without a moment’s hesitation. The Diana character was irritating and annoying but not contemptible; when she left the total uselessness of the other regulars became all too apparent. Cheers started the trend on American sitcoms of having vile, worthless regulars the viewer could feel superior too and contemptuous of.

Scene from Cheers

The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis

The adventures of the superficial, worthless Dobie where both funny and very cynical for its time. Dobie’s parents who have no use for their son (who would), were priceless. This show was way ahead of its time. It went downhill the day it was canceled and no new shows could be made.

Scene from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis


Staring the worthless, self-important Dr. Frasier Crane and his bowel movement of a brother Niles and their rotting dog doo of a father and don’t get me started on the dog, (a living argument for abusing animals). This show continued the Cheers syndrome of having vile, contemptible regulars. This vastly overrated show was stuck in the sewer from day one only the character of Lilith, Frasier’s ex-wife, to occasionally raise it above pus level. This show went down hill from the beginning. Thankfully its over. Defining moment Frasier lets his father move in with that rancid dog. Why?

Cast of Frasier

A totally absurd concept that cried out to be utterly terrible but thanks to smart writing and good acting, (especially by Elizabeth Montgomery has Samantha) worked. This show started the long slow agonizing decline when it replace Darrin one with Darrin two. (Killing him off would have been a better idea but hey this was the sixties can’t have that on TV can we?).

Cast of Bewitched

Leave it to Beaver

A show which is perfectly impossible to understand why anyone not in need of sleep would find it funny or watch it unless in need of having to induce a coma. A show whose smarmy endorsement of mindlessness was positively creepy. Another one in decline from the toilet from day one. Any episode with Dad giving Beaver a moral lesson at the end will induce vomiting.

Cast of Leave it to Beaver

The Adams Family. (sixties version)

An Hollywood abortion. Adams, who created the cartoons which Hollywood mutilated and abused, apparently hated the show. The vicious, sly humour of the cartoons is emasculated and made harmless and wholesome. A total travesty. Another one that started in the tank and stayed there. The episode with the Adams refusing to spank their children is a defining moment for a family that poisons, tortures, and blowups each other.

Cast of The Adams Family


Here we have two “jump the sharks”, hard as it is to believe. The episode where Joan Collins showed up and Roseanne asked her why she was “such a bitch?” At this moment the show moved from its working class “realism” to being rather nauseatingly self referential with lots of guest stars. Hard has it is to believe Roseanne achieved the incredible feat of “jumping the shark” again. When the Connors won 100 million. Enough said. (The Connors appeared on Jerry Springer afterwards which says it all).

Cast of Roseanne


What can one say of this over praised, over hyped “entertainment”, except that it was Married with Children for the self important and pretentious. In fact pretentiousness was this shows defining characteristic. The four main characters carry the Cheers syndrome of having lead characters that are vile and contemptible to the nth degree. The irritation factor created by Jerry’s whining monologues or the nauseating applause when Ed Norton rip-off Kramer enters a room are truly awesome. The incredible display of butt licking when the show went off the air by TV critics would be enough to make anyone doubt the existence of God. Not even Trekkers at their worst were so sycophantic. The spectacle was at once stunning and disheartening. The moment this horror started to go downhill was the truly amazing episode where George’s fiancee dies and the regulars celebrate her death, thus revealing what pieces of vomit they are and that the show was basically Married with Children for pretentious snobs.

Cast of Seinfeld

Pierre Cloutier

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