Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Stoned Nailmaker’s
“Jump the Shark Page” Post Part II
In a previous posting I listed 10 TV shows and my opinion of when they “jumped the shark”. Here are 10 more.

11, Absolutely Fabulous. The Fourth Season. After using the concept of just 3 seasons of 6 episodes each and working together a satisfactory, even brilliant, story arch about our two drug-ridden, drunken pieces of garbage, the creators decide to go to the cash cow two more times. Sorry it didn’t work from the first “Darling”. The fact is the antics of two middle aged narcissistic alcoholic potheads can get very tedious. My favorite character was the very practical Saffron who could barely tolerate her hideous mother Edina.

Scene from Absolutely Fabulous

12, The Honeymooners. A show which had the good sense not to go on forever and thus did not “jump the shark”. A truly amazing piece of TV history. Proof that mass entertainment doesn’t have to be stupid. Endlessly ripped off by far less creative people terrified of new ideas and thus attracted to necrophilia. The most common rip-off is the wacky next door neighbour Ed Norton; see Kramer. (Like Jerry Seinfeld and TV executives). I should mention that I adore this show even though I dislike Jackie Gleason quite intensely.

Scene From The Honeymooners

13, I Love Lucy. A show that stayed on a generally high note for its entire run. Watching episodes of I Love Lucy and then Leave it to Beaver is shocking. It is hard to believe that they were made at the same time! However a decline started with Lucy and Rickie going to California. From then on the show increasingly depended on guests and gimmicks and started to lose its edge. For example virtually the entire Ricardo’s visit Europe series was one very long exercise in self indulgence.

Cast of I Love Lucy
14, Married with Children. The only thing that keeps this show from being a “in the Toilet from day one show” is that it was deliberately and relentlessly horrid and totally without pretentiousness. The regulars worked real hard to be horrible and they were! So Married with Children was very much a guilty pleasure. The show started downhill when they introduced Seven a cute eight year old for part of one season. The introduction of “family values” fatally damaged the hideous ambiance of the show. The show had the distinction of being considered through most of its runs one of the most tasteless, crude pieces of trash on TV, but at least it was not pretentious, unlike Seinfeld.

Cast of Married With Children
15, Bonanza. One of the “essential” TV westerns, complete with hackneyed plots in an ersatz west. It definitely had a certain charm. Show started to decline when Parnell Roberts as the eldest son, (who had an attitude problem) left leaving the field to the fat guy and the goody-good younger son. I don’t know about you but Michael Landon especially when he was later incarnated into the prefect father, Little House on the Prairie, and then an angel in Highway to Heaven was very annoying. Also the repeated use of the same shots of them riding around got stale fast.

Cast of Bonanza
16, My Mother the Car. Another Hollywood abortion. Who thought this idea would work? Only TV executives who can seem to be amazingly clueless. Moment it went downhill, when we realize that our “hero’s” mother was reincarnated in a car. (Idea brought to us by cowardly 60’s TV executives). Yes it is hard to believe that this show was for real, and lasted for ONE full season of 30 episodes before it was killed by lethal injection. The “star” of the show took well over a decade to have his carrier recover from this fiasco. (He stared as the lead in Coach)

Scene from My Mother the Car
17, Get Smart. A totally in your face farce on spying. With the wonderful Don Adams and the underrated Barbara Feldon as the wondrous 99. You have to have a high tolerance for blunt slapstick and really bad puns to like this one. Decline began when Max and 99 decide to get married. The tension between the intelligent 99 and the really stupid Max (Agent 86) was lost forever. They also had twins. There were attempts latter on to create sequels to the show. The less said the better about those “efforts”.

Scene from Get Smart
18, The John Larroquette Show. After a really great first season which played up the story of a man who had wreaked his and other peoples lives through his alcoholism trying to get back up and out of the pit he dug for himself. Then the network decides to “improve” the show by giving John a new apartment and to really downplay the “downer” aspects of the show. The result was another sitcom full of “characters” with no depth. Under the shows “new” “improved” direction the main characters drinking problems and literary interests largely disappeared from the plots of the episodes making the show just another generic sitcom. The show survived the mutilation for a couple of years but was unwatchable.

Cast of John Larroquette Show
19, Keeping up Appearances. A show with one of the most horrid TV characters ever created, the infamous Hyacinth Bucket. A snob, social climber to the nth degree. The show was very funny and creative but decline it did. I never quite figured how her and her husband could have had a son? How could anyone or anything have sex with Ms. Bouquet? Yuck at the thought!! The show did not “jump the shark” at any one moment but more or less did so gradually as the audience wonders why no one has told that “bitch” off or at least shot her to death. (A Judge would have considered it a mercy killing). My favorite character was Ms. Bouquet’s brother in law Onslow, who would lie in bed and read books about such things as quantum mechanics. Onslow also quite rightly realized what a curse Hyacinth is.

Scene from Keeping Up Appearances
20, The Dukes of Hazzard. A definite Hollywood blackhead filled with infested rotting pus. How this made it on the air let alone lasted 6 years is inexplicable and a possible proof that TV executives are indeed in league with Satan. Another show that started in the tank and stayed there only to became infested with fungi. Turning point came when the two leads were temporarily replaced revealing that the best actor in the series was indeed the car the General Lee. The show consisted of the Dukes getting in their car being chased, getting out of their car, getting back in their car, being chased, and repeat and repeat. The show also was “notable” for showing both front and back cleavage, (Daisy Duke). The show spawned (Yep that’s the word), a number of even more horrid spin-offs that are now hopefully forgotten.

Cast of The Dukes of Hazzard

Pierre Cloutier

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