Fonzie Jumps The Shark – 30th Anniversary of the Episode is Saturday

Thirty years ago today, the great Arthur Fonzarelli took an extremely popular television series, Happy Days, to a new low which lead to a phrase that is part of the television lexicon today, and launched a website.

Thirty years ago, Fonzie Jumped the Shark. I had not actually watched the video, since the original broadcast, but OMG! It is so corny, so out of character, so lame, it really fits perfectly the moment a tv program has passed it’s peak and is all downhill.

Did you notice Mr. Cunningham’s acting? Stage direction must have been: Stand at rail with mouth agape for entire scene. When Fonz comes out of the water and throws his arms up, it was so “unFonzie.” Fonzie would have just said “ayyyyyyyyy” and strutted his stuff. Maybe a thumbs up, but certainly no acknowledgment of the adoring throngs of sweet young things.

Did they know at the time it was their “jump the shark” moment? Donny Most, (Ralph) told Ron Howard (Richie) he thought the whole Hollywood series was pretty ludicrous (Jumping the Shark was part 3 of 3 in Hollywood)

Howard disagreed:

…we’re a hit show, relax, you know, it’s hard to have great episodes one after another. Fonzie jumping over a shark is gonna be funny and — and great, you know, and it’s — you know, “Jaws” had just been out a couple years before, and, you know, and relax.

The idea for the show came from Henry Winkler’s (Fonz) dad. Since Winkler was a good water skier he thought it would be a cool idea.

Here’s was gets lost: This episode occured in the middle of season 5. Happy Days stayed #1 for SIX years after “jumping the shark.”

Arrested Development fans may realize that Winkler is the only actor that jumped the shark twice. In a bit for Arrested Development, a shark was lying on a dock and Winkler’s character had to jump over it.

Classic television.

I sure hope the TVLand people have a Happy Days Marathon in order. This is BIG.

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Fonzie Jumps The Shark – 30th Anniversary of the Episode is Saturday — 2 Comments

  1. OMG! Thanks for sharing! I had not seen that episode, indeed, I think I had quit watching the show altogether by that time, so this was a first time viewing for me. I’d liken it to the proverbial train wreck. Glad I can now say I’ve seen it, but the group should have known better!

    Thanks for sharing!

    PS Just to give you some fun reading, I linked to one of my posts that includes discussions about both Harleys and the infamous “lipstick on a pig” flap…


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