To 'jump the shark
' is a verb
applied to a television series
, typically. It indicates the point in the series' on-air run when, in the speaker
, something critical happened that caused the show to begin the long (or not so long) but inexorable
slide downhill to the status
. A show has jumped the shark if it has reached one of these points. Examples are said to include:
There are even specific categories of how to jump the shark. For instance, the main characters can hook up, as in #1 above. Or a show can resume after a season break - but with a different actor playing a continuing character. Or perhaps, like in Dallas, an entire season can be declared to have not happened!
Thanks to the world wide web, there is a whole website where you can discuss, research and sound off on when shows jumped the shark. I am told, however, that TV Guide took over the site and performed all manner of unspeakable changes on it, so I can't recommend it.