It's..... The happiest blog on earth

Fonzie literally "jumped the shark" — on water skis — in a 1977 episode of Happy Days. Three decades later, the writer of that episode insists "I still don't believe that the series 'jumped the shark' when Fonzie jumped the shark."

"It aired Sept. 20, 1977, and was a huge hit, ranking No. 3 for the week with a 50-plus share (unheard of today) and an audience of more than 30 million viewers...

If this was really the beginning of a downward spiral, why did the show stay on the air for six more seasons and shoot an additional 164 episodes? Why did we rank among the Top 25 in five of those six seasons?"

It's fun to get his perspective, and he remembers that at the time, no one expected this episode would become infamous.

"...what I definitely remember is that no one protested vehemently; not one of us said, "Fonzie, jump a shark? Are you out of your mind?"
33 years later, people all over the world can replay the video clip of his notorious shark-jumping scene on YouTube. My favorite two-part response was from a user on Twitter who said the scriptwriter, Fred Fox, is right. "Happy Days actually started declining two episodes BEFORE the infamous shark jump, with the introduction of Chachi.

"In a more perfect universe, then, the catchphrase for a cultural phenomenon going into decline would be 'that's when Chachi showed up.'"

Believe it or not, the phrase "Jump the Shark" was actually coined 13 years ago, in 1997. The "Jump the Shark" web site appears on this list of my favorite internet moments.
Hollywood script-writers were almost giddy. They not only appropriated the phrase, but began pre-emptively including it in their own scripts. Fez on That 70s Show imagines himself jumping a shark like Fonzie. In the opening credits of The Simpsons the family water skis to their living room couch while Homer's body is devoured by sharks. The X-Files names an episode in their final season "Jump the Shark."

Ironically, the chain-yanking final season of The X-Files went on to become one of the Jump the Shark site's all-time top vote getters for shows that have actually "Jumped the Shark."

And The Simpsons ranked #1.

But maybe Henry Winkler, the actor who'd played Fonzie, had the best response. In a 2005 episode of Arrested Development, he plays the family's lawyer, and in one scene they're standing on a pier, next to a very small, beached shark. As Winkler says goodbye to skip off to lunch — of course — he...jumps over the shark.

Click the image to watch the scene on YouTube

In real life, Henry Winkler actually was a recreational water skier. So finally, here's some exciting screengrabs from the Happy Days episode that started it all.