Tag Archives: Bad plotlines

Jumping the shark

So lately I’ve been thinking about shows that have “jumped the shark.” For those who don’t know, “jumping the shark” refers to shows whose plots have strayed so far from something plausible that they have now begun a slow descent into cancellation. The phrase stems from the tv series Happy Days that starred Ron Howard, Henry Winkler, Scott Baio, and others. In the show, Henry Winkler played the famous Fonzi, a leather jacket-wearing tough guy who had a soft heart underneath the tough exterior. In the show’s latter seasons, Fonzi, who followed the gang to Hawaii, water skis (or jumps) over a shark tank while wearing his leather jacket. Do I personally think it’s realistic that anyone (much less the perpetually cool Fonzi) would water ski in Hawaii while wearing a leather jacket? No. But I also take offense to the statement – I don’t think it was the downfall of the show. It had been changing for some time and, when Ron Howard left to become a director, of course the dynamic of the show changed. But all shows change as they age – just look at Bones. But today I’m going to talk about a show I believe has jumped the shark – and way too young: Raising Hope.

For those who haven’t seen Raising Hope, the show follows a poor Southern-esque family, the Chances (including Great-Grandma, Virginia & Burt and their son Jimmy), as they navigate life and raise Hope, Jimmy’s daughter with a serial killer (though he didn’t know she was a serial killer at the time they met). The show was created by the same guy who did My Name is Earl, so that should give you an idea about the type of show it is.

Now let me just say: I have been a fan of the show since it started. I love the cast and the situations they have gotten themselves into. Now in its 2nd season, the show seems to be moving away from the actual raising Hope storylines, but last night’s episode, in my opinion, totally jumped the shark. SPOILER ALERT: So the serial killer, Lucy, who was executed in the first season has come back to life. What?! And apparently Jimmy and Lucy got married while she was pregnant – What?! So not only have they invented a marriage to throw a kink in the Jimmy-Sabrina romance (which we spent all of last season rooting for in the will they-won’t they storyline and they had just gotten together a few episodes back), but they also “rearranged” most of the Jimmy-Lucy storyline they introduced in season one. Just look at the pilot episode – Hope is some months old wearing a prison jumper (having just been given to Jimmy when Lucy is executed in front of both Jimmy and Hope), Hope is just then brought home, and Virginia & Burt are just then introduced to Hope. It just doesn’t fit. One of my pet peeves is when your standard situational comedy or dramedy goes off the rails and the plot does something crazy. We expect these sorts of storylines from shows like Lost or Heroes that are meant to keep us thinking and guessing until the end. Crazy storylines are the norm on shows like those. But we wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) find those storylines in sitcoms or dramedies. Some of the best sitcoms in history – M*A*S*H, I Love Lucy, even Friends or The Big Bang Theory wouldn’t be daft enough to do that.

Will I still watch the show? Yes, though I won’t look forward to it as much as I do now. It may stay saved in my Hulu Plus queue a little longer before I watch it. I hope the storylines get better – I really like the show and hope it gets renewed for another season.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – what shows do you wish hadn’t jumped the shark?

Thanks for reading!

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