There’s a nice article in Friday’s LA TIMES “Calendar” section by Fred Fox Jr. the writer who wrote the famous “Jump the Shark” episode of HAPPY DAYS.
Very quickly, for those who don’t know, several guys were sitting around a bar one night discussing their favorite shows and wondering what was the precise moment that they went downhill? One suggested for HAPPY DAYS it was when Fonzie literally jumped a shark to prove his love for girlfriend Pinky Tuscadero. That expression caught on, a website was born, and the rest is infamous history.
You can read Fred’s article here.
He talks about dealing with it. Going from incredulous to embarrassment to acceptance. When I read the piece, this was my reaction: envy.
Seriously, how cool to say you wrote one of the single most famous episodes in television history! Bobby Thomson hit “the shot heard round the world” but everyone also remembers Ralph Branca, the pitcher who served it up. Name me one other relief pitcher from 1951.
I’m glad that Fred wrote the piece. I’m glad that he’s willing to accept the notoriety. I say, own it. Be proud of it.
And by the way, that shark episode was not the tipping point for HAPPY DAYS. As Fred points out, the series went on for another six highly rated seasons. That’s like the Titanic hitting an iceberg and sinking three years later.
One other point: To this day, HAPPY DAYS reruns make me laugh. They’re 30+ years old but are still funny. There are even some good laughs in the episode where Fonzie jumps the shark.