The 40 ''jump the shark'' moments from 40 popular classic TV shows
Perhaps the moment should be called "dancing with a gorilla" or "the Southern Sweathog."
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On September 20, 1977, the Fonz soared through the air on water skies. Right over a real, live shark.
This moment, the climax of Happy Days' three-part season five opener, "Hollywood," became a landmark in pop culture. Thanks to some bored college students, the term "jump the shark" came to define the moment when a beloved television show takes a drastic turn in quality. It could be a shift in tone, the departure of a core cast member, a romantic development, or the introduction of some cute kid.
Even the best of the best can sometimes struggle to come up with ideas. There's no shame. It happens to everyone. Hey, you trying writing scripts for 20 seasons of a Western. Honestly, we love a lot of these shows beyond these points. These series didn't necessarily get worse after these moments — just different.
To toast the 40th anniversary of Fonzie's feat, we tried to pinpoint the jump the shark moments in 40 highly rated TV shows, from the golden era up to 1990. Some of these are fan consensus, others are just our opinion. What do you think?
Gunsmoke The "were-elephant" episode, "Arizona Midnight."
The Andy Griffith Show Deputy Warren Ferguson replaces Barney Fife in "The Bazaar."
My Three Sons The Douglas clan moves to California in "Moving Day."
Lassie Lassie is saved from a shark by a dolphin in "Lassie the Voyager" Part 2.
Bewitched Samantha and "new Darrin" Dick Sargent welcome a new child, Adam, in "...And Something Makes Four."
The Beverly Hillbillies The Clampetts head to New York City where Jed is conned into "buying Central Park," where he eventually builds a cabin in "Manhattan Hillbillies."
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon dances the Watusi with a gorilla in “The My Friend The Gorilla Affair.”
Star Trek Two words: "Spock's Brain."
I Dream of Jeannie Tony marries Jeannie in "The Wedding," despite establishing three seasons earlier (in "The Birds and Bees Bit") that a genie loses her powers after marriage.
Hawaii Five-O Villianous spies brainwash Danno and program him to kill McGarrett in "Deadly Courier."
The Brady Bunch Cousin Oliver arrives in "Welcome Aboard."
All in the Family A Puerto Rican hospital worker named Teresa Betancourt moves in with the Bunkers after Archie has a heart attack in "Teresa Moves In."
The Waltons Cousin Rose arrives in "The Kinfolk."
M*A*S*H George Wendt gets a pool ball stuck in his mouth in "Trick or Treatment"
Kojak The typically serious cop show attempts Keystone Cops comedy and Star Wars puns in "May the Horse Be with You."
The Rockford Files Jim Rockford exclaims, "Freeze, Turkey!" in "A Good Clean Bust with Sequel Rights."
Happy Days Surprisingly, it is not the "Jump the Shark" episode. Here are some better candidates from later seasons.
Laverne & Shirley Cindy Williams leaves the show in "Window on Main Street."
The Bionic Woman The show switches networks — ending its crossovers with The Six Million Dollar Man — and instead introduces Maximillion, the bionic German Shepard, in "The Bionic Dog."
Welcome Back, Kotter "Southern Sweathog" Beau De LaBarre joins the crew as Kotter becomes Vice Principal and Vinnie gets his own apartment in "Don't Come Up and See Me Sometime."
Charlie's Angels Tiffany Welles becomes the newest member of the Townsend Agency team as the Angels visit the Love Boat in "Love Boat Angels."
CHiPs Bobby "Hot Dog" Nelson replaces Jon in "Meet the New Guy." Two episodes later, there is a plot with aliens.
Three's Company Terri Alden becomes the third and final "blonde roommate" in "Jack Bears All."
Little House on the Prairie Lonely Carrie Ingalls dreams up an imaginary twin, Alyssa, and enters a fantasy land filled with giant strawberries and even bigger spiders in "The Godsister."
Taxi Latka and Simka tie the knot in "The Wedding of Latka and Simka."
The Dukes of Hazzard Coy and Vance Duke become the new Dukes in "The New Dukes."
Dallas Bobby returns from the dead and the entire ninth season is revealed to have been an extended dream in "Blast from the Past."
Diff'rent Strokes Sam is introduced in "Hooray for Hollywood."
Magnum, P.I. Magnum tracks down a stolen dolphin in "Old Acquaintance."
Dynasty The entire Carrington family is held hostage in "Shadow Play."
The A-Team Frankie Santana joins the team in "Dishpan Man."
Who's the Boss? Billy joins the family in "The Kid."
Family Ties Andy Keaton becomes a major cast member and addition to the family in "Be True to Your Preschool."
The Golden Girls In "Dancing in the Dark," Rose gets a boyfriend, Miles,who eventually joins the Witness Protection Program.
Miami Vice Sonny suddenly marries Sheena Easton's Caitlin in "Like a Hurricane."
Night Court Ditzy stenographer Lisette Hocheiser joins the gang in "A Family Affair."
Roseanne Sarah Chalke joins the cast as the "second Becky."
Cheers Woody and Kelly's relationship becomes a major subplot.
L.A. Law regular cast members Harry Hamlin, Michele Greene and Jimmy Smits all leave the series.
Growing Pains Leonard DiCaprio joins the cast as homeless teen Luke Brower in "Stop, Luke, and Listen."