Saturday, August 04, 2007

Shark Week

"Live every week like it's Shark Week." The words of Tracy Jordan, the Eddie Murphy/Dave Chappelle/Chris Rock composite from 30 Rock (played by Tracy Morgan), to NBC page Kenneth have never rung truer. The Discovery Channel is wrapping up yet another Shark Week (17th annual or 29th annual depending on who's counting) and we here at Entertainment News have been debating the best way to celebrate. We considered spotlighting the Steven Spielberg classic Jaws, but instead decided to focus on jumping the shark. For those of you out there who just gasped in horror at the mention of such a dirty-sounding expression, let me reassure you that "jump the shark" is harmless. It comes from an episode of Happy Days in which Henry Winkler's Fonzie goes water skiing, leather jacket and all, and attempts to jump over a shark (You can see the clip here). From that moment on many felt the show didn't have it's same panache and so today when something, particularly a TV show, has passed its prime it is said to have jumped the shark. In fact, there is even a website dedicated to shows and their shark-jumping moments. The crafty writers of Arrested Development made fun of the Happy Days scene when Winkler, playing family lawyer Barry Peppercorn, is down at the docks with a dead shark and then declares he's off to Burger King and proceeds to jump over the shark.

Some are suggesting that Shark Week itself has jumped the shark. They argue that the Discovery Channel has failed to produce anything new and exciting in recent years (read the article here). I don't think I watched enough of Shark Week this year to form an opinion. I'm just fascinated by it's pop cultural lure. Aside from 30 Rock (NBC) it's also been mentioned by TV's Craig Ferguson (CBS), the guys on Pardon the Interruption (ESPN) and countless other places, I'm sure. So until next year's Shark Week, stay off the water skis.

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