Jumping the shark

posted by Scott McKenzie

I had a disappointment yesterday. And found myself going into a deep sulk about it.

When I finally managed to express how I felt about it I heard myself use expressions which seemed  oddly familar. I realised I was using a bunch of cliches. In fact, I sounded like a professional footballer in a post-match interview.  “I’m really gutted we lost that match John. We’re all as sick as parrot.”

And as I explained my disappointment for the umpteenth time to the umpteenth person, my mind begain to wander. I began to think about some of my favourite expressions. Expressions like “shoot the messenger”. Or “all come out in the wash”.

And I’ve always liked the expression “mickey-take”. I wonder what the origin is there?

But the best I’ve heard recently was “jumping the shark”. Essentially this comes from hit ’70’s TV show “Happy days”.  Getting into the final few series the script-writers had run out of ideas for a visibly ageing Fonzie.

So one of them came up with the bright idea of getting “The Fonz” to jump over a shark-infested tank on his motor-bike. Which is clearly bizarre.

It has become short-hand in script-writer circles for running out of steam. Which is another great expression.

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