20 Sep: Fonzie Jumps The Shark

Henry Winkler, an accomplished water-skier, had asked the producers of ‘Happy Days’ if he could showcase his skills on the sitcom. On 20th September, 1977 his wish came true – in a shark-jumping sequence so absurd it would forever be linked with the irreversible artistic decline of long-running TV series.

To ‘Jump the Shark’ was a phrase coined some eight years later by college roommates Sean Connolly and Jon Hein, and has since inspired other pop culture idioms including ‘growing the beard’ (a TV show that gets better with age) and ‘nuking the fridge’ (a ‘jump the shark’ for movie franchises, named after Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull).

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly reveal Winkler’s star power as the top turn on Happy Days, and explain why Robin Williams’ appearance in the show *wasn’t* a dream. Do they say ‘eeeeeeeeeeey’ a lot? Exactamundo!

Further Reading:

• Fonzie ‘Jumps the Shark’ (Happy Days, 1977): 

• ‘’Jumping the Shark’, ‘Fridging the Girlfriend’ and 8 Other Pop Culture Idioms Explained’ (Funk’s House of Geekery, 2016):


• ‘Jumping the Shark: 10 Great TV Shows That Took a Turn for the Worse’ (Rolling Stone, 2014): https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-lists/jumping-the-shark-10-great-tv-shows-that-took-a-turn-for-the-worse-156728/dexter-35323/