Jump the Shark vol. 1

We should all be familiar with the term “Jump the Shark”, but if you aren’t here is the most concrete definition I could find,

“It’s a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on…it’s all downhill. Some call it the climax. We call it ‘Jumping the Shark.’ From that moment on, the program will simply never be the same.”

The “Jump the Shark” of course coming from the Happy Days episode where the Fonz literally jumps a shark on water-skis, and with that act of inexplicable scripting the show was never again the same. Now I am going to discuss this phenomenon of Jumpin’ the Shark and how and when it happened to some of our favorite movie franchises.

Yes, I realize this picture is less "jump the shark" and more "the shark jump" but come on, how can I not post this slick ass, huge shark ruining some buoy's day?

Now, some ground rules of what the topic of discussion is,

  • This is strictly a discussion of when a film series Jumped the proverbial shark (or proverbially jumped the literal shark?), not when a single film went south.
  • Only a series with three or more films is eligible to be discussed.
  • Straight to dvd sequels will not count unless they are significant enough to be discussed (no, I will not further clarify this, it’s an imperfect system, deal with it).
  • Jumping the shark is an actual moment in the film, you can’t just say that Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood sucks and ruins the series, the actual moment must be identified.

First film series to discuss,

Jason, Jason, Jason. The Friday the 13th series is inarguably one of the most popular and important (important? yes really, don’t be a dick) of the 80’s and of the horror genre as a whole. The series went a long way to pave the way for the de-marginalization of horror films and to make them a legitimate box office draw. But things weren’t always sparkling down at Camp Crystal Lake (Ha! Sparkling, Crystal, get it?! HAHA, fuck you, intelligent readers. More Puns!) and the series did eventually fall into disrepair and ultimately, *sheds tear* utter destruction of everything that made the previous entries so darn enjoyable.

Now, the series came dangerously close to jumping the shark at the end of part V when it is revealed that Jason was not in fact Jason, but merely an unhappy parent whose mongoloid son had been heinously murdered by another camper at the troubled “teens” camp (“teens” because all the actors portraying the teens are in their mid to late 20’s and looks as such, but this is pretty much the modus operandi for horror film casting so I won’t dwell on it). Anyway, so upset dad parades around hackin’ and slashin’ through 80 minutes to a series record body count. However, parts VI and VII were more than acceptable to this delicate horror palate so the series could not have possibly jumped the shark in part V. Now, this brings the discussion to Friday the 13th part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan. And here in this chapter, is where we find a shark being jumped. Now, there are a number of possible moments but what I think best fits the description is a little scene that happens at about the 1:12:45 mark of the film. At this moment, with a paltry 15 or so minutes left in the film the gang makes their way to the streets of Manhattan for the first time

Yea, the movie is titled Jason takes MANHATTAN and we are not treated to any of the film taking place in Manhattan until the waning moments. The movie starts with a crappy stock footage montage of the city and cheesy voiceover, then BOOM, we are sent to Crystal Lake for the next hour plus of movie time. How fucking dare you, writer and director of this film, you toy with my dream of seeing Jason running (well, walking I guess) wild through the streets of NYC, just obliterating street toughs and prostitutes with the same sinfully delicious efficiency that he has been dispatching campers and country folk for seven films! Now, the real culprit here is the studio executive that declined the opportunity to fund a film in which we actually see what the film’s title suggests we might. I know right? What kind of idiot didn’t want to put up millions and millions of dollars to shoot Friday the 13th part VIII on location in the most expensive shooting locale in this country? What a dumbass.

Some more thoughts: Crystal Lake is connected by water to the Atlantic and New York City’s harbors (don’t pull out a map to try and see how this might be possible, that’s actually too nerdy, even for this site), the senior class that seems to have about 15 people in it chartered a gigantic freight ship of some kind for an unknown reason, and…uh…this movie sucks. So yea, poor form Jason, poor form.

And after this abomination of a mis-titling is fully realized by the viewer, we receive a ridiculous toxic waste pour finale that somehow turns adult Jason back into younger re-tard in swimsuit Jason. Then as if our eyes weren’t feeling sore enough from that thorough reaming we next got Jason Goes to Hell (crap) and Jason X (if you didn’t already believe the series jumped the shark then watch this movie, there’s sharks being jumped in world record volume in this turd).

This concludes our first part in the discussion of the film series’ we love and when exactly they went south. Stay tuned for future discussions.

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