Jump the shark is a colloquial slang expression, used pejoratively to describe something that is falling out of fashion making a desperate attempt to grab people’s attention and fail miserably.
The phrase is especially used in reference to television series, movie franchises and events, although it can be utilized in a wider sense.
“Jump the shark” first emerged in 1977, when the Happy Days episode titled “Hollywood: Part 3” aired on September 20th.
The episode features Fonzie (played by Henry Winkler) displaying his bravery and water skiing skills by jumping over a shark.
This marked a paradigm change in the life of the sitcom, which is thought of by many as the beginning of its decline.
The Happy Days phenomenon was so impactful that people started using “jump the shark” in relation to things declining in all aspects of life.
“Jump the shark” has been used in relation to the BMW Mini Countryman as well as the Cadillac Cimarron and outside of the automotive industry, the phrase has been used to describe the fall of the Burning Man festival as well.
The expression was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003.