Jump the Shark: When Good Things Go Bad

Version: Abridged
Author: Jon Hein
Narrator: Jon Hein
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Comedy
Publisher: Listen & Live Audio
Published In: July 2002
# of Units: 3 CDs
Length: 3 hours
Tell Your Friends:


It's a truism that the entertainment industry can never leave well enough alone. With few exceptions, TV shows, movie series and entertainers all go on producing product well after their prime. The popular Web site jumptheshark.com which takes its name from the ignominious Happy Days episode in which Fonzie jumps over a shark on water skis elaborates on this truism, chronicling the moments when TV series began their slides into embarrassment. Hein, the site's creator, expands the site here, taking aim at not only TV shows, but also musicians, celebrities, athletes and politicians. It's a risky move on Hein's part because, as he himself notes, one of the first signs of a show's doom is the spin-off. The book's television chapter offers some deliciously catty pop criticism. Hein judges Family Ties, Beverly Hills 90210 and ER for fin spottings (Alex Keaton is born, Brenda goes abroad and Dr. Ross leaves, respectively). The writing is at times strangely ambivalent, as Hein's theory of entertainment entropy ensnares just about every show imaginable, even ones he obviously likes (with the exception of The Simpsons, which miraculously escapes his eye). Like a producer with a smash hit sitcom, though, Hein can't leave well enough alone and wades into deeper waters. The celebrities chapter is especially unfocused, swiping at everyone from Cher to Francis Ford Coppola. Still, it's a light and easily digested read. Fins are definitely spotted, but the book never quite jumps the shark itself.

Reviews (1)

Jump The Shark

Written by Anonymous from Woodstock, GA on February 23rd, 2006

  • Book Rating: 2/5

A nice mindless read (or listen). If you've spent any time at the JumpTheShark website, you're just going to hear a re-hash of the site content, so don't waste your time. It starts fine, but hearing "we saw a fin" or "it was sharkbait" over and over, you'll quickly hit the button on your car radio for another channel.

Author Details

Author Details

Hein, Jon

Jon Hein is the creator of the award-winning website www.jumptheshark.com that gets over four million page views a month. He has contributed articles to "Esquire" and "TV Guide," and has been featured in "USA Today" as well as on NPR, "The Howard Stern Show," and "Good Morning America,"