Five Shark-Jumping Moments, in Honor of Shark Week

Starting July 31 at 9 p.m., Discovery will kick off its annual, summertime celebration of those great and mighty predatory beasts of the deep seas, the Palins sharks! That’s right: It’s Shark Week! Hooray! Every night the network will roll out all-new shark documentaries with titles like Killer Sharks, How Sharks Hunt, Rogue Sharks, Summer of the Shark, Kitchen Sharkmares, The Sharklorette, and the rather foreboding Fox and Friends and Sharks. During the day, it’s repeats of Shark Week greatest hits from previous years. It’s a 24/7 sharkapalooza! (Note: If you don’t like sharks, you should not watch Discovery during Shark Week.)

In honor of the occasion, I thought I’d revisit some of my favorite Jump-the-Shark moments from TV history. Not the gripey, “Why did Izzie and George have to hook up? They were so much better as besties!!!” moments, but the AWESOME, OVER-THE-TOP shark-jumping moments. The Jump-the-Shark moments you talk about around the watercooler the next day! (Well, not really, because no one actually stands around a watercooler talking about what they were watching the night before.) And why am I doing that? Because sharks are also awesome and totally over-the-top! And Shark Week and the phrase "jump the shark" both incorporate the word “shark,” you see! Whatever, just go with it.

The Six-Million-Dollar Man Battles Bigfoot
It takes a pretty outlandish premise to make a show about a crimefighting half-robot, half-astronaut to seem ridiculous, but a battle between Steve Austin and Bigfoot definitely managed to do so.

Tom Cruise Attacks Oprah’s Furniture
Did someone say “jumping the shark?” How about “jumping the COUCH,” which is exactly what that nut-job Tom Cruise was doing when he went on The Oprah Winfrey Show to proclaim his love for his new then-fiancee, Katie Holmes. We never quite looked at him the same way again, did we? Nope. No we did not.

Lost Goes Back to the Future
Not all shark-jumping is bad. The Season 3 finale of Lost made an entire nation collectively poop its pants, when Jack revealed what we’d been watching for two hours actually had occurred in the future. Of course, the flash-forwards would ultimately be Lost’s undoing, but in the moment, all that mattered was how bazonkers it all was.

24 Starts a Nuclear Holocaust
How do you raise the stakes on a show for whom the stakes are never less than the potential end-of-the-world? You end the world! Well, you end Valencia, California, with a suitcase nuke. Couldn’t find the footage on YouTube, but here’s the “Bomb Detonates” score and a nice slide show.

The Sopranos Signs Off with Journey and a Family Nosh
I must say, it’s pretty impressive to manage to produce six brilliant seasons, only to jump the shark in the last minutes of your series’ run. But that’s what The Sopranos did. “Don’t Stop Believin’?” Are you kidding me? How about I don’t START believin’ that they actually used that song? HAHAHA. No, but really, what happened there? You can’t just cut to black on us! No fair!

Phew. That was some pretty scary, shark-jumping stuff. Enjoy Shark Week, everyone!

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