When the Horse Dies, Dismount!
Posted by Jo Robertson Jun 11 2012, 11:59 pm
Why is it that so many television networks and film franchises hang on to their product (the sitcom, the crime procedural, the drama, the superhero) until the poor show or movie, or even book series, just begs to be shot and put out of its misery?
My former principal was fond of saying, “When the horse dies, dismount.” In other words let it go, for heaven’s sake. Go out with a bang not a whimper. Let something die a graceful death.
The cultural term is “jumping the shark,” a phrase that came from the sitcom “Happy Days, in which the Fonz rode a shark in the network’s silly bid to keep the show fresh by over-the-top antics.
See the picture below.
Jumping the shark has come to refer to a show that should’ve gone off the air when it was still clever and fresh and appealing. Of course, this could apply to books and movies as well as TV shows.
I’ve always admired the television series that quits when the audience is still interested, still wants a bit more. Comedians know that you always leave your audience wanting more, not less.
Friends and Sienfeld are classic shows that went out gracefully. Grey’s Anatomy and Lost, in some people’s opinion, did not.
The first film in a series – Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Pirates of the Caribbean are often blockbusters and the second and third in the series (or the millionth in the case of some slasher movies) are tedious and beyond boring.
Books are a bit different. Very few authors have written a long-running series that remains interesting and fresh, well into the eighth or ninth book or twentieth book. Some of my favorite authors have lost their appeal to me when their series reaches the fourth book.
Along the same lines, sometimes the same tunes are played on the radio over and over.
All. The. Time.
Is it just me or do you like a change-up of songs? I have to confess, though, that I liked playing records over and over. I wore out every armature and needle I had when vinyl was the only game in town.
How about menus? Ever go out to dinner and find the same-old same-old on the menu? Or find yourself ordering the same kinds of food. Burger and fries. Caesar Chicken Salad.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too easily bored or too picky. So I thought I’d throw the question out for today’s audience.
What series (books, television, or movies, even graphic novels) have remained as exciting to you when you’ve read/seen the last one as the first? Which ones “jumped the shark”? What about dining out. Fresh and different or the same old fast food? Music — are you a repeat offender or do you like a mixup mashup?
And just for a little preview fun, I’ve thrown in the cover of my new young adult paranormal, which I hope will be available in July. I really love this cover!
Posted in beating a dead horse, books and TV shows, Jo Robertson, jumping the shark, movies