Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pop Culture Musings: When Did They Jump the Shark?

You guys know what Jump the Shark means, right? When a previously somewhat cool series becomes ridiculous (as in the Fonz literally jumping the shark on Happy Days). Well, in my opinion, anything--even things that, gasp, aren't TV--can jump the shark.

Celebrity Deaths

It used to be that when a celebrity died, it meant something. Lots of CNN coverage and weeping and the re-airing of their E! True Hollywood Story. But celebrity death is getting old. Why? Because as Andy Warhol once said, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes. Every time someone dies, there will be tweets about how how Swayze's dirty dancing perked them up one time when they were suicidal or how Rue Machalahan taught them to own being a cougar in a time back when Kim Cattrall was still C-Movie Monster Bait.

When did it jump the shark? Billy Mays dying and me reading a blog-post about how it made one TV viewer break down because it reminded him of watching it with his cancer ridden father, a former dry-cleaner.

Crazy Couture

Hurting yourself to look stylish--not a new concept. Hans Christian Anderson popularized it in The Little Mermaid (what, you thought having legs means only giving up a cute seashell push up bra and getting to comb your hair with a fork?). The Chinese fashioned a whole fetish around it. I myself have refused to give up more than a few blister inducing fashion-strosities in the name of, "But they're cuuuuute!" But when does wearing fashionable shoes jump the shark? Alexander McQueen, baby.

That's it. We're done. Any surprise Crocs and Vibram Five-Fingers have become acceptable sartorial choices? When looking good means looking that ridiculous, you might as well be comfortable looking ugly, amirite?


Japan brought us so many cool but weird things that we never thought we needed. Pocket monsters. An adorable hydrocephalus kitten. And some of the most bizarre candy known to man. Of course, the Japanese are also known for their strange sexuality. Over there, getting rubbed up against on the subway is kind of like a first date kiss. So I expect the strange. When did it get too weird to be cute or endearing? Debatable. Somewhere between vending machines that sell used schoolgirl underwear or the pro rape video games. Keep on keeping on, Japan!

Disgusting snacky cakes

Twinkies, Devil Dogs, Ho-Ho's, Mrs. Freshly's. You name it, I've tried it. I'm a real coin-osseur. When did it all go too far? Oreo Cakesters. Nabisco, you weren't even trying anymore.

Nail Polish Names

They all have weird names, I know. What makes one shade of light pink nail polish a slutty Sugar Daddy, while another slightly lighter shade is the dainty Mademoiselle? (And who at Essie decided that any woman wanted a shade called Potato Field?) Based on the contrasting hues of True Love and Happy Ever After with the fiery Thigh High, I'm going to assume that the happily married woman wears a demure pink while the whore wears red. (What do the high class hooker or the cheating trophy wife wear? Steppin' Out, the slightly darker shade of pink, one would assume.)

When do shades of polish get so weird it's not even cool anymore? When they decide to call a shade of white Jizz. Hey, apparently some members of the fairer sex find Picket Fence and Tennis Corset constrainingly suburban. Or they need an excuse to giggle at the next guy at the bar with, "Guess what color my nail polish is--JIZZ."

Beautifying ourselves

I get wanting to improve every little detail. I've experimented with lip plumpers, eyelash serum, and hair removal kits galore. But sometimes it goes too far. No, I'm not talking about collagen or boobie implants. It jumps the shark when people decide their vulvas need makeup.

Horror Movies

Torture porn has been "in" for a while. I didn't mind watching Saw (I've had my tetanus shots). I can live in a world with Hostel and even one where Living Dead Girl exists. (You gotta give the MSTK 3000 crew something to snark.) But I draw the line at Human Centipede, a movie where people are sewn together, attaching their mouths and ass. Seriously, did they give South Park's Dr. Mephisto and Kevin a movie deal?

Celebrity break ups

I like to think that I'm prepared for split ups and affairs. (A childhood of being read a history of the six wives of Henry VIII before the Tudors made it cool will do that to you.) I can deal with Bill C., Tiger, Johnny Edwards, and even Sandra Bullock's cheatin', anti-Semitic main squeeze. I was cool with Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins splitting, though a little traumatized, after having grown up on Witches of Eastwick and Shawshank Redemption.

When did celeb break ups jump the shark? Last week, when the ultimate boring, staid, down to earth couple of all time broke it off: Al and Tipper. How could these guys break up? Their hobbies are making comments on the weather and rolling their eyes about "kids these days" and their loud, aggressive music. I do like to think that it was an affair that split them up. An affair that involves ManBearPig!


When did sharks jump the shark? Well, what do we like about sharks? They're creepy looking killing machines of the deep. Are they weird? Some of them are, sure. Who can forget learning about Hammerhead Sharks in elementary school? But do they ever get *too* creepy? Yes. Witness the Goblin Shark. It's sort of the special kid of the shark world.

God or the great Charles Darwin in the sky or Intelligent Design was having an off moment when he/she/it made the Goblin Shark.