Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, July 19, 2021

Three years ago, when TV Guide bought the television-enthusiast website Jump The Shark, I questioned the value of the acquisition:

I guess this demonstrates how much quantity is valued over quality when it comes to Internet meda outlets. I mean, [JumpTheShark.com] may have started out around a clever concept, but look at where it’s at now: Pages and pages of junky, message-board like crap where rabid “Friends” lovers and haters trade empty insults. Pretty much a dime a dozen, and far astray from the site’s purported mission.

It’s certainly got plenty of regulars, but does this add up to a worthwhile media property? I’m skeptical.

Turns out that it didn’t add up. TV Guide, which itself was purchased by movie/TV studio Lionsgate since adding JTS, recently did away with the archived content and stripped the Jump The Shark brand down to a gossip blog. In fact, I don’t think it’s even much of a blog — the old JumpTheShark.com address not only redirects to tvguide.com/jumptheshark, but the posts themselves are rather bland, with just clumsy keyword tags (and their remnant definitions) signifying the original pop-cultural aesthetic behind the name.

I stick by my original assessment of the original site: It wasn’t all that precious an archive to preserve, because it was 99 percent fanboy junk postings. But why TV Guide saw fit to unceremoniously dump material that clearly had a community following behind it is baffling. Even going with the premise that they bought the JTS brandname instead of the site’s content, the way they’re currently utilizing that brandname doesn’t seem particularly effective.

In any case, it’s safe to declare Jump The Shark plowed under and dead. The phrase has established itself as a hip descriptor for something past its prime, with the added irony that it now applies to its former online home. But that home is now, effectively, gone.

In its place, Bone The Fish is picking up the baton. The new site has managed to reconstruct the original JTS content, including votes and comments for distinct categories of TV show decline (including, of course, the Ted McGinley Syndrome). Will “bone the fish” supplant “jump the shark” in popular lexicon? I don’t see it, but it’s a nice try.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/19/2009 07:44pm
Category: Internet, Pop Culture, TV, Wordsmithing
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bru-no thanks
It’s not the first time that a seemingly sure-thing Hollywood production bombed at the box office, but the curious ticket-sales downward trajectory that Brüno exhibited over the past week is unique:

Sacha Baron Cohen’s mock documentary “Bruno” plummeted after its No. 1 debut the previous weekend. The Universal Pictures comedy fell to fourth-place with $8.4 million, down a whopping 73 percent from its $30.6 million opening.

Crowd-pleasing movies typically dip 50 percent or less in their second weekends. But “Bruno” has had mixed reviews and failed to earn the audience buzz that made a $128 million hit out of Baron Cohen’s 2006 comedy “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

After 10 days in release, “Bruno” has climbed to $49.6 million and will finish far below $100 million domestically.

Theories abound for this rapid decline, from overestimating the continuing appeal of “will you look at those dumb losers” as a punchline, to bad peer reviews via Twitter igniting the drop-off as early as last Saturday. Whatever the real reason, it looks like Baron Cohen won’t be going back to the well for future funny-accent, redneck-baiting romps. Oh, and it appears that the umlaut-based movie marketing campaign is a losing strategy…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/19/2009 05:41pm
Category: Business, Movies
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We all watched “The Cosby Show” back in the ’80s, and we all admired the Huxtables as a wholesome American family. Clair and Cliff Huxtable were everybody’s favorite TV mom and dad, and they had five kids to show off as the results of their level-headed parenting chops.

But if you watch the latter-day episodes in the series, when the “Cosby Kids” were all grown up to full or near adulthood, you have to ask: What went wrong? Because far from turning out exemplary citizens, it seems like Cliff and Clair raised some pretty dysfunctional individuals. Running down the list:

- Eldest child Sondra winds up marrying Elvin, who not only is a mealy-mouthed male chauvinist, but who also dissuades her from a potentially lucrative career as a lawyer in favor of a hand-to-mouth existence that culminates in the couple moving back into her parents’ house;

- Second-oldest daughter Denise drops out of college, goes to Africa to marry some guy in the Navy, comes back to Brooklyn with husband and new stepdaughter Olivia, then promptly dumps that stepdaughter on the step-grandparents while she traipses off to Singapore;

- Son Theo parlays a lackadaisical high-school career into a lackadaisical college career, mooching off his parents well after moving out of their house, and generally embarking upon a slacker Gen-X lifestyle;

- Third daughter Vanessa shows promise by enrolling in college a year early, but then winds up getting engaged to Dabnis, a janitor and all-around schmuck who seems like another version of Elvin — thus hinting at a repeat of older sister Sondra’s travails;

- Finally, youngest child Rudy doesn’t display any particularly outstanding characteristics by the time she edges into her teen years by series’ end (probably due to Olivia’s usurpation of Rudy’s former role as the baby of the family).

I’m not even going to bother with Cousin Pam and other irrelevant add-on characters that the show added during its dying days (which I never watched anyway, having abandoned the show by 1989). The five Huxtable children that made up the nuclear family are proof enough of the parental shortcomings. It might have been a fun-filled household in Brooklyn, but Cliff and Clair’s status as super-parents is largely undeserved.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 07/19/2009 04:58pm
Category: Pop Culture, TV
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