Jump the shark

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The Fonz from Happy Days Jumps the Shark.

Jumping the shark is a term used for when a TV show continues past its peak, often by having a near-to-impossible or unrealistic event occurring.

The term originated from an episode of Happy Days in which the Fonz overcomes his fear of sharks, and water-skis off a ramp over an aquarium tank with sharks in it.

Today the term is used to refer to any series that is past its prime. Massive changes to the shows' cast or storyline are common markers for this decline. Television shows where the kids grow up and go to college, such as Boy Meets World can force the show to undergo many changes. Another possible marker is when main characters get married, like in Friends.

The gag of jumping the shark has been used literally in The Simpsons and Arrested Development and as an episode title of The X-Files.