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by Tyler Peterson
BWW TV World is thrilled to present our weekly Critic's Cut: slicing the best (and the worst) moments of pop culture into ten little digestible pieces.
Critic's Cut runs every Monday, presenting television's 'Best Of' moments, characters, shows, and more!
This week's edition presents the most notable shows in recent years to "jump the shark." In other words, those shows whose writers and runners took in absolutely insane directions. Whether to regain some ground in the ratings with a reboot, to keep up with modern themes in other shows, or simply because they got lost in their own storytelling, these series outstayed their welcome, and begged the question: "what happened?"
What a gem, Roseanne Barr. Her half-hour comedy set the (no pun intended) bar high for all other family-driven sitcoms of the 90s and aughts. It was great in the beginning, all the way through Becky 1.0, then came Becky 2.0, Becky 1.0 again, and then the Connors won the lottery in the last season. By then, everything had gone out the window. And the ending of this once-great show? Yeesh.
9) DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES
Desperate Housewives had a whole lot going for it in its earliest seasons. It was hilarious, a bit tongue-in-cheek, and put ABC back on the map in terms of its dramadies with a twist. I mean, the gals on Wistera Lane were capable of drawing in over 20 million viewers during the first couple of years. Once season four wrapped, the series jumped five years into the future. Many praised it. But looking back, the "reset" button didn't reset a whole lot. It felt like a desperate attempt for these housewives to regain some of their clout, after plotlines began to falter and spin.
8) LAW & ORDER: SVU
Well, the big moment when Law & Order jumped the shark was obviously when Detective Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni), the tough guy to Olivia Benson's passionate investigator, passed on his SVU beat. Now, 14 seasons in, the plots have become a bit whacky, contrite, and little more than rehashes. But hey, at least it's something to leave on in the background when you're, I don't know, folding laundry.
7) HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
For God's sake, who is the mother already? How long can these kids possibly sit on that couch, listening to Bob Saget Go On and on about a woman with an umbrella? This whole mystery should have been wrapped up years ago. The premise of How I Met Your Mother has become tired, and Ted Mosby and his pals, who were once charming and likeable, have become those obnoxious people at the bar who just won't go away.
6) GREY'S ANATOMY
We all know Shonda Rhimes' long-running medical drama hit the "jump the shark" point when Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez) flew through a windshield and everyone started singing. Sure, Ramirez is an absolute wonder with a ridiculous voice - but eventually, the "creative" ways in which to ruin these doctors' lives just reached that level of "blech."
Where to start? I think it's safe to say Weeds was basically done when Majestic drug-queen Nancy Botwin burnt down her neighborhood and hightailed it, with her children in tow, to Del Mar. After that, the whole critique of the suburbia status quo was lost, and each season felt like the writers were trying to start anew, changing the locale, characters, and just about everything else in hopes to light up some sort of magic.
I admit, I found Lost absolutely ridiculous from about halfway through the first season. I stuck it out, though. And I will forever maintain the idea that this show was entirely lost. What was meant to be complex became convoluted, what was to be a conspiracy felt like the writers making everything up as they went along, desperately trying to connect the island's many whack-a-doo vines of logic together at the end.
What started as a fantastic super hero serial about humans quickly flew into the realm of gag-worthy and comic schtick. The series had so much promise. So much. But by the series' final season, in which the Sullivan brothers and the carnival rolled on in, it had, arguably, become way too much. Though the cheerleader was indestructible, the writers proved that Heroes was not.
2) AMERICAN IDOL
Idol is undoubtedly the paramount example of reality shows overstaying their welcome, hiring and firing all-star judges to bring in ratings, and of course, bowing to the almighty dollar. When Cowell departed, everything came crashing down in a glitzy, Coca-Cola ad-spritzed mess. I think it's safe to say that not even the melodramatic Mariah Carey, nor the absolutely insane Nicki Minaj can bring Idol back. Let's just let this show rest, and allow Ryan Seacrest to move ahead with the next Kardashian spin-off.
It's irrefutable that Glee began to jump the shark prior to its current season - but let's just be honest: this whole show-within-a-show, splitting its time between the New Directions and kids actually going in a direction (Rachel and Kurt) is just, well, awkward. It does not work. Plus, its methodology of rehashing storylines is obviously lazy, and its unabashedly tolerant tone has hit a new high. It had so much promise in its first season. Remember how oddly dark the pilot was? Four years later, Glee is much less daring, and much more preachy.