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April 06 2005

Sydney Morning Herald reveal when they thought Buffy "Jumped the Shark". "Other JTS moments on TV were when Lois Lane slept with Superman in Lois and Clark (it took eight years, and a show called Desperate Housewives, for Teri Hatcher to recover); when Chandler married Monica in Friends and when Willow became a lesbian in Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Uh - Oh

Ok, ok, I know the interpretations of 'jump the shark' are wide and varied, but in general it means what? When a show is headed downhill? Alright, I can go with the Lois and Clark/Chandler Monica reference, but only because once a couple(whose sexual/romantic tension is the interesting factor) gets married, it's pretty much always downhill for any show. But Willow became a lesbian in season 4. I'd have to say Buffy still had some 'quality' in it after that. Whatever...
I'm not going to bother reading this page, but what the hell? It took Lois and Clark YEARS to even become romantically involved from what I remember, (it was inevitable) and Chandler and Monica came out of nowhere, thats why I found it so perfect and they seemed like a very happy and believable couple. I'm not even going to bother with the Willow thing.

Gay people do exist. *insert eyeroll here* I'm sure that Joss and the writers thought of a new storyline to take Willow through and Willow's past and potential story shaped her character and changes. And Joss and everyone else's ability to do something so drastic, yet make everyone love each minute of it is why Buffy was amazing.

People and situations have to change. It's important for a TV show to have change and not stay the same each year, isn't that what Joss said anyway?

[ edited by Christopher on 2005-04-06 16:39 ]
Well, if that isn't a prime example of not understanding a the basic meaning of a concept then i don't know what is. I haven't read the article myself as i can't be bothered to register but going off what Apocalypse states above i don't think i'm missing anything.

"Jumping the Shark", to the best of my knowledge, is the point where a television series puts out an episode or plotline that totally ruins the show and turns it into a ludicrous shadow of it's former self, usually towards the end of it's run. Willow's sexuality was not only hinted at from as early as season three, and therefore was a part of the show for a very long time rather than some cheap gimmick that was tacked on in the later years, but was also a brilliantly developed and realistically portrayed arc that added some of the best moments to the show.

I personally don't think that Buffy or Angel ever jumped the shark but it certainly didn't happen with this example.
Select answer from options below:

1) How dare they? Buffy never jumped the shark. I am outraged. Outraged I tell you.

2) Buffy jumped the shark for a totally different reason. And that was because of X's plotline in season Y.

3) Have they even watched the show? Willow as a lesbian was beautiful and great.

4) I suppose when you look it with out knowing the backstory of the show, a straight character becoming a lesbian does seem a bit odd. But if they actually watched the show, they would realise it makes sense.
That's pretty foolish, considering that the two (by far) best episodes, The Body and OMWF, occurred afterwards. Plus season 5 as a whole was in the top 2 or 3.
Damn, dumb, dismiss.
"Gay people do exist"

And i'd heard it was just a myth! Thankyou Sydney Morning Herald for clearing it up for me!

And for the record?....Number 3
People will always think that shows jumped the shark for different reasons. For instance, according to the JTS site, the finale getting prempted in Indiana is one reason why it jumped the shark.

Personally, I think the show never jumped the shark. It may have run out a little bit out of steam by the end but hey it had been on for seven seasons.

There will always be articles like this but then there will always be far more articles praising the show and I seem to remember reading a fair number of articles specifically praising BtVS for Willow becoming a lesbian.
Good one, Simon. Sign me up for.

2) Buffy jumped the shark for a totally different reason. And that was because of X's plotline in season Y.

Whenever the topic comes up, I go, end of season 5. Up until then, there were issues, but nothing super-lame. After that point, though, something palpable had changed, even my friends who were casual fans could tell.

Sure, there were good episodes after that, but as a whole, not the same quality.
1, 3 & 4

Opps, Just read PPMJ's post after posting. Season 6 was what hooked me, and it just hooked my friend...big time so I disagree.

[ edited by newcj (changed from cj to avoid confusion) on 2005-04-06 17:10 ]
I have not read the article so I cannot comment on the actual reason the writer (presumably) gives for believing BtVS 'jumped the shark' when Willow "became a lesbian". I think I would rather not know, to be honest.

As I have mentioned in the past, I happen to think S7 is the best season of the show. I appreciate this is very much a minority opinion, but I make no apologies for it. I also think S6 was superb, as indeed the other five seasons were.

It does seem to me that every TV show that lasts for more than five minutes is assumed to "jump the shark" eventually. Personally, I don't see why that has to be the case. I guess the best way I can put it is to say that there isn't a single episode of BtVS I wish had not been made, and not a single episode that I don't want to watch again.
Other JTS moments on TV...and when Willow became a lesbian in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Oooh, them's fightin words!

Isn't 'jumping the shark' when the writers pull a stupid stunt to get more viewers? For instance, The Bradys adopting a young kid in The Brady Bunch. Or Fonzie literally jumping over a shark on his motorcycle. Making Willow gay was not a ratings ploy. And neither was giving Buffy a kid sister. These were ways for Btvs to tell emotionally powerful and very REAL stories about family, love, and growing up. In my opinion, Buffy NEVER jumped the shark.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-04-06 17:27 ]
Joss Whedon has said, and if you watch the episodes closely you can see this, that he always intended either Xander or Willow to 'come out' later in the show. He had small ambiguous clues that each of them 'might be gay', clues that would end up meaning nothing (as with Xander) if he went with the other character.

At any rate, my point is: you cannot foreshadow 'jumping the shark', by definition (assuming there is a definition) 'jumping the shark' is something that comes out of left field, something that changes (ruins) the story line of the show. Which is actually what is wrong with most of this writers examples, the writer simply didn't like the story lines that were long established.
I didn’t realise you become lesbian. I thought you are lesbian.
Then you come out. Or you don’t. Whatever is right for you as an individual.

Sigh. Words. They matter.
nah, it never happened.

Seasons 2 or 3 - 6 are all special for special reasons, and i appreciate everything about one and seven too. I just watch the others more is all. I'm another season 6 fan because it's so rich and complex and developed and interwoven and damn painful as well as wildly sexy. I was jonesing Monday and flipped out and bought the season 6 set, skipping four and five. Had to have it right away.

Writer hasn't a clue. S/he likely cited from soneone else who had no clue.
I wrote the writer:

Hello. Given the outcry that occurred when Joss Whedon made the error of killing Tara Maclay, Willow Rosenburg's lesbian lover on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I think your assessment that Buffy jumped the shark when Willow came out is completely and utterly incorrect. 3 years after Tara's death, message boards in the United States are still awash in vehement and passionate arguments about her death and Willow's descent into dark magic, and a goodly number of virtual seasons, including the superb one by jet wolf (www.btvschosen.com) have managed to resurrect Tara in meaningful ways. I would posit that this, rather than indicating the show lost its touch, demonstrates instead that it still held the power to involve its audience well beyond what Joss ever expected. Indeed, in the book Jump the Shark, Buffy is criticized more for bringing in the character of Dawn than for anything else.

But even bad Buffy is better than 99% of anything TV has to offer, and in the polls that have been done here in the US, the vast majority of voters feel it never jumped at all; Dawn comes in second to that.

As for Ms. Kidman, she will continue to do very fine work.
Miranda beat me to it! As has been said above, Willow's lesbianism is hinted at from early on and it would be interesting to find out exactly when the writer thought Willow 'became a lesbian'; when she got the "make yourself gay" kit from the catalogue perhaps? :-)
For what its worth, my reading of Jumping the Shark is that it happens when the original premise of the show is done and it seems to be carrying on more from momentum / apathy / greed rather than with the need to tell a story. I suppose that is why one of the most common forms of jumping is when 'will they / won't they' couples get into bed and knacker any sexual tension that existed before the event (I'm looking at you David Addison and Maddie Hayes). On a side issue, the fact that Buffy managed this more than once (you go girl!) without, in my opinion, ruining the show is just another example of the strength of writing and the coherent vision that Joss had for it.
Anyway, back to the plot. On the basis of the definition above then there could be a case for Buffy jumping the shark when she actually jumped at the end of S5, bringing an end to her own story in the process. However I thought that the team pulled it back in seasons six and seven so am a 'never jumped' man myself.
Bill Door, I agree, no shark jumping.

I think the reason Buffy managed to have a number of relationships devolop and end without it destroying the show is because the show never became more about teasing the audience with when they end up in bed than about the whole picture of their lives. There was dimension! What a concept.

There were so many times when the show could have fallen into a JTS trap. But they always twisted it. They took the traps and showed how they should be done. I love the sheer gutsiness of the way they did BtVS. It just makes me smile.
The phrase "jump the shark" has become terribly overused as of late, most people not understanding what it was supposed to mean in the first place.

These days, the second that a show features a plotline that somebody personally dislikes, they're always quick to jump to the "jump the shark" conclusion. But I always thought that JTS was more of a retrospect thing. A moment in a show after which the entire series noticeably went downhill. It's not just a plotline that you don't like. It's the moment when you knew the writers were out of ideas, so it usually can't be pointed out until a series has finished it's entire run. Or, at the very least, it can't be pointed out the week that it happens.

I know, this particular complaint doesn't specifically deal with this article (after all, we can actually look at Buffy in retrospect, now), but it's still something that has always bothered me.
I just wanted to add my disagreement to PMMJ's opinion of Buffy jts-ing after season 5 (you mean Buffy dying and coming back from the dead?). Season 6 is different, yes. The show, imo, was always different from one season to the next. Different themes, different re-occuring characters, different Big Bads, different moods. And the hangouts changed a lot to. Buffy always kept things fresh because of that.

Season 6 was darker and tougher to watch, in a sense. But it was emotionally resonate for so many people who have been through depression. I know a lot of people that say season 6 was their favorite because they went through exactly the kind of thing Buffy went through (parent dying, depression, acting out sexually, the struggle with being out on their own for the first time). Season 6 is not for everyone, but it works well to portray what happens when teenagers grow up, and have to face the world, and the certain hardships it brings them. No other show has portrayed depression in such a way that makes it as palpable for the audience.

Dashboardprophet, you are not alone in the opinion that season 7 was the best. My brother feels the same way. He likes the final seasons: season 7 of Buffy and season 5 of Angel. I love 7 because it's more dangerous and scary, and it was the only season where I wondered if anyone was going to make it out alive.

Side note: My friend just watched the last five episodes of season 6 last night for the first time and this morning I got a message from her proclaiming it the best season yet. I can't wait to talk to her about it.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-04-06 18:24 ]
Dana5140, On the official 'Jumptheshark.com' site the largest vote by far ( after not jumping at all ) for when the show did jump goes to when Tara died, once again showing that you can never make everybody happy I guess :)

Second place - The musical, which proves without a doubt that some people have no taste.

[ edited by jpr on 2005-04-06 18:35 ]
Willow was a lesbian? That's it, I'm burning my dvds.
I can't bring myself to read this article and this doesn't worry me. I got all I needed to know from the synopsis of what was said about BtVS. BtVS jumped the shark when Willow "became gay?" What kind of reasoning is that? For all the well-argued reasons given by other posters above, JTS is an overused and misunderstood term. As far as I'm concerned this writer neither understands BtVS nor what JTS means.

Count me in with those who loved the last two seasons. None of BtVS's seven seasons were 100% perfect but I see incredible creative expression and uniqueness in each. Some of us hate the last two season, some of us love them. There's room for everyone on this. But I must say that dashboardprophet has posted here in the past with some well-written and beautifully thought-out arguments as to why he loves season 7 the best. He certainly convinced me that there are numerous interesting layers to think about. You may not like S7 but it's neither stupid nor done without great thought by Joss & Co. dashboardprophet's S7 posts plus my own rewatching of the season on DVD several times have made me a real appreciator of S7.

And dashboardprophet and other supporters of S7, I'm not so sure we're in such a tiny minority. I see apprecation of S7 growing wherever I look. I'm a frequent visitor to the academic slayage.tv site and I can say that many of the academics seem to love S7 and find much food for thought in it. What eggheads (hey, I'm one of them) think of the season is of no importance than what other groups of fans think, but at the very least one has to count their opinions as well.
As I recall, the one and only shark that appeared in Buffy stayed far away from all the jumping that was going on around him. So maybe Buffy jumped by the shark, or around the shark, but certainly not over the shark.

Sorry, Sydney Morning Herald, make a silly statement, get a silly response.
As I recall, the one and only shark that appeared in Buffy stayed far away from all the jumping that was going on around him. So maybe Buffy jumped by the shark, or around the shark, but certainly not over the shark.

Sharky! I love Sharky. Maybe he was the writers' message to fans that if they were going to call Buffy kissing Spike "jumping the shark" they would shine a lamp on it to let them know they have considered that reaction and/or they are simply making fun of that reaction? Or maybe I'm just reading into things...

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-04-06 19:01 ]
There were so many times when the show could have fallen into a JTS trap. But they always twisted it. They took the traps and showed how they should be done. I love the sheer gutsiness of the way they did BtVS. It just makes me smile.

This reminds me of the (relatively) often-used "Dawn-as-jump-the-shark-moment" accusation. Because "miracle babies" almost never work, and that could have gone so wrong. But it didn't. And I was glad.
Buffy never jumped the shark.
And not in that moment specially ¬¬

I love S6 and S7 too.

[ edited by Angel TheVampire on 2005-04-06 19:15 ]
Miranda, well said. I always cringe when I hear sometimes well-meaning people refer to "sexual preference" rather than sexual orientation. Personally speaking, there is a difference in the words: choosing or being.

And don't get me started on the whole "Willow coudn't possibly be lesbian because she had a crush on Xander and loved Oz" - thing. Oops, sorry! Not the right thread.
I think we're reaching a point where every single time something happens on a show that's
A: unusual from standard formula in even the slightest way

B: surprising, any type of twist

C: where characters actually experience growth, people will feel they can yell 'they're jumping the shark'.

Which basically leads to no show ever doing anything original or surprising again. Nothing should ever NOT be predictable anymore right? Because otherwise it's 'jumping the shark'. Makes me want to scream. That's not what the term means! And no, the meaning of 'jumping the shark' shouldn't be wide and varied. It comes from Happy Days. Fonzie, in his leather jacket, waterskiing and making a jump over the shark. So what applies to that?

-A show that's creatively done and they have to come up with outrageous things.

-Those outrageous things are things that do NOT BELONG in the show as the show originally was. Nothing to do with what the show was actually about.

-Main motivation for the outrageous idea is to garner attention for a fading show and get a ratings boost.

If these elements do not apply, it's NOT JUMPING THE FRIKKIN' SHARK! Pant, pant....and none of these elements even slightly apply to BtVS. Never, but especially not during season 4! The show was doing fine. And Willow in a lesbian relationship is not outrageous to the show because relationships that are difficult for a character, or that society often deems 'not-normal' always were a major staple of the show, either metaphorically, literally or otherwise.

And as for it being a cheap stunt for attention, do they know that Joss deliberatedly left their first kiss OUT of the trailers for that episode? Because he didn't want it to become 'about' it too much? He wanted it to be just like any other relationship for any other character. No more, no less, no extra attention.

Not exactly the MO of a 'shark-jump' is it? But then why would I even expect journalists who write about pop culture for a living to actually know and think about these things anymore?

Do I sound bitter?
I have tackled this subject over and over, and strongly believe my thesis on Buffy The Shark Jumper to be the final authoritative work on this topic. I'm obviously WRONG because people are still talking about it, but I kicked this dead horse years ago. It's dead. We turned it into fertilizer. Anyone still kicking this dead horse is not even gonna get a T-shirt.

As for Willow becoming lesbian? Come on people! Look at her clothes in the first season! I dated a girl back in high school who wore the same kinda crap Willow wore. She didn't know it when we were dating but later on she 'became' a lesbian. But no. She always was, she just didn't know. One doesn't become a lesbian. One just figures it out eventually. Willow was ALWAYS a lesbian. She just didn't know it until season four. One would think just dating a werewolf woulda been enough to swear her off men, anyway.
3 of my 5 favorite eps. (The Gift, OMWF, The Body) all come after this, so I would definitely disagree. All though, it is hard to match the second half of S2 and S3 in terms of storytelling, almost everything else is better. The show definitely has fewer weaker eps. in the second half of the series and the additions of Spike, Anya, Dawn and Tara more than makes up for the losses of Angel, Cordelia and Oz.
2

Although there were one or two standout eps afterwards, I still maintain Buffy JTS with Buffy vs. Dracula. The title says it all really.
I read/heard somewhere that some of the writers still considered Willow to be bisexual, but they didn't write her that way because after Tara died, they felt the audience might take it the wrong way if Willow dated a boy again. I wish I could tell you where I heard that, but it was probably in Jane Espenson on the Succubus club.

I always felt that Willow's sexual orientation was about the person, and not the sex of her partner. It's too bad they couldn't have said that clearly in the show, but maybe society wasn't/isn't ready for that groundbreaking idea. And I know people whose sexual orientation changed over time. For them, it wasn't about finding out they were gay/bi, just that their preferences evolved. Sometimes, like in my own case, sexual identity is more fluid.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-04-06 19:48 ]
Got to say the Buffy probably jumped the shark after season 5. Sure some great moments in season 6 and 7 (with OMWF and the Dark Willow arc being a stand-out) but really after The Gift something was different and they didn't get it back really. I've always been of the theory that splitting the scoobies up so much in season four was a mistake and the group dynamic never really recovered from it. However, Angel never jumped the shark. Five pretty damn good seasons that ended on a total high (well, not 'high' as in cheerful, but you know what I mean) and left pretty much everyone wanting more.
I'm going with 2 from Simon's choices. So, that would be season 6, and the plotline would be the entire season.
Passes EdDantes a glass of water. Deep breathes.

Hey, I haven't been around very long. Was Spike's chip ever brought up as a JTS device? After all, isn't putting a behavior-modification device in an evil character's head one of the common ways shows try to boost ratings right behind bringing in new cute moppet and having a character suddenly realize she is gay? Hmmm. Maybe not. But then Willow's realization wasn't sudden and I never really considered Dawn a cute moppet.

BTW, do you like the use of "realize?" ;-)
Gosh, ZM, didn't know you had a webpage. Very nice Jumping the Blooming Shark piece. (And I love the Buffy Sex Chart linked through your profile . . . ) And EdD's is great too.

I'm still too jet-lagged to write anything much of interest on this well-worn topic - just color me never jumped. IMHO, change (growth/development/unexpected but completely believable plotlines) was so much an integral part of the show that, as ZM's piece establishes, BtVS defies the whole premise - it kicked the darn shark.
I've always been of the theory that splitting the scoobies up so much in season four was a mistake and the group dynamic never really recovered from it.

Blech. My least favorite thing that any show could ever do is splitting up the main characters, and, oddly, almost every show that lasts more than three-or-so seasons ends up doing this. Even shows that don't have to face the "high school's over" bit end up sending everybody off on their own plotlines, only writing occasional scenes to remind us that everybody is still friends. So many times, it gets to the point where I'm like, "Yay!" every time the main characters end up in the same room together, and it doesn't happen often enough.

While Buffy never got this bad, and I'm still in the "never jumped" camp, I do think that the parts of seasons four and seven that were (relatively) lacking were a result of this.

[ edited by VampiresSuckLOLOLGetIt on 2005-04-06 19:38 ]
I'm not too concern about this article. For every article that criticizes BtVS, there are 20 others that praises it. Actually, I like seeing articles like this in a major newspaper. People are more likely to read this, then watch the show to see why it's so bad rather than reading a good article and dismissing it with a "That's nice".

SoddingNancyTribe, welcome back!
I always felt that Willow's sexual orientation was about the person, and not the sex of her partner. It's too bad they couldn't have said that clearly in the show, but maybe society wasn't/isn't ready for that groundbreaking idea.

The UK is behind the US in the broadcast schedule, but I believe the OC is doing a storyline of this nature at the moment.
Grounded wrote:

Although there were one or two standout eps afterwards, I still maintain Buffy JTS with Buffy vs. Dracula. The title says it all really.


By a strange coincidence I watched this very episode last night and I have just finished a long telephone conversation with a dear friend in which we both enthused at length about its brilliance. In fact, she has now gone off to order a pizza and settle down to watch the episode.

Phlebotinin, thank you for your kind words, although I'm not deserved them.
Ooooo prospero, Cordy's storyline in season 4 of Angel makes me cringe quite a bit and to me comes a lot closer than anything on BtVS. I enjoyed season 5 though so the definition still would not fit. Na na na na na na to the critics out there.

I look forward to reading ZM's shark piece when I get home.
I was referring to the book "Jump The Shark," which took Buffy to task for adding Dawn, and Angel to task for adding Connor. I do know that the website felt that Tara was the point, but this I took more from a "you really, really made a very bad decision" point of view rather than from a "the show now really sucks" point of view. Though, I should note, I am a huge Willow/Tara shipper, and I felt the show suffered significantly from the loss of Tara as a moral voice for the Scoobies and from a diminished presence of Willow in S7 as a result. If I myself were to pick a point, and I do not believe that Buffy ever JTS (I think it the finest show in the history of TV), I would make it when Kennedy and Willow started dating, but that is a personal bias. It made me lose interest, and to this day, I consider S7 the weakest season of the show. I am, however, very sad we never got an S8, where we might have seen some of the themes of S7 finally play out appropriately. Hope that made sense!
Buffy v Dracula WAS pretty bad, and IMHO it does meet the qualifications mentioned above for JTS - a show bereft of ideas trying a ratings grabber. However later episodes showed that the show had definitely NOT run out of ideas and interesting plotlines, even if seasons 6 & 7 were not on par with the previous seasons.

Regarding Willow "becoming" lesbian versus always "being" a lesbian, I'm sorry but I think that most of the posters above are far off the mark. While Joss and the writers may have been putting in hints from day 1 that she (or Xander) might be gay, from Willow's reaction to Vamp Willow it is pretty clear that SHE hadn't put any thought into dating women.

If Oz hadn't pulled his vanishing act (and ignoring the show's ongoing need for conflict), would they have stayed together? If so, and she never dated a woman (let alone had sex with one) and never gave the thought any consideration, how could she be considered a lesbian?

Willow became a lesbian when she met Tara and not only began having non-Platonic thoughts about her, but began acting on them.

I believe that there are people who were "always" gay, but I also believe that there are people for whom it is a choice. I don't see anything wrong with either. It seems very clear to me that Willow BECAME a lesbian by choice. Just as she had a choice to turn away from that newly discovered side of her when Oz came back.

A couple of follow-up questions from real life. Was Anne Heche "always" a lesbian, or did she become one when she began dating Ellen DeGeneres? Is she still a lesbian now with a husband and child?
I have to admit that i've always believed Willow was bisexual. Her relationship with Oz was far too intense to be ignored. I admit there is the slim possibility that she may just have not "realised" that she preferred women, and maybe she actually does if forced to choose, however there is no way that i will ever believe she is not attracted to men, or that a guy is not able to stimulate her sexually.

I'm heterosexual myself, however i have friends who are gay and at least one friend i know of who considers herself bisexual. From listening to their varied experiences of discovering their sexuality i've come to the conclusion that, had Willow been gay, she would not have experienced the kind of intense feelings, both emotional and sexual, that she had with Oz. Sure, many gay people start out in straight relationships prior to realising what their sexuality really is, or admitting it to themselves at least, but in most cases they always know, deep down, that something just isn't clicking with the opposite sex.

From everything we saw in both Willow and Vamp Willow it was very clear that they were attracted to members of both sexes, which to me makes Willow bisexual.

[ edited by The Watcher on 2005-04-06 20:50 ]
From everything we saw in both Willow and Vamp Willow it was very clear that they were attracted to members of both sexes, which to me makes Willow bisexual.

Which makes the lines in the show like "Gay now!" all the more ridiculous. Arg now it's bugging me I can't remember which episode that's from...
It's Triangle, Grounded.

With mucho thanks to Buffyology for the search assist. ;)
Beat me to it, SoddingNancyTribe, although in my favour i didn't need to look it up, hehe. It being a line from one of my favourite episodes helped a lot though. :)
Never jumped, ever. I adore Season 6 the way I love a Paul Auster novel that I know is going to have its share of shock and heartbreak that will shake and move me, anger and enrage me. But I love it all the same.

Season 6 is a dark little work of wonder, brilliantly plotted and executed, and with, in not only my opinion, the greatest hour of TV ever broadcast. As I've noted before on this site, it begins and ends essentially the same way, with Buffy climbing out of a grave, but what a difference! What a journey she had to undertake to climb from a grave not into jagged, ugly darkenss offering only pain, but to gorgeous sunlight and boundless possibilities...not a story arc, but a circle, one in which Buffy returned to where she began, but as a completely new and fulfilled and more authentic woman.

And, to cap things off, just when you think the episode and season are over, you're reminded about Spike and Cave Boy...and you think he's going to become William the Bloody all over again...and then, BAM!, you find out he's been re-ensouled. Sheer bloody genius.

As for Season 7, I don't think there could have been a more perfect resolution of the entire Buffy saga than what they pulled together. Did I say "genius"? I'll say it again: Genius.

Only time for me when there was a potential shark-jumping moment was the Loan Shark...but it didn't matter, because he was in Tabula Rasa, one of the best Season 6 episodes.

Angel: never jumped, either.
Bravo, Chris in Virginia! Couldn't agree more. EdDantes and Zachsmind, too.

And dashboardprophet? Much deserved! Definitely.

Welcome back, SNT. You were missed. Hope your trip to the U.K. was wonderful.
I would complain about the article but I can't read it. It asks me to register.
A couple of follow-up questions from real life. Was Anne Heche "always" a lesbian, or did she become one when she began dating Ellen DeGeneres? Is she still a lesbian now with a husband and child?

I was thinking about Anne Heche too, when I wrote my above comment. I don't believe it's always clear-cut case of straight/gay/bi. For some people, they are born with the one identity, and it never changes. For some of us, we may find we start out one way, or realize we always were (gay/straight/bi), and some of us even just change our minds.

Like I said, sexuality can be a fluid thing. Nothing is written in stone. As we evolve in different stages of our lives, we can sometimes find we love differently. I also want to add that I think this is more common among women than men.

[ edited by electricspacegirl on 2005-04-06 22:13 ]
Dashboardprophet, is there any way I could read your previous post regarding your love of Buffy season 7. I would love to read it. Thank you.
It's Triangle, Grounded.

Wow, good response time finding that one ;)
eddy (and others): The quote featured in Apocalypse's link description above is the only reference to BtVS in the entire article. So feel free to complain - within the accepted Whedonesque boundaries of taste and wit of course.

I have to say, though, it really is a pap piece, spending far too much time describing how various actors have "jumped [the shark]" and no time at all in justifying itself. While it may be possible to make the argument that an actor can take on such self-parodying and demeaning roles as to short-circuit his or her career, that kind of behavior is quite unlike that of a ratings-hungry show and, IMO, is stretching the whole concept just a tad too far. Anyway, as John Travolta has shown, for movie stars, unlike politicians, there are often second (and third) acts. When the writer states that Gwyneth Paltrow "jumped" with Shallow Hal, the article starts to look foolish: it makes no sense at all to speak of some inevitable decline in the case of an actress like Paltrow who surely has many years of good work ahead of her. And I've written entirely too much on this insubstantial subject . . .
"Sharky! I love Sharky. Maybe he was the writers' message to fans that if they were going to call Buffy kissing Spike "jumping the shark" they would shine a lamp on it to let them know they have considered that reaction and/or they are simply making fun of that reaction? Or maybe I'm just reading into things...

Slightly off topic: I know you are joking and I may end up feeling foolish for saying what everybody already knows, but “Sharky” to me was always a reference to Bertholt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera and the character of the criminal Macheath aka Mac the Knife:

The first verse in German:
Und der Haifisch, der hat Zähne,
Und die trägt er im Gesicht.
Und Macheath, der hat ein Messer,
Doch das Messer sieht man nicht

In the best known English translation the words are:
Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear,
And he shows them pearly white
Just a jacknife has Macheath dear
And he keeps it out of sight.

I nicked this translation from the Wikipedia, because I am German as indeed was Brecht, so I tend to not read his stuff in English. Long time since I read it too, so I am sure there are more references which I just can't remember.
Regarding Willow being or, becoming, gay, I completely agree with The Watcher's assessment of Willow's relationship with Oz, and do believe if somewhere, deep down, she felt something was "off", it would have affected the intensity of that relationship.

To me, Willow's understanding of, and capacity to love evolved alongside her growing magical powers and ability to tap into those forces. I see her opening her mind, learning just how connected everything is, and seeing the world differently as a result impacting her day to day life. I think Willow simply realized love is love, irrespective of gender, and the only thing inhibiting our ability to experience it to the fullest is our hesitancy to embrace it in all forms.

So, I don't know if she always was gay, or realized it when she met Tara, "for sure". And I understand that for the purposes of the story they were telling, it maybe said more to categorize her as "gay". But I think if Willow was "real", she would have been able to go through life experiencing love in whatever form it came in.
I'm so glad someone else liked 'Triangle'. I loved the argument between Willow and Anya. And who could forget that classic line from Buffy, "I killed something in a convent last night!"

Anyway, back to topic. BtVS never 'jumped the shark'. Through the storylines didn't always jib, they did follow suit. Which is why we are still discussing the matter. Think about it.

I'm feeling uncomfortable with the direction this thread is going. I've a rule. Do not discuss politics, religion, or sexual preference. With that, I must step out of this thread.
"I always felt that Willow's sexual orientation was about the person, and not the sex of her partner. It's too bad they couldn't have said that clearly in the show, but maybe society wasn't/isn't ready for that groundbreaking idea."

Not to open a can of worms, but Alyssa in Chasing Amy? Great points above, all, especially taken with Ed and Zach's posts as always. Though there were moments of 'ugh' from time to time I don't believe the Buffmeister ever jumped yon shark. Storylines like Dawn appearing actually mocked the idea of jumping the shark.
...But he is after all a "loan shark" as people who loan money for outrageous amounts of interest are called. Although for some reason "land shark" from the old Saturday Night Live sometimes creeps into my mind when I watch that one too. Strange how such a seemingly silly, over-the-top device can actually bring up quite a few different things for people.
I agree with the BvD people that it was an obvious ratings ploy, but Jump the Shark seems to me to be irreparable damage, and never did I see that on the show. I mean, as much as I adore Michelle Trachtenberg, I thought Dawn was a bad idea, and yet still don't think she destroyed the whole show. Even in the episodes I most strongly disliked, there were still moments of perfection - and, most importantly, even when I thought the show was a pale pale shadow of its former glory (Season 6), it was still better than anything else on TV (except maybe Angel or Firefly - maybe).

But then, de gustibus nil disputandum.
A little off topic, but didn't Lois wait until the last episode to sleep with Clark? So how is that jumping the ship? Just a thought...
Reply to WheelsOfJoy, who said:

Dashboardprophet, is there any way I could read your previous post regarding your love of Buffy season 7. I would love to read it. Thank you.


To be honest, I have absolutely no idea where they are. I don't make a note of what I'm posting, so once it disappears into the archives it just becomes lost.

Edited by dbp: Thank you, Simon for sorting it all out further down... One day I will join everyone else in the 21st centuary.

[ edited by dashboardprophet on 2005-04-07 08:36 ]
I also firmly agree Buffy never 'jumped the shark'. Several plots sound like they could be examples of shark jumping, but when viewed in context and as a piece of art is no such thing. Let me take a lot at most of the 'jumping the shark' allegations.

When Buffy left high school
A neccessary change. The characters have to change and develop rather than remaining the same age for years. People worried that the monster metaphors associated with adolescence would not feature, but they continued to be an important part of the series even after season three.

When Dawn was introduced
Definately sounds on paper a bizarre idea. But it was an incredible revelation, and an idea that was intelligently used, although unexplained at first we gradually found out how Dawn got there and that the writers hadn't just decided to introduce a new character. And it also brought up a lot of important themes, such as those of family, loyalty and identity.

When Buffy was resurrected
It did sound like a way to extend the life of the series beyond its natural span, and would have lessened the significance. However, the way in which it was developed and justified by the writers instead made it incredibly dark, sad and almost heightened the importance of Buffy's death, showing that she was in Heaven and that she was returned unwillingly.

When they did 'Once More With Feeling'
This also sounded like shark jumping. But the amazing quality of the music, the performances of the actors, and the way in which it was an important part of the narrative, and also being believable within the Buffy-verse, made it so much more than a stupid excuse to have the characters sing.

When Willow 'became' gay
Personally I had never heard that people felt this was shark jumping. It has happened on other shows before, where characters unexpectedly become lesbians in order to show lesbian kissing which will hopefully lead to ratings increases.
However, there were hints that Willow could be a lesbian, or bisexual, in season three, and the relationship between Willow and Tara developed at a natural pace, being both realistic and believable at the same time. It was never gratuitous or unbelievable.

I also loved 'Triangle'. Resolution to much of the tension that had been building between Willow and Anya over two years, and we got to see both actresses at the height of their comedic prowess. Plus, Abraham Benrubi as Olaf was also hilarious, whilst Xander got to be brave and noble. Wasn't too fond of Buffy's OTT crying, I know it was meant to be that way for humorous effect, but it seemed too fake.

I tried reading the article out of curiosity, but you had to register and I can't be bothered doing so just to read a narrow minded or unfairly critical article. As I said, if you just look at the plots above you might think they were jumping the shark, but they weren't by any stretch of the imagination.

As for my favourite seasons, it's a toss up between seasons three, five and seven.

I don't understand why people complain so much about season seven. I know season six receives a lot of criticism for being dark, but you also hear comments about Buffy being tired by its final season or failing to develop successfully upon 'Lessons' except for 'Chosen'.

Complete rubbish. Season seven balanced humor more effectively with drama to become less dark tonally than season six, whilst still being just as intelligent and dark thematically. The production values were high, and the long running fight against The First was incredible.

One of the best villains ever, simply because as well as controlling Turok-Han and Caleb, it could take on the appearance of dead people meaning it could be more manipulative than any previous foe. Plus, it was an amazing idea for it to be incorporeal so that it can't actually physically hurt people itself.

The relationship between Buffy and Spike was slower and more mature than their destructive relationship in season six. We got to see a lot of cool monsters like the worm from 'Beneath You', Gnarl and the Turok-Han. There were character-centric episodes like 'Selfless' and 'Storyteller' than delved into the past and viewpoints of Anya and Andrew in a hilarious, poignant and entertaining fashion.

There were new characters like Wood and the Potentials who we got to know and love. Season seven saw the return of Faith, Amy and Angel, and Giles featured more frequently than in season six. It had the energy and brightness of season one whilst developing all the characters we love.

What's gotta be wrong with that? (to paraphrase Dawn)

The only few faults I can see are that certain characters such as Xander were underused, but that had been happening for a while. All in all, I felt season seven improved upon season six in a lot of ways and ensured Buffy went out with a bang.
dashboardprophet, if you want to look at your previous posts have a look at your user profile. Though that only will feature your most recent posts.

So if you want to look further back, use Google and search for your name within Whedonesque (fortunately your name is very distinctive).

Et voila, we find your posts and people who have referenced you in their posts

And I have a feeling you may be thinking of this post.
Oh, now I can't get "Mack the Knife" out of my head. Oh well, there are worse things.

My sister-in-law, who considers herself bi-sexual, feels that sexuality is like a scale with totally straight on one end and totally gay on the other and the vast majority sprinkled at every point in between. It makes sense to me from what I have observed over the years. I guess "choice of sexuality" would be possible if one was somewhere in the middle ground. Speaking as someone definately way at one end, have to say, no real choice here. I would assume the other end would feel the same way.

My own take on Willow is that she is somewhere in the bisexual spectrum. The "gay now" comment struck my ear oddly when I heard it, but it made a lot of sense in context of the scene. She is trying to convince Annya she is not a threat to her relationship with Xander. It is a nice short uncomplicated way to do that, and for all practical purposes, while she is in a committed, exclusive, relationship with Tara, any attraction she may have towards men is irrelevent.

Is someone gay or straight depending on who they are sleeping with at that moment? Not to my mind. Some people I've known could have gotten sexual whiplash that way. ;-)
In retrospect, I've come to feel that BtVS launched itself over the shark in 'The Body,' somersaulted several times, and landed after 'The Gift.' Two amazing, heart-wrenching, brilliant episodes, neither of which was a ratings stunt, but which between them, ultimately destroyed the things I loved most about the show.

Buffy's death & resurection - combined with the loss of her mother - became the justification for turning my favorite quippy slayer into a whiny, mopey, self-centered, authoritarian bitca. The Scoobies as a group never recovered. Yeah, there were brilliant bits like OMWF, but thanks to the respective deaths of Joyce & Buffy, the show ultimately evolved into something I liked alright, but didn't love. YMMV.
Simon, thank you very much for sorting that out. My stupidity when it comes to anything even remotely technical knows no bounds.
It would be very difficult for me to identify Willow's lesbianism as "shark jumping" because Tara had such a deep impact on Buffy and the Scoobies - and because her death was handled with such brilliance. Tara's line, "You have something on your shirt" was delivered with such stunning brilliance, I've yet to recover.

Of course, after reading the Buffy Shark Jumping expose above, I'd have to completely agree - the best part of the show was its constant striving to bring something new and meaningful and avoid becoming stagnant.
This snippet of conversation between Willow and Kennedy seems relevant (copied from BuffyWorld):

KENNEDY
No. No, of course not. That wouldn't be any fun. The fun part is the process of—of getting to know a girl. It's like—it's like flirting in code. It's using body language and laughing at the right jokes and—and looking into her eyes and knowing she's still whispering to you, even when she's not saying a word. And that sense that if you can just touch her just once everything will be OK for both of you. That's how you can tell. (sits back, grins) Or if she's really hot, you just get her drunk—see if she comes on to you.

WILLOW
Three years ago. That's when I knew. And it wasn't women, it was woman. Just one.

KENNEDY
Lucky woman. (smiles)



I've always interpreted the "And it wasn't women, it was woman. Just one." part to mean that, for Willow, the focus was on the person and not the gender.

Forgot to vote: "never jumped the shark".

[ edited by dcubed on 2005-04-07 00:35 ]
*snort* The Herald Sun. That is the stupidest paper in existence. I had to read for school once and it nearly killed me. Everyone in it is so dumb. It's horrifying some of the things they write. And people actually read it. I have very strong issues over the Hereald Sun and therefore won't read this article. It's of no consequence.
Pssh. Damn them, I'm.. I'm.. mildly offended!

There were plenty of sucky parts in BtVS before Willow changed teams... everybody knows that. *tsk*

(*Mwahahahaaa* ;D )
Have just read the article in The Sydney Morning Herald over breakfast (paper, not screen). The whole piece is mainly asking whether Nicole Kidman is on the verge of 'jumping the shark'. At the end of the piece the author (high profile David Dale) states that he would 'like to hear *your* views on Kidman, and on other performers, programs and movies nearing their finish line'.

His address is ddale@fairfax.com.au

Now go and tell him that he obviously didn't watch Buffy because he doesn't understand the why of Tara/Willow.

[ edited by ditz on 2005-04-07 03:20 ]
I suppose when you look it with out knowing the backstory of the show, a straight character becoming a lesbian does seem a bit odd. But if they actually watched the show, they would realise it makes sense.

1) If they actually watched the world around them, and paid attention in real life, they would realize it makes sense.

2) Is sexuality a fluid thing for some people? Yes. Do some people choose their sexuality completely? Yes.

But anyone who assumes that Willow could not have been attracted to women and still been with Oz - and moreover, been mostly happy while with Oz - is so obviously straight that it's like discussing auto parts with a thespian.

To reiterate what has already been said once in this thread: Gay people exist. They're everywhere. All the time. You pass them on the streets, at work, in the supermarket. And you will go to your grave unaware of more than half the homosexuals you ever meet.

Gay people marry straight people. Gay people have children. They live a straight life and while they may know something is wrong, and that on a fundamental level it is a lie, and they're unhappy (or maybe it's a lie and they're perfectly content with it) it doesn't mean they have to love their respective spouse any less. And if their spouse can't tell that something's off, how the bloody hell can you?

3) And moreover? While everyone here seems to understand that one does not have to be gay to fall in love with somebody of the same gender, the reverse holds true - you don't have to be straight to fall in love with the opposite gender. People are not blocks. There's no pegs and holes here.

[ edited by Daromaius on 2005-04-07 03:08 ]
I never felt that Buffy jumped the shark, although it certainly had the opportunity to get close a couple of times. I think the whole loan-shark thing might have been an injoke about it. Angel wobbled a bit for me in Season Four after such a strong Season Three, but that was it.

Now, as to the Willow thing ... I always felt that she was bisexual. Willow liked people, not necessarily the plumbing. She still exhibits attraction to males after she and Tara get together. Plus, I can't imagine that full-on lesbians would be having sex dreams about Xander, even before they came out. Or, you know, being turned on by Dracula. As a person, she has been very one-way-or-the-other and has not been too comfortable with the grey areas in between anything (fairly common theme for all of the characters). She's always looked for a group to identify with ("I think I'm a groupie!") and eschewing Boys Town forever is still a lot more socially acceptable now than bisexuality, which suffers a lot of "you're either with us or you're against us" from both camps. Just my two cents.
Tara said "Your shirt," nothing more. As for S7, some love it and some loath it and never the twain shall meet. I did not like it for it diminished the roles of the people who made the show to focus on lesser entities such as Andrew, Wood and the various slayerettes. Willow's role was vastly diminished. IMHO.

As for Willow, who cares whether she was straight, then gay, bisexual, gay all along, or whatever. She was in love with a woman, period. Remember Joss' words "Bring your own subtext." There is no answer here, though I personally believe that in her desire to be accepted by the in-crowd, having a boyfriend who was also a guitarist was a good way to do just that. And many gays initially deny their feelings for various reasons. Technically, I guess if she slept with both sexes, she would be bi- but again, and after I said all that, it does not matter. Willow loved Tara as the love of her life and it was beautiful.
I think that once Willow discovered her sexuality, she was gay and not bisexual. I initally thought she was bisexual as well but they did attempt to do things in the show to insure that wasn't the case.

1. Joyce's comment to Willow and Tara about giving up on men altogether in Buffy/Dracula.
2. Willow noticing Warren's lovebot in "You Were Made to Love me".
3. The fact that she tried to turn RJ into a woman in "Him".

None of these are a big deal by themselves except for the third one, but there I think there was some attempt to make her gay and not bisexual. There was definitely conflict and indecision in "New Moon Rising", but were her feeling for Oz still romantic or was it a large mixture of feelings like joy, fear, guilt etc. that led to confusion over whom she wanted to be with.
I vote for never, EVER jumping the shark.

Welcome back, SNT.

Willow is what she is...a fictional character. Don't know if she's gay or bi, but damn, I love her. All is know is that she DID love Oz and Tara, as did I. I'm with Dana5140, there is no correct answer. It is as Joss said "Bring your own subtext."

Dashboardprophet, I went back to read your beautiful post. I too love season 7 (not as much as season 6, my favorite), and I like your views on the liberal femanism of the season. You brought up some interesting points that I have not thought of.
I always took "Jumping the Shark" to mean the point at which a show that someone felt was good became bad. And as much as it pains me to say it, I felt BUFFY jumped the shark with Season 6. But I don't think that they ressurected her was the point at which it happened but rather S6 as a whole (the storylines and the way they were written, the way they handled the characters, and the tone). Of course if thought OMWF was fantastic and Tabula Rasa was very strong. There are one or two enjoyable ones before OMWF but overall, I find S6 painful to watch. I thought 7 was better but not much.
Just my two cents.

Still, if there's a Spike or any other kind of Verse show, I'm there!
Willow to me comes across as bisexual more than total lesbian. That's just me though.
She did think Fred was hot that time she visited Angel.
Hmm, this morning's F/X rerun just started, and it's the episode where Oz returns. I'll be watching closely.

Oh, dude's email address is listed above!!! Crap. Now I must chastise him.
OK, here's what I told him: Not great but I have little time.

Um, RE: Willow on BtVS, you made some ludicrous accusations. She didn't "become" a lesbian. She is more accurately described as bisexual. Hints about her sexuality began to develop over a year before she "came out." Whedon always knew one of Buffy's friends would emerge as gay. To imply Willow was BtVS "jumping the shark" means that this was some cheap gimmick or plot development because the show had run its course. Sorry, but, you haven't a clue what you are talking about. We knew Willow leaned towards bisexuality in season three. She met Tara in season four, and they had a beautiful love story until season six. And no one "becomes" a lesbian or bisexual. People are or aren't. You might accuse Whedon of JTS had he promoted the episode with their first onscreen kiss, but he purposefully left it out of promos so their story could stand on it's own, not so people would tune in to see two hot girls kiss. Hmm, I think it was the OC that recently played that card. Not Buffy, not ever.

So, you didn't know much about Buffy the Vampire Slayer when you wrote your article, did you? How much reading about Buffy and Joss Whedon have you done? Ever visited discussions on plot developments within Buffy, or checked out scholarly research on Buffy/Whedon subjects at Slayage.tv? I can start by saying if you had done so, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Ahem, Buffy was modern television programming at it's best. Since Whedon is currently not creating tv shows, we likely won't see this type of quality programming ever again, or at least not anytime soon. I'm not writing just to exhalt Whedon's work, that's been done thousands of times already by thousands of others before me. I would suggest becoming more familiar with his work before including it in such silly lists. Such silly lists that you don't even know how to properly define the terms you use. And since Whedon is barely forty years old and you are in the entertainment world (even if all you do is rag on actresses such as Nicole Kidman), it would behoove you to study his work more closely before the negative commentary. You will be seeing much of his work in the future, and um, common petty arguments and criticisms don't apply to his work. His work on the small screen transcends the quality of most film today. Buffy cannot even be properly categorized as any one type of show, because Whedon is the master of genre mixing. Not because he tried it but because he perfected it beautifully, and no other creator I can think of has done this to date. His characters never stop growing, developing and transforming. This notion is key in writing and developing all the major storylines of all his shows. If Whedon feels a character's story has run its course, he kills them off, i.e., Joyce, Cordy, and Anya. The character of Tara was killed so Willow would be propelled to take a walk on the dark side. No other event could have triggered such a reaction from Willow. Furthermore, he didn't just make Willow "evil" for ratings, either. This was a demonstration of how incredibly strong her powers were, and this was needed for the developments of the final season 7.

[ edited by April on 2005-04-07 14:40 ]
OT: Watching The Yoko Factor. What ever happened to Willow and Tara's kitty???
April, we try not to call each other morons here and we also try not to call people outside our community morons. It's perfectly possible to write in and disagree with the author, or correct their mistakes without reverting to name-calling. If you want to write in to other sites that way, that's your choice, but please don't drag our site's name into it.
Sorry, Caroline, you are right.
April Miss Kitty Fantastico was accidently shot by Dawn with a bow and arrow. This is mentioned in season 7 during a converstion with Dawn and Xander when Xander is taking Dawn away in his car per Buffy's request.

JTS - Buffy never jumped.
Miss Kitty Fantastico does live on as a fan-created videogame, however.
We could combine the whole Willow, is she gay or bi-sexual thing with the genre discussion under the title,
"Labels: Useful Tool, Discussion Starter, or Evil Device to Divide and Manipulate? You Decide." ;-)
Logically, Willow whould have been bi. I think the need to use her as a gay icon pushed the writers into making her simply and irreversibly gay, which doesn't make a lot of sense with her history. Kind of like Sunneydale U ceased to become a community college and became increasingly elite as the writers used it as a free-floating symbol for the whole college experience. (This reached its absurd extremes in that scene in S5 where Buffy goes to class with Willow). It's just the nature of a show with a lot of metaphor that sometimes the symbology will trump the characters.

Does anyone else think of "jumping the shark" as deliberately taking on a cheesy-sounding premise? In that sense, I think the whole show jumped the shark, and did it brilliantly.
There seems to be a general mixing up of "a show changing" and genuine "jumping the shark". As Ed pointed out, "jumping the shark" comes from Happy Days, when Fonzie jumped over one on waterskis. Was this an example of a character changing, or the show changing dramatically? Not exactly. This was an example of the writers running out of ideas, basically, and when this happens the characters begin to parody themselves. Run out of storylines? Well then just have Fonzie jump over something. A fairly good modern example of this is The Simpsons, where the characters became mere shadows of their former selves long ago. They used to be real people, and now it's 'Hey, let's give Homer a new job! Hey, let's send the family off on a wacky adventure to another country! And look, here's where a famous person comes in and Homer says "D'oh"!'.

I'm a little bitter.

As for Buffy though, as Zach pointed out, there are many, many, many examples of it jumping the shark. Is Willow being a lesbian one of them? Not in my eyes. Season six, however, has a number of jumping the shark moments: (including a musical episode, a wedding episode, a major character leaving, etc). Is this the point where the show got bad? Not by any means, since season six is my favourite season. These are jumping the shark moments because this was the season where everyone became adults, and when that happens it's normally a big change in the focus of a show. I mean, a show starts, and it's about "kids in high school" or "hip 20-somethings in New York" or whatever, and when that ceases to be true, then that often marks a point where a show should end before it embarasses itself. Again though, I never felt that were the case with Buffy.

Did it jump the shark? Sure, it did it a load of times. But it was still awesome throughout. Hell, an argument could be made that the writers, while developing the characters, knew they were using Jumping The Shark moments and embraced it. Much in the same way as they heavily referenced Mary Sue's in 'Superstar'.
Ah HA! I think I finally have the right words to agree with a whole lot of the people here. (Nice journal entry Zachsmind.)

A big part of the definition of a show "jumping the shark" is the reason that the show does that particular thing. The reason can be boiled down to one word, desperation. Something cheap and out of character for the show is done out of desperation of one sort or another.

Although BtVS did most of the things that other shows did when those shows were jumping the shark, BtVS never did them out of desperation. BtVS did them because it was the next logical step, or the next experiment in a show that was by its nature an experiment or just because it was fun.

No desperation = no jumping any sharks.

BtVS was not a show about life in high school, it was a show about life. Most of its characters started out in high school, but they started growing and changing from day one. Change is a normal part of life. All the different things they did on the show were simply to be able to explore how people deal with the different aspects of life as they grow up.

Different audience members may not have liked the aspects that were examined in certain seasons, but those same explorations were the ones that spoke to other people the loudest. Whether or not you liked where the characters went, one should give the show its due. It took them there with commitment and for a purpose, never out of simple desperation.

Buffy did not jump the shark, it embrassed the shark and made it a recurring character that was established in the premise of the series.

[ edited by newcj (changed from cj to avoid confusion) on 2005-04-07 20:03 ]
I thought April presented her agument clearly and without name calling. In science, and in academia, this kind of polemical argument is commonplace, and we accept it as we try to tease out issues. While any one of us may have argued slightly differently, April did point out the deficiencies in the article. I do think it is pretty apparent that the person writing had little idea of the full gamut of buffy studies, buffy love and buffydemia that exists, or I think he would have not made that quick throwaway comment. But that's just me, and I am not a board mod. :-)

It is also interesting to see how the definition of jumping the shark is being transmuted from the first post to the last, wherein it has become an emblem of a show willing to take risks and shake up its audience. Which Buffy surely did. But I think we should take it back to what most people mean when they use the term- a program that became tired and resorted to stupid tricks to keep the audience. Buffy never did and therefore could never jump to begin with. I may not like S6 or S7, but there was truly compelling TV in there, which I watched anyway, even if I did not agree with the choices. I think that no show existing now grabs as much critical attention as Buffy does, and that is testament to how powerful it was, more than Angel, more than Star Trek, more than X-Files, more than Xena or West Wing or anything ever.
Some years ago there were a group of jugglers. Called themselves The Flaming Idiots. Gyro, Pyro, and Walter. Great guys. They originally came from Texas, but made their way to just off Broadway before they pulled the plug on their career as a threesome. They juggled with comedy, and purposefully dropped pins and balls and flaming torches on accident. Rather than try to be pristine perfect, the threesome embraced dropping and made it their trademark. They got to where they knew how to drop and make it look like a mistake, for comic effect - sometimes even dramatic effect to make the audience think things were more dangerous on stage than it was. They were in total control all the time, even and especially when it looked like they were not: making them the utmost professionals at their craft, though they appeared to be three flaming idiots on stage. Masters at the art of juggling. True artisans of their field of expertise.

You could say they failed on stage every time. They did so because they understood gravity is not something to fear or avoid, but rather something to accept as a natural inevitability of juggling. Metaphorically, shark jumping is for television what gravity is for juggling, and Joss Whedon is very good at juggling plot elements in storytelling. He knows his craft better than practically anyone else in the history of television. He embraced shark jumping, incorporating it into his work rather than fearing it or trying to avoid the inevitable.

Not sure if some people grasped what I'd been trying to say, multiple times already, about this topic. Buffy DID jump the shark. Repeatedly. Many times. When looking at the jumptheshark.com website and comparing it to Buffy's seven year run, the series fits the description of at least a dozen examples of shark jumping, including bringing a late addition to the family (Dawn), singing episodes (Once More With Feeling), The "I Do" phenomenon (Hell's Bells), and having a "very special episode" (too numerous to mention).

However, Buffy transcended the concept of shark jumping by purposefully incorporating it into its mission statement. Joss Whedon always utilizes trite plot devices and contrivances but does so in such a way as to turn those contrivances on their heel, and surprise the audience in ways that no show before or sense ever has.

Therefore, she jumped repeatedly, yet never did. She may be the only series who accomplished this to such a massive extent. It's one of the things that makes BtVS so historically significant in the history of television. I'm mildly concerned that this topic warrants over ninety responses. Everything that can be said about this topic has already been said, most of it while the series was still in first-run.
Dana5140 wrote -

I thought April presented her agument clearly and without name calling ...


To be fair to Caroline, i read April's post prior to Caroline's response and there has been a little editing done to it since then. I think April removed the offending paragraphs.

ZachsMind wrote -

I'm mildly concerned that this topic warrants over ninety responses. Everything that can be said about this topic has already been said, most of it while the series was still in first-run.


That may be the case but i would imagine that there are a number of people who are relatively new to either Buffy or the whole internet posting thing in general and who haven't been involved in discussing this topic before now. There will always be newcomers to the internet so when any topic comes up around here there are bound to be people who have never previously seen it and an equal amount who have seen it a hundred times before.

Besides, even in a old topic such as this there is always the chance that you will read a point of view that is new to you. Maybe not in this case but you never know.
I'm mildly concerned that this topic warrants over ninety responses. Everything that can be said about this topic has already been said, most of it while the series was still in first-run.

Maybe those who missed it first run are glad of the opportunity ;)
Heh. Ya, I did take out the final offensive paragraph. I said "moron". And a little reference to Whedonesque being a place for good current commentary, where I was not the only one who disagreed or something like that. Not that I called him a moron on behalf of Whedonesque but it could have been interpreted that way. So ya, sorry y'all.
And I am newer to Buffy than most. I moved to Japan in late summer 1997 and had no idea Buffy existed until a few years later, not that I was interested in watching anything associated with that silly movie. Began watching regularly a few years ago but really began to appreciate and explore the mythos about two years ago. Still learning every day as well. I know I'm not the only Buffyfan who's a late bloomer. I love this site; it's my homepage. There are other ok Whedon sites, but lots of good ones are not updated much anymore, you know how it is. Heck yes Grounded, I appreciate this forum.
How impressed am I that someone else in the world knows about The Flaming Idiots? I loved those guys.

In my personal, isolated world, Miss Kitty ran away when Glory tore the wall off Tara's room and the Scoobies pulled their big scaredy runaway. She was thereafter found by another nice young couple who loved her very much and made absolutely sure to take her with them when they joined the mass exodus of Sunnydale at the end of S7. Even now, she's eating meals of Fancy Feast from crystal goblets.

It's possible, see, because we only know that Dawn had an incident involving Miss Kitty and a crossbow. It could've just scared her, could've grazed her ear ... it doesn't automatically mean death. So ... so that's what happened. Yeah.

And Buffy never jumped the shark. kthxbye.
Wow, we have been busy now!!!
I think I'll email this guy who wrote the article and point him in this direction.

[ edited by nixygirl on 2005-04-08 04:04 ]
In my personal, isolated world, Clem ATE Kitty Fantastico in season six, after Dawnie ALMOST hit Kitty with the crossbow. Dawn just grazed her, but it was quite a scare for everybody. This is the real secret reason why Clem was hanging out with Spike and the Scoobies so much. He was casing Buffy's house waiting for his opportunity to strike. And they never figured it out. He got away scott free. That's my boy, Clem!

Nixygirl, when you do email that guy, be sure to tell him I said I'm smarter than he is, and throw a few childish and imbecilic "nyah nyahs" his way for me. *smirk*
Therefore, she jumped repeatedly, yet never did.

So succinct, ZM -- paradoxical yet true.

She did without doing; effortless kicking of ass over seven very-good-to-excellent seasons = Buffy Zen :)
YES! Buffy did jump the shark. Literally.
Last night I watched OMWF a few times and realized I hadn't seen Tabula Rasa, the next episode, but maybe once a long time ago. At the end of OMWF, Buffy and Spike kiss. Tabula Rasa introduces Sharky, a loan shark but who could have been any bad guy after Spike, and then Tabula Rasa ends up with Buffy and Spike kissing again. So, they jumped in OMWF and went sailing OVER Sharky, kissed again, and kept on flying. I TOTALLY think Joss did this on purpose, whilst simultaneously preparing for the Spuffy backlash.
If you don't believe me, watch OMWF and Tabula Rasa. It's all right there. What better way to advance the Spuffy plot, than to have the mortal enemies of 4 years totally end up in each others' arms? The plotline is a typical JTSer, 'cept Joss kept it from ever being lame.

[ edited by April on 2005-04-08 17:29 ]
Hey ZM, I totally wrote that guy, but I missed your comments. Hopefully he'll click on the link I put in my email and come see for himself how very smart you are. Heh heh.
I don't know if this should be posted here or start a new thread, but the Herald posted a story with the responses to the article: Readers Weigh In

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