"Shark bait" in entertainment


By “Shark Bait”, I mean events that make you think a good show/movie/TV show is going to start sucking now.* Maybe you’ll stick around because you think the show is good and can survive this. Maybe it does, or maybe it doesn’t. Point is, what are the basic things that make you think a “jump the shark” moment is right around the corner?

*“General Jump the Shark moments” was too long and too vague.

For me:
-Whenever a kid is introduced as a main character (that wasn’t a main character before). I’m talking every genre. Thing is, it can work even if the show already has kid characters. I stopped watching Rugrats sometime after Dil was born.

I had more, but I actually forgot them.


That killed Power Rangers for me - real talk.

Sent from my thumbs, using SRK technology.


Dexter, when you find out the killer also has a dark passenger before the main character even does, but they still try to make it out to be a huge revalation.


I recently re-watched a Married with Children marathon. I didn’t notice this back when I watched and loved the show as a kid, but the episodes with Seven weren’t the greatest. Didn’t absolutely suck, but still a noticeable downturn.


Generally speaking more characters is almost always an indication of bad things to come. Usually new characters are there to add something “fresh” to the series, or appeal to some demographic that the TV execs think needs to be hit. When this happens it usually isn’t a good thing because the writers have to try and bend the narrative where it wasn’t supposed to go. There are of course exceptions to this such as when these new characters are planned as part of the plot way ahead of time, but if you’re attentive enough you can almost always tell the difference. This is especially true when they’re a hardcore foil for the protagonist. It’s like “Oh I get it you’re the person we’re supposed to be interested enough to hate now… yeah ok.”


I see what you guys mean, example that stands out most for me is Big Bang Theory.

Past season has been like an awkward version of Friends, all the girls hang out together and all the guys hang out together and some sort of situation ties them together. The show’s foundation is the Sheldon-Leonard relationship, and while the show has attempted to focus on it recently, I don’t feel as wowed as in the beginning.


One single shy annoying girl and its done. Speaking of anime.


Anytime there’s a show with a male and female lead that have a platonic/adversarial relationship in the beginning and they wind up hooking up later in the series… always a death knell.

That and the Flanderization of recurring characters… Yes Steve Urkel was a good addition to Family Matters, but when his character became a one-dimensional knock-off, the whole show went to shit.


The Cousin Oliver, Flanderization, and resolution of UST are taken, so I’ll go with the We Want Our Jerk Back trope, in which the jerkass character of the cast is gradually softened until he or she bears no resemblance to the cutting wit and bad attitude that made the character so interesting in the first place.


April and Ron from Parks and Rec
Michael (sort of) from The Office
Jeff from Community, which hasn’t actually happened, but the show has flirted with it


True that. It happened on Psych when Shawn and Jules tied the knot. Also:

Grissom leaving CSI - Fishburne did pretty good, but it wasn’t the same.

TMNT Fast Forward - yea.

Season 1, Episode 5 of The Boondocks - The one about Tom’s fear of getting raped in prison. Since then, I figured every season would have at least one episode with gay overtones. The very following episode was even more uncomfortable to watch toward the end. I’m starting to think the writers have a thing for that stuff.

Robot Chicken - when they did the Star Wars parody and countless gags of dead people charading around as live ones.

Tekken - T5. Asuka & friends come along and revamp the series’ image for the worse. When your favourite Tekken character hasn’t been around for more than a decade, that tells you something.

The Rugrats Go to Paris - Like Chris Rock said in his comedy act: “Another kid?!?!”

Game Maker program getting licensed by YoYo Games - Way to commercialize a freeware product. Why is it that more and more features become shareware with each update?


The moment TNA brought in Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff to lead their creative direction. The company was doing well before these jackasses ruined everything. I bailed on TNA for almost two years.

When I see Daniel Way’s name on a comic. I’m guaranteed decompressed stories where nothing happens for several issues, tons of talking heads and having the written character being taken several steps back in terms of characterization. He’s usually in for the long haul.

Any anime/manga where the male lead slowly forms a harem. Don’t have the patience to watch a teenage boy being afraid of pussy each time it’s thrown at him. It’s not enjoyable by any means and beyond ridiculous.


Good thing bringing up Rugrats…I hate when shows add a “baby” to the cast. I feel Fairly Odd Parents took a dive after the introduction of Poof.

Ignoring character growth. I liked the “slightly more mature” Ben in Alien Force, then for some reason they decided to amplify his brattiness back to the old original Ben 10 levels in Ultimate Alien. It doesn’t seem like it’ll get any better in Omniverse (Especially since D. McDuffie isn’t overlooking the series anymore :(). He’ll go through a life/outlook changing situation in one episode, then it’s like everything learned from it is tossed out the window the next episode.