You’ve all heard the phrase “jump the shark,” right? If not, it’s a reference to an episode of Happy Days, later in its run, when the Fonz (Henry Winkler) jumped over a shark on water skis.
This scene is often referred to when people discuss when Happy Days got bad. Badder than it normally was. Let’s face it, it was never Emmy material.
Much like with Happy Days, the phrase “jump the shark” has come to be used to describe when a TV series has gotten bad. But it has also extended beyond TV to other media like movie series, book series, and anything else that is rather “long in the tooth,” as it were.
I’m here today to posit what may be a rather unpopular opinion... one in which the resurgence of vinyl records has similarly jumped the shark.
Vinyl record albums were popular for decades until they were first upended by cassettes (I argue that 8-tracks did nothing to vinyl’s market share) and then shut in their coffin by compact disc.
Their resurgence began in the mid- to late-90s because the grunge and alternative music of the era really sounded damn good on vinyl. But I wouldn’t say it was highly popular. Still very niche.
It hit a head of steam, though, in the mid- to late-00s. You could get vinyl in more standard stores, get new music pressed on vinyl, and buy record players and turntables in electronics shops and online. Even replacement parts!
Then the 20-teens hit and vinyl started appearing in places like Barnes & Noble and Target and Walmart and lord only knows where else. But enough to make me not care and worry about the quality of what’s being mass produced.
Didn't matter as I gave up on vinyl around 2004 when my turntable (that my brother bought me back in 1996 or 97) died and I decided not to replace it.
But, seriously, the media is everywhere now and that’s so odd because every brick and mortar store seemed to have given up on physical media music about 10 years ago. To see some again, and an old format to boot, is just strange. And everyone wants some. Everyone. Kids today don’t know cassettes or 8-tracks and likely barely know CDs, but they’re collecting records.
[image from Chernobog’s Blog]
So, yeah, to me, at least, vinyl records have jumped the shark.
And, c’mon, how the heck did the entire gang from Happy Days (set in Milwaukee, WI) all wind up on vacation together somewhere there is a beach with a shark that doesn’t ever leave a weak pen to chase Fonzie? Such malarkey.