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Hooniverse Asks- What Car has Totally Jumped the Shark?

Robert Emslie October 4, 2013 Hooniverse Asks


Ben Franklin once opined that both fish and houseguests begin to stink up the joint after three days. Likewise, it has long been held that some TV shows wear out their welcome – or at least run out of raison d vivre – long before going off the air. This of course is known as ‘jumping the shark’ which is a reference to an episode of the nostalgia comedy Happy Days, in which Henry Winkler’s character, Fonzi, literally jumped a shark. This was evidence that the writers just didn’t have anything more to say with these characters, and unfortunately the show ran for a number of years after the fact, and even birthed itself a terrible spinoff.

At least it managed to introduce a handy phrase into our collective lexicon. Today anything of which you have grown can be said to have ‘jumped the shark.’ It can even be applied to people, and I think that there are a few of us who feel that the daughter of the Achy Breaky Hair singer achieved the big fish leap when she recently embarrassed herself and a nation on the MTV Video Awards. Even films can jump the shark, some before they reach the theater. I’m sure you don’t remember the ad campaign for the turd that was the Godzilla reboot, but its shark was actually a vinyl wrapped bus with the words, HIS FOOT IS AS LONG AS THIS BUS on it.

With many model names lasting for decades, it’s not surprising that even cars and trucks can eventually wear out their welcome, especially if a particularly insipid model is released on an unwelcoming public. Consider cars like Porsche’s Cayenne, or Toyota’s Corolla, was it perhaps time to pack up and move on with these models years ago – you know, before they started embarrassing themselves? What do you think, is there a car or truck that has, in your mind, jumped the shark?

Image source: WhatCanILearnToday

Currently there are "115 comments" on this Article:

  1. fodder650 says:

    The Hyundai Tiburon of course. Duh. Just need a couple ramps to accomplish this though.

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/2005%E2%80%932007_Hyundai_Tiburon_%28GK%29_V6_coupe.jpg&quot; width=500 />

  2. muthalovin says:

    Not a car, in particular, but a design: Modern Retro. Thankfully, it appears to be fading fairly quickly.

  3. I Think Not says:

    "Ohmygod, please don't leave me. I can lose weight, I SWEAR. I'll learn how make you feel like you used to — like a muthafuggin' hero of the universe — not like the fat, balding middle-aged divorcee with no job security and kids who hate him that you actually are. PLEASE LOVE ME! I can do better!"

    <img src="http://demo.premopress.com/wpautomall/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/2010_camaro_prod.jpg&quot; width="700px">

    • JayP2112 says:

      I was never a fan of the Camaro but the Z/28 kicks ass.

    • Alcology says:

      Black is very slimming on these. One of my parents friend's bought a zl1 in black. I am not a fan of these at all, but dang if that car isn't full of stars.

      • Tanshanomi says:

        Just this morning on my way into work, a black Camaro was in front of me at a stoplight as a silver 1st-gen SC400 pulled up next to it a lane over. Comparing them side-by-side, I couldn't help but feel like the nearly two-decades-old Lexus was clearly the sexier, more elegant, less dated of the two.

  4. JayP2112 says:

    Everyone who wanted one has one and that market is flush with cheap, real cars.

    Close second- Scion iQ

  5. octavspot says:

    For a "car" that banks its success entirely on its ostentatiousness and air of luxury, the Cadillac Escalade:

    <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/12/27/08/14/2008_cadillac_escalade_awd-pic-2473835392558349861.jpeg"&gt;

    No offence to any owners out there, but the Escalade should've died long ago – nearly everything about it is unnecessary – but hey, to each is own.

    Funny, people always gasp in surprise when I tell them it's actually a glorified Chevy Tahoe underneath…

    • Number_Six says:

      I don't think a vehicle that was shit from the starting blocks qualifies as having jumped the shark. The idea is more that it was good once but now it's a monstrosity. Like the BMW M5.

      • octavspot says:

        I kind of like the current M5, it's more restrained in terms of style (at least, compared to its exaggerated, V10-powered predecessor) – what kills the new one for me as well however, is that it feeds noise from the exhaust system into the cabin through the car's audio speakers – which, methinks, is blasphemous.

      • Maymar says:

        My affection for the GMT900 Escalades is my secret shame. It's actually a rather nice truck (albeit with a few cheap touches), that I just would be embarrassed to be seen in. Which really means I want a Tahoe/Suburban, but either way, the Escalade is shockingly not terrible, its moment has just passed.

  6. Tanshanomi says:

    <img src="http://bycarinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Lamborghini-Has-Releases-2013-Lamborghini-Gallardo-LP-560-4-Full-Details-11.jpg&quot; width="500">
    I hope I don't offend the faithful, but just about any Lamborghini. They went from rockstar war heroes to cartoon super heroes long ago.

    • Andrew says:

      Personally, I've always enjoyed the Gallardo's mix of old-school intractibility and modern capability. The steering's very heavy, the brakes are dead until they get hot, the manual is more "clang" than "click", and none of the buttons do what you think they do. It's a car that you have to build a rapport with to go fast, but once you do… it flies.

      The Murcielago was much the same way… sadly, it's gone. I want to love the Aventador, but the fact that everyone talks about how easy it is to drive suggests I won't…

      • Really? I've heard that the Aventador actually has some handling problems that need to be worked out, at least the ones that they are shipping to the states. Supposedly they're a couple hundred pounds heavier than what Europe gets and they have a brake fade problem. I hope they work it out as I'm a long time fan of the brand.

  7. Tanshanomi says:

    Honorable Mention: Taurus SHO. You tried to bring it back, you missed the mark badly, just let it go…

    <img src="http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/fDT3VJL8Q-s/maxresdefault.jpg&quot; width="500">

    • JayP2112 says:

      My son still shouts at the SHOW commercials- S-H-O!!
      Personally- I hope this car tanks… so I can get one on the cheap in a few years.

    • McQueen says:

      You shut your filthy mouth, I bought my wife a 2012 SHO and we absolutely love it. Plain and simple best car I've ever owned.

  8. Garland137 says:

    The entire Mini brand. I mean, seriously:
    <img src="http://www.autopictu.com/images/mini-countryman-cooper-s-04.jpg&quot; width="600">
    They took a car that was all about being small (hence the name "Mini") and turned into an entire range of bloated cars that get bigger and more irrelevant. The base Mini gets bigger with each iteration, and they're always adding some kind of variant. Even the Mini Coupe, which has a sportier profile and is a strict two-seater, managed to be heavier than the car it was based on.

  9. The Galant has jumped the shark so badly that, even after being discontinued, the 2012 model is still on their website. I'm guessing that means there's still a lot of them sitting on dealer lots. You know, about seven years ago, I was really wanting a different job and so I trained to sell cars and if I had stayed with it, I would have ended up selling these at a Mitsubishi dealership.

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e1/2009_Mitsubishi_Galant_–_NHTSA.jpg/800px-2009_Mitsubishi_Galant_–_NHTSA.jpg&quot; width="600">

    • Maymar says:

      Hey now, the auto industry jumped the shark some time around '72 or '73, and the Mustang just had the bad fortune to exist at that time.

      • I don't disagree with you there but I'm taking the definition of JTS from wikipedia and my own history of listening to Jon Hein on The Howard Stern Show:

        Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery, which is usually a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of "gimmick" in a desperate attempt to keep viewers' interest.

        The launch of the Pintostang, while clearly appropriate for the time, was a defining moment. All sporting pretensions were removed and generally assumed to be beyond recovery. The Mustang had jumped the shark. It continued to remain popular, as did Happy Days, but you just had that feeling that it would never be the same car you knew and loved.

        Obviously this turned out to be a good thing as it eventually jumped back (IMHO with the Fox) while most other nameplates either faded into oblivion or had to wait to be completely re-born. On a side note, personally, I wouldn't characterize a disappointing re-birth as jumping the shark. That sounds more like a sequel that doesn't live up to the original. But that might just be me. Some have even said that the term JTS jumped when people started using it as a term for a general decline.

        At any rate, as a die hard Mustang fan, I hold my head up high and say it jumped, and lived to jump back!

  10. Tanshanomi says:

    In related news, the other day I happened to see a fairly nice Corolla E-70 sedan (82-83?) on the road. Relative to the bloaty cars of today, it was really trim, and kinda sweet.

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/Toyota_Corolla_E70_New_Square_1981.jpg/320px-Toyota_Corolla_E70_New_Square_1981.jpg"&gt;

  11. Devin says:

    Scion xB, from nifty little box thing tho whatever this is:

    <img src="http://www.driving.ca/research-car/roadtest/cms/binary/3659315.jpg"&gt;

  12. DemonXanth says:

    Sadly,the Dakota jumped the shark in 2005 and the Durango in 2004. Both had to be put down due to their injuries that included hitting every branch on the ugly tree on the way down from the top.

    • ptschett says:

      I have to disagree WRT the Dakota… but, I happen to own an '05 and still like looking at it

      I'll grant that the preceding model was one of the best-looking products of the late-'90's jellybean-styling era. But, I like vehicles with some edges… I didn't like much that came out between about '95 and the New Edge Fords that came out toward the end of the '90's.

  13. SSurfer321 says:

    :Puts on flamesuit:

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/54/Zonda_R_Front_1.jpg&quot; ,="" width="500/">
    Pagani said they killed it. They keep making new special editions.

    IMG from wikimedia

    • skitter says:

      That's code for we-tell-our-customers-it's-exclusive-but-anyone-who-writes-a-big-enough-check-can-have-one-and-we've-only-built-60-or-so-anyway-in-the-last-14-years.

    • Garland137 says:

      Just like the Veyron.

      That's it, we're done! Nope, here's a special edition that costs $100k more and has gaudier paint! Wait, here's another edition that costs $150k more and adds gaudier wheels! But wait, here's the ultimate edition that has all that plus extra winglets! And a keychain! For only $200k more than the price of the regular Veyron that we supposedly stopped making years ago!

  14. Carter says:

    The Jeep Cherokee.

  15. Sjalabais says:

    The entire Volkswagen lineup:

    <img src="http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/8008/ekb5.png&quot; width="600">

    It is such a ripe and cultivated design, I can hardly tell the difference between the last couple of Passat's and Golf's anymore. The Passat CC is beautiful though, and as a member of the "simple Volvo's are the pride of creation"-group, I am actually starting to appreciate it.

  16. jeepjeff says:

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6e/CVC2012aaa.jpg/800px-CVC2012aaa.jpg&quot; width=500>

    It's a pretty competent mid-size, and while it's still pretty agile and reasonably snappy, no one is even trying to claim they built a 12 second drag car out of one. It is no longer the light, small, agile car the import tuners loved.

    • Scandinavian Flick ★ says:

      This was going to be my answer. I think they jumped the shark with the Civic when it became the new Accord, and they had to introduce the Fit so they could still have a small car in their lineup.

  17. Van_Sarockin says:

    I'd like to nominate an entire class of vehicles: the Fat Wagon, umm, er, I mean the SUV.

  18. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq says:

    <img src="http://www.tuning.bg/public/upload/gallery/extended/330px/195516123eda272b9b72d31c83718e7b.jpg"&gt; I'm almost saabing just thinking about it.

  19. BobWellington says:

    <img src="http://www.easternews.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Ford-Explorer-2011.jpg&quot; width="600">

    My mom owns one. It's a perfectly decent vehicle in many ways, but it's infuriating in others. Just sit inside one and you'll understand. The car is so wide you can't rest your arms on the door. The center console is too low to rest your right arm on once you have the seat up high enough (the seats are too low in this car). The dash just looks huge and fat. The visibility sucks all around. It's hard to know where the corners are, even for an SUV/crossover type vehicle. It feels like you're in a cocoon. The door sills are too high.

    The Explorer was supposed to be an SUV, but this is just a FWD crossover. Seriously, why would you make a 4600 pound SUV/crossover FWD? That is just dumb. It also looks fat from the front, and it has a little air foil or whatever on the front that scrapes on curbs and sidewalks and makes terrible noises. It's also hard to get into for an SUV/crossover since the floor is lower than the sides that you have to step over getting in. I've got the previous gen Explorer and it has none of these problems, and it has a really good turning radius (random, but I like pointing that out).

    /rant over

  20. Rover1 says:

    Citroen….Before,(and apparently how it is remembered in North America).
    <img src="http://farm8.static.flickr.com/7180/6992057238_198651c3c0.jpg"width="300"&gt;
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Citroen_CX_2400_GTI_1978.jpg"width="300"&gt;
    <img src="http://worldcarslist.com/images/citroen/citroen-xm-v6/citroen-xm-v6-06.jpg"width="300"&gt;
    <img src="http://www.carstyling.ru/resources/classic/1982-86_Citroen_BX_15.jpg"width="300"&gt;

    And now as Citroen actually is, mechanically prosaic, but stuffed full of little surprise and delight features, and now with a poor dynamic balance. Just like Japaneses cars used to be, but aren't anymore.And some current Citroens are just rebadged Japanese cars
    <img src="http://www.topgear.com/uk/assets/cms/54069d5d-f5e7-4cd8-a687-7bd5c69f6442
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Citro%C3%ABn_C4_Aircross_02_China_2012-06-02.JPG/800px-Citro%C3%ABn_C4_Aircross_02_China_2012-06-02.JPG
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b7/Citro%C3%ABn_C4_HDi_110_Tendance_%28II%29_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_11._April_2011%2C_D%C3%BCsseldorf.jpg/800px-Citro%C3%ABn_C4_HDi_110_Tendance_%28II%29_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_11._April_2011%2C_D%C3%BCsseldorf.jpg"width="300"&gt;
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/83/Citro%C3%ABn_DS4_HDi_165_SportChic_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_4._Juni_2011%2C_W%C3%BClfrath.jpg/800px-Citro%C3%ABn_DS4_HDi_165_SportChic_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_4._Juni_2011%2C_W%C3%BClfrath.jpg"width="300"&gt;
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/cf/Citro%C3%ABn_DS5_HDi_165_SoChic_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_3._M%C3%A4rz_2012%2C_D%C3%BCsseldorf.jpg/800px-Citro%C3%ABn_DS5_HDi_165_SoChic_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht%2C_3._M%C3%A4rz_2012%2C_D%C3%BCsseldorf.jpg"width="300"&gt;

  21. Zzoott Zzootticus says:

    So, this is pretty obvious: http://bit.ly/18P6Exf – and then, there's the actual original, announcing it before Fonzie ever did it: http://bit.ly/18P6Exf at 9:40 or so.

  22. Zzoott Zzootticus says:

    Sorry, that second reference should have been http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3j-SOiNtq1k

  23. SeanW says:

    I have to say the Suzuki X90. It's the poster child for going too far trying to create a new segment. Let's make a car for short people with no friends who like to off-road, but not too far off road, who never carry luggage and have no sense of style or need to be anywhere in a hurry.


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