Today, we look at when (or if) you folks believe that Charles in Charge “jumped the shark.”
This is “Just Can’t Jump It,” a feature where we examine shows and whether they “jumped the shark.” Jumped the shark (coined by Jon Hein) means that the show had a specific point in time where, in retrospect, you realize that show was going downhill from there (even if, in some rare occasions, the show later course-corrected). Not every show DOES jump the shark. Some shows just remain good all the way through. And some shows are terrible all the way through. What we’re looking for are moments where a show that you otherwise enjoyed hit a point where it took a noticeable nose dive after that time and if so, what moment was that?
Charles in Charge was one of those 1980s-era sitcoms where the show was canceled pretty quickly as a network TV show, but then picked up as a first-run syndication show, with the series taking a break after its first network season in 1984-85 to launch a new syndicated version of the show in 1987 that ran for four more seasons. The show starred Scott Baio (who the rest of the cast has made some pretty gross allegations against in terms of how he treated the young actors on the show), who played a college student who was a live-in family for the Pembrokes in the first season, and then the Powells from the second through the fifth and final seasons. His best friend, Buddy (Willie Aames) was a constant presence on the show.
So first…DID IT JUMP THE SHARK? I’d say so, yes.
WHEN DID IT JUMP THE SHARK The show had a downright subdued first season, and when the show picked up, it was still close in style to the first season, a sort of gentle family comedy. As the series progressed, though, the nuance was slowly drained from the show, and by Season 4, it was getting more and more broad. I would say the shark-jumping moment was the Season 4 episode where Charles gets hit on the head and takes on an alternate personality of the sleazy “Chaz.” You don’t really come back from a plot like that.
Let me know what you think in the comments or on social media!
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com for suggestions for shows to do in future installments!