Today, we look at when (or if) you folks believe that Life Goes On “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?
Life Goes On was an acclaimed drama series that starred Patti Lupone and Bill Smitrovich as Libby and Drew Thatcher, a suburban couple who have three kids together, as well as Drew’s oldest daughter, who he had with his first wife. The show is best known for three things. One, Libby and Drew’s oldest child, Corky Thatcher (Chris Burke) had Down Syndrome, which was a big deal for a TV show to tackle at the time, two, the show launched the career of Kellie Martin, the youngest daughter, Becca, and finally, Becca’s boyfriend, Jessie (Chad Lowe), had HIV, which was also obviously a big deal for a show to tackle at the time.
So first…DID IT JUMP THE SHARK? I don’t think so.
WHEN DID IT JUMP THE SHARK Honestly, I think Life Goes On probably got BETTER as the show went on, as Kellie Martin was obviously a really good young actor, and so the more the show focused on her and as she grew older, the show got better than its earlier seasons. The rest of the case was solid, but Martin’s improvement, and the introduction and steady increase in Lowe’s role on the show in Season 3 was a notable step forward. What’s interesting is that they even had a moment that you could look at as a normal shark-jumping moment where they kill off Becca’s first boyfriend, Tyler, in a car accident at the end of Season 3…
But I think they handled it pretty well, all things considered.
Let me know what you think in the comments or on social media!
Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions for shows to do in future installments!