If it wasn't for the Hudson Valley, TV's most iconic moment likely would have never happened.

While listening to a recent interview, I was shocked to learn the local area is to blame for arguably the most iconic moment in television history.

What Is Jump The Shark?

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TV's most iconic moment is certainly up for debate. But I argue that the Jump The Shark moment is one of the most iconic, if not the most.

I've polled friends and family recently and most know what Jump The Shark means. I asked my brother and he grumpily replied, "Of course, I wasn't born yesterday!"

If you don't know what it means, Jump The Shark or Jumping The Shark is a term used when a long-running series changes in a significant manner and is never as good again.

Wikipedia describes it as:

The idiom "jumping the shark" or "jump the shark" is a pejorative that is used to argue that a creative work or entity has reached a point in which it has exhausted its core intent and is introducing new ideas that are discordant with, or an extreme exaggeration of, its original purpose.

While Urban Dictionary States:

The beginning of the end. Something is said to have "jumped the shark" when it has reached its peak and begun a downhill slide to mediocrity or oblivion.

Where Did It Come From?

Garry Marshall Theatre's 3rd Annual Founder's Gala Honoring Original "Happy Days" Cast
Getty Images

Jump The Shark originated from the hit sitcom Happy Days. In season 5, episode 3, called "Hollywood Part 3," Fonzie literally (you'll see this word again) jumped over a shark!

"Fonzie, dressed in his trademark leather jacket, literally jumps over a shark while on waterskis — a sharp break from the show's previous focus on everyday American life in the 1950s," TV Tropes states.

The moment helped create a website JumpTheShark.com, which highlighted when other shows fell off. (The website is no longer online)

Fonzie was (of course) played by Henry Winkler. The stunt was written into a script to showcase Winkler's real-life waterskiing skills.

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Winkler says he loved his time growing up in Mahopac and misses the area.

"I miss Mahopac," Winkler tweeted in 2017 in response to someone finding his name written on a book shelve at Lakeview Elementary School in Mahopac.

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Turns out, Winkler's dad really wanted him to tell Happy Days creator Garry Marshall that Henry knew how to waterski.

2014 Writers Guild Awards L.A. Ceremony - Inside
Alberto E. Rodriguez

"My father kept telling me to tell Garry Marshall that I waterskied," the actor told Yahoo. "I said to Garry, 'My father wants you to know I waterski. Next thing I know, I'm waterskiing!"

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So there you have it, the Hudson Valley is to blame for Fonzie Jumping The Shark!

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