Barack Obama’s “slow-jamming the news” last night on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” has some Americans wondering if the president has now “jumped the shark,” that is to say, gone over the top to ensure his demise.
A woman from Fortuna, Calif., called Rush Limbaugh’s top-rated radio show today to make the observation.
“I don’t watch Jimmy Fallon but I saw excerpts on one of the programs that we do watch, and my skin started to crawl,” said the caller, named Denise. “And all I could equate that with was the Bill Clinton moment when they asked him, ‘Boxers or briefs?’ And I thought, ‘Oh, my God this president has jumped the shark!’ This may very well have been his moment, his low moment.”
The phrase “jumping the shark” originated with one of the final episodes of the 1970s show “Happy Days.”
The program featured actor Henry Winkler, who portrayed the motorcycle-riding “Fonzie” character, in a water-skiing jump over a shark, all the while clad in his signature leather jacket. (Scroll down to watch the video of the episode.)
Fans of the show were instantly turned off, and it spelled the demise of the once hugely popular series.
Denise elaborated on her reaction, saying, “When the president did that, the only thing I could think of … the picture that I saw with Fallon in the foreground and the president in the middle, and then I guess the band was behind him and it was all dark and everything, would have been better if there had been a billowing of smoke and a big cigarette hanging out of his mouth. It was truly, truly nauseating.”
Limbaugh said it might be too early to say Obama jumped the shark in this case.
“I have a lot of e-mails from people who have [Denise’s] reaction. But I don’t want to make too much of the e-mails in terms of anecdotal analysis. I never do that, but I would never assume the whole country is having the same reaction that people e-mailing me are having … . On TV, people remember what they see. There’s no question. But again, we have to look at where our culture is, and to a lot of people, Obama is not even ‘the president.’ He’s just the biggest celebrity in the country, and that’s cool.
“I mean, the whole concept of the presidency for a lot of young people is not some august, serious, highly respected, most-respected office. It’s the most powerful, but he’s the biggest celebrity of the United States, even more so than he is president of the United States. I mean, you can go all over Twitter today and read the people out there who thought the slow-jamming was great, because it’s new. ‘We’ve never seen a president do it before! It’s hip. He’s like us! He can relate to us.’ There are people that have that reaction to it, too. I mean that’s where we are culturally.”
Some positive comments on YouTube include:
- “I love my president. LOL. This was sooo freaking funny. I cried. lol.”
- “I am not an Obama Administration fan and could say a lot about the situation, who created it and the assorted problems, impacts and issues with all of this, but, frankly, I think that reaching out to a segment of the population in their own style is really a pretty cool thing to do, even if it has a silly edge. Very American and pretty darn cute. Gotta give some credit for style here!”