We all know the origins of the phrase “jump the shark”, right? If not, here’s a refresher: on the show Happy Days, super cool Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. The Fonz/Fonzie, was threatened…? No, that’s not the word. I don’t know. Someone implied that The Fonz wasn’t “brave” or “tough”, whatever that means. So Fonzie was like “Oh, yeah?? I’ll show you. I’ll water ski and jump over a shark! That will prove I’m brave!” I’m not sure that shows that you’re brave — jumping over a shark, on water skis — and in his trademark leather jacket. Now, why would TV show writers make Fonzie jump a shark on water skis? The Fonz isn’t known for water skiing. He’s a tough guy who rides a motorcycle. The Fonz would have been better off jumping things on his motorcycle than water skiing. “Why didn’t they have him do a motorcycle jump?”, you ask? Well, because he did that already. More on that later…
If there’s anything that food loving citizens of Columbus love, it’s a food trend. Once a food trend hits this city, it hits hard, meaning everyone wants to get in on it. Remember when food trucks were a rare sight? These days you can’t drive a couple miles without running into one somewhere [if that somewhere isn’t Clintonville. “NO FOOD TRUCKS IN CLINTONVILLE, OR THEY’LL TAKE AWAY SALES FROM MCDONALD’S!”, decreed someone. And it was so]. Or how about sliders? Remember when the term “slider” only referred to White Castle [or maybe Krystal if you’re not from around here]? These days, I bet every restaurant in town has a slider on the menu. And with good reason, I suppose, as this statement from the Wikipedia entry for “slider” indicates:
Sliders can be served as an hors d’oeuvre/appetizer, amuse-bouche, or entrée.
A SLIDER CAN BE AN AMUSE-BOUCHE, PEOPLE.
This summer, it was hard to NOT run into someone selling, talking about, making “sliders” out of, or eating fried chicken. Fried chicken with waffles. Fried chicken with biscuits. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes. Fried chicken and waffle sliders [hitting two trends with one stone]. Fried chicken with macaroni and cheese. Hot fried chicken with macaroni and cheese. Fried chicken and cole slaw. Fried chicken with white bread. Fried chicken with fries. Fried chicken from a truck. Fried chicken from a bar. Fried chicken from some window in a building. Fried chicken fried chicken fried chicken. It was everywhere this summer. And it’s weird, because, well, fried chicken isn’t a new food. It’s not like the Cronut™ or anything. It’s something restaurants in the area have served for years. But now, for some reason, everyone is getting into the picture…including Rogue Bakery.
Rogue Bakery is introducing the limited edition Chicken Dinner Box. Available for both local delivery and mail order, it has all the things you might enjoy in some hip, new-to-the-scene fried chicken place…but in cookie form:
Fried Chicken cookie: a cookie that tastes like fried chicken. After the cookies are baked, they spend a bit of time in a skillet getting fried, like actual fried chicken!
Buttermilk Ranch cookie: last year’s cookie that was last seen on ABC’s The Chew has been ranchified [yes, that’s a word] with the addition of tangy buttermilk. Much like ranch dressing is a perfect condiment for fried chicken, the Buttermilk Ranch cookie is a perfect partner to the Fried Chicken cookie.
Grilled Sweet Corn cookie: all the deliciousness of grilled Ohio sweet corn, but without the need for those corn holder things…or floss.
And for a limited time only, those first lucky people ordering the Chicken Dinner Box will also get dessert: four Key Lime Pie cookies. They’re sweet, and tart, and rolled in graham cracker crumbs.
Why is Rogue Bakery making this weird bunch of cookies? We’re doing it for the same reason that the writers of Happy Days had Fonzie jump the shark. From the Wikipedia entry for “jumping the shark”:
Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality, signaled by a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of “gimmick” in an attempt to keep viewers’ interest.
I find that people who use the expression in that way weren’t real fans of Happy Days. During the season of that episode, Happy Days ratings were actually NOT in decline. In fact, when the shark-jumping episode first aired, Happy Days was the second most watched television show in the country. And it continued to be in the top 20 shows in the United States for the next 6 years. Happy Days didn’t need a gimmick to get people to watch during that season. People were already watching.
So why did the show do it? Why did they write such a ridiculous storyline? I think the answer was “because they could.” And as one of the writers of Happy Days said about that particular episode’s storyline:
But what I definitely remember is that no one protested vehemently; not one of us said, “Fonzie, jump a shark? Are you out of your mind?”
They wrote it because, why not? And that’s pretty much why Rogue Bakery is making these cookies: because we can, and it’s fun! Maybe there’s someone out there who’ll say, “I can’t believe Rogue Bakery is making a fried chicken cookie, just to jump on a trend. That’s not cool. This food trend is done.” That would be AWESOME, because that means that maybe there will be one less person in line while waiting 20 minutes for fried chicken from a truck/bar/some window in a building.
Oh, but back to Happy Days, and motorcycle jumping versus water ski jumping. In season 3, episode 3 of Happy Days, two seasons before the infamous shark-jumping episode, The Fonz, worried that he was losing his edge, decides to jump a bunch of garbage cans using his motorcycle. Sound familiar? Of course it does. But in this episode, not only is Fonzie jumping over garbage cans to show everyone how awesome he still is, but Arnold (played by Mr. Miyagi a.k.a. Pat Morita) the owner of the Arnold’s Drive-In (where this stunt is taking place), is using the stunt to promote his new menu item: fried chicken. Here’s the clip! Spoiler alert: Fonzie crashes into the fried chicken stand.
Another fun fact: this motorcycle-jumping-over-garbage-cans-to-promote-fried-chicken episode first aired on September 23, 1975, about 39 years ago from last week. So, yes, it’s the perfect time to talk about fried chicken. Ayyyyyyyy! [thumbs up]