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The Office Episodes That Fans Agree Jumped The Shark

"Jumping the shark" is a widely-used idiom that signals the decline in quality of a piece of media, but do you know where it originated? The phrase stems from the popular sitcom "Happy Days," which shifted gears in its 5th season to regain popularity by literally having a character jump over a shark. In a leather jacket and tiny swimming trunks, The Fonz performed the stunt on a pair of water skis and unintentionally coined a pejorative phrase.

While the show went on for six more seasons, the phrase is now used by critics and TV fans to pinpoint the downfall of shows. On the subreddit r/DunderMifflin, fans of "The Office" discussed whether or not the hit comedy mockumentary jumped the shark before its Season 9 finale. The thread, started by u/big_macaroons, asked fans to cite which episode they believe started the show's turning point.

So, which episodes did fans agree jumped the shark?

The Post-Michael era

While "The Office" is revered by millennials, most would agree with u/Cameront9 that the show's quality rapidly declined when the immature yet lovable Regional Manager Michael Scott (Steve Carell) left the show after Season 7. With wavering loyalty from fans, the later seasons made several attempts to jump the shark, as fans pointed out.

The top comments cited the first episode of Season 9, which says goodbye to Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) and Ryan Howard (B. J. Novak) while two new employees join the team. While it starts innocuously enough, the episode ends with Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) cycling across a tightrope over the building. It's not quite a shark, but it's an over-the-top stunt — even for Dwight.

Season 8's "Gettysburg" and Season 9's "Work Bus" also failed to impress fans on this thread. Both episodes followed the employees on unnecessary out-of-office adventures that didn't quite capture the show's quirky spirit. Without Michael's quotable, deadpan humor, "The Office" had growing pains that didn't pan out for most fans.

Referencing "Niagara,"  the two-part Season 6 premiere, u/SnooStrawberries7898 jokingly said that it "would have been amazing with the addition of a shark and The Fonz."