Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Salire Pistrix

Back in March of 2013, in a post on media reform, I made a parenthetical comment about X-Files, the TV series, saying that while virtually all very popular series eventually “jump the shark,” X-files was an exception (link). Heu! Eheu! (as the Romans said to say alas and alack.) We watched the tenth season of the series (recorded earlier) last night. The ninth season was shown in 2002—hence the tenth is like an afterthought that took some 14 years to form. What was that thought? No doubt it occurred to the owners of that property that the X-Files wasn’t really finished yet; the work had not yet lived up to its full potential. It hadn’t as yet, in nine dense seasons, and 202 episodes, managed to jump the shark. So here comes season ten, with six episodes, in which the third episode (“Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”) finally gets the job done. Hence we’re not likely to watch the remainder…

We were, of course, watching episodes captured on Fox Channel and therefore heavily embedded in ads of all kinds but, predominantly, ads about other horror or sci-fi shows, not least Lucifer (which seemed oddly fitting both to Fox and the current theme). We could not help but to note that the extreme commercialization of a once favored show—in which one main advertiser is Ford and Mulder, by sheer chance and circumstances, drives a Ford, and we can clearly see its symbol—cannot help but remind us of the Juvenal’s description of Rome as Panem et Cirenses. In our times, however, advanced as we are over Rome, the culture has decided that perhaps Panem might be dropped and politics itself must be transformed into Circenses.

With that Latin phrase swirling in our minds as I made the wand skip over ads, the thought occurred that it might now be high time to render “jumping the shark” into Latin as well. Which is accomplished here and rendered as the title of this post. The end must be near with the were-wolf at the door.

1 comment:

  1. For some reason, that phrase "jumping the shark" reminds me of the German phrase, or term, salto mortale... applied to a very scary jump by a tightrope walker who uses no net. The X-Files, in its second incarnation, certainly seems to me, to be walking a very tight rope so far...

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