There are few things in life more disappointing than investing dozens of hours into a television show, only to watch said show devolve and mutate into something terrifically awful. This happens often on television, as many networks insist on keeping popular (and profitable) television shows on the air despite the fact that most of the creative staff have checked out and are simply there to continue collecting what (we can only assume) are life-altering amounts of cash. Most of the time, the moment where these TV shows transition from epic to awful is called “jumping the shark”, in reference to an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie quite literally jumped over a shark on water skis. Now a cultural idiom, jumping the shark speaks to a show’s ability to deteriorate in spectacular fashion; as such, we’ve collected 10 great television shows and highlighted when to stop watching them, so as to save you the heartbreak of seeing them water ski.
10. How I Met Your Mother
When to Stop Watching: Season 6
How I Met Your Mother, which aired on CBS for nine seasons, is a great show to kick this list off for a wide variety of reasons. Once consistently cited among the best sitcoms on television, How I Met Your Mother is a prime example of a show “jumping the shark.” Most fans agree that this happens somewhere around the beginning of season six, so we’re recommending you stop at the end of season 5 (which still features some absolutely hilarious episodes, including the one where Barney gives up wearing suits. Classic.). A television show with an overarching plot that should have ended three seasons sooner than it did, How I Met Your Mother was very clearly kept on the air as a money-making vehicle due to the show’s overwhelming popularity. Trust us on this one; it’s pretty obvious Neil Patrick Harris is the only cast member who bothered to try over the show’s final seasons. With a groan-worthy ending that most fans called years in advance, How I Met Your Mother is a great watch…if you stop at five.