Will Smith is the Angel of Death for Social Media Platforms

When the Fresh Prince hits your platform, you know you’ve made it — and jumped the shark

Chris Stokel-Walker
FFWD

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Flickr/Walmart

The 1977 episode of Happy Days “Hollywood: Part 3” is a cultural touchstone to most YouTube users (the episode alone is more than twice as old as YouTube itself), but the phrase it gave birth to may be better known among the young audience that logs onto the platform today.

In that episode, Henry Winkler’s character Fonzie jumped a jetski over a shark, and a meme was born. Shows that have become lackluster became known for “jumping the shark”; the phrase slipped into common parlance beyond TV.

We’re 42 years on from Fonzie jumping the shark. It’s a little jaded. We need a new phrase.

Can we suggest “something has been Will Smithed”?

Open up a social media platform these days and you can’t escape Will Smith. He’s there on TikTok, eight million people subscribed to his profile, most of the dozen or so videos he’s posted getting a minimum…

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Chris Stokel-Walker
FFWD
Editor for

UK-based freelancer for The Guardian, The Economist, BuzzFeed News, the BBC and more. Tell me your story, or get me to write for you: stokel@gmail.com