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Nuke the fridge is a colloquialism used to refer to the moment in a film series that is so incredible that it lessens the excitement of subsequent scenes that rely on more understated action or suspense, and it becomes apparent that a certain installment is not as good as a previous installments, due to ridiculous or low quality storylines, events or characters.
(source: Urban Dictionary)
Nuke the Fridge, sometimes known as Nuking the Fridge, is a piece of slang mainly used by movie fans to describe when a peculiar franchise is going downhill by relying too much on special effects, CGI, action and supsense, to the point of disappointing the viewer. It also relates to the idea of having an over-the-top action scene at the start of an otherwise unsatisfactory action movie.
History of a slang: Jumping The Shark
Jumping The Shark is a widely used idiom, first employed to describe a moment in the evolution of a television show, characterized by absurdity, when a particular show abandons its core premises and begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery.
In its initial usage, it referred to the point in a television program’s history where the plot spins off into absurd story lines, unlikely characterizations and rampant addition or replacement of characters. These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose audience had begun to decline.
The catchphrase originated from a peculiar scene from TV series Happy days, The fifth season premiere episode to be precise. In it, main iconic character Fonzie can be seen jumping over a shark in a confined pool while wearing swimming trunks, water-skis and his leather jacket.
The scene has been acknowledged by the public as so over the top that the slang took hold in English vernacular to express when a show is beginning to lack of originality even if former Happy Days writer Fred Fox Jr disagreed with it in a 2010 interview where he states:
“Was the [shark jump] episode of Happy Days deserving of its fate? No, it wasn’t. All successful shows eventually start to decline, but this was not Happy Days’ time.” Fox also points to not only the success of the episode itself (“a huge hit” with over 30 million viewers), but also to the continued popularity of the series.
It must be noted than the slang, in its evolution, wasn’t restricted to shows and TV series but would also be used for a brend, a campaign or anything where the slang’s definition could apply.
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is an adventure film, fourth from the Indiana Jones series, which was released on May 22 2008.
In one of the opening scenes, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) can be seen hiding in a fridge to escape a nuclear explosion and get out of it unharmed.
The catchphrase Nuke the fridge was allegedly coined by fans, disappointed by this unrealistic situation and over the top action, on IMDB message boards according to Urban Dictionnary, which entries started appearing as early a May 26 2008, one of them even being “Word of the Day” on June 3 2008.
[still looking for those exact threads]
In the wake of the movie’s popularity, the catchphrase gained its own trend on Internet as a way of replacing Jumping the Shark for movies and franchises.
Starting in June 2008, Many articles began to account for the catchphrase as seen on films websites such as SlashFilm.com, Kottke.org, News Week or Nerve.com.
Its usage as a buzzword can be seen through a June 2008 forum thread game about writing every movie that “Nuked the Fridge”.
Insight for Searchs
The searchs reveal that Nuke the Fridge was on an equal footing with Jumping the Shark on the first month of its introduction as a slang.
In 2009, Lucasfilm, aware of the phenomenon, released a limited edition Indiana Jones action figure based on the scene, with the character and the fridge.
Frying the Coke, a forcing attempt
The end of the review focuses on the film’s end scene with a giant explosion in a colosseum and the main characters hiding behind a coke machine to avoid the flames.
Upon showing how the scene itself is pretty much over the top and ridiculous, he states the following:
I’m not usually aware when I’m starting an internet meme, but by go- This has to be an internet meme! It is far to good! OKay, there was Jumping the Shark, Nuking the Fridge… Ladies and gentlemen, this is Frying the Coke!
While he may or he may not have wanted to start a meme, the fact he basically said it has to be an internet meme! before it even caught on was forced upon his viewers and his fans, wanting to make it a meme, forced it back on websites such as FunnyJunk and Youtube.
There even was a single-serving site created.
However, after a month, signs of a potential meme that failed to catch on appeared.
- A handful of videos on Youtube with viewcounts going from 2 to 6 000 views at most.
- A handful of pictures as shown by Google Image with Deviant Art having only 13 pictures.
- An attempt as a TVtropes article that has been deleted
- More than 65 000 results on Google mainly about the Nostalgia Critic with, for most of them, very few views
Nerve.com – Indiana Does Linguistics: Nuking the Fridge with Professor Jones / 8-1-2008
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