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Robert Tamayo

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Time Jumps in TV Shows

Time jumps are an interesting feature in tv shows. Time jumps are the term used to describe a rapid advance in months, years, or even decades in stories. In TV shows, they most commonly occur between seasons. Time jumps occur in other media, too, but tv shows seem to abuse them. Why?

Modern TV shows seem to abuse time jumps as a way of soft-resetting character development and allowing the writers to escape out of certain plot lines. 

In real life, the closest thing to a time jump is when you see someone you haven't seen in a long time. The High School Reunion is a good example of a real-life time jump scenario, since most people will not have kept in touch with each other for 10 years. What are you like now compared to 10 years ago?

Weird Time Jump in Riverdale


In TV shows, time jumps seem to be used for the wrong reasons. Most of the time, they seem to be lazy writing. Take Riverdale, for example, which recently had a 5 or 7 year time jump. Apparently, even though the audience never saw it happen, main characters broke up with each other and almost everyone ended up leaving the city. That's a weird time jump, because it doesn't feel like a time jump. It feels like the writers completely abandoned all running plot lines and character development paths and wrote it off as "7 years later".

Weird Time Jump in New Girl


A similar thing happened in the final season of New Girl. At the end of season 6, every character's main arc was complete. There were only a few things left that the audience might want to see wrapped up. Instead of seeing things tidied up in the seventh season, fans were greeted with an "about 3 years later" title at the beginning of the final season. That might have been odd on its own, but what was even more odd was that during that time, two of the main characters completely backtracked on their character arcs. Nick went from slacking bartender and struggling author in season 1 to bar owner and successful author by the end of season 6, yet at the beginning of season 7 he was a struggling author again. Schmidt went from workaholic who just got a huge raise to a stay-at-home dad, completely breaking away from one of his key personality traits altogether.

Riverdale and New Girl are examples of bad time jumps. The time jumps had nothing to do with the story. Rather, they were used as a way to reset the characters so that the writers could try something different without having to come up with a new show or better reasons for why the characters changed.
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