6 Times ‘Jaws’ Snuck Onto TV Shows

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"You're going to need a bigger boat." It's been four decades since Chief Brody (Roy Schneider) uttered those words on his quest to capture an enormous man-eating shark in Jaws. Since then, the iconic quote and other bits and pieces have become pop culture staples as well known as—if not better known than—the movie itself. To celebrate the film's 40th anniversary, we look at some of the best Jaws-inspired episodes television has to offer.

Saturday Night Live, "Land Shark"

Shortly after Jaws came out, beach attendance dropped and supposed shark-sightings surged. SNL played off this public hysteria with a sketch that starred Chevy Chase as a "land shark," an exceedingly intelligent breed of shark that hunts its prey on land. To further parody the film, the various attack scenes were intercut with scenes featuring Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi playing movie characters Chief Brody and Matt Hooper respectively as they attempt to figure out the victims' cause of death


It would be impossible for the Syfy shark flick to avoid any references to what is considered the mother of all shark films. Not only do they quote the movie ("We're gonna need a bigger chopper.") but an early scene in the film sees main character Fin (Ian Ziering) feed a shark a scuba tank and shoot it in the face—much like how Brody eventually put an end to Jaws' own toothy menace.

Psych, "The Head, the Tail, the Whole Damn Episode"

Psych was littered with pop culture homages, with many episodes paying tribute to iconic movies like Clue and The Shining. So it came as no surprise when the show dedicated a whole episode to the Steven Spielberg-directed classic, with Shawn and Gus (James Roday and Dule Hill) trying to prove that a shark attack was actually a planned murder. Impressively, the episode not only didn't feature Brody's quote, but it cast Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica) as a veteran sailor much in the vein of Jaws' Quint.

Bob's Burgers, "The Deepening"

Not only does the episode feature a "killer" mechanical shark, but Bob, Teddy and Mort's face-off against the machine closely parallels that of the original film—right down to Teddy almost being swallowed whole. An added bonus: the shark movie mentioned in the episode, The Deepening 3-D, is a parody of the Jaws 3-D.

Family Guy, "Play It Again, Brian"

One of the benefits of working with animation is that it allows for more sight gags and visual references instead of having to borrow from the film's dialogue or plot—like recreating Jaws' infamous poster with a great white shark staring upward at an unsuspecting Brian and Lois. The episode gets bonus points for being set in Martha's Vineyard, where the original movie took place, and for Peter's swim with a faux fin.

The Walking Dead, "What Lies Ahead" and "Say the Word"

The AMC zombie thriller pulled off not one but two subtle nods to the classic shark flick. In the second season opener, Rick and Daryl perform an autopsy on a walker to see if it has eaten the missing Sophia—just as Jaws had Hooper cut open the tiger shark in search of body parts. And in Season 3 when the Governor's tank of heads is revealed, one of them resembles Jaws' seasoned fisherman Ben Gardner (whose corpse is found floating underwater with his wrecked vessel.)
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