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The short answer: Yes, years ago, but I still watch it. Even the most avid shark enthusiast would have to concede that Shark Week has devolved down to the pseudo-intellectuals’ version of a monster truck rally / mud bog competition.
In the earlier days it was fun, educational and exciting. What is better than a shark attacking and tearing some hapless creature to shreds in a cloud of blood? We watched the shows thinking: wow, I didn’t know that, fascinating.
Fast forward 25 years. (Yes, over 25 yrs actually)
Now the internet has more shark video and information than you could ever want. Much of it better than anything you will see during Shark Week.
Discovery’s shark shows marathon has the look and feel of a Japanese game show. They over–hype their Sharkaganza every bit as much as ESPN over-hypes the Super Bowl. Commercials start months prior. You can buy all manner of Shark Week swag: DVDs, foam hats, trophy heads and one dozen Shark Week cupcakes ($39.95 +$20.00 handling fee)… to list a few. Even the president will likely put down his golf clubs long enough to shoot a PSA stressing the critical role Shark Week plays in the wars on terrorism and capitalism.
Hey, Stop Hating Shark Week!
I don’t hate it. It does disappoint me though. And I disappoint myself by watching year after year. Here are a few reasons why:
1. The nearest thing today to the once popular freak show is the parade of shark victims every year on shark week. Frankly, it is both morbid and boring now. The stories vary little. They usually involve water and blood with the loss of a limb. Discovery has shown some victims so often that they feel like family.
2. Building a 1 hour show around a 6 second clip. Actually this probably applies to half of all shark week specials. For 30 minutes of the 40 minute (1 hour) show we get teasers, stills, 2 second clips, commercials, interviews of ugly researchers, more teasers, etc. Then entire 6 second clip is shown. For the next 10 minutes that clip is shown over and over: slow-mo, stop motion, ultra slow-mo, backwards, enhanced, computerized version, with commentary ……. until you are utterly worn out.
3. “Hosting” shark week. Does shark week need a host? Aren’t the sharks able to carry the day? Do we really need Oprah or Ryan Seacrest pimping the poor fish? Worse than a famous host is the dull, unknown host with some kind of shark credentials. I suspect a reality show/talent search for the perfect Shark Week host is in our future.
4. Is there anything more boring than shark “researchers” and/or crew members and their stories? That crowd is only a bit less creepy and one dimensional than bigfoot researchers. Watching hyper-sensitive loners wax poetic about their love for these deadly fish demonstrates the need for more mental therapy in this country but it is bad TV. Further, listening to sun-dried cameramen drone on about endless boredom with the rare close call might be fascinating to media wizards but after 2 or 3 shows like that I am ready to move on. Tip from viewers: Behind the Scenes tripe is only interesting to roadies working behind the scenes.
Despite its enormous failings I will tune in for parts of Shark Week and hate myself for doing so. It is an over-sold, inferior product but what else is there to watch in August? This must be how it feels to vote Democrat.
PS – I will do my part and add to the chaos that is over-hyped Shark Week by posting shark cartoons. Fish On.
PPS – Got a peeve about shark week? Share it here.