Missed the atrocity of classic American television that is Shark Week? Fear not! I have compiled everything you could have possibly learned from this week of “marine biology research!”
1. Snuffy the Seal
In what could possibly be the greatest promotional piece for a televised event, ever, the Discovery channel created an entire backstory for a seal that was rehydrated, adored, and then released into the waters.
Spoiler alert: a Great White Shark leaps up at the exact moment of his release and swallows him whole! Here’s the commercial:
There is nothing better than a seal that spits out shark-related puns. Nothing! Okay, well almost…
The folks at discovery channel are notorious for taking little shreds of evidence for a creature’s existence, and hypothesizing it into modern day life. Mermaid mockumentary, anyone? Nevertheless, the prehistoric shark “Megalodon” was actually real, and the question is to whether it still exists.
It was over 60 ft. long, and is said to have had the most powerful bite of any creature that ever lived. During the Megalodon special on Shark Week, various accounts of sightings were given. I’m no expert, but the scientific community deemed it extinction to have happened over 2 million years ago. It is kind of like the Loch Ness monster though, as in too large to not notice, but it makes for the best kind of TV. Look at that shit go!
3. The Usual Shark Attack Stories
About 30% of Shark Week is comprised of Shark attack stories, and are always followed by some light tagging of the sharks so we can track their adventure.
The attack stories always happen in deep waters, and I would say that most of the time the person survives. When they don’t however, they die of blood loss, because they cannot seek medical help in time. This is an aspect of Shark Week that does the shark and marine biology community a huge favor.
They explain that sharks prefer seals; humans do not have enough blubber on them and are therefore not filling. It’s wonderful to see survivors reaching out to communities and speaking out against shark-fear and raising awareness for them. However, they always manage to show footage of some survivors who would re-enter shark filled waters and get bitten again.
4. Some Seal Hunting Footage
Now, I’m not too crazy about seal hunting, but it does make for better television than hockey, and it is a shark’s natural food source. Endless hours of sharks chasing seals can leave you worn down, especially because the shark always wins. Sometimes there will be a great mass of seals, and they always seem to know when it’s shark time. They will crowd the beach, and the few stragglers will be the only ones caught between jaws…until next time.
5. The Voodoo shark “Rookin”
So, apparently, this shark is a bullshark that lurks in Louisiana’s bayou. I saved you all the trouble in trying to figure out whether this special was also a mockumentary, and it appears to be mostly superstition. Obviously the swamp is murky, so it would be quite difficult to view the monster, unless if you were unfortunate enough to become prey.
6. Shark After Dark: Tara Reid and her endless whale-shark knowledge
To accompany their daytime Shark Programming, Discovery took it upon themselves to create a nighttime show, where they had people dress in shark costumes and discuss Marine Biology. Of course, they had to bring in expert Tara Reid, who starred in “Sharknado.” You can view the debacle here (NSFW).
To be honest, I was disappointed with Shark Week this year. I love that they spread shark awareness, and do provide some genuine facts and footage of great whites. I even liked that they talked about other kinds of sharks, such as tiger sharks, great whites, Megalodon, etc. However, I am so over the mock-umentary trend.
When I watch a channel that is supposed to provide animal and earth facts, I want them to be real! Although the Megalodon was a real creature, at one point in time, creating fake footage devalued the animal’s actual impact. And I don’t even know what to think about Rookin or the “Serial Killer Shark.” Did you watch any Shark Week this year? What were your thoughts?