Who’s The Saddest Shark In The Tank?

Shark Tank
Shark Tank

I cancelled my cable when I moved and am now living that Netflix and Hulu Plus life. When I made the change I thought I’d watch WAY less TV because my options would be scarce (they barely even carry Bravo shows on Hulu!) but I was DEAD WRONG. I’m basically a full-time binge-watcher now. I’m covered in the “everything” from the bagels, I am surrounded by Caffeine Free Diet Coke cans, my dog keeps looking at me like, “really, sis?”

The greatest gift that these unlimited limited options have given me is a show by the name of Shark Tank. It’s five super rich people on a panel deciding whether or not they want to invest an assload of money into a variety of contestant’s businesses. It’s great.

On the panel is Mark Cuban and his haunting schoolboy smile, Barbara Corcoran and her glazed Veneers (does it not look and sound like she JUST took a bite of cream cheese?), Daymond John the genius behind Fubu, Kevin O’Leary AKA Mr. Wonderful who plays the heavy and Lori Greiner from QVC. She has over a hundred patents which I guess is a huge deal. And then there’s Robert Herjavec, the son of an immigrant factory worker who created a digital empire worth millions.

I have actual feelings (largely positive) about each of the judges because I’m past the point of undressing them via their TV-ready personalities and (YOU GOT IT!) shark-like negotiation skills. I watch the show and think about their childhoods, what lead them to be so shark-y, what makes them tick and what makes them cry.

Just recently I realized that Herjavec is the most fascinating Shark in the tank. He’s typically a nice guy and attempts to be somewhat of a joker. His behavior around the rest of the group is what gives his truest colors away and oh man, there’s some darkness going on in there.

Let’s say there’s a contestant who is presenting his new line of bath salts for men. The packaging is sleak, minimalist and the man-oriented scents (like bacon-Christmas Tree) pack a punch. The dominant guy’s guy Marc Cuban has already removed himself from the negotiation process after laughing in the contestants face. Barbara has removed herself because she can’t imagine her seventeen year old son using such a product. Mr. Wonderful is still in but tugging on every thread in the contestant’s business proposal. Before taking himself out, Daymond makes a joke about not wanting to “deck the halls with bows of bacon.” The panel erupts with laughter. Herjavec is the last one laughing once of the rest of the panel is down. He looks to the contestant and says something like, “Screw Christmas Vacation, you’re talking Christmas Baca-tion!”

His joke is met with a smattering of pitty giggles by Lori and Beth. He adjusts his jacket, looks down at his notebook and asks the contestant a practical question about long-term growth.
These are the moments that haunt me. It doesn’t matter that Herjavec has earned enough money to keep his grandkid’s grandkids in private schools and summer homes. In his heart, he is still the son of an immigrant factory worker. He has never learned how to feel fully accepted and confident in his persona because he’s still working overtime to be told he belongs. And that’s just fucking sad, man. It really says it all.

Anyway, I think Shark Tank is on tonight for people with regular cable, so watch it if you’re around and let me know if you see the mix of hunger and sadness in Robert Herjavec’s eyes. I’d also like to know what you think Lori’s had done and if you have no doubt that Mr. Wonderful is a serial cheater. I’d really like feedback on my theory that Cuban is basically Patrick Bateman with a family, a loud personality and an ever-present grin. Also— how gay is Daymond? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Molly McAleer lives in Los Angeles with her chihuahua and can be found on Twitter (@molls) and on Instagram (@itsmolls). Her writing has appeared on your television, your Internet and the bathroom walls of your favorite cyber cafes.

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