I know Shark Week is over, and most people have made their comments, jokes, GIFs, memes, and then some, and beaten it all to death, but I only post on Mondays so I’m gonna say what I wanna say now.
Across the country, bros everywhere gather together in August to watch the great event known as Shark Week. They laugh, they yell, they probably Ice each other (do people still do that? Definitely a bro thing), and they even play drinking games. Sharks are indeed the bros of the ocean, so it’s only appropriate that watching an entire week of television dedicated to them is a bro-tivity.
Ok, fine, non-bros watch it too. But let’s keep it real, you know the bros are the ones who are really excited to open up a brew and look at nasty shark bites on their HDTVs after a full day of laxin’ hard.
I have been watching Shark Week so far (as of this writing, it’s only Wednesday, but I’m writing ahead of time because my next few days are going to be pretty busy), and I have to say that, sadly, I am not impressed.
So far this week, I’ve watched that Blimp guy look at sharks, on the same rerun, on two separate days; a mocumentary, similar to all of that mermaid hoopla, about a shark that no longer exists; a bunch of shows about shark attacks; and a Watch What Happens Live knockoff that doesn’t even have a shot-ski.
Guys. I’m disappointed. But let me tell you why.
My fondest memories of Shark Week are, of course, from my childhood.
Tangent alert: Speaking of childhood, Shark Week is only two years older than I am, by the way. Maybe, just like how I’m trying to figure out my life and make jumps into new careers, 20-something Shark Week is having an identity crisis and just doesn’t want to be the cute little girl that everyone remembers from the playground. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to get fierce! And I’m – I mean – SHARK WEEK isn’t going to take it from anyone anymore!
So down with the informational documentary style nature shows about how cool sharks are, or their habitats, or their cute baby sharks, and on with the FIERCENESS! Shark bites! Sharks nearly capsizing a boat as they take being tagged like a champ! 20-something Shark Week has to conform to the peer pressure of social media (seriously, all of these tweets at the bottom of the screen – you can stop now.), so it has to be cool. Shark Week has to be witty. Shark Week is now its own meme. Have you seen Bob the Shark? The Sean Connery bit on Shark After Dark? It’s all a big joke.
End Tangent Alert. Back to my childhood, yo.
When my brother and I were much younger, and had much earlier bedtimes, we would make each night of shark week a very big event. Because we were supposed to be in bed for most of the prime time programming, but we also wanted to watch it together, we would set up a tent in his room, get out sleeping bags and “camp out” in front of the TV.
Yeah, my childhood was cute. My brother and I used to “camp out” in each other’s rooms and set up this little tent that wasn’t big enough for the both of us, even back then.
And so we would doze, and fall in and out of slumber, and we would leave that little black and white TV on all night so that we could catch glimpses of fish and sharks swimming around the screen. In the morning, we would probably wake up and watch Flipper.
Not even joking here. Everyone who knows me knows that this was probably the earliest indication of my wry, terrible, mean, sarcastic sense of humor and way about life. We would wake up from watching shows about sharks and put on Flipper.
Or Gumby, but Flipper was also on a lot and makes for a better story.
Also, back then the shows were really about sharks. Discovery Channel used to be less reality, and more informative. Does anyone else remember those good old days?
Everything my brother knew (still knows?) about different types of sharks, he learned from Discovery Channel. Sometimes the shows would highlight specific species of sharks, sometimes they were about the history of sharks in general (and we aren’t talking about megalodon speculation), the habitats of sharks, and of course, shark attacks. But sharks weren’t always the bad guys. They were often cute. Just swimmin’. Eatin’. Doing shark things.
Now, Shark Week is filled with tweets and fear of the sharks. Shark attack programming is always interesting, no one can deny that, but I’m not learning anything about sharks anymore. Maybe it’s because I’m an educator, but I like to learn new things constantly. I’m a life-long learner. Instead, I’m learning that I hate Twitter.
Just kidding, I tweet more than I should. I get so lonely.
If I want to see that quality of nature documentary nowadays, I have to watch Planet Earth. By the way, I love Planet Earth. It’s beautiful, it reminds me of old-school Discovery Channel and learning-television, and I would like to own the entire set so that I can watch it in HDTV 24/7.
Another tangent: Once, some of my college friends and I watched Planet Earth together. We were all so soothed that after the second or third episode, we all fell asleep and napped together. One very big, very awkward nap, lulled by the nature sounds. Those were good times. Awkward times. But good times. (Any of the Honesty Time bros want to guess where we all fell asleep that was so awkward?)
So here’s my question: Has Shark Week really lost of some of its luster? Or am I just yearning for childhood memories? Does anyone else miss nature documentaries? Or do people really enjoy watching whoever these bearded Discovery Channel reality “stars” are, getting wasted while on TV and pretending that they’re talking about sharks?
Come on, bros.
I hope the remainder of Shark Week changes my opinion, but I doubt it will. There was a glimmer of hope with the show Alien Sharks. Seeing and learning about oft-unheard of and weird species of sharks? Right up my alley. Except I think this was the only show of that nature (did I just pun? I’m sorry. And I’m sorry for making pun a verb just there) during the entire week so far.
Anyway, to close out my post, here is a link to a great 1996 IMAX documentary about sharks. Not about being afraid. Or blood. Or Snuffy the Seal (creds to Discovery though for that genius advertising). It’s about what sharks are. Check it out. http://documentarylovers.com/imax-search-great-sharks/
Also, just found a new favorite website. Score.
Update: Now that this post is live, I actually have time to update. On Friday night, there was only like one shark show on at night. ONE. Excuse me, but this is Shark WEEK, not 5 Days of Shark Bites. Sad.
I took my Praxis test on Thursday and got higher scores than I needed for the state of New Jersey. Sweet deal!
Saturday the bros and I went to our college friends’ wedding. I partied a little too hard. Which is ok, because the entire “Drew Crew” doesn’t often get together so the celebration was a worthy cause. Thanks to my fibro body, I think I’m going to be in bed for another day until my spoon-o meter refills. Fun times. I’m just going to go watch more documentaries now.