Shark Week 2018, Night 2 review: GRONK EAT SHARK NOW?

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Basically, I become Carl Brutananadilewski when I see the Patriots.
Pictured: Rob Gronkowski

As a Miami Dolphins fan (well, I *was* until THIS mishigas), I hate the New England Patriots with the burning intensity of a thousand suns. It’s like a visceral hatred that I can’t explain but I see them and I just start shouting “HEY BRADY I HOPE YOU TEAR YOUR ACL” and other stuff I would never say to anyone. It predates the current Brady (PRETTY BOY) and Belichick (SMILE FOR ONCE YOU FREAK) and Gronkowski (…) era even.  I’ve hated the Patriots since Victor Kiam owned the team and Bill Parcells was coach.

You’ll notice I didn’t really say anything bad about Rob Gronkowski – not because I’m afraid he’ll tear me in half like the Juggernaut, but because I think Gronkowski…  Well, the media-eye version of Gronkowski anyway, seems pretty fun – like, awful, but fun.  Like it’s a Truman Show but Truman is a big lunk who knows about stuff like tontines and winds up saving the day but not realizing he just saved the day.  From a GQ Article about a “Gronk Cruise” that happened:Rob ‘Gronk’ Gronkowski is what would happen if a red solo cup were the star of a Toy Story-esque movie franchise.”

So, I was actually pretty excited about tonight’s Shark Week offerings.  A.  We get to see Rob Gronkowski  interact with sharks B. We’re going back to Isla Guadalupe, and C. We’re going back to Cuba! Let’s dive in.

Monster Tag (Rating: originally,  but upon reflection  )

OK, so I’m giving this one a 3, but it’s a high 3, almost a 4.   Here’s the deal:  Rob Gronskowski,  Aaron Rodgers, and Lindsey Vonn have been recruited by Science! (TM) to help tag monster (read: big) sharks around the off the coasts of North America.  It’s basically like that  episode of 80’s cartoon “Hulk Hogan’s Rock n’ Wrestling” where Hulk Hogan and Nikolai Volkoff became astronauts to save the crew of a Space Shuttle, but with sharks.  In the end, you get some good information about shark tagging, and you get to spend some quality time with some sports stars, who in the end of this Very Special Episode learn to love and respect sharks.   Lindsey Vonn gets to try to tag an oceanic whitetip, Aaron Rodgers actually bats away a blue shark (but doesn’t get to tag it, as the blue shark gets away because the PACKERS HAVE NO ZONE DEFENSE), and Gronk… well, Gronk immediately strips down to baby blue Speedos (BECAUSE OF COURSE HE’S GOING TO WEAR SPEEDOS), and then helps strong arm a tiger shark while Dr. Neil Hammerschlag attaches a radio transmitter. It’s a fun episode, and with recent NFL controversies about football players killing sharks (as a result of a “catch and release” that really wasn’t by Denver’s Von Miller and Trent Brown of the 49ers who killed a mako shark to put on his wall), I see a lot of positive coming from this episode in the way that it ‘s teaching people not to fear sharks AND changing the macho horseshit that you have to kill sharks in order to be a tough guy.  Hopefully, this is a message that will resonate with players as well as fans.  Oh, and it ends with the perfect coda of Gronk saying that he’s going to name the tagged tiger shark – Mrs. Tiger Gronk. It’s just so damn perfect.   And just for MY perfect coda, here’s Gronk telling his fans not to eat Tide Pods.  BECAUSE OF COURSE HE HAS TO TELL HIS FANS NOT TO EAT TIDE PODS:

Great White Abyss (Rating:)

OK, full disclosure:  Fins Attached, a group I raise money for, was involved in the production of this episode so there’s a little bias on my part, but I thought this was a good great white shark episode, even though I’ve read a lot of people grousing about it online.  A lot of the people reviewing Shark Week review under the assumption that EVERYONE has been watching Shark Week for years and that we’re all tired of Isla Guadalupe and its white sharks, but there are people (and especially kids) who are watching the Week for the first time ever – and this was a good introduction to the place, the sharks, and the science.  Yes, there was a little too much “ominous” in the opening credits and music, but once we get below the water, there’s a lot of good footage, some interesting accomplishments (Dr. Hoyos becomes the first diver to tag a great white shark at depth at Guadalupe and there’s a strike on an elephant seal decoy that necessitates a minisub recovering it) and something that at least I hadn’t heard before – that (at Guadalupe at least) the larger sharks will stay at depth.  Whether or not this is a new theory or idea isn’t really touched on (that would have been nice to know), but if you want great whites, and you want to experience the visuals of diving at Guadalupe – this was a good hour of TV.   Oh, and if you’re interested – Dr. Hoyos  has a superhero alter-ego who uses the power of the shark god AND science to stop evil mutants and shark poachers.  It’s called “Aumakua”, and you get a copy of it through the Fins Attached website where all the profits will are used to further the cause of shark research and conservation.   You can check the Fins Attached store for the comic book and other cool shark merchandise by clicking on this link right HERE.  Tell them The Klute sent you.

 

Cuba’s Secret Shark Lair (Rating: )

First, some music… Press play and take it away Ricky Ricardo.  

Seriously, I cannot tell you how badly I want to dive Cuba.  Off-limits to Americans for years due to the Cold War, and then post-Cold War tensions between Cuban-Americans and the Castro

Not Pictured: The CIA’s exploding conch shell – no really, the CIA tried to kill Castro with an exploding conch shell. Look it up.

Regime, the recent thaw after Fidel Castro’s death has led to American scientists being able to explore the fabled Gardens of the Queen reef system off of southern Cuba.  Here, we’re looking for a massive hammerheard shark called “The Queen”, but we wind up seeing so much else.  Reefs that almost look untouched by human hands – with massive shoals of reef fish, tarpon, goliath grouper, turtles, moray eels and so much more that decorate the reef like a fabulous Carnival parade.  Deploying new equipment, Tristan Guttridge, who you’ll remember from last night, is attempting to determine the actual size of “The Queen” and collaborates with Melissa Cristina Marquez to learn more about both The Queen and the waters that sustain her.  During a night dive Marquez has an encounter with a crocodile that is both epic and terrifying, but showing some serious intestinal fortitude, continues with the expedition to find the Queen.

Off of northern coast, former home of El Monstro, a great white shark that was alleged to have been 21 foot long and required a fishing village’s flotilla of boats to bring it down, Dr. Greg Skomal is looking for more sharks of El Monstro’s size, to prove a theory that a cold water current parallel to the Gulf Stream helps Great Whites move from southern to northern waters of the Atlantic coast of North America.  They wind up diving with a great white near the wreck of a ship, and the visuals are great.  Basically, this is super hour of television and if you’re not a diver, you will want to become one, and if you are a diver, it’ll make you want to head to Cuba as soon as possible.

So that’s Night 2!  Were you worried Gronk would try to feed a shark a Tide Pod?  Would you dive deep into Guadalupe’s waters? Is Cuba on your vacation list?  Let me know in the comments!

More Shark Week on Nerdvana:

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About the author

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The Klute

The Klute is an award-winning slam poet from Phoenix, Arizona, and an amateur shark conservationist. His latest book, “Chumming the Waters”, is a collection of poetry for sharks, by sharks, is available at Lulu Press and all the profits are donated to Fins Attached to help keep sharks in our dreams and in our oceans.

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