So, it’s been a year since the last Shark Week. Did anything happen between now and then? Something global pandemic-y or election-y? I can’t remember …
*My* pandemic experience was actually pretty decent. Got laid off, got a new job, went to Cozumel (following strict COVID protocols – from PCR tests to masks to contact tracing), dove with a bunch of sharks, came home, went to the Maldives (following even STRICTER COVID protocols), dove with a bunch of sharks, and then had to have emergency surgery (ok that part was NOT decent).
As I’m dry docked for the next few months while I recover, I was really looking to this year’s Shark Week. And I’m still going to be watching the whole thing, but on a scale of Mayor Vaughn telling Chief Brody about the need for summer dollars to Quint smashing the ship to shore radio with a bat, I’ve got that crazy look in my eyes and I’m reaching for the bat. The last hour of Sunday night was ENRAGING. And the first episode of “Shark Academy” on Discovery+, well, we’ll get into that later. But let’s accentuate the positive, with the first two episodes featuring Bob Irwin and Tiffany Haddish!
Crikey It’s Shark Week (4/5)
This was a pretty great episode of Shark Week, and I can totally see why (of the three specials that aired tonight), they chose this special to lead off the week. Steve Irwin is sorely missed when it comes to environmental TV education – I know some people consider him controversial with his VERY hands on approach to wildlife interaction (and truth be told, I’ve particiapted in activities that are frowned upon in some shark conservation schools of thought), but he brought a passion (and fun!) to the world’s living rooms that we don’t see anymore.
Bob Irwin is a worthy heir to his father, and at 17, has a long career ahead of him, and if he keeps the enthusiasm he showed tonight, and the geniune wonder that he expresses in discovering new worlds, he’ll keep Steve Irwin’s flame burning for a long time. They start off on a vibrant coral reef chasing some wonderful whitetip reef and blacktip sharks until he finds an Australian wobbegong, and this starts a wave of nostalgia that is just charming. There’s some interesting science in a shark vs crocodile throw down, and we start the week off with not just diverse sharks, but with diverse scientists (headlined by Madison Stewart). It’s a way to interest first timers with what sharks are, and long term viewers will be rewarded with some memories of the past, and that experiment at the end is something I kind of want to try next time I get to get Guadalupe. This made me happy.
Tiffany Haddish Does Shark Week (4/5)
I really dug this in a way I dug the Workaholics guys special last year, it doesn’t take itself seriously, but it does cool stuff – AND it doesn’t do the whole “I’m a celebrity terrified of sharks!” trope that has been part of the Shaq and Mike Tyson specials. She addresses this directly and owns it – no fear. I don’t know her diving skillset, but she seems REALLY confident – from handling her gear to hanging around sharks, she, as they say, SHE READY. She gets her hands dirty by chopping up chum with Dr. Toby S. Daly-Engel. She follows instruction and does some citizen science, while learning about shark reproduction that isn’t entirely salacious. On a personal note (and what elevated the special for me), there’s video evidence that shark I encountered in 2018 off of Nassau made it to Freeport, Bahamas in 2021, which is a journey of 132 miles, and three years. I’d love to know if this is a constant journey – multiple times back and forth? Or a permanent relocation? Maybe Discovery will reach out to me for Cap’n Klute’s Shark Odyssey – ha, no they won’t because of what I’m about to write.
Jackass Shark Week (0/5) – LOWEST RATING EVER
F**K THIS SHOW. Seriously. Everyone involved in it should be embarassed, from the people who greenlit it, to the people who participated (especially the scientists), to the craft services people and people who in post who did the sound editing. It should be placed aboard a rocket, fired into the Sun, and then the Sun should be imploded, and we should stand guard at the event horizon of the black hole that the implosion creates, and wait until the inevitable heat-death of the Universe to make sure it never escapes. The Time Variance Authority should prune it, and Loki should shrug his shoulders and say “Yeah, that makes sense”. I want the time back I spent watching this abortion of a show along with a week extra as punitive damages.
It’s 55 minutes of wildlife harrassment, followed by one of these assholes getting bit, followed by Dr. Craig O’Connell , a scientist who normally has a great public presence who debased himself by agreeing to be in this, trying to salavage this mess by trying to tack a conservation message on in the last 60 seconds. SOMEONE GETS BIT – OBVIOUSLY. Money was wasted on this show that could have gone to something worthy.
To the left is a twitter exchange as of 7:30PM AZ Standard time about this. Radio silence afterwards – as it should be. There’s nothing to say – there’s NOTHING GOOD ABOUT THIS SHOW. NO SCIENTIST SHOULD HAVE CO-SIGNED THIS. These reviews were delayed because for about 45 minutes because I had to cool down and sober up. I’m literally that upset about this. It’s not helpful, it’s not funny, as a member of the generation that watched Jackass as a young adult – f**k these guys.
Shark Academy, Episode 1 (2/5 or 4/5 – see below)
And it didn’t bode well for my review of this show. FULL DISCLOSURE: I actually tried out for this, and did not make the cut, I’m going to assume that this is because I am officially out of the demographic this show is for, and I don’t have 2% body fat.
I asked a friend of mine, who ALSO tried out for the show and was rejected, she agreed that the show as presented in the previews is NOT what the call for participants seemed intimate what this show was going to be about – which seems to be some very earnest twenty and thirty-somethings who like sharks, coupled with a few dysfunctional idiots who brought full-wardrobe changes and a guitar (I shit you not – this guy, Brad, is the epitome of the Family Guy cutaway of “I’m going to do to her what douchebags did to the guitar!”)
It’s basically MTV’s The Real World meets Shark Week, and I already want a few of them to get their Achille’s tendons torn out by a pissed off nurse shark. I’ll watch it for what it is, but man…
To give this a more honest balance, I asked my girlfriend, who does not care for the ocean, and was skeptical of my motivations for trying out for the show what she thought. She gave it a 4 out of 5 fins, on the curve that it was better than Jackass, and not what she was expecting. Plus she’s a big RuPaul’s Drag Race fan, so she loves the drama. Although she’s saying that the LACK of drama is what she liked, at least in the first episode.
Sharkbait with David Dobrik (2/5)
After two minutes of this show, I said to myself, I don’t know who David Dobrik is, and I don’t want to. I guess he’s famous for being famous and has trust fund money he can give away? No idea. Don’t care. Even Paul de Gelder looked annoyed with this epitome of the Loud Family at the Table Next to You. The only thing that saved this from being a 1 fin show was the neat reveal from the BRUV (Baited Remote Underwater Video station) off the waters I grew up in (Palm Beach born and raised here, well, raised anyway), and the fact they jettisoned this awful group of Karens and Chads pretty early on. I’m sure this appealed to someone. Not me.
I have no idea where this Shark Week is going. Maybe people did too many drugs during COVID lockdown and this is what we get for having hope that things might be better in 2021. But I’ll be here… pray for The Klute in this troubling time.