That phrase is made up. It’s not a thing. I thought it sounded cute. You know what else shouldn’t be a thing, probably? Shark Week.
We all have our pop culture blind spots, and one of mine is Shark Week. I mean, do I “live every week like it’s Shark Week?” Yes! Absolutely! In that on both Shark Week and the other 51 weeks a year, I … don’t participate in Shark Week.
Now, I don’t begrudge anyone their shark-based T.V. program. I love educational television! Granted, I’m more into the “kid with weird wasting illness that the British royals hid in the 1920s” kind of educational programming, but each to their own. I love learning and I love T.V., so I feel like I should at least try. Here’s what info I’ve managed to process about Shark Week – but I still don’t understand it:
You know how sometimes a pop culture obsession springs up, and you wonder if you missed something? Like bacon. Bacon is huge. I wondered for a long time whether I missed whatever set off the Bacon Revolution, but no. Everyone just realized that they all liked bacon and it was time to talk about it openly. Or mason jars. For a while after they took off, I wondered if it was the 200th anniversary of Hezekiah Mason’s birth or something. It wasn’t. People just realized that anything you put in jars looks 100% more folksy, like you might be a Lumineer.
So of course my first step to understanding Shark Week had to be determining whether there was something I was missing with sharks. Koala Week, I’d understand. Those not-bears are adorable (but they’re totally bears, nice try Australia). Or Endangered Species week, because somebody has to save them. And the Puppy Bowl? I get that. The kittens are the cheerleaders. But why sharks? They’re kind of assholes, and not even attractive assholes. You didn’t see Lisa Frank designing a shark Trapper Keeper, and you know why? Because nobody’s that into them.
The answer, like most answers that are probably wrong, is on Wikipedia. Shark Week is supposed to “raise awareness and respect for sharks.” I believe I speak for everyone who’s ever swam in the ocean when I say that I’m aware. Oh, am I aware. And I respect the hell out of anything with that many teeth. You know what animals need respect? Woodchucks, who always somehow look like the hillbillies of the animal kingdom. Or moles. Get better eyes, moles. Your faces looks like butts.
Anyway, no matter what Wikipedia says, the answer to “why sharks?” is really “why NOT sharks?” They’re an animal, people are interested in them, and if you hype it up enough, people will watch Discovery Channel for a week if you tell them they want to. I’d still prefer Koala Week though.
There’s a host, I guess?
Because you can’t just watch shark shows, you need someone to walk you through it. But here’s the thing – the hosts aren’t just shark guys. I don’t know what a “shark guy” is but I picture the crew of the Keldish when they took Old Rose out to sea to die. They’re celebrities – Andy Samberg! Craig Ferguson! Josh Wolf! This year, it’s Rob Lowe.
You’ll notice that most of those guys are comedians. That’s because if you don’t toss in a little levity, viewers will realize that they’re watching a straight week of animals that can kill or, at best, maim you. You’ll also notice that in the two-decade hosting history of Shark Week, there has never been a female host. I don’t think this is because educational television is an inherently sexist industry, I think it’s because ladies are too smart to socialize with sea beasts that might kill them. It’s violent enough on land. Most of us have finely tuned sensors for who might kill us – have you ever watched Nancy Grace or Law and Order: SVU? I’m pretty sure we’re holding out for starfish week or something. We all saw what happened to that nice little blonde surfer girl who didn’t respect sharks enough. She got her arm gnawed off. No thank you. Gentlemen, you can have this one.
Fun fact: Tracy Morgan is really into sharks. Does that surprise you? Well these other celebrity/pet pairings may boggle your brain a bit too.
One of the earliest lessons of childhood is that certain animals don’t belong in your house. This message was reinforced everywhere. In the American Girl books, Kirsten’s house got destroyed because she brought a baby raccoon inside and he went HAM and burned their house down using his tail as a tiny torch of destruction. Children’s books teach lessons, and I guess the American Girl company thought that “don’t bring weird-ass animals into your house” was still a relevant one in the early 90s. In that one Full House episode, Danny’s heretofore-unheard of sister showed up with her monkey and it got lost. There are even real-life community standards against owning odd-as-shit animals: the family on my street with the ferrets were treated to open scorn, because ferrets were illegal in our parts. Besides, those animals were little weaselly assholes.
Despite these lessons, some people just don’t get it. Remember a few years ago when that guy owned a menagerie and he set them free and they all got shot? Or that woman whose face got mauled off by her friend’s chimp? Sure, she got a face transplant, and I’d say all’s well that ends well, but there’s somebody else’s FACE on her FACE now and I’m not ready to act like that’s okay.
Here are some famous pet owners who should know better. But since they don’t, I’m here to tell them: you’re bouts to get killed by your exotic pet.