The Common Good

Sojo Celebrates Shark Week 2012

This week the Discovery Channel celebrates its 25th Shark Week, its most popular week of television. It has been gaining steam each year as one of the biggest weeks in all of television, and numerous parodies and odd bits have appeared since its inception. Today we're presenting some favorite ocean/shark-related bits of pop culture for you to enjo y...

1) Live Every Week Like It’s 'Shark Week' — 30 Rock 

In an early episode of 30 Rock, Tracy mentors Kenneth, the boyish NBC page, for a day and teaches him an important life lesson: “Live every week like it’s Shark Week.”

2) “Jumping the Shark” — Happy Days

The term “jumping the shark” was coined in the late 1970s to describe a television show that declines so much that it’s beyond recovery; and may also include the use of “gimmicks” in a last minute attempt to win over more viewers. It found its name when Happy Days was in its decline, and Fonzi jumps over a shark on a pair of water skis. Since the founding of “jumping the shark” more than 200 shows have “jumped shark,” according to Jon Hein, who has written a book on the phenomenon.  
 

3) Human Week — Stephen Colbert

In 2009, Stephen Colbert suggested 'Shark Week' should be replaced with 'Human Week,' since statically, it’s more likely for a person to be killed by a vending machine than a shark. In this clip, Colbert takes on Discovery’s acclaimed week and provides some side-comments of his own hopes.


4) Ten Fall Shows that Need More Sharks — NPR's "Monkey See" blog

If there’s one thing that is pretty absent from prime time entertainment, it’s sharks. So NPR’s "Monkey See" blogger provides a list of popular shows and argues that adding sharks will enhance their appeal.

For the new NBC show Guys with Kids:
“Every week, the three dads who star in this family comedy prove once again that men really are capable of parenting by rescuing their three tiny babies from the jaws of three sharks. And every week, the mothers go, "You wrestled a shark? I was in labor for eighteen hours!" Everyone laughs, the women hit the men with their purses, AND SCENE.”

READ THE POST HERE.

5)  “Floating Vibes” — Surfer Blood

The band Surfer Blood is comprised four young Californian indie rockers who sing about the waves with a catchy groove. Here they deliver the goods of an ocean adventure with “Floating Vibes,” which appears on their debut release Astro Coast. Get a sense of the humorous "floating vibes" that power these dudes in the music video below.

6) Shark Newsflash — Whose Line is it Anyway

In the great improv show, Colin Mochrie is the field reporter covering a story on big sharks and diving teams, while Ryan Styles and Brad Sherwood narrate the scene. The trick is, as Colin reports, he has no idea what is happening on the green screen behind him.

7)  Glowing Life in an Underwater World Edith Widder

Watch Edith Widder talk about her first encounter with bio-luminescence. The marine researcher and technological enthusiast tells a story of diving deep into the ocean, turning out her lights, and watching the area illuminate with creatures. “In the ocean, [bio-luminescence] is the rule rather than the exception,” she explains.

8) It Was Just a Shark — An Interview with Rodney Fox

A McSweeny’s two-part interview with Rodney Fox back in 2002 tells one man’s story of a great white shark attack he experienced while in Australia. After surviving an attack he began filming sharks and returning to the water to discover more about them.  

“I dived down and I was gliding along and I was just going to spear a big fish…. I knew I had it, I was so close, and its head was in the weed, and I couldn’t see it. As I was about to shoot it, this huge thump hit me in the chest so hard that immediately I thought it was a train, and then I thought, “No I’m underwater.” It was such a big thump, and it knocked the gun out of my hand, the mask off my face, and I was just hurled through the water faster than I could swim.”

READ THE INTERVIEW HERE.

9) The Jaguar Shark —The Life Aquatic

At the end of Wes Anderson's film The Life Aquatic, the entire team Zizzou boards a submarine to track down the mythic-like jaguar shark, but the vengeance-driven plot turns as they share a holy moment with the creature.

10) Soul Surfing at Jaws — Bethany Hamilton
In one of our most inspiring tales — Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark when she was 13-years-old, but that hasn’t kept her out of the water. Her faith and determination have been key inspirations to her recovery. She has since earned dozens of medals at surf competitions around the world and garnered scores of attention with her book and movie. And below she surfs at a Hawaiian beach called 'Jaws.'

Other sweet lists: The Upworthy infographic on sharks killing people vs. people killing sharks. Paste Magazine presents the Ten Best Sharks in popular culture.


Joshua Witchger is an online assistant at Sojourners.

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