Shark Week, 2019

DATELINE: Overbite

yum yumYummy! Eat’em up!

Everybody’s a critic. One of the best images we have seen from our Discovery “Shark Week” sampling is the Great White attacking a robo-sub with camera.

These denizens of the deep do not like Paparrazzi any more than normal celebs. Now that they have become superstars of the underwater, Great White Sharks have shown a bit more temperament when they find their secret lives being filmed by robotic submersibles.

In one show, we watched Shaq, giant basketball star, in a cage trapped with a small shark. Talk about panic, and the unsettling idea that shark bites are minor concessions to a creature that does not like the taste of people.

Actually, based on some of these documentaries, the taste of producers is dubious—and we agree with the sharks.

Since there are hundreds of varieties of sharks, the week of films on Discovery now feature Hammerheads, blues, bulls, and on and on. Move over, Great White, you have company.

We also find that notion that these “researchers” are a bunch of little boys screaming, “Wow,” and ‘Whoa,” which are dutifully translated into subtitles like a Batman TV episode.

These middle-aged researchers grew up watching Shark Week and now aspire to be among the celebrities who are showcased with the money shot of jaws biting wildly.

Another show featured Mauricio Hoyos again, the cutie-pie researcher who enjoys watching giant Great Whites, of twenty feet, attack elephant seals who congregate on Guadalupe Island, off Mexico.

This episode featured the delightful images of a shark turning the tables on the hunters of pictures by sneaking up from beneath and vertically, to bite the smaller sub, like it is a grinder sandwich.

Several bites nearly do in the expensive computer machine. It is no match in speed or strength to the jaws of destiny that the society of Great Whites enjoin each year.

It is the first time you will see a stealthy attack under water, as usually the shark breaches and jumps up like a whale at Seaworld for our edification.

These endless and often mindless shows beat the drum about how these are not monsters and should be shown respect, even as these jokers try to grab sharks by the tail or prove their manhood by swimming with sharks.

After a series of pointless, puerile, and dangerous stunts, “Shark Week” is overkill. We may skip it for another 20 years.

Hard to Kill, Harder to Watch

DATELINE:  Hard Jobs

Tim Unleashed Tim Kennedy Unleashed

Tim Kennedy, formerly of Hunting Hitler as the go-to adventurer who investigated dangerous people, has gone a step beyond for a new Discovery series.

Hard to Kill is one of those “dangerous job” shows where some rank amateur tries his hand, without training, at doing something where you need a few years of experience to do the job right.

So, Tim Kennedy, former Green Beret, muscle-man, pushing forty years, is perfect as the guy being a man in a world of wussies. In the old days we called him a dare-devil, or simply foolhardy, or blithering idiot.

He shows guts and lack of brains at the same time.

In the first show, he tries his hand at “American bullfighter,” and it’s not what you expect. In the jargon of pop culture, this job is rodeo clown:  the guy in clown makeup who distracts the rampaging bull from running over the fallen rider.

This is risky. Breaking bones is the easy way out. Jumping to the fence to escape the bull’s charge is not a good idea, as these pros tell Kennedy: you can be impaled on an immovable object (a fence slat).

Bulls run at 35mph and are reasonably adept at hitting their target. You can plainly see that the rodeo men take it seriously to protect their own—and sending out an untrained person is not only foolhardy, but unethical. Yet, the price of TV fame comes high, so to speak.

Kennedy is personable and overly energetic, but these kind of adventurers were the explorers of yesteryear. They may seem anachronistic today or suited only for TV derring-do.