Michael Phelps Raced a White Shark... Wait, Michael Phelps Raced a White Shark?
By John Corry, photo from Consequence of Sound
Jul 25, 2017, 12:28 pm Eastern
It's shark week! #SharkWeek #OMG #OMGOMGOMGOMG
I used to love shark week, but then they did that thing about the Megalodon and I completely 'lost my faith' (the whole episode was fake) (sorry, Mr. President). They've had a lot of bullshit episodes since then–it's almost like as their production budget went up, their product got worse (fancy that)–but, this year, they had a fucking WALLOP of a HOLY SHIT moment, a total WALLOP indeed: they had American Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps race a Great White Shark.
Wait... Shark Week had American Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps race a great white shark?
Alright, they didn't actually have Michale Phelps race a Great White Shark (and was that really what you were expecting?). They measured how fast Great Whites can swim, cultivated from a number of factors, compared that to the possibility of Michael Phelps making Discovery Channel a nice, pretty penny, and then juxtaposed an image of Phelps swimming in open water (though I assume it was likely a stage) with a computerized Great White doing what it does in open water. If you've ever watched Shark Week before (because I know that is the only way anyone could ever know anything about sharks...), this should come as no surprise, you'd know how ridiculous this sounds. Great white sharks have an average speed of around twenty-seven mph, while Phelps holds the human world record of a bit over five.
Against all odds, though, it's actually not that bad of a show. I get why people might be mad if they thought they were actually going to see Michael Phelps race against a real shark in open water (however dumb, simply technically speaking (humans cannot swim as fast as sharks), the whole thing would be), but could you imagine what the country would do if a bunch of scientists on Shark Week killed one of America's few golden boys just for the sake of some science? The outcry would be impenetrable! Never-ending! It's obvious that nobody with a brain would ever do this, and, frankly, you all should have known that going in.
In fact, I'd say it's probably the coolest thing Shark Week has done since the megalodon fiasco, primarily because it wasn't fake. For what it was, it was fun, it had a climax and a relative narrative (as far as these types of shows go) that wasn't totally aesthetically pointless, and I even found it a little informative. What did I learn: I learned that reef sharks can't go at their fastest speed for very long, that Great Whites can travel ten meters in under a second (ok, I knew that already, but it's always cool to see it again), and that Michael Phelps is either a really good actor or a pretty cool dude to hang out with. I'm gonna go with the latter (athletes can't act).
Will Shark Week keep up the trend? Will it stop luring viewers in with fake news simply because that's what its viewers apparently want? Will you actually learn something from shark week this year, and not just be rightfully offended at the waste of time stupid fake stories gives fade to your oceanic, marine soul?
Tip: ook it up.