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'Shark Week': What's The Big Deal?

Dale Chong |
July 11, 2015 | 7:05 p.m. PDT

Film Editor

This year, not unlike every other year, I missed Discovery Channel’s "Shark Week." It’s partly due to the fact that I don’t have a television, but for the most part it’s because I don’t really watch the Discovery Channel to begin with. There’s a small part of me that is a little disappointed in myself—I mean, it’s "Shark Week."

I don’t really see the appeal of it. As a certified scuba diver and lover of the sea, I appreciate and enjoy the adventurous wonders of the aquatic world. However, it seems like "Shark Week" is just a fad. I’m very tempted to make the assumption that people get excited about the idea of life-threatening sharks who eat seals because all the cool kids are doing it. 

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At any other point in the year, I have never heard anyone talk about how much they love sharks or go out of their way to watch “Jaws.” Every now and then I hear how people are afraid of them, but as soon as we see "Shark Week" ads and commercials, people are obsessed with the idea of it. At the beginning of the week, Miles Teller tweeted his own excitement about Discovery Channel’s annual television event. So what’s the big deal?

Is "Shark Week" one of the only times in the world of television that we can watch “real” exciting, action-packed animals? And when "Shark Week" is actually happening, how many of us actually watch it? I used to be someone who once got excited for Shark Week, and as soon as it began, the only times I could watch it was during the day that simply broadcasted incredibly educational—yet boring—segments related to sharks.

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From what I understand, people freak out about "Shark Week" because it’s the time of year we get to watch sharks attack seals and be their predator-selves. Though sharks have been known to be one of the most extreme killers of the ocean, "Shark Week" tends to over-sensationalize their natural behavior. To be fair, it’s probably the best way to encourage people to get excited about sharks.

"Shark Week" tends to be a pretty big hit for summer television events. But once it’s all over, people go back to their regular days of not giving sharks a second thought.

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