In a 2006 episode of "30 Rock," actor Tracy Morgan offered some important life advice: "Live every week like it's Shark Week." This is some of the best advice I've heard recently because it is so true. Shark Week is one of the most exciting parts of summer and it is without a doubt the best week of programming the Discovery Channel has to offer. It is always exciting to see the new lineup of shows for each year and also watch some of the older episodes for the second, third, or tenth time. More importantly, though, Shark Week is used as a platform to educate people on how sharks live and how changes need to be made to help sharks avoid extinction.
Shark Week is so appealing to viewers because actual interactions with the animals are extremely rare for the average person. An average person usually can't just go out into the ocean and observe a great white shark like a marine biologist can. This is how the Discovery Channel is able to attract millions of viewers each year because people can just sit on the couch in their homes and watch incredible footage of some of the most amazing animals on earth. Viewers tune in because they are interested in sharks and they can watch them in action from the safety of their home.
In addition to a form of entertainment, Shark Week also serves as a way to educate the public on these animals. Across the world, the shark population is down tremendously as a result of shark fishing. Sharks reproduce at a relatively slow rate and they are caught in large numbers to harvest their valuable fins. This obviously leads to a decline in population and even the possibility of extinction in the future. Fishing for sharks is illegal in the United States, but internationally it is a popular industry. Discovery Channel makes a few attempts to help viewers understand how they can help decrease or even end shark fishing, but in reality, there is not much that can be done because it is still completely legal in numerous countries.
One of the most interesting aspects of Shark Week is that it has an impact on younger viewers who decide to pursue a career as a marine biologist or even a shark scientist. Young viewers are exposed to the marine animals through the television shows and their interest is sparked. For people who didn't consider the career or possibly didn't know it existed, they now have a new option to consider. Basically, Shark Week is a way to help build interest and create the next generation of great marine biologists and scientists.
Shark Week is great because it is unique. It only occurs once a year, so anticipation builds among its viewers. It's entertaining because sharks are simply amazing creatures to watch, but it's also educational for viewers. The thought of a shark lingers on your mind while you swim at the beach right after watching an episode on Shark Week, but in the end, it's a risk worth taking. If you simply live every day like its a day during Shark Week, you can live a pretty good life. Just avoid the Megladon that might be lurking out there.