All things shark

Heavy advertisement on cable tv for the summer-end event Shweekend (Shark Weekend — somehow, sharks provoke portmanteaus) on the Discovery Channel.


(The poster plays on the film title Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!)

The press release, in extravagant ad-talk (including significant doses of ALL-CAPS):

This July, Discovery’s SHARK WEEK returned bigger than ever before, blowing the competition out of the water and making a splash as the highest-rated SHARK WEEK in the event’s 28 year history. And because viewers can’t get enough of all things shark, for the first time ever, Discovery will introduce SHWEEKEND, a special weekend of all-new SHARK WEEK programming on Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30, officially making 2015 the “Summer of the Shark.”

SHWEEKEND will feature four all-new SHARK WEEK programs throughout the weekend, delivering even more compelling and jaw-dropping shark stories and never-before-seen shark technology. SHWEEKEND programming includes: MythBusters vs. Jaws and Shark Alley on Saturday, August 29; and Air Jaws: Ring of Death and Still Alive: Shark Surprise on Sunday, August 30.

(In earlier years, Discovery’s Shark Week offerings sometimes veered uncomfortably towards sensational fiction, in the direction of the SyFy channel’s monster flicks, but recently the channel has been sticking more closely to science, but breathlessly presented.)

Now I turn to a review of shark-related postings on this blog, starting in 2009. Every so often I’ll take off on a tangent suggested by one of these postings.

1. From “Over the top” of 2/26/09, a reference to jumping the shark

Tangent: jumping the shark. From Wikipedia:

Jumping the shark is an idiom created by Jon Hein that was used to describe the moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality, signaled by a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers’ interest, which is taken as a sign of desperation, and is seen by viewers to be the point at which the show strayed irreparably from its original premise. The phrase is based on a scene from a fifth-season episode of the sitcom Happy Days when the character Fonzie [played by Henry Winkler] jumps over a shark while on water-skis.

The usage of “jump the shark” has subsequently broadened beyond television, indicating the moment when a brand, design, franchise or creative effort’s evolution declines.


Happy Days is an American sitcom that aired first-run from January 15, 1974, to September 24, 1984, on ABC. The show was originally based on a segment from ABC’s Love American Style titled “Love And The Happy Day” featuring Ron Howard and 3 future cast members. Created by Garry Marshall, the series presents an idealized vision of life in the mid-1950s to mid-1960s United States. (Wikipedia link)

2. “Riffing and ripping on poetry” of 5/13/11, a Zippy with a shark-headed surfer dude

3. “Proud to be an American” of 2/12/12, a reference to the Sharks and Jets in West Side Story

Tangent: The musical and the movie. From Wikipedia:

West Side Story is an American musical [from 1957, with a movie adaptation in 1961] with a book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, libretto/lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It was inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet.

The story is set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid-1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood. (In the early 1960s much of the neighborhood would be cleared in an urban renewal project for the Lincoln Center, changing the neighborhood’s character.) The musical explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds. The members of the Sharks, from Puerto Rico, are taunted by the Jets, a Caucasian gang.


From the movie: Sharks on the left, Jets on the right

4. “Ben Cohen” of 2/27/12, on the former rugby player (and now sometime model, shown shirtless in this posting), who retired from playing for the Sale Sharks (in Greater Manchester) in May 2007

Tangent: shark names for sports teams. Not as common as you might think, but here’s a selection, starting with the team most likely to be known by Americans:

San Jose (CA) Sharks (hockey)
Worcester (MA) Sharks (hockey)
Bucks County (PA) Sharks (rugby league)
Sale (Greater Manchester) Sharks (rugby league)
Cronulla-Sutherland (New South Wales) Sharks (rugby league)
The Sharks (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) (rugby league)
Wilmington (NC) Sharks (baseball)
Jupiter (FL) Hammerheads (baseball)
Clearwater (FL) Threshers (baseball)
Rochester (NY) RazorSharks (basketball)
Shanghai (China) Sharks (basketball)
New York Sharks (women’s football)
Jacksonville (FL) Sharks (arena football)
Clark Sports Center (Cooperstown NY) Sharks (swim team)

5/6. “More dubious portmanteaus” of 7/17/12 and “Today’s dubious portmanteau” of 1/9/13, both referring to portmanteaus that are just for ostentatious display, e.g., Piranhaconda, Sharktopus

7. “bat-, -mobile, and -man” of 8/9/13, with bat-shark repellent bat-spray (in the tv series Batman)

8. “Odds and ends 8/18/13” of 8/18/13, section #1 on monster portmanteaus, especially from Roger Corman for the SyFy channel (note: not the Discovery Channel): Dinocroc, Supergator, Piranhaconda, Sharktopus, Pteracuda; plus some produced by imitators, Sharknado for instance

9. “Portmanteau fashion” of 9/6/13, on the question of whether there is a current fashion for portmanteaus in pop culture, as evidenced by cronut, Sharknado, and more

10. “Bunnies run amok” of 7/5/14, on the “natural horror” genre of movies; with a very long list of shark movies, including the Shark Attack films (featuring genetically enhanced great white sharks)

11. “Shark!: of 1/24/15: a Calvin and Hobbes with a snow shark; Jaws; the land shark on SNL; the tv show Street Sharks; the movies Sand Sharks and Snow Shark

12. “Back to edible penises” of 3/19/15, with a passing reference to gummi sharks

13. “Today’s POP” of 4/10/15, a New Yorker cartoon with the phrasal overlap portmanteau student loan shark

Tangent: loan sharks and the film Loan Shark. Wikipedia:

A loan shark is a person or body who offers loans at extremely high interest rates.

and more Wikipedia:

Loan Shark is a 1952 film noir directed by Seymour Friedman and starring George Raft, Dorothy Hart and Paul Stewart. An ex-con avenges his brother’s death by infiltrating vicious loan rackets.


14. “Shark statues” of 7/4/15: shark sculptures, statuary, and figurines, including in a Zippy

15. “findependence” of 7/13/15Jaws 2; Shark Week 2015 (July); the movie Megalodon; previous postings on sharkish matters (8/18/13, 7/5/14, 1/24/15), the Shark Wars books; the adjectives selachine and selachian (and squaline, squaloid, pistrine, pistrian)

16. “Jeri Ryan and Luke Perry and more” of 7/14/15: Ryan in the legal drama Shark (2006-08)

17. “Shirtless shark-fighting teens” of 7/26/15, on Ian Ziering in the Sharknado movies

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