Maine starting ‘Shark Week’ a bit early

Not so many years ago, I may have made a bold proclamation that I’ve since taken back.

Reality TV shows are for the birds.

Since then, I’ve come around a bit. Almost. Sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong. I still don’t watch anything with the word “Kardashian” in the title. Don’t like toddlers, nor tiaras, nor real housewives, no matter what city they call home.

Put a few cops in the show, however, and I’m in. Real cops. Surf cops. Parking cops. Cool.

Ditto game wardens, whether they’re Maine’s own in “North Woods Law,” or are enforcing the law on some remote river in Alaska.

And then there are the critter shows. Love ‘em. Turtle man’s a nut, but I can’t turn away. I feel the same way about most of the shows in the critter-reality genre (and I’m pretty sure the words “critter-reality genre” have never been strung together before.

Which brings us to Sunday. According to the Discovery Channel (and millions of viewers who’ll tune in), it’s “Shark Week.” Again.

If you’re not (yet) among the fans of “Shark Week,” a solid block of programming that features more than a few foolish humans (oops, I meant to say “brave scientists”) getting as close to sharks as possible, here’s a warning for you.

Don’t root for the seal.

No, during “Shark Week,” the seals never seem to fare too well. They are, in fact, virtual Purina Shark Chow. They are, to steal a couple advertising slogans, what’s for dinner. They’re fin-licking good, even.

Now, I’m not a conspiracy theorist by nature (although I’m still curious about the Kennedy assassination, I’m willing to concede that we did actually land on the moon, and realize that the black helicopters aren’t coming to get us), I am wondering what in the world is going on in Maine’s waters this week.

But some developments this week are downright (sorry in advance) fishy.

“Shark Week” is looming — shows kick off on Sunday, if you’re interested. It seems you can’t watch a single show on cable TV without seeing that hilarious (sorry, Snuffy the Seal) commercial promoting the popular yearly event.

And now, everywhere you look, you see news about sharks.

Off the coast of Boothbay, some lobstermen happened upon a shark they said looked like a great white, munching happily on a whale carcass.

That’s right. A great white. In Maine. As in “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” As in, “Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum.” As in, “Seals? We don’t need to eat seals! Where’s Quint?”

A little farther south, in Wells, more sharks were spotted near a popular beach.

Now, I’m not saying that the Discovery Channel marketing team went and rounded up a few spare sharks and herded ‘em up to Maine to increase ratings for “Shark Week.”

That’s because I’m not a conspiracy theorist.

If you want to believe that Discovery Channel flew those sharks up here in black helicopters, that’s your prerogative.

If you want to go to the beach and look for evidence (or take a swim, for that matter), knock yourself out.

In the meantime, as one of those kids whose ocean-swimming careers virtually ended during the summer of 1975 (thank you, Mr. Spielberg), I’ll be nowhere near salt water this weekend.

Instead, I’ll be on the couch. Tuning in. Watching “Shark Week.” Rooting for the seals. High and dry … and safe. Maybe.

Of course, there’s still that whole “Sharknado” thing to worry about.

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.