(The Ballad Of) Sharknado


When I found out that SyFy was airing a sequel to Sharknado (appropriately named Sharknado 2: The Second One) I made sure that I kept the night of July 30th free. Nothing was going to keep me from the premiere of Sharknado 2. I was giddy. I screamed the phrase “Let’s go kill some sharks!” no less than five times yesterday. And that steaming pile of shark sh*t did not disappoint. It’s the most entertaining thing I’ve seen on TV since Tyrion Lannister shot Tywin while the old man was half-naked on the toilet (no, I’m not giving you a spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen that episode yet, you’re not going to any time soon).

Now, people keep giving Sharknado a lot of crap because—quite frankly and honestly—it’s ridiculous. I get it. When your idea of a “relatable hero” dives headfirst into a badly-animated great white and cuts his way out with a chainsaw, you’re asking for some ridicule. But you know what? These people know what the heck they’re doing. They made a comically bad movie that ran for less than two hours, and in the process they started a cult. Four million people watched last night. And don’t even get me started on the tweets (215,000 in the last day just for the hashtag #Sharknado2. That doesn’t even include the more popular variant, #Sharknado2TheSecondOne). Let’s see you do that.

Why are we so fascinated with these movies? The phrase “throw firebombs into the center of the tornado” is enough to explain my reasoning. That sounds like a plotline that a high thirteen-year-old would come up with. No serious filmmaker would pursue this crap. But the guy that was ballsy enough to do it has a serious franchise on his hands. There’s a book (“How to Survive a Sharknado”). There are two movies, and the smart bet says there will be a third. There’s even a theme song:

Does this mean that every filmmaker should take these kinds of risks? No, not necessarily. While I really, really enjoyed that shot of Matt Lauer stabbing a shark with an umbrella, I don’t think that the movie industry can handle this kind of deliberately-bad spoofing on a regular basis. But I swear, if any uppity film critics kill this thing, I’ll kill them.

Oh wait, they can’t. SyFy is a tiny station, and having four million viewers on anything must boost their numbers by several hundred percent. They won’t even stop making this if Tara Reid’s arm actually does start to spurt blood.

God bless this country, where we decide what kind of television we want to see. If we want to watch Billy Ray Cyrus pretend to act, or if we want to see Ian Ziering defy the laws of science, that happens before our eyes. This is a society controlled by the viewer, the consumer, the guys like you and I that lap this stuff up like a dehydrated puppy. Because it’s immediately gratifying and requires a lot less effort to enjoy than the latest “deep” blockbuster.

I’m looking forward to the next one. Maybe next time they’ll do it in DC—I’d pay to see that.


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