"Live every week like it's Shark Week," says an austere Tracy Morgan on 30 Rock. It's a mantra that people have been following for 26 years, and on Sunday, the 2013 installment of Shark Week launches to much anticipation at 8 p.m. ET. It's a strange time of the year: shark obsession becomes socially acceptable, viewers plop themselves on the couch to see footage of their biggest fear, and people watch the Discovery Channel. Weird.
If you're like me and don't understand the Shark Week hype, you're probably wondering if there's any incentive to tune in. After all, no amount of shark badassery can compensate for vapid narration and interviews with experts from Alaska. Here's a few ideas to make Shark Week easier to watch.
1. Watch "Sharknado" first
Grab some friends and drop your standards. Sharknado has hit social media like a hurricane — Sharkicane? — and it's time to see what the buzz is all about.
Sharknado stars Tara Reid (!) and takes place in Los Angeles. A freak storm unleashes man-eating sharks around the city, forcing a crew of Fin, Baz, and Nova to save Fin's estranged wife April (Reid). What ensues is nothing short of absurd, and it clocks in at under 90 minutes.
"There's a flood. And a storm. Don't worry about it," says director Anthony Ferrante. There's also a chainsaw in a shark's stomach, but I don't want to spoil anything.
Sharknado's summer success has people hyped for Shark Week, so jump on the bandwagon and try to make some sense out of this thing.
2. Watch "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus" too
Far more relevant and realistic. Megashark vs. Giant Octopus features a fight between two prehistoric behemoths and sex in a utility closet. The megashark in question is more than 500 feet long and defies the laws of physics in every way imaginable. How have you not seen this already?
This gem spawned a sequel, Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, and is guaranteed to get you spirited for Shark Week. Stars Lorenzo Lamas and Debbie Gibson will make you shark fans; if not, this clip just about has to.
3. Follow @SharkWeek on Twitter
Part of the reason why people love Shark Week so much is for the word-of-mouth culture that accompanies it. Shark Week's official Twitter account gives you snarky replies, teasers of the week's biggest shows, and locations of free tacos around New York City. Why not?
#SharkWeek is trending, and the SourceFeed couch was just chomped by the Shark Week shark at VidCon. The commercial has been seen all over social media too. Follow along and try to catch the excitement.
4. Do some shark research
Sounds lame, but do you have any idea how prevalent shark attacks are today? Hollywood has romanticized sharks to be rare, horrifying predators, but sharks of all different threat levels are thriving in New England, Fiji, and Australia, to name a few locations. There are also more than 470 species of sharks, though people often just focus on the Great White Shark or the hammerhead.
It's estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year — 11 thousand an hour. Studying sharks begs some questions over ecological responsibility and extinction prevention.
5. Play a Shark Week drinking game
If nothing else, make Shark Week more interesting the ol' fashioned way. Take a drink every time you hear an Australian or British accent, every time a new person is interviewed, or every time you get a new shark fact. Add a suspenseful rule for when something looks ominous or an attack is looming. Or, you know, just drink every time you hear the word "shark."