TV

An Important Discussion About Guy Fieri’s Shark Week Special


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Guy Fieri and Shark Week. Shark Week and Guy Fieri. One, an omnipresent and occasionally mocked American institution whose programs feature an insatiable but misunderstood beast that devours meals in single bites and has been around since what feels like the beginning of time. The other, a week of programming about sharks.

Prior to this year, it was an unexplainable oversight by the great and powerful gods of television that these two titans of chow had not been mashed together into a single glorious hour of content. It was so obvious. Maybe, like a man who spends 20 minutes turning his house upside down on a hunt for his sunglasses, we had all been making this too hard when the answer was resting right on the back of our be-spiked heads all along.

Luckily, this cosmic wrong has finally been righted. Discovery Channel’s 2018 edition of Shark Week — it’s 30th, hosted by Shaq, which also feels both perfect and long overdue — featured a program titled “Guy’s Feeding Frenzy.” I had known this was coming for a few weeks thanks to a tweet from Fieri himself, but it didn’t feel real until I saw it in the listings. Yes, I watched “Guy’s Feeding Frenzy.” I saw Guy Fieri swim with sharks. It was (almost) everything I hoped for.

But I’m sure you have some questions. Please, fire away.

What, exactly, was “Guy’s Feeding Frenzy”?

I’m glad you asked. Discovery Channel describes it thusly:

Shark Week teams up with Guy Fieri and his son, Hunter, in the Bahamas to experience local cuisine and explore and understand what makes the waters around these islands the ideal all-you-can-eat buffet for such a wide variety of shark species.

This was also explained in the opening, which sounded a lot like the opening to an episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives,” with the most notable exception being that it ended with Guy Fieri and his son blasting shark food out of potato guns from the deck of a boat christened the U.S.S. Flavortown.

I refuse to believe that last thing happened.

Oh ho ho, my friend.

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Holy hell. Please tell me the rest of the show lived up to this opening.

I am sad to inform you that it mostly did not, for two reasons. First of all, how could it, honestly? Look at that again. It’s wondrous. It should be in a museum.

But second, and more substantially, the show made quite a few mentions of “an ultimate shark all-you-can-eat buffet” and “the perfect shark meal,” which, combined with that opening, led me to believe there was a chance this special would end with Guy Fieri preparing hundreds of homemade shark meals and blasting them into the ocean out of potato guns. In hindsight, this was more my fault than theirs. I just got too excited and my imagination went scampering off its leash. But still. That would have been pretty great.

Maybe next year.

Dammit. But he at least swims with sharks, right?

Boy howdy, does he ever. In and out of the cage. Under the guidance of sharks experts, including:

  • A man named Andy Casagrande, whose last name sounds fake and translates to “big house,” which leads me to believe he may be in witness protection and his name is a tongue-in-cheek reminder that he could be taken to jail at any moment
  • A shark expert named Dr. Bond who uses a maneuver called tonic immobility to temporarily hypnotize sharks so they can be tagged or freed of dangling fishing hooks, and yes, “a man named Dr. Bond who can hypnotize sharks” is the single most supervillain thing I’ve ever heard
  • An Italian shark expert who is a huge Guy Fieri fan and at one point does the Triple D opening (“I’m Guy Fieri and we’re rolling out…”) from memory with a look of glee on his face

Quite a crew. I love them. A few times they kind of slipped into Guy-speak and started describing buckets of blood and fish parts like he would describe a big sloppy sandwich.

Andy Casagrande!

Yup.

So when Guy was swimming with the sharks, was he ever like, in danger?

I mean… the show sure wanted you to think he was. And I suppose there is a baseline amount of danger one can’t avoid when one dives into the ocean with predators. Lord knows I’m not doing it. But a lot of the tension did seem like editing tricks, though. He went in the water a few times and each was going fine until suddenly they had to get him out. Which, again, maybe I’m being cynical about all of this because I’ve seen too many Shark Week shows. The only things that struck me as really potentially dicey were the time his scuba suit malfunctioned and the time the barracuda chumsicle melted too much and a feeding frenzy developed after the water filled with blood.

What in the world is a barracuda chumsicle?

Oh. It’s a frozen chunk of barracuda guts that they drop into the water so it will attract sharks at a slow-ish pace as it melts.

Do you think Guy Gieri will put something called a chumsicle on the menu at one of his restaurants soon?

I have no doubt at all.

Was Guy scared by the chumsicle incident?

It was, to use his own words…

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Okay, be honest. How many screencaps do you have on your computer of Guy Fieri swimming with sharks?

I don’t know. Not a lot.

How many is “not a lot”?

It’s not like I’ve counted them or anything.

More than five?

I feel like you’re judging me here.

Post them, you coward.

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I knew it.

I was excited, okay.

Fine, fine. But don’t you ever feel a little weird poking fun at Guy Fieri? What has the guy ever done that’s so wrong, really? Wear some shirts with flames on them? Gel his hair to razor-sharp points and make up silly words? I mean, all the dude has done is relentlessly support local small businesses on a popular television show. A lot of people like him. What have you ever done?

I… uh… I can explain.

And didn’t he spend this whole show hanging out with his son?

He did.

That seems nice.

That’s the thing. It was! It was honestly sweet. Guy Fieri seems like a really good dude, even if he can be a little goofy sometimes. Like, if you were broken down on the side of the road, I feel pretty confident Guy Fieri would pick you up and take you for cheeseburgers while the tow truck came. I’m not hating as much as I’m having a little fun.

That seems fair.

I hope so. Oh, and at the end, Guy asked his son what they should do next after swimming with sharks and his son said they should go to space. He was joking but I heard that and was like “Hell yeah, I would watch a show about Guy Fieri going to space.”

Who wouldn’t?

Joyless monsters, that’s who.

Okay, one last question: Do you think there are sharks in Flavortown?

Well, this depends on a few things, like if Flavortown is water-adjacent and if it adheres to the same basic realities as our world. Like, maybe there are sharks but they’re made out of short ribs and swim in barbecue sauce. Or maybe Flavortown is a magical land where humans and animals live together, like in BoJack Horseman, and sharks walk around on land in jeans and sweaters and yell into their cell phones about how the roofer is overcharging them. We just don’t know enough to make an informed guess because Flavortown seems to be whatever we want or need it to be. I think about this a lot. Too much, probably. But it’s a good question.

You know, I would have accepted just a “yes.”

Shut up.

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