Discovery’s Shark Week has lost its luster over the years, maybe because the idea of death by shark is becoming more appealing and less terrifying by the day as we watch the world crumble around us. Whatever the cause, the network enlisted Michael Phelps to draw in viewers for Sunday’s Shark Week kickoff program, Phelps Vs. Shark: The Battle for Ocean Supremacy, and it was basically a bunch of ado about nothing.
Phelps’ appearance was majorly hyped, with advertisements for the show claiming that he would race a great white shark, which is inherently dangerous and would naturally draw in a lot of viewership. The below advertisement led people to believe that the Olympian would, like, actually race a shark. Silly us.
There’s no disclaimer. The preview is like video clickbait, but instead of the victim reading a list of reasons as to why Mel Gibson might be a freemason, they watched an entire hour of Phelps Vs. Shark, only to have ecologist Tristan Gutteridge announce an hour into the program, “Clearly, we can’t put Michael in one lane and a white shark on the far lane. We’re gonna have to do a simulation.”
Um, how about you figure it out? You’re the scientist. We would have rather watched Phelps race Left Shark than Don Lino from Shark Tale. In a Phelps feature with Vanity Fair, it was clarified that he would not be swimming in a pool with a shark and that “the two will each swim 100 meters in the same open water, and their times will be compared.” Still, nobody ever said the shark wouldn’t even be real.
Watch Phelps race a goddamn cartoon below.