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Shark Week and Beyond: Sharks in Pop Culture

A half shark, half tornado superstorm made landfall early this month, and the shark craze continues with Shark Week. That's right, SyFy's Sharknado is back with a bite! In this episode of The Sync Up, we're discussing how and why sharks have become America's obsession. The first Sharknado, which caused a huge storm on social media, was too absurd to be ignored (it also makes for great fruit salad inspiration). When it premiered last July, it was the most talked-about TV program on Twitter that day, with over 300,000 tweets during the broadcast. People were going nuts. Some of our favorite tweets of the night came from these two:

Actresses Mia Farrow and Olivia Wilde were even contributing to the conversation. SyFy even offered them a part in the sequel!

So let's go back to the beginning: where did this shark craze begin? Jaws definitely set the stage in 1975. It made $470 million at the box office, which made it the most successful movie of all time until Star Wars. Each and every shark movie that followed tried to up the ante. There was Deep Blue Sea, not to mention the — not one, but three —Jaws movies that followed the original. The morbid fascination probably has something to do with serial-killer syndrome. People are captivated by serial killers, because they've never met one themselves. The same concept applies to sharks. Not many humans will get to come in contact with a living, breathing great white shark, so that's why watching these animals on film is both addicting — and a little disturbing.

Now back to the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. The special first launched in 1988, and it's the channel's longest-running program ever. It doubled the primetime ratings when it first aired. And when you can't make it to a TV, the network offers 24/7 shark cams on its website.

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