A mockumentary that kicked off “Shark Week” has the Discovery Channel in hot water. “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives” tells the story of a group of scientists searching for the modern-day version of a prehistoric shark that’s wreaking havoc off the coast of South Africa. But the shark, nicknamed Submarine, is as fake as the actors playing scientists.
“I’m an avid viewer of The Discovery Channel, and Shark Week is my favorite time of year,” said cashier and wildlife center volunteer Cindi Wells. “But they made me look like an idiot when I told my co-workers about that huge killer shark. I mean, I saw it on Discovery Channel, so I thought it was true!”
Other outraged viewers took to social media to vent their frustration. Trex808 posted on the channel’s website: What’s next, Discovery Channel? A show about the Easter Bunny? Or Sasquatch? Actually, I’d like to see a show about Sasquatch – can you please forward this suggestion to programming? Using the hashtag #Megalodon, many complained via Twitter. KeriKeri tweeted “RU cray? A giant shark that eats ships? UB trippin!”
Network spokeswoman Lauren Simon stood behind the decision to air the program. “We feel Megalodon is a good mix of science and entertainment. This shark was a menace of the ocean during the Miocene Era, so we just took some liberties with the time frame. I mean, my husband watches TLC and even he knew it was fake! Jesus, I thought Discovery Channel viewers were smarter than that.”
Sci-Fi icon and actor Leonard Nimoy even weighed in on the special, suggesting an apology was in order. “The airing of this program was irresponsible. It would be like me hosting a documentary about a giant sehlat. People will believe anything a scientist—or actor—says!”
Charles Bickley, a shark researcher at the University of Southern California, says the program is harmful to the reputation of an already misunderstood creature. “Megalodon was a magnificent 50-foot long shark that’s been extinct for over two million years. It shouldn’t be the butt of a television joke, but instead a revered dead animal. This stunt may cause me to change my viewing habits.” Flipping through a TV guide he asked, “What’s a Honey Boo Boo?”