Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week is back, and viewers are already disappointed.
Shark Week 2017’s Sunday night program, “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White” led viewers to believe that the Olympic-winning gold medalist was going to race a Great White Shark.
Fifty seven minutes into the program, Tristan Gutteridge, a featured scientist, says “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,” and viewers knew it was all over.
The first part of the program showed scientists collecting data about sharks and their speed, which was a challenge because sharks don’t usually swim in a straight line. They then used the data they collected to create a computer-generated image (CGI) of a shark and had it race Phelps.
“Honestly, my first thought when I saw the shark was, ‘There’s very little chance for me to beat him,’” Phelps said.
Phelps, adorned in a special wetsuit and fin attached to his feet, swam 100 meters in 38.1 seconds.The CGI shark swam the same distance in 36.1 seconds.
The Internet could not take this. This was unacceptable. We were promised Phelps vs Shark!
(Even though we all knew Phelps would lose).
I honestly feel so robbed that I just watched an hour of a stupid show to see Michael Phelps race a FAKE shark. #fakenews
— Hannah Bowen (@HannahGBowen) July 24, 2017
find me a better metaphor for the state of western civilization than michael phelps losing to a digital simulacrum
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) July 24, 2017
phelps racing a fake shark is like when ur teacher says there’s gonna be a sub but shows up the next day
— ??✨ (@reqnna) July 24, 2017
Although this was definitely false advertising, Discovery Channel outdid themselves with the hype they generated.