Reaction to Animal Planet’s Monster Week and “Mermaids” (updated)

We got very big hits on our Animal Planet post about the Mermaid sequel – another fake documentary using what appears to be real scientists, real people and actual theories. It’s real annoying and real stupid. It also seems to make the people watching it stupid too. What a giant disappointment that Animal Planet chose to make themselves into a junk channel. We certainly don’t need anymore of those. Here are some of the reviews.

Do Mermaids Exist? Animal Planet’s ‘Mermaids: The New Evidence’ Ignites Twitter Debate About The Creatures Being Real [VIDEO].

After Animal Planet premiered its new special for Monster Week, “Mermaids: The New Evidence,” on Sunday, Twitter was soon flooded with speculation about whether the aquatic humanoids were real. It’s no secret that the half-human, half-fish beings are fascinating to most, but their existence remains entirely open to debate — at least among those with vivid imaginations.

Sample tweets follow. From what I saw on the feed as well, there were many who are completely credulous and clearly can not differentiate between the fact and fiction.

This was a particularly good one. She has a science background and likes River Monsters and some other parts of Monster Week. But not all of it.

Discovery Channel’s Monster Week – Geek Girl Navigating the World.

She didn’t like the way snakes were portrayed in “Devoured” and thought they did a poor job of explaining why the big snakes had to be killed.

“Devoured” seemed to be woefully devoid of statistical information, which I found to be an issue. Actual snake attack statistics would have been a huge help in my overall opinion of the program. How many humans actually get attacked by constrictor-type snakes a year? Of those, how many of them were attacked in the United States? How many of them died? How many of them were maimed? How many of them are going to make a full recovery and have a few scars and a scary story to tell? If you’re going to tell me that snake attacks on human beings are a problem, I’d really appreciate knowing how big of a problem it really is.

She also didn’t like the hype like this:

“Monster Week” is slated full of programs like “Man-eating Squid”, “Invasion of the Swamp Monsters” and “Invasion of the Mutant Pigs.” It’s a trend that I don’t like very much, to be honest.

As for mermaids… she said it would have been more suitable for the Sy-Fy Channel.

[…] Earth has thousands of other “monsters“ that Animal Planet could be shedding light on and fostering some understanding towards, instead of telling some wonderful stories magnificently dressed in the trappings of science. Then again, the bulk of the specials that are being run for “Monster Week” don’t seem to have been made with the intent of trying to help people learn more about the animals around them. That’s a shame, because people are great at fear-mongering all by themselves, they honestly don’t need media to help them with that.

This review liked the show and I get the intent. I agree it would have been great if it was a gag revealed or clearly fiction.

‘Mermaids: The New Evidence’ proves one thing: I want to believe |

Of course, calling Mermaids: The New Evidence real is like calling professional wrestling real. There’s a semblance of truth behind the assumptions, but the theatrics are intended for pure entertainment value. An unknowing audience member probably feels duped, but honestly, it’s time for TV viewers to take a breath, offer a smile and simply enjoy the possibilities. Both of these mermaid programs have fun playing with our expectations, knowing exactly what type of footage would entice us in this YouTube generation. I applaud the producers’ cleverness, much like I would have applauded Orson Welles’ radio program about aliens in New Jersey.

Is it real? Is it fake? These are interesting questions, but they completely miss the point of the specials. Mermaids: The New Evidence is entertaining, engaging and convincing. I’m not sure if mermaids were/are real, but I want to believe. The special taps into that childlike wonder we all used to have, when the world of the mystical realm wasn’t too far away. As our society has grown up and we require everyone to be so mature, we forget the ability to let loose and ponder the possibilities.

But I had to leave a comment (it may or may not show up). I think shows like this cheapen the efforts of actual science and allow people to misunderstand nature and discovery.

I’m not a fan, Animal Planet. I find your efforts appalling. What’s wrong with REAL animals? I’m sick of these lame shows about fake ones.

UPDATE: (29-May-2013) It was their biggest ratings success. Read that article and despair as they are committed to whoring themselves out for more ratings. Science be damned. Shame on you Animal Planet. What do you say to those people you upset with your misinformation? With your unethical tactics? I sort of want NOAA to screw Animal Planet. You might as well be Weekly World News – a joke.

  11 comments for “Reaction to Animal Planet’s Monster Week and “Mermaids” (updated)

  1. spookyparadigm
    May 27, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    “As our society has grown up and we require everyone to be so mature”

    Please tell me what society the author is talking about, because it certainly isn’t 21st century America. Our most popular works of literature are stories of wizards and vampires, written for children but now totally acceptable as adult reading and watching (the “adult version,” 50 Shades [go look up its origin, but basically, it started as Twilight fanfic] owns the bestseller lists). Our most popular movies are smartened up adaptations of comic book characters and dumbed down versions of old space opera (J. J. Abrams never gets a cent from me. Ever), stuck in between live-action/CGI versions of 1980s kids cartoons but with added explosions and supermodels. Our most popular celebrities revel in acting like bratty teenagers (more than a few of them are bratty teenagers) to the point that their absurd activities feel staged because this is how we expect them and want them to act.

    Now, this isn’t necessarily all bad, and I have certainly helped contribute as a GenX geek who has also reveled in the stuff childhood too long (its people my age or a bit older producing the material I am talking about above). But to talk about our society as requiring people to be mature, is insane. We’ve been sliding the other direction ever since the Baby Boomers were mass marketed youth culture in the 1950s, the teenager was invented, and our economy shifted to one emphasizing services and entertainment.

    This is not entirely a get off my lawn rant. The #mermaids feed was almost universally young people in their teens or thereabouts (I think about half of them were just having fun, half were about as serious as they can be). Or as those educating or working with those graduating high school in the last few years, the first wave of children educated in the “meritocratic”(the irony of that name is amazing) No Child Left Behind policy and culture environment.

    Basic Cable’s turncoating to cheap and/or sensationalistic programming is one small battle in what has been a couple of decades long War Against Education, with battles raging on the Labor and Funding main front, the spectacular Teach the Controversy Creationism front, the more insidious Limit Basic Science and Science Education front. I wish I could believe that it was part of some grand conspiracy, but the reality is that this is probably just a natural result of larger historical forces tied to post-WWII socioeconomics.

  2. One Eyed Jack
    May 28, 2013 at 12:16 AM

    Walt Kowalski: [sneering and aiming his gun] Get off my lawn!

    – Gran Torino 2008, another work of fiction.

  3. microraptor
    May 28, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    Mermaids and Mermaids 2 were presented supposedly real evidence of a fake creature by a supposedly educational TV channel. It’s like a restaurant serving glasses of moose urine and calling it lemonade.

  4. RDW
    May 28, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    I think that TV is made to pander to ignorance these days. I’ve gone delving into the past, and spend a lot more time lately watching good shows from my younger days. I think a part of the problem is that delusional, dumb ass, people have tended to have a lot of children, and more thoughtful types might choose to not breed at all. It’s less work and less expense to churn out garbage for dumb asses than it is to turn out quality programming with the intent to educate and stimulate people’s minds.

  5. May 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    It hurts my head how many people at my place of employment believe this mockumentary is an actual legitimate documentary. Astounding.

  6. John
    May 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    oh but the funniest thing about the mermaid sequel was how the attempted to legitimatize it by pointing out that “every member of the kardashian family has tweeted about mermaids!”

  7. May 28, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    I’m pretty sure the Kardashian’s don’t exist either, though I’m willing to be proven wrong. I assume that they are actors, paid to provide photos and other feedstock for the magazines that live off them. Can anyone out there show me to be wrong?

  8. May 28, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Oh. sick. I apologize for the “apostrophe s” plural of Kardashians. I hate that but it’s so pervasive I just do it.

  9. May 30, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    Does anyone remember when “TLC” meant The Learning Channel? My 13-year-old daughter watched this show with her iPad in hand and fact-checked as she went along. Her skepticism was reassuring.

  10. HeatherB
    June 16, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    It pretty much sickens me completely that channels like Animal Planet, The Learning Channel etc… have gone from pretty reliable scientific channels to complete and total drivel. I mean–they have to make a fake mermaid video to get viewers to even watch the channel anymore–that should speak volumes in and of itself. Not to mention TLC’s Honey Boo Boo Fat, dumb-downed for Americans, lets eat tubs of lard and talk like we don’t know how to spell, hideousness. I mean really America, when are we going to wake up and get sick of what Media Corporate Execs are poisoning us with, not to mention our bankers who screwed us over. In Iceland they overthew their bankers and got new ones, and I bet if there was as fake a documentary with hideous acting in it put on a channel that should be a science based channel, they’d overthrow them too. I wonder when we’re going to evolve into “Icelanders,” to hell with evolution into merpeople.

  11. January 2, 2014 at 3:14 AM

    I agree !
    The only thing that washed up on that beach was, HOG WASH !
    Animal Planet is a big disappointment, I expect much better from them than this insult to our intelligence.

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