Levi Agee’s Screengems: Sharknado. Respect, people.

July 19, 2013

If two things couldn’t be more worlds apart, it’s fitting that the SyFy (née SciFi) channel would bring Sharks and Tornados together. Sharknado debuted on the basic cable network last week and took my twitter feed by storm or swarm. The title makes it clear enough what the movie is about but in case you need more information the film’s premise is what if a hurricane hits Los Angeles and brings with it a whole mess of killer sharks. It’s Jaws meets Twister with a tenth of the budget and barely an ounce of the creativity or talent. Oh you’re an Ian Ziering fan from back in the Beverly Hills 90210 days? Just say his name out loud. That’s what I thought. I thought it was a fluke because I mainly follow nerdy comedians like Patton Oswalt or Game of Thrones enthusiasts so it made sense that they would be live tweeting a purportedly godawful B-Movie on the scifi channel, but then I started seeing local people making zingers and puns with the hashtag #Sharknado Thursday night. Before too long it was literally the only conversation coming up. Even a popular college mascot I had worked with earlier in the day tweeted about it. What the hell was going on?

I consider myself a connoisseur of bad cinema, having grown up on runs of Mystery Science Theater episodes and even trying to get my own version of that talkback theater experience going a few years ago with a local troupe called Mockingbird Don’t Sing. I know how to enjoy a bad movie. But do audiences of Sharknado know how to enjoy a bad movie? Judging by the tweets there was a fair bit of both hate-watching and ironic consumption of the oh-so-bad-it’s good variety SyFy fare. Hate-watching is how I watch the campier than thou vamp drama True Blood, the show is godawful and it makes me angry but I watch it anyway to bitch about how bad it is. Why do I waste my time? I don’t know, why do people root for the Dodgers?

The tweeting peaked out at more than 5k Tweets per minute before bottoming out at 500 per minute according to Twitter. (https://blog.twitter.com/2013/when-a-sharknado-attacks-how-the-phenomenon-happened-on-twitter) Here are some choice tweets I sampled throughout the airing from that I thought were more entertaining than the film itself. Lost creator and Prometheus ruiner (not really) Damon Lindelof (@DamonLIndelof) chided sarcastically (hopefully) “You folks who insult Sharknadohave clearly never lived through one. Respect, People.” A man who wrote about polar bears on a mysterious tropical island would have some insight into this. The wittiest tweet slinger Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) quipped a history lesson “Keep in mind, hipsters: @THEGaryBusey was trying to make #SharkNado “trend on Twitter” 15 years ago.”

Well twitter didn’t exist until about 2006 but it’s definitely something that insane Apprentice would say in a meeting with Donald Trump. My too nerdy for the general populace tweet award for the night goes to freelance television critic Ryan McGee (@TVMcGee) who tweeted “#Sharknado is even more impressive when you realize Tatiana Maslany played all the different sharks.” See that’s an Orphan Black joke because that actress plays like six different clones on a BBC scifi show that is also gaining lots of traction on twitter. Sadly I don’t see the flying Sharks in Sharknado getting nominated for an Emmy but there is still hope for Tara Reid!

Since the broadcast last week I’ve learned that a sequel has already been commissioned and SyFy brilliantly turned the naming of the title into a twitter contest. http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2013/07/sharknado-2-yes-its-happening-syfy-confirms.html My vote is #Sharknado 2: Crocodilequakes.

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