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Step aside, puny Olympics: It's time for Shark Week!

Step aside, puny Olympics: It's time for Shark Week!

This week, The Discovery Channel celebrates a momentous and toothy anniversary.

Shark Week, that glorious 7-day celebration of Mother Nature's most terrifying beasts from below, turns 25 years young. That's eight years older than Olympic gold medalist (and tasty shark bait) Missy Franklin, for anyone who's counting.

If you're an easy target like me, you look forward to Shark Week with a similar enthusiasm to that which you show towards the Olympics every two years and the first episode of Mad Men each season.

These examples are amazingly accurate comparisons, too, with their depictions of nature's finest specimens cruelly yet necessarily hunting and destroying their weaker prey. Sharks are just as ruthless as Michael Phelps and Don Draper, and they're waaaaaaaaaay better swimmers than both of them.

Started back in 1988 as an experimental (possibly inebriated) programming decision by Discovery Channel executives after work, Shark Week became an instant pop culture classic.

Luckily, herbally-enhanced college students across the country latched on to the phenomenon early, skipping classes to gain their aquatic education from the boob tube instead.

The very first show to kick off that inaugural Shark Week was called, appropriately, Caged in Fear, and showed fearless marine scientists gathering information about their unfriendly marine specimens whilst in motorized cages — to mixed, sometimes bloody, results.

Without explanation, the Discovery Channel's ratings spiked during this documentary and remained through the roof with each of their subsequent shark attack shows.

As Shark Week's lucky star climbed into the stratosphere, celebrities began acting as hosts during the annual shark celebration, and some of the less-important celebrities even began to risk their own lives getting in their own cages of fear to meet these non-discerning sharks fin-to-face.

This year, the producers of Shark Week have upped the ante by providing new footage taken by the Phantom, a video camera that can capture 1,000 frames per second.

Remember when Planet Earth showed us that exquisitely terrifying image of that great white leaping out of the water to catch a leaping fur seal? That's now happening all of the time on regular Shark Week shows.

For me, Shark Week has reached that perfect pinnacle of pop culture that makes it entirely hive five-worthy with your bros but also acceptable water cooler talk as an annual celebration of man's brave triumph over our worst fears: drowning, being eaten alive and SHARKS.

So hold on to your butts, true believers, because these waters are getting pretty choppy. And there's blood in the water. Again.