Saturday , May 18 2024
I talk and things improve... not that one necessarily has anything to do with the other.

Cleaning Out The Shark Tank

On a regular basis I give my opinion on TV shows. Be that opinion good, bad, or ugly, I provide it secure in the knowledge that I have obtained a graduate degree in the field, worked in TV production for several years, and watch more television than any two other sane people I know combined. That doesn't mean however that I have any illusions that anyone in power cares about what I say. There are, though, some moments when I complain about a television show and turn it on the next week, or two weeks later, and see that the very things I complained about have been altered. I know that the turnaround time on a show is such as to make it virtually impossible – even if someone in power had cared about my complaints – for my complaints to have been acted upon. Even so, it's nice to see.

Two weeks in a row I issued complaints about Shark Tank. I said that the huge desk they were sitting in front of was a bad idea (that the Sharks needed their strength to issue from themselves, not from their furniture), the massive digital shark tanks were ridiculous, and that Kevin O'Leary was simply too evil, that he needed to tone it down. Much of that was corrected in last night's episode.

The desk was gone, and it seems as though the riser the Sharks are placed on was lowered. In place of the desk and office chairs was a more simple set of chairs and coffee tables. The new look was much more in keeping with the British counterpart to Shark Tank, and really did help show that these Sharks had the power and intelligence to make things happen within themselves, that they didn't need to physically look down on others to make themselves feel powerful – they already were powerful. The massive, horrific-looking digital shark tanks were replaced by far smaller ones which, while still a little foolish, were certainly a much better choice than the big ones. It took the Sharks' actual tank from being a James Bond villain's lair to a more corporate, sensible kind of place. And, as for Kevin O'Leary, the show took away the wads of cash he used to waggle at entrepreneurs, which helped tone down the James Bond villain presence he gave to the show.

All in all, it made the show far better, but they still have to do something about those entrepreneurs, don't they? Perhaps last night was worse than the other nights, but it seemed as though everyone we saw was running some homegrown little business that they wanted to make big, even if they had no idea how to go about it. No one there seemed to actually be a businessperson trying to become huge, they were all of the "golly gee, I can make everyone's life better if they would only pay attention to what I do in my home" kind of people.

Deals were made on the show, but I got the impression that the entrepreneurs didn't always know what they had agreed to. As an example, there was the "Turbobaster" lady. She gave up 100% of her company for a two percent royalty on all future income. Sure, she may make some cash from the infomercials that are sure to come from her product, but I never got the impression she knew that she had given up ownership of her entire company. I'm not going to suggest that the Sharks were wrong to oust her from the company — after all, she had decided how much she was going to sell her product for without ever figuring out how much it was going to cost to make it — but I got the impression that she was going to have a rude awakening at some point down the line. I could be wrong though, she is credited extensively on the Turbobaster's website.

The intelligent, dedicated, entrepreneur thing is a harder issue to fix than the sets, décor, and props. But, maybe the producers are working on that too.

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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