Is ‘Shark Tale’ Trending on Netflix Because of a Botched Chris Rock Joke?
In addition to Adam Sandler's Murder Mystery 2, and just aimlessly flipping through titles until you run out of time to watch anything, one of the most popular options on Netflix right now is Shark Tale, the 2004 animated family film all about the seedy criminal segment of the ocean community — yeah, apparently there are a lot of gambling rings and mafia hits under the sea that Sebastian the crab neglected to mention in his song.
For some reason, Shark Tale (which was co-written by Comedy Bang! Bang!’s Scott Aukerman, incidentally) has been dominating the Netflix Top 10 chart recently, despite the fact that it came out nearly two decades ago and, by modern standards, the animation looks less sophisticated than what you typically see on a bowling alley TV screen when you roll a spare.
So why is everybody watching Shark Tale all of a sudden? It could be because Shark Tale was referenced in Chris Rock’s recent Netflix special Selective Outrage. As we've mentioned before, Rock screwed up one of his jokes in the “I'm still super pissed about the Oscars” portion of the show, saying about Will Smith: “Even in animation, this motherfucker’s bigger. I’m a zebra; he’s a shark” – not realizing that Smith actually played a small fish. Had Selective Outrage carved out 10 to 15 minutes to repeatedly dunk on Robert De Niro, the joke could have worked.
So is this one reference driving people all over the country to revisit a family movie in which Martin Scorsese plays a cartoon pufferfish? It’s true that a ton of people watched Selective Outrage; the recently released Nielsen ratings concluded that the show was “the most watched stand-up special (over a single week) since it began tracking streaming content in 2017.” Even if just a fraction of those viewers were inspired to check out Shark Tale, that’s still a lot of people.
It’s also possible that Netflix is algorithmically boosting Shark Tale for users who watched Selective Outrage. While there’s no solid proof of this, we did notice that when we search for Selective Outrage, for some reason, Shark Tale is one of the results, even though it contains neither the word “selective” nor the word “outrage” in the title, and is in no way a stand-up comedy special.
And I guess they threw in the Mel Gibson movie The Patriot just to confuse us further?
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).