Sharknado Takes Media By Storm

So why is everyone in media buzzing about the Syfy original movie Sharknado? It sounds like a terrible movie, and it actually is.  But it’s one of those movies that are so bad it’s good.  It has all the necessary ingredients of a “bad” movie that when done correctly can become an instant inside joke and cult classic.

First and most important is the title and premise.  Sharknado is precisely what it sounds like: a tornado that brings man-eating sharks from the ocean to mainland Los Angeles.  It sounds so stupid that it makes people wonder how could anyone ever come up with it and who thought it was a good idea to go ahead and produce it?

Second is the production.  It has to have a smaller budget in order to be understood as a joke. According to Bloomsburg Business Week, Syfy makes 24 original movies a year at around a $1.5 million budget for each film.  That is about 1/130th the cost of the last Transformers movie.  High budget blockbusters can never qualify as being so bad that they are good; they are simply bad.  Just take a look at the blockbuster failures so far this year if you don’t believe me.

The third piece to making a bad movie good is the script and acting.  The script needs some cheesy dialogue and movie clichés.  Next are actors whose careers either never took off or haven’t taken off yet.  Tara Reid is a perfect example. She is most known for her work in American Pie, and it wasn’t too long ago that she was escorted out of a Los Angeles store for throwing a fit after being denied a celebrity discount. It takes a special, lower caliber star to deliver the scenes in the ridiculous manner required by the film. There is a fine line the movie must walk between embracing itself as the absurd joke that it is (the goal of the movie) while not being too obvious or forced.

Sharknado along with many other bad-good movies prove that two wrongs (or a lot of wrongs) can make a right.  Sharknado succeeds because it provides the mindless action we desire in summer blockbusters while allowing people to be in on an inside joke together.

People love being in on an inside joke, and it’s part of the reason laugh tracks are still around on comedy shows. It makes us feel like we are laughing and sharing the joke with a community. Sharknado’s community was Twitter. Entertainment Weekly stated that Sharknado reached 5,000 tweets per minute at its peak with a grand total of 387,000 tweets.  It broke Syfy’s social media record and only fell 2,500 tweets shy of tying Game of Thrones famous “Red Wedding” episode. Sharknado’s Twitter spike caught the attention of other media sources resulting in numerous articles, gifs, memes, and word of mouth. It gave people the necessary tools to make absurd jokes and puns which is a large part of the enjoyment.

By popular demand, Syfy is playing a special encore of Sharknado for all of those who missed it last week, which is almost everyone with the exception of celebrities and journalists it seems. It will air tonight, July 18th, on Syfy at 7PM (ET/PT), so set your DVR’s to make sure you don’t miss out on the joke of the summer.


“Inventing ‘Sharknado’: Inside Syfy’s Booming B-Movie Factory.” Bloomburg Business Week: Lifestlye.

Hibberd, James. “‘Sharknado’ Ratings: Lot of Wind, Little Bite.” Entertainment Weekly: Inside TV.

Yuhas, Alan. “‘Sharknado’: The Most Terribly Good Movie of the Summer.” The Guardian.



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