In defense of Left Shark and blind, spastic enthusiasm


The NFL went big with this year’s halftime show. They brought out not one, not two, but three big names: Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and Beyoncé. But even with all that star power, they couldn’t compete with the trio who stole last year’s Super Bowl:


I’m not a huge football fan, but I watched last year’s halftime show live. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t really notice Left Shark as I was watching. I mean, I remember thinking, “Oh, funny, some dancing sharks,” but I certainly wasn’t analyzing their respective dance skills. I definitely noticed the attention Left Shark got after the show. Left Shark was all anyone could talk about, and not just the next morning. A couple of weeks later, my friends were still talking about Left Shark. They weren’t just talking about Left Shark though, they were ridiculing him (her? It? I’m going to go with “him”).

As a perpetual supporter of underdogs, I couldn’t take it.

“Stop making fun of Left Shark,” I commanded (yes, commanded).

“Why?” They would ask, laughing (because when you make outrageous commands like, “Stop making fun of a backup dancing shark,” people laugh at you).


That’s when I developed my defense of Left Shark. As I see it, Left Shark is a victim and Right Shark is a devious fiend. Left Shark is an innocent, naive angel and Right Shark is an old-timey cartoon villain with a twirly mustache. Left Shark is a diamond in rough and Right Shark is Iago (from Othello, not Aladdin). Left Shark trusted Right Shark and Right Shark ruined everything just because he could. I imagine things went down something like this:

When Katy Perry booked the Super Bowl, Sharks Left and Right were ecstatic. This was their big break. They were going to dance at the Super Bowl, and how many dancing Sharks had that on their résumés?

“What should we do?” Left Shark asked, brimming with excitement. “Should we work on some killer choreography?”

“No, no,” Right Shark said, with a mischievous twinkle in his eye. “We’re dancing Sharks. We don’t need choreography. We’ll just let the music move us.”

“Are you sure? I feel like the people might expect some choreography.”

“I’m sure. We’ll just improvise. That’s definitely the way to go,” Right Shark insisted.

Left Shark, who was a pure and trusting soul, nodded in agreement.

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, Left Shark and Right Shark prepared very differently. During the day, they would hang out and talk about how excited they were for the big game, but at night while Left Shark slept and dreamed of cheering crowds, Right Shark toiled in secret, working on his own choreography for the halftime show.


The day of the game, Right Shark psyched himself up, his dastardly plan almost complete. He would perform his choreographed dance and Left Shark would look like a fool, flailing around haphazardly alongside him. When their big moment arrived, Right Shark broke out into precision faux-Macarena, while Left Shark obliviously did the dancing equivalent of being sorted into Hufflepuff.

“We’re just two sharks, freestylin’,” thought Left Shark, high on life.


And that, I insisted for a full calendar year, was story of Left Shark. And I salute him. We should all aspire to be as confident and carefree as that freestylin’ beautiful spaz of Shark.

Obviously, I wasn’t alone in my love of Left Shark. He became a celebrity after the Super Bowl (take that, Right Shark). I also, it turns out, wasn’t too far off in my “two sharks, freestylin'” theory. Because I enjoy wasting time on the Internet and Googling every random thing that pops into my brain, I fell into a Left Shark rabbit hole and what did I find, but a quote from Katy Perry’s choreographer, RJ Durrell. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Durell explained:

The sharks were given two main objectives. One, perform Katy’s trademark moves to the “Teenage Dream” chorus, which they both did perfectly; and two, to have loads of fun, and bring to life these characters in a cartoon manner, giving them a Tweedledee/Tweedledum-type persona….Clearly, that was portrayed with the overzealous shark on the right hitting precise dance moves, while the left shark was playing up the more goofy, fun-spirited sports-fan mascot type, who was just happy to be at the Super Bowl.

I guess the moral of the story is that, with a quick Google search, I could have learned the real truth behind Left Shark and Right Shark all along. But, in true Left Shark form, I think I’m going to march (/sway erratically) to the beat of my own drum and stick with my version of the story.

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