Readers, they took The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans off of Netflix Instant Watch. That shouldn’t be allowed! Blue Planet is so important to have access to. The world needs David Attenborough narrating the deep sea. I’m serious! I think Blue Planet might have saved me from fully succumbing to sophomore slump.
Sophomore year was my year of saltwater. I saline-rinsed my infected piercings over the sink, used Kosher salt to scrub boxed red wine out of the Crozier carpet, cried with melodramatic sophomore ennui and watched Blue Planet with nightly abandon.
Blue Planet was my oceanic escape. The close ups of clams’ protruding feet made me laugh. The towering kelp forests gave me some serious perspective. The isolated deep sea creatures reminded me that Gambier, Ohio, was not quite as remote as I thought.
As often as it soothed my aching sophomore soul, Blue Planet inspired new bouts of sadness. “Ocean World,” as the Netflix reviews warn, is one of the more tragic episodes in the series. The cameras capture two orcas systematically exhausting, drowning, and devouring a baby gray whale. Before its shockingly graphic and brutal demise, the baby whale had been bravely swimming alongside his mother for hundreds of miles. The two whales, separated from their pod, had been each other’s only companions for months. Her child literally ripped from her side, the mother whale was left alone in the open ocean. As I watched the dead baby whale sink through the water in a cloud of blood, I sobbed into my pillow.
When I stumbled back home this past Saturday night, I opened my computer to discover that with Blue Planet gone, Shark Week was my only aquatically-themed documentary option. Desperate for sea-creature comfort, I clicked through to a random Shark Week episode. My chosen clip started, rolling gentle footage of sea lions playing on the shore. Equal parts panicked and enthralled, I gripped the arm of the couch. I knew what gentle sea lion footage meant: imminent sea lion murder! Furry mammal decimation! Hungry sharks! “Ocean World” part two! But alas, the sea lion scene ended with no blood spilled. The camera’s focus wasn’t even that sharp — it felt like a stock sea lion video. Where were the sharks? Where was the drama? Where was David Attenborough?
Though I’m not a sophomore anymore, I do still need the occasional sea life pick-me-up. Shark Week isn’t cutting it. For now, I’ll see if the Bjork and the Dirty Projectors’ whale-themed concept album can fill the Blue Planet-sized hole in my heart.