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Pathetic Sharks

The Pathetic Sharks are a long-running but sporadic feature of Viz. Perhaps the feature's true title is "Oh, No! It's the Pathetic Sharks" since this text typically appears in the opening panel of each installment. They were given their own "Bumper Special in 1991, also featuring Felix and his Amazing Underpants.

There are five Pathetic Sharks: Rupert, Justin, Adrian, Timothy, Henry, although only four usually appear in the magazines. The group has no official leader, since each Shark is completely self-centred and considers himself more important, smarter, more talented, more interesting (and just better in general) than the other three. All the Sharks are drawn as black silhouettes with white highlights. Adrian, Timothy & Henry tend to flop about and complain while Rupert and Justin conduct petty arguments. The phrase "drama queen" would be a fair description of the two upright Sharks, and probably the others as well.

Each of the Pathetic Sharks is extremely vain and childish, each one jockeying for superiority over the others based on some trivial ability or petty accomplishment which the other three denigrate, while challenging each other's political correctness and other credentials. They all speak in childish euphemisms, such as "peepies" for "sleep". When any Pathetic Shark expresses a fondness for anything (a celebrity, an activity), this will almost invariably be something which the typical Viz reader would consider "naff" (boring and insipid).

In each of their strips, the Pathetic Sharks show up to interrupt some form of social activity among humans, causing the people to flee in terror ... until the pathetic bitchery and whining among the Sharks prompts one person to announce "These sharks are crap!" or something similar. The Pathetic Sharks never accomplish anything. In the early strips, they showed up in aquatic situations such as beach parties. More recently, they have turned up in land-based situations very far from water: typically, one early panel of any given strip will show an open manhole, with one of the two horizontal Sharks crawling out of this (after the other Sharks have already arrived) to establish how the Pathetic Sharks get about on land. Viz 166 (June 2007) showed the Sharks attempting to attend the Wimbledon tennis championships: they couldn't get into the stadium, because their tickets (purchased on eBay by Rupert) were actually second-hand bus tickets. In this particular episode, there was some confusion among the sharks as to whether they should be supporting 'Tim' (Henman) or 'Andy' (Murray).

Profiles

Rupert

The largest Shark (who stands upright on his tail) also has a red bathing cap, a large lolling red tongue, red beach sandals (worn on his tail flukes) and a red-and-white striped inflatable life preserver around his midsection. He is thus the only Pathetic Shark who wears clothes and is printed in colour. (Occasionally the Viz art layout prints this page in some colour other than red, so the Shark's tongue and other details will be blue or green.) More by default than for any other reason, he is their leader due to his larger size, more forceful personality and distinctive appearance.

Justin

The second most prominent Shark, who also stands upright on his tail, is slightly smaller but has a large protuberance shaped like a claw hammer on the top of his head. He is clearly meant to be a "hammerhead", although this comic-strip character bears no resemblance to an actual hammerhead shark. Justin, or Maryjane as he is know to his friends gained a "maneater" reputation after being seen out with many half naked "beauties" in the feature film Shark Attack in 1999.

Adrian

Adrian has a complete set of (flat) teeth and an upright dorsal fin. He is smaller and generally maintains a horizontal position.

Timothy

Timothy has buck teeth, a cock-eyed look, a bent dorsal fin and has publicly expressed his unhappiness at having to regularly deal with "distasteful" scuttlebut surrounding his homosexuality. He married his long term partner fabio - a basking shark in June 2008.

Henry

Henry, strangely for a shark, has no teeth. This creature recently met its untimely end as it was killed by a vigilante star fish named bob earlier this year.

References

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