Ever wonder what would happen if a Real Life Animal Wrongs Group got their own show? Well, that's pretty much what Whale Wars is about. The show, which aired on Animal Planet from 2008 to 2015, follows Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as they try to stop Japanese whaling ships from hunting whales. They do this by chasing the ships, and then disabling or throwing rotten butter at them; note that in this case, "disabling" means attempting to sink or scuttle the ships, in the middle of the Antarctic ocean, which could certainly result in casualties. Because of this, the show is highly controversial.
In case you are wondering, the whales do not actually war with each other.
This article is not about whaling. It is about a TV show and the tropes it employs. Editorials on one side or the other of the whaling controversy are not useful here.
This show has examples of:
- Animal Wrongs Group: The series focuses on a real-life group, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose ships forcefully intervene with Japanese & Faroese whaling and bluefin tuna fishing.
- Artistic License – Engineering: One episode has the Sea Shepherd attempting to flood the engine of the whaling ship by aiming their water cannon at the exhaust pipe... then stop after about two seconds. Never mind that all this did was essentially clean it, to flood the engine you would have to aim for the intake. Also, ships the size of the one they were aiming at have engines the size of small houses. The tiny amount of water they may have gotten in would have done nothing.
- Blatant Lies: When a Japanese whaler responded to the hurling of butyric acid bottles with flash-bang devices, Paul reaches into his coat and claims to have been shot. Not only did this out-of-shape and elderly man react to this "gun shot" with Dull Surprise (getting shot with a vest on is comparable to getting hit in the chest with a sledgehammer), their own videos show that his coat didn't even have a hole in it.
- Epic Fail: A huge chunk of what the shepherd try to do ends up this way because of their lack of experience.
- Giant Wall of Watery Doom: One 30 foot rogue wave in particular struck the left side of the Brigitte Bardot and nearly snapped the trimaran's port-side pontoon clean off.
- Hypocrite: The Shepherds do incredibly unsafe boating maneuvers like crossing bows, sailing very close, and throwing ropes in the path of ships to try and foul the propellers (made even less safe because of the lack of actual sailing experience). Then they complain that it's unsafe and aggressive when the whaling ships (and in one case a Canadian Coast Guard ice cutter) do the same to them
- Nose Art: Several ships and watercraft operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society feature this; their rigid inflatable boats and the Bob Barker sport shark mouths on the bow, while the Gojira had a picture of the titular monster before being rechristened the Brigitte Bardotnote , whereupon the nose art changed to that of a woman bearing a trident and the organization's flag.
- Refuge in Audacity: On one occasion, when the whalers hear about Watson's claim that their presence stops them from killing and processing whales, so what do they do? They do it right in front of them.