Amusing Monday: Sea World trains TV personalitiesJanuary 30th, 2012 by cdunagan
First, the folks at Sea World confine them in a tight space. Then trainers teach them tricks. Finally, they are expected to perform before a live audience.
I could be talking about killer whales, but I’m actually describing the activities of Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, cohosts of NBC’s “Today” show.
A big-screen TV was erected in front of a killer whale tank, so four orcas could offer their encouragement to Kathie Lee and Hoda. Unfortunately, the whales kept trying to change the channel.
At first, the training of the two TV personalities did not go so well. Julie Scardina, Sea World’s “animal ambassador,” had a hard time keeping the two focused on the task at hand.
Kathie Lee was worried about how her underarms looked and appeared to be focused on the huge TV rather than the simple movements she was asked to perform.
“Gee, I think I need to lose some weight,” she said. “Speaking of killer whales!”
The whales watching the screen were hardly amused.
Julie finally was able to get Kathie Lee and Hoda to pay attention, and she showed them how to turn and move their arms. It was a challenge for the two humans, but Julie taught them a little ditty that helped them perform the task: “Splash and turn… Splash and turn…,” they repeated over and over again.
The whales responded with encouragement, swimming the length of their pool, as the two co-hosts finally learned their new tricks.
Many people think it is cruel to confine killer whales in small tanks and expect them to perform for a few fish. But you should have seen the relief on their faces when the trainers finally took away the giant TV. Forcing the orcas to watch Kathie Lee and Hoda do their tricks seemed truly traumatic to them.
I hear that Sea World trainers are considering installing a TV near the killer whale pool and keeping it on all the time. Nobody knows if the whales would become addicted to television like lesser-intelligent humans. What shows would they want to watch anyway? Feel free to speculate.
Anyway, I want to thank blogger Candace Calloway Whiting for dredging up this video. Somehow I missed the original “Today” show segment from last summer.
To view the complete segment, which includes more on the killer whales along with footage of other animals, go to the Today show webpage.