Shark Week: Remembering the Insanity of ‘Street Sharks’
While we here at ComicsAlliance strive to take Tracy Jordan’s advice to heart and live every week like it’s Shark Week, the genuine article has finally rolled around once again with the Discovery Channel’s five-day celebration of nature’s perfect killing machines. It’s one of the most magical times of the year, and it’s led to some strange conversations among the staff, such as Assistant Editor Caleb Goellner reminding me that the Street Sharks were something that actually existed:
Looking back, “Street Sharks” is a fairly obscure property even by the standards of an era in which the all-consuming popularity of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” led network executives to green-light any cartoon about anthropomorphic animals with totally radical ‘tudes, and for good reason. Even by the standards set by shows like “Samurai Pizza Cats,” “Biker Mice From Mars” and “The Wild West C.O.W. Boys of Moo Mesa” (all of which, I’m sure, have devoted LiveJournal fan communities I’ll be hearing from soon), “Street Sharks” was absolutely terrible.Like I mentioned before, I’d almost completely forgotten they’d actually happened and weren’t just a fever dream I’d had in seventh grade until Caleb showed me something I did have vague memories of: the legitimately terrifying commercial for the action figures:
The name “Big Slammu” was apparently too terrible for me to entirely forget it, but as that was the only piece of “Street Sharks” information I could recall, I turned to Wikipedia, which has an exhaustive article on the franchise because of course it does.
According to the collective knowledge of the Internet, the Street Sharks are four brothers who, along with their father, were “geneslammed” into becoming human/shark hybrids by the evil Dr. Piranoid, who looks like Deep Six from “G.I. Joe” had a baby with Dennis Hopper’s character from “Waterworld”:
As was generally done in the early ’90s when x-treme teens with attitudes found themselves with strange mutations, the Bolton brothers (who, in my fan-fiction, are distantly related to Troy Bolton from “High School Musical”) promptly became vigilantes, fighting crime with their power of eating things that were not food. Seriously.
This is actually kind of brilliant on the part of the creators of “Street Sharks,” as it plays off of all those news stories floating around about how fishermen caught a shark and cut it open to find that it had a license plate, half a bicycle and a set of mint condition “Maximum Carnage” POGs in its stomach, and it has also led to one of my favorite sentences on Wikipedia: “As soon as they transformed, the four brothers ate a hotdog stand and fled from the police.” Truly, the ’90s were a high point for heroism.
Even better, though, is the list of episode titles, almost all of which involve the word “Shark” and are therefore 300% more rad than the leading brand, including Shark Quest, Shark Treatment, Sharkfight (which is beautiful in its simplicity), Ancient Sharkonauts, A Shark Among Us, Shark to the Future, 20,000 Sharks Under The Sea, Shark-Apolypse Now, and my personal favorite, To Shark Or Not To Shark.
So as Shark Week 2010 opens, we salute you and your poorly animated adventures, “Street Sharks,” and assure you that you will always have a place in our memories, if only for your truly disturbing toy commercial.
Truly… you were jawesome.