How I Used Lies About A Cartoon to Prove History Is Meaningless on the Internet
By Jordan Minor
Of all the great and terrible things about the Internet, its ability to shape and rewrite reality might be the most dystopian. History is written by the victors, and every day it looks like the losers are humanity and meaning. A decade ago, I wrote some fan fiction that continues to distort the truth about a knock-off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series. Everything you think you know about Street Sharks is a lie.
Well, that depends on what you think you know about Street Sharks. Before I reveal the lie, here’s the truth: Street Sharks was a cartoon in the mid-1990s about four brothers who mutated into grotesque, radical shark men after getting “gene-slammed.” An obvious attempt to cash in on all things Turtlemania, the Street Sharks battled evil scientists and hapless animal-human hybrid henchmen while saying how much they hated pizza. Their catchphrase was “Jawsome!” Much like its companion show Extreme Dinosaurs, Street Sharks is fondly remembered as a kitschy piece of 1990s pop culture trash.
Here’s how I turned Street Sharks into an ongoing online social experiment.
In 2003, when I was in middle school, I stumbled across the website TVTome.com. It was a user-edited wiki for TV shows. To be an editor for the big, popular shows, you had to prove you were qualified. After all, creating the official record of what happened on The Big Bang Theory was an important responsibility. But for some forgotten garbage show like Street Sharks , the screening process was nonexistent. Sensing an opportunity for nonsense, I became the Street Sharks editor and filled its page with lies. I made up characters, voice actors, episodes, plot descriptions, everything.
Here’s a description of “Shark to the Future,” one the 40 real episodes of Street Sharks:
“The Street Sharks are sent to a future where Dr. Piranoid controls everything. They meet up with Bends’ great-great-grandson Bendsini and join the rebel forces.”
Now, here are three summaries for my 26-episode (plus one TV movie) alternate-universe Street Sharks. Tell me these descriptions for a cheap kids show designed to sell toys don’t sound at least somewhat suspicious.