Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Street Sharks - Sharkbite

Part 1 - Sharkbait

Since my last post of this show kind of sort of ended on a cliffhanger, I have to continue talking about this show or else the ghosts of cartoon sharks will haunt me in my sleep and suck on my bone marrow. God help me.

Oh, and very, very recently, this show became available for instant streaming from Netflix. Jawsome!

Although there's a very bitter voice inside of me going "Street Sharks is on Netflix but not
The Mask: The Animated Series? I hate everything." when I hear of this news.
This probably won't bode well if I say right off the bat that, out of all the posts I did in 2010, this show was one of the hardest to sit through. (the other being Captain Planet, but that goes without saying) At the risk of being totally insulting to a show that was a big portion of my childhood, I can safely say that Street Sharks was nowhere near as awesome as I thought I was when I was a kid and there's a pretty good reason why DiC is pretending they didn't make this when they freaking acknowledge Captain N. Some perspective here. Captain N is on DVD. This show isn't. Kind of makes you wonder.

But does that mean it's still not fun to watch? Hell no! I personally enjoy every stupid minute of this stupid lazy ripoff of a stupid show. After all, we live in a world where guilty pleasures exist and it's pretty cathartic to rip into things that bugged me even as a child. So to take another spin on the extreme, merchandise-driven, turtle-copying vehicle that is Street Sharks for a second time is just too much to pass up. I mean, for crying out loud, I'm talking about a show where one of the main characters mutates into a shark because the main villain tampered with a bag of popcorn. You can't hate this show because it's simply too dumb to hate.

But since this show does go in chronological order, follows a very coherent storyline from start to finish, and, again, I left the last post on a cliffhanger, if I want to talk about the time someone turns into a shark after eating popcorn (disclaimer: this totally happened in this show.), I'm gonna have to talk about this episode first.

So suspend all forms of disbelief when we dive into...


Well, thanks for naming the episode something similar to the previous episode,
making it hard to keep track of which episode is which.
Airdate: September 1994

Availability: Online Only

Before they actually show the hideous waste of animation paint to us, they show a "Previously, on Street Sharks" clip show, which is extremely helpful, because not only is this part of a three-parter series premiere, but my memory needed refreshing and I can't be assed to watch the previous episode again.

Here's the scenes they show:
*The ill-prepared good scientist that happens to be the father of the four main characters (Dr. Bolton) yelling "You can't mess with nature!" and then getting injected. Overdramatic screaming is involved.
*Dr. Bolton's idiot of a friend that he only hired so that he can look progressive with his female black assistant (Lena) pointing out that Dr. Bolton never showed up for his morning lecture and then telling the obviously evil Dr. Paradigm (who, if you recall, is bald, wears an eyepatch, and constantly wears a frowning, squinty-eyed expression that's really not helping his case) that she's going to call his sons.
*The bone-headed radical EXTREME sons getting injected and then screaming overdramatically while Dr. Paradigm looks like he's about ready to take a bite out of an invisible sandwich.
*The hamtastic transformation sequence in the park, complete with overdramatic screaming.
*Bends (aka my favorite character of this whole damn show) coining the name "Street Sharks" because he smoked some really bad hash during the chase sequence and the mutant sharks just liking it.
*The military capturing the sharks and Bends.

And now, with the magic of screenshots, you're going to experience the recap with me!

Is it wrong of me to say that I wish this show was on DVD?
Well, that certainly made all the cheese and all of the goofiness flood right back to me. I especially love the part where like none of the acting in that recap was at all believable and most of the dialogue in those clips involved screaming. Why the hell did I watch this as a kid again?

I like how the hideous mutant sharks are somehow able to keep their really nice shoes completely intact.
Moving on, we find ourselves at a government building (or a building near the college; I don't care enough to double-check), and the very first thing we start this episode on is Dr. Paradigm, still as subtle as ever with his metal eyepatch, his bald head, and his red and black clothing, saying that he's happy to serve his government and advance science. Somehow, between the two episodes, the government actually hired Dr. Paradigm to research the sharks and do exploratory surgery on them, even though the average person can look at this guy and realize that he's one Persian cat and one death ray away from world domination.

And trust me when I say this, but this is a reoccurring problem in this show, the fact that Dr. Paradigm has the city's support and can just do whatever the hell he pleases. And this only gets sillier as time goes on and he becomes increasingly essentric. How did this man earn the good reputation he holds in this show? For all the evil ranting and gene-slamming that he does, he never gives us a good reason why the city loves him so much. Did he invent a cure for cancer before he became puppy-eatingly terrible?

"To be honest, I have no idea what the hell I'm doing."
The sharks are all understandably angered by this turn of events, probably because they're the heroes of this show and this episode opened with all of them strapped to operating tables and about ready to get dissected. One of them even screams that he's no guinea pig, because the sharks like to talk in cliches when they're upset.

And, just when you thought this scene was going to end on a decently suspenseful note, the mood is quickly ruined when Bobby, ever the party animal, wonders how undergoing vivisection and having his misshapen organs examined like a classroom frog is going to affect his social life. No offense, dude, but I think the fact that you're a giant bright blue shark is going to affect your social life more than a little surgery.

But yes, this is seriously what we're going to open the episode on. Exploratory surgery. Writers, are you sure this is the same show where a teenager rollerblades off of a building and pulls out a parachute in order to race someone on a motorcycle? Because that's kind of dark.

Yeah, he's going to be really popular with the ladies...
Oh, and in case the sharks don't hate this man enough already, while the silly Darth Vader masks pump gas into their nostrils and force them into unconsciousness, Dr. Paradigm just can't resist telling the government workers that Dr. Bolton is the one behind these hideous mutations and then later does the whole "sound like he's about ready to cry when he's obviously faking it" thing while going on about how what kind of horrible monster would do such a thing to these poor, tortured children. It sure is a good thing all of these security guards surrounding the building are completely unfamiliar with all forms of media, or else they would've seen right through Dr. Paradigm's hammy speech and got the hint that he's the one behind this because he basically confessed in the form of bad melodrama. I mean, come on. He even has a weird, vaguely European accent!

"If making a killer mutant shark with giant boobs is wrong, I don't want to be right."
But instead taking this scene to its logical conclusion (which is Dr. Paradigm continuing to spout cliched villain lines until the sharks grow bored of his trash talk, break free from their straps, and voraciously devour his intestines) we find ourselves in an operating room, where Deathbald the Destroyer is...measuring one of the sharks' chests and is going on about how absolutely amazed he is at how buff the creature is. He even yells out the measurement he got from his rippling pecs.

...Okay. Creepy.

" look to be about a 38D."
Luckily for the sharks, Lena (aka the only female castmember in this sausage fest of a show) manages to show up before Dr. Paradigm can ask the shark to turn his head and cough, and apparently Dr. Paradigm, in his massive stupidity, thinks that it's totally okay for her to work on the surgery too even though he's given her plenty of reasons to be totally suspicious of his actions. It's hard to feel sorry for a bad guy if he just keeps opening himself up to sabotage, especially if he can't hear Lena mutter about how she's going to shut his operation down. Fission City probably put an embargo on common sense prior to these episodes.

Now, remember when Lena in the previous episode did absolutely nothing other than send the four Bolton kids to their shark-related fate, thus indirectly being responsible for the reason why all four of them will be forever looked upon by normal people as freaks and monsters? Fortunately, she manages to somewhat redeem herself in this episode. I say "somewhat" because the whole sending the Boltons to their doom thing is still kind of a big deal.

Sadly, my eyes keep going to that strange, bearded man silently lurking in the corner, watching her every move.
Lena makes her way to the operating room, and since Dr. Paradigm is a massive dumbass, she uses the "Let me just get my clothes, which are in another room, and I'm totally not going to foil your plans offscreen!" excuse and starts to snoop around. Gotta fight cliches with cliches, I guess. This doesn't phase our loveable metal eyepatch-toting scoundrel at all, because when Lena leaves, he decides to start playing with his surgery equipment while being amused by his own evilness. See, a lesser, more subtle scientist would've done the research and used actual surgical tools that exist in real life to perform his exploitative surgery. Not Dr. Paradigm. In his operating room, he has a unwieldly laser pen attached to a robot arm. It's not practical, but it sure is futuristic!

And, in keeping with the shark theme this cartoon shamelessly sticks to, he tests his laser out by carving a shark out of a plate of solid steel. I'm guessing before Malicious McBaldyFierce became a terrible cartoon villain, he was a failed artist that specialized in Metalsmithing. It would explain the eyepatch at least.

"Look, I made a fishy!"
We then get to see how much of a big help Lena is (and how little security this place has even when there's a top secret government experiment currently in progress) when she starts sneaking around authorized personnel areas while dressed in fashionable operating scrubs. It doesn't take long for her to spot where the sharks are being held, because it's the only door surrounded by completely ineffective security guards. Surely she's going to use some advanced form of ninjutsu she picked up during her days of studying in the mountains of Japan in order to get rid of them, right?

Oh yeah. I'm sure two guards armed with police clubs can properly hold back three shark monsters
capable of burrowing through ground and ripping through solid steel with their teeth.
Hell no. She's not going to do anything smart or creative. Instead, she's pulling the fire alarm and telling the only two people guarding the other three sharks that the other shark escaped and that they need their help. You know, even though they're the only two people making sure that one escaped sharkmonster doesn't turn into four escaped sharkmonsters and it's been previously established that Dr. Paradigm is surrounded by security.

As you can see, this show makes a very compelling argument about how pollution affects the brain cells because goddamn, the civilians in Fission City are stupid.

Pictured: Stupidity.
Since the sharks were guarded by the single most incompetent guards on the entire planet, Lena the Hyena is able to sneak in and free them. In this scene, we see just how much thought and care Dr. Paradigm puts in keeping his experiments contained when it turns out literally the only thing placating the sharks is an easily removable gas mask when they happen to have opposable thumbs. Oh sure, they have handcuffs on, but they're not even connected to anything.

...and how did Dr. Paradigm already have four masks able to fit over a giant shark's face available for use?

I kind of want to know how well the hammerhead can see, considering the placement of his eyes.
But that would involve actual character development.
After they're freed, she tells them that Dr. Paradigm is being a dick and is about to cut up their brother for the evuls. When they hear of this after waking up from their drug-induced stupor and discovering that they're chained up like animals, instead of feeling remorse for a world so callous that it's treating them like mere beasts when they were previously just normal people, or philosophically pondering the difference between having humanity and being human, they flex their muscles, scream "SHARK ATTACK!" in unison, and start randomly destroying doors. Yeah, property damage is totally extreme!

"Doors make me ANGRY!"
Now, before you think the sharks are complete incapable of expressing any emotion beyond heroic anger and heroic radicalness, it turns out Bobby's still as egotistical as ever because he temporarily stops rampaging like a mindless animal for a moment when he spots his reflection in a mirror. Instead of bursting into tears or even becoming at all upset over how he's now a genetically engineered monstrosity that wouldn't occur naturally in our world and how he no longer resembles the person he once was, he strokes his shark fin and says "Cool" without moving his lips. Complex emotions are for pussies!

We cut back to Baldy McHatesSharks, still unaware that cartilaginous predators are bulldozing their way towards him and are baying for his blood, and it turns out he's finally ready to perform the surgery. So, what was he doing while Lena was gone then? Because I'm totally picturing him just standing around awkwardly in his delightful blue surgical attire for a couple minutes, the room completely silent save for one of the guards clearing his throat, before finally deciding that Lena probably got lost while she was getting her clothes and that he can send out a rescue party later.

And, at the risk of giving this show an honest to god compliment for its writing (because let me tell you, this writing doesn't deserve any praise), Paradigm does get a cool line as he prepares to cut open the malformed beast laying on his operating table. As he preps his silly-looking laser pointer, he says "Let us find out where the human ends and the shark begins". They totally should've added some dramatic pauses and some scary organ music to that line. 

"Damn. I put the filling in the wrong tooth."
Unfortunately, what little dignity this show tried to bring is quickly ruined when three meaty sharkbeasts enter the room, pump their fists in the air, and yell "SHARK ATTACK!" in unison for a second time. And then I quickly died of secondhand embarrassment for the animators that created this scene. Is that seriously supposed to be the Street Shark catchphrase we're going for? It wasn't impressive the first time, and it especially doesn't work here when they're supposed to be saving their brother from an organ-spilling death.

By the way, I love how completely nonthreatening the Street Sharks become when viewed from the front. Look at the one in the middle and tell me you don't find the fact that his face is now growing out of his chest extremely funny. I bet this is exactly what Winsor McCay envisioned animation would become when he released Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914 and the medium became first recognized as an art form.

So they save the day, because no matter how you slice it, a bunch of half-naked muscley demon fish are going to win against a balding old man no matter what. Oddly, despite the trouble he's given them earlier, they show a surprising amount of restraint, because instead of ganging up on Paradigm and showing him what their stupid little catchphrase really means, they completely ignore him in favor of saving their brother. D'aww, that's so cute. This scene would be a lot more touching if they weren't so hideously drawn (I realize sharks don't have necks but man, that blue shark's head needs to stop merging into his body) and if the whole reason they saved their brother first wasn't so they'd have an extra shark available to terrorize the evil balding man.

"My arms are growing out of my ears!"
The hideous fish people are a little miffed at the whole "getting injected by shark serum, left for dead, mutated, shot at by lasers, captured by military, treated like monsters, gassed, chained to a table, and nearly dissected" thing that Dr. Paradigm did to them (it's been a rough 24 hours for the Bolton family), so what do you expect them to do with Señor Chromedome now that he's completely defenseless, there are no guards around to witness the brutal things they're about to do, and they have him right where they want him?

...besides the really obvious guess. Don't lie. You pictured the exact same thing I did.

"B-but whale sharks are filter feeders!"
"Who says I'm going to eat you after I'm done murdering you?"
Well, actually, instead of having a gruesome little feeding frenzy, they're going to do exploratory surgery on Dr. Paradigm. Oh, the situational irony!

Now, Street Sharks, while this is really frightening (because unnecessary surgery typically is), considering all of you are now sharks, this is just needlessly complicating things. Why wield a tiny little saw when your mouth is now filled with weapons?

I guess old habits die hard, even when you're a giant eight foot shark.
Luckily, more guards show up while the cartoon honest to god uses an Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog music track, just in case you were having any doubts about this show's quality. Talk about being low on the animation food chain. And, while the music makes me flash back to the times a blue hedgehog faced off against villains more developed than Dr. Paradigm, we get to see how little the animators understand police weapons when the guards point their tasers at the sharks and lasers start shooting out. Yes, you heard me. Lasers. Coming out of tasers. Taserlasers. the risk of resurrecting an old meme, TASERS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!

While the previously captured brother uses Dr. Paradigm as a human shield (and somehow not getting electrocuted in the process), blue leader shark says that since their beef is not with the guards, they're better off escaping instead of devouring the fleshy humans and using their mangled corpses as a warning against all that dare oppose them.

Huh.  That's strangely noble of them, even though they're electrocuting an essentric old man with a strange fish fetish. So I guess they're just going to set Baldy down, explain very articulately to the guards about their strange plight, maybe swap some stories and some numbers, and then continue on their merry way, right?

To be fair, Paradigm really deserved this.
Well, no. They escape by running up to a wall and eating it (god, their lower intestines must completely blocked up), allowing the roof to collapse. We even get to see giant chunks of the ceiling fall on both Dr. Paradigm and the guards, because that's just what Southern California residents who just lived through the January 1994 earthquake needed to see in a cartoon., let me get this straight, Street Sharks. You make a big deal that the guards are not the enemy, leave so you won't hurt the guards, and try to take the most human approach out of a senseless conflict, but then you later turn around and cause a whole bunch of structural damage that ends up with the building caving in on the guards, defeating the entire purpose of avoiding a fight in the first place. And yet you wonder why you possess such a terrible reputation. I'm pretty sure the guards that survive this are going to remember the terrifying shark creatures that managed to eat through a goddamn wall more than they're going to remember the small act of mercy. This is why you can't have nice things!

And thanks to this scene, now I'm wondering if DiC Entertainment actually proofreads their scripts (and not just for this show, but also for Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Captain N) or if the writers, formerly bright-eyed Animation Majors with hopes and dreams, just hammer this crap out within a couple days and then hit the bottle. 

I wish there was an episode of TMNT where Raphael just runs up to a wall and starts eating it.
Course, their wall-eating incident is quickly forgiven, because The Best Character on the Show (better than both the salami and the bologna combined) is there to pick them up and save them from the science facility! I hate to say this, but watching this show makes me want to go on eBay and pick up a Bends action figure. It's never a dull moment when Bends gently caresses the screen with his placid surfer ways. I don't even smoke and yet I want to light a joint in honor of this god among men.

By the way, I love how this is a show filled with humans that were transformed into grotesque land sharks able to burrow through concrete, a anthropomorphic swordfish with a drill attached to his face, and a giant talking lobster, and yet the most interesting character is the crazy stoner with the strange action figure-esque car. They need to invent a new word for this level of fail.

...wait! He was arrested at the end of the last episode with the sharks! Why the hell is both he and his vehicle safe and sound when he was an accomplice to the sharks' crimes, was resisting arrest, and was definitely driving under the influence?

"Hey, Lena? How do you cheat a urine test?"
The door for the loading bay jams, but luckily, the blue shark is there to eat a hole through it and help them escape. Bends, as baked as ever, starts rambling in approval and starts throwing out a bunch of names relating to ripping like The Big Ripper and The Ripster until the shark, possibly to shut his druggie friend up, decides that one of those names that tumbled out of Bends' drug-filled mouth was nice enough to use.

And so, a name is coined. The blue shark is now Ripster. Guess how much I give a crap. Personally, I care more about the fact that this shark had a rat when he was human and poor Hillary starved to death off-screen.

"Why is your car door a soccer net?"
"Because it'll look cool on the merchandise. Also drugs."
But then, before Bends can leave and force the bad guys to eat both their dust and their secondhand marijuana smoke, tanks show up to stop the sharks! Because this city can afford to use tanks (which are pretty expensive vehicles to maintain) as a form of law enforcement and doesn't at all care that a tank firing a mortar shell into a busy city street would cost thousands upon thousands of dollars in property damage and also kill people. Yeeeah, this is one of those ideas that looks good on paper but just doesn't make sense.

And I have the sneaking feeling that they made toys out of these things.

The tanks also shoot lasers. Tanks have lasers, right?
As expected, the tanks are nothing more than fist fodder for the giant sharks, because if this show's taught me one thing, it's that sharks can't respect anyone else's property and feel that obstacles can only be removed with a healthy application of cartoon violence. And not only that, but we have to take the time and watch every last shark destroy a tank, while each one says some sort of snappy one-liner that has to do with fighting and while the soundtrack blares out phoned-in guitar riffs. This show just made me hate the 90's.

The Street Sharks' bodies never fail to creep me out either. Of course they nearly double in mass on the top half of their bodies, but their asses remain completely human.

With Bends is totally okay with the fact that the four sharks just killed several people who were only doing their jobs right in front of him (come on, you can't expect me to believe that those tanks were empty), everyone, including Lena, who just stood on the sidelines and watched like she normally does, piles into the car and they make their escape. It's a good thing Bends has a vehicle that can seat four steroid-filled mutants. Even though, thanks to wonky perspective, there is absolutely no way those sharks could all fit in there.

It's a Street Sharks clown car!
We then get a car chase scene with the police. Whee. After the tank sequence, it feels like a major downgrade in terms of excitement, and really, this scene shouldn't even exist because it just tells us what we already learned in the previous episode; that Bends is crazy good at evading the police because he knows all of the right shortcuts to take in this city while driving at high speeds and that the writers of this show love Dukes of Hazzard.

I wonder if the writers are aware of how these last couple of scenes make Bends look very suspicious. I know I crack a lot of drug dealer jokes at this man's expense, but he's making it way too easy. There's being bodacious and radical to appeal to an EXTREME!!! 90's crowd and then there's doing things that automatically puts you on at least three different government watch lists. Guess what category Bends falls under.

And it only gets worse when we learn that his Doobiemobile has goddamn rocket boosters on it, allowing its driver to jump off of unfinished ramps. I'm pretty sure just an ordinary employee at a college doesn't need a really spacious car capable of flight, Bends.

Somewhere, Doc Brown is crying.
They land on the roof of a building, somehow not plowing through the ceiling and dying in a horrific car crash, and then Bends decides to take action. The moment his goofy Mystery Machine slows to a stop, he pulls out a bunch of ropes he just has lying around his car (not suspicious at all!) and, with a "Gotta tumble!", Shaggy's crack-addicted brother bungee jumps off of a flagpole and expects everyone to follow his example.

...he does this a lot, doesn't he?

"I'm high all the time, so I lack the fear of heights mere mortals have."
I just love the look the Street Sharks' faces when they see the man jump off a goddamn building. It's like they're thinking about the same stuff I just brought up and it's slowly coming together in their minds on why Bends always smells so funny and why there are mysterious packages lying around his office. This, my friends, perfectly sums up the reason why Bends is so awesome. He's the real main character. They should name this show Street Dealer instead.

"We really need to stage an intervention."
Think this is really strange and almost frightening? Oh, but it gets worse, my friends. Much worse. Because when the sharks bungee jump off the building, Bends opens up a garbage dumpster and everyone disappears inside it. Turns out there's a secret underground chute in that particular dumpster. Not suspicious at all!

Ignoring the fact that Bends, someone who definitely has their hand in the manufacturing and distribution of all kinds of unsafe chemicals, knows of a secret tunnel system, this seems like the worst entrance to put an underground chute in a city. Who knows how many hobos have accidentally tumbled to their deaths when they tried dumpster-diving for food in the wrong place. Plus you can't seriously say that the waste management in Fission City hasn't tried emptying that thing at one point.

Why does this show have so many ass shots...
Best part? The police are completely baffled. To them, those sharks have completely vanished. They might as well go home, because it's not like the criminals left their vehicle, perfect crime evidence, on the roof of a building (surely someone must've seen the flying car) and it's not like there's a giant, conspicuous dumpster in the area or anything!

Okay, maybe Bends being able to escape the police isn't that notable of an achievement after all. From the looks of it, I could outsmart these morons.

If you can figure out where the sharks went just by looking at this screenshot,
then you're smarter than the entire Fission City police force.
While the world's most retarded law enforcement just gives up and goes home, the fish-themed freaks slide down an underground tunnel and end up in a very extensive steam tunnel system that runs underneath the entire university. Or at least they call it a "steam tunnel system", when everyone knows that they really want to say "sewer". Come on, Street Sharks. I know your game. You could at least try to make your repeated ripping off of TMNT look a little less obvious.

And for those keeping track at home, Bends can elude the police, has a car tricked out with features in order to better escape the police, has a secret tunnel leading underground he frequently uses, and knows his way around a vast tunnel system hidden underneath the city. I understand that he's trying to keep the fact that he's a major criminal drug lord from his friends, but he's certainly not doing a good job hiding it.

"The FBI will never catch me!"
As expected, once they hit the sewers steam tunnels, it turns out that Bends, in addition to be addicted to every known illegal substance on the planet, also has a secret hideout. And not just any hideout, but a hideout meant for kings, because it comes complete with cable, a VCR, several work-out stations, a garage, and enough food and shelter for a man to just live down there. And it's all hidden underneath the college's hockey rink.

Well. That isn't suspicious at all. You'd think the sharks would be asking a question or two about the life Bends leads and why he would require a secret hideout connected to underground tunnels with well-maintained lighting and everything...

Also nice Jaws cameo there, cartoon. See, it's funny because that movie is a famous shark movie and this cartoon is about sharks.

They had to digitally edit all of the marijuana smoke clouds floating around the place
in order to have this safely air on television.
With a very cliche "Dr. Paradigm will never think to look for you here!", this place becomes cemented as the sharks' headquarters. Hooray! Now, instead of sleeping in their familiar beds, they can try to make themselves comfortable in a place that reeks of cannabis and vomit. I'm sure they're just thrilled by this turn of events. I also hope that Bends' hideout is equipped with toilets that can handle giant chunks of plaster getting flushed down the pipes.

The moment they hear this depressing news, they decide to focus on something else by checking the TV, and sure enough, like all televisions in the cartoon world, something plot relevant is happening on the news channel. In the Street Sharks' case, it turns out the news caster is reporting what the shark monsters used to look like before their horrible dad turned them into street sharks. Dr. Paradigm is kind of an asshole, intentionally feeding the wrong information to the city just so he can make the sharks' lives that much more miserable, but you have to admire his thoroughness.

...also wait, why is the news reporter calling them "Street Sharks" if Bends came up with that title and none of the sharks really used it yet before they got captured?

I just love the mugshots they use for the four boys though. You think they would've went with some photos that didn't make them look like jerks.

"And our top story tonight is Douchebags: The Silent Pandemic."
The sharks are so mad at this that they grab the TV and eat it, which is pretty much their solution to all of their problems. Yeah! That'll show that TV reporter for merely doing her job!

Also way to show how much you appreciate your friend giving you a place to stay while the rest of the city views you as monsters that need to be destroyed, guys. I know Bends can just afford to buy a new TV with the money he gets from his underground dealing rings but still...

Gentlemen, if you're having trouble working the DVR, you can just ask for help...
Since they did just eat a TV, Lena helpfully offers that they go out for pizza. The moment the sharks hear the word "pizza", all four of them start to gag and loudly voice their displeasure for such a food item. Get it? Because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles love pizza and, by making fun of pizza, you're making fun of them. Yeah, that'll show that franchise they're audaciously copying! How dare they be more original than them?

And it's so weird how these malformed animals are okay with eating walls or a TV and yet a pizza is what causes them to complain. I guess pizzas don't have enough electrical wiring or asbestos in them.

Lena thankfully leaves, and she remains gone for the rest of the episode, and that's when we learn that this hideout is at the back of Bend's shop. Not only that, but he also has shark-themed vehicles just lying around for the sharks to ride and for toy companies to shamelessly shill off to an unsuspecting audience. Convenient!

Sadly, I owned the car on the left. Never in my life have I felt so guilty about something I've done.

"So what if I like to build shark-themed vehicles in my spare time? Everyone's got a hobby!"
We've seen enough of the sharks and Bends the amazing drug lord for the moment, so we have to check on Dr. BaldyCliches. While he's, once again, talking in exposition to himself (he might want to see a doctor about that), we learn that since the sharks are strong, resistant to disease, and are modeled after the perfect predator, he wants the four sharks alive so that he can modify their DNA and make them loyal to him. Because DNA can do freaking anything. offense doc, but what's stopping you from just using more shark DNA to create sharks that are actually loyal to you? Also that whole "resistant to disease" thing is a very common misconception, but now I'm just nitpicking.

"This is the worst Facebook app ever."
But when he dwells on their strengths, Dr. Robotnik realizes that they just have one weakness. They still have the human feelings of loyalty to their friends! They feel love, kindness, and all of those other mushy feelings that make terrible cartoon villains such as himself cry out in rage.

And, with that train of thought, Paradork figures out his latest scheme. Of course! Attack their friends! It's so cliche it just might work!

"Tonight on America's Most Wanted, we talk about a dreaded mafia boss that's still at large
and in control of one of the biggest smuggling operations in the country..."
And, because Slash and Slobster (you know, those completely uninteresting minions Dr. Paradigm is cursed with) haven't gotten much use this entire episode, they get to be a huge part of Dr. Paradigm's silly kidnapping scheme. And also fight the sharks, because they're contractually obligated to engage in at least one fight scene per episode regardless of the tedium and the monotony.

"Here we go, I guess."
As expected, like the two characters that they shamelessly ripped off, the two minions have already gone through some nice villain decay and are already a good deal less threatening than they were during their introductory episode. Remember how they were able to push a roller coaster over with their bare hands? Trust me when I say this, but that's going to be the peak of their usefulness. Only unlike Bebop and Rocksteady or Scratch and Grounder, who are at least pretty entertaining in their failures, with these two, you can't help but wonder if Dr. Paradigm tells them to fight the sharks is because he's secretly waiting for the day where they get killed and he has the perfect excuse to create better mutants.

I also find it sad that these characters have been in two episodes already and I seriously can't describe any aspect of their personalities at all. Is Slash an arrogant playboy who manages to hide a gentle idealism underneath his hissing exterior? Does Slobster love a good romance novel? Come on, cartoon, actually develop someone!

To be fair, lobsters are not known for their shark-defeating abilities.
This time around, Slobster and Slash are only here as a distraction, because while the two ugly monsters are fighting the more heroic ugly monsters, Dr. Paradigm actually lands his helicopter next to Bends (who happens to be standing off to the side, cheering the hideous shark mutants on while he's puffing on a reefer) and captures him with a net gun.

...let me rephrase that. Dr. Paradigm snuck up on someone...with a helicopter. You know, those giant flying machines that make a whole ton of noise even when they're flying overhead, let alone flying right next to someone. They need to use that as a reason why you shouldn't do drugs. Who the hell doesn't hear a goddamn helicopter?

Don't smoke pot, kids, or else you'll be so stoned that helicopters can take you by surprise.
The walking bundle of villain cliches, now that he has their drug-addict, has very simple demands, appropriate for a very simple show. All the Street Sharks have to do is surrender themselves to him or else he will bioengineer the druggie into a monstrosity so hideous and so deformed that not even a starving piranha would look at him. So...basically he's just going to turn Bends into another Street Shark then.

While Dr. Paradigm taunts the sharks, we briefly see a figure hiding behind a bush, cloaked in shadows. This happens to be Dr. Bolton, and it's a reoccurring theme in the show to have him working behind the scenes, always watching his children but never informing them where he is or even what species he is. According to Wikipedia, it's because "he now lives in hiding because the mutation process done to him by Paradigm is unchangeable", which just makes him sound like a big crybaby because all of the mutations in this show are like that. What makes him so different?

But reasons for his methods aside, people have gone mad trying to figure out what Dr. Bolton is. You can't figure out what he looks like from the shadows or the silhouettes he leaves either, because he'll radically change in size and shape depending on the episode. I suppose it's to build up intrigue, but as a kid, it just comes off as frustrating. One of the reasons I'm studying to become an Animator is so I can enter the industry, find someone that worked on this show, and force them to tell me what the Street Sharks' dad mutated into. I need closure!

"Hmmm. I could be helping my co-worker, but I don't want to ruin my frustrating mysteriousness."
Sadly, since Dr. Paradigm gave a deadline, what follows is probably the most shameless attempt at EXTREME! possible, because it's up to the Street Sharks to save the day on their sweet new wheels that are now at your local Wal-Mart. This is when the show tries its best to appeal to the young impressionable male demographic that thinks that, just because a cartoon has mutants and transformations and soundtracks filled with guitar solos, it's a totally radical and tubular piece of animation and therefore they should buy all of their toys and support the corporate entity that birthed these merchandise-driven fish. Police trying to arrest them are involved, bikers trying to kill them are involved, a train in danger is involved, and them swimming through the streets is involved. It's very paint-by-numbers.

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here, wondering how a helicopter ride with Bends was like instead of being engaged in this tomfoolery. I like to imagine Dr. Paradigm getting increasingly frustrated at Bends' philosophical questions and demands for tacos to fuel his munchie attacks. I bet along the way, he ended up wishing that he had gone the more traditional route and captured Lena instead.

New from Mattel!
So they make it to the nuclear power plant, and the sharks outline their plan to the audience while the animation takes a serious nose dive. It's really odd how one moment, this show can have intense car chase sequences complete with dynamite and trains and stuff, and the next moment, the sharks are just standing completely still in the exact same poses while flapping their gums like a group of odd-looking handpuppets. Unique character performance? What's that?

This is a show meant for little boys. That's why there's an obscene amount of male nudity.
And their big plan, the one that they need a whole scene to stand around and talk about in great lengths, is faking their surrender. Wow, how totally original. Like Lena, they're choosing to fight cliches with cliches, only in this case, it's fighting cliches with a cliche made from the strongest cliches and crafted by the most skilled clicheworkers from the forges of Ironcliche, nestled in the high mountains of Dun Clichogh. Sharks like to play everything by the book, even though they usually devour said book afterwards, being sharks and all.

"You know, I still think it'd be a lot easier for all of us if we just ate the giant lobster."
Oh, and just when you thought Dr. Paradigm wasn't evil enough, the next time we see him, he's actually strapping on a power suit that's extremely nautical themed. Apparently it's to help even the odds against creatures that can rip his arms off without breaking a sweat, when really, it's to give the villain a more iconic outfit he can use for the rest of the series, one that can use harpoons and fish hooks and various other fishing equipment without looking out of place.

To be honest, compared to his simple red and black clothing combo he was using before, I actually like his odd wetsuit/yellow submarine hybrid of a suit, if only because this thing's way more distinct. It's silly looking, especially in closeups where it looks like he's a decapitated head in a strange early 20th century submersible, but at least it's original.

I love Bends's line when he sees this thing for the first time. While he's strapped to an operating table, he yells "What's with the steel overcoat, dude!?". Even when he's about ready to sprout fins and become a hideous fishbeast, Bends always talks like he's chasing the dragon. And that's why I love him.

"Finally, I can now defeat that blasted white whale!"
Ignoring his hallucinogenic-filled prisoner, Lux Luthor comically stomps his way over to his state-of-the-art computer that vaguely does whatever evil science thing he requires. There, he cycles through a rabbit, a turtle, and a rat (Hey, make fun of the Ninja Turtles all you like, cartoon, but leave Usagi Yojimbo out of this!), rejecting them all for various stupid reasons (he calls the rat "too small" and then uses a creature that's similar in size), until he settles for the piranha. And then he proceeds to gush like a fanboy about the piranha about how much of a relentless killing machine it is and, unlike a shark, it doesn't have compassion, love, and all those other human emotions. Piranhas are such badasses of the water that they hate friends and family. How totally subtle. I wonder who's going to get shot up with piranha juice before this episode is over?

By the way, hate to rain on your parade, Dr. Paradigm, but piranhas would actually have more compassion and feelings for their friends and family than a shark because the whole reason piranhas are so scary is because they attack in groups. For a man who apparently graduated from college at the age of nine (knowing my school, he probably got a Communications Major) he sure doesn't know how to do any research.

"Who's that Pokémon?"
And, of course, he's going to test the piranha DNA on Bends first, just for funsies. I guess being able to strip a cow to its skeleton in minutes would do wonders for Bends's drug-induced munchie attacks.

Bends's reaction? He isn't deeply saddened by the fact that his humanity is going to be stripped away from him, nor is he fearful of the potential agonizing and personality-altering transformation he's going to suffer, but instead, he merely wonders what his dentist is going to think. Oh, that Bends. Nothing can ruin his groovy, mellow attitude on life.

"You're still mad about the time I showed up to that board meeting naked, aren't you?
If you must know, the drinking fountain dared me to do it."
So the sharks arrive, because the ease they escaped from Slash and Slobster was so pathetic that I'm not even going to mention that scene (and to think, we were expected to buy toys of those two), and of course they're here to save their strange, underground tunnel-exploring friend. Bends is of course relieved, but I have to wonder if our loveable smoker is just writing off this entire experience as one very realistic bad trip, because a group of humanoid sharks with bulging arm muscles and teeny little human legs definitely sounds like something that can only be conceived with a tampered batch of hash.

They also shout "SHARK ATTACK!" when they run into the room too. They're just going to keep saying it until someone makes a T-shirt, I guess.

So they save Bends (and they save him by comically ripping the operating table out of the floor with Bends still attached to it), leaving them to enact part two of their cunning plan; smash the hell out of everything with their fists. Because apparently that will rid the world of the gene slammer.

...can't argue with that logic.

"DIE, technology!"
Since the sharks have such an ingenious plan that involves wrecking crap until it malfunctions, this causes the syringe of piranha DNA that Dr. Paradigm was going to inject into Bends to fly wildly out of control until it gets stuck into Dr. Paradigm's neck. Oh, smooth move, sharks. Good job giving your worst enemy the DNA of a relentless killing machine.

Also this is the best face I've ever seen in this entire cartoon, possibly in the entire medium. Apparently the most appropriate expression to make when something sticks a needle in your neck is to bulge out your eyes and try to do your best fish impersonation. If I could, I'd buy this animation cel, frame it, and proudly display it on my wall next to my animation cels of Baxter Stockman and Egon Spengler from The Real Ghostbusters. It'd be a great conversation starter.

While Paradigm is screaming and writhing in pain, the sharks grab him and start demanding an antidote out of him. Oh, so that's why they haven't killed him yet. He's the only one capable of making an antidote to their mutations, and he's definitely going to start making one now that he's a freak like them. Oddly, this is one of the few times in this episode where you actually see that the Street Sharks really don't like being malformed aberrations that frighten their fellow citizens of this fair city. They just want to turn back to normal, even if most of the time, they're eating walls and yelling "SHARK ATTACK!" like assholes.

Also, is it me, or are these sharks not at all genre-savvy? Dr. Paradigm did sort of get injected with the DNA of one of the most infamous underwater predators. They're not at all worried by that?

Sure enough, that's when he transforms right in front of Ripster's (hey, I remembered his name!) eyes. This is so shocking that the shark actually drops the man in disgust. Then, while Paradigm is snarling in wordless anger as his face sprouts razor-sharp teeth, everyone just sort of gathers around the guy and cracks teeth-related and plastic surgeon-related jokes at his expense, even though a smarter person would be just a teensy bit worried about their archnemesis gaining fish-related superpowers.

He also gets a new name to fit his mutation from Bends, because he seems to like coining strange mutant names in his spare time. Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Piranoid. Unlike the previous mutants on this show, since the batch of piranha DNA was very unstable, Dr. Paradigm doesn't turn into a complete mutant (note the fact that he has human skin still), nor does he stay in this form all the time. Instead, when he gets pissed off, his face transforms (and depending on the budget, he'll either shapeshift into it or there'll be the sound of a thunderbolt and his face just pops into piranha mode), his voice gets more high-pitched, and he becomes more irrational. But after a period of time, he'll turn back to his normal squinty-eyed self and continue lying to the people of Piss On City that he's totally a good guy that hates mutants.

At the risk of giving another compliment to this show, this is actually a cool villain concept that has a potential to be very interesting. In just a couple minutes, Dr. Paradigm went from being a rather boring run-of-the-mill mad scientist who wants to take over the world to a hate-filled piranhaman in a diving suit with goddamn harpoons attached to his arms. He's the reason why I want someone to reboot Street Sharks. Dr. Paranoid would be downright fantastic in more capable hands.

What Master Chief looks like without his helmet.
And, in case you don't think this is an awesome idea yet, in his anger, Dr. Piranoid soundly kicks all four of the sharks' asses because not only does he have a superpowered diving suit, but his anger is fueling all of his actions and now he's attacking like a man who has nothing to lose. It's an amazing scene to behold, because he spams lasers, harpoons, and all sorts of weapons until the sharks are forced to retreat. Hell, I could even go the extra mile and call Dr. Piranoid "jawsome".

Wow, is the villain actually making a callback to a previous injury in the show? That's surprisingly intelligent.
With Dr. Piranoid being so full of win that the sharks end up running into a room in order to escape the menace, it looks like the coast is clear until Dr. Piranoid uses a convenient intercom he has in his lair to tell the sharks that they're now trapped in an Ultra-Collider that can blast them into chromosomes. Whoops. Oh, thank goodness the sharks are smart enough to walk right into a room purposely designed to vaporize people. What the hell, heroes?

But that's not enough for Piranoid, for he decides to talk over the intercom and start ranting on and on about how they're immune to disease and they're the most powerful apex predators in the world, and he'll use his chromosomes to completely rebuild them without sympathy or remorse, and all knees will bow to the greatness that is the future shark and piranha overlords of Earth. it wrong that the transformation into a piranha totally redeemed this previously boring villain in my eyes? Maybe it's the power suit. Either way, if he's like this for the rest of the series, we might be onto something here.

And, to add insult to injury, Dr. Piranoid starts beatboxing over the loudspeaker while they're dying.
And that's how our episode seriously ends. With Dr. Piranoid going on a very insane rant about fish while the sharks await a very painful death where their bodies will be ripped asunder for science! I like how both of these episodes pretty much end the same way; Dr. Paradigm wins. Only this time, I actually enjoy the ending rather feeling a hollow emptiness inside.

Is this the end of Ripster, Bobby, and...those other two sharks? Will our heroes escape the Ultra-Collider? Will the police ever discover Bends' secret underground operation? Will Slash and Slobster ever gain a personality? All of these questions will be answered and more in Part 3, so tune in next time to see the daring conclusion. Same shark time, same shark channel!

The Moral of this Cartoon
No one will find it weird if you build a secret hideout, can elude the police, have a car built with features in order to better escape the police, and know your way around a vast tunnel system hidden underneath the city if you have a chill, laid-back approach to the whole thing.

Also piranha DNA can fix boring characters.

Final Verdict

Still a stupid stupid show, but strangely, this episode is a lot better than the first one.

I think it was because of the fact that it did in fact make some characters more fleshed out. The last episode was introducing all of the players to the table, which is okay, but it feels like they were way more used to the material they were working with here. Lena and Paradigm in particular actually had some good scenes. Especially Dr. Paradigm, who seemed to make up for his lackluster performances in the first episode by gradually getting more interesting until turning into Dr. Piranoid.

That, and there's a lot less stupid moments. Part 1 had people getting washed down a river and then eating hot dogs afterward, Dr. Bolton being an absolute nincompoop, and Paradigm being obviously evil without people guessing he was evil. Part 2...just had the taserlasers and maybe Bends. Hell, the threats were a lot more tangible. Street Sharks in Sharkbait had to fight mutants in an amusement park, and then in Sharkbite, they're receiving exploratory surgery. They certainly got their writing together, that's for sure!

...and I'd be lying if I didn't say I wasn't invested in any of these characters, nor do I care if anyone happens to them. There's some enjoyment to be had here, obviously, or else I wouldn't have this much fun ripping into it.

But as you can tell, this still is a pretty mediocre cartoon. The animation never rises above "bad" level, there are still gaping plot holes big enough to fit a shark in, a lot of the characters don't have any personality beyond property destruction, and it's just really silly. But despite this, I still enjoy watching this terrible show. One of the reasons I enjoy it so much is that I love laughing at how dumb these plots can get and how bad the jokes can be.

So all in all, I still can't see myself watching this multiple times for legitimate enjoyment but I slightly enjoy the ride that it's offering me. Instead I like to make fun of it because I watched this all the time as a kid, completely unaware of the badness it held within.

And also the Dr. Paradigm face.

Never forget.