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.
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...
Airdate: September 1994
|Well, thanks for naming the episode something similar to the previous episode, |
making it hard to keep track of which episode is which.
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?|
|I like how the hideous mutant sharks are somehow able to keep their really nice shoes completely intact.|
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."|
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...|
|"If making a killer mutant shark with giant boobs is wrong, I don't want to be right."|
|"Hmm...you look to be about a 38D."|
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.|
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!"|
|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.
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.
...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.
|"Doors make me ANGRY!"|
|"OH DEAR GOD, I'M A HIDEOUS FREAK!"|
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."|
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.
|"My arms are growing out of my ears!"|
...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?"
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.|
...at the risk of resurrecting an old meme, TASERS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
|DON'T LASE ME BRO|
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.|
...so, 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.|
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?"|
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."
And I have the sneaking feeling that they made toys out of these things.
|The tanks also shoot lasers. Tanks have lasers, right?|
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!|
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.|
...he does this a lot, doesn't he?
|"I'm high all the time, so I lack the fear of heights mere mortals have."|
|"We really need to stage an intervention."|
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...|
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.
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!"|
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.
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."|
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...|
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!"|
...no 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."|
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..."
|"Here we go, I guess."|
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.|
...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.|
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."|
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!|
|This is a show meant for little boys. That's why there's an obscene amount of male nudity.|
|"You know, I still think it'd be a lot easier for all of us if we just ate the giant lobster."|
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!"|
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?"|
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."
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.
...can't argue with that logic.
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.
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.|
|Wow, is the villain actually making a callback to a previous injury in the show? That's surprisingly intelligent.|
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.
...is 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.|
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.
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.