A Ton of Stuff Online About This Weird ’90s Cartoon Show Is A Complete Lie
Do you remember Street Sharks. Sure you do. This was one of a whole fleet of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles knockoffs that popped up during the franchise’s heyday in the early and mid-1990s. There was Extreme Dinosaurs, Stone Protectors, Bicycle Mice From Mars (from f---ing MARS!), and the Street Sharks, who were, like, totally radical dudes who were transformed into totally radical shark-dudes by their scientist dad. There was Ripster, Jab, Streex, Big Slammu, and Roxie the female Street Shark who was totally “jawsome.” Remember her?
No you don’t. Because she didn’t exist. And not in the “street sharks aren’t real” sense. I mean in the “some guy just invented her, wrote her into made-up plot synopses, posted those synopses online, and then people just accepted them as real” sense. Roxie is kind of a lost white whale (er, shark) that people have been chasing for years. And she was never on the show.
The full story of this lurid tale of lies and teeth comes from Geek.com, where Jordan Minor explains how, more than a decade ago, he amused himself by inventing all kinds of lies on the Street Sharks page of TVTome.com. He dreamed up Roxie, loosely based on a character who was on the show, Rox. He created entire plot synopses for episodes that never existed. (“Strong yet sensitive Big Slammu was always the most angered by his transformation. But when he accidentally frightens a little girl into a coma, he runs off to find a cure.”) He even added actors who hadn’t provided Street Sharks voices to the show’s cast list — like Henry Winkler, who famously jumped a shark on Happy Days and supposedly voiced guest star “Meathook.”
There was no Meathook, and Winkler never voiced anyone on Street Sharks, but for a while his IMDb page said he did. That’s because TVTome.com eventually got bought and merged with a much larger site, TV.com, and its information got disseminated all over the internet (or “rapidly infected” it, in Minor’s words).
Is nothing sacred? If we can’t trust crowdsourced internet encyclopedias, what can we trust? What’s the next bombshell? Is someone going to tell me that Shark Week not a real holiday? Have I been celebrating a lie all these years? PLEASE JUST TELL ME WHAT IS TRUE.
Minor says this cautionary tale has a point, or at least it does now, even if the whole thing just started as a middle schooler’s prank that got out of hand:
History is more mutable than it has ever been thanks to the explosion of information on the internet. We form rough consensuses based on vast amounts of conflicting data, but who really has the power to verify any of it?
So remember: Just because you see it written on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true. The editorial process at many websites is not jawsome.