You remember Street Sharks. Sharks on rollerblades, fighting crime, rock ‘n roll saxophone on the soundtrack, Jawsme, the episode where the sharks are called on to save the city from gang warfare, or the one where a long-lost sister shows up and causes problems for everyone. You remember Street Sharks. Or do you?
Writing on Geek.com, Jordan Minor has the fascinating story of how he sorta accidentally rewrote the history of a beloved second-rate 1990s cartoon for the entire internet. As a teen, Minor was a member of the now-defunct website TVTome, a wiki where users wrote encyclopedia entries of their favorite shows. As a kind of lighthearted troll, he signed himself as the editor of the Street Sharks page and filled it with nonsense, inventing characters and episode arcs out of whole cloth. Then, TVTome was bought by and integrated into TV.com, a much larger site, and things got interesting:
Thanks to that expanded platform, all of my lies rapidly began infecting the rest of the internet. Most sites since have mostly purged themselves of my misinformation, but for years, IMDB, Amazon, and numerous smaller sites were unintentionally hosting my creative writing. If you’re paranoid and trying to spot a fake, pretty much any episode with a specific 1994 air date and episode description is a fraud. If a shady website claims it has streaming videos of “Feelin’ Lobstery” or “Goin’ Clammando,” and a lot still do since I still found these descriptions, it’s lying to you even more than usual. The only place that’s still entirely accurate is Wikipedia, hilariously enough.
Minor goes on to describe all the artifacts of his juvenile hoax that are still online, such as listings on Netflix and IMDb that show the likes of Henry Winkler and Adam West in Street Sharks’ cast of voice actors. (They weren’t.) Like the hoaxers who invented a college sports scandal that got plenty of real news coverage, or the guy who used Wikipedia to turn himself into an Aboriginal god, Minor had inserted his bizarre joke into the internet’s frequently updated, rarely fact-checked historical record.
The web is a strange and bountiful place. Don’t believe everything you read.