There’s a line of a theme song, in a cartoon, older than the oldest VHS I still presently own, that has floated around in my brain for the longest time. To my own mind, it sounds out of tune. It has no words but is comprised of a few simple clicks of the fingers followed by some bass notes.
For ages I couldn’t place the tune; it drove me mad into my teenage years and beyond. Over and over again I’d hear it. And then there were the three little words that changed everything: Sharky and George.
You’re probably listening to the tune now as we speak. For that, I apologise, because it’s one of those insufferable tunes that you just can’t shake. Even when you forget the name of the show and everything about it, you will still remember that tune. That flat, irritating tune.
Despite the penchant for madness the opening music brought to my life, Sharky and George was one of my favourite shows growing up and for a long time I watched the French Canadian cartoon without fail. Unfortunately, due to a conflict in scheduling, we started to miss each other so, like the One Ring, it passed into shadow. It was there for me every afternoon after school and it was more than likely responsible for a lot of shoddy homework. Along with that, I’m fairly sure my mother was perpetually just a few eye twitches from taking a frying pan to the TV. There’s a fine line between enthusiastically singing your favourite theme song when the mood strikes, and humming it every free minute of the day.
Sharky and George was basically what resulted when a detective series was crossed with an animated underwater city inhabited by French sounding fish. It was laser-targeted for preteens. Sharky played the loveably adorable muscle and George was the brains and, between the pair of them, they solved some underwater ‘crimes’ and pretty much set everything straight. “Where have all the bubbles gone?” This was the point where I was going to make some sort of joke but, when I try thinking of the words, my brain starts humming that segment of the theme song again. It was originally aired between 1990 and 1991 with 52 episodes in total, but was a frequent favourite among the early morning repeats for a very long time after.
You genuinely have no idea how long this show and its theme song have tormented me. I was in my Leaving Cert exam trying to remember a lengthy segment from Hamlet and I was humming the tune of a song I hadn’t heard in maybe ten or twelve years and couldn’t remember the name of. If not for the internet, I would probably be sitting strapped in some jacket somewhere, rocking back and forth. I have great sympathy with the Master. The pain is real.
While it certainly drove me demented in my later years, watching this show now does bring back good memories. It’s a fun, goofy, almost unbearably cute cartoon. Sharky is bubblegum pink for crying out loud! It’s impossible to hate it, but unfortunately it doesn’t entertain in quite the same way anymore. That’s to be expected, really; it was a show made specifically for the younger demographic and, unlike later made cartoons, it just doesn’t carry much into adulthood. It’s a real pity. In my mind I remembered the show being epic. So epic it actually haunted me, but the reality is cold and disappointing. I was young, it was well designed and I was impressionable. It’s a sad state of affairs. We all want desperately to believe that our childhood obsessions are awesome and even more so that they’ll stay that way when we’re older, but Sharky and George just isn’t something I can watch now and enjoy. I hurt. I hurt deep in my soul.
While it has little to offer me now as an adult beyond the nostalgia hit and reassurance that I wasn’t crazy, it’s still something you could easily pop on for the youngster in your life. They might get a kick out it.
Were you a Sharky and George fan back in the day? Let us know in the comments.