Before kids' programming was relegated to cable, the major networks competed for young viewers. With the relatively new Fox network's penchant for cutting edge programming, their block of '90s shows for kids was no exception. From X-Men to Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, they dominated by entering territory most of these types of shows wouldn't dare.
A shining example is Eek the Cat's take on the “Cop Killer” hysteria surrounding Ice-T and Body Count, and Snoop Dogg's public murder trial. This 1994 episode was called “Shark Doggy Dog,” and you can see it above.
Written by series creator “Savage” Steve Holland, the episode follows the good-natured (albeit disaster-prone) Eek and his girlfriend's dog Sharky. The canine's guttural grunting is discovered by soul legend Don Cornelius, which lands him a record deal and sends him to the top of the hip-hop charts.
Unfortunately, Sharky's single “Mailman Biter” becomes controversial and the dog has to stand trial in Los Angeles over allegations of biting a mailman.
In real life, Snoop and his bodyguard were arrested on September 2, 1993, charged with the murder of 20-year-old Philip Woldermariam. When the “Eek! the Cat” episode aired one year later, the real-life trial actually hadn't started yet. Still, Sharky's attire mirrors that of Snoop's of the era, and the action against Sharky and his label is reminiscent of the heat Time Warner took for releasing the rapper's debut Doggystyle amidst all the controversy.
Also, the parallels between Sharky's “Mailman Biter” and Ice-T's metal group Body Count's “Cop Killer” make for quite the subversive commentary. The postal service's argument — “Don't we have enough violence in today's society?” — seemed ripped from Dan Quayle and Tipper Gore, while Eek's defense (“Sharkey says he's just writing from what he knows” and “the mailmen are keeping him down”) mimic Ice-T's first amendment defense.
While the episode's other send-ups of the mid-'90s music industry make for a great time capsule, it's interesting and absurd that Holland would take two very adult instances of public outrage and make an episode of a kids' show out of them. Both Sharky and Snoop were found not guilty. This is perhaps an example of life ceased imitating art, as Snoop became a rap icon and Sharky got a sitcom on the Fox Network.