LAdies and gentlemen , we finally got to the depiction of the Turtles most of us know outside the movies. And to prepare this little chat about the 80's cartoon , I've decided to put my opinions on the Fred Wolf Turtles. Yes we will deal with the Archie treatment of these guys (hint: the Turtles themselves are not that different, the situations in print however are different from the ones on screen). Also I am not going to discuss the pilot because, neutrinos aside, it is freaking good.
The problem with this cartoon is that it is not to be watched in terms of seasons. It belongs more to the likes of Animaniacs or Tiny Toons, in the sense that you have to pick the best episodes from the crummy ones. I see it as a pretty experimental Comedy/adventure show rather than over-arching story-arcs based one to be honest.
If you want a fair criticism of the show , I can tell you that whoever said that Season 2 through 7 are BAD can definitely cut the crap , this show has plenty of gems to its credit and they still make me laugh to this day. It's an uneven show, yes, but it did a lot more good to the TMNT than you'd think. And yes, Turtles Forever is good from a technical and conceptual POV, but Total BS in a characterization and reactions POV. In fact, I find it hilarious how a movie that was supposed to celebrate the TMNT ended up dropping the ball when it comes to the 80's AND 2k3 Turtles portrayals (Surprised that I mentionned them , eh ? Because I know that show pretty well sonny boy and we will discuss it! Well, only the first 4 seasons I mean...). And in case you say that I am being nitpicky, Pfeh, I wouldn't mention it if I did not double check the actual cartoon series. YES, the show is goofy but the characters never came as bundering Polyannaesque idiots. They :
- NEVER cry under pressure.
- NEVER grinned and laughed when a serious fight broke out. In fact they treat even the sillier threats with a certain composure and go do something to stop it.
- ALWAYS acknowledged their goddamn surroundings . If it were done right, they'd be just as surprised as the 2k3 Turtles. Not to mention that each of them would have actual questions too.
So people who say that Turtles Forever was accurate either hate this show with a passion or are incredibly resentful of it (even more so than I am of DuckTales !).In fact , the only Turtles done right were the Mirage Vol 1 ones. Oh and BTW, I did mention some glimmers of brilliance , right ? Well those are mostly the scenes of Shredder, Ch'rell, Krang , Bebop and Rocksteady.
+ This show is made for people who have a goddamn sense of humor and it makes its best episodes brilliant knee-slappers. And another pro going for it ? The characters are genuinely likable and they made me care about them. And for fuck sake people ! This show had a Cajun Alligator with a Bazooka fighting a bandage-clad hobo that controls rats ! If you don't find that amusing , then we have nothing to say to each other ....
+ The Opening kicked ass then , It still kicks ass now ! In fact the entire soundtrack rocks !
+ People say that these Turtles are an insult to the Mirage ones. Nah , REALLY ? You mean that the light-hearted ones with actual and distinct personalities that can fit in a large array of stories are an insult to the interchangeable grim and gritty ones that only worked for a few story-arcs ? Also I'd like to point out that where the Dark version of the Turtles is concerned , I prefer the Image Volume 3 ones by far. And yeah , I maintain that the original comics Turtles are goofier than the Fred Wolf UNTIL " City at war" kicked in (in the same way Adam West's Batman is genuinely less campy than Nolan's. And I am not being sarcastic, IT's TRUE ! The dark stuff needs a balance or a certain subtlety to work ). Just because they are allowed to cut guts on-panel does not make them more serious to me.
Is there any wonder that the Movie hybridised both iterations ? Now aside from that, here's what I think of these guys:
* Leonardo is indeed the most level-headed of the bunch and as such the leader. Though he has a deep contempt towards Street Gamblers (especially since he cut the cads literally...) and ophidiaphobia.
* Donatello is the McGuyver of the Gods (and in many ways the 2nd in command). Has a Bo-staff and the power of making all of his technobabble sound plausible...to him.
* Raphael ... my 2nd favorite interpretation of this Turtle right after the Movie and Image Raph, especially since he had a huge influence on the latter iterations. But how can I sum him up ? Well as James Rolfe put it " Raph is an asshole. And that's why we love him !"
* Michelangelo is the most sensitive one of the group and a serious PARTY-DUDE ! However, now that I watch him... does any of you think that Mikey's been hitting the bong between training sessions ? Maybe that'd explain his very peculiar surfer lingo and his craving for mondo portions of pizza !
+ As for the supporting cast well :
* Master Splinter is every bit the wise teacher you expect . Interesting enough that this is where they decided to mix both the rat AND Hamato Yoshi into the same character . Something that the IDW comic and the Nick will use to great effect and on their own special way.It also helps that the old man has a lot of funny moments.
* Casey Jones is just a riot.I am starting to sense a theme here; are hobos the funniest characters ever in animation ? Well it does help that they handle their problems with sports equipments and beat up rapists AND Jaywalkers .
* April ... I don't give a fuck about what you think, I fucking love April. She was one of my cartoon crushes as a kid and having rewatched the show... I still find her spunky, funny and likable . She gets captured all the time ? That's part of the fucking JOKE ! Next time you'll be complaining about the sexy women in the Benny Hill Show or say that PETA should sue Looney Tunes for animal cruelty. And she definitely is a helpful friend (where do you think they go when they have problems ?). I must confess that I never found her stupid . Reckless ? YES. Foolhardy ? Definitely . Ambitious ? That's on par with being a journalist: you die for your job or die jobless (Holy Real Life Catch 22 , Batman !). Dumb. No. Boring ? Fuck you pal, I enjoy the normal grounded folks as much as the outlandish ones. She looks like a banana in this outfit ? Yeah, so what ? She's still the sexiest banana cosplayer ever, bah Gumbo ! (that goes for the 2K3 April too ! img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20…
) And damn if she doesn't hand over hats in the hottest way ! i2.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/o…
Hand over that hat, Miss O'Neil ! YEs , Keep interviewing ! img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20…
, YEEEESSS HOLD THAT CAMERA img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20…
, yEES You Jumpsuit-Clad Venus you !) . I will talk about her evolved form another day , you won't be disappointed...
* The Crew from Channel 6 is pretty nice to have around , at least we get to see April interacting with other people ... And yes I find Vernon to be a pretty fun pie-in-the-face Type character.
* I also like the Punk Frogs and Usagi Yojimbo.
+ Unlike the comics, we have a large array of memorable rogues and baddies. Among the best we have :
* Baxter Stockman the Fly-man scientist... who may never have known his colleague Seth Brundle. That's sad ! The sadder part ? Krang tried to murder him and Shredder sent his foot soldiers to kill him in the first episode Baxter appeared. The saddest part ? He basically ends up being trapped in LIMBO alone !... Wait is this a comedic light-hearted show ? And let's not even get to what the 2003 Baxter will go through !
* The Rat King, the world's most simple minded villain. I mean the guy controls rats and is resilient ... but he's pretty much a crazy hobo who mugs people. And in this show , hobo = comedy ! He does use a flute to control them... As long as it works I don't care , he can play even a Banjo if he wants... speaking of Banjos...
* Leatherhead ! Bah Gumbo do I LOVE this guy ! I do like the sympathetic classic Leatherhead, but this one is basically an evil version that is simply a far more entertaining character ! He even uses lobsters as hand weapons for fuck sake ! THIS IS AWESOME ! Any time he appears, it is a good episode , Ah Guarontee !
+ And now, let's discuss the TRUE STARS of this show and its greatest asset ! There's an unwritten rule that in 80's cartoons that the villains are ACTUALLY THE STARS ! In He-Man ? Skeletor RULES ! In GI Joe ? It's the COBRAAAA show ! In TMNT ? The Technodrome Bunch OF COURSE !
Now , many people whined about this show butchering the Shredder's personality .... you're shitting me , right ? That's the first fucking time he ever got ONE. And before you diss him and praise the Utrom Shredder, allow me to remind you a few things :
1) Ch'rell and the 2K3 show benefitted from a far less restrictive censorship ! And I already discussed that in my X-men cartoon review...
2) Had the Fred Wolf Toon been less restrained , there's a good chance it would have been closer to the Archie comics (though we'll thankfully replace the ecological PSAs with Shredder and Krang's marital disputes . An excellent trade-off if you ask me !)
3) There's no denying that whereas Utrom Shredder is indeed a more badass, he's unfortunately TOO direct. 80's Shredder, on the other hand, is a Chuck Jones type fall guy... and that alone says long about his versatility and acting range ! I love both Scottie Ray and James Avery (allahi yarhmu) 's performances so I can't really pick here.
4) 80's Shredder traded competence in villainy for personality and as such , when he does succeeded, it is a special occasion ! And he also has a way with words since he wanted to be a writer... being a ruthless conqueror was only the second choice. (though when he DOES take over the world...let's say it ain't all what it's cracked up to be !)
5) 80's Shredder was beaten every episode ? That is how cartoons were back in the 80's. The Autobots always beat the Decepticons, the Joes beat COOOOBRAAAAA etc.
So Case in Point, 80's Shredder is fucking awesome BECAUSE he manages to be a unique Shredder !
And what makes him so great are his pals : Punk Pumbaa , Rataxes's delinquent son and the awesomeness that is KRANG ! I still think the only reason Krang keeps him around is to daily punk and make him his bitch. I mean seriously , 90% of the time , he bosses all 3 of them around like crazy, EVEN when he's outside the android armor. But some people out there did Krang and his awesomesauceness justice, so I'll just let them talk www.n-chicken.net/letters/kran…
. bear in mind that our favorite disembodied lord from dimension X also found the right woman for him ! www.thatchickensite.com/letter…
As for my favorite episodes... I will leave that for when my Mondo poster is completed, compadres, you'll see. Tubuloso! In the meantime, you'll take a guess ... www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQPNoI…