Teenage Mutant Ninja Turltes, oh yeah. A cult PHENOMENON in the late 80's that lasts, till pretty much now I'll be honest. It started as an underground comic, had a mini series cartoon that grew into one of the most popular cartoons at the time, a second comic that was tied in with this show, three live action movies, a CGI movie later along with another cartoon series and MERCHANDIZING!! Cream pies, action figures, cereals, tapes, music CD's, blankets, Batman Toys, STAR TREK TOYS.......I'm kidding about the Batman one, the Star Trek ones were real, DAMN if these guys weren't huge and still are living on in one way or another. Today though, I'm talking about the cartoon from the 80's.
Now, before I begin, I gotta say that the 80's show was a bit of an anomoly in the franchize. It's the most kid friendly, marketable and least violent of the shows and movies. The early comics were dark and violent where the Turltles regularily KILLED they're enemies and didn't guzzle Pizza and rarely made jokes. The 2003 show tryed to emulate these qualities and the 90's movies were a hybrid of the two being serious, but still having levity. The 80's show was cute, colorful and safe, so it's no wonder why it was the most popular of the series. The creators put they're stamp on the show but still continued to make they're underground work to keep they're original fans happy.
The story if you didn't know is how 4 petshop turtles were mutated and taught martial arts from a mutated rat who looked over them as his kids. They meet a human woman named April O Neil who in this carnation is a news reporter instead of a lab assistant/junk store owner. Shredder was always the villain with rare exceptions to characters like Rat King and Leatherhead among others and the show had a larger sci fi slant to it with more far out ideas like anti gravity satellites, weather controllers and other gizmos. The origin is fudged a little with Splinter having been a man who the mutagen turned into a rat and some other quirks but the results are the same.
The turtles in this carnation are mostly the same. Leonardo is the "first son" and Splinter's best student who leads the Turtles on they're adventures. Donatello is the brainier member of the group who works on cars and other inventions. Michelangelo was the youngest and more adolescent but instead of having childlike tendencies, he had a surfer dude attitude as if he lived in California (never mind hes in New York) but Raphael got the biggest makeover. While still rebellious in a way with his smart remarks, Raph in the original comic run was a hot head who hated his isolation and would lash out in violence. Toned down for the kid show he is here and the nuances of being alone is a little deep for what was Saturday morning fare. April as I mentioned was a news reporter and, can I say a babe ? A big head of red 80's hair, a shapely figure stuffed into a form fitting yellow jumpsuit and a chest anime women would kill for? Sometimes, no joke they even drew cleavage on her. Yes, on a kids show. What a great time to be young!
The turltes in an average episode would be making jokes, watching TV or eating pizza when they would get news of crime or Shredder up to no good. Shredder was the chief villain in the show trying to steal a fuel source to power his mobile fortress the Technodrome or some way to defeat the turtles. His henchmen were BeBop and Rocksteady and they were as dumb as a box of rocks. His Foot Soldiers got increasingly more worthless as time went on and there were even times when victory was at hand and.......Shredder does nothing but retreat. Heres two great examples, in one episode-Shredder comes up with a love potion to infect the Turtles and drive them in love with a woman they see, and with great love comes great jealousy. So, why not POISON the turtles? If your going to lace the food with something, why not poison and kill them off? Heres another great one. The turtles and April get caught in quicksand and can't get out, Shredder comes to rescue a captive foe and.......leaves the Turtles and April stuck and using James Bond villain logic will simply assume that they will die. As soon as he leaves, the turtles find a way to get out of the trap. Shredder, as awesome as he could be (voiced by James Avery no less) could be REAL dumb.
A sad fact that did rear it's ugly head eventually is that the Turtles were seen as violent for all the wee tots who were watching them and slowly but steadily after the mini series was over, the Turtles were much more slapsticky and wacky by beating foes with garbage cans, pies and whatever else was lying around. If you've seen Turtles Forever then you know this got ratcheted up to 12.
The artwork was never bad, but you can tell changes were made after the first 5 episodes and it still looked good and the music as the show progressed had some great 80's fare for a kids show. The theme song, rock'n as always, does make me realize I'm on memory lane when I fire these up in the DVD player.
It's a show that while it didn't age badly, the surf lingo and heavy presence they had at the time dates the show a little bit. It can still be fun to watch and for me has those timeless qualities of youth and growing up. It, was in the day and still is to many people AWESOME.
I watched this show all the time when I was an adult and watching two boys around 10. They loved the show and when I would talk to them about it I was caught up in the action and the dialog. Looking back, it comes across as silly but at that time is was an interesting novelty.
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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