Talking Turtles Instead of Trek

Happy 50th Birthday, Star Trek! Had I realized this earlier, I would’ve saved my review of “A Piece of the Action” for this week. So instead I’ll be reviewing a vintage episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They both have ties to Paramount & Playmates so it’s not as random as it could be.

Wingnut & Screwloose will finally be on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this week! (I just noticed I have both “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” & “TMNT” tags. Which should I be using?) I am way too excited about this! In the meantime, checkout this TMNT short by Jhonen Vasquez.

“The Catwoman From Channel Six” was an episode of the original cartoon I’d somehow missed. Despite its lack of Selina Kyle, it was more Silver Age than I expected. It begins with an irritated Shredder teleporting Rocksteady & Bebop to a dump that dumps them into the sewers. (See, it’s just like Star Trek!) This raises many sanitation concerns about NYC. Through random happenstance, the gruesome twosome walk into the turtles’ lair. We learn the machete on Rocksteady’s bandolier is actually a wooden pirate sword & Bebop can spontaneously generate baseball bats. After Shredder mistakenly teleports them back before they commit terrapinicide, April O’Neil hunts for scoops based on the Woo’s Oriental Palace take-out boxes they left behind.

Predating Freakazoid’s Mr. Chubbikins, an orange tabby activates the the matter teleporter to infuse O’Neil with felinity. Rather than employing the traditional mutagen ooze, this transformation is a reference to The Fly but the cat somehow remains independent of April. Shredder turns cat-April against her mutant pals with a mind control collar. Getting ginger kitty powers allows April to control a tiger because their kind stick together. The cat couple is prevented from assassinating Splinter when April’s collar is sliced off. Then she quickly reverts back to human because transmats lack the secret of the ooze. Instead of capping it off with a showdown, the Shredder is foiled when Bebop mistakenly explodes the transmat along with their hideout. Also Irma randomly decides Splinter must be the hunky man of her dreams just by overhearing his name only to break his poor mutie heart when her superficial eyes gaze upon him.

This episode is popular among Furries, but they failed to warn me about how bizarrely racist it is. Two whole scenes are set in Woo’s Oriental Palace, which is a hotbed of Asian caricatures.  When the turtles pay a visit whilst searching for April, they engage in a gratuitous fight with its employees & patrons. Of course the turtles didn’t even bother wearing their Tor Johnson masks to investigate the place, so it’s understandable the humans were freaked out by humanoid turtles doing gangster impressions at them. The restaurant’s poor reputation in the sewers suggests they were going for a Mos Eisely Cantina vibe, but Woo’s seems like a perfectly upstanding pan-Asian establishment. Woo’s is even tolerant of an anthropomorphic rhinoceros & warthog picking up take-out because those muties have manners. The situation is even murkier depending upon whether you perceive the turtles to be cultural appropriation incarnate (Doylist) or if being raised by Splinter makes them Japanese-Americans (Watsonian). Regardless, the title characters’ main contribution to this story is arbitrarily wrecking a restaurant. They are so lucky April is more Lois Lane than J. Jonah Jameson!

The quote of the week is “I feel like once you steal one submarine, you just want to do it again. Once you’re on the submarine-stealing route of your life, it’s hard to get off that path. You can go to Submarine Stealers Anonymous, but they have a poor track record if you look at it.”  If you require context, that’s from a Tom King interview about obscure Batman foe Colonel Blimp. He can come to Gotham so long as he brings matching sweaters for his henchmen.

Hot Toys is finally making a 1966 Joker to go with its Batman & Robin! Now this is the Clown Prince of Crime we need & deserve!

The latest DC superhero to get a TV series is Black Lightning. There’s no room left on the CW, so it’ll be on Fox if the pilot is picked up. It sounds like it’ll include his daughters, Thunder & Lightning,  as well. My concern is that Black Lightning has an even smaller rogues’ gallery than Green Arrow & most of the unaffiliated DC supervillains have already been snatched up by the CW shows. So is he just going to fight Tobias Whale each week? If Fox cancels it, will Black Lightning be allowed to hop over to Supergirl or  Legends of Tomorrow?

Even more pressing, where did Greg Berlanti get all of his TV show pillows from? Did he commission them in lieu of commemorative t-shirts for his crews? Did he cross-stitch them himself? I must know!

Underworld: Blood Wars starring legitimutant vampire Kate Beckinsale has a trailer. Is it set in space this time? I was promised the previous installment would be in space. It was not. This one is … also not in space. Why must the Leprechaun, Jason, & pigs hog all the extraterrestrial hijinks? Why can’t we have Selene on the Moon? Or has the franchise’s nebulous Europe actually been an autonomous planet akin to the one in Dark City all along? Can we at least get some lady Lycans this time? I love that they ended the trailer with Tobias “typecast as inept or evil” Menzies being gobsmacked that Rogue-haired Selene has has slipped out of her coat. Dun-dun-DUN!!!

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It was just Labourious Day, which meant my social life became unnaturally busy. I had my first Crystal Pepsi in decades, which if you’ve never had it either time it was on shelves, is just regular Pepsi wearing Sauron’s jewellery to taste 2% sweeter. My pals compelled me to play Bring Your Own Book, which carries a lower risk of paper cuts & spinal damage than Dodge Book. As one of my textual resources, I brought along The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose. It did not help me achieve victory. It may, however, work wonders for you. Let me know if any of its random quotations have bettered your life or at least your game score.

If you need a first edition of the out of print The Dolorous Adventure of Brother Banenose, I still have a limited amount available. All you need do is remit $15 cover price plus shipping. (Send me a message so we can tabulate exactly how much that’d be.) Since these will be coming directly from me, I’ll even throw in an autograph!

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