Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) - Cowabunga Shredhead

Lately I've been noticing that I've been sneaking a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles references into my other blog posts. So you know what? It's turtle time!

If you have no idea what this show is, then I feel nothing but immense pity for you.
I really can't really say much about this show as a whole that hasn't already been said by at least 500 other people. This show is one of those shows where, even if you haven't watched an episode of it, you know what it is. It remains one of the most popular animated television shows of all time. I personally don't think I've run into anyone over the age of 18 who hasn't heard of the turtles.

Also, well, there's a lot to cover about this show.
The average cartoon has 2 or 3 seasons, with around 26-50 episodes.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had 11 Seasons and 193 episodes.

To put this in perspective, think of all the merchandise Spongebob Squarepants has, and then double it. You still won't hit the amount of merchandise this show had. This show honest to god actually made pizza more popular. Dwell on that for a second. To say that this show was popular is an understatement and shames this cartoon. This thing was so humongogigantic in the early 80's that they haven't even invented a word as to how popular it was.

But it's not my job to be a ninja turtle historian. It's my job to digest one of their episodes and regurgitate it up in word form in a way that's at least slightly amusing.

The reason I went with this episode first as opposed to say, the first episode ever is that I've seen quite a few fans of this show, when they cover this show, conveniently only cover the major story arcs from Seasons 1 and 2 (and occasionally the Baxter Stockman arc that spans several seasons, but I'll hit on that later) and then just conveniently ignore the entire rest of the show like it's something that never happened. That apparently the show's best moments were when it was deep, thoughtful, serious, and all those other delightful metaphors usually applied to the 2003 TMNT series.

So because of this, instead of drama and intrigue, I'm going to show you an episode where a ninja covered in cheese graters is programmed by a laser beam to think that he's a giant mutant turtle with a verbal tic while other villains plan to kidnap the president with holograms. Behold how everyone in the 80's was on something in this glorious golden-plated trophy of an episode named...

Cowabunga Shredhead

Michaelangelo is holding Leonardo's weapons! Wait until the forums hear about this!
Airdate: November 13, 1989

Availability: On DVD

After the intro sends me back to a more glorious time filled with wonder and merriment (no, seriously, the intro is downright orgasmic) and promises me that the show I'm about to watch is action-packed and filled with masculine aggression, I am thoroughly disappointed that, instead of opening on ninja turtles fighting ninjas with blades attached to their shoulders, we open on a mutant rat eating sushi while his pupils stand around him in a circle and complain about how hungry they are. The action is really heating up!

I like how Splinter quietly ignores his mutated adopted children while they surround him and take turns whining about their pizza not being ready. Instead he chows down on pickled tofu, clearly not giving a crap, because there's only so much "Cowabunga!" someone can take in a single sitting before they start automatically tuning everything out.

"A little privacy, please?"
Apparently it's either lunch or dinner (it's hard to tell time when you're underground in a massive sewer system), and the ninja turtles are wondering why they're currently not setting an example for American children everywhere by stuffing their faces with greasy pizza slices. Since this is going to be our main conflict until Shredder shows up, we watch as the turtles freak out when they find the oven is devoid of Italian food. They don't get this theatrical when April O'Neil is captured, and yet god forbid someone take their pizzas.

That's a really clean oven for something that cooks fast food in the middle of a sewer.
But the answer is clear. The villain who ate all of their pizzas is one of their own. Why it's Michelangelo, aka the "partying" ninja turtle (in other words, the stoner). And even though Michelangelo is a ninja and therefore should know all about infiltration and concealing his identity to blend into his environment, he decides he's going to be an idiot and hide from his brothers by stuffing his mozzarella-filled reptilian body into some cupboards. As you might've guessed, they're like Naruto in that they're ninjas only by name.

"I wasn't smoking anything! I mean, what pizzas?"
Since this is apparently a regular occurrence (you'd think Michelangelo would know of a better hiding place by now), Splinter menacingly tells the orange-wearing turtle that, in order to rid their household of his marijuana-induced munchie attacks, he's going to apply Kung Pow to him. That 2002 martial arts movie spoof? No, it's is a fancy way of saying that the mutated rodent is going to use an ancient Japanese form of mind control. Oh, that Splinter. What ancient Japanese technique doesn't he know?

"Or we can just keep a better eye on your pizza eating, but that wouldn't make for a good plot."
Apparently this ancient form of mind control involves Splinter staring into Michelangelo's eyes, waving his hand like he's trying to fingerpaint in midair, and asking his victim (who is motionless in fright as this crazed rat performs his voodoo on him) to repeat the words "I crave pizza no more" over and over until it works. What, no mystical journeys into the center of Michelangelo's mind in a bid to rid him of his pizza cravings? No application of chi? That's it? I guess the simpler methods work best, but still, for something with the label "ancient Japanese hypnosis", it sure is disappointing.

And then Splinter wrecks his terrible hypnotic spell onto children everywhere, causing nationwide panic.
So, are we going to find out if it works? Nah, instead we're going to journey to the center of the Earth and check on the show's villains first. Really diehard fans of the show can easily tell what season an episode is just by where the Technodrome (aka the metallic igloo of death just chilling by that lava river) is located, because at the end of every Season finale, the Technodrome would end up in some brand new location. In Season 3, the Technodrome was not in Dimension X, but rather in the center of the Earth.

And no, there was never an episode where the sheer pressure and heat from the Earth's core killed everyone inside.

They could just, you know, use the earth's core to set up a plan of world domination instead of
always hitting the turtle-infested streets of New York.
Inside, we find America's favorite bickering married couple, Krang and Shredder. And, really, I don't have to tell you which one is which because you should know this. You can't have interest in cartoons and not know who these two are. There's a written law about this, right next to the law that says that the 90's are the best era for TV animation.

Instead of opening their scene with some stereotypical villain plotting, Krang (whose voice sounds off in this episode on account Pat Fraley was somehow not available) complains that Shredder really sucks at killing turtles while Shredder whines a classic of a line: "It's easy to criticize when I'm the one that's doing all the work!" I love it when Shredder whines like a little child, even though fans of more badass, awesome versions will disagree with me. Since this is my blog, I can tell you that they're wrong.

"Krang, for once, can't you wear pants? Your skintight underwear is giving me a migraine."
The blob of brains in a robotic version of Sloth from the Goonies just ignores his whiny little manchild of a minion and instead asks him if he has the disc. Oooh, sounds like something evil is afoot! You know, because Foot Clan and all that. Anyways, Shredder responds by pulling out some heavily outdated technology that instantly places this show in a certain time period and saying that soon they will use the turtle's shells as hubcaps. Man, Shredder's got taste, because turtle shell hubcaps would make any car a pimpin' ride.

"I can't wait to use this while I listen to my Kenny Loggins cassette mix tape and play with my Rubik's cube!"
Our favorite turtle-hating bad guy hops into one of those drill transport modules (which there were multiple toys of, including a "Road Ready Mutations" one where you make Shredder mutate into one) and it takes him to the surface. Where does he go? Why, an abandoned lab full of sophisticated, state-of-the-art computers and equipment they can use for mass evil, of course. Isn't it great that New York City has dozens of these warehouses just lying around?

Those boarded windows just scream "Use me, crazed supervillains! I'm loaded with plot-essential gadgets!"
But what makes this lab unique from the other abandoned laboratories is that, in this one, there's a mutant warthog and a mutant rhino dressed in pink aprons dusting and vacuuming the place so that it's free of dust. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Bebop and Rocksteady. Trust me when I say this, but normally they're a lot more manly than this, especially when they have to "smash the toitles" as they eloquently put it. They're just doing this humiliating task because Shredder likes to emasculate his thugs for funsies.

Maybe it's me, but I doubt a pig would make a very good housecleaner.
Since Shredder likes to be an asshole, he decides to direct the transport module through the floor (by the way, how does New York City just not detect an underground vehicle plowing through all of their pipes, wires, and sewer systems?) and then yell at his mutated minions for not cleaning the place like he told them to. Ohohoho, classic 80's animated comedy. What makes this funny instead of merely cliche is that Shredder, before he exits the module, dusts himself off in a very casual way before he makes with the insults.

That, and he's Uncle Phil. Uncle Phil makes anything funnier.

I miss villains like this.
After that nonsense, Shredder yells at them to take position at the holographic synthesizer, aka the scientific machine of evil Shredder will be using this week. Once Bebop and Rocksteady dramatically strip their aprons off their bodies, they make their way towards a strangely-shaped Plot Device-O-Matic. The lazy ninja then makes them power the machines themselves by standing back and barking out commands like a retired gym teacher. "Power on!" and "Insert this disc!" he yells, making them rush their work on what looks to be a delicate piece of machinery. Sounds like someone would be crappy at tech support.

"Hurry up, you two! I want to be able to access the Internet!"
Once a giant rhino shoves a floppy disc into an outdated machine (I love cartoons), Michelangelo's face pops up on the screen. Oh, I get it, because just earlier, Michaelangelo was the focus of a previous scene. I see how it is now. This is clearly a Mikey episode, which means we're going to hear a lot of bodacious and cowabunga and righteous. People allergic to surfer lingo should probably switch to a different blog post, by the way. Tubular.

"Next time, I'm picking out the screensaver!"
Finally, Shredder's dark and evil plan is revealed. With a floppy disc containing all the physical data and personality of Michelangelo (apparently Michelangelo fits perfectly on a 720 KB floppy, meaning my blog takes up more bytes than his entire personality), Shredder will create a hologram so lifelike and so like the real Michelangelo that he will be able to infiltrate the turtles' lair and use a hologram to kill the other three. No word on what the hologram would do if Mikey happened to be in the same room.

Let's make this clear. Shredder is going to send a hologram, something that isn't solid at all (they even demonstrate this when Bebop and Rocksteady go and attack it), to kill the turtles. Even if does look, act, and think like Michelangelo, it's still not going to be solid, leading to some very awkward conversations like "So, Michelangelo, how were you able to completely phase through a solid brick wall?" Plus Splinter's got that whole "sensing other people's auras" thing going on and I'm sure that he'd notice if one of his pupils just suddenly lost all vitality readings.

In short, this plan really sucks, but don't worry, something will happen that's even better than a floating Mikey that glows blue.

Oh yeah. The other turtles wouldn't suspect a thing.
In this case, this plan happens to get ruined because Shredder removes the disc, says that this disc contains everything they know about Michaelangelo, and then orders Bebop to put it back in gently. Yeah, not sure why he did that either when it's been previously verified that, yes, this is a disc with Mikey's personality.

Unfortunately for Shredder, we're dealing with classic screw-up minions who always crap up any evil scheme they get their hands on and this is no exception. Bebop decides he's going to do things his own way by cramming the floppy disc in backwards while tempting fate by saying "So what could happen?". Bebop, if someone ends up dead within the next ten seconds, their blood is on your hands.

"Have you tried holding Control, Alt, Delete?"
"You cretins, you're supposed to hold the power button and let it restart on its own!"
Sure enough, the moment someone wonders what could happen, something does happen. In this case, the machine literally fills the room with lasers even though that would seem like a lethal design flaw for such an easy mistake to make. Hologram machines are dangerous, man.

Oh, and guess who gets hit in the face with a concentrated beam of Michelangelo? I'll give you a hint. It's the person in the room who should really know better than to ask Bebop and Rocksteady to do the important stuff.

And once again, Shredder's face mask proves to be utterly useless.
So yeah, Shredder just got hit with a hologram machine and had every aspect of Michelangelo's bodacious tubuoso personality beamed into his brain, which leaves him understandably dazed and disorientated. He then wanders out of the room while Bebop and Rocksteady just kind of stand there and watch him go instead, oh I don't know, helping. I love how they just have no concern over the fact that their boss just got hit in the face with a laser beam the size of his head. I guess they figure it's karma after making them wear those aprons.

"Boy, the boss sure looked hurt. Should we help him?"
"Nah, let's just kneel here instead."
Back at turtle manor, it turns out the cartoon decided to randomly switch art styles for absolutely no reason! Man, that Kung Pow is some powerful stuff. It's even affecting how everyone's expressions, turning them into more cartoony, fluid renditions as opposed to the tighter but stiffer realism they've been going for in, oh, every single other episode in this series.

It's like if TMNT and Tiny Toons Adventures fused together. It's really surreal.
But yeah, the Kung Pow did the trick, because now Michelangelo dreads the thought of eating pizza because he "craves pizza no more". I can't help but find this a little sad, considering that loving pizza was one of Mikey's biggest personality traits. I guess tomorrow Splinter's going to Kung Pow his surfer lingo and party-loving attitude right out of his system too, rendering him into an emotionless, thoughtless shell of the man he once was. Get it? Shell? On account they're turtles.

"With you out of the picture, soon I will be America's favorite ninja turtle!"
But, just when you thought things couldn't get any stranger, a truly magical show-defining miracle of a moment happens, one that will linger in the memories of every TMNT fan until the end of time. Witness the glory and majesty that is pizza-loving, laid-back surferdude Shredder and his appetite for righteousness. You'll see in a moment why this episode is one of my personal favorites.  

This is truly the best thing the 80's have ever created.
Yes, my friends. Shredder now thinks he's Michelangelo and it's about as awesome and as mind-blowing as you would expect. He doesn't so much walk into the lair as he does strut in with his purchased pizzas, overexaggerating Michelangelo's personality so that he becomes the ninja equivalent of a stoned rocking teenager who loves circular food. If it was physically possible, I would tattoo this scene to my back and have Michelangelo-Shredder adorn my spinal column. It deserves to be immortalized. 

And wait, how was Shredder able to buy those pizzas if he's a wanted criminal? He's made threats on national television before; there's no excuse for that pizzaman to not know who he is.

"Hey guys, guess who got laid by April O'Neil last night?"
Since, you know, their arch-nemesis just walked into the lair acting like everything's totally cool, the turtles suspect that something is amiss. What do they do? They...stand there, look angry, point, and go "It's Shredder!". This causes Michelshreddelo (Shredderangelo? Mikker? Shreddy?) to freak out and take out all of the turtles with flying pizzas, but really, not once do the turtles unsheathe their weapons and try to fight him. So...basically in the event that the Foot Clan ever found the turtles' hideout, they'd be boned. Good to know.

When Shredder realizes just how stupid the idea of "teenage mutant ninja turtles"
is, he goes mad from the revelation.
Luckily, Splinter is able to easily figure out that Shredder must be broken on account he's not peppering his dialogue with "blasted turtles!" and "cretins!" and decides he's going to mess with him, just like any hero would. Time for that Kung Pow to work its magic again. Man, that technique can do anything. I bet it cures cancer and gives your silverware a showroom shine too.

In this case, Splinter is able to show the turtles that Shredder came here because he wants to, in his words, "consume mondo portions of pizza". I have to quote this line because hearing Uncle Phil say this is astounding.They need to make a Domino's commercial where Shredder turns to the camera and tells America to consume mondo portions of pizza at low, low prices. I guarantee it will be a hit.

And, since Kung Pow is a miracle worker, Splinter is able to program the tin can into switching between two personalities at will just by saying the correct name. If he says Shredder, he turns into a reptile-hating powerhouse bent on world domination, but if he says the name of a Renaissance artist known for sculpting nude males, Shredder mellows out and lets the winds guide him on his primo journey to the middle of a grease-covered snack.

If I were a ninja turtle, I'd totally take advantage of this hypnotic suggestion by shouting "Shredder! Michelangelo! Shredder! Michelangelo!" over and over until Shredder's brains leaked out of his ears.

And why didn't this fancy light show occur earlier with Michelangelo...?
Ratso warns the other turtles not to say the word "Shredder" because that will change him back, and that would be disastrous. Not sure why they're worried about this, on account they currently outnumber him and they regularly hand Shredder's ass to him on a weekly basis every Saturday morning. Come on, Splinter, he's a joke.

"He slices, he dices, and he's decorative too! Starting bid's at 50! Do I hear 50?"
Randomly, Michelangelo decides that he's going to play the broody, sulking game (isn't that Raphael's gig?) and go off on his own. I don't know, it's just hard to take his feelings of anxiety and anger of mistaken identity seriously when he's saying that he's going to "take a spin through the sewers" (ie, he's going to find a safe spot to smoke some hash) on a weird skateboard with a fan attached to it. That, and he's freaking Michelangelo someone that appeared in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue. That instantly ruins all of his credibility.

Unfortunately, the fates do not smile well on pizza-scarfing monstrosities, because when Mikey tries to have a serious scene to himself, Shredder totally ruins it by getting on his skateboard and shouting "I hunger for cowabunga!". Yeah, how does it feel hearing that, Mikey? That's what we go through every time you show up in a TMNT episode. I hope you're learning your lesson, because this is what happens when you torture young children with "tubuloso fantabulous" in every episode.

"Wow, I'm annoying and gimmicky! That righteously bums me out, dudes."
Mikey hates staring into his own reflection, so when the leader of the Foot Clan wants to be buddies with his exact duplicate (yeah, how does Shredder not notice the other Michelangelo when he's in Michelangelo mode?), the deformed reptile shoves Shredder off the board, which causes the hologram disc to fall out of his pocket.

Or, at least, it was supposed to fall out of his pocket, but the way the animators drew it, it looks more like Shredder crapped it out. Geez, Shredder, eat more fiber if this is a reoccurring problem because that can't be good for your colon.

The turtles just stare in awe as Shredder performs miraculous feats with his butt.
While the other three freaks of nature inspect the disc, Michelangelo storms out of the sewers in a huff because he hates it when someone takes his party-loving, catchphrase-spewing job. Splinter says that the disc may be the clue that they're searching for (no, really?) while Mikey decides to drown his sorrows with a good pizza topped in hemp. But there's just one problem; he craves pizza no more! That's...actually really depressing. Mikey's extremely sad, he's trying to eat some comfort food, but thanks to Splinter's cruel hypnosis, even that doesn't bring him satisfaction. Now his life is hollow and he's pursuing an empty dream.

Course, what sorrow I do feel for the turtle is instantly transformed into unadulterated horror the moment I see what Mikey uses as a human disguise. I thought disguises were supposed to make you blend in, not make the people who see you want to pee their pants and then call an exorcist. It's like I'm staring into the lifeless eyes of the ghost of Elmer Fudd.

Oh yeah. No one's going to question a bald guy with green hands and a trenchcoat.
But oh no, Bebop and Rocksteady spotted Mikey, because they were just waiting in the alleyway of that pizza store! Why? Because they were looking for Shredder even though they were the ones that let him just wander out of the building in the first place. Uh, yeah, several things wrong with that, but the cartoon is going to cut to commercial break before letting us dwell too long on this logical fallacy.

It's the War Pigs that Black Sabbath warned us about!
When the cartoon fades back in, we find the tacky turtle van driving to the iconic Channel 6 building while a voiceover of Leonardo (who wears blue, and I find it depressing that their names aren't common knowledge) says "It's a good thing April was working late!". I love how absolutely blunt that was. Yeah, it's a good thing plot-important characters are conveniently available when you need them, and it's a good thing the powerful computer equipment at the television station hasn't been locked up yet on account of overtime!

It's also a good thing New York has absolutely no traffic and doesn't care about strange, turtle-shaped vans!
The turtles all burst into where April O'Neil's working without so much as a knock, probably because they're just as aware as the rest of us that she's only in this episode to be a plot device with a tight yellow raincoat and giant boobs. She asks what the turtles are doing here, which causes Shredder (who followed them because hey, he thinks he's Michelangelo) to remove his mask of horrors from his face and demonstrate to April the reason why he's been kidnapping her for over seven seasons by shouting "Hey babe! What's going down in this here town!" while gesturing to his crotch. Ninjas are smooth when it comes to the ladies and Shredder is no exception.

The fact that he's wearing a flasher's trenchcoat makes this so much worse.
April is frightened at first, but she's instantly calmed down the moment a turtle tells her that "he'll explain later". Yeah, suuure, you will, Leonardo. I'm sure right after this debacle is over, you'll tell her "Oh, by the way, Shredder just walked into our turtle lair thinking he was Michelangelo until Master Splinter hypnotized him", right as she contemplates just how weird life in New York is.

Anyways, April decides that she's probably just having some sleep-deprived hallucinations so she does everything the turtles tell her to do. That or she's bored. Either way she places the graphics disc in, they find the electric ghost of Michelangelo, and Donatello (the purple-wearing one) just instantly knows what the computer is spitting out no matter what it is. I like how the moment a computer shows a Michelangelo head, he's able to decipher that it's a hologram program meant to double as a clone. Oh, that Donatello and his ability to be a deux ex machina when the plot calls for it.

Way to browse Google Images without the SafeSearch on, guys.
The program causes the computer to overheat and explode, which doesn't worry April at all even though she just destroyed valuable company property. I bet she's not going to pay for it too and tell Burne that "she found it like that". And, just because the shellbacks like to make sure April leaves this episode without a job, Shredder gets so angry at the notion that someone would dare make a clone of his bodacious bod that he punches a table in half. Because, yeah, property damage is awesome!

"Furniture makes me so angry!"
Since this program involves Michelangelo, the other mutants deduce that that means that Mikey is in trouble and ask Shredder where the annoying surferturtle would go to sulk. Shredder answers Vinnie's Pizza, which leaves me to wonder why none of the reptiles were able to figure this out themselves. Uh guys, he did eat four whole pizzas in the opening alone. Of course he'd go to a pizza shop. This isn't hard to figure out!

So where do the turtles get the money to pay for the pizzas...?
But at Vinnie's Pizza, a tragedy is taking place. What's this tragedy? Well, Bebop and Rocksteady fight Michelangelo...and they win.

Yes, my friends, the two bumbling idiots who are iconic for always messing things up and never getting anything right actually, through a series of contrived coincidences, get the drop on a ninja turtle and capture him on account Mikey was stupid enough to leave his weapons behind. Michelangelo must be feeling mighty embarrassed right about now because you have to really be full of fail in order to lose to freaking Bebop and Rocksteady.

"I sure hope the other dudes don't catch wind of this..."
The other ninja turtles finally reach the pizza place and come back to a war zone of cracked walls and laser-nuked floors. Since Tweedledee and Tweedledum were smart enough to keep firing their laser weapons while they were blinded by a soft drink (they're stupid like that), the place looks like the end result of a driveby gang shooting. By the way, even though a giant mutant warthog and a giant mutant rhino are lugging a heavy pot with a trapped mutant ninja turtle inside, something this escapes detection from all the many devices built into the turtle van. Why to not help, Donatello.

The fact that Michelangelo has been captured by the bad guys is quickly forgotten the moment we see Shredder eating pizza, though. Now, since this is TMNT, a character eating pizza really shouldn't be notable, but when Shredder does it, he has to remove his iconic face mask. Seeing Shredder's face is a very rare treat that only happens a handful of times in the entire series, and it becomes even better when you see him stuffing his face with greasy American food. If I would, I'd have this scene framed on my wall next to my high school diploma.

Krang likes to use this photo as blackmail.
At the pizza-making kitchen, we see all kinds of gadgets for making flat disc-shaped food. Apparently the mere act of making a pizza is some sort of strange alien procedure that needs complex machinery because inside the pizzeria, there's a robotic contraption that has things like a cheese shredder and a cow udder attached to it. Whatever happened to just making the stupid pizzas by hand? Not rocket science here.

Oh yeah, a conveyer belt leading to a massive human-sized oven! There's no way this could go wrong!
And, since this has to happen somehow, Shredder temporarily turns back to normal. How does this happen? Well, Shredder found a cheese shredder and said the word "Shredder", changing back to Shredder. Try saying that five times fast. Also wait, how is it possible for the person under hypnosis to trigger the personality switch themselves? Way to overlook that kind of design flaw, Splinter. 

But this is forgiven because our grater-covered villain makes this face when his brain is reprogrammed to Shredder mode. I can't really say anything else about this face, because it really speaks for itself.

Shredder's face after he saw TMNT III.
Our loveable villain manages to take the turtles by surprise and he shows that he's capable of irony by attempting to kill the turtles by turning them into a pizza. Oh, the ultimate cruelty, to become what they always eat. Shakespeare wouldn't have been able to write anything half as poetic as the scene taking place in front of me.

Also, what a waste of dough. I sure hope Shredder was planning to eat that horrifying turtle pizza later.

So, would eating a ninja turtle count as cannibalism since they're half-human, or is it totally kosher?
But instead of making sure his trap actually works, he abandons his captured foes and just walks back to his lair (how far is the pizza place compared to that abandoned lab?), where Bebop and Rocksteady are dancing around their captured turtle and singing "We got us a toitle!". It's nice to know that Shredder only hires the most mature thugs in order to make up his legions of evil.

"We Got Us A Toitle" reached the top position of the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1989
and became Bebop and Rocksteady's most well-remembered hit.
Shredder is pleased that his mutated wastes of oxygen actually managed to do something other than mess up all of his plans, but this happiness doesn't last long, because instantly afterwards, Krang has to call him up and start scolding him like a nagging wife of a marriage where all the love and romance had crumbled up years ago. No seriously, listen to the dialogue. Krang even asks Shredder where he's been like Krang's worried about his husband's infidelity, causing Shredder to look embarrassed and randomly pull an excuse out of thin air. Wow, that's actually pretty suspicious-looking, Shredder.

"Don't ignore me, Shredder! I know you were with that April chick!"
After that little bout of martial bickering occurs, Krang tells them that they can proceed to Phase Two. What's Phase Two? Luckily, one jump cut later, and we see Donatello finding out what Phase Two is right at that very moment, and it involves...The President of the United States!

No, I didn't just make this up to sound silly. This is really what the Master Plan involves. Presidents and holograms. I can see why this show is considered a beacon of fantastic writing. Also, I like how the President of the United States looks like a direct composite of every single president the country has had since the 1960's wrapped up in a package of smug, condescending jerk.

"Yeah, I'm totally President of the United States. I bet you're jealous!"
So yeah, the moment we hear the master plan from Donatello, the cartoon has to show Krang telling us the master plan yet again. Because apparently we won't get it until we hear the Master Plan in full detail at least twice, just like anything that happens on Teletubbies. With Krang using a hologram machine, he's going to disguise himself as the President of the United States (after killing the real one of course, but the cartoon doesn't say this out loud) and will take command of the most powerful government on Earth. Never is it explained what Krang will do once his four-year term is up. Would he try to get reelected or would he just build a hologram of the one who wins the election?

Oh, and Shredder gets to be vice president, leaving Shredder to say out loud that vice presidency is "only a heartbeat away" from being the president. Oh, that wacky, conspiring Shredder and his plans to kill Krang behind his back once they gain total world power.

To be fair, what vice president doesn't think this?
But, since Krang never makes any backups for his floppy discs of important mass evil (meaning that I have more foresight than an alien ruler), we find out that that disc that Shredder crapped out earlier in the turtle lair was the only hologram data they have and now he has to go run back to the pizza place and retrieve the disc from the turtles before they're baked into a pie. Sure enough, one short jog later, and he's demanding the pizza-entombed monsters to give him his valuable piece of machinery while pointing a gun at their heads.

By the way, I like how the only times Shredder points a gun at the turtles is when he's threatening them and not when he's actually fighting them. But no, apparently attacking them with a pizza and putting them on a slow conveyer belt makes way more sense than shooting them and being rid of their scaly hides forever.

"And after you hand me the disc, hand over your wallets too. And don't lie, I know you
have money on you. I've seen the amount of pizzas you order every week!"
But unfortunately for Shredder, he still happens to have a Michelangelo hologram still lodged into his brain (what am I watching), so the turtles take advantage of their spike-covered foe being in earshot by turning him back into an annoying surfer dude. The weird eye beams they animate whenever Shredder switches back and forth never cease to amuse me, by the way. I wonder if the turtles ever get disturbed by Shredder's sudden ability to choose red lights out of his eyes.

"I suddenly have the inexplicable urge to shop at Target..."
Now that Shredder is back to being a turtle in mind, he destroys their cheesy prison and then, while the other three turtles engage in some exposition, just kind of stands there and casually eats a giant glob of raw pizza dough like it's a totally normal thing to do. This episode just keeps on firing moment after moment of pure awesome at the screen.

This man apparently murdered people in the Mirage comics. Go figure.
Back at Channel 6, the turtles discuss their plan to destroy the advanced holographic synthesizer and free the American people of a future ruled by a giant talking brain with tentacles. Of course Donatello is able to reprogram the graphics disc because, since the theme song says he "does machines", he's able to perform godly feats of engineering with all things mechanical. Where would this show be without him just magically fixing every plot device that heads his way?

Oh, and at the TV station, Shredder once again gets fresh with April O'Neil. It's a good thing those reptiles are present or else those two would get their freak on right then and there and leave horrifying stains for Irma to clean up in the morning.

"So, April, how's about you and I go see a movie sometime?"
Since the plot has decided it wants to emulate a boomerang by constantly switching back and forth between locations, the turtles decide that they need to get information from Shredder by once again driving to the pizza place (whatever happened to the owner of that pizza place anyways?), building a pizza on top of the two trapped turtles, and pretending that absolutely no time elapsed so that Shredder doesn't suspect a thing.

Just so we're clear, Shredder alone has been to Channel 6, Vinnie's Pizza, Evil Lair, Vinnie's Pizza, Channel 6, and Vinnie's Pizza is just a short span of time. This is how much they keep revisiting locations. They should be thankful that they're in a time where gas prices are really reasonable, because I'm positive that Turtle Van doesn't get decent mileage.

"Oh, Leonardo, you're so sexy with that pizza on!"
So yeah, Shredder is switched back, the turtles hand the booby-trapped disc to some robotic arms because they're jerks, they burst out of the pizza, and make a break for it. And if you're managing to follow this plot without being absolutely confused, then I have nothing but pure respect for you because you're a better person than I am.

But then, Shredder does something completely badass and unexpected. In order to get the disc back, he actually takes out his gun and shoots the robots instead of engaging in any more slapstick. Okay, Shredder, so you've proven that you can fire it. Why didn't you use it on the turtles!?

The Pizza Hut I go to doesn't have giant mechanical hands like this. I feel a bit ripped off.
Shredder runs to his hideout, not at all suspecting that the three turtles are following him. Geez, for a ninja, he sure isn't very aware of his surroundings, because I can't explain how he wasn't able to notice giant green monsters tailing his every move. The turtles actually demonstrate some ninja skills by hiding, and they watch as Shredder falls right into their trap. What is their trap? Michelangelos. Thousands upon thousands of dancing Michelangelo holograms that stand there and form a circle of gyrating turtle flesh.

...that's it? Wow, that's a really stupid trap, Donatello. I've seen a lot better from you, like that time that you somehow managed to reprogram a gravity machine so that you could push the entire Earth through space. Macguyver a heat ray program or something. That'll teach them!

That's a lethal dose of Cowabunga right there.
But luckily, stupid traps happen to trick stupid people, and Bebop and Rocksteady are as stupid as they come. The moment they see the room fill with dancing green targets, they start firing away with their weapons and start destroying the holographic synthesizer. You know, even though they know they're holograms and Shredder is ordering them to stop. Good ol' predictable idiots.

See, Shredder? Even the turtles are aware that your minions are retards and made an entire trap that utilized their stupidity as a weapon against your villainous scheme. You should probably do what any other person would do and sack them. Preferably after you executed them to set an example for future minions.

"Why did I bring you two again?"
This plan alone would've worked, and Bebop and Rocksteady would've completely wasted all of the equipment, wrapping up this story quite nicely. But no, the turtles decided that they wanted to do things the hard way by jumping down from the rafter they were hiding out on and revealing their locations to the enemy, which causes Shredder to create a force field and trap them. Like a lot of fight sequences in TMNT, it's like watching a game of which side can make the dumbest mistakes.

"He's surrounding us in an outdated glow effect!"
Kung Pow manages to save the day though, because the turtles have one more ace up their sleeve. With a quick shout of "Michelangelo", Shredder becomes a tubular force of turtle-induced fury and destroys his precious machine himself while Bebop and Rocksteady just stand back and stare at him, wondering what the hell is going on. He even shouts "Turtle power!", because Shredder is awesome. You can't question the evidence.

"Eat laser, sophisticated technology!"
However, Shredder can't remain dangerously schizophrenic forever, so destroying the machine somehow makes it shoot a laser beam at his head that corrects all the damage inflicted to his cranium. They don't explain how it removes the Michelangelo data from his brain; it just hits him and we automatically assume that Shredder's back to normal. How nice of the show to conveniently tie up all the loose ends like that.

Wouldn't it be funny if it just loaded Shredder with even more Michelangelo data, causing his brain to explode?
So now Shredder is all better again, but when he comes out of his daze, Bebop and Rocksteady suddenly decide that Shredder is really a turtle in disguise and they then start sexually molesting him in an attempt to remove his disguise. No really, look at these screens and tell me otherwise.

TMNT: Responsible for over 20 different Internet fetishes.
The Holographic Synthesizer of course explodes and takes the entire abandoned building and millions of dollars worth of unused scientific equipment with it, the villains all flee to the Technodrome with the notion that Bebop and Rocksteady are going to peel Shredder's "disguise" off of him (ie, they're going to flay him alive. Comedy!), and overall the day seems to be saved and the plot seems to be all wrapped up.

But oh no, what about Michelangelo's love for pizza?

"Master Splinter, Michelangelo turned into a terrifying zombie again!"
Luckily, as the animation drops to astronomical lows (no, seriously, look at these screens), Splinter frees Michelangelo from his spell while the rest of the cast observe this while sitting there in frozen poses, literally nothing moving but Raphael's lips. So what, that one scene with Shredder bringing the pizzas can almost get near Warner Bros. level of animation and yet they can't even spare any eyelid animation here?

"Oh very funny, Master Splinter, putting muscle tranquilizers into our pizzas."
Michelangelo, getting his pizza craving returned to him, then starts deepthroating pizza slice after pizza slice (maybe if you actually chewed your food, you'd taste your pizzas and eat less, Mikey) while the other turtles deform before his very eyes. I guess an ending where none of the heroes learned their lesson is our happy ending.

Oh geez, look at Raphael and Donatello.
Hahahaha, it's funny because Mikey is a glutton and will have horrible physical health down the road due to his very poor eating habits! All that grease might even give him a heart-attack! How silly!

The Moral of this Cartoon
Hypnosis is a fun thing to use and should be used to take advantage of people around you. Know someone with an undesirable character trait? Kung Pow it right out of them! Want to mess with someone you hate? Kung Pow!

Kung Pow; truly Japan's greatest invention.

Final Verdict
Yeah, okay, despite its craziness, I actually really like this show. What else is there to say about a classic cartoon, really?

There is a reason why this show became extremely popular and is still fondly remembered to this day, and that's because everything about it manages to be both crazy and loveable. The bad guys are fun to watch and have this weird little sitcom going on, the turtles manage to have different personalities, and the damsel in distress is really likeable in her own way. It's crazy, but there's a nice level that makes it fun to watch.

And this episode is probably the quintessential example of everything this show stood for. It's crazy, it's stupid, it's goofy, and the plot makes absolutely no sense, but because it has lots and lots of Shredder doing really strange things, it instantly becomes a classic. It's basically the animated version of crack. Nothing makes sense but man does it give you a buzz.

Yes the animation isn't 90's smooth, and there are times when it's obviously a moving mouth on a still frame, but this is still a classic. Definitely a must see if you want to study one of the most influential TV animations of all time.

And personally, I would say this episode is in my Top Ten or even my Top Five favorite episodes of this show just for the scenes with Michelangelo-Shredder. It's just impossible to hate Shredder when he's shouting about how much he hungers for cowabunga or while he's eating a glob of raw pizza.