Roundtable Discussion: Favorite Episode of TMNT Animated Series (Ever)
[Last week we asked you guys what your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes of all time were and you picked some awesome ones. This week, we decided to invite a few of our fellow blogging nostalgists to answer that very same question. Joining us are by MANNY GALAN from Cartoon Lagoon, JONATHAN ZELENAK from The Sewer Den and JASON GROSS from Rediscover the 80s... here's what they had to say!]
What’s your favorite episode of any TMNT Animated Series (Ever)?
THE RETURN OF THE TECHNODROME
MANNY GALAN: When I first heard there was going to be a TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES cartoon I was completely floored with excitement. I was reading the black and white comics by Eastman and Laird right from the third printing of the first issue [and] was a huge fan of the art and serious tone. When I finally saw the cartoon… well… I was quite pissed. Why weren’t they all wearing red masks? Why did they have their initials on their belts? Why did they all talk like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High? And why the obsession with Pizza? Where was the wanton bloodletting, high stakes and action I loved from the comics?
Trying to think back to what my favorite episode was hard as most of it has become nothing more than a melange of corny jokes, surfer talk and pizza parties but I did remember one episode in particular called THE RETURN OF THE TECHNODROME. First of all, it was written by Michael Reaves, who has written many of my favorite episodes of many cartoons including the excellent THE DRAGON’S GRAVEYARD for the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS animated series on NBC.
The story features the typical scenario of SHREDDER and KRANG are up to something, in this instance it’s bringing the TECHNODROME back to Earth to wreak havoc, and the Turtles are the only ones who can stop them. While it doesn’t greatly deviate from the typical tropes of a Turtles episode it does feature a lot of action, a plan to take over the Earth, and a memorable encounter between Splinter and the Shredder on a metal gantry far above an abyss that harkens back to Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in Empire. Sadly it doesn’t live up to the epic showdown you’d expect but it’s a memorable moment none the less.
All in all, I guess it’s a typical episode of the series that contains a little bit of every element of what I love about the Ninja Turtles and for that reason is the most memorable to me.
SHREDDER AND SPLINTERED
JONATHAN ZELENAK: Shredder & Splintered packs a wallop of Turtle Power. Not only is it a stellar episode on its own, but it also introduced many classic TMNT elements for the first time.
Kicking off with a nod to Frankenstein, Krang’s new Android Body is brought to life. The brain from Dimension X then multiplies in size – plowing through buildings and causing chaos with his new massive machine. The Godzilla-like destruction had me hopping on the couch in pure excitement as a kid. It was a blast watching the wrath of Krang, as he tore through the streets of a cartoon New York. I’m happy to report that the silly, yet entertaining, plot still holds up when revisiting as an adult.
The episode is also my favorite because of all the merchandise it produced. As a collector of all things cowabunga, “Shredder & Splintered” showcased many new gadgets that eventually became part of my cherished Turtle toys. The creation of Krang’s Android Body, the invention of the Turtle Blimp, and the gang’s new Turtle-shell communicators were a kid’s dream!
Capping off the perfection, is the iconic line, “Tonight I dine on Turtle soup.” Although Shredder uttered the phrase countless times throughout the series, it was in Shredder & Splintered where the magic began. Mayhem, merchandise, AND catchphrases?! Shredder & Splintered had it all and still takes the cake (eh, pizza pie?) as my favorite TMNT episode.
TEH CASE OF THE KILLER PIZZAS
JASON GROSS: First off, the original animated series is my favorite. I appreciate the legacy carried on by 4 Kids and now Nickelodeon, but the original series was my introduction to the Turtles. I chose “The Case of the Killer Pizzas” as it seems to contain everything about the show I remember as a kid. Dimension X (while not good for producing likeable teenagers) was always good for some mutated villains and in this case, meatball-like eggs that hatch into alien creatures.
Shredder comes up with a plan to dispose of the Turtles by appealing to their favorite food…pizza! Shredder and Baxter Stockman control the creatures once they hatch and then command them against the Turtles. Corny jokes and Michaelangelo-isms abound as the Turtles battle the large pizza-eating creatures and convert them back to their original form. I also liked that this episode uses the Turtle Blimp which for some reason I always enjoyed more than the van.