How could I be so forgetful? I’ve been talking about all sorts of classic movies and TV shows and I still haven’t mentioned one of the greatest team of heroes to come out of a comic book, known as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987-1996).
We all know the story. Four baby turtles from a pet shop accidentally get dropped into a sewer and onto some mysterious ooze that mutates them into teenage super turtles that walk and talk. Their “parent” is Splinter, a mutant rat who is also a martial arts master. He trains the turtles in ninjitsu and named them after famous artists.
Leonardo is the leadership figure of the group, Raphael is rebellious and witty, Donatello is the mechanical computer whiz, and Michaelangelo is the laid back surfer who originally made the phrase “cowabunga” famous. Their personalities make a great combination, but if it weren’t for their signature weapons and multi colored bandanas these quadruplets would be very hard to tell apart. Heck, I still can’t even tell the Olsen twins apart.
Special note: In the later seasons, Mikey trades his nuncukus for a grappling hook. I don’t understand why.
The turtles love pizza and will eat anything on it, like Pepperoni and ice cream to anchovies and peanut butter. They even put breakfast cereal on their pizza. Now that’s just nasty. I would prefer supreme with no sausage on mine.
April O’Neil is the turtles’ best friend and the first human they ever meet. As a reporter, April records their battles, which make great headlines. Unfortunately, she always ends up in life threatening situations, but the turtles are always there to the rescue.
Slowly, April’s coworkers Irma, Vernon, and her boss Burne Thompson meet the turtles also. Considering that most humans see them as monsters just because they’re mutants. The main disguises the turtles like to wear when going out in public is the Humphrey Bogart look from Casablanca.
The turtles’ arch nemesis is Oroku Saki a.k.a. the Shredder. “A kitchen utensil?” As it turns out, he’s the one responsible for the mutagen ooze that made the turtles and Splinter into what they have become. Shredder also has an army of Foot ninjas that turn out to be robots. At least the turtles don’t have to worry about killing their enemies. It still makes the battles exciting.
The Shredder isn’t alone. An evil alien brain from Dimension X named Krang provides him with advanced technology as well as a traveling fortress called the technodrome. I’ve read in a couple of reviews that Shredder and Krang argue as if they were a married couple. I never saw it that way. As far as I could tell, it’s merely a clash of egos.
The Shredder also creates two henchmutants, Rocksteady the rhinoceros and Bebop the warthog. They may be strong but not very bright. The battles with them are funny. Even with laser blasters, they are no match for the turtles.
Although the Turtles were trained to fight people, they still end up fighting robots. The Foot soldiers were only the beginning. There are also Roadkill Rodneys that snare their victims. “All right, buddy. You’re coming with us.” Not to mention the mousers, which are little rat catching machines invented by mad scientist Baxter Stockman, who later becomes a mutant fly. The mousers were only in one episode, but they were very popular in the video game franchise.
In later seasons, more mutants came along. Some of the most memorable to me include, Slash the evil turtle from Dimension X, Leatherhead the southern crocodile, and the punk frogs who were named after historical warlords; Attila, Genghus, Napoleon, and Rasputin.
Although the series went through quite a few changes over the years, like the more edgier bandanas in season eight, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are still legends in their own time. Isn’t it great?