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Old 02-06-2020, 03:18 PM   #1
FredWolfLeonardo
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How seriously should the 1987 tmnt cartoon be taken, if at all?

Discuss.

I believe the 1987 turtles cartoon deserves to be taken seriously as an action cartoon because while those turtles are often in a campy and comedic universe, they are often worried about not making it out alive and take many threats pretty seriously (many of said threats are legitimately dangerous to either them or the world as a whole).

Plus, the self awareness of the turtles never goes to a point where they know they are going to win in the end regardless of whatever happens.

The closest example of the show exhibiting extreme self awareness in regards to the turtles always winning in the end that I can think of is the use of "Woo Wee" in the season 6 opener, "Rock around the Block", in which the turtles simply defeat Shredder and Krang by doing nothing and letting Bebop and Rocksteady foil them through their own stupidity.

Even in that example though, I think it could be argued that the turtles simply decided not to waste any more energy because there was nothing else they could do , and as far as they were concerned, the turtles still didn't know whether they were actually going to win that time.

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Old 02-06-2020, 03:25 PM   #2
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The show is basically like Futurama or Star Trek for kids, it's both a serious series and not serious at the same time.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:29 PM   #3
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Pretty much agree with what you said.

Is the show goofy, sure, but it's done in the way that's genuine... like they're typically taking it seriously the larger majority of the time, even if some aspects of a situation are comedic while not usually doing it to be comedic. If that makes any sense. Hard to explain. Like a more natural type of comedy vs the rather forced comedy of a lot of cartoons today.

edit: Like these Turtles could throw a pie that was on hand at someone as a defense, not to be funny themselves, but the cartoon still expects that to be a funny thing.

So... Turtles serious, but cartoon not?


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The show is basically like Futurama or Star Trek for kids, it's both a serious series and not serious at the same time.
Pretty good comparison, I agree.

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Old 02-06-2020, 03:57 PM   #4
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I think it should be taken as serious as shredder the musical with Vernon Fenwick as oroku saki singing springtime for shredder and the foot clan with robot foot soldiers as the back up dancers with a giant cardboard cutout of the technodrome as the backdrop.

what I mean is this could have been an episode and that's what made it enjoyable to me and it knows it didn't have to be taken to seriously other than every once in a while having a moral about honor or fighting for whats right in a world where their rejected for being different.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:40 PM   #5
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Just ordinary action–comedy genre that was popular at the time
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:09 PM   #6
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The original cartoon is definitely not meant to be taken too seriously. I mean, maybe the red sky seasons are. But the bulk of the series (seasons 1-7) is best to just watch and enjoy. If you take the show for what it was, and don't over analyze it, it can still be a very entertaining cartoon, even all these years later. In my opinion, more entertaining than anything Nickelodeon has done with the franchise.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndigoErth View Post
Pretty much agree with what you said.

Is the show goofy, sure, but it's done in the way that's genuine... like they're typically taking it seriously the larger majority of the time, even if some aspects of a situation are comedic while not usually doing it to be comedic. If that makes any sense. Hard to explain. Like a more natural type of comedy vs the rather forced comedy of a lot of cartoons today.

edit: Like these Turtles could throw a pie that was on hand at someone as a defense, not to be funny themselves, but the cartoon still expects that to be a funny thing.

So... Turtles serious, but cartoon not?


Pretty good comparison, I agree.

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Old 02-06-2020, 09:58 PM   #8
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As serious as the 1966 Batman TV series.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:05 PM   #9
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But the bulk of the series (seasons 1-7) is best to just watch and enjoy.
You can enjoy the first 7 seven seasons while taking them seriously at the same time.

Agree with your other points though.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:10 AM   #10
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It depends on the episode, I guess. There are some where people suffer really gruesome fates, like Mutagen Man or Baxter Stockman. Those are kind of nightmare fuel.
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Old 02-07-2020, 02:23 AM   #11
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I totally agree with OP and Indigoerth. The storylines are serious and the characters took them seriously.

There’s humor thrown in because well some stuff is funny and it’s a cartoon, but it was in no way the dumbed down nonsense that some make it out to be.

Now people pick out certain things for jokes but that’s not at all what the cartoon was like.
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Old 02-07-2020, 03:50 AM   #12
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The years when the Original Cartoon peaked in popularity (1989–1991), the number of parents complaining over too much violence also peaked. So that's why Seasons 3–5 (totally spanning over 108 episodes) mostly gave us comedy scenes instead, and the violence was toned down.

However, writers, producers and voice actors took some advantage of it, and instead built up a great dynamic in the characters interacting with each others. (Turtle Lair, Channel 6 and Technodrome)
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Because of continuity and timeline errors, I've given up writing fanfiction based on the 1987-1996 animated television series. Instead, I'm trying to reboot the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story, something many other fanfiction writers already do:

Hopefully, stories will later appear at

http://www.fanfiction.net/u/968367/O...NT-Cartoon-Fan
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:31 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Original TMNT Cartoon Fan View Post
Just ordinary action–comedy genre that was popular at the time
This sentence pretty much defines it.

I think it makes so much sense to those of us who where there - "the 80's vibe". It was a lifestyle that permeated everything back then. There's a.... thing... about the 80's, the generation, the pop culture, the vibe that might never happen again. Yet I also think it's also hard for those of us that were there to understand that those who were not there need to sort of discuss it and chew it up a bit to understand it.

I think it's like that for all things, though.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:55 AM   #14
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It’s actually pretty funny how many episodes deal with explosions, bombs, death traps, various elements of world destruction, etc. but since the show was written as a comedy for kids it kind of doesn’t feel as violent as the situations would really be.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by CyberCubed View Post
It’s actually pretty funny how many episodes deal with explosions, bombs, death traps, various elements of world destruction, etc. but since the show was written as a comedy for kids it kind of doesn’t feel as violent as the situations would really be.
The themes you mention reminded me of GI Joe ARAH - some of the themes in that show were nutso for kids. Yet every single time a plane blew up people were parachuting to safety even amidst full scale air and ground wars around them! Until that one time that Serpentor threw a snake through Duke's heart. There was that.
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Old 02-07-2020, 10:06 AM   #16
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Just wanted to add that as goofy as it is and as harmless as it is as a cartoon, there's plenty of moments that can be taken seriously in the eps alongside the comedic stuff.

One of the greatest, and maybe "darkest" (or just "dim"?), in my mind is when Leo lopped off the heads of Herman the Horrible.

Just finished up a slow re-watch of the series recently, and that moment still stood out and always kind of surprises me. At that point in the ep it may already be known that Herman is just a robot and is already laying broken apart on the ground, but that actually comes across as a pretty brutal move for this cartoon since the two heads of Herman are still speaking to people like a living thing. And here comes Leo just "Nope!" and cuts them clean off.

Killing robots may be common for the Turtles as a way of getting to "kill" things that aren't people and get past the censors, but this is probably one of the only cases where the robot does not actually seem robotic and is portrayed like a living thing. Pushed the envelope a little bit for its time.


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It’s actually pretty funny how many episodes deal with explosions, bombs, death traps, various elements of world destruction, etc. but since the show was written as a comedy for kids it kind of doesn’t feel as violent as the situations would really be.
I've always loved how easily things can blow up, including things that should not even happen to.

One of my fave weird explosion gifs I have of this series is exploding... toast. Two piece impact and erupt into a ball of fire midair.

I mean technically that makes it a violent attack against Raph, the target of the now "alive" toaster, but it's still funny because toast.

edit: Ohh, yay, found it.


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Old 02-07-2020, 11:25 AM   #17
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The themes you mention reminded me of GI Joe ARAH - some of the themes in that show were nutso for kids. Yet every single time a plane blew up people were parachuting to safety even amidst full scale air and ground wars around them! Until that one time that Serpentor threw a snake through Duke's heart. There was that.
A similair cartoon was Bucky O'Hare (I've seen all 13 episodes, and really enjoyed watching it). However, each time a spacecraft was hit, those inside left in their escape pods.
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Because of continuity and timeline errors, I've given up writing fanfiction based on the 1987-1996 animated television series. Instead, I'm trying to reboot the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story, something many other fanfiction writers already do:

Hopefully, stories will later appear at

http://www.fanfiction.net/u/968367/O...NT-Cartoon-Fan
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:45 AM   #18
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Should the show be taken seriously in any capacity? No, not really. The tone is very silly with lots of fourth wall breaks and insane premises. I can see why a small child might end up taking the show somewhat seriously, given the limited experience they have with fiction. An adult however really shouldn't, even if they can stomach the poor quality.
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Old 02-07-2020, 12:55 PM   #19
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Just wanted to add that as goofy as it is and as harmless as it is as a cartoon, there's plenty of moments that can be taken seriously in the eps alongside the comedic stuff.

One of the greatest, and maybe "darkest" (or just "dim"?), in my mind is when Leo lopped off the heads of Herman the Horrible.

Just finished up a slow re-watch of the series recently, and that moment still stood out and always kind of surprises me. At that point in the ep it may already be known that Herman is just a robot and is already laying broken apart on the ground, but that actually comes across as a pretty brutal move for this cartoon since the two heads of Herman are still speaking to people like a living thing. And here comes Leo just "Nope!" and cuts them clean off.

Killing robots may be common for the Turtles as a way of getting to "kill" things that aren't people and get past the censors, but this is probably one of the only cases where the robot does not actually seem robotic and is portrayed like a living thing. Pushed the envelope a little bit for its time.
That was one of the standout violent moments in the show, and you've got to love how casual Leonardo is about it.

"And its about to get worse!"

It's moments like these which prove that the 1987 turtles would not hesitate to use their weapons on living creatures during the less censored seasons of the show.

Another similar moment that stands out to me, is in the very first episode when the turtles fight the Foot Soldiers for the very first time on the rooftop.

One of the Foot Soldiers charges for Raphael, who ends up stabbing it in the chest.

Keep in mind, the 1987 turtles didn't know that the Foot Soldiers were robots, just like with Leonardo not knowing about Herman the Horrible being a robot.

Even in the most slapstick episodes, the stakes themselves were always taken seriously by the turtles.

So it doesn't matter if they were Stabbing or pushing carboard boxes, the threats were always real in the eyes of the turtles.
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:01 PM   #20
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Keep in mind, the 1987 turtles didn't know that the Foot Soldiers were robots, just like with Leonardo not knowing about Herman the Horrible being a robot.
Also, killing an extraterrestrial is considered more OK than killing an Earth Human. In Splinter No More they tricked the extraterrestrial monster into killing itself. And in Divide and Conquer, the turtles probably indirectly killed Dregg by throwing him from Earth through the portal.
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Because of continuity and timeline errors, I've given up writing fanfiction based on the 1987-1996 animated television series. Instead, I'm trying to reboot the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story, something many other fanfiction writers already do:

Hopefully, stories will later appear at

http://www.fanfiction.net/u/968367/O...NT-Cartoon-Fan
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