TMNT (2012): “Panic in the Sewers” (Spoilers)

Yes, I’m late with my essay on “The Search For Splinter”  Part Two, and this blog is not really supposed to be about Nick’s TMNT, but these are a snap to do and get decent page views, so I’m fairly sure I’ll be doing these regularly.

I think I’ve managed to figure out what my main problem with the series is.  Like I said elsewhere, its plotting isn’t tight enough for me to be able to appreciate it as a dramatic series–for example, just what is stopping Shredder from pulling off this exact same plan later on, and why don’t the turtles worry about that?–and I haven’t been able to get to a place where I can take on its own terms like the original or something like Teen Titans or Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated. What’s more, its approach feels deliberate enough that I don’t have confidence that it will improve; as far as I can tell, the show is absolutely confident about its approach.  While this incarnation of the turtles can be fun, there’s little to recommend it except for rather great aesthetics.

Random thoughts:

  • Okay, so the first thing the Purple Dragons will do with the bugged pizza box April gave them is set it on a flat surface and notice that it has a large device taped to its underside.  How April did not realize this very obvious thing is left as an excercise for the viewer.
  • While Bradford’s reaction to be mutated isn’t one of those things that need to be dealt with immediately, I do wish some concession had been made  to the fact that this huge life-changing thing had just recently happened to him.
  • The fact that April had braces sometime in the near past is adorable.
  • I also liked the hints at a larger role for the Purple Dragons, and hope the series continues to try to flesh them out, both collectively and individually.
  • The turtles are patrolling now?  More context, please.
  • On a more substantive note, it’s interesting how this Splinter’s approach for the “Saki is coming for them” problem is markedly different from his 4Kids counterpart.  Neither is necessarily better or worse than the other, from a character standpoint, it seems like a major point of divergence and something worth thinking about.
  • I am more than ready for Michelangelo’s “quirkiness” to be toned down.  Heck, all of the turtles’ tics could stand to be taken down a notch, particularly during battle.
  • Don’s crush on April did not annoy me this episode.  Hooray!
  • Oh, and ten episodes in, and April is still the only woman in New York.  For the sake of context, note that the far-from-progressive-and-occasionally-racist original cartoon at this point had two women in its regular cast, one female guest-star (Kala), and numerous female extras.  Also, yes, I am perfectly aware that, by this point in its lifespan, the 4Kids toon was also doing worse than the original in this regard.

4 Responses to TMNT (2012): “Panic in the Sewers” (Spoilers)

  1. Jason says:

    So did you enjoy this Episode better than last weeks? I feel completely opposite if you do so, last weeks Episode was crazy packed with action and humor and it progressed the plot forward IMO.

    This weeks was just okay. It still had the action and the character development but the plot seemed to go nowhere. I liked Splinter’s dream sequence and his character development which is very reminiscent of the Mirage Splinter! And the Turtles pranks were great but that’s about it.

    Good review, I’m really looking forward to next week’s Episode which will introduce the Mousers!

  2. Ian says:

    Hello, Jason; thanks for commenting :).

    As to your question…yes and no. I don’t think either episode is great, but this one had a lower bar to clear, and did considerably less to annoy me. Last week’s, though, was a perfect storm of everything that annoyed me about the series: characters acting in an inexplicable ways (I still don’t get what Bradford hoped to accomplish by breaking the mutagen tank); Mikey’s inability to act seriously, and the way it’s not called out even when it actually becomes a liability and leads to the mission’s failure; yet more focus on the intolerably executed Don/April ‘ship; assorted sloppiness, such as the fact that it apparently doesn’t occur to any of the turtles that as far as they know, there’s nothing to stop the Kraang from just building another mutagen bomb, and that they have no way of knowing if and when that’ll be the case…

    That said, there are a ton of little things that bug me about this episode aside from the things I’ve mentioned here; I just don’t feel it’s worthy of my grade-B vitriol the way the last episode was.

  3. Jason says:

    Thanks for the reply. I think Bradford expected the Mutagen ‘Bomb’ to blow up as soon as he broke the tank but I’m not sure, that was pretty stupid of him. He seemed a little more competent in this episode… e.g leaving Leo to stop Mike from getting rid of the acid and such.

    And Mike could have been A LOT Worse considering this is Nickelodeon (One early pitch for the Show was actually to have Michelangelo be a female!) So I’m thankful he’s not too annoying…in this Episode anyway. Last week he did get serious when Shredder was about to go in for the kill on Raph, which resulted in him saving his brother and the only Turtle to really do damage to The Shredder!

    I’m still really enjoying this Show and your Reviews! Even if they are slightly negative 🙂

  4. Ian says:

    Mikey as a girl turtle? You know, I have no confidence that the reality would be in any way satisfying, but I can see it working and being pleasantly subversive, given a certain approach (I feel the same way about April / Don). And I find it an infinitively more palatable solution to the franchise’s gender imbalance than adding a fifth turtle.

    I’m glad my negativity hasn’t turned you away. I don’t actually have a problem with people enjoying the show on their terms, but I tend to think that it deserves a more critical look than its been getting so far.

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