The Chicken Feed

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A terrifying look at the obscure tenth season of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.

Why do turtles / suddenly appear / every time...

Today we’re going to check out the first two episodes of the mysterious Season Ten of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Not the “modernized” version with the ludicrously long headbands, no pupils and stupid comic book wipes – I’m talking about the original series here, with the ever-burbling Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady, and Irma, Irma, IRMA.

Except of course, being Season Ten, the last season of TMNT, the whole series had undergone drastic changes by this time and none of those characters are in the show. “What about Shredder?” I hear you cry? Well, despite the butchered version of the theme song (wait for the falsetto!) insisting that the “evil Shredder attacks”, you can forget it.

One of the first images of the show that we see is of Michaelangelo being zapped with a laser after Donatello spurts out his typical needless technobabble. Then, not alienating the viewers in any way at all, Mike promptly transforms into what looks like that snapping turtle from the second TMNT Movie (you know – the one with Vanilla Ice!!). When Super Mutant Mike flexes his biceps, he SHOOTS LASER BEAMS OUT OF THEM. You know. As you do. Then he transforms even more, breaking through the roof and getting even more out of control. But thankfully, it was only a dream only a Virtual Reality simulation of what would happen if they shot themselves with the laser – thank heavens! See? Everyone’s got their VR goggles and everything. Splinter spouts some drivel about the flowers and the ocean to inspire them, and Don gets back to what he does best – pressing random buttons. Apparently Michaelangelo has turned into a black dreadlocked teenager.

or HAS HE?

Elsewhere, IN SPACE!!! assorted non-Shredder-or-Krang villains are plotting schemes to take over the Earth. The fact that it’s not Shredder or Krang has instantly caused disinterest to kick in like Marty McFly storming through the 1885 bar and asking for a Sarsparilla. Nonetheless, we press on. The insect guy on the left with the mustache (LOOK I DON’T KNOW HOW EITHER) is called Mung, technical insect extrodinaire. The thoughtful looking guy on the right is called Dregg, apparently named after the leftovers at the bottom of a beer. Yeah, that’ll inspire fear into the hearts of men. Forget about the mantis guy behind them both, because in about five seconds he gets shot off into space. Oh, look – there he goes in the picture to the right. Isn’t Dregg evil? Well, he’s no Krang, but he’ll do.

Mung impresses Dregg by showing him his newfangled “Microbots”, which do everything from floss your teeth to wash the dishes, apparently. Dregg is mighty impressed, and sends off one of these bots to nick a small piece of the Turtles’ crystal – they’re using it to power their laser, and Dregg wants it to power his matter transporter, so that he can transport his armies to Earth. Back on Earth, the Turtles’ VR testing appears to be okay, so they prepare for actual Turtle frying. We finally discover, about six minutes into the show, that the black guy is called Carter. Who knows where the hell he came from, but hey – the TMNT don’t discriminate, especially seeing as their foster father is a giant rat. Carter shoots them all with the laser (one at a time, in true cartoon-elongating-the-plot fashion), and surprise surprise, the Microbot turns up and nicks a crystal piece just before Carter zaps Leonardo. CARTER YOU LOSER YOU REALLY SCREWED UP! Hopeless. Back to picking cotton with you. No-one notices, though. Someone suggests that they practice fighting, as they mutate under stress. And then, for no reason, you get that priceless shot up there. Look at those expressions!

Thanks to the useless bungling of Carter, however, Leonardo begins to transform – and conveniently, so does his belt and his bands. Wow, it’s just like how the Hulk could always have a pair of pants that fit. Resembling a cross between an echidna, Frankenstein’s Monster and an armour plated tank, Leo starts grunting and snarling like…well, the best description is probably a Neanderthal, as he just goes “GRRR!” and “UGH!” a lot. After beating the crap out of the Turtles and then bashing his way through the lair, Leo prepares to rumble in the Bronx, as it were.

Hey, look, it’s April! And she still has her Turtle-Com! Man, I wanted one of those when I was a kid. And notice April’s spunky new look – she’s probably the only character in the series who’s changed for the better, as she no longer looks like a walking banana. Raph’s asking April to try and pull some strings and get Leo off the late-night news, but April says she can’t as it’s a live feed. …at 11:30pm. I’m detecting a hint of “I can’t be arsed” here. Elsewhere, Dregg is getting the microbots to do his dirty work and set up a base of operations. The late night guard notices them, and says “First it’s roaches, now it’s ants. Well, I’ll fix ‘em!”. Then he proceeds to SHOOT THEM WITH HIS GUN. I wouldn’t want that kind of trigger-happy maniac doing my nightwatch, but that’s just me. The Microbots make quick work of his gun, then proceed to build a base. Handy little buggers indeed.

Meanwhile, Carter is busy in the cafĂ©, realising that it was his fault that Leonardo’s rampaging all over the city. Either that or he’s wondering how he’s going to slip out without paying this massive bill he’s racked up. Who would have thought that a croissant would have been so expensive? Conveniently, Leo comes busting in to solve that problem and promptly throws Carter over the counter. A bright light glows from the counter, and Carter emerges as a scaly, yellow spiny monst-

Wait a minute. …the HELL?

But there it is, CLEAR AS DAY. Dreadlocked Carter has unmistakably turned into a mutant. But wasn’t the whole point of mutagen that it transformed you into what you most recently came into contact with? Splinter became a giant rat, the Turtles became human like, and so on? Taking into account Super Mutant Carter’s features, I’ve got an equation that will sort out this mystery:

Right. Carter plus an American Indian plus a Punk With a Mohawk plus a Ninja plus a Robot plus Chicken Legs plus a Cannister of Mutagen equals Super Mutant Carter. The only logical explanation is that the Indian, Punk, Ninja and the Robot were all sitting around a table together eating raw chicken legs. Carter, being the blundering fool that we know he is, was carrying a mutagen cannister and fell over the table, taking on the forms of all involved. Problem solved. Let’s get on with the review.

Dregg’s henchmen have discovered April (who, of course, just “happened” to turn up in Dregg’s base), and have safely fastened her to the almost-complete matter transporter. I must admit, he does give a hearty chuckle as he lets her know that she’ll be travelling across the universe. If she’s lucky, she might get to see the Resturant at the end of it. Have I mentioned that the Turtles subdued Leonardo and have him in the Turtle Van (I wanted one of those, too!) and are now speeding to April’s rescue? No? Well, they have, they do, and they are. They speed through the wall of Dregg’s base, and Dregg gives us another priceless facial expression. It certainly looks like he briefly lost control of his bowels for a moment there. Fortunately, the Turtles are quickly apprehended. Dregg secures them (oh, and Carter) to the matter transporter, and all seems lost as he changes his mind and this time plans to teleport them all to the centre of the sun. Which is a nice touch, I think.

Luckily, Leonardo escapes from the Turtle Van imprisonment and, having a change of heart, frees everyone instead of beating the shit out of them. Undeterred, Dregg gets Mung to get the Microbots to make a robot to deal with the Turtles. There’s a lot of pass-the-buck going on. The robot (with a gun!) is quite nasty, and not even Super Mutant Carter attempting to…er, actually I’m not sure what he’s trying to do. But not even that can stop it. HOWEVER, it has two fatal flaws – one, it has the cartoon problem of not actually being able to hit anything, and two, it’s able to be brought down with two seconds from an Oxy Welder by Donatello on its kneecap. Quite the design flaw, eh?

Figure 1.7 - Meowth surveys the Taco Damage

Part one finishes with Super Mutant Leonardo in a cage and Raphael hanging a humourous “DO NOT FEED THE MUTANT” sign on it. Oh, that wacky Raphael! But which mutant is it referring to? Donatello adjusts the raygun and shoots Leonardo with it, turning him back to normal. He is let out of the cage, but there’s a close up of his glowing, enlarging feet, which either implies that he’s not out of the woods yet, or that he’s got a severe tinea problem. And you’re not out of the woods yet either!

More TMNT on
Ninja Turtles vs Global Warming
The Candid Turtle: The Private Lives of America’s Greatest Heroes
Krang: A Tribute
(TV Revival Rule #1: NEVER try to replace history’s greatest cartoon villain.)

Other Nostalgia
The Ever-JAWSOME, Ever-FORGETTABLE Street Sharks
Captain Planet and the Lake of Fear
Growing Pains Trading Cards

External Links
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