It's tough being a half-shelled hero.
In a typical week, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have their clubby hands full combating the efforts of Shredder, various B-list super-nogoodniks, and even the petty activities of your common NYC street thief. With all that going on, it's improbable the team finds time for a pizza break, much less a trip to the beach.
So, you'd think a toyline based on these devoted opponents of ne'er-do-wells would be mostly about butt-kicking. In reality, though, there's a suspicious amount of recreational activity packed into these toys by Playmates. In fact, if someone were introduced to the TMNT by the following selections alone, he might conclude that they were all about hangin' out, sports, and going to costume parties instead of halting evil quests for world domination. The figures are fun, but they also showcase the turtle bros shamelessly shirking their ninja responsibilities in favor of a good time. Of these infractions, here are seven of the boldest.
7) Slam Dunkin' Don
Does it seem odd to anyone else that Donatello would opt out of designing the team a new vehicle or world-class machine for a game of pick-up basketball? His blatant irresponsibility goes deeper than seeing out a simple diversion, because clearly, he's also spent time ordering a custom "Turtles" jersey, along with having popular sports numeral "23" stitched into the right leg of his shorts. We'll let the goggles pass because they're kind of cool, but, really Donatello? An entire basketball uniform? Who are you even going to play with? Your priorities lack heroism, sir.
6) Classic Rocker Leo
Disciple of justice and leader of the TMNT, Leonardo rarely, if ever, breaks his stoic demeanor. Well, apparently with the exception of when he switches out his trademark "L" belt buckle for a peace emblem to play classic rock in his cover band. Manhattan's streets may be ablaze, but it's cool in the club with frontman Leonardo belting out GNR hits. When given the choice between the planet's safety and making moms swoon, you'll find Classic Rocker Leo on stage, shredding on his custom-made shell guitar.
5) Midshipman Mike
Thanks to his sailor threads and nautical paraphernalia, Mikey's all set up for the big yacht rock party he's been planning. Meanwhile, some soulless monster's out there, doubtlessly eating babies by the dozen. Should we begrudge Midshipman Mike this levity? In a word: yes. Considering the getup, we can only conclude that his concerns must center around how wasted he can get April at the big sewer soiree. At least he doesn't pretend to be anything more than a half-drunk ectotherm; "Ahoy, there, mutey" indeed.
4) Spike 'N Volley Don
Within Spike 'N Volley Don's accessories lies an attempt to link it to the real Donatello; basic volleyball equipment is provided with combat emphasis (volleyball "bomb," bo poles with "ninja" net, suntan lotion "gun") but it's clear that this doppelganger is all about a mean game of sand-sphere, not protecting the city from a giant Krang invasion. We'd be mad about it, but that "D-for-Donatello" fanny back is proof that Don hates himself enough for his ninja neglect already.
3) Hot-Doggin' Mike
Apparently, Michelangelo would feel right at home in Aspen, and the back of Hot-Doggin' Mike's package tries its best to excuse the trip, beginning with "The slopes are safe thanks to Hot Doggin' Mike and his magical mutant maneuvers" before eventually going so far as to infer that a ski resort might need protection from The Foot, which we find dubious. Same goes for any bar, toy store, or strip club this reptilian slacker may try to dodge work for next. Hopefully, Master Splinter can set this misguided teen straight - the Olympics will never accept turtle-kind.
2) Sewer-Cyclin' Raph
Here, Raph trades his fiery temper and monochromatic ensemble for a look ripped right out of a Nike TV spot from the early '90s. If the neon garb and stoner grin didn't give it away, this figure doesn't really care if you think it belongs in the TMNT's day-to-day affairs. Granted, the copywriters didn't try to hide it this time, as he's "not stoppin' for anyone, unless they're havin' a bodacious beach pizza bash." That's right, senior citizen stuck in a flame-engulfed high-rise; Sewer-Cyclin' Raph won't save you unless you happen to be living on a lakeshore and offering him complimentary Neapolitan fare. Yeah, sure, at the end of the day, this thing's a toy for children to play with in the pool, but as nerds, it is our duty to nitpick and criticize. It's all we have.
1) Beachcombin' Mike
Perhaps appropriately, Michelangelo tops the list, as the party dude beats his bros by appearing on it three times. Beachcombin' Mike is apparently all about looking for buried treasure with a straw hat, camera, and guitar in tow. He also, according to his bio, plans to use a pineapple drink "to splash in the face of the Foot" in case he's ambushed while not fighting crime. This would work as part of a "Retired Mutant Ninja Turtles" sub-series, but we can't say this thing makes a ton of sense for Michelangelo in his teenaged prime. The figure's main draw is spitting on stuff, or whatever, but we still want some accountability here. At least take off the lei.