By Monte Williams
The world has learned to take for granted the inherent strangeness of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property. Whereas any dignified culture would balk at the very premise of anything calling itself “Ninja Turtles,” we don’t merely make brisk sellers of its comic books, cartoons and movies; we’re still emblazoning its unlikely heroes on everything from foodstuffs to Band-Aids.
Still, acceptance of talking turtle warriors needn’t preclude the hope that their adventures will follow some small measure of internal consistency and realism; Roger Ebert wrote of Batman Begins, “The movie is not realistic… but it acts as if it is.” Likewise, the first live-action Ninja Turtle movie treated itself as level-headedly as a movie about a talking rat and his adopted turtle sons who were also ninjas possibly could. But the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toyline? Not so much.
7) The Footski Jet Ski
No doubt the Turtles will shit their shells when they see that Shredder’s Foot Clan has acquired a jet ski so durable that live eels can apparently compromise its hull. Seriously, those are supposed to be real, live eels magically skewering the jet ski so as to electrocute any hapless heroes who try to tread water for justice, or whatever.
But what’s more noteworthy here is that the Footski’s package describes it as a “Brain-Sucking Sewer Machine,” and indeed if you look closer behind that rear row of eels, you’ll see a big, gaping vagina-with-teeth rimmed with a series of coiled black tubes, like some forgotten, nightmarish doodle from the sketchpad of H.R. Giger. (Or perhaps H.R. Puffenstuff.)
Really, the Turtles have it lucky, ’cause in the dank, moist darkness of the sewers, the Footski would be reduced to just another silhouette in a cavern of a thousand shadows, whereas we land-dwellers must contend with an un-obscured view of what might well be the Footski’s most menacing and terrifying detail: its paint scheme.
This thing should be called The Easter Footski, ’cause the last time we saw all those colors together was in a Jesus-n’-Bunnies-themed bag of M&Ms.
6) The Flushomatic Slime Pit
Some Playmates employee or another clearly had fond memories of Mattel’s Evil Horde Slime Pit, but apparently it was decided that the Slime Pit was missing a certain something.
…a shitter, perhaps.
From the Playmates catalog:
Just fill the high tech toilet bowl with Retromutagen Ooze and flush on captive Turtles with the flusher handle. Comes with mini-canisters of Ooze and Turtle torture tray.
We have two questions for Playmates:
A. The Turtles already wallow in fecal matter on account of the New York City sewer system being the place they choose to call home; how likely is it that a toilet will scare them?
B. How dare you combine toilets and torture in a children’s product… and then mock us with that dreaded phrase, “Figure sold separately”?
5) The Ninja Turtle Blimp
In the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, Master Splinter taught his young charges that, “As ninja, you must always practice the art of invisibility.”
And truly, what better way to utilize the shadows and maintain an aura of mystery than to construct a giant goddamn turtle-themed blimp and fly it through New York City.
Plus, Michelangelo apparently felt compelled to spray-paint “Kowabunga, Dudes!” across the surface of the blimp which is a pretty pathetic plea for attention, rivaled only by the patheticness of his inability to spell “Cowabunga” correctly.
4) The Cheapskate Motorized Skateboard
In theory, a “Thrashin’, Bad Boy Bashin’ Skateboard” is a reasonably sensible assault vehicle for an anthropomorphic turtle.
That said, we question the viability of a spring-loaded novelty foot so large that the skater must pop a 90-degree wheelie just to release it.
3) The Pizza Thrower
Leave it to a humanoid turtle to use a tank’s worth of metal to craft a beast of a machine that overwhelms the forces of evil by… launching pizzas at them.
When Playmates relaunched the Ninja Turtles toyline in 2003, the pizzas were replaced with manhole covers, but while these ponderous discs of death would make for much more effective weapons than pizzas, one cannot help but wonder how the city of New York felt about a family of vigilante reptiles stealing all of its manhole covers. Truly, in their quest to vanquish evil, the Ninja Turtles created a staggering public safety risk.
Seriously, though: a pizza thrower? Ninja Turtles was an ostensibly violent property, but in retrospect, its forces of good and evil alike seemed intent on little more than making a mess.
2) The Sewer Party Tube
If the Flushomatic is designed to “torture” the Turtles with Retromutagen ooze, why then does the “Sewer Party Tube” packaging portray Raphael tubin’ through a river of same? We demand accountability in toy packaging art!
Also, the idea of using inner tubes as battle transports is absurd even by the loose standards of this lovably stupid franchise. Also, “Cowabunga” is still misspelled on the innertube’s flag (another highlight of ninja subtlety), this time apparently by Raphael. Clearly, this is a problem with the ninja turtle public school system… which is to say Splinter.
1) The Sewer Seltzer Cannon
“The Water Weapon That Scrubs Out Foot Scum” sounds like a hygiene product; Playmates was as fond of bad puns as they were of idiotic phrases like “Cowabunga.”
We fail to see how one can defeat mutated warthogs and ninja troopers by spraying them with water, especially since the Turtles themselves live in the feces-filled sewers. One would think that during a battle, most of the Foot Soldiers and assorted bad guys would welcome a chance to get cleaned off. Hell, if the Turtles had any kind of self-awareness, they’d be jumping in line for a Seltzer Cannon shower. Of course, the Turtles are almost certainly clueless, and because they live so happily among filth and refuse, they clearly believe that getting hosed down is as much a punishment for their enemies as it is for them.