Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles “Rust Never Sleeps” (part 1 of 2)
So there I was, having just finished Pink Lady and Jeff: The Lost Episode, ready to take a hiatus so I could get ready to deploy to Afghanistan, and this falls in my lap. Every time I think I’m out, they keep pulling me back in!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles started as a black and white spoof of Daredevil, but quickly became a license to print money, spawning several cartoon shows, four movies, and a god-awful live action series in the late ‘90s.
Plus, it had one of the greatest theme songs in history:
Towards the end though, the first cartoon started to get a little… weird.
For season seven, they decided to shake things up and send the Turtles on a road trip through Europe, using that old sitcom standby: the Turtles win the trip in a restaurant contest. You know, I’ve always wondered how crappy, one-horse greasy spoons can afford to send people on luxury vacations, but I suppose a lower overhead has its benefits.
For their first stop, the Turtles landed in Paris. They saw the Lourve, made some puns, and rescued April just in time to stop Shredder from inadvertently sucking the Eiffel Tower into Dimension X—which probably would’ve won them the admiration of many, many French people if they had failed, but no matter.
The episode wasn’t great, but as usual, the Turtles’ goofy charm smoothed over most of the rough spots that typically plague Saturday morning cartoon shows. Unfortunately, just one episode later, they’re still in Paris, and the writers clearly expect us to have forgotten absolutely everything we saw last week.
Now, it’s one thing if a show loses track of continuity over time, but when you can’t keep things straight between two consecutive episodes that were probably pitched at the same time, you’re just being lazy.
We open with Splinter helping the Turtles break into the Louvre, to teach them a little something about culture. You know, just like what happened last episode? Remember, guys? It was kind of an important plot point?
They stand on a ledge looking in a window as Shredder points out the Mona Lisa hanging by itself on a column. As opposed to hanging on the wall, like in the last episode. Or real life.
Suddenly, a lone nut with a can of paint bursts in and declares his hatred of “all masterpieces”, and sets his sights on the Mona Lisa. The Turtles, seemingly not knowing that the paintings in the Louvre, particularly the Mona Lisa, are protected by bulletproof glass, spring into action, and sabotage his plan to… get paint all over the protective casing around the painting. Huh?
I mean, I know they didn’t bother to draw any of that security junk, but you’d think the people behind the show would know that the Louvre would take better care of their stuff than this. How did this guy even get in here?
Come to think of it, how did any of them get in here? They did know that the Palais du Louvre used to be a castle, right? And that the French, who generally don’t fuck around to begin with, have spared no expense in making it one of the most secure buildings in the world? I mean, the guy who stole the Mona Lisa only pulled it off because he worked there. But somehow, the Turtles have broken into it twice.
So, Rafael pierces the vandal’s paint can, and Michelangelo ties him up with his grappling hook… no, this isn’t in any way padding. Why do you ask?
And another thing? Why does Michelangelo never actually use his nunchucks? Seriously, he only ever uses his hands or a rope on this show. I know nunchucks are illegal in most countries, but so is walking down the street carrying a pair of katana. And why the hell would a group of vigilantes care about what weapons the law says they’re allowed to have? Speaking of which, why the hell are nunchucks illegal in countries where any idiot can buy a gun?
We cut to Dimension X, where Krang is putting the finishing touches on his “thruster rocket” to fly the Technodrome to Paris, apparently just for the hell of it, since again, they’ve completely forgotten everything that happened last episode.
Krang’s intercepted a postcard to April, which informs her (and the villains) that the Turtles are now in Paris. I cannot stress enough how incongruous it is that April (who was rescued by the Turtles at the Eiffel Tower last week) and Shredder (who was defeated by the Turtles at the Eiffel Tower last week) wouldn’t already know that they’re there.
Cut to Splinter leading the Turtles on a tour of the sewers of Paris (because this was soooo funny last week), stopping beneath the Gardens of Versailles. Which aren’t so much in Paris as right outside of it. Doesn’t matter, because we don’t actually get to see them. They just stop underneath it and crack jokes, as they so often do.
Back in Dimension X, Shredder is fed up with Krang taking too long, and takes it upon himself to set the rocket for “MAXIMIM [sic] RUST”. Yep, old Shred-Head’s not the best at spelling, and he was supposed to set the device for maximum thrust. But strangely, this somehow converts the beam into a laser that makes things rust.
Wait, no it doesn’t.
The newly-created rust ray causes their computer to shatter into pieces (as opposed to, you know, rusting), but Shredder decides to take lemons and make lemonade, and incorporate this device into their plan.
Bebop, Rocksteady, and Krang get in a few puns about French fries and plaster of Paris, before Shredder and Company get teleported to Earth, crashing into a flower cart.
Without even looking at it, Shredder’s figured out that the beam is out of power, so they take over some crappy artist’s workshop (how do all these penniless artists have lofts? That’s what I want to know!) and—get this—plug it in!
Yes, an otherworldly device that was intended to be a rocket has no trouble plugging into one of those cray-zee European power sockets. Of course, the thing uses up so much energy it causes the entire city to flicker on and off, which in no way would cause a power surge that might destroy a simple, ordinary wall socket.
The Turtles wander around the sewers some more, stopping under the Paris Opera House. Michelangelo walks off to look for the Phantom of the Opera, while the others, finding a convenient chest full of old opera costumes (in a sewer?), decide to play a merry prank.
Cut to Michelangelo being menaced by “the Phantom”, even though we can quite clearly see it’s the other Turtles. And this actually serves as our cliffhanger into the commercial break. Will Michelangelo see through his brothers’ paper-thin disguise? Let’s watch!