The Time Dilation Accelerator: The Ninja Turtles Visit Shredderville - The Intrepid

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Time Dilation Accelerator: The Ninja Turtles Visit Shredderville

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredderville

Shredder and Donatello had a special relationship.

Occasionally, the Time Dilation Accelerator defies the laws of space and time by going back to review the best (or the weirdest) aspects of the early 90s.

In the late 80s and early 90s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were everywhere—they were in movies, cartoon shows, public service announcements, on cereal boxes, clothing, and even Pizza Crunchabungas (whatever the hell they are). Although they were plastered on everything, the undisputed jewel in the Ninja Turtle commercial empire was the cartoon show. Every Saturday morning hundreds of thousands of kids would tune in to see the turtles foil Shredder and Krang’s fiendish and often comically inept plans, and while the cartoon hasn’t aged very well, we still have fond memories.

Most of the episodes followed a fairly standard formula: first the turtles eat some pizza, while making tired jokes, then Shredder, Krang, or some other third rate hack of-a-villain hatches a ridiculous plan, which the turtles eventually foil in a poorly animated fight scene. There is one episode that stands out though: Shredderville. The premise is a pretty standard It’s a Wonderful Life style tale, and although dozens of shows have done the same, this one is pretty unique bizarre.

The episode begins as the turtles return to the sewer, after once again besting, but failing to capture Shredder. While wallowing in self-pity, the turtles begin to question their endless struggle and wonder if the world might be better off without them. The next morning, the turtles awaken to a world where Shredder is the undisputed lord and master and New York has been appropriately renamed Shredderville. With Splinter gone, the turtles try to seek out April O’Neil and Irma (yeah, we didn’t remember her either, but apparently she’s April’s best friend). The turtles arrive at Channel 6 headquarters only to find that in this reality, April and Irma are both slaves in Bebop and Rocksteady’s harem. We have to say that for a children's cartoon, this seems a little racy.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredderville
No TMNT episode is complete without the turtles putting on some ridiculous costumes.

As the turtles continue to wander the city, they discover that the world is a dismal place without them. Under Shredder’s rule unemployment has skyrocketed and the city has been reduced to a crumbling wasteland. None of this is really that unique—the alternate Sunnydale sans Buffy reality in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode The Wish was a wasteland too, though a scarier vampire filled one.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredderville
Krang is useless without the robotic body of balding fat man in red underpants.

What really makes this episode different is how Krang and Shredder are depicted. The turtles, believing that Krang is behind this new reality, go to visit him at the Technodrome—which now sits as a rusting war relic in the middle of Central Park. But when they meet Krang, instead of finding their formidable foe, they find a pathetic bureaucrat who’s more concerned with fixing his monitor so he can finish his paperwork than stopping the Technodrome from overheating.

If anything, Shredder is even worse off than Krang. When the turtles visit him at his headquarters at Channel 6 (why his headquarters is there is beyond us), he’s just as miserable and pathetic—though in this reality he wears a business suit, while still sporting his trademark helmet (after all, an evil emperor needs to be both terrifying and stylish). With the Technodrome only minutes away from an explosion, Donatello demands that Shredder divert coolant to stop the reaction.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredderville
Oh Shredder, how the hell did you ever become a ninja?

“I’ve only got two hands,” whines Shredder in response. “Look at all these repair requests, everything is broken. You think being emperor of the world is easy; oh it’s giving me an ulcer.”

“Oh Great,” sighs Donatello. “We want to get back to our world; where you don’t rule.”

“A world where I don’t rule,” pleads Shredder. “Take me with you, please.”

Wow. Poor Shredder, he finally gets what he wants, complete and total dominion over the earth, and it’s too much paperwork for him to handle. Seriously though, the episode, despite its lame jokes and ridiculous turtle disguises (how is anyone fooled by a trench coat and a hat, they still have green faces), is actually pretty interesting. The story follows the standard It’s a Wonderful Life premise, but turns it on its head by showing how pathetic the lives of villains are without the heroes. Of course in the end, the turtles wake up safe and sound in the sewer, but we all knew that was going to happen from the start.

If you so desire, you can check out the episode in its entirety on YouTube.

All images come from the TMNT episode Shredderville.

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