Talkin’ Nerdy/Unpopular Opinions: DC Super Hero Girls is MY Teen Titans

An epiphany can come from the strangest places at the strangest times, can’t it?

The other day last week I was watching this DC Super Hero Girls short:

…And it suddenly dawned on me one reason why I like this series so much.

DC Super Hero Girls is closer to the Teen Titans

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…Or Teen Titans GO! series…

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…That I wanted.

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DCSHG is closer to what I wanted from Teen Titans: more familiar DC characters with closer ties to the iconic DC superheroes (nothing against the 2003 show, but I wouldn’t have gone with the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans team; I would’ve preferred a show starring the Founding Five…

teen20titans20founding20five_zpsmttbiuxz

…Or some contemporary derivation thereof; ideally, I’d like for there to have been some non-whites among the team and the odd gender-swap here and there, as the whole “several guys and 1 gal” thing never clicked with me.

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Perhaps replace Speedy with Artemis,

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Or switch out Garth in favor of Kaldur.

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Or better yet Tula/Aquagirl, for some good ol’ fashioned fan-service.)

…Shorter, simpler slice-of-life stories with a greater emphasis on comedy, a diminished presence of villains and fight scenes and no wannabe anime look and feel. Again, I have nothing against anime, but I never felt the whole anime-aping look and feel had any place on the show. It had gotten to the point where some fans got the idea–and who knows where they got this idea–that Teen Titans was actually made in Japan, proving something a friend of mine once said: “It amazes me how half of [Teen Titans]’s fan base has never picked up a comic in their bloody lives.”

Now, let me again point out that I didn’t hate Teen Titans; I liked the show OK, but in my mind it wasn’t the voice and tone that I would’ve used. For my taste, TT was marketed too much and framed too strongly as a boys’ action show (though plenty of girls liked the show too). I have nothing against boys’ action shows, but they’re a dime a dozen.

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“COWABUNGA, DUDES! (And dudettes to a lesser extent.”)

My ideal Teen Titans show, rather than being part-action, part-comedy, would’ve been nearly ALL comedy, which I realize wouldn’t have sat right with many hardcore superhero fans, but I feel the comedic format showcasing the “calm between storms” moments depicting what the capes do in their down time was one of the few things Teen Titans GO! got right. Typically when the subject of TTGO! comes up, the biggest complaint I hear wailed towards the heavens is…

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“WHY IS IT A COMEDY?????!!!?????”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with a superhero show being a comedy. The whole superhero genre at it’s core is itself very, very silly: it’s about fit dudes and chicks who gain crazy magic powers, don wacky costumes, give themselves goofy names and go out to beat up mad scientists and would-be world conquerors. Superheroes are already as goofy as all get-out, so a lighthearted take on them isn’t that big a departure, folks.

No, my issue with shows like Teen Titans GO!, Ultimate Spider-Man

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Da-derp-de-derp-da-derp-de-derp-da-DUM!

And Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.

hulk-and-the-agents-of-s-m-a-s-h-episode-2-doorway-to-destruction-part-2_zpsvhrczvtw

Comes in 5 fun colors! Try ’em all!

…Isn’t that they’re comedies, it’s that they’re not funny. If someone wants to make a jokey and jovial superhero show, then by all means do, but if you’re going to do that, be funny! My issue with TTGO! isn’t that it’s a comedy or that it features little to no actual crime fighting, it’s that the jokes aren’t funny, the characters act like amoral sociopathic a-holes and all of the characters shout their lines all the time. Volume doesn’t make a lame joke funny.

Now here’s what my take on Teen Titans would’ve been like: my TT would have been set in a universe which acknowledged the presence of the adult Justice League members, who would serve as parental figures/mentors to the kid heroes…

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It always bothered me how TT depicted the kid characters living on their own with no adults or any kind of adult supervision, and not even so much as a passing mention of the adult DC heroes. I know that bugs me more than it should, but it still bugged me.

…The main setting would be the Hall of Justice…

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…Which could probably have a separate guest cottage/quarters/club house for the kids.

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The basic crux would be that the adult Leaguers would typically sideline the kids from missions, so while they were off saving the day, the show would spotlight the kid sidekicks at home having wacky shenanigans. There could be the occasional passing mention of some of the League’s missions being overheard on the TV or radio or happening off in the distance, showing the wacky highjinks the kids are getting into alongside of the Justice League stories. On TT, all of the villain whomping and fight scenes would take place off-screen. My take on Teen Titans would basically be like the Justice Friends segments from Dexter’s Laboratory

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…Only cuter.

 

Talkin’ Nerdy: What’s the Deal with Dopey?

When Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs debuted in 1937, there was no question or doubt as to which character stole the show: Dopey the Dwarf. The silly, adorable, mute character was so popular with fans that many people requested that Walt Disney use Dopey as a series star in the shorts, in fact, some of Disney’s staff even wanted to use Dopey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Fantasia.

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That’s right. This guy almost wore the big blue wizard’s hat.

So when the Seven Dwarfs were revived and re-imagined for Disney X-D’s The 7D, I figured it would be a no-brainer that Dopey would emerge as one of the show’s breakout stars. Alas, this was not the case. On The 7D, it’s been Doc, Happy and especially Grumpy who have become the top players on the show, while Dopey has never graduated from lesser character status. I expected this to be the case for characters like Sleepy and Sneezy, since they were always pretty one-dimensional, but not Dopey. In this regard, Dopey is the exact opposite of Happy, who was a pretty minor character in the movie but emerged as one of the biggest characters on the show. What happened? Why has Dopey gotten the shaft?

I’ve been thinking about this (which should be a clear indicator that I have lots of free time) and have theorized why Dopey hasn’t attained top tier character status on The 7D. I chalk it up to 2 factors:

  1. NOT ENOUGH ELBOW ROOM

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One reason why Walt never turned the Seven Dwarfs into shorts stars was because in the average animated short the focus is typically on 1, 2, 3 or at the most 4 central characters, but had Disney placed the Dwarfs in this format they would’ve had to contend with 7 main characters to start with, not to mention any other supports or guest stars that might have appeared. Indeed, with 6 guys also doing comedy and vying for the spotlight, it’s hard to squeeze decent bits for Dopey in there as well. There’s also the added burden of Dopey not being able to speak, so right away any verbal humor like puns of clever wordplay can’t be done with him. This is not to say that Dopey hasn’t gotten any opportunities to stand out, he’s gotten some golden gags, such as imitating The Scream:

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But moments like this have been few and far between. Yeah, that look. This brings me to the other reason why I feel Dopey hasn’t broken out on the show:

2. HE LOST HIS BASIC ADORABILITY

A lot Dopey’s appeal in the original film was how he was essentially the “baby” of the Seven Dwarfs: he was youthful while the other Dwarfs were elderly, he had no hair, big blue eyes, only one tooth, large jug-handle ears and wore over-sized clothes, viz:

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On The 7D however, Dopey’s look was changed to this:

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Who does this guy remind you of? Take a wild guess. For those who don’t know, The 7D‘s Dopey was patterned largely after Harpo Marx of the Marx Brothers.

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Those eyes are staring into my soul, and honking bike horns in my ears.

Nothing wrong with that, Harpo was hilarious, but he’s not usually the first character who comes to mind when you hear the word “cute”. Without the cute, innocent, childlike features and aspects to his character, 7D Dopey amounts to little more than a weirdo. Dopey is like Tweety Bird or the Muppet character Bean Bunny: he relies heavily on being adorable. The writers tried to carve a niche for Dopey as ‘the animal lover’ of the group, and that kind of works, but again, without Dopey’s babyish demeanor it ultimately doesn’t amount to much.

I don’t know how many more episodes of The 7D there will be; the cast and crew have already had their wrap party, so it’s likely that show will be like many Disney animated series and only run for 2 seasons. If it’s truly over, then it’s a shame that Dopey was never really given that much to do on the show, especially since The 7D was produced by Tom Ruegger, who also gave us Animaniacs, and managed to strike comedy gold with another Harpo-inspired character, Wakko Warner. However, it’s worth mentioning that Wakko is a child character and he has the ability to speak.

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“Don’t forget the tongue. Chicks dig the tongue.”

 

Ad Nausea/Talkin’ Nerdy: Jose Cuervo Commercial

The following is a commercial that I like. It’s an ad for Jose Cuervo about the The Rolling Stones bringing Jose Cuervo with them on their 1972 tour.

Just one question, though: If this ad is supposed to be taking place in 1972, why is the song that’s being played here “Miss You” which debuted in 1978?

Man, the Stones were truly ahead of their time. They were rocking out to a song that they wouldn’t write for another six years!

Talkin’ Nerdy: What the What, X-Men: Evolution?!?

Today Talkin’ Nerdy probes X-Men: Evolution.

X-Men Evolution

 

For the uninformed, X-Men: Evolution was a Canadian-American animated television series about the Marvel Comics superhero team X-Men, which originally ran on Kids’ WB! from November 4, 2000 to October 25, 2003. XME’s major selling point was that in this incarnation, many of the characters were teenagers rather than adults.

Original X-Men

That’s not so unusual, after all, the original X-Men were teenagers.

Also, the main X-Men attended Bayville High, where they interacted with ‘normal’ kids and teachers.

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So it was basically X-Men Meets Saved by the Bell.

Since the principal characters were teenagers, the show quickly became a favorite among fangirl shippers.

Hyper Fangirl

“SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! Magma should totally date Pyro! BEST SHOW EVER!!!!!!!!!”

My personal opinion of the show was…

Spongebob Meh

I thought the animation was pretty decent (Evolution was easily one of the best looking X-Men cartoons to date) and it was a refreshing change to see an X-Men cartoon in which Wolverine wasn’t chewing up all the scenery for once…

Wolverine

“Hey, Bub! It ain’t my fault that I got the skills that earn Marvel big bills!”

…But the high school setting just never gelled with me, largely because I’ve never been big on high school based stuff in general. As a kid I hated, Hated, HATED school, so the last thing I wanted to see when I turned on the tube was a show about kids attending school. Basically I agree with the Blockbuster Buster about X-Men: Evolution: it was an OK show, though you had to slog through a ton of high school BS.

Gilfoyle

“The show was badass…except when it wasn’t.”

However, even Evolution‘s biggest fans and most staunchest admirers have to admit that there’s a HUGE, GAPING HOLE in the show’s premise.

Black Hole

Namely, the main kids on the show attended Bayville High (a public school) in this series, yet they still lived at the Xavier Academy for Gifted Youngsters. Let me repeat that: they went to a public school while living at a private school. They attended one school while living at another.

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“That. Does Not. Make. Sense!”

Now usually when I bring this up, some fanboy (or girl) will pipe in with…

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“Obviously they were learning regular school stuff at Bayville and mutant stuff at the Academy. Duh!”

Yeah, I got that. Great. Sure. OK.

Except…

On this show, the existence of mutants was kept tightly under wraps. The general public didn’t even know about mutants until they were publicly outed in season 3, so what did Joe and Jane Average think these kids were doing at the Academy while they were concurrently attending public school? These kids had non-mutant friends; didn’t any of them ever ask one of them, “Say, you go to school here and you live at that other school. So you’re in 2 schools? What’s up with that?” What did Xavier’s staff and backers tell the public about the Academy? That it was a day camp? Chess club? A campus for LARPing?

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Or did everybody just think the X-Teens were in a cult?

I’m not saying fans of X-Men: Evolution can’t or shouldn’t enjoy the show. The ‘Mutant High’ premise wasn’t really my thing, but I know a lot of people who thought it was awesome. If the show tickles your fancy, fine, but you’ve got to admit…

BabsBunny

“It’s a plot hole big enough to drive a Mack Truck through!”

Talkin’ Nerdy: What the What, PPG Reboot?!?

It’s been a few weeks since Cartoon Network launched it’s 2016 reboot of The Powerpuff Girls (unoffically known as Powerpuff Girls 2016), and I’ve seen the first crop of episodes. Now, there are folks out there who vehemently hate this show, but myself, I don’t love it, but I don’t feel like it’s the worst thing to happen since the ebola virus either. As far as I’m concerned, this is just another mediocre reboot of a beloved classic.

PPG 2016 Title Card

This isn’t going to be one of those “Old VS New” deals where we try to determine which incarnation is better, as both versions have their strengths and weaknesses and also because I have zero interest in doing that.  However, there are a few curious points concerning this show that I’d like to address here. Some things about PPG 2016 that left me scratching my head wondering “Why?”. Before I proceed, I just want to say right off the bat that I won’t be talking about the PPGs new voices, nor will I be talking about “Horn Sweet Horn”, aka, the infamous unicorn episode. It’s overtones are touchy subject matter and discussing it here would be akin to opening Pandora’s Box. I’m not opening that can o’ worms here. If anyone wants to read complaints from fans about that episode, there’s literally everywhere else on the internet. Take your pick. That said, it’s nitpicking time!

  1. OK, so on PPG 2016, Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles are a little older this time. No longer attending Pokey Oaks Kindergarten, but are instead attending elementary school (possibly middle school). I could deal with that, except…

PPG 2016

…the Girls still look exactly like they did before! Why age them at all if they’re still going to look like 5-year-olds?

2. What was the point of writing out the Mayor’s assistant Sara Bellum? I thought that the whole point of PPG was to emphasize “Girl Power”, so why get rid of a female character who’s smart, resourceful and totally capable?

3. Jennifer Hale is still on hand to reprise her role as Ms. Keane, but another character previously voiced by Ms. Hale, Princess Morebucks, is being voiced by someone else. Why? That would be like rebooting Futurama and bringing Billy West back to voice Fry and Dr. Zoidberg, but then hire someone else to voice Professor Farnsworth.

Film Brain

“Sense no make. Sense no make.”

4. In the episode “The Wrinklypuff Gals”, the Girls use super science to age themselves to better fit in the older kids (who actually look their age) after being bullied by them and as a result, end up aging themselves into senior citizens. A passable plot, except that everyone in Townsville loves the Powepuff Girls and everyone in Townsville knows about them and that they have super powers. Who in Townsville would want to bully a Powerpuff? And who’d be stupid enough to try?

5. In the episode “Strong Armed”, Bubbles breaks her arm while battling a giant monster. Professor Utonium constructs a robot cast for her and during her 6 week healing process, Bubbles grows attached to the cast and treats it as though it were a person. OK, I can buy one of the Girls being injured by someone in their own strength class, but Bubbles breaks her arm and has to wear a cast for six weeks like a regular person? the Powepuff Girls are super beings! It was established back in the short “Cop Out” that even getting dipped in acid doesn’t hurt them. You’d think that being a Powerpuff, Bubbles would heal considerably faster than a normal human would.

I knew from the very beginning that fans of the original PPG would hate the rebooted series with the fury of 1000 suns. After all…

Haters Gonna Hate

…However in this particular case, I can see why they would have some complaints. A lot of the things in PPG 2016 just seemed to be changes for change’s sake alone, which is never a good reason for change. Different doesn’t always mean better, or even as good. I could accept some of these creative changes if there were logic and reason behind making them, but as it stands, while I’m not declaring war on PPG 2016, I’m not going to declare my fandom for it either.

One more thing, despite of the mixed reception that PPG 2016 has been receiving, apparently this show is a hit with kids, as Natalie Palamides (the new voice of Buttercup) has confirmed that the show has been renewed for 2nd season, and that PPG 2016 will be crossing over with Teen Titans GO! in it’s 2nd season.