Teen Titans Season 4: Be prepared for
PLOT (and tofu monsters)
You know, after watching so many episodes of Teen Titans back to back...I'm starting to see a formula coming together. Sure, last season was weird, but it was nowhere NEAR as weird as Season 2 was. I wonder why that is? My theory: Whenever you have a season with HORRIFICALLY serious plot (unlike Cyborg's Brother Blood rivalry from last season) you have to balance it. With what? The craziest poop that you can imagine is the only cure to beat back those plot-related blues. And yes, that is a picture of Beast Boy as a clown. Also, something that needs to be pointed out at this juncture is the Titans' attitudes toward property damage. In the first season, they were pretty good. By the second season, they were throwing around other people's cars and shooting lasers at random people's apartments. By Season Four, the Titans are picking up entire buildings and smashing them at the bad guys. I'm serious. You have to wonder if the city is living in fear of what could only be called TITAN LAW. "Excuse me, Mr. Titan sir, my daughter is in that building. Would you mind using a different one to bludgeon the monster?" "BOO-YA!" "Nevermind."
Episode 1: Episodes 257-494
And it begins...Control Freak, the overweight Klingon Fan-boy with a mullet is back, and this time he's created a device that's allowed him to enter the magical world of television. As in, he's running around a weird parallel dimension where all those shows are real. Of course, the Teen Titans get sucked in. There's reference after amazing pop culture reference, and I really don't have time to list them all. Let it suffice to say Control Freak becomes Neo (from the Matrix), Darth Vader, James Bond and a whole horde of other things to stop the Titans. Damn it, at least let me give you a bit of a closer look:
Yes. Beast Boy becomes Wile E. Coyote and Raven gets stuck in footage of a professional football game (and dog-piled).
While the battle on the channel test pattern was a particularly special moment for me, the fact that they beat control freak by trapping him in a pocket dimension, just like the bad guys in Superman 2, is nothing less than astounding. Ok, it's not that great, but if you're a TV/Movie Geek...this episode is for you.
Episode 2: The Quest
Robin goes on a kung-fu mystical adventure to train with the "True Master," who ends up being an old woman who has talking animals who know martial arts working for her. Robin learns a martial arts technique known as "Doo of the Monkey," which, besides being a move that implies poo-flinging, requires Robin to squeal like a howler monkey. While he's gone, everyone goes through his stuff and wears his extra costumes. They even dress the mutant worm up, as pictured above, which is pretty strange. I don't know why I don't really like the "Robin-centric" episodes. Oh wait...it's because Robin isn't cool no matter how you look at him. :sigh:
Plot, Plot, PLOT! Episode 3: The Quest, Episode 7: The Prophecy, Episode 11, 12, & 13: The End (in three parts)
Let's get the plot over with. Remember how I said that the plot this season is horrifically serious? Slade returns from the dead with a glowing sigil on his forehead to remind Raven that she was born to bring her Endbringer Father to Earth so that he can destroy it. So Slade's back, Raven is destined to die and destroy the world and that's about all she wrote. Of course, the world isn't destroyed, but it takes a few episodes to work it out. Over the course of those episodes Raven DIES (sort of), and a giant demon with antlers uses the Titan's Tower as a recliner. In the end, Raven returns and saves the day, and Slade is also back on a permanent basis....so you know he'll be returning in future seasons. I don't know if the animators wanted this, but hey, how the HELL are you going to say no to Ron Perlman?
Apparently, Raven's uterus of Golden light is what was needed to bring forth the unholy legions.
Now, while I did say that it was only a theory that the creators behind the Teen Titans felt they had to make up for such a "serious" (and sometimes boring) plot thread I think it's really obvious by the final image you get to see this season. After the great Satan is defeated, we're blessed with the image of Starfire using bacon to give herself antlers. Bacon antlers is the image that the people behind the show want to leave you with. If they're not trying to balance the seriousness with the super-strange, how else would you explain that?
I can't. I mean seriously: Bacon Antlers. Gah.
Episode 4: Cyborg the Barbarian
Cyborg gets sucked back to the prehistory of man, when barbarians and demons roamed the countryside. It's a pretty standard "stuck in the past/save the locals" plot, but it's made all the weirder because it's a CYBORG being pulled back into prehistoric times. Pretty random, that is. Let's move on, though:
Episode 5: Employee of the Month
The basic plot of this episode will melt you brain. I'm serious. Here goes nothing: UFOs are kidnapping cows, and the Teen Titans stage a trap where Cyborg is hiding inside a ROBOTIC COW. The trap goes poorly, and most of the Titans spend the episode fighting random UFOs that are powered by cows. Beast Boy needs money so he ends up getting a job at a fast food place that's really the mother ship for an alien race let by "The Source." Don't forget that fact that the alien race is also made of tofu. Tofu aliens come to earth to steal cows. Holy crap is that out there. I don't know what else to say except that Cyborg, instead of saying his typical "Boo-Ya", changes his catchphrase to "Moo-Ya" for obvious purposes. Wow.
Episode 6: Troq
I hate morality episodes. An alien warrior appears on earth and recruits the Titans. Problem is, he's a blatant racist, calling Starfire the equivalent of the "N" word. She ends up saving the day proving to him that she's just as good as anyone, and, well, Mr. Racist is still a dick and flies away bitter. There's not much else to say about this episode except that you sort-of get to see Starfire play tetris with bombs the size of buildings.
Episode 8: Stranded
I just can't seem to get too excited about episodes 7 & 8 for some reason. Maybe it's because they revolve around Starfire's emotions, and I, being a guy, will never understand emotions beyond lust and anger. Or something like that. The Titans get stranded on a planet, thanks to an alien monster that WILL NOT DIE and can't be hurt and Robin hurts Starfire's feelings by saying she's not his girlfriend. Since Starfire's powers are linked to her emotions, they stop working. Man, how's that for a reason to be guilted into staying in a relationship? "If you freaking leave me, I'll lose my super-powers. Tell me you love me. You better fricking say it, you son-of-a-Bitch. Say it!" There's also a weird subplot about Beast Boy putting Cyborg back together like tinker toys and Raven getting an almost erotic massage from Lilliputian aliens. I'm sure the faces she makes in this scene are going to be cropped and used in dirty pictures all over the internet within the week. Sheesh.
Far too easy to think something dirty's going on there. Far. Too. Easy. (You're the pervert, not me.)
Episode 9: Overdrive
Cyborg's malfunctioning yet AGAIN, but this time it's due to a new chip he's put in his brain that's overworking his system. Why is he working so hard? Because he's got to stop the newest villain in town: Billy Numerous...a redneck hillbilly that can make clones of himself (100 to be exact). So the episode's got this weird "squeal like a pig" country soundtrack while a redneck runs around making fools of the Titans. Billy goes on a crime wave and steals whatever he wants. What item is he particularly proud of stealing? A sombrero. Of all the items that he's stolen (from Cyborg's car to an elephant), he's most excited about a goofy mexican hat. This episode's also kind-of telling, because you get to see what Cyborg would do if he had more free time. It's all kind of strange, particularly his desire to market a brand of BBQ sauce. Go figure.
Episode 10: Mother Mae-Eye
God damn, I loved this season. The final "non-plot" episode is...well, I'm getting really repetitive calling each one of these things weird and strange and brain-melting. Suffice to say the Titans eat a magic pie, which makes them act like children, because a demon named "Mother Mae-Eye" has taken control of their lives. She's feeding off their love, while feeding them pies, and, well, things go downhill from there, with a musical number and Frankenstein-esque gingerbread men. Before Mother can eat their souls by roasting them in a giant pie tin, the Titans come to their senses and trap her in the pie. Once Mother Mae-eye's defeated, they deliver the "haunted pie" to some of the bad guys, who eat it and the end of the episode is Mother Mae-eye towering over them, planning on eating them. Jesus, that's cold. I always thought the good guys sent people to jail...instead of feeding them to demons. It strikes me as kind of...cold, somehow.
Well, that's it for the Teen Titans Season 4. Instead of me writing a conclusion (like I did when I wrapped up Season 2 last year), let me just say that Season 5 is already confirmed and the Cartoon Network signed a contract for more Teen Titans cartoons until 2007. So, this isn't the final update, I'm sure. Until next time, enjoy this bit of extra crap I scrapped up for you:
Bonus Cartoon: Teen Titans: The Space Beast Round-up (1960's)
Thank you, Boomerang (Cartoon Network's spin-off channel), for showing episodes of the ORIGINAL Teen Titans cartoon, as brought to you by Hanna Barbara in the 1960's. Of course, in the 60's, the roster of Teen Titans made it a bit more obvious what the team was about. You had Wonder Girl (sidekick to Wonder Woman), Aqualad (Aquaman's bastard nephew), Speedy (the arrow-tossing sidekick to some other arrow-tosser), and Kid Flash (sidekick of the, well, Flash...duh). So, they're all sidekicks. Wow. The story, which revolves around alien dinosaurs on the loose, is pretty lame, and the cartoon is thankfully short, but I did give you two highlights:
What is it about a T-rex that makes both Kid Flash AND Aqualad want to headbutt it in the crotch? It happens twice, and there's no other way to describe it. Young teenagers sticking their faces violently into the crotch of a giant reptile. Words fail me.
Before we take a good look at what I'm about to show you, let me point out a subtle change in Aqualad's costume since his golden years. The new Aqualad (a la Whil Wheaton) wears pants...in fact he's got a blue and black wetsuit going on that's not that bad. The old Aqualad? He wore a red sweater, thigh-high boots, and bikini briefs. If that outfit doesn't scream "rent boy," I don't know what does. On a similar note, please enjoy....
Wow. No only does he have the booty move down, but he's straddling a giant lizard's face with his thighs. Since it's unclear that Aqualad has any powers, it's almost like he's doing this for kicks. Work it, Aqualad, work it real good. I'm done with you, Teen Titans of the 1960's. No wonder the Stonewall Riots happened, what with our superheroes dressed as male strippers and young boys having an insatiable lust to put their head in the crotch of big burly lizards. Gah. (For those not in the know, the Stonewall Riots were when a raid on a gay drag club went bad and drag queens started rioting in the streets, lobbing molotov cocktails left and right. Later on it would be considered a "Gay" thing, but at it's roots it was a "men in women's clothing thing," much like Aqualad. See, I told you this article was both informative and educational!)
Until next time, watch out for MIND CONTROL SQUID!
Copyright 2005 jared von hindman, excluding those images which belong to their respective owners. The Cartoon Network logo is not affiliated with this website and appears only by accident, because it's really hard to get images for review via "fair use" reviewing when all the television channels put huge logos that take up a corner of the screen. Still, that's how we, the public, see it, so maybe it deserves to be there. And hell, if you're from Cartoon Network know that I'm only trying to pay respect to one of your great products. Now quit stressing and go make more cartoons for Adult Swim, damn it.