I’ve talked about my love affair with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few times on this blog. Have been born in 1983, I was at a prime age when the Turtles debuted in 1987 on television. My fandom for the Turtles lasted from 1987 to 1992, when it finally gave way to the NBA.
Other than watching a random episode of the live action Turtles show or having to sit through Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III while attending a rec center, I thought the door closed on my Turtles fandom back in the early 1990s. That was until 2007, when TMNT, a CGI Turtles movie was released and I found myself buying video games, rewatching the movies, and loosely following the franchise.
In 2012, the new Turtles cartoon debuted on Nick, and I also discovered the amazing IDW Ninja Turtles comics. The comics were not written for children, and that really worked for me. It was nice being able to see a more mature take on a franchise I loved. It scratched that same itch that Andor did for Star Wars last year.
I was bummed when Nickelodeon cancelled the 2012 show and replaced with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a show geared to an even younger audience. I fell into my fanboy rage and almost began to pout, when I realized that, Rise of the TMNT wasn’t for me. I had my Turtles, back in 1987. This was the Turtles for a new generation. This was a cartoon to help keep the franchise alive so that in thirty years, one of the children who likes Rise of the TMNT can go back and rediscover the other TMNT media. It truly was a breakthrough for me. My ridiculous frustration with reboots and sequels immediately died and I’ve been a better person for it.
Lately, the Turtles have been on my brain due to me re-reading the IDW run and also my friend Brady has a young son he’s introduced to the Turtles. Having something to bond with his son over has reignited his passion for the Turtles, and it’s allowed me to share some of the stuff I’ve watched and discovered over the years, while also chatting almost daily about different elements of the franchise. What can I say, I love talking about the Turtles.
The 1987 cartoon is something better in left in the past for me. I’ve watched a few episodes over the years, but it hasn’t aged as well as I would have liked and well… it’s a bit more difficult to relate to as an adult. The 2012 cartoon was a great one-time watch and recently I’ve watched a few episodes of the 2003 cartoon which is surprisingly great. It’s a more mature take on the Turtles and I can see why so many people like it.
One of the other pieces of media I’ve avoided is the Coming Out of Their Shells tour. Beginning in 1990 and ending in 1992, a live action concert performed by the Turtles traveled across the world. An album was released that went Triple Platinum and a video tape was made of the concert. I had both the VHS tape and a cassette tape of the show, that if I’m not mistaken, were both purchased at Pizza Hut by my father.
Sometime in the mid 2000’s, some videos and posts started making their way around the internet mocking the Coming Out of Their Shells tour. I located a copy of the actual concert and well… it wasn’t great. Allow me to correct myself, it wasn’t great for a 25+ year old man. Obviously the six- or seven-year-old version of me adored it.
Coming Out of Their Shells became a joke online and is still poked fun at from time-to-time. It was a product of excessive Turtles marketing and a more fun-loving time.
I stumbled upon the soundtrack listed on Spotify a few weeks ago. I saved it, thinking I’d never listen to it, but this morning while completing my work I decided to put it on as background noise. I honestly thought I’d turn it off after a song or two, but ya know what, it isn’t terrible. I can see why I loved it so much and the couple of songs I liked as a kid (You Can Count On Us and Stepping Stone) were still my favorite as an adult. Will I listen to it in regular rotation? No. But was it a nice trip down memory lane? Absolutely.
I can remember lying on my parents’ waterbed where our stereo was. I’d pop the tape in and just lay back and listen. I’d picture the Turtles in my head and just jam. Life was good.