Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blast from the Past #377: More notes from the development of the 4Kids TMNT series:Feb. 13, 2004: Outlines 67 & 68

Feb. 13, 2004: Outlines 67 & 68

From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 2/12/04 5:45:35 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Howdy Peter!

Just a quick noodge re: your notes on 67 and 68.  Operators are standing

As always, thanks mucho!



Here you go!

notes on Ep. 68 outline ("The Entity Below")

 1.) Re: the following: 

"From space, the massive SUN fills the screen, until Mercury slides slowly through close FOREGROUND to block it with a dramatic rumble.  "

Not to be too much of a science nerd, but I hope that we aren't saying here that the "rumble"is the sound of Mercury moving through space. I think a dramatic musical cue would make more sense.

2.) Re: the following:

"We hear DONATELLO’S V/O explaining the phenomenon taking place – a planetary alignment so wide-ranging that it hasn’t occurred in over twenty-thousand years.  The convergence of every planet and over fifty percent of the moons, stretching all the way to Pluto.  "

Science nerd here -- is this "convergence (not sure what that means -- does the writer mean 'alignment '?) of every planet and over fifty percent of the moons" something from real science and astronomy, or something completely made up? Involving "every planet and over fifty percent of the moons" seems a little over the top, and if we could do something that actually HAS a basis in science, perhaps with fewer planetary bodies if necessary, it would raise my science nerd comfort level.

3.) Re: the following:

"We then hyper-drive through the solar system, passing the other planets to stop at Pluto, where we find a stark landscape.  We move across a field of thin reeds, each with clusters of CRYSTALS naturally formed at their tips.  "

I don't know if I'm reading this right... is the writer saying that there are fields of living reeds GROWING on Pluto? Or are these some kind of strange mineral thing?

4.) Re: the following:

"In voice over, Donatello further explains that many astrologists assure us that this alignment will not result in any catastrophic events.  Of course, others believe just the opposite.  "But what’s the point in worrying, it’s not like we can do anything about it, right?" "

Like me, Donatello couldn't give a rat's ass about what "astrologists" have to say. On the other hand, we would pay a lot more attention to what ASTRONOMERS would tell us.

5.) Re: the following:

"It’s a flurry of reaching arms, swatting hands, and flying utensils, as DONATELLO, RAPHAEL, and LEONARDO pile food on their plates, while MICHELANGELO sneakily fills his own plate from theirs.  By the time they all sit back to eat, they notice their plates are empty... with a stuffed Mikey letting out a reverberating belch.  He denies everything, including claims that he’s been putting on weight.  That’s when his chair collapses beneath him "

Wow... this writer is channeling Fred Wolf big time! REALLY silly, lame slapstick.
While I think all of this goofy slapstick crap needs to go, it just occurred to me that it might be cool to have Don (who of course would be aware of and interested in it) talking about the planetary alignment with his brothers, and he uses some objects from the table -- some fruit, doughnuts, bagels, etc. -- to demonstrate how all of the planets are lining up. Nearing the end of his explanation, just when he's about to sum up what the effects of this kind alignment might (or might not) be on Earth, he could look around with a puzzled expression and say "What happened to Earth?" Then he and everyone else looks at Mikey, who's stuffing a big doughnut (which Don had used to represent Earth) into his mouth. With an innocent expression, Mike says "What?" (slightly muffled by the doughnut crammed in his gob, of course).

6.) Re: the following:

"And speaking of the Entity – they see him standing upon a towering spire across the lava lake from them, looking powerfully majestic as he flings a handful of yellow crystals shards into the lava.  Their splashes twist up like geysers, the tips of which form into LAVA MONSTERS that leap onto the cliff where the Turtles are."

LEAPIN' LAVA! The image of lava monsters that LEAP just doesn't work for me. I think their movements should be move flowing/lurching/sliding. Also, if they are truly made of lava, which as we all know is molten ROCK and pretty freakin' HOT, I hope we are not going to have them GRABBING and HOLDING the Turtles at any time during their battle.

7.) Re: the following:

"In the Underground City, the Turtles try to fight the lava monsters, but regular weapons are useless… plunging ineffectually into their lava bodies… the metal weapons almost melting in the process. "

It makes senses that the Turtles' weapons would be pretty useless against monsters made of LAVA, but how are we going to show that the metal weapons are "almost" melting? It might be more effective to have Leo and/or Raph actually lose one sword and/or sai because they do in fact melt.

8.) There seem to be an AWFUL lot of people in the underground city now ("the city is populated with beings just like the Entity"... "bustling streets"...). If memory serves, there weren't that many "frozen" beings in the "Secret Hall" as we saw in a past episode. Where are all these people coming from? And do we really need huge numbers of them?

9.) Re: the following:

"Versalia and the turtles must then make a daring escape across the high cable, which carries the gondola… only to find the spiteful Mage controlling the lava.  He splashes it up like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, as the Turtles and Versalia make their way back to the high ledge where the Tunneler is.

But finally, the Underground City sinks beneath the lava … all the Y’Lyntians are gone forever – the Mage’s efforts ceasing."

This seems like a pretty weak ending to the Entity -- he's just standing there making lava splash and then he's gone. What's up with that?

10.) Re: the following:

"RETURNING TO THE LAIR, the Turtles find a grateful Splinter waiting for them.  He knows the boys saved the world, and yet no one will ever realize it.  They at least will have his gratitude.  Splinter gestures to an elaborate Japanese dinner set beautifully on the table, the entrees covered.

The Turtles sit politely, napkins on laps, eyeing the enticingly covered dishes, as Splinter slowly removes the lids to reveal – squid.  After diving for cover out of reflex from the sulfur squids, the Turtles excuse themselves – saying that they’re kind of watching their weight... no offense."

I know that this is an attempt at a humorous wrap-up to the story, but it seems -- at least to me -- to be totally inappropriate and stupid, and worst of all UNNECESSARY. Why not just end with the Turtles saying goodbye to Versalia? The squid gag is just painfully lame.


notes on Ep. 70 ("Gravity")

Before I get into my comments, I just have to share a goofy idea that just flashed into my head when I read the title for this episode -- what if we created a character (not for this episode) who would be a kind of "science witch" (I know, kind of a contradiction in terms...) who could control the forces of gravity, attraction and repulsion -- and her name is "Aunty Gravity"? Okay, I'm better now...

1.) Re: the following:

"DR. DOME attempts to tunnel through the conical rock below the city with his DOMEBOT and DOMEOIDS.  Even that proves futile, due to the atmospheric shield.  "

This implies to me that the atmospheric shield extends THROUGH the rock. Does this make sense? 

2.) Re: the following:

"Unfortunately, the same devices that control the atmospheric shield also control the anti-gravity field.  Any attempt to shut off the shield from inside the city would risk sending Beijing plummeting to Earth.  (We see the anti-grav devices lodged in the middle of Tiananmen Square, cordoned off by barricades.)  "

Several odd assumptions here. First, wouldn't the first priority be getting Beijing back to Earth, NOT shutting off the shield while the city is in the upper atmosphere (which might kill everybody in the city if the air is thin enough)? Second, why are the anti-grav devices "cordoned off by barricades"? What does that accomplish? Who put the barricades up? Doesn't it make more sense that whatever scientists and engineers in Beijing would be working around the clock trying to understand and use those anti-grav devices? And third, how does anyone KNOW that turning off the shield will also shut down the anti-gravity?

3.) Re: the following:

"DISSOLVE TO a private Foot-owned airfield outside of the city, where SAKI, KARAI, HUN and STOCKMAN are gathered as CHAPLIN unveils his latest project, opening the doors of a huge hangar to reveal a gleaming, Miyazaki-like, HIGH ALTITUDE AIRSHIP.  

Chaplin, naturally, has no idea why Saki wanted him to build the blimp.  He's just jazzed to have the chance to tinker with another cool toy.  Chaplin's success (and subsequent praise from Saki), of course, means more of a threat to Stockman, who all this time has been insisting to Saki that it couldn't be built."

I had to laugh at this one -- Stockman, inventor of the Mousers and any number of other incredibly complicated and technologically sophisticated machines, is telling Saki that Chaplin's airship -- a dirigible!!! -- "couldn't be built"?!!!  Huh???!!

4.) Re: the following:

"In the middle of their stakeout, Donatello receives another mysterious call on his ShellCell.  It's the same annoying fax connection tone.  But this time he's prepared.  He brought his palmtop computer to trace the signal.  He discovers the source of the signal is a nearby cell phone/communications array.  As he peers through his binocs at the nearby rooftop satellite dish array (which astute viewers may recognize as the site where the Fugitoid jacked in to broadcast the anti-signal that masked his positronic signal in Ep. 57), Don doesn't notice as his palmtop gives off a connection screech and proceeds to download a very big file…"

It is my techno-geek duty to remind you that the "screech" as described sounds like the "handshake" that dial-up computer modems make... and high-speed connections DON'T make that noise, as far as I know. So if this is a REALLY huge file, and it makes sense that it is being downloaded via a high-speed wireless connection, it should be silent. Maybe all we really need is a graphic, anyway.

5.) Re: the following:

"WIPE TO THE AIRSHIP HANGAR, where Stockman and Hun prepare for their mission, grumbling about how their status has fallen in the Foot organization, finding an odd comradely.  "

Should that be "camaraderie"?

6.) Does Hun notice that Karai is saved by the Turtles who have broken out of their free-falling crate? If so, I'm sure that would raise some questions in his mind.

7.) I hope that Beijing is not going to be empty of people -- i.e. when the Turtles steal the bicycles, it might be cool if they are seen by some freaked-out Beijing-ites who mistake them for more aliens.

8.) Re: the following:

"Chaplin unleashes his surprise: Mousers, Version 2.0 -- inspired by Stockman's original metal munchers, but MUCH bigger, badder, tougher and jet powered.    "

I have nothing against new and improved Mousers, but are we saying here that they FLY? I'm not sure I'm loving that.
And now that I've read the rest of the outline and see that the writer indeed intends the Mega Mousers to fly, and to have Chaplin fly ON one, I REALLY don't like it. And while we're on the subject, the whole thing with Chaplin trying to escape on a flying Mouser and the gag with Don suckering Chaplin in only to have Mikey bash him with his 'chuks is just BAD. Seeing as Chaplin ends up on the ground with everyone else in Beijing, why not have him try to help the Turtles to return Beijing to the Earth?

9.) What the heck happened to Hun? One moment Stockman is abandoning him on the "doomed" Beijing, and then later we see him with Stockman meeting with Saki back in NY.

-- Pete


  1. "Aunty Gravity?" Groan! ...Actually that's no worse than Granny Goodness, I guess--!

  2. Thanks for always pointing out observant science, Peter! It seems the writer(s) may have re-written the Periodic Table with some of those rough plot "elements" --- pun intended!

  3. Wow...Just wow...I hope Nick has a Peter Laird catching all of these things in their scripts.

    And talking about totally cruel and pointless humor. At the end of the first Leatherhead episode, LH sacrifices himself by having the roof cave in on him, and all Mikey does is make a joke. I guess they didn't want to end the ep on a downer, but still at the time it just seemed really out of character..Especially knowing that he survives and is really trapped under tons of rubble..