Saturday, February 25, 2012

Blast from the Past #479: August 3, 2005: Re: FW: Show 120 ("Home Invasion") Outline

Subj: Re: FW: Show 120 ("Home Invasion") Outline
Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2005 2:15:07 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my notes on outline 120.

1.) Re: the following:

"The little elves charge him, and he fends them off with his Katana swords, but it’s difficult because they’re so short!  

LEONARDO:  Time to lower my defenses…

He flips into a one-armed handstand.  This lowers his eyeline so that he can meet their attacks head-on.  "

Clever, but questionable -- Leo is then only able to use one arm/hand to fight with, and I really think any advantage gained by "lowering his eyeline" is probably offset by the increased difficulty of fighting upside-down with only one arm free. A better alternative might be this -- I believe there is a style or technique of swordplay where you have one leg folded on the floor behind/underneath you and the other bent at the knee and upright in front of you, with that leg's foot flat on the floor, and you kind of crab walk/scoot in that position. This brings your eyeline down but also leaves both hands and arms free to battle, as well as giving  you a more secure and steady position to fight from -- and of course, you're not upside-down!

2.) Re: the following:

"In the next room, we see Raph sitting and reading “Jurassic Park”.  But his brothers teasingly yell taunts back at him until he sighs and gives up.  But when he stands, we hear a polite voice saying, “Don’t forget to put the lid down.”  Raph rolls his eyes in disbelief.  

RAPHAEL: You gotta be kiddin’ me! "

So -- Raph's reading on the toilet? Do we really want to do this?

3.) Re: the following:

"A trail of exploding sparks surges along the power lines and disrupts everything in its path.  In a restaurant, SERVER DROIDS lose control and fling plates of food at the startled customers!  SPLAT!  In skyscrapers, AUTOMATED ELEVATORS yo-yo up and down, terrifying their trapped passengers.  And in the street, robotic GARBAGE TRUCKS rip up news kiosks and dump their contents like trash.  
As we follow the surging trail of sparks along the power lines, we see that it is heading directly for Cody’s penthouse!  "

This could be fun. I think it would be good if we could think up a unique visual signature for these sparks so that they are not just your random cartoon sparks but unique to Viral's presence, so that whenever we see these in a future episode, it will alert us to the fact that Viral is coming. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking some kind of spiral spark which could wrap around conduits (making even a kind of crazy "double helix" -- almost like these sparks represent Viral's "DNA"), or maybe a kind of staggered ring-shaped series of sparks.

4.) Re: the following:

"Cody proudly leads them into the Holo-Simulator room where Leo and Splinter are waiting.  At first they are confused until Leo explains that it’s a high-tech Dojo where they can sharpen their skills.  Leo shows off the automated assault sequences and state-of-the-art weaponry.  "

Might be fun if Cody has programmed the "start point" of the simulator to look like the Turtles' old lair.

5.) Re: the following:

"DONATELLO: It’s like, Dojorama!  

MICHAELANGELO:  Dojorama Extreme!  Sweet!  "

As Don's line doesn't really sound like a Don line to me, I would combine the two and give the resulting line to Mikey, as follows:

"MICHAELANGELO:  It's like Dojorama Extreme!  Sweet!  "

6.) Re: the following:

"Donny asks Cody if there’s any way to find out what’s going on inside.  Cody says he can tap into the Dojo room’s camera on his laptop.  They creep back to Cody’s laptop, and Cody accesses the Dojo’s surveillance feed.  "

If Viral has infiltrated all of the electronics in the building -- including stand-alone units like Serling -- why hasn't it also gotten into Cody's laptop?

7.) Re: the following:

"Meanwhile, Splinter and the Turtles are fighting for their lives.  Unfortunately, Splinter gets ZAPPED by a high-voltage charge which knocks him out and makes his hair comically stand on end!  

MICHAELANGELO: Ooh, bad hair day"

For Mike to make a "bad hair day" joke while Splinter is lying unconscious on the floor after getting zapped by a high-voltage charge is just WRONG. Mike would not make a joke like that at a moment when he's not sure if his master is seriously injured -- that's not funny, it's bad taste. However, it COULD be funny if he said it AFTER Splinter gets up off the floor and his hair is still standing on end.

8.) Re: the following:

"Viral goes on to explain that he has been sent to pillage classified information from O’Neil Tech’s systems, and he calculated that only the Turtles had the potential to stop him.  "

Huh? How is it that Viral even KNOWS about the Turtles and their capabilities?

9.) Re: the following:

"Suddenly, the three Turtles find themselves standing an OLD WEST SALOON, surrounded by tough-looking COWBOYS.  As the cowboys frown and narrow their steely eyes, Mikey grins and waves.  "

A couple of ideas here: It could be cool if these cowboys are twisted in some fashion by Viral's influence -- maybe they have all the cowboy clothes and gear, but they are APES or DINOSAURS (Triceratons?) or INSECTS or something.

I might also be fun -- if we could work it out legally -- if the "cowboys" that the Turtles fight here are actually some of the characters from my friend Ryan Brown's "Wild West Cowboys of Moo Mesa" property. It would be a fun "in-joke", and I'm pretty sure Ryan would go for it.

10.) Re: the following:

"Meanwhile, ELSEWHERE IN THE PENTHOUSE, Cody and Donny are running a system check on the network.  They detect Viral, and see that he has infected much of O’Neil Tech’s network, but a firewall is still keeping him out of the top secret classified research files.  

CODY: I’ll try to delete him…

But when Cody hits the delete button, Viral senses the attack.  Abandoning his Bartender guises, he leaves the Dojo and zips through the wires toward Cody’s computer.  

Donny notices the lights flickering and sees a spray of sparking explosions surging toward them.  

DONATELLO:  Unplug!  

He yanks the Ethernet plug out of the computer just before Viral gets there.  Then, they flee down the hallway with the wiring burning up in the wall behind them. "

See my comment #6 above. And, 100 years in the future, would Cody's laptop REALLY be literally plugged in via Ethernet? I mean, we're almost living in a wireless society NOW! The gag above could still work exactly as is if instead of Cody's computer being plugged in, it is working wirelessly, but it contains the same firewall that the other O'Neil secret classified research computers have. Viral could sense the laptop's presence, even though it couldn't get into it, and still send the same power surges in its direction as above.

11.) Re: the following:

"After Viral fades away, we PAN DOWN the outside of the penthouse and see that Donny is hanging from a ledge by one hand and holding a shaken Cody with the other.  

DONATELLO: We’re safe, kid.  

But Cody looks down at the dizzying drop and closes his eyes in terror.  

CODY: You call this safe?  

Urging Cody to trust him, Donny uses his foot to slide open a window, and they swing inside to safety.

DONATELLO: This looks like our floor.  "

Don's last line here sounds like dopey "snappy patter". And I'm not so sure about the convenient window Don can slide open with his foot doesn't make the building sound very secure. Hmmm... of course, maybe the windows are all unlocked as one of the results of Viral's invasion of the building's electronics -- and it could be good to have Don mention it when they are able to get in that way.

12.) Re: the following:

"Furious, Viral explodes with anger and the whole scene disappears in a fuzz of VIDEO STATIC.  

When the image resolves, they find themselves in a new holo-simulation, one that looks very familiar…  Their old SEWER HIDEOUT.  At first they are delighted.  

RAPHAEL: Home, sweet home! 

MICHAELANGELO: Hey, I wonder if that leftover pepperoni pizza is still in the fridge!  

Leo reminds them that this is just a simulation.  And then they see something moving in the shadows.  It’s the FOOT CLAN! "

Ah, now I see that my idea for the old lair being part of this holographic training thing (see point #4 above) has already been thought of. However, I think it works better per my suggestion, and I think it would be cooler if we used instead a NYC rooftop scenario for this battle.

13.) Re: the following:

"As a wave of Foot soldiers attack them, Viral’s face gloatingly appears on one of the Lieutenants.  "

Wouldn't it be much cooler if instead of a mere Lieutenant, it's a simulated SHREDDER?

14.) Re: the following:

"VIRAL:  You fight well now.  But your pathetic flesh is weak.  Soon you will tire.  But my soldiers are inexhaustible!  

As another wave of Foot soldiers appears from the darkness, Mikey begins to look concerned.  He realizes that Viral is right.  They can’t keep up this pace forever!  As Viral laughs malevolently, the epic fight continues.  "

Not that we have to get into the tech stuff TOO deeply, but Viral's line here made me think -- given that we establish that the rock troll Leo fights in the opening simulation was actually a holographically disguised robot, WHAT exactly are these Foot soldiers the Turtles are fighting (and for that matter, the little elves Leo was fighting in the beginning)? Are they, too, robots cloaked in holograms? If so, wouldn't it make sense that Viral's supply of Foot soldiers would NOT be unlimited? I think they would only be unlimited if we establish that in some ways this training room works like STAR TREK's "Holodeck", which uses force fields to simulate physical objects. And maybe only some special opponents -- like the rock troll -- are based on real, physical machines. Although, when you think of it, why bother if you can create holograms which feel like physical objects?

15.) Re: the following:

"Donny explains that he tricked Viral into streaming into an area that he thought was O’Neil Tech’s classified files, but instead it was a dead-end where Donny was able to lock him in.  

The other Turtles think Donny’s brilliant until Leo asks where exactly he locked Viral up.  

Suddenly, the room SHAKES, and a huge, hulking, six-armed DOJO BATTLE BOT burst out of the wall.  They see that Viral’s face is trapped in its viewscreen.  Exasperated, Raph turns to Leo.  "

Hmm... now WHY, exactly, does bright boy Donny do such a stupid thing? Wouldn't it have occurred to him that putting a malevolent entity like Viral in a dangerous robot's body might not be such a great idea?

It might work well if Don explains (maybe when the others give him some shit about it) that it was the lesser of two evils -- he could either have let Viral continue to pillage O'Neil Tech's computers (unacceptable) or lure Viral into the only place he could figure out to contain it -- the robot body (dangerous, but better than option #1).

16.) Re: the following:

"LEONARDO:  I’m gonna lose my linguini! "

NOT a Leo line -- Raph or Mike might say something like this.

17.) Re: the following:

"As the maddened Viral Bot charges at our heroes, Donny tells them to break off the transponder that is located just behind the left shoulder.  

Easier said than done!  But at great risk, Leo manages to slice the transponder off.  However, it doesn’t slow down the lumbering juggernaut.  “It didn’t stop him!” complains Leo.  

DONATELLO: No, but it cuts off his line of transmission!  Now he can’t upload himself out of that robot.  "

This seems like a waste of time and an unnecessary action bit -- didn't Don already "lock off all avenues of escape" in Act 3?

18.) Re: the following:

"SERLING:  Oh dear!  Some of these priceless antiques are a hundred years old!

MICHAELANGELO: Hey!  Who’re you calling antiques?  

Serling is mortified, and explains that he didn’t mean the Turtles because even though they are a hundred years old, they certainly don’t look it!  And furthermore…  Mikey laughs and cuts him off.  "

Okay, I'm confused -- is Serling a prissy, timid 'droid as he is portrayed in this scene, or the snippy, sarcastic 'droid we saw in the first episode? 

19.) Re: the following:

"As Cody takes the Lotus position, Mikey walks by Splinter and chuckles at his frizzed fur.  

MICHAELANGELO:  Nice doo, master.  

When Splinter starts to protest that it’s only temporary, Raph stops him.  

RAPHAEL:  I thought a true warrior must always adapt to any new situation.

For once, Splinter is at a loss for words.  Raph laughs as he walks away, and says that maybe the future isn’t so bad, after all. "

This might be a good place to use the "bad hair day" joke misused earlier (see my comment #7 above).

I'm a little concerned with what I see as the subtext of this scene -- if I am reading it right, Raph is thinking that the future might not be so bad because they can make fun of Master Splinter. That doesn't seem right.

20. ) Re: the following:

"Inside, the vault is crammed with computer equipment.  Viral sits amidst the gear and works on repairing his broken robot body.  He flexes his repaired hand with obvious satisfaction.  

VIRAL:  Yes!  I’m beginning to like this physical form.  

Just then, a vid-screen BEEPS, and he goes to answer it.  On the screen, we see a glitchy distorted image of the shadowy and mysterious SH’OKANABO.  She is not happy.

SH’OKANABO:  You have failed me.  

Viral bows his head in shame.  

VIRAL: Yes, mistress.  But in this form, I am more powerful than ever.  Give me one more chance to get down and dirty with those cursed Turtles, and they will pay!"

This doesn't make sense to me. First, it is OBVIOUS that Viral is far LESS powerful trapped in a robot body than he was when he could enter all kinds of electronic systems as will and disrupt/manipulate them. And second, I seriously doubt that after having all that power -- and then having it taken away from him when Don trapped him in this robot -- Viral would "begin to like" this metal body he is STUCK IN.

Also, if Viral is going to reappear in a future episode, do we really want him to be just another hulking robot, or the very dangerous sentient digital intelligence he was in this episode? I think the latter.

Perhaps a better way to play this would be as follows: Viral is not liking his new metal form, he's CURSING it. He pleads with SH'OKANABO to help free him from this prison, but SH'OKANABO expresses his displeasure with Viral's failure by telling him that he must remain in this limited form, as punishment, until SH'OKANABO deigns to free him, for his next mission (whatever that will be).

-- Pete


  1. Viral was not a he. Viral was a lady.

  2. I laughed so hard when the Moo Mesa gang showed up in the episode so well played on that. Especially later when they've befriended them and are playing poker. And I'm curious whether the opening scene was supposed to look at much like a parody of Legend of Zelda as it ended up being.

    I wish they would have kept some form of the old lair/foot soldier battle.

    I'm curious to see (as I catch up) why Viral was switched to female especially because it set up a very... uncomfortable relationship between her and Sh'okanabo. It was almost like an abusive relationship and something about it always felt wrong.