Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blast from the Past #485: August 11, 2005: Re: #119 ("Obsolete") Second Draft

Subj: Re: #119 ("Obsolete") Second Draft
Date: Thursday, August 11, 2005 2:41:49 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


notes on 119 second draft

I think this draft is significantly better than the first, though I do have a few comments.

1.) Re: the following:

"CODY turns the machine ON. THE TIME WINDOW <CRACKLES> with energy. SPARKS and KIRBY DOTS flicker everywhere. All of the TURTLES gather in front of the machine with Splinter as the machine s <WHINE> builds to a crescendo & And <BELCHES> THICK BLACK SMOKE all over them. SPARKS <ZAP> MIKEY, and when all is said and done &
THE TURTLES are no closer to home, covered in BLACK SOOT, eyes blinking. They inspect one another, bummed, except for Mikey.
Did he send us to Jersey, maybe?"

I'm afraid this "covered in black soot" bit crosses the line for me. I'm sure we can be funny here without this sort of silly slapstick.

2.) Re: the following:

"Mikey slides a PLATE OF FOOD in front of Cody.
And we have traditional twentieth century chow, sort of. Dig in, genius!
THE FOOD is unidentifiable. Serling pushes it aside."

I don't get the joke here.

3.) Re: the following:

"DON AND RAPH each eye their plates of Mikey s food, discreetly DUMPING them in a nearby plant, which HYPER-EVOLVES."

I really don't get this one. How does food that Mikey prepared make a plant "hyper-evolve"? And what does "hyper-evolve" mean? This seems like a somewhat pointless non sequitur.

4.) Re: the following:

I never have any reason to leave & I have compu-tutors and a Robo-pilates unit. I download all the media feeds. Serling takes care of everything else."

I question the use of the phrase "Robo-pilates". I think a more generic phrase -- i.e. "robo-exercise" --would be preferable.

5.) Re: the following:

"CONSTABLE BIGGLES   stands beside his CAR as a DEPUTY walks toward him, loaded with TO-GO CUPS.
First rule of code enforcement. Never start the day without tea!/<Whoop!>
Suddenly, the HOVERSHELL <WHIZZES> by, so close that its wash <SPLASHES> them both with TEA! Beat."

As I pointed out in my last comments, as Biggles is now a robot, tea drinking would seem to be somewhat unlikely as a habit for him. It might be funny to do a variant on the old "robot drinking oil" gag instead -- have him start the day with a hot, steaming cup of "synthetic microbead polymeric lubricant". OR... if it made sense, have Biggles do things like drink tea -- even if it doesn't really DO anything for him (he just collects it in some internal catch basin and later drains it out) -- because he wants to appear to be more human. This could lead to other gags of this sort in future episodes. In this case, it might be a good idea for the Deputy who is giving him the tea to give him a "what the heck is a robot drinking TEA for?" kind of look, or maybe even make a comment on it.

6.) Re: the following:

"DON struggles with the wheel as Cody yells to him.
Right Pedal! The other RIGHT!"

Not only is "The other right!" a very overused gag of late, it's really silly here, as for it to be even REMOTELY funny, you have to buy the idea that brainiacs Don and/or Cody either don't know their left feet from their right, or they don't know how to describe a left foot as something other than "your other right". I know it's a small point, but I feel compelled to point it out as it is a good example of the kind of "comedy" writing I think we should try to steer clear of -- a kind of formulaic "Haven't had a joke in ten seconds -- plug in Standard Gag #47!"

7.) Re: the following:

Nah &Usually, Tuesday's our day off! ( (getting serious) You wanna call this off?"

The use of "off" as the last word in these two consecutive lines is a bit awkward.

8.) Re: the following:

A little young to be working with such serious, aren t you?"

Seems like there is a word or two missing from this line after "serious".

9.) Re: the following:

Girls mature faster than boys & especially girls from Omitron with five times the brain capacity."

So does she have a giant head?

10.) Re: the following:

This is a Transcendental Lathe. It takes the user s mental anagrams and translates them into executable commands. Then the mechs go to work.
ALL THE TURTLES look deadpan at DON. He <sighs>.
It turns your thoughts into stuff."

I think "engrams", not "anagrams", should be used here. Also, I think Leo would be able to follow Starlee's description -- maybe it would be better if just Raph and Mikey looked at each other with a "Huh?" expression.

11.) Re: the following:

No, you have a transcendental Lathe &and me. How fast can you think of ways to kick bird heads?"

Would that line work better with "bird brains" instead of "bird heads"?

12.) Re: the following:

Oh, yeah?
Suddenly, an <ALARM KLAXON> sounds from O.S. The GUNJIN LEADER runs back to his comrades.
Watch the skies. Honor' s coming right down your throat!"

Cody's lines seem inappropriate here, not least because there's no way for him to know WHAT the alarm means. And "Honor' s coming right down your throat!" has a really nasty sound to it.

13.) Re: the following:

The roof! Raph, cut us a path!"

I think using the word "cut" in the context of what actually happens here is off a bit. Perhaps Leo could just say "Raph, we need a path!"

14.) Re: the following:

"MICHELANGELO looks over the edge in panic, and reaches out before being GRABBED BACK by the GUNJIN LEADER.

As I pointed out in my last comments, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me that the Gunjin -- who had just been doing his level best to kill the Turtles -- would SAVE Mikey by pulling him back from the edge. I think it would work better if he PUSHED Mikey out, and then Raph can save both Mikey AND Cody for an even more dramatic scene.
But at the very least, the Gunjin should not save Mikey.

15.) Re: the following:

What do they do? WHAT DO THEY DO?!
MIKEY leaps up, grabs the CHUCKS, and gives them a <FAST WHIRL>. With each spin, they throw out <LASER BURSTS>.
One of which NAILS SERLING in the head. His EYE BREAKS, <SPARKING>!
They cause robots to go half blind. What a useful feature! Idiot."

Given that I'm PRETTY sure we don't want Mike's 'chuks to shoot lasers whenever they spin around (??!!), I think we need to reconfigure this gag. Perhaps Mike is just so glad to have ANY kind of 'chuk in his hands that he lets fly with a quick series of wild 'chuk moves -- which end with one of the 'chuks CLONKING Serling in the head/face/eye.

-- Pete

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