Thursday, March 29, 2012
Blast from the Past #506: October 17, 2005: Re: 128 ("The Freaks Come Out at Night") First Draft
Subj: Re: 128 ("The Freaks Come Out at Night")
Date: Monday, October 17, 2005 8:23:40 PM
From: Peter Laird
To: Lloyd Goldfine
Here are my notes on the Ep128 first draft. I'm really trying to like this one, but it's difficult... I find it mostly a dismal collection of horror/sci-fi movie cliches.
1.) Re: the following:
"SERLING - looks down with envy at the meditating Splinter.
Someday you must show me how you manage to tune them out.
<belch!> Excuse me."
Why is Splinter belching? Not clever OR funny.
2.) Re: the following:
Just the Turtle with the flair for flatulence, the gift of gas, the belvedere of belches... Michelangelo!"
"Flatulence" refers to farting -- they're burping here. And "belvedere"...? Webster's defines it as "a structure (as a cupola or a summerhouse) designed to command a view". I don't get it. Maybe "baron of belches" would make more sense.
3.) Re: the following:
"ON SERLING - protecting the vase from being shattered as Leo, then Raph, then Splinter fly past him, <THUDDING> into walls and furniture. Finally, Mikey lumbers into scene and shoves Serling aside. Mikey picks up the vase and takes a <CHOMP> out of it."
Sigh... Please -- no eating of ceramic artifacts. We got rid of it in the kitchen scene only to find it in this bit... and it's just as dopey here.
4.) Re: the following:
"Leo, Don, Raph, Splinter and Cody grab Mikey and drag him to the lab, leaving Serling to survey the damage.
I suppose you want ME to clean this."
I think it sounds better if instead of "clean this", Serling's line ends with "clean this UP".
5.) Re: the following:
I'm fine. But if his head starts spinning around, I am so out of here!"
"I am so out of here" doesn't sound like Leo. It does sound like Raph, though.
6.) Re: the following:
"ON MICHELANGELO - His black cocoon suddenly <BURSTS> open, revealing Mikey now fully transformed into a full fledged alien of Sh'Okanabo's species: a KANABO DRONE!"
I can't recall seeing any art for what this "Kanobo drone" is supposed to look like, unless it's supposed to look EXACTLY like Sh'Okanobo... which I think is pretty boring. I think it would be more interesting if the creatures affected by the gene seeds were PARTIALLY transformed with some kind of Kanobo-esque elements. And here's a head-scratcher -- why does the transformed pigeon that we see in the opening look exactly like a pigeon?
I have to take this opportunity to say once again that I'm not really loving this whole "transform into an alien species and back into your unaltered, unaffected original state again in the space of a few hours" thing.
7.) Re: the following:
"MIKEY KANABO DRONE <BURSTS> free from his restraints. The others react in shock. Don steps up to him cautiously.
Mikey? Is that you in there, bro?"
This action and this line is idiotic, especially coming from Don. I mean, Mikey's transformed into a monster -- and "Don steps up to him cautiously"?
8.) Re: the following:
What's happening to you, Mikey? You looks like that Sh'Okanabo guy!"
And Leo -- you sound like that Raphael guy!
9.) Re: the following:
It's ninja time!"
10.) Re: the following:
"INT. CODY'S PENTHOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS
Kanabo Mikey bounds in and leaps up to one of the huge windows, <SMASHING> his way through. The remaining Turtles, Splinter and Armor Cody charge out after him.
We'll have to track him with the Hovershell! C'mon!
The guys all rush out."
Unless I'm mistaken, Cody's penthouse is on a high upper floor (as are most penthouses). WHERE is everybody leaping/charging/rushing to?
11.) Re: the following:
You guys take Leo. Me 'n Cody'll jet after Mikey!
ARMOR CODY - grabs Raph and <BLASTS> off with his armor's jets after Mikey.
It's just an expressiooooooon!"
Raph's last line here is dopey.
12.) Re: the following:
13.) Re: the following:
"CODY - swoops down to the roof, helping Raph to his feet.
Face it, Raph. You're no Mikey.
Yeah, well Mikey's no Mikey right now either!"
"You're no Mikey"...? Lame. I really don't like weak lines used to set up weak gags/repartee (a la this one and the "jet" bit in comment 11).
14.) Re: the following:
"WIDEN TO REVEAL - a "nest" of KANABO DRONES perched in the rafters above them. Mikey Kanabo is among them, as is an Original Ray Kanabo (among several Kanabos wearing "Famous Original Ray's" aprons), along with other Kanabos whom we might recognize as former hot dog stand Patrons from the Teaser and Act One. Raph and Cody are surrounded!"
As I pointed out in my previous notes, I don't see WHY all of these Kanobo drones are clustered in the basement of "Famous Ray's" diner. What's the rationale? Why there? Why aren't they spreading out all over the city?
And this may be the first basement I've ever heard of with "rafters"!
15.) Re: the following:
Don' worry, kid. I'll protect ya!
Raph hurls his sais, which <THUNK> into the top a huge shelf. He leaps/flips over/past the attacking Kanabo and grabs onto the sais, using his weight to tip the shelf over, bringing it and its contents down on the Kanabos.
Nah. With THIS!
Careful avoid any spilling slime in the process, Raph <YANKS> his sais free. He and Cody charge up the wooden stairs/ladder."
This kind of banter/action is pointless. And remember -- Cody's in a freakin' armored suit! What's he so nervous about? HE should be protecting Raph.
And it seems preposterous to me that Raph could do what he is described as doing here and not get any slime on him. "Careful", indeed. (Not to mention that it's not a terribly bright tactic. I mean, hasn't Raph already witnessed what these things are capable of? And he thinks dropping a shelf and its contents -- whatever they are -- on them is going to do any good?!)
16.) Re: the following:
"Raph and Cody brace themselves for the worst... when suddenly the Kanabo Drones stop what they're doing, then all turn and bow down in one direction, facing away from Raph.
Aw, come on! My jokes aren't THAT bad!"
Yes, they are... especially that one.
17.) Re: the following:
"PAN ALONG AN ALIEN CITY – as we see HUMANOID ALIENS in various stages of “Kanabo infection”, consuming mass quantities of food, spewing green slime, engulfed in “black stain cocoons”, etc.
Taking them over… until all they become Kanabo themselves in a massive global “Day of Awakening”!"
But haven't we seen from this script so far that the "awakening" part of it takes place very quickly, and there is no waiting for a so-called "Day of Awakening"?
18.) Re: the following:
And so the infestation spreads until the planet’s resources are sucked dry.
EXT. SPACE – FLASHBACK
Sh’okanabo’s Ship now <BLASTS> off from the now devastated “husk” of a dead world, heading off into space.
Then the Sh’Okanabo, the prime specimen whom all others serve, moves on to the next world and begins the process anew."
Again I have to ask the question I posed in my last set of comments -- what's the point of all of this if the end result is that when the planet's resources are all "sucked dry", the only Kanobo who survives is Sh'Okanobo? I mean, if all of the resources of a planet are GONE, how can any of these Kanobos continue to live? And if they DON'T live, what, exactly, has Sh'Okanobo accomplished, other than killing one more planet? He certainly hasn't perpetuated his species, if HE'S the only one left.
19.) Re: the following:
"Cody remains still non-responsive. Raph hits a control on Cody’s armor <FIRING> its jets and <ROCKETING> the two of them up and away from Sh’Okanabo and his Drones.
THE KANABO DRONES (now including Don Kanabo and Splinter Kanabo) – leap up and climb the walls and ceiling after Raph and Cody.
FOLLOW RAPH AND CODY – flying around shakily as Raph tries to steer the still non-responsive Cody’s armor. "
I realize that the writer has kind of painted himself in a corner, but really -- a set of armor with CONTROLS ON THE OUTSIDE??!! Just wait 'til one of their enemies figures that out. 'Bye-bye Cody!
20.) Re: the following:
"Raph “steers” Cody into an open RAY’S FAMOUS HOVER TRUCK, locking the doors. Kanabo Drones swarm all over the truck <POUNDING> on it, trying to force their way in."
Totally ridiculous. Now Raph has fine control over Cody's suit -- enough to not only aim it so it goes into a truck, but also doesn't CRASH into the truck -- while he's "flying" it from the outside.
21.) It's curious how all of the OTHER characters who have turned into Kanobo drones were violently active and really noisy -- yet when Cody gets infected, he doesn't make a sound or any kind of weird motion. Guess following the "logic" established earlier for the transformation would blow the whole "Oooh..., scary!" reveal as transformed Cody pops out of his leaky suit.
22.) Re: the following:
"INT. HOVER TRUCK – MOVING – CONTINUOUS
With Raph pinned to the windshield, Cody Kanabo raises his free hand, preparing to bring it down on Raph for the coup de grace. But as a RAY OF SUNLIGHT hits him, Kanabo Cody hesitates.
What’re ya waitin’ for, kid? Just do it an’ get it over with awready!"
Given the circumstances, this is a REALLY stupid line from Raph... not to mention totally unnecessary.
23.) Re: the following:
"ON KANABO CODY – as the STREAKS OF SUNLIGHT hit him, his Kanabo Drone “outer shell” begins to SHRIVEL and <CRACK> open, and then finally TURN TO DUST, revealing Cody inside, unharmed and dazed."
Oh. My. God. So... all along, these characters weren't actually turning into Kanobos -- they just had an outer shell which LOOKED like Kanobos??!! WHAT is the $*##&^@@ point of the GENE SEEDS then?
24.) Re: the following:
"He reacts in horror to the Kanabo Drones around him.
<girly scream!> Monsters!
He turns and runs into a pile of slime-dripping gene seeds.
<girly scream!> Green slime!
He tears out through the door to:
INT. HOT DOG STAND – CONTINUOUS
Mikey reacts in horror to the trashed hot dog stand.
<girly scream!> Half eaten raw wieners! "
25.) Re: the following:
"He “decloaks” and <SLASHES> open a GAS MAIN with a claw arm. "
This is STILL in the story? From my last notes:
"Hmm... a being who destroys worlds -- and his BEST way of eliminating the evidence is to slash open a gas main... and then (apparently) HOPE it causes a fire? EXTREMELY lame."
26.) Re: the following:
"MIKEY - looks back tearfully at his beloved hot dog stand.
<girly scream!> This is NOT my idea of a wienie roast!"
Lame line, not funny. And really, let's not overuse the "girly scream" bit.
27.) All in all, in my opinion a disappointing episode. And if you think about it, there's NO REASON -- other than a cheap shock thrill -- for the Turtles, Splinter or Cody to be turned into Kanobo drones. Doing so is repetitive and boring, and turns every action scene into a weak copy of the one that came before it.
Actually, I take part of that back -- it MIGHT be interesting if CODY was the only one so affected (maybe it's not so easy, i.e. mere "sliming", to become infected... or maybe the Turtles and Splinter, given their unique biochemistry, have some immunity to it), as that would give the Turtles great motivation -- they would have to protect Cody, while simultaneously protecting themselves and the public from him.
I also have to reiterate that I think a big opportunity for chills is completely lost here with the simplistic treatment of the infectious goop which is spewed on victims. The idea of a "gene seed" held out much more interesting options, in my opinion, for a nasty kind of creepy way of people getting infected -- for example, the "gene seeds" being actual seed-like things which could be partially active, sprouting hooked cilia with which to grab onto and burrow into peoples bodies.
Lastly, the threat posed by the gene seeds/goop is pretty much completely made nil by the instantaneous and complete "cure" by the sunlight. I think it would make a lot more sense if -- while MOST of the transformation is reversed -- SOME of it lingers, and if we only transformed Cody instead of three Turtles and Splinter too, we could show in the next episode Cody recovering from it completely, so the infection has more of the feel of a real threat.