Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blast from the Past #525: January 1, 2006: Re: 138 ("Race For Glory") Second Draft, Re: 139 ("Head of State") Second Draft, and Re: 141 ("The Cosmic Completist") Outline

Subj: Re: 138 ("Race For Glory") Second Draft
Date: Sunday, January 1, 2006 6:09:40 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the Ep. 138 second draft. All in all, a fun romp, with a few minor problems.

1.) Re: the following:

Yeah, right after “lazy!” All this push-button future technology is making you soft, Mikey.  Not to mention flabby."

Not only does Leo not say "Yeah", but this "Yeah" is extraneous anyway.

2.) Re: the following:

A no-holds-barred, rubber-burning rumble, whose only limitation is the imagination of the designers of these technological marvels."

I won't get insanely picky about this, but I would like to emphasize that -- contrary to what is implicit in the phrase "no-holds-barred" -- there ARE some rules to this race. One way to do this would be to tweak the above line as follows:

A no-holds-barred, rubber-burning road race rumble, whose only limitation is the imagination of the designers of these technological marvels."

3.) Re: the following:

Fasten your seatbelts and hold onto lunches, bros.  We’re gonna start this race with a bang!"

Don doesn't say "gonna".

4.) Re: the following:

"Falcon holds out his hand to shake Don’s hand as Leo and Mikey scramble inside the Hovershell.
Name’s Falcon.  
Well, hop aboard, Mr. Falcon.  You just earned yourself a ride! 
RAPH plops an O’NEIL TECH CAP on Godman’s head, smirking at Biggles, who <HARUMPFS>."

It occurred to me while reading this that -- because "Falcon" is not a common name, Raph maybe should make the connection between this kid and the Godman Falcon he encountered in the "Across the Universe" episode in season 3.

5.) Re: the following:

Don, Raph and Falcon peer out at a TUNNEL ENTRANCE up ahead.  It’s way too small for the Hovershell to fit through.  
We ain’t gonna fit!
Then we’ll just have to MAKE it fit!
The Hovershell sheds its “shell”, which gets <SCORCHED> by the flame burst as the “TANK” half narrowly slips into the tunnel. "

I think this bit needs to be thought out a little more. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Tank part of the HoverShell isn't "way" smaller/narrower than the "shell" part. I also think they should do something a little more sophisticated than just "peer" at the tunnel to ascertain that it is too narrow for the Hovershell to fit through it. Maybe there could be a gizmo on board the Hovershell which views the road ahead and analyzes obstacles of this nature, displaying results on a screen, which could SHOW that the Hovershell is wider than the tunnel.

6.) Re: the following:

"MICHELANGELO – presses another button on the chair.  
Who says I have to get up?  Presto!
THE DRIVER’S SEAT – suddenly <BLASTS> free and up out of the roof like an ejector seat…
…But the Bot remains clinging to the steering wheel!"

HOW does Mike know that this particular button will activate the ejector seat -- is it labeled as such? And, if so, and the bot is clinging to the STEERING WHEEL, why does Mike think ejecting the SEAT will solve the problem?

7.) Re: the following:

"Suddenly the Hovershell <SOARS> INTO VIEW above/behind the Triple Tank.  
ON HOVERSHELL – As it swoops down on the Triple Tank, a hatch opens… and out comes Raph – on his motorcycle!  He <ROARS> down… "

Why is the Hovershell suddenly FLYING? And is this the smaller Hover TANK part, or the larger SHELL part? And... didn't we see Raph load the bike into the Hovershell's "trunk" earlier? I assume the "trunk" is in the back and part of the SHELL part of the Hovershell... which, if memory serves, was jettisoned by DOn so that the TANK part could make it through the fire tunnel. How then has the SHELL part caught up with the TANK part? Or am I missing something?

8.) Re: the following:

"As they approach the FINISH LINE, Raph weaves his bike all over the track, trying to avoid the Triple Tank’s tractor beam.   
WAIT! There’s still an active team in play! It’s—Yes! It’s the O’Neiltech team! But Triple Threat is closing in."

So... is this move with the bike a "legal" one? Do the race rules allow such a thing? Seems... odd.

-- Pete


Subj: Re: 139 ("Head of State") Second Draft
Date: Sunday, January 1, 2006 6:11:00 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the EP. 139 second draft. This is significantly improved, but it still has problems.

1.) Re: the following:

Way ahead of ya’! Let’s house-train this puppy!

WIDE on Turtles, Mikey’s nunchuk “electro-cable” unceremoniously unravels, rendering his weapon useless.

Whoa! Who took out my batteries?!"

I understand that Raph's weapons have also been "powered down", but it seems a bit odd that he has the "batteries" line, when in the preceding line it's MIKE who is shown.

2.) Re: the following:

He appears to be neutralized.

* The Mouser’s tongue suddenly shoots out form the pile, knocking over the Turtles.

* ON MOUSER as it emerges from the rubble and <ROARS>.

* ON TURTLES, collapsed on the ground.

Don, tell me again why you’re the “smart” Turtle?"

Minor point -- this is fine as is -- but would this be funnier if it were just DON who gets knocked over by the thing's tongue instead of all of the Turtles?

3.) Re: the following:

"* ON BISHOP as he grabs one of the dropped laser rifles.

It’s time this mouse bit back."

This line is kind of odd. It really only works (sort of) if Bishop knows at this point that this monster they are fighting is some variation of the original Mousers... does he know this? How?

4.) Re: the following:

"* CLOSE ON BISHOP AND LEO, face to face, on the floor.

Um. You all right?

51. * BISHOP
(beat, clearly uncomfortable)
You can get off me now."

Weird. Silly. Let's lose it.

5.) Re: the following:

"* OTS MOUSER AS Leo flings the flagpole/javelin past its head. It looks up to follow the projectile.

* CLOSE ON CHANDELIER FIXTURE as the flagpole slices it.

ON MOUSER, looking up in confusion and <GRUNTING>.

WIDE ON ROOM as the chandelier <CRASHES> onto the Mouser.

THE MOUSER <WHIMPERS> and burrows a hole into the floor, escaping."

It seems odd that a mere chandelier falling on its back would make this monster "whimper" and run off -- hasn't it already taken a lot more abuse than that during this fight? Maybe instead of being "sliced off", Leo's javelin throw DISLODGES the chandelier from the ceiling, so that when it falls, it's still connected to whatever power source makes it light up (we could even do a quick shot of the wire connected to it ripping through the ceiling, if necessary), so that when it hits the monster, the monster is agonizingly JOLTED by the electricity flowing through this huge light fixture.

6.) Re: the following:

"* ON TURTLES as they clamber aboard Bishop’s HoverCar.

Don’t tell me that thing’s got a tongue too!

ON BISHOP (THROUGH WINDSHIELD) as he takes the controls.

Not quite."

I assume this line from Bishop refers to the WINGS that this Mouser has. If so -- how does he know? If the answer is "because he helped make them", then I'm confused -- I thought these things has been tweaked and remodeled by Baxter Stockman over the years. How, then, would Bishop recognize each monster's specific features?
That aside, I think this exchange between Raph and Bishop is kind of lame and extraneous.
(Actually, as I re-read the whole Mouser-chases-hovercar sequence, I don't see any mention of wings. Have they been taken out? If so, how does this Mouser keep up with a FLYING CAR?)

7.) Re: the following:

As a d-d-duly ap-p-pointed PeaceKeeper of New York City, I r-request you cease any and all il-l-legal activities."

Minor point -- would a Peacekeeper "request" or "demand" that someone "cease all illegal activities"?

8.) Re: the following:

"92. * RAPHAEL
Well, we got rid of Bishop and that monster! I call that a good day’s work. Pizza’s on me!"

I think we have a new winner in the "Dumbass Dialogue" contest. This is really, REALLY bad.

9.) Re: the following:

There’s more of those creatures down there. And Bishop might be our only link to defeating them. This is far from over."

Is Leo now an actual PSYCHIC? I think he speaks with a bit too much absolute certainty here. How about this small tweak?

Something tells me there’s probably more of those creatures down there. And Bishop might be our only link to defeating them. This is far from over."

10.) Re: the following:

"* WIDE ON TURTLES as the force field appears to surround them.

A force field! Find the override!"

"FInd the override"?! WTF?

11.) Re: the following:

"122. BISHOP
Someone, help!

RACK FOCUS to an alien foot in the foreground. It stops.

CLOSE ON ALIEN as he turns around. He looks at his captor.



This begging and pleading bit is not Bishop at all, and in any event, it's extraneous -- the key thing here is that the alien saves him. In fact, it might be even MORE dramatic if the alien saves Bishop WITHOUT Bishop asking for its help.

12.) Re: the following:

" 124. BISHOP (VO)
He saved my life...


An alien. I imprisoned him, used him to create a race of monsters for war, and still, he saved me.

PAN ACROSS TURTLES’ FACES. They’re moved by Bishop’s story.

And if he, after everything, could show mercy. How could I dare do less.

* CLOSE ON BISHOP, still within his prison.

127. * BISHOP (CONT’D)
And so, I sought out allies instead of enemies. The Earth Protection Force became the Galactic Alliance. And I knew that peace, not war, was the answer to safety."

I'm still having some problems with the facile nature of this change in Bishop. Not that we have to go into great length and great detail, but I would like to somehow suggest that Bishop's monumental change of heart -- though SPURRED by this incident with the alien saving him -- didn't happen overnight. Here's what I suggest:

" 124. BISHOP (VO)
He saved my life...


An alien. I imprisoned him, treated him as a mere unwilling biomatter donor to be used in the creation of a race of monsters for war against his kind... and still, he saved me.

PAN ACROSS TURTLES’ FACES. They’re moved by Bishop’s story.

Try as I might, I could not get this incident out of my mind. If this alien, after everything, could show mercy... how could I dare do less? And, gradually, my attitude towards these beings changed. 

* CLOSE ON BISHOP, still within his prison.

127. * BISHOP (CONT’D)
I came to realize  that friendship and cooperation, not suspicion and xenophobia, was the key to peace and safety. And so, I sought out alien species as allies instead of enemies. The Earth Protection Force eventually became a founding element of the Galactic Alliance. "

13.) Re: the following:

"* CLOSE ON HUGE MOUSER as it turns around. Strapped to its back is BAXTER STOCKMAN! His pulsating brain can be seen beneath grafts of alien flesh, sewn together like an intergalactic Frankenstein’s Monster."

Maybe I'm not seeing what the writer intends, but the vision I get in my head when reading this description of Stockman doesn't do much for me.
It also just occurred to me while reading this that we have an opportunity here to bring Stockman's various transfigurations "full circle", in a way, by TURNING HIM INTO A MOUSER! In other words, instead of just having him "strapped to the back" of a Mouser, he has actually managed to incorporate his brain into the alien flesh of one of these monsters. I think it would make for a much more interesting visual.

14.) Re: the following:

"* ON BISHOP as the huge mouser places him within the CEREBRAL TRANSPLANT MACHINE. Two steel slabs are connected through a series of cables and computers. At the head of each slab is a complex array of sharp blades.

137. * BAXTER (OS)
In a moment, titanium blades will sever your cranium just above the supraorbital process. Your brain will be extracted in favor of a, shall we say..."

It might be creepy and fun if we did a bit where Baxter's machines start to PREPARE Bishop's head for the transplant, by first SHAVING it (and this could later be fodder for gags, if appropriate, from Mike or Raph about Bishop having to join "Hair Club For Men", wigs, etc.), then using a kind of MARKER to draw onto Bishop's now-shaved head the lines where his skull will be cut open!

15.) Re: the following:

" 145. * LEONARDO
Let’s go guys! The bigger they are, the harder they fall!"

Might be fun to have Raph or Mike give a rejoinder to Leo's "rah rah" line here, something to the effect of "... As long as they don't fall ON you!"

16.) Re: the following:

"* ON BAXTER, shoulders hunched, BACK TO CAMERA.

178. * BAXTER
It’s gone. My Mousers. My lab. All gone.

* He turns TO CAMERA, eyes quivering with hidden tears.

179. * BAXTER
And you saved me from it. Thank you."

I know we only have twenty minutes or so to tell these tales, but I REALLY have a problem with these instantaneous character shifts, ESPECIALLY with someone as twisted and deformed (mentally AND physically) as Baxter Stockman. It would be good if we could reconfigure this scene so it doesn't play so simplistically and sappily. Maybe we could have Bishop help Baxter to understand -- using Bishop's own experience as a guide -- that even though it doesn't happen overnight, it IS possible to change even long-hardened hearts.

17.) Re: the following:

Let’s hope it doesn’t put us out of a job.

Mikey, I got a feeling that’s not going to be a problem..."

That Leo line is written like it should be coming out of Raph's mouth. Let's have Raph say it.

-- Pete


Subj: Re: 141 ("The Cosmic Completist") Outline
Date: Sunday, January 1, 2006 6:11:48 PM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on the Ep. 141 outline.

1.) Re: the following:

"The countdown commences, and the O Neill Tech Shuttle soars skyward! ( (Leader IG tells his story to the Turtles. In FLASHBACK we see snippets of the story:"

As evidenced by the fact that the Turtles are going into space with the IG leader, the IG has obviously already told his story -- or at least enough of it to convince the Turtles to help him. It should NOT appear as if this was the first time he has told the Turtles his story. So I think that should be made clear here, and the exposition by the IG is EXTRA exposition, i.e. more details about the IG's dilemma, within which we can also lay out the basics of the problem which the Turtles have already heard (between the end of the Teaser and the beginning of Act One).

2.) Re: the following:

"   Unknown reptile mutate variation. Rarity: Unique. Price guide value: unknown. Not on checklist. Not slated for collection.

Aramzedo practically falls out of his chair at the potential the Turtles represent. He orders the robot to collect the Turtles,   They will make perfect additions to my ultimate COLLECTION!! "

I wonder if it might be funnier if Aramzedo doesn't see the Turtles as being such great collectibles, but -- like many collectors -- sees them as "tradeable items" which he can trade with another collector for something he REALLY wants. This "low grading" insult could really get Mikey's goat!

3.) Re: the following:

"INSIDE THE SHIP   Aramzedo boasts a facetious welcome to their   new home. It s a wondrous ship inside made up of multiple   glass encased platforms that look like small slices of alien cities or cross sections of buildings. (Playsets!)

They also find an immense collection room of oversized glass cases, containing all of the quarry Aramzedo has captured over the years mounted on polymer-wrapped cards (which act like life-support systems for the folks in the airtight polymer). "

I think it would be cool and fun to continue the "collectible toy on blister-packed card" analogy even further, and actually SHOW the creation of the "backing board" or "card" that the IG leader is going to be put on. A Pack-Bot or a variant of the Pack-Bot could be seen using a laser or torch and cutting a backing board out of some sheets of a stiff substance -- could be metal or plastic. Another Bot could be spraying on the name and pertinent details of the IG leader on the card.
Then we see the IG, encased in the polymer, being sealed to the card like an action figure in its "blister pack". (Had an idea for this, too, kind of riffing off the old sci-fi concept of "slow glass" -- this is "slow plastic", a special kind of polymer which when fully engulfing an organism, slows down that organism's body functions and metabolism to the point where it is as if time has stopped for them and they are preserved -- "mint on card"! -- essentially forever.

4.) Re: the following:

"Aramzedo protests that no one is allowed in his Trophy Room but him! He is aghast at the wide variety of   contaminants that the Turtles are dragging around with them, and that the smallest germ can wreck his collection!"

It would be fun to satirize here the obsessive "handling rules" that some collectors have for their prizes -- don't get fingerprints on the plastic, only pick it up in a certain way, etc..

5.) Re: the following:

"Mikey realizes that Aramzedo has stacked the deck. He has no intention of the Turtles damaging his collection &in fact &   Those balls are what Aramzedo keeps these things in to keep them in mint condition.
Raph,   Mikey s really lost his geeky marbles now.
Don:   No, he s right. He s using his head. The balls, they re used to contain the Dokepals   they re Dokepal-proof. We can use the balls against them. "

A little bit of a logic problem here: If Aramzedo is using these protective balls to keep his collection of Dokepals "mint", why then is he sending them into battle against the Turtles WITHOUT their protective balls? I think this could be saved by having Mike just make that leap of logic (that they can use the balls against the Dokepals) by intuiting that they must be really hard/dense because Aramzedo -- as a great collector -- would want his precious Dokepals to be protected in their containers.

6.) Re: the following:

"Aramzedo would probably be unbeatable even if the Turtles were rested. As it is, it s a hopeless fight. He s quick, he s clever and he s gigantic.

He s analyzed all the data his Pack-Bot sent him and knows how the Turtles fight."

This "Instant Fight Analysis" bit was pretty silly back when we had Jammerhead doing it, and it's even worse here and now.

7.) Re: the following:

"First he uses his voice-synthesizer to imitate Leo s voice, so the Turtles aren t sure if they should listen to Leo s orders or not:

Leo,   Evasive maneuvers, divert him with multiple target areas.
Mikey,   Dude, is that you or not you?
Leo,   It s me, bro.
Mikey,   Me, you? Or me, him?

Then Aramzedo dodges the Turtles weapons, cross vectoring them and setting them up to collide and strike each other. (Aramzedo:   Aramzedo is the master of all action accessories, puny ones! )
With the Turtles disoriented and stunned, Aramzedo efficiently polymers and cards the Turtles one by one."

This is all incredibly lame.

8.) Re: the following:

"Raph wirelessly uploads the DNA data hologram from Don s gauntlet.

Projecting the hologram, Raph, taunts Aramzedo that he has the rarest of all items for Aramzedo s collection, but his Pack-Bots aren t powerful enough to catch this quarry.†

Aramzedo, infuriated, orders his robots to scan the hologram to add this quarry to their checklist for immediate collection. †

The Pack-Bots do, and upload Aramzado s DNA signature into their   acquire at all costs!

Programmed with the bio-signature of Aramzedo, they attack him.†With Aramzedo occupied, Raph frees his brothers, while the Leader IG frees his crew!

Aramzedo, struggles, polymer-bound, immobilized. "

When did Raph acquire Don's gauntlet? Or is the writer saying that
somehow Raph is wirelessly accessing Don's gauntlet to use its memory to display the DNA hologram? Doesn't that seem just a little bit strange coming from non-techno Raph?
And I have to say that this whole bit with the display of the DNA is all pretty weak, given that a whole bunch of logic has to be ignored to make it work. I think we need to find a better way of having the Turtles defeat this guy.

9.) Re: the following:

"Raph picks up the kicking and screaming Aramzedo, who painlessly bops him on the nose.

  Hey Mikey, Raph says,   I ve got the perfect item to start your new collection!"

While it would be cool to have a kind of "poetic justice" ending where the collector becomes the collected, this is not it.

-- Pete


  1. Loving these posts Peter. It's wonderful to see this type of back-stage work on a show. I would love to invite you to a "web panel" on anthropomorphic artwork and games scheduled for June 9th, 2012. If interested, please contact me at It would just be a one hour "web panel" via google+. We've already got David Petersen of Mouse Guard fame on board, and I'm still going to work on Stan Sakai to join in as well :). Having you there would make the 'pillars of anthropomorphism' complete. Thanks, and good luck with your efforts even if you cannot attend.

  2. who's idea was it to bring bishop into the future without time travel? Pretty brilliant :)