Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blast from the Past #623: June 22, 2003: Ep. 42/"City at War" Part 3 outline, and Ep. 40/"City at War" Part 1 first draft script, June 25, 2003: Re: Christmas Turtles, July 2, 2003: various things, and July 4, 2003: Episode 43 outline/"The Garbageman Returns"

Subj:  Ep. 42/"City at War" Part 3 outline, and Ep. 40/"City at War" Part 1 first draft script
Date:  Sunday, June 22, 2003 4:35:13 PM
From:  Peter Laird
To:    Lloyd Goldfine


I read the Ep. 42/"City at War" Part 3 outline, and Ep. 40/"City at War" Part 1 frst draft script.

I don't have any comments on the outline for Ep. 43 -- it looks cool.

I do have a few comments of the script for Ep. 40:

1.) In line 47 (VOICE ON THE PHONE), I suggest adding "Karai" to the end of his first line so it reads "It is as you suspected, Mistress Karai."

2.) The two TV "talking heads" discussing the gang wars are still both male. Any reason not to make one a woman as I suggested?

3.) When Mikey is playing with his Ninja, Purple Dragon, and Mobster action figures, these should look obviously homemade or customized.

4.) I'm still not 100% comfortable with the Pavlovian response-type "see Foot/fight Foot" scenario which is playing out when the Turtles are observing the Foot in the warehouse, and I especially don't like the idea (as expressed by Mikey) that they have Master Splinter's blessing to go forward with this battle -- I really doubt he would have gven his blessing. I do like the struggle among the guys to decide WHAT they should do, especially on Leo's part, because he feels (misplaced) guilt about sparking the whole city at war thing by taking out the Shredder. However, Leo SHOULD also be smart enough to recognize the precarious nature of the situation (i.e. if he jumps in -- literally! -- to this gang war) for himself and his brothers. 

As we have discussed a number of times, it is REALLY important to me that we keep the "accidental hero" nature of the Turtles intact and NOT turn them into the proactive vigilante Batman/Spider-Man type who goes out looking for wrongs to right. And I feel we're getting VERY close to that with this scene.

My suggested solution to this is simple and I think logical: While the four Turtles are arguing about what -- if anything -- they should do about this "city at War" situation and the immediate issue of these Foot ninja in the warehouse below them, they are spotted by Foot Ninja lookouts (an obvious and logical thing for the Foot to have posted aound the warehouse for security reasons) and those Foot lookouts attack with arrows, shuriken, etc. THEN the Turtles MUST respond in self-defense, which action leads to the rest of that scene as described in the script.

5.) You know how much I love the fake martial arts of the MATRIX movies (I'm joking), so when I saw the bit where Don says he wants to "try out one of my favorite movie stunts"  (described as "he slams his staff into a crack in the floor and starts spinning around it, holding on with two arms (as in the big fight between Neo and the multiple Smiths in "Matrix: Reloaded")") I thought it would be MUCH funnier if he indeed does try to do that, but we show how it DOESN'T work, i.e. as he starts spinning around he slips lower and lower on the staff until he's hit the floor.

6.) Near the end of the episode, Raph's line (158) to Leo ("Leo! This is my fault too!") seems weird and out of place to me.

-- Pete


Subj: Re: Christmas Turtles
Date: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 12:09:05 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine

In a message dated 6/22/03 10:53:53 PM, Lloyd writes:

<< Hey Peter -

For the Christmas story that we're trying to do, I'd really like to have
the big Christmas celebration happen in the Turtle's Lair as opposed to
April's place.  What do you think?>>


I can't think of any particular reason not to have the Christmas get-together in the Turtles' lair, except POSSIBLY that April's apartment is cozier. I could go either way.

I do have a few comments on the outline for this episode:

1.) While I think it's fine and appropriate to keep the Christmas focus for this episode, I wonder if we could work in a few other Christmastime holiday traditions from other religions/cultures (not to any ridiculous degree, of course).
Could Splinter know of and practice some Japanese Christmas traditions? I did a little searching on the Web and found the following:

"There is no official celebration of Christmas in Japan as less than one percent of the population is Christian. There is an unofficial widespread secular observance of Christmas due to the influence of Americans after the war and Japan's Christmas industry that provides decorations and trinkets for Christian nations. 

As the Christmas industry grew, it was natural for the Japanese to become interested in the Christian celebration and to absorb some of the customs into their own society. 
In a few homes you may find small artificial Christmas trees decorated with small toys, dolls, ornaments, gold paper fans, lanterns, and even wind chimes. Candles are also placed on the branches. One of the most popular ornaments is the origami swan. The Christmas trees are usually purchased with the decorations already in place. 

Hoteiosho, one of the gods from the Japanese pantheon, brings the gifts. Since he has eyes in the back of his head, it's natural for him to observe the behavior of the children in Japan. 
One Japanese tradition that is a boon to the baking industry is the Christmas Cake. People purchase them since it is not normally a home project. 

The Daiku, or "Great Nine, refers to Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony." This is traditionally performed in many places in Japan during the Christmas and New Year Season. 
In Tokyo, unusual decorations are often created such as this 14-foot tall tree made from 3,795 champagne glasses. It's illuminated from within and the colors light up the night. 
Christmas is often a time for adults to indulge in heavy-duty consumption. Christmas Eve is considered by many to be a prime time of the year for buying diamonds and other jewelry to give to a romantic partner. 

On December 26, the decorations are taken down and the Japanese prepare for the fast-approaching New Year's holiday. New Year's Eve is the day to thoroughly clean the house and to dress in your finest clothes. New Year's decorations are usually fashioned from bamboo and pine. The kadomatsu, or gate pine, is placed at the front entrance and the main emphasis of the season is new beginnings. The New Year festivities continue until January 3."

This was just a quick and by no means exhaustive search -- there may be much more. But I kind of like the god with the eyes in the back of his head!

2.) Another idea -- could Casey be Jewish? Might be a good way to bring Hanukkah into the story.

-- Pete


Subj: various things
Date: Wednesday, July 2, 2003 1:00:11 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


I've just finished reviewing the storyboards for Ep. 34/"Secret Origins-- Part Three", and earlier today I checked out the storyboards for the "reflections" episode (the "clip" show), and don't have anything to say about them except for that there is a moment in "Reflections" when Mike shows his eyes, and they are drawn in the storyboard as white and pupil-less... I think they should have pupils, as Raph's do in the Kirby episode when he comes out of the shower.

Also, here are a few comments on Ep. 41/"City At War" Part Two first draft script:

1.) In Mike's line 9, I would change the word "remains" to "remnants".

2.) Leo doing the "Bock! Bock!" chicken noise thing in line 22 is too goofy for the situation and also not very Leo-ish. I would eliminate it and just have Leo get right in Raph's face (an inch away) and say "Chicken."

3.) Dragonface's line 39 -- can we really say "gangbangers" in this show?

4.) Line 41 -- why does Dragonface says to Hun "You sell out the Dragons to your "master" Shredder..."? How did Hun "sell them out"?

5.) It seems very odd that Leo is so wrought and tense and then suddenly he is calm and meditative (line 125). It seems like this line is just a set-up for Mike's following line, which I think is weak.

6.) I suggest changing Karai's line 129 to read "And I am here to restore order to the Foot." I think it better sets up Raph's line 134.

7.) The whole bit with the chuks and bats bouncing off the Tall Aide with zero effect is very silly.


I also wanted to comment on some art that was faxed to me recently.

Sewer Sub -- fine.

Turtle Robot -- either version is fine. I don't see a whole lot of difference between "alternate head v.1" and "alternate head v.2"... in any event, the downward-pointed beak is a bit too much, looking more eagle-like than turtle-like.

Leatherhead hatchling -- a little goofy, but okay.

"Porpoise" breathing apparatus -- fine.

-- Pete


Subj: Episode 43 outline/"The Garbageman Returns"
Date: Friday, July 4, 2003 12:42:03 AM
From: Peter Laird
To:   Lloyd Goldfine


Here are my comments on Episode 43 outline/"The Garbageman Returns":

1.) When Mike and Don follow the parade of junked cars underwater and come upon the "City beneath the sea", are they actually in the ocean or are they still in the river?

2.) Garbageman's rationale and his "Muck Monster" don't make a whole lot of sense.

3.) Raph and Leo's entry into the Garbageman's Undersea City using the Porpoise is kind of silly, and not very ninja-like. I thought the Porpoise was just like a scuba breathing apparatus -- how can it blow through "heavily shielded gates"?

4.) "Arming themselves with junk armor to protect against the GarbageMan"...? Why do the Turtles need armor now? They didn't in their last encounter.

5.) The "antidote" seems to jump around without reason or rhyme -- it's in the Garbageman's hands one moment, then it's knocked free, then Garbageman has it again and Raph's trying to grab it from him.

6.) "The GarbageMan goes on to explain himself a little more; he says that by pushing him into the underwater world, they opened his eyes to the truth: the whole planet, land and water, must be covered with garbage!" Wasn't the Garbageman shown driving his garbage truck around underwater in his first appearance? Surely he had already seen what the bottom of the river was like.

6.) The major problem I have with this reappearance of Garbageman is that unlike his first appearance, where he was the Machiavelli of garbage, and by seeing the value of what people throw away he found a path to power, here he's just crazy, and his plan to "cover the Earth with garbage" is just stupid. (One alternate possibility: Garbageman has discovered that there are two advantages to underwater garbage hunting -- there are far more valuable things underwater, and he can operate more or less unseen.

The things I like about this outline are some of the images -- the junk cars driving underwater, "Junklantis", and the attack on Manhattan by a giant Muck Monster. But I think it needs to be reworked so it holds together more logically, and Garbageman doesn't become yet another throwaway villain with a nonsensical agenda.

One thing that might help is to make the Muck Monster's rapid growth and attack on the city an ACCIDENT -- something that Garbageman does not anticipate (maybe even precipitated, unintentionally, by an action by one or more of the Turtles). Of course, this would require reworking the whole reason behind the existence of the Muck Monster.

-- Peter

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