Saturday, April 2, 2016

Recap: Teen Titans Go! "Legendary Sandwich"

I now find myself about to examine one of the most hated cartoons on TV at the moment. And I'm not throwing that word around; people genuinely despise this show.

Some hate it because they don't think it's funny.

Some hate it because they think it does a disservice to the original Teen Titans cartoon.

Some hate it because it was the sole survivor of the end of the DC Nation.

Some hate it because Cartoon Network really likes repeating certain episodes (especially "Puppets, Whaaaat?" and "Caged Tiger.") ad nauseum.

With a lot swear words involved, from the online discussions I've seen.
Pure hatred has been consistently spewed at this show, despite its surprisingly loyal fanbase's attempts to get people to re-evaluate it. And you know what? That's exactly what I'm going to do.

I'm throwing out all my preconceived notions and prior opinions and starting from scratch.

Ball's in your court, Teen Titans Go!

Try not to drop it as quickly as Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. did.
The series begins with a parody of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic called Pretty Pretty Pegasus.

Because why not.
And even though I've still never seen a single episode of My Little Pony, whether it be G1, G3, 2B, or not 2B, even I can tell you that it's a pretty shallow parody; the sickeningly sweet childishness of Pretty Pretty Pegasus makes the Smurfs look hardcore.

The reason I bring this up isn't to defend MLP, though. I leave that duty to all the Bronies out there. I bring it up because... well, it's an oddly appropriate beginning to the series.

Think about it. Pretty Pretty Pegasus misses the subtleties of Friendship is Magic and is merely content to simply be shallow imitation. Which is exactly what many people claim Teen Titans Go! did to the original Teen Titans cartoon. However, as of this point in the Recap, I can neither agree nor disagree with that opinion since, as I said, I', judging this episode with a clean slate. And I'm only a few seconds in. It's only fair to give it at least a minute.

Anyway, the aforementioned episode of Pretty Pretty Pegasus is being watched by Raven on her laptop. All things considered, I do actually like this detail a lot. Not only is Raven's love of Pretty Pretty Pegasus a nice little nod to Raven's voice actress (Tara Strong, who voices Twilight Sparkle), but we've already established her as more than an emo stereotype.

So in all honesty, good job so far, Teen Titans Go!

But while she watches, we get our first introduction to the male members of the Teen Titans. Robin (Scott Menville), Cyborg (Khary Payton), and Beast Boy (Greg Cipes). She hides her laptop as they enter the room, generally being loud and obnoxious and specifically eating sandwiches.

Robin: "And so, I kicked another dirt monster into a furnace! And then I was all, 'I bet that really burns you up!'"
Cyborg: "Ha ha! That's like a metaphor. Boo-yah!"

Did he really need to stuff that "boo-yah" in there? Is his understanding of Robin's anecdote so exciting to him that he needs to exclaim to the heavens how pumped he is about really lame wordplay?

Robin: "He didn't hear me, though. He was on fire."

But on the other hand, that was funny.

What isn't so funny is how all the male Titans make exaggeratedly loud and obnoxious eating noises while munching on their sammiches. This naturally leads to Raven's obvious set-up....

Raven: "You guys eat like animals."

Which leads in turn to the obvious punchline.

Like clockwork.
Cyborg apologizes for their uncouthness, but they couldn't help it because Robin makes the best sandwiches. After they gush for a bit over the amazing feats they'd perform for such a sandwich, Raven closes her laptop and thinks about what they just said.

Raven: "So, you're saying you'd leave this tower if I told you where to find a good sandwich?"
Robin: "Sure. But it would have to be a legendary sandwich. Like mine."

Firehouse Subs. This isn't a paid advertisement or anything, I just really like their food. Subway broke my heart after they got rid of the Five Dollar Footlong.

Raven claims that she knows of such a legendary sandwich that was sealed away to protect it from those who would use it for evil, which Robin criticizes not only for being made up, but for the heretical claim that this sandwich of legend was even better than his. So Raven whips an ancient tome out, leading to the introduction of Starfire (Hynden Walch).

Starfire: "Oooh! Is it storytime?"

It's like they realized that they forgot to write an entrance for Starfire and just added one after the fact.
Raven tells of the titular Legendary Sandwich, commissioned by an ancient king, expertly crafted by a Sandwich Wizard in a span of seven days. Not only would the sandwich grant eternal life, but it was also delicious.

It's dangerous to go alone. Take this!
Now... here's where the story gets ridiculous. The first part was just a warm-up.

That night, the prince tried to steal the sandwich, but was caught. So, sadly, the king was forced to split the sandwich into its basic ingredients, which were then hidden away in the far corners of the world, guarded by the fearsome Sandwich Guardians.

Raven: "Legend says it can be reforged if all the ingredients are brought together."

Oh, like Narsil. But tastier.

So... I have questions. Well, a lot of questions, but I'm not going to ask most of them.

Here's the problem with reviewing this show: It's intentionally goofy and usually focuses on trying to be funny over basic common sense. Which means that a lot of the logic I might try to bring to the situation has to be thrown out the window. But I do have one question that I think is still relevant even when you consider that this show isn't supposed to be taken too seriously.

Why didn't the king just, y'know, eat the sandwich?

Cyborg: "We gots to get that sandwich."
Beast Boy: "Oh man! I wanna eat it twice!"

And that's what coprophagy is, kids.

Starfire: "The sandwich will look beautiful in my hair!"

Let's analyze that line, shall we?

Starfire is an alien princess. She comes from a culture vastly different from Earth. This manifests in her speech, which often use non-standard sentence structures like putting "the" in front of proper nouns when they shouldn't go there. For example, "I'm hungry. Let's go to the McDonald's for the Big Mac!"

Her alien ways also manifest in her behavior. For example, she prominently drank mustard in the original show. This makes perfect sense; she comes from a culture with different foods and drinks from Earth. So while the sour spiciness of mustard might not seem like much of a beverage to us, she might find it delicious and refreshing.

With that in mind, Starfire now wants to put a sandwich in her hair because it will "look beautiful."

This seems to demonstrate that Starfire lacks any sense of context. All of her friends were talking about flavor, and taste, and most notably the physical act of eating the sandwich. And somehow, she still thinks that she should put it in her hair. The comics, original Teen Titans cartoon, and even this very show demonstrate that Starfire does not eat with her hair. Nor does she ever stick food in it as some kind of alien cultural weirdness. As such, this line was most certainly intended to value humor over logic. And I can tell you right now that it succeeds at neither. It's just random for the sake of random, making Starfire look like more "crazy" than "quirky."

Instead of making her look like a quirky out-of-towner, it makes me want to ask one question.

Anyway, Robin, eager to have the Ttians check this sandwich out for themselves, yells "Titans, go!" and they all rush into the elevator, giving Raven a chance to continue to watch Pretty Pretty Pegasus. Until the Titans return upon realizing that they have no idea where to look. So Raven, eager to get them to leave, reveals the locations of the ingredients.

The Mystical Bacon is at the Lava Lake, which Cyborg volunteers to get. Next up is the King's Lettuce, which is deep underground. Perfect for Beast Boy's mole form. Then there's the Stellar Tomato, hidden among the stars. Somehow. Finally, Robin gets to go get pretzel bread. From the supermarket. Because I guess you need all the original ingredients except for the bread?

And with the others gone, Raven decides to marathon Pretty Pretty Pegasus on the big screen. As she watches Butterbean and Sparkleface escape a dungeon using the candy keys, Cyborg arrives at the Lava Lake, which is apparently just a volcano popping up from the middle of the ocean.

I bet Cyborg could also find the Power Bracelet there.
He finds a suspiciously-marked altar and blows it up, revealing the treasure chest within, but also awakening the nearby Sandwich Guardian.

Meanwhile, Beast Boy digs down into the depths of the Earth, past cartoonish bones and what appears to be the metal chamber that Doomsday emerged from. He ends up falling into an underground cavern, but in what I'll admit is a nice touch, he quickly turns into a cat, lands on his feet, and pops up in his normal form. He instantly comes across both the treasure chest and a Sandwich Guardian.

Meanwhile, again, Starfire finds herself on some kind of alien planet. It looks like Saturn, but the presence of a clear, breathable atmosphere and tentacle/vine-covered terrain says otherwise. Either way, she finds the chest.

Starfire: "How did anyone manage to transport this Earth fruit to the Lylat System?"

Good question; could have been anyone from Fox to Slippy. But the question goes unanswered, seeing as how she now has to deal with a Sandwich Guardian.

So why is the visual motif of these Guardians based on the one ingredient they're not guarding?
Meanwhile, Robin contends with such horrors as.... a squeaky cart with a broken wheel. And worse than that... the take-a-number system.  He pulled number 78, and they're only in the 20s. True horrors!

Through perseverance, super powers, and skills with which to pay the bills, three of them manage to overcome the Sandwich Guardians while Robin passes the time by showing off his bo staff skills to a rather alarmed shopper while yelling about all the bones he'd breaking, followed by goofing off in the cart, then some light planking.

Poor guy just came here to buy some dinner rolls.
But that's not to say there weren't sacrifices in this quest. Cyborg lost an arm, Beast Boy broke his teeth, and Starfire lost her long, silky locks.

Starfire: "I am thinking perhaps this is too much trouble for a tomato!"

But in the end, the Titans each open the chest and hold their respective ingredients above their heads, Legend of Zelda-style.

You got the Magic Bacon! This unkosher meat is used in the Legendary Sandwich.
Except for Robin, who just holds it up normally.

Robin: "Whatever."

You bought bread. Eat it. Or not.
Back at the Tower, Raven is playing with her Pretty Pretty Pegasus dolls, with Stafire's pet larva, Silkie, dressed up as Princess Silkiesoft.

Raven's OC do not steal plz.
After Raven manages to rescue on of her toys from getting eaten, the elevator dings. She quickly hides all the evidence of her activities while the other Titans, wounded and weary, enter.

Cyborg: "This sandwich better be worth it. Do you know how long it's gonna take me to build a new hand with one hand?"

But with all the ingredients gathered, Raven speaks the ancient legendary sandwich words of power.

Raven: "Choroismo rula tomato pasomi!"

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, or if that transcription is even accurate. But those are the words agreed upon by both Teen Titans Go! Wikis.

Also, Teen Titans Go! has two Wikis.
And so, the ingredients combine into the mother of all BLTs.

Raven: "The key to immortality. And a delicious lunch."

So now the big question: Who gets the first bite?

Putting aside the fact that as a vegan (which this series does eventually confirm), Beast Boy would not eat a BLT, everyone nominates themselves for various reasons. Out of all the arguments, there's one that stands out.

Starfire: "But I lost my hair! Surely, that is more important than a hand! I should get the first of bites."

Oh, so now that you don't have much hair to put the sandwich in, you want a bite of it now, Starfire? Why did you want to put it in your hair in the first place? Why can't your eccentricities be consistent?

But as they argue, Silkie comes along and swallows it whole. As a heavenly choir sings, Silkie ascends to a higher plane of existence.

"In place of Silkie, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn!"
Then the little grub throws it back up on the ground in a green lump.

Robin: "I told you that sandwich wasn't great! So... anyone wanna watch Pretty Pretty Pegasus?"

And with that, the episode stops. Because I refuse to call that an ending.

But either way, it's time to review.

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