Saturday, April 23, 2016

Recap: Teen Titans Go! "Pie Bros"

Today, I examine the first Teen Titans Go! episode to revolve around food. And it certainly won't be the last. So let's... Actually, you know what? I'm going to get a snack real quick.

Something tells me that I'm going to start craving pie at the end of this, otherwise.
The episode begins with Beast Boy drawing on a sketchpad in front of the Titans' couch. Because like many stoners, Beast Boy has a creative side. Raven gets a glimpse of it as she passes by, but doesn't exactly appreciate the creativity. The drawing, which Beast Boy says is a birthday present for Cyborg, features Beast Boy himself as a robot riding Cyborg as a dog.

Instead of... you know, the other way around. Like it usually is.
I can't really make fun of this gift, since I did gave similar gifts to my grandparents last Christmas.
As Beast Boy stuffs the drawing right down his pants, Raven questions whether Cyborg would actually like this gift. Beast Boy insists that he knows everything about Cyborg, since he's his best friend. When Cyborg walks by, Beast Boy demonstrates this by guessing that he's in the mood for pie. He's correct, and they both launch into the Pie Song over their shared love of pie.

So, this is the first song in the history of Teen Titans Go! and it certainly won't be the last. And there's a very simple reason for this. Unless things have changed drastically all of a sudden, songs are a good source of extra money for writers. I believe it was in Doug Walker's interview with the Animaniacs crew where they revealed that one of the reasons that there were so many songs in Animaniacs was because it got the song’s writer a little extra money.  And this is a practice that's been going on for a long while. Gene Roddenberry notoriously wrote lyrics to the Star Trek theme that he had no intention of using, just so he could get a little extra money that arguably should have gone to the composer. And I'm not talking about the wailing woman, I mean actual words. Tenacious D has performed the full thing in concert a few times.

But that’s not to say that all cartoon songs are cashgrabs. Phineas and Ferb had a song in every episode because one of the first ones they wrote, "Gitchy Gitchy Goo," was a big hit with the executives, who demanded songs in every episode.

My point? Well, unless the rules have changed in the meantime, every time they write a random little song in Teen Titans Go!, they get extra money.

Am I blaming them for wanting more money? Heck, no. Money's great. It lets you buy food and pay bills.  What I'm blaming them for is the song quality.

This particular little ditty is a catchy little "When I say ______, you say ______" dealie, and... well, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't sing it around pie. So sue me. But... well, I'll talk about the decline in song quality as it happens over the course of the show.

When Beast Boy and Cyborg finish, the latter goes out to get some pie while Beast Boy tells Raven that he's got that birthday covered. And so, the Titans all gather at Mother Mae-Eye's pie shop. And if you're familiar with the character from the original Teen Titans cartoon... well, you know where this is going.

Beast Boy sticks his finger in Raven's pie and licks the juice off.

Also, get your mind out of the gutter. Seriously.
Raven's a little grossed out by this, but he licks his fingers clean, wipes it on her cape, and tells her that he just washed his hands.

Raven: "Aaaaaand I've lost my appetite."

They talk about how great Mother Mae-Eye's pies are, and they wonder why they’re so delicious.

Surely, this episode will go down as one of the great people-in-pies stories, like Titus Andronicus and Sweeney Todd.
They all have a good laugh as an old man in the booth next to them gets taken away to be added to the pies. With this horrible act going unseen, Cyborg changes the topic of conversation to his upcoming birthday. Starfire's excited to be planning the festivities, while Cyborg is just excited for the present he wants more than anything in the world, a video game called "Bubble Bots."

Beast Boy: "Uhhh... it's totally the new game. The really expensive one. The one that you should know I could never afford. Yep. That's what I got you."

You realize, Beast Boy, that you're not supposed to tell them ahead of time what they're getting for their birthday?

Cyborg: “And that’s why you’re my best friend!”

Later, Beast Boy stands outside the video game store, lamenting his empty pockets and thinking about the good times as he begins to hallucinate Cyborg's face on the game's mascot.

Cyborg Window Hallucination: "And that's why you're my best friend!"
Beast Boy: "But I can't afford the game...."
Cyborg Window Hallucination: "Well, get a job, you bum."
Beast Boy: "I will get a job! For you, Cyborg Window Hallucination."

I don't know what drug Beast Boy's on, but he might have more money if he did less of it.
And so, the job hunting begins! Beast Boy blows up a chemistry lab, proves in a court of law that his own client is 100% guilty, and faints in the middle of operating on a patient. So he’s still having more success than my job hunts.

Later, at the pie shop, Starfire tells her friends that she’s organizing Cyborg’s bash to take place there. And she's also made balloon animals! By stuffing animals inside balloons. And she's brought along a pin to attach the tail to a real life donkey.

That thing is going into an ass. In more than one manner of speaking.
Robin notices Beast Boy's depression, and he admits that he can't afford Cyborg's video game.

Robin: "Friends don't care about how much money you spend. Just that you put some thought into it."

That's a surprisingly good lesson. I'm suspicious.

Cyborg shows up, and Robin gives him his present early.

Cyborg: "Your gift to me is a half-drunk soda?"
Robin: "What? Not expensive enough for you, fancy-pants?"

There's the subversion I was waiting for.

As Mother Mae-Eye turns an employee into a pie, she puts up a Help Wanted sign, giving Beast Boy an idea. And so, the 9-to-5 begins at the pie shop. He cleans, rolls dough, and even cleans the plates by turning into a dog and licking them. And, of course, throws up into his own bucket when he sees the toilet.

I'd criticize the use of literal toilet humor... except that I've worked in a gas station before. I feel your pain, Beast Boy.

One day, Beast Boy is working the counter when Cyborg comes in and laughs obnoxiously loud and long at Beast Boy's uniform. What a jerk. Cyborg also reminds his “buddy” that his birthday's coming up, but Beast Boy says that he can't make it. He's got work that day, and needs the money for... something. At least he’s not working the register on his own birthday. I speak from experience.

Cyborg: "Well... Do not take my quivering lip as a sign of profound disappointment."

As Cyborg runs away, Beast Boy cries over the drawing he made. But soon, Cyborg's birthday arrives. All the Titans are at the table (sans Beast Boy) as Starfire leads a round of Duck Duck Goose by dropping birds on people's heads, with Robin being the unlucky person to get a rather upset goose. As Raven greatly enjoys Robin's struggle with the goose (while also dismissing the duck from her head in a burst of dark energy, meaning that the duck is either dead, or possibly simply transported to the depths of Hell), Cyborg makes a toast to his friends. You know, the ones who liked him enough to not be at their job during his birthday.

Out of spite, Cyborg starts dropping glasses and pies to give Beast Boy extra work. Finally, Beast Boy can't take it anymore and throws a pie at Cyborg, yelling that the only reason he's working is so he can afford that expensive game Cyborg wants.

Cyborg: "I never told you to get a stupid job!"
Beast Boy: "Well, my hallucination of you in the store window did! And the real you made fun of my pie suit...."

They use their powers in full force to throw pies at each other as the other Titans are left in their booth.

Robin: "Think we should stop them?"
Raven: "Nah. This is the first time I've ever actually enjoyed a birthday party."
Starfire: "Oh, wonderful! Then the celebration is a great success!"

As Beast Boy and Cyborg fight, Mother Mae-Eye uses her freaky third eye to hypnotize the other Titans and take them into the kitchen to be added to the next batch of pies.

Like a Silurian! A classic Silurian, not the lizard chicks from New-Who.
Meanwhile, Beast Boy throws that drawing he made at Cyborg, who angrily yells in return.

Cyborg: "I love it! It's well-drawn and thoughtful! Thank you!"

The two friends reconnect over the pie chunks coating their bodies by reprising the pie song. Then the two snuggle on the floor in post-Pie Song bliss.

Beast Boy: "I love pie."
Cyborg: "I love you and pie."

And so, they get more pies to eat.

Pies that look a little... familiar.
Cyborg: "Something tells me I just figured out what Mother Mae-Eye's secret ingredient is."

Why, there they three are, baked in those pies, whereof their two friends daintily shall feed.

Cyborg: "Love!"

Beast Boy concurs, and they eat the pies that were made out of their friends...




...'s clothes. The actual Titans are tying up Mother Mae-Eye as the episode stops.

I call foul. Starfire clearly still has most of her outfit.
Though, to be fair, she can't lose much clothing and still be decent by Cartoon Network standards.
She squeaks by as is.
Now let's review.

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