Saturday, April 23, 2016

Review: Teen Titans Go! "Pie Bros"

I was right. After recapping this episode, I do want pie.

Strawberry rhubarb.

Oh yeah. Some whipped cream on top.

The real stuff.

….Aw, crap, this isn’t the last food-related episode. Looks like these Teen Titans Go!-related cravings won’t be stopping anytime soon.

...Seriously, though, I need me some pie.
This is what the writers were originally going for in this show. Though the jokes and characterizations are more cartoony and wackier than what one would expect from Teen Titans, the core of the episode is a grounded plot that would work well in the original series.

In fact, it did.

Season 4, Episode 5, “Employee of the Month,” where Beast Boy ends up accidentally working for a bad guy in order to earn a little extra dough. Amusingly enough, that episode, in which Beast Boy has to foil the evil plot of alien tofu, was made deliberately silly and over-the-top. Almost like they predicted Teen Titans Go! all the way back in 2005. Weird.

And yes, as I said, this isn’t the last food-related episode. And as I’ve mentioned before, that’s because the writers brainstorm right before lunch. If they ever do an episode based on breakfast, then my diet is ruined. I love breakfast.

And “Waffles” doesn’t count; it’s not actually about waffles, they just repeat the word over and over.

In an example of something that will be rarely seen again after a certain point, this episode actually exhibits a solid lesson; it’s the thought that counts. Cyborg may have wanted that expensive videogame, but Beast Boy knew that Cyborg would like his drawing. He just lost his confidence when Cyborg started hinting about a videogame instead.

Again, this is something that I could easily see the original series doing in its own way.

Slowly, but surely, the undeveloped characters are beginning to morph into the characterizations that will continue to define them throughout the show. Your mileage may vary on whether or not these characterizations are actually good ones, though.

Robin is beginning to become the show’s punching bag, as seen by his unfortunate encounter with a goose.

Though he had a moment in the first episode, too.
And his eventual money-grubbing tendencies are beginning to show in his cheapness. And… well, I’ll talk more about Robin’s ongoing physical punishment and neuroses as they develop.

Starfire’s eccentricities are beginning to take simpler, less “I’m putting a sandwich in my hair!” forms. Her balloon animal confusion, though not exactly the most original joke, fits more with her alien-outsider personality.

Though I think she might have killed these animals by way of helium poisoning.
Cyborg is turning into a loud jerk; a far cry from the dependable friend he was in the original cartoon.

But as I’ve said, this is not the original cartoon, and I won’t be judging him on how close he is to the original characterization.

Having said that, the characterization is still terrible. His main personality trait is being loud. And while his over-the-top laughter at Beast boy’s pie outfit is supposed to be funny in just how overdone it is, it’s just annoying. And he switches between mean laughter and being Beast Boy’s “friend” in the space of a frame of animation. No, really; in the space of a single frame, he goes from bent over laughing to standing straight up to remind Beast boy about the party.

Again, it’s supposed to be funny, but the whole bit is just mean-spirited, and this is compounded by his crappy treatment of Beast Boy during his party.

Beast Boy
It’s his episode, so he gets quite a few chances to shine. And in all honesty, I have to like his… simplicity, for lack of a better word. He’s a slacker fool with a heart of gold, and he has some genuinely funny moments on his job quest. Plus, props to Greg Cipes for the utter conviction he puts into the line "I will get a job! For you, Cyborg Window Hallucination."

Mother Mae-Eye (Billie Hayes?)
Mother Mae-Eye is the first villain to return from the original cartoon, with the role reprised by Billie Hayes… maybe. Her lines in this episode consist of no words, but some humming. I know Hayes ended up reprising the role in later episodes, but I can’t find anything on who did the humming. It could simply have been Hynden Walch or Tara Strong for all I know. Wouldn’t be the last time they saved money by having one of the regular voice actors replace someone from the original series.

In the old series, Mother Mae-Eye was really an ugly old hag who used her powers to appear like a sweet old lady. Here, she seems to be a witch in the body of a sweet old lady, with no hint of her true form. But since the Titans also seem to be oblivious to Mother Mae-Eye’s special ingredient, despite fighting her before in the original series, I think it’s safe to say that Teen titans Go! is not any sort of actual sequel to the old show. (This will be backed up by the eventual Terra episodes.)

So this episode firmly establishes that Teen Titans Go! is not a sequel, but a reimagining/parody of the original series. With all the ups and downs that entails. I wouldn't say Mother Mae-Eye’s lack of a hag form is one of those “downs,” though. Honestly, if that detail were added into the episode, it would have no bearing on the plot. So as is, her inclusion works, overall.

Nothing to say; the look of this episode is par for the course.

The melancholy accordion music that plays during Beast boy’s sadder moments is a surprisingly funny touch, adding a comically serious tone to his gift woes.

“I Love Pie”
It’s pretty catchy, I’ll give it that. Though it’s not so much a “song” as it is a “chant.”

But it’s also short enough to not overstay its welcome, and it use at the beginning and end of the episode represents and reinforces the reconciliation of Beast Boy and Cyborg.

Final Thoughts
All things considered, it's… good.

Yeah. You read that right. A lot of the jokes landed, it takes a moral that's been told a million times and still makes it funny, and the characters' personalities are still at basic Seinfeld-level sociopathy, and have yet to slowly creep toward It's Always Sunny in Philedelphia-level sociopathy. And it helps that the writers have not yet begun to actively troll the audience in general, and Teen Titans fans in particular.

In a series with as many episodes as Teen Titans Go!, there's usually, but not always, at least one that can be called "good."

But don’t read too much into that. When I say “good,” I mean “good.” Not great. We’re looking at a C, a B-minus at best, and that’s if I’m being one of those nice teachers who rounds to the nearest whole percentage.

Speaking of which, next time, Robin takes his driving test. And maybe after that we can watch Cyborg pay his electrical bill! See you then.


  1. Yaaay, episode was decent. How about quit while we're ahead and stop there, huh? No one will judge you.

    You can still review Back To The Future cartoon instead.

    1. But then... all those hours of Teen Titans Go would have been for nothing....

      I'm not sure which is worse. Having to watch the rest of the episodes again, or taking away the reason I watched them in the first place.