Saturday, July 16, 2016

Recap: Teen Titans Go! "The Date"

"The Date."

A title that will invariably make fans of the original show think of "Date with Destiny," where not only did Starfire clearly have feelings for Robin, but the two of them shared a romantic dance.

Ah, the pairing that launched a thousand shippers.
Well... forget that. Because Robin's about to spend the rest of Teen Titans Go! attempting to woo an uninterested space princess.

But I'm not going to criticize the show for trolling its audience. Because I've seen the later episodes, and I know what it looks like when Teen Titans Go! trolls its audience. This is not what such trolling looks like.

They have not yet begun to troll.
The episode begins with Robin on his bed, staring at something while mumbling "Yes! Knew it!" over and over like I did shortly after Fant4stic bombed. Since Robin's door is as open as it could possibly be, this gets Beast Boy's attention. Beast Boy transforms into several animal forms to try and peek at what Robin's doing. He sticks his neck out as a giraffe, bugs Robin as a mosquito, and ties Robin up as a snake. But it isn't until Cyborg comes in that they manage to take Robin's thing. Said "thing" is a cootie catcher.

Cyborg: "It's one of those fortune teller games that the little kids play."
Beast Boy: "Ha ha! Robin plays baby games!"

Don't be so quick to laugh, Beast Boy. Have you ever tried to make one of those things? I'm automatically impressed with anyone who can actually do it.

Robin tries to take it back, but Cyborg and Beast Boy decide to be hypocrites and get a fortune.

For those of who who have never played with one, you fold the thing back and forth a certain number of times, usually determined by the number of letters in your name or your favorite color.

Beast Boy: "You know my color, bro!"
Cyborg: "G-R-E-E-E-E-N."

I can't really criticize the spelling. I mean, it's not like we've seen any of the Titans go to school ever.

Beast Boy wants to be a millionaire...

Racecars, lasers, aeroplanes, the works.
...but gets an entirely different fortune.

Cyborg: "'You will... marry Starfire'?"
Beast Boy: "Well... doesn't mean I won't be a millionaire."

Cyborg's fortune comes out oddly similar.

Cyborg: "And my fortune is 'You and Starfire will have seven kids.' What?"
Beast Boy: "That's gonna be awkward since I'm already marrying her."

Heh. Okay, that made me laugh. And the light physical comedy with Beast Boy trying to take a peek at Robin's cootie catcher was fairly well done.

See, I don't have a problem with this show trying to be an off-the-wall comedy.

My main problem with the series up to this episode is that the writers are shying away from doing the style of comedy they obviously want to do. If they're going to do wacky comedy, I just want them to stop trying to make the jokes fit within the framework of a more grounded show.

They've admitted that they struggled with this until they decided to embrace their silliness and write about a "Meatball Party," but there are a few glimmers of inventiveness that spring up more and more often as the series continues.

So bring it, show. You wanna get nuts? Come on. Let's get nuts.

Cyborg notices that the fortunes all seem to revolve around Starfire, and Robin admits that the cootie catcher's fortunes are all for him as Cyborg tosses it onto a large pile of cootie catchers.

Cyborg: "Starfire does make you act a little nuts, doesn't she?"
Narrator: "There was something about Starfire that made him nuts. Not the kind of nuts that put a knot in your stomach or made you want to climb a mountaintop to shout out your feelings. No. The nuts that made you feel voices in your head. Voices like mine."

Okay. That was not what I expected when I invited this show to "get nuts."

Robin shakes his head to make the voices stop and explains that there's a new restaurant opening up, and he wants to take Starfire there... but he doesn't know how to go about asking her out.

Cyborg: "We can help you!"
Robin: "Really?"
Beast Boy: "Me and Cyborg have asked out tons of girls."
Robin: "And they went out with you?"
Cyborg: "No."
Beast Boy: "Course not."
Cyborg: "But we asked!"

Yeah, like any girls would ever go out with Cyborg or Beast Boy. He said, knowingly.

So Cyborg and Beast Boy make a model of a woman and show how best to grovel on the floor and beg for a date.

Melons. I get it.
As things take a turn for the worse, Raven enters to see what's going on.

Wait, if this is a reenactment of how they ask women out...
Sweet merciful Thor, do they regularly mutilate women and fight over the remains!?
Raven: "Just be yourself."

Even with this advice, Robin finds himself pacing back and forth in front of her door, trying to come up with the right words.

Robin: "Hola, Starfiré'."

But he manages to knock on the door and enter the room. Then Starfire gives him this look.

What, no soft focus?
And Robin loses the ability to think straight as well as the ability to speak coherently. Starfire assumes this is a game and joins in.

Both: "Too! Ah! Shamma-dabba-ding-bam! Boom boom."

Starfire leads Robin back to the door and tells him that she had fun playing his game, but he manages to stick his hand in the door before it closes and actually ask if she'd like to go that opening of the new restaurant.

Starfire: "I would love to!"
Robin: "You would?"
Starfire: "Indeed! But I cannot. Speedy has already asked me to go with him."

As if on cue, Green Arrow's sidekick...

Whatever. Speedy (Scott Menville) shows up, triggering the narrator again.

Narrator: "Speedy had always been the chief rival of Robin. First as a sidekick, then a hero, and now for the affections of a strange but endearing alien princess. At that moment, Robin knew he would do anything in his power to stop Speedy from winning over Starfire. Even though reason said he should be more concerned with the voice he kept hearing in his head."

Again, Robin shakes the voices away and tries to argue his own merits over Speedy. Namely that he's ugly with a stupid voice.

Starfire: "I have always felt that you visual and auditory similarities."

Especially with that redesign and recasting.
Robin: "Don't you get it, Star? He's all wrong for you!"
Starfire: "Is that not the purpose of the date? To find out if one is compatible?"

Excellent point, Starfire. Not even Robin can debate it, and he simply groans and leaves. In a fit of rage, he heads into the living room and destroys the first lady shaped like a broom that he sees. Thankfully, Marzipan is nowhere to be found, so Robin breaks Beast Boy's training dummy in half.

Robin explains to the others that Speedy already asked Starfire out. But oddly, Robin's not mad.

Angry, that is. He's certainly gone mad.
Robin whips out something he prepared offscreen earlier: Speedy. In his underwear. Tied to a chair.

Robin will wear Speedy's clothes, dye his hair orange, take his place at the date, act like a jerk in Speedy's place, and forever ruin Speedy's chances with her.

So... if he'd already formulated this plan and tied Speedy up, why was he mad enough to murder Beast Boy's broom girlfriend?

Speaking of him, he and Cyborg aren't willing to watch the real Speedy while Robin enacts his plan.

Robin: "Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?"

This changes their minds, because...

Because Scooby Doo reference?
Later that night, Robin has already arrived at the restaurant before Starfire, giving him ample time to realize that this is a bad idea, thanks to another appearance from the voice in his head. Then Starfire walks in, having apparently failed to notice the real Speedy in the living room as she left Titans Tower. Her dress is enough to make Robin love his plan again, and he offers to help Starfire with her chair.

Starfire: "Why, thank you, Speedy! I find your being a gentleman compatible with several traits I possess!""

Is she E-Harmony-ing herself?

But Robin pulls the chair out from under Starfire, lowering her opinion of the scarlet bowman.

Back at the tower, the real Speedy has finally decided to bite through his gag. Then Speedy and the others repeat the following for a bit.

Speedy: "Let me go!"
Cyborg/Beast Boy: "No."

After a card saying that half an hour goes by, Cyborg and Beast Boy ask Raven to watch Speedy while they get some food, and she agrees. After the two fly off, Speedy escapes from his bonds because Raven couldn't care less what happens. In fact, she wants Speedy to leave.

Raven: "Exit's the other way."

then he turns around and walks in the opposite direction, which is still not the way out.

The way out is behind the couch, not to the left or the right.
Speedy comes across Robin's clothes and gets an idea as Robin continues to ruin Speedy's reputation by throwing food at Starfire's mouth and missing.

Eventually, she decides that Speedy IS just an inferior version of Robin after all and leaves the tabel

Robin: "Yes!"

But before she leaves the restaurant, Speedy (dressed as Robin) enters.

Robin: "No!"

Before Speedy can explain anything, Robin shoots a boxing glove arrow at him, triggering a fight between the two. It's mostly a bunch of sight gags, which I won't bother to list here, but also has some well-paced and dynamic action between the two heroes.

No joke, this is actually a cool fight.
Eventually, Robin wins by shooting a ham up Speedy's nose. He takes his clothes back shortly before Starfire emerges from the table she was avoiding the fight behind. Starfire mention's Speedy's strange behavior, and Robin tries to dismiss it as Speedy just being himself.

Robin: "I hear he's a little, uh... You know."

Robin, his drug-addled past isn't something for you to make fun of. For shame!

Narrator: "He's not the one hearing voices."
Robin: "Don't make me come in there!"

You know, there's no doubt in my mind that Robin would try to drill a hole through his own head.

Starfire says that she's beginning to fall for Robin, but the moment is ruined by the voice in Robin's head claiming that Robin feels terrible for what he did. And after a while, Robin actually does feel terrible.

Narrator: "He told her everything. And hearing his actions out of his own mouth only made him feel worse. His actions were just terrible. Terrible!"

Robin is fully prepared for Starfire to hate him. But she asks him if he really went through all that trouble just for her... then she punches him in the face.

Starfire: "You must be out of your glorber!"
Narrator: "That's what I've been trying to tell him."
Starfire: "Huh?"
Narrator: "I don't believe we've met. I'm the voice in Robin's head."
Starfire: "And I am..."
Narrator: "Absolutely stunning!"

So... Robin's madness has taken form as an incorporeal presence in the real world?

The two of them leave to continue the date elsewhere as the narrator plays them out.

Narrator: "And what started as a chance encounter between a voice and a girl would soon blossom into the most wonderful..."
Starfire: "Are you coming?"
Narrator: "Er- sorry! Be right there!"

And as the disembodied voice flips Robin's cape over his busted face, the episode stops. Now let's review... and see whether or not this cloud has a silver lining.

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