Saturday, August 20, 2016

Recap: Teen Titans Go! "Dude Relax"

Today, Teen Titans Go! takes us to another stop on the long railroad that is Robin’s various psychoses. Last time, we saw Robin’s obsession with Starfire manifest itself. And now, we’ll get to see the origin of the stick firmly rammed up his rear end. Not to be confused with the later Robin-centric episode that actually revolves around sticks.

…I can’t believe I have to make that distinction.
The episode begins with the Titans relaxing in the living room. Except for Robin who has become even more of a neurotic mess than usual.

Robin: "Titans, go! ...As soon as we get an alert on my communicator."

Yep. Nothing much is happening, which means in Robin's mind that things can only escalate from here. And yet, nothing continues to happen. Robin prepares to spring into action when he hears a beep go off, but it's just Beast Boy's microwave popcorn.

Robin: "Make me a bag. But remain vigilant! It must not burn."
Beast Boy: "...Aye-aye. Weirdo."

Yeah, Robin will be preaching the gospel of Alastor Moody for the duration of this episode.
The other Titans agree that Robin's starting to go through mission withdrawal after a crime-free week.

Starfire: "That would explain the involuntary eye movement."

Nothing keeps happening, despite Robin's vigilance. Speaking of vigilance, Beast Boy has decided to not be vigilant and make sure Robin's popcorn doesn't burn, seeing as how he emerges from the kitchen without it.

Beast Boy and the other Titans agree that Robin should take this time to relax.

Or “REZAX,” I guess.
Unfortunately, this presents a bit of a problem.

Raven: "Uh, you do know how to relax, don't you?"
Robin: "Psh. I can relax circles around you fools!"
Cyborg: "Says the guy who tried to turn sleeping into a competitive sport."

After a quick cutaway to that gag (which consists of Robin saying "On your mark, get set, sleep" and then going to sleep), Robin admits that as the team leader, he's not used to inactivity.

Robin: "But I can totally take it easy until there's an alert."

But as soon as the others leave, he begs his communicator to go off. I can only assume that Robin eventually gets bored with looking at his communicator, since he does actually try to take it easy after the scene transition. But since he's a little rusty, he tries to hang out with the other Titans.

First up, he heads out to the garage to find Cyborg tinkering with the Titanmobile.

Cyborg: "You are just the prettiest high-performance, low-emission muffler I've ever seen. Yes, you are."

Now that's what I call autoeroticism.

...Okay, I apologize for that pun.

While Cyborg just wants to tinker, Robin starts planning out how to take apart and reassemble the engine. But his plans are cut short when he leans on a lever, lowering the car on top of Cyborg, which breaks it to pieces. He takes it well, considering.

For a mechanical man, this is the equivalent of your newborn child crumbling into a quivering mass of loose flesh.
Next, Robin stops by Starfire's room. She's busy with a homemade facial mask made out of Gorka berries, pickles, and cream cheese.

Hmm. A third arm. I wonder if she's related to Zaphod Beeblebrox?
Robin joins in on the facial mask fun, which Starfire describes as a million little toes dancing on their faces.

Robin: "And can you feel the alpha-hydroxy acid I added to deaden our nerve endings and increase our pain tolerance for the next mission?"
Starfire: "Acid? Is that why it feels like the little toes are dancing more vigorously?"

Don’t worry, Starfire, alpha-hydroxy acid is a legitimateingredient in chemical peels. In low amounts. So logically, super-concentrated amounts should give you baby-soft skin! …After it grows back.

The two feel the burn for a while before the sensation of her face being chemically broken down becomes too much for Starfire to bear.

Elsewhere, Raven is busy tending to her bonsai tree.

Robin: "Interesting fact about bonsai...."
Raven: "No."

And she shuts the door before he can enter her room.

Never change, Raven.
Finally, Robin tries playing -fetch- catch with Beast Boy, but ends up lobbing the tennis ball straight into Beast Boy's eye socket. With three out of the five Titans injured, they all gang up to give Robin a piece of their minds.

Cyborg: "You couldn't just relax for one afternoon?"

Robin tries to reiterate his spiel about vigilance, but is interrupted by the crime alert he's been waiting for all this time. But life is filled with cruel ironies, and this one comes in the form of a shock collar that the other Titans put around his neck until he can learn to relax.

Cyborg: "If you try to leave the tower, that collar will activate an electric fence."

And Robin walks into it a few times, proving that they ain't bluffing.

Raven: "This is for you own good, Robin."
Cyborg: "So enjoy your day off."

But just because Robin can't physically be there doesn't mean he can't micromanage from afar. Robin pulls up a control panel to pull a Chloe Sullivan and bark orders from the tower. Though none of them want to listen, and they hang up on him.

Sorry, Robin. They’re not the Flash and you’re certainly not Tina McGee.
Or Cisco Ramon, for you whippersnappers.
Robin slumps down, defeated.

Luckily, company arrives in the form of Beast Boy.

Robin: "I thought you were at the battle."
Beast Boy: "Oh, right. Forgot you were home, dude. I was just gonna hang out here today."
Robin: "But I just saw you there."
Beast Boy: "Sometimes I replace myself with an animal I painted green. Heh."

Boy, it's a good thing animals don't lick themselves, or that dog would be swallowing a lot of toxic paint.
On second thought, perhaps that cone is a good idea.
Robin: "That explains a lot."

Robin starts scheming to find a way to remove the collar, but Beast Boy volunteers to help him relax. Robin admits that he's never been able to relax, and doesn't know where to start. So Beast Boy shows him how to chill on the couch.

Beast Boy: "Just think of nothing and no one."

The Lisa Simpson Technique.
Beast Boy: "Ignore all outside distractions. Here's your test. For the rest of the day, no communicator."
Robin: "No communicator. No problem."

You wouldn't be saying that if you had Pokemon GO on that thing.

Next, Beast Boy has Robin look at his pitiful excuse for a butt-print in the couch.

Beast Boy: "In order to truly relax, you've got to learn to be one with the couch."
Robin: "Be one with the couch?"

Beast Boy demonstrates this principle by slouching and humming. But like most overthinkers, Robin gets caught up in the technical details and ignores the big picture.

Robin: "Is there like a specific way I should hum? In a minor key? Hmm hmm hmmm.... Or should I go with a major? Hmm hmmm hmmm...."

But Beast Boy repeats his advice: be one with the couch. And he demonstrates that by relaxing so much that he starts sinking into the cushions.

Sadly, the twist of the episode isn't that the couch is secretly a parasite that consumes those who sit upon it.
On an unrelated note, has anybody seen those Tempurpedic mattress commericals where the guy says "I lay down, I close my eyes, and the next thing I know, it's morning"? That commercial got a lot creepier once I imagined that the mattress was draining his life force.

Anyway, with Beast Boy having disappeared into the couch, Robin is forced to figure it out on his own. After a few seconds, his communicator goes off, and he tries to answer it, jolting Beast Boy back from the pillowesque abyss.

Beast Boy: "Fine. Go answer it."
Robin: "It'll be quick!"
Beast Boy: "I knew you couldn't even relax for one afternoon. Guess we finally found something I'm better at than you."

And since this version of Robin is a competitive, paranoid wreck, them's fighting words. With renewed vigor, Robin finally manages to slow his roll and let the couch envelop him. Inside a pink wonderland filled with loose change and remote controls, Robin finds that he isn't alone.

Robin: "Who are you?"
Couch Spirit: "I am... the couch."

That is actually kind of creeping me out.
Robin has a heart-to-heart with the Couch Spirit, who tells him that something deep within him is keeping him from truly relaxing.

Robin: "Yeah, it's because I'm the leader, and leaders must stay vigilant."
Couch Spirit: "That is not why you cannot relax, my man."
Robin: "Then why?"
Couch Spirit: "That is something you must find out... for yourself."

As the Couch Spirit disappears, Robin finds himself surrounded by manifestations of his communicator, ready to take over his attention and keep him from his thoughts. Robin manages to float through the trippy landscape and give them the slip, though. But his hiding place turns out to be an old, repressed memory.

Robin: "The circus where I grew up! This is the last place I remember being able to really relax."




Are... are we going there? Are we really about to deal with the death of the Flying Graysons? Is Teen Titans Go! going to get deeper than anyone thought possible? Are they branching out from their comedic comfort zone?

As it turns out, the circus was full of animals that tormented Robin as a baby. An elephant stole his bottle, a bear ate his banana, and a monkey took his diaper.

And from that point on, Robin's creed was vigilance.

Couch Spirit: "All because a monkey stole your diaper."
Robin: "Not the reason I was expecting."

Yeah. In the words of Batman, not exactly the deep core of emotional trauma I was expecting.
Usually Robin's uptight vigilance is a direct result of the trauma from his parents' deaths coupled with the fact that his mentor since then is a nut in a bat costume who taught him martial arts in a cave that smells like guano.

And with that, Robin emerges from the Couch Dimension to enjoy a veg out session in the living room. And judging by Robin's "Duuuuuuuuuuuuude," he got a wicked contact buzz off that couch spirit.

His communicator buzzes incessantly, but he can finally ignore it.

Robin: "Sorry. It's my day off."

As Robin maxes and relaxes, Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg find themselves at the mercy of a giant monster, with "Beast Boy" not even trying to rescue them.

From a monster that apparently escaped from a Craig McCracken show.
And as "Beast Boy" picks at some parasites and flies away, the episode ends. It doesn’t just stop in the midst of unresolved randomness, it actually ends on a funny punchline.

So… was this episode… good? Well, let’s review.

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