Saturday, December 10, 2016

Recap: Teen Titans Go! "Laundry Day"

Today, Teen Titans Go! continues with a menace that we all face... running out of clothes.

And surprisingly, jokes about turning your underwear inside out will be nowhere to be found.
The episode begins with the team fighting another vaguely Craig McCracken-esque slime monster that has already destroyed a good chunk of Jump City. The titanic teenagers succeed thanks to Robin's explosive birdarang, but end up engulfed in a gelatinous cube to rival most things found in DnD sewers.

The Titans somehow make their way back into Titans Tower, still trapped inside the jiggling gelatin.

Anyone else suddenly get a craving for Jell-O?
Raven criticizes Robin for blowing up the slime monster and magicks them all out. Unfortunately, their clothes are going to require the magic of Tide to be slime-free. That gunk is everywhere.

Beast Boy: "It's even in my nose."
Cyborg: "Not part of the slime monster, Beast Boy."
Has Beast Boy never encountered his own boogers before? I find that highly dubious.
But the gag is pushed further when Beast Boy wipes his nose candy on Cyborg before turning into a cat and running off.

You know what? I know you might expect me to get after this show for using gross-out humor, but I ain't even mad, brah.

Did I find this gag funny? Certainly not. Although the other meaning of "gag" is coming into play.

But you know what I'd give anything to see? How Beast Boy wiping a booger on Cyborg made it into the episode.

I've been listening to the commentaries, for both Superman and Batman: The Animated Series lately, so the writers' room process is something I've been thinking about lately. It's easy to imagine the writing process as simply consisting of a single writer sitting at his computer, typing up a script, and handing it to a producer. But there's a lot of back-and-forth, negotiation, rewrites, delegation... Quite frankly, writing for TV is a business. As easy as it is to imagine that this episode and all of its gags were the brainchild of Michael Jelenic, the writer, I wouldn't be surprised if there was some degree of collaboration. Maybe not to the degree of other episodes written by Jelenic, since those are also credited to Aaron Horvath.

In fact, I know for a fact that there's at least a modicum of collaboration on some episodes thanks to various interviews Horvath and Jelenic gave on the writing process. Apparently, they schedule brainstorming sessions right before lunch, which is why so many of them center around food.

But can you imagine a story meeting for this episode? A bunch of people sipping coffee, brainstorming slime-related gags, deciding which ones stay and which ones go?

"All in favor of the Titans getting trapped in a goo cube? Okay. Moving on to Andy's suggestion. Now, Andy, I know you had some concerns about Cyborg tasting the monster slime, so why don't we get everybody's opinion on that?"

How did they decide that Beast Boy would wipe his booger on Cyborg? Was it a unanimous decision? Did the person who suggested it fight tooth and nail to keep it in? Did one of the writers bring his kid to work that day, and they didn't have the heart to tell little Billy that the joke he wrote wouldn't be in the episode?

Or maybe this entire is Michael Jelenic's, from start to finish. Who knows? Other than Michael Jelenic.

Anyway, Robin is adamant that the clothes need to be washed.

Starfire: "But whose turn is it to do this most disagreeable of chores?"

Starfire, you lick your pet silkworm to clean him. You don't get to say which chores are "disagreeable."

Robin: "...Uh, you know, they're not that dirty."
Beast Boy: "What's a couple more weeks without soap?"

And Cyborg gives Beast Boy a sniff, answering the question by dying from the smell. His soul begins to float up to heaven before Beast Boy vacuums it up like a green plumber and shoves it back into his semi-mechanical friend.

"I have returned from beyond the bonds of flesh and mind.
Such beautiful horrors I have seen beyond the thin veil separating infinite worlds...."
And with even Beast Boy agreeing that he's getting a bit too ripe, it's definitely time to do the laundry. So Robin declares that the unlucky Titan who gets put on laundry duty will be decided fairly. Which is Raven's cue to whip out the official chore list that clearly lists that as Robin's duty this week, specifically citing "No excuses."

That is oddly specific.
In response, Robin, stuffs the list in a blender and eats the resulting mixture, meaning that there's nothing standing in the way of Robin's way of deciding which Titan gets to do the laundry. The typically-Robin method involves a series of challenges to determine who picks the short straw, so to speak.

The Avengers contented themselves with actually seeing who drew the short straw.
Challenge 1: Staring Contest
Round 1: Cyborg vs. Starfire
Cyborg speculas his eye open for the win.

Pretty sure this is cheating.
Round 2: Raven vs. Robin
Raven wins.

Round 3: Beast Boy vs. Beast Boy

They just give him two points.
Challenge 2: Rock Paper Scissors
Quickly escalates into actual altercations with the three materials.

Look at that smile. She knows she's about to inflict some pain.
Challenge 3: Hot Dog Eating Contest
Despite a good showing from all Titans, Starfire simply can't be stopped.

Also, Beast Boy farts in Robin's face. Which is supposed to be funny because... fart?
Okay, look. Gross out gags can be funny when properly utilized. But this show has resorted to random gross outs on two non-consecutive occasions twice in less than a minute. That seems kind of like a crutch to me.

Can I also just point out the Titans' clothes have been suddenly and inexplicably slime-free since the beginning of these challenges?
But when all is said and done, Raven is pronounced the loser, despite having been shown to excel at both the staring contest and the Rock Paper Scissors. She protests once again that it was supposed to be Robin's turn according to the chore list. The list which Robin denies, burps up, and quickly hides, in that order.

And so, Raven magically disrobes the other Titans

Which is usually something that only happens in fan fiction.
Starfire covers up with her pet worm-monster, Silkie, Robin sticks his clipboard over his junk, Cyborg's head tells the others to stop looking at his circuits, and Beast Boy couldn't care less.

I would also like to point out that the slime has mysteriously returned to the Titans' costumes.

Oh, and Raven is wearing her cloak, while it's also in the basket.
And I think it's safe to say that Raven does not have another cloak to change into, since the next part of the episode will show her wearing a bath towel until her cloak is washed.

All the Titans but Robin rush off so quickly that he gets spun around and becomes dizzy. Unable to properly find the door, Robin runs out of an emergency exit and falls out of the tower.

After running around the grounds, finding comical new ways to hide his junk from the camera with convenient scenery, Robin comes across some random fangirls that were apparently hanging out in front of the tower. One of whom has a camera.

Congratulations, miss, you have pictures of a probably-underage Robin. You're breaking the law.
And you.
Naked antics ensue as Robin flees from both the girls and a hive full of bees. I'm too lazy to come up with an actual joke regarding "the birds and the bees," since it'll just be contrived and unfunny no matter what I do. So instead, let's move on to Raven.

Raven has changed into a bathrobe, "ewww"-ing the slime-covered laundry.

Raven: "So, what exactly gets out evil alien slime stains?"

Oxi-Clean, probably.

But instead of trying... well, anything, Raven simply shoves all the clothes into the machine and mashes "start," resulting in a gooey mess. You know, it might help if you actually put detergent in, Raven.

Instead, Raven tries a hose, a hammer, a chainsaw, the MacReady special, a jackhammer, and some kind of laser cannon. Nothing doing.

As she continually fails to clean the laundry with tools that don't actually get things clean, Raven starts getting angry at Robin for shirking his duty. Which is his cue to pop up in the window to beg to be let in. She only agrees to let him in if he agrees to do the laundry, so there is no deal between them. And so, Robin is left outside to fend for himself as the clothes begin to move of their own accord....

Elsewhere, as Cyborg struggles to decide which robot body to wear until his normal one is clean...

Hey, I don't judge.
...Starfire has taken up a new hobby.

Starfire: "Laundry day has given me the perfect excuse to take up that most fascinating of Earth hobbies."

Underwater basket weaving?

Starfire: "Sewing."

And so, Starfire gets to town with some fabric, glue, handsaws, and milk before tossing the arrangement into an oven set to 425 for fifteen minutes. In the face of all logic, she has somehow created a beautiful pink gown.

Starfire: "Glorg florger! It's hideous! Perhaps I did not use enough milk?"

We then cut from the kitchen to the... kitchen. Where the oven is suddenly closed, and Beast Boy is suddenly rummaging around the fridge for tofu, singing a little song that I can't help but wonder if somebody got paid to write.

Beast Boy: "Tofu, tofu, gonna eat me some tofu. Mm-hm-hm. Tofu in my mouth."

He sings, eats, plays video games, and finds many different ways to block his nudity from view, just like Robin. Speaking of him, he's given the girls and the bees the slip, but Gizmo (Lauren Tom), the diminutive inventor, has just arrived to take over the city with his army of robots!

Gizmo: "Robin... you aren't wearing any pants."
Robin: "This ends now! Or I'm going to have to come over there! Don't think I won't, Gizmo."
Gizmo: "No, no! Stay over there! I'll take over the world another time...."

And with Gizmo and his metal army fleeing, Robin can now claim with little exaggeration that he defeated and entire robot army using only his penis.

Anyway, Robin crawls back into the building through a convenient ventilation duct, managing to cover up his shame with dust and dirt.

In the interests of good taste and the television rating system, the animators have decided to not outline Robin's dirt-covered junk. Which has the side effect of making it look like Robin has a cloaca. Like A-Bomb.

No wonder Gizmo was so grossed out. Cloacae are disgusting.
I would also like to point out that Beast Boy is suddenly wearing underwear. Probably so they don't have to worry about censoring his nudity in the rest of the episode, even though having him transform into different animals would make that a non-issue.

Anyway, Robin and the other Titans head off to confront Raven about hurrying up with the laundry, but they all end up confronted by their own clothes, which seem to have been given life by the evil goo. In an interesting stylistic choice, they speak in pictograms, making it clear that they plan on unleashing mayhem. And dancing.

You know, if you flipped the Robin-suit's thrusting around, Raven-suit's twerking would look totes inappropriate.
As usual, the internet has that covered.
A fight breaks out between the Titans and their clothes, which goes badly for the Titans after the sentient clothes start wearing them, making them hit themselves.

I must say, Raven actually wears Robin's costume well. Ditto for Robin and Starfire's costume, oddly enough.
They smack themselves around for a while as Robin laments that he should have been the one to confront the evil clothes.

Robin: "The truth is, if we could only get out of this, I'd do all the Teen Titans' laundry for the next year."
Raven: "That's just what I was waiting to hear."

And with that, she undoes the spell she put on the clothes to make them come alive. The slime was just slime, it didn't do anything to make their clothes come to life after all.

Despite Raven's visible shock over seeing the clothes move.
When she was completely alone, and would therefore have no reason to pretend the clothes were alive yet.
But before Robin can gets started on the laundry for the whole year, Jump City gets attacked by a creature made out of fruit juice and barbecue sauce.

Robin: "Oh, man. That sounds messy."

And so, the Titans head off in each other's costumes, ready to fight the good fight.

Boy, it's a good thing Raven's hood isn't an all-corrupting cloak of darkness, or anything....
Now let's review.

1 comment:

  1. "Boy, it's a good thing Raven's hood isn't an all-corrupting cloak of darkness, or anything...."

    It's Starfire, she'll be fine...