I mean, if you want. You can totally skip because it is not as relevant as the things I should and shall be studying. But here is somethings for those who are #TMNT fans. No, this isn’t about the Movie made by Mister Motherf***ing Money made, but the most recent cartoon, and some comparisons to the older ones.
Also: #SPOILERS. And opinions. And language warnings.
I grew up with only the reruns of the 1987 show of TMNT. I loved the show, but it had ended… not quite before I was born I think? I will have to double check that after, but I know I wasn’t watching it when it originally aired. So, I only got to watch so many episodes and some of the ones I remember were kind of obscure. Possibly from tapes I had rented. So, this influenced my perspective on some of the iconic henchmen of the show: The bops of bee and the steady rock. Namely, I didn’t see them a lot.
Now, keep this in mind, too. The show (the 1987 TMNT) was basically was an add for a toy line inspired by a comic made by two unknown nerds who created the idea by, essentially, accident. (Pretty sure this is the documentary I saw on Netflix about it, and if you have Netflix you can check the movie out too). And if I remember the documentary correctly, Bebop and Rocksteady were made basically as mutant toys. You know, for selling. As in, they hadn’t a purpose in the story outside of the show trying to sell impressionable kids toys. SO, combing that and only watching a few episodes with those characters in it… I only ever became attached to them superficially. Though I missed Shredder having two stupid henchmen to go over in the 2003 cartoon, Hun was a freaking bad ass and more than made up for it.
So, you can imagine I cared very little if Bebop or Rocksteady made it into the most recent show. Really, if I had two bad ass mutant villain sidekicks, I was kinda satisfied. If I did miss the Pig and the Rhino, I would have missed them in the 2003 series and promptly given less of a shit after that point. I got over it, which would have been a lot harder to do for those who grew up with the show as it aired, or watched all the episodes, and got to see more of the two characters than the glimpses I did. You know, the people who actually grew up with Bebop and his horned pal.
Dogpound and Fishface seemed to be enough for me. Like, they served the same roles as B & R did. They were menacing, tie ins to the Turtles or Shredder’s group/ past. They were interesting, they were tough, and they lost almost every encounter with the Heroes. If I missed Bebop and Rocksteady, it wasn’t for very long. I had accepted their replacements, and was happy. So when I heard that the characters were being introduced, I was skeptical to say the least. I though nostalgia hungry fans forced creator hands and that just meat they were shoe horned in.
Well, in some ways I fell I was partially right. Taking Anton Zeck, basically a Michael Jackson impersonator with a cool suit, AND SUPER FORMER COMMUNIST GENERIC RUSSIAN STEREOTYPE MAN… who may have had some cool and important plot points, and some actual character details that make them SLIGHTLY less generic stereotypes into these iconic villains seemed… forced. The afro-Brazilian man (Who becomes Fishface) and the Chuck Norris wanna-be (Dogpound ten Razar) seemed better set up, more developed, villains. Though, they did suffer some stereotypical characterization (Must every person south of the American border talk like he is Zorro or from Mexico? Even if their Heritage isn’t a Spanish speaking country?) I felt they were less shoe horned to be Shredder’s mutant sidekicks. I mean, in “The Pig and Rhino” Shredder tells the New Bebop and Rocksteady (Zeck and Steranko) to follow him. They say no. He beats them up. They go “okay.” Like, parts of it feels forced.
So, all of this is me trying to explain why I wasn’t sure how much I would actually like the Bebop and Rocksteady of the new series. If I felt they fit. Even the designs (I though Bebop would be bulkier and Rocksteady to be more “He-man” shaped) felt a little off. At FIRST. My verdict after watching the “Pig and the Rhino episode?” The characters. Are. Brilliant.
Yes, even with how skeptical I was, I loved them. Even with Rocksteady’s dorky fake accent. “July of Fourth” doesn’t make sense even if English IS his second language, and the syntax would be different in mainstream Russian. As someone who once taught English as a foreign language, it bugs me for reasons. Though that is getting away from my point.
The two proved to be the Tweetle-dee and Tweetle-dumbass in some goofy ways, which was awesome for the nostalgia. Bringing those who loved them from the past, specifically the cartoon, what they loved most. Yet at the same time they made one of the most formidable teams the turtles faced yet. Though Ivan seems less calculating and less of a strategist when he was turned into Rocksteady, relying more on brute force than before, Anton seems to have the reverse happen.
He is still a cocky, goofy dancing machine (which makes Bebop fit him more than he will EVER admit), he. Is. Angry. At first, when you see them mutate from the episode previous, it sounds like Anton is being over dramatic and whiny. But seeing him stealing the turtle communicator, and using it to bait the other turtles? Even the way he says cheesy lines like “I won’t hit a girl, nut I will trip her,” it sounds like he has more contempt in his voice. You don’t have to see him doing his over dramatic yelling to see he isn’t happy, and it is that which clouds his judgement this time around. Not his cockiness as much. With his clouded Judgement, Ivan can still assume his old role as “the brains” in some ways by making Anton think things through when he is being rash.
I think the line that shows the possible question of roles is when Ivan tells Anton to “think for once,” (that’s paraphrased, I know) and instead of using the Retro mutagen on the Turtles they should turn themselves into people again. Though, even though there is some truth to that… But even thinking that turning the turtles into people or turtles again (I don’t know if he knows that they were mutated from regular Turtles, unless he found that in the communicator he stole) seems more the ruthless sort of thing that I would have attributed to Ivan. Especially in the past episodes. Things have changed. And Anton maybe goofy, they may both be, but I am ready for more of the tenaciousness from the new Bebop and Rocksteady. And they. Are. Tenacious.
And, what do they mean for Shredder’s group dynamics? Think about it, even though the two new mutants failed in their personal goal of destroying the Turtles, they did capture Karai. Which was their Shredder assigned task, and something even Tigerclaw failed. Will this lead to jealousy from the two former main henchmen? Infighting in Shredder’s inner circle that will weaken them? Or will the four, Fishface, Razar, Bebop, and Rocksteady be their own special task force lead by Tiger claw to fight the Turtles? If Tigerclaw trains them like Splinter trains the Turtles, the next show down with Shredder’s crew may resemble Charles’s XMEN fighting the brotherhood of mutants!
Either way, I am super happy with the new Bebop and Rocksteady even though I wasn’t sure if I would. And much like the show they are in, they may not be the perfect but they are super fucking awesome.