Season 3, Episode 18 (36 overall): Cowabunga Shredhead
Original Airdate: October 18, 1989
Michelangelo is in trouble because he ate everybody’s pizza…again. The rest of the Turtles are hopping mad because they were fucking hungry and their brother is a real piece of shit. Splinter says that Michelangelo has been warned before so now he has to apply Kung Pow: the ancient art of mind-control to get him to stop craving pizza.
Sidebar: if it was this easy, why didn’t Splinter put all of his boys on this mind-control diet? Sure, they get plenty of exercise, but it’s only a matter of time before all that pizza catches up with them. Can’t be a lean, green fighting machine with all those carbs slowing you down. And I should know. We can smell our own.
Meanwhile, at the Technodrome, Shredder is catching a ride in a Module and DRILLING ANOTHER FUCKING HOLE IN THE GROUND to head to the surface so he can put his 1980s computer floppy disk to work in creating a hologram of Michelangelo that will infiltrate the Turtles and take them down from the inside. Of course, Bebop forces in the disk backwards and the computer hits Shredder right between the eyes with an energy bolt that has him feeling strange.
Turns out, instead of creating a hologram of Michelangelo, it now has Shredder thinking he’s Michelangelo and he just casually walks into the Turtles’ lair with a stack of pizzas to hang out and munch down. Obviously the Turtles are ready to push his shit in, but Splinter sees that there’s some bigger issues at play here and contacts their assigned social worker to speak with Shredder and give a proper, technical diagnosis…wait, no, of course that didn’t happen. That doesn’t happen now. No, Splinter just touches the back of Shredder’s neck and uses the force to tell him what the fuck is really happening.
Splinter uses his Kung Pow technique to bring out the true Shredder, but Shredder wants to attack Splinter and bring this to fisticuffs and nobody wants that smoke so Splinter immediately makes him think he’s Michelangelo again, but everyone needs to be careful because if anyone says “Shredder” he will turn back into Shredder. The real Michelangelo can’t handle all this drama so he chucks up the deuces and takes off. Shredder drops his floppy disk in the lair and Donatello says they need to take a trip to Channel 6 to use April’s computer to see what’s on it.
Now, this could just be me overthinking things here, but if Donatello is some big tech wiz (Donatello does machines, duhhhhhh), then why the fuck doesn’t he have his own computer. All the biggest nerds had computers in the 80s! Some even had their own robots! Don’t act like y’all don’t remember VICI from Small Wonder.
That little girl is a fucking robot!!! Money here built a little robot slave girl to bring him breakfast in bed!!!! Look, I’m no fan of kids so if you’re going to have them, it’s probably best that they have a program and don’t need to be potty trained. I don’t have the patience to raise this little girl, but I’m definitely on board with having a robot make me breakfast. I love breakfast.
OK, I blacked out, what happened? Oh, computers. Yeah, Donatello should buy one. Or build one. Something.
They run the contents of the disk and see Shredder’s original plan of making a hologram Mikey and decide they have to find the real McCoy to keep him safe. Where to look? The pizzeria, of course, because even though he no longer craves pizza, money wants some goddamn pizza. He’s ambushed by Bebop and Rocksteady and, by the time the Turtles and delusional Shredder arrive, the place is a ghost town. Leo and Raph search the place while Real Shredder/Fugazi Mikey follows through the kitchen until he notices some mozzarella still in the…shredder. He says it aloud, of course, which turns him back into his true self and he attacks the two Turtles leaving them wrapped in pizza dough and on the conveyor belt to be baked in the oven while he returns to the hideout.
When he arrives, he finds that Bebop and Rocksteady have captured Michelangelo, but he can’t move forward with his and Krang’s master plan to create a hologram to replace the president, but he’s now figuring out that he’s lost the floppy disk. He returns to the pizzeria to get from the Turtles, but doesn’t realize that Donatello has already reprogrammed the disk to create about 20 Michelangelo holograms. Shredder isn’t fooled by this ruse, however, and uses his synchronizer machine to put a forcefield around the Turtles to restrain them. It’s at this time, Michelangelo steps up to the plate and says his name aloud which makes Shredder again think he’s Mikey and he begins destroying his machine, freeing the Turtles and abruptly cutting short his great plan.
Our heels once again escape by DRILLING ANOTHER FUCKING HOLE INTO THE GROUND and retreating to the Technodrome while our heroes enjoy some well-earned pizza…after Splinter takes his spell off Michelangelo, that is.
I liked this! Look, it’s been well-established that most, if not all of these episodes would be mediocre at best to watch back, but despite the ridiculousness of the premise, this was a lot of fun! Hearing Uncle Phil’s voice saying Michelangelo’s phrases was a trip and Shredder leaving Leo and Raph to die on a conveyor belt that led to an oven, but apparently is the slowest belt in all of creation since Shredder had time to leave, go to the hideout, realize he lost the disk and then return to the pizzeria to find the two Turtles still laying prone wrapped in dough was one of the great moments of my life. This was just fun and sometimes that’s all you need it to be.
Main Man Standings:
Yeah, I enjoyed it, but we still can’t get crazy with the score here. But we’re going to be fair at the same time and give this a very strong TRIPLE MAIN MAN! THREE STARS! A very fine and acceptable episode that is probably the best installment since something in Season 1 or something. It’s definitely been a while since I got genuine enjoyment from a full episode.
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