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YMMV: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)
  • Accidental Innuendo: "Donatello does machines!"
    • Made even more hilarious by the fact that he's the only turtle without an official Love Interest. Though it's been implied that Irma does canonically have a bit of crush on Donatello in several episodes such as "Sky Turtles" and "Invasion Of The Turtle Snatchers", which means that he's really shy, or Oblivious to Love, unless he's actually Robosexual.
    • The end of the first act of "The Lost Queen Of Atlantis" has a freeze frame of Shredder taking a magic amulet off of April while she's being restrained, which from the angle of the shot looks like he's grabbing April's breast and maniacally laughing at the same time.
  • Adaptation Displacement: This is the version most people remember when they think about the Turtles (or at least most people in their mid-20's or older).
    • The turtles became color coded via their bandanas here. The original comic only had their weapons as a way to tell them apart.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Shredder's teasing of April. Is he just trying to piss her off or does he have a genuine Villainous Crush on her?
    • This is actually strongly implied in a few episodes.
    • Some fans speculate Irma's boy-craziness stems from loneliness and a desperate need for love and affection.
      • Some see her as a Yandere in the making.
      • And even others are theorizing that her constant chasing after men (or, more accurately, anything male) is her way of covering up actually being a closeted lesbian, which leads us to:
      • April and Irma's friendship seeming to be one-sided. Irma always mingles with April, and even refers to her as her best friend, however, April doesn't necessarily seem to ever return the sentiments. On top of that, because Irma seemingly clings to April seems to egg on the above-mentioned closet theory that perhaps Irma wants more than just friendship with April.
  • Ass Pull: Happens quite a bit, and can be excused somewhat by the show running on Rule of Funny.
    • A severe case of this happens at the end of the episode "Rock Around The Block".
  • Base Breaker: Bebop and Rocksteady are seen as either funny or annoying.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Splinter looks extremely pissed in the opening scene of "Leonardo, Renaissance Turtle" for no apparent reason.
    • Michelangelo delivering a pizza to a pregnant woman in "Pizza by the Shred".
      • This is actually Fridge Brilliance when you consider that the whole premise of the episode is Shredder trying to lure the turtles out of hiding by opening a pizza place with the weird pizza combinations that the turtles love. In real life it is very common for pregnant women to have tastes for strange food combinations, so this scene actually does makes perfect sense.
      • Still, the event happened out of nowhere and was never mentioned again. Also, not many children's cartoons have pregnant women.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Vacation in Europe' which was 13 Bizarro episodes in a row.
  • Broken Base: Were the "Red Sky seasons" (8, 9, and 10) any good?
    • Similar issues come up with the "Vacation in Europe" Story Arc.
    • Season 4 was either the funniest season or full of pointless Filler.
  • Canon Sue: Carter has a level of fighting skill on par with the Turtles, a strategic mind similar to Leonardo, scientific knowledge that it's implied is even greater than that of Donatello, and April even seems attracted to him in his first couple of appearances.
    • Leonardo in a lot of episodes. It's even lampshaded.
  • Cargo Ship: Mikey X Pizza. Almost canon.
  • Cliché Storm: Appears as one to modern audiences due to Seinfeld Is Unfunny.
  • Crack Ship: There is Baxter and April Rule 34. Yeah.
  • Crazy Awesome: THE TECHNODROME.
    • The Turtle Van and Turtle Blimp too.
    • This incarnation of Casey Jones.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming: Most of the Ship Tease between Kala and Mikey.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The opening theme for seasons 1-7 as well the "red sky" theme.
    • The German version, even though it was released as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles.
    • The piece of music that plays when the Technodrome's on screen.
    • The Italian theme song. It sounds absolutely nothing like the original, but it's nice and surprisingly catchy.
  • Designated Villain: Baxter Stockman's worst crime (before turning into a fly) was helping out Shredder, but the way the Turtles treat him you'd think he killed their mom or something.
    • Thanks to Baxter and his rat-catcher Shredder nearly succeeded in killing Splinter and Baxter also pulled off a Dog Bites Back move where he easily defeated the Turtles and likely would have done so to Shredder as well if not for him not knowing the Eye of Sarnath's one weakness. Shredder may have easily been the more eviler of the two, but he definitely wasn't an innocent victim.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Shredder has quite a few fangirls. Doesn't help that he's sometimes more entertaining to watch than the good guys.
  • Ear Worm: The original theme.
    • "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, heroes in a half shell, Turtle Power!"
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Main villains Shredder, Krang, Bebop, and Rocksteady along with the Rat King.
    • Even fans who dislike the Red Sky seasons admit to liking one-shot villain Chronos.
    • Mona Lisa only appeared in one episode, but she has a huge fan base as a result.
    • Mondo Gecko. Only appeared in around two episodes (though he had a slightly bigger role in the Archie comic books) but he has a ton of fan-art, and quite a few fangirls.
    • Shredder's mother Miyoko, and to a lesser extent his little brother Kazuo.
    • This incarnation of Raphael became beloved by the fanbase due to being a Deadpan Snarker.
    • Irma. Cute as a button, and it also helps that the rest of her Channel 6 co-workers (save for April) are annoying Scrappies.
      • So much so, that it seems that Nickelodeon has caught on to this, as some recent Fore Shadowing in an episode of the 2012 series reveals a bespectacled caller by the name of Irma.
    • Mutagen Man is apparently this to the 2012 show's writers according to this article, stating that they want to utilize him in some way.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Tempestra.
    • And Shreeka to some.
    • Also Medusa.
    • Shredder according to some female fans. In fact, he seems to be the version of Shredder with the most fangirls.
  • Fan Nickname: The show's Shredder is sometimes referred to as "Uncle Phil", thanks to voice actor James Avery's most famous role.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: If fanart is any indication, Shredder X April, Raphael X Mona Lisa, Mikey X Kala, Donatello X Irma, and Leonardo X Lotus.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Seasons 8, 9 and 10, the "Red Sky" seasons. (Possibly Canon Discontinuity, since Turtles Forever chose to ignore those seasons completely.)
    • Some are more forgiving of Season 8, though.
    • Though Turtles Forever was meant to highlight the differences between the 2003 series and this one, so including the more serious seasons would largely defeat the purpose.
      • However, with the additional cameo of the 1987 universe in the 2012 cartoon showing no elements of the Red Sky seasons and instead having the same wackiness in the first seven seasons, this interpretation may be gaining more traction.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One of the first episodes featured an entire building flooding out and spilling a massive amount of water in the city when said building explodes from the pressure. Though copious on its own merits already, it can hit way too close to home for those involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, especially since the setting for the cartoon is New York City.
  • Growing the Beard: Season Three, arguably, when compared to the somewhat lackluster Season Two. It wasn't consistently good, but contains the most fan favourites.
    • Season Seven, the last "normal" season, is considered to be the best of all, due to some surprisingly well-written and enjoyable episodes. "Night of The Dark Turtle" and "Legend of Koji" are believed to be the best episodes in the entire series.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: "Enter The Fly!" has Baxter and Shredder plotting evil on top of the Twin Towers. Yikes.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Lotus Blossom was introduced in the cartoon before Karai in the comics.
  • Ho Yay: You have to admit, the way Shredder and Krang would bicker throughout the series made them look like an old married couple. May also count as No Yay.
    • James Avery himself even lampshaded this in his Under the Shell interview, saying he and Pat Fraley treated the interaction between Shredder and Krang like they really were an old married couple. When asked what Shredder was up to recently, James responds, in-character as Shredder, "Krang and I are divorced now, I haven't seen him in many years. I kinda miss him, but not really, he was always such a nag."
    • Bebop and Rocksteady very rarely leave each other's side. If Rocksteady didn't have his gigantic crush on April there would be a lot more Ho Yay going on from the fans' point of view.
    • Baxter Stockman and his gender-neutral (but still male-sounding) alien computer, Zee. Watch an episode with them in it and see for yourself.
    • Sometimes happens to the turtles themselves.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: From time to time, Irma will mention being on a diet, and although her size is mostly obscured by a baggy turtleneck sweater, on the few occasions she wears something else, it's clear that she certainly isn't even fat at all.
  • Idiot Plot: The episode "Zach And The Alien Invaders" is easily the biggest offender of this in the entire series, considering that the whole premise is about Zach convincing the turtles that he's seen aliens, and robots, and other dangerous things that ended up being harmless, and getting in trouble for it. Because it's not like the turtles have ever fought aliens or robots before, except you know like every episode where Krang and Shredder attack the turtles with the Foot Soldier robots which happens on a regular basis! Later on Zach does see aliens that are trying to take over the world, and helps the turtles stop them, but the episode basically sends the message that "it's OK not to listen to kids". To be fair the episode was trying to go for a "Boy Who Cried Wolf" type of Aesop, but didn't pull it off very well.
    • The episode "Leonardo Is Missing" also falls under this, which is lampshaded by Splinter at the end, but unlike the first example, this episode is actually still fun to watch.
    Splinter: Next time you leave Leonardo, make sure to leave a note.
  • Ink Stain Adaptation: Mainly to fans of the original Mirage comic book.
  • In Name Only: A rare case of Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Baxter Stockman. He's one of the least evil villains on the show but the only one with a (heavily implied) canon death.
  • Les Yay: Some fans see this with April and Irma, some even like to insist that Irma wants more than just friendship from April; and Irma always clinging to, or sometimes being protective of April kind of eggs this on.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Cowabunga!" and "It's Pizza Time!"
    • "Turtle Power!"
    • "Turtles Fight With Honor!"
    • "Go Green Machine!"
    • "SUPER IRMA!"
    • The theme song.
    • The Technodrome will definitely be one of the first things to come up in your mind when you think about this show.
    • Recently, posting weird and Off Model screenshots from the show has become popular on 4chan, several of which have become minor memes of their own.
    • "...All on account of those turtles!"
    • "I crave pizza no more."
  • Memetic Sex Goddess: April O' Neil, so very much.
    • Mona Lisa also qualifies for this.
    • And Irma too.
  • Moe: Irma. A good portion of the fanbase thinks she's cute as a button.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Shredder crosses this in the first episode of season 8 when he actually destroys the Channel 6 building which takes it out of commission for the rest of the series.
    • In the same episode, it is stated by Bezerko that Krang committed genocide against his people, because he had no further use for them.
    • Long before that, there was Shredder intentionally exposing April to the lethal fumes of the Doku plant back in "Enter: The Fly," which very nearly killed her. And this was back in the second season, which had already been made Lighter and Softer than season 1!
  • Narm Charm: The series had a good amount of this, and made it work well.
  • Nausea Fuel: The Turtles' ...''interesting'..' tastes in pizza.
  • Never Live It Down: Many fans are still ticked off about Shredder's destruction of the Channel 6 building.
  • Nightmare Fuel: After Baxter Stockman has failed Shredder one too many times, Krang tossed into a disintegration chamber. He is frantically pleading for his life, and his screaming skeleton doesn't make it any easier to watch. However, there was a fly in the chamber as well, and he's morphed into a giant mutant fly-man.
    • Seymour Gutz falling apart in a vat of mutagen in "Enter: Mutagen Man". It's Played for Laughs and he survives, but still.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Dregg wasn't really a bad villain by his own terms, but the mere fact that he wasn't Shredder ensured he never became popular. It didn't help that Shredder had become genuinely threatening again during his last season before being replaced by Dregg. Not even being voiced by Tony Jay could save Dregg from the Scrappy Heap.
    • Carter, considering he sort of replaced April in season nine (though she would take the role back in season ten).
  • The Scrappy: Zach and Howie.
    • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: However, Zach did have his share of valuable moments like when he saved April's life in "Bebop And Rocksteady Conquer The Universe" and the turtles' lives in "Night Of The Rogues", which both earned him a good amount of fans.
    • Carter has a few fans, but most of them agree that he doesn't really belong on a show like TMNT.
    • Burne and Vernon aren't well liked either. Especially for being huge selfish jerks and constantly bad mouthing the turtles, even when they saved their lives.
      • Though they were intended as ineffectual antagonists, so it would be more weird if people actively liked them. Considering they're both chew toys as well, Vernon especially, it's more of a case of Intended Audience Reaction.
    • Most Filler Villains, due to being unoriginal (almost all of them are gangsters or mad scientists, and nearly identical ones at that), and the fact that they just aren't as interesting as Shredder or Krang.
    • Dregg isn't a bad character, but the fact that he replaced Shredder as Big Bad doomed him to be this.
  • Seasonal Rot: Some fans agree that this happened during Season Eight, when the sky was permanently red and the show took on a Darker and Edgier tone.
    • Having said that, Season Eight isn't entirely without its fans; a few consider it to have struck a good balance between the show's original tone and that of the comic book. In addition, Shredder became a serious threat again for the first time since the very beginning of the show. However, fewer people are willing to defend Seasons Nine and Ten, when Lord Dregg replaced Shredder and Krang. Though the 3-part "Return of Shredder and Krang" arc in the middle of season 10 does have its fans, with many feeling that it served as a better finale to the show than the actual series finale.
    • A good chunk of Season Four (and some of Five) is considered this by some fans (though following seasons improved), due to Flanderization and Villain Decay, extremely goofy/borderline nonsensical plots, bad/inconsistent animation, weak one-shot bad guys, and lack of action scenes. Proof that Up to Eleven isn't always a good thing.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: This probably started most modern-day cartoon cliches.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Even the worst episodes are strangely enjoyable. This is probably the show's greatest strength.
  • So Cool It's Awesome: Generally agreed to be the best mainstream American cartoon of the eighties, and has a devoted fanbase.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Season Two is widely considered this: not as good as the short first season preceding it or the long third season following it, but perfectly watchable regardless. The "Eye of Sarnath" Story Arc and "Enter The Fly' are considered its highlights.
    • How a lot of fans feel about Season Five. It has some of the series' best ("My Brother, the Bad Guy") but it also has some of the series' worst ("Donatello's Badd Time" and "Zack and the Alien Invaders")
  • Squick: Those goddamn pizza toppings. This may be why the Red Sky seasons did away with them completely.
    • Baxter's mutation into a fly.
    • The turtles' mutation in season 9.
    • The sewers. Lampshaded constantly.
  • Tear Jerker: Though much more lighthearted than the 2003 version this show still has its moments of this. One of the most memorable is the episode "Turtles, Turtles Everywhere." Shredder and Krang reprogram a network of robotic garbage trucks and order them to capture "the turtles." With no knowledge of the TMNT, the trucks start rounding up every turtle in the city, and eventually what is said to be the last surviving member of an endangered sea turtle species, just as she was about to lay her eggs. One of the reasons it's such a great episode is that, unique among shows in The Eighties, it's actually a Green Aesop done right. Unlike Captain Planet villains and much more similar to real-world polluters, Shredder and Krang aren't actually intending to damage the environment as its own end; they're just greedy and don't care if it's a side-effect. At the end of the episode, they put a stop to the plan and return the sea turtle to the beach to finish laying her eggs and the resident joker Michelangelo starts sobbing as she swims off saying that she reminds him of his mother. Also, while they attempt to end the episode on a humorous note after that bit, it actually becomes sadder when rewatching it as an adult, when you can think about it enough to worry that even though the sea turtle got to lay her eggs after all, based on April's claim that she was the last surviving member of her species, the eggs might not have been fertilized. So she could still be the last of her kind, ever.
    • In the episode "Splinter No More", it's pretty hard to see Splinter lamenting his loss of his humanity to the point of shedding tears. This becomes much Harsher in Hindsight when you remember that Splinter destroyed Shredder's Retro Mutagen Ray in order to save the turtles, but also destroying the one thing that could return him to his human form in the process.
    • Also in the episode "Hot Rodding Teenagers", it's tough to see Kala break down as she explains that the only reason that she and the other Neutrinos are on the run is because that they are kids who would like to have fun instead of fighting in Dimension X's infinite war, and are being hunted down for it.
    Kala: "You don't know what it's like.... living in a place where everyone wants to do you in....just for the crime of being young." (She starts to cry.)
    • The beginning of "Splinter Vanishes".
    • The penultimate example for most fans of the original series is in the opening episode "Get Shredder" where Shredder actually destroys the Channel 6 building which takes it out of commission for the rest of the series.
  • The Woobie: Michaelangelo has his moment of this when he thinks everyone forgot his birthday in "Michaelangelo's Birthday", which makes it even worse when he runs into Shredder.
    • Also Splinter in "Splinter No More".
    • Donatello in "Donatello's Duplicate" easily counts for this.
    • Leonardo in "Take Me To Your Leader". Even this Leonardo-neutral fangirl wanted to hug him.
    • Raphael in the beginning of "Raphael: Turtle Of A Thousand Faces".
    • Baxter Stockman, even when he was a Jerk Ass. Some scenes where he's abused and mistreated are actually pretty uncomfortable to watch.
    • Krang sort of was one in "Hot-Rodding Teenagers from Dimension X". It's the sadness in his voice when he tells General Traag how he lost his body when they "banished him to this miserable mud-ball" as well as how upset he was about Traag and Granitor seeing him without his body.
    • The Neutrinos also count considering they're just kids in a war filled world like Dimension X, and are hunted down because they don't want to join in on the fighting. Especially Kala.
    Kala: "You don't know what it's like.... living in a place where everyone wants to do you in....just for the crime of being young." (She starts to cry.)
    • Irma could also be seen as this, seeing as how she can never quite seem to have a decent boyfriend.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks/Broken Base: There are many mixed feelings about the altered theme during the red-sky seasons (and about how changed the red-sky seasons were themselves).
  • They Just Didn't Care and Off Model: The animation in some mid-series episodes looks downright HIDEOUS (especially almost half of season 4).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Mona Lisa.
    • Howie, despite being The Scrappy, had some cute scenes with Irma, and the idea of her having a steady boyfriend is admittely interesting. Too bad everything else about him was so annoying.
    • Lotus Blossom. Her second and final appearance is considered Fanon Discontinuity due to being such a disappointing farewell to her.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "Night Of The Living Rogues". Fed up with Bebop and Rocksteady's incompetence, Shredder gathers a large group of the Turtle's previous enemies to defeat them once and for all. The Turtles are completely helpless against the assembled baddies. So will this cause the the Turtles to call on all of their allies, like The Mutant Frogs, Usagi, Mondo Gecko and Mona Lisa leading to a huge brawl between the groups? Nnnnnope. Instead, the Turtles just call on Casey Jones and Zach the "fifth turtle" for back up, and the villains run away at the end when it's pointed out that they're outnumbered. Keep in mind that one of those people is a kid, and the other two are April and Irma.
    • The subplot of "Krangenstein Lives!!" Shredder loses his memory. Pretty interesting right? You'd think they'd go for something different but... he's still evil, he just can't remember his name. There are so many different ways that could have gone.
    • The seventh season had an episode called "Dirk Savage: Mutant Hunter", where an eccentric billionaire who is secretly a mutant slug plotting to take over the city named A. J. Howard hires bounty hunter Dirk Savage to capture all the mutants in New York. Considering the episode's focus on mutants and the large number of mutants the show had, you'd expect fan favorites like Mona Lisa or Muckman to return, but this was not the case. While Mondo Gecko and the Punk Frogs Napoleon Bonafrog and Genghis Frog returned in this episode, the only other mutants that appear in the episode are Tokka and Rahzar from the second movie and a bunch of unnamed mutants created solely for this episode. It's still a good episode, just an example of how good things could have been better.
    • Fans who dislike Bebop and Rocksteady often wish Baxter stayed The Dragon to Shredder in Season Two.
  • Ugly Cute: Baxter's half-fly form. D'awww. Strange, considering he was an apparently middle aged man beforehand.
    • Some actually find his human self to be adorable, strangely enough.
    • The Shredder as a fly. His voice is freaking adorable.
    • Krang, sometimes.
  • Uncanny Valley: Some episodes had a very rubbery, constantly-changing art style which more often than not resulted in some really creepy faces and expressions.
    • Krang himself, if you think about how he would look in real life.
      • His first appearance in "Enter The Shredder", where he's slimy and pulsating.
    • Some of the Red Sky-era villains/mutants. One of the most memorable is Doomquest, a giant-like conqueror of worlds with very small eyes.
    • The turtles' mutant forms in Season 9.
    • The rubber face-masks the turtles use for some of their disguises.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Baxter Stockman seemed to be more concerned with becoming human again than being genuinely evil.
  • Villain Decay: Shredder and his cohorts. A case of Tropes Are Not Bad, as they became a lot more funny and unique. And reversed in the "Red Sky" seasons which saw Shredder become much more competent and dangerous.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?
    2003 Raphael: Was that a mutant... banana?!
    2003 Michelangelo: This dimension is seriously messed up.

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