TMNT fail? The new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ don’t say ‘Cowabunga’ anymore


Everyone’s still concerned that Michael Bay is going to ruin the legacy of ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ with his upcoming reboot where the heroes in a half-shell are an alien race — but a new ‘TMNT’ is on TV, and it’s just as bad. The pizza-loving sewer-residing quartet is back with new Saturday morning cartoons on Nickelodeon, and a lot has changed. 2007’s big-screen disasterpiece ‘TMNT’ was bad enough in changing April O’Neill from a reporter to an archaeologist. Change is inevitable, reboots and remakes are easy money for Hollywood, but this is going too far.

Splinter is no longer a rat that mutated when he came into contact with ooze. He’s a human that mutated into a rat when he was mugged in alley while carrying his pets: four baby turtles.

‘Cowabunga!’ is gone. None of the Ninja Turtles say the catchphrases that made us love them in the ’80s and ’90s. Times change, and it’s understandable that some things would get updated with the new series, but now the hot new catchphrase is ‘booyakasha’… Apparently, they started shooting the series with nothing in the script but then voice actor Greg Cipes (who plays Michelangelo) used the ridiculous NBA Jam-esque word and it has become a part of the show.

Raphael is apparently the best turtle, according to the premiere episode where we’re all re-introduced to the turtles with a twisted new origin story. The show begins with the four teen turtles practicing martial arts in their sewer lair. Leonardo and Raphael best Donatello and Michelangelo, and then Raph beats Leo. Every fan has a favorite (the blue one! the purple one! the orange one! no, the red one!) but the series never led us to believe one was a better fighter than the others. Instead, they all had specific skill sets that made them succeed as a team.

Jason Biggs and Sean Astin. Young viewers might have no idea the ‘American Pie’ star had sex with baked goods or who was ‘Rudy’ (or Samwise Gamgee from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy), but they are the voices of Leonardo and Raphael, respectively. It’s very distracting to hear recognizable voices as well-established characters, not to mention Biggs has already hurt the show with his racy, very R-rated commentary on Twitter.

Anime graphics. The Ninja Turtles might be popular in Asian markets or with U.S. viewers who also like anime, but they had their own visual look that keeps getting changed with each version of the show. ‘TMNT’ was bad, but the new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ TV show actually uses anime-like graphics such as an asterisk popping up when someone’s hit — or has a thought. There was a Japanese series called ‘Mutant Turtles: Choujin Densetsu-hen’ that satisfied the anime fans, so why not keep them separate?

Michelangelo has a new weapon. Leo still has his swords (or Katanas), Donny still has a bo (or staff), Raph has his sai — and Mikey has his nunchucks (or nunchaku) but now they apparently have sharp things at the end, like he’s going to whip them around and impale thugs in the head as he does it. The updated weapon is too scary, violent.

And to make matters worse, the show doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. The Sept. 29 premiere episode was the week’s top telecast with kids 2-11 (6.2/2.1 million) and the cable network’s top-rated premiere for an animated series since 2009, reaching nearly 12 million total viewers in its debut weekend. 26 more episodes have been ordered and toys are coming. Cowabunga? Booyakasha?