Something I haven’t seen discussed a whole lot in the other TMNT blogs and forums is the humor embedded in Nickelodeon’s re-imagining of the TMNT. We all know how “campy” the humor was in the original cartoon. As kids it may not have seemed so bad but if you go back and watch an episode now as an adult it is just outright lame (almost insultingly so).
In the animatic we saw of Nickelodeon’s TMNT pilot I was pleasantly surprised by the embedded humor. It never seemed forced and it had great comedic timing. The jokes were legitimately funny and proper for the surrounding dialog, setting, and characters. In the past 10 or years we’ve all come to expect so much more from our cartoons and movies. Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks have raised the bar with humor in animated movies like Shrek, Toy Story, and Bolt. These are great movies that you don’t mind seeing with your kids because you know they’re targeting adults just as much as kids. However, on the flip side, there are animated movies that are purely for kids and are just absolutely painful to sit through as an adult.
You can’t just be funny with images on the screen and slap-stick stuff and expect to draw and retain an adult audience. So, for great humor it’s left mostly up to the writers on staff (and of course the voice actors to some degree). That’s what really makes the difference and distinguishes top-notch animated movies and cartoons from “run of the mill” crap. The bottom line is that I think we’re all in for a treat with the new TMNT series. If you’ve ever watched Sponge Bob then you’ll know what I mean. That’s a truly well-written and genuinely funny cartoon that my kids love and I actually enjoy watching. Yes, it’s slap-stick but it’s well-written too. That’s why Sponge Bob is so popular. I laugh at stuff in Sponge Bob that goes over the heads of my kids. In my opinion, that’s what makes a really good cartoon. I know, TMNT isn’t a comedy like Sponge Bob and the target audience is likely a bit older. However, from what I’ve seen so far, the writing is of the same caliber.
The creators of Sponge Bob now have our beloved Turtles in hand. I’m OK with that.