TMNT: Coming Out of Their Shells

-by Bevianna Bones

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There are few things from my childhood that simultaneously were so endeared and so horrific at the same time as TMNT: Coming out of Their Shells. This was an amazing jammin rockin cassette that was put out by Mikey, Raph, Leo, and Don; and pimped out by Pizza Hut as a promotion. Because who else. It’s the turtles. There was even a song on the album, Pizza Power! No matter what challenges or problems life may hand us, just eat a slice of the “flying saucer food delight” and there isn’t anything these four ninja brothers aren’t ready to take on!!

Anyway, as far as I know, the only way you could get the cassette was to complete the Book It! Challenge at Pizza Hut. Basically, for every 5 books you read, you got a free Personal Pan Pizza, and after so many freebies earned you got the cassette. I could be wrong about this whole thing. It was 1988, and I was 8 years old.

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Or maybe it was 3.99 when you bought a pizza and my parents just told me that I had to read all those damned books. The details are a little fuzzy at this point. What I do know is that earning my turtles cassette was my life’s greatest achievement at that point. Even more than trying to earn my Enduro patch from Activision. That’s another story, but with this cassette in my possession I was the envy of all my classmates. Just one of the many times being a dork pages off in a big way for me. I listened to that album over and over until I practically wore it out. I loved it.

Imagine my bliss when many years later, I happened upon it on iTunes for a measly five dollars. I couldn’t resist. I had to have it. I still know all the songs by heart, and in truth I keep it in my playlist and listen to it at least once while I’m working graveyard. My newly rekindled romance of these four rockin turtles reminded of the rest of the story about this album, and this is where the horror comes in.

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Apparently, the turtles had gotten tired of taking down the foot and shredder and krang and decided to take their rock show on the road with, wait for it, you guessed it, a LIVE TOUR!!!! Thank the gods that technology has blessed us with YouTube, so that we all may relive the turtles’ message of peace and love through music. I emplor you to try and sit through all 93 glorious minutes. I can already see the quizitive look on all of your faces. Bevianna, you say, 93 minutes? I thought the album was only 30? And I say to you, yes, ninety-three minutes of what-the-fuckery stretching 30 minutes of turtle pun themed pizza advertisements into an hour and a half of your life you will never, I say, never get back. You have been warned.

The show opens and we see several equipment trucks and roadies coming in to set up the stage in that very early 80s vhs editing that oh so many music vids of the time used. And then again amazing vhs effects, we see a crowed venue and an empty stage. Then poof, and quick flash and the music starts and up out of the stage come the turtles decked out in quintessential 80s glamband rock attire. But no hair. After all they are turtles. To give them hairband hair would just be ridiculous. So Leo an Mickey are playing a flying v’s, and Don is on bass. Raph is on vocals. Although I have a memory of Raph on the keytar at some point. Oops, my bad, Don has the keytar, apparently they don’t know what the fuck is going on either. They can change instruments so quickly like that because they are ninjas.

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They open the show with “Out of Their Shells” so we all know that these are not the same turtles we once knew, and looking at them, they literally have no shells. They have come out of them. Next, after we had how totes radical and how much we all are loved, they decide to cut the talk and rock again!! Those instruments are amazing!!!! They love us!!! So let’s sing about it!! And hear much ancient wisdom from a very frightening Splinter. It’s Pizza Power bitches! Look at those moves, boy being a ninja really pays off when you are rocking out!!! There are even pizza delivery backup dancers.

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That is the power or pizza and music right there!!

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

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My apologies to the readers, but I just looked up at the screen and caught a glimpse of the dead eyes of what once was a mouse that didn’t make the cut for the Critter Parade at Chuck’e Cheese. We are treated to more Splinter wisdom and his one and only song, thankfully, Skipping Stones. But just as shit is about to get really deep, an ominous voice comes over and we see Baxter Stockman’s lab, and surprise, we are told of an ominous plan by Shredder. Who hates music!!! Ahahahaaha!! End quote. I be cranky too, let’s just say this guy’s costume budget was minimal.

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Splinter and the turts we so moved by the music, they are literally knocked out, when they wake up, they have no idea what’s going on. Neither does the audience. Enter April O’Neal. She tells us and all the mindless children that in fact, Shredder was indeed there. So we sing some more. And dance awesome some more. Imagine the résumés. Donatello has this special skill apparently.

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Cowabunga!!! Its time to go Tubin’!! Don’t quite understand that last transition, neither does anyone else. Surfin song, surfin stock footage, and dancin…alligators??…crocodiles??…sharks?? Im not really sure. You be the judge.

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These are really some retro reptiles!!!

NEWSFLASH!!!!!

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It’s April and she has breaking news that shredder is indeed there in that very building!!! The Turtles spring into action with an amazing RAP!!! The funky four really showed the shred up with that one! Cowabunga dudes!!! The rap really upset Shredder and he unleashes foot soilder and prepares his Deharmomic Discombobulated Disembowler (or something like that) that’s going to suck away all the music. Thank you shredder. And then more filler as the turtles do impressions to pass the time.

Foot soilders attack the turtles and the turtles fight back with ninja power and puns. “Go Turtles!!!” April cries out, the foot is defeated and shredder finally shows up to the party. And more puns. Shredder sucks away all the turtles pizza power and the turtles are forced to retreat. Shredder taunts the audience and makes the children cry. He gets all pervy with April and she is dragged away by the foot and then the worst of all, Shredder tells the audience that they are all trapped in the building until such time as he see’s fit for their release…the horror, the horror!!!

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We find ourselves in an intermission of sorts and we are treated to several whiney small children in their turtle garb, talking to an obviously overwhelmed “journalist” (the term is used very loosely here) reporting and recaping the “situation”. Dear gods, what is to happen to April and where did the turtles go off to?! The suspense is killing me.

The reporter takes plastic weapons from the children and heads down to the “sewer” to try and find help. This goes on for five minutes. He finally stumbles on the turtles and tells them Shredder took April and they go back and forth for a while, and basically figure out that no one knows where he took her or what’s going on. Seems that is our recurring theme. The “interview” with the turtles and their plan of “I don’t know, but we’re gonna do something” goes on for far too long. They decide to send the reporter off to look for Shredder after he calls them weenies.

Back on stage, Shredder is getting a bone from upsetting the children and calling them names. At this point, I have to reflect just how much filler is going to be left in the second “act” since I think there is only two actual songs left. Shredder taunts the children some more and becomes eventually either tired or irritated. I find I identity with the way Shredder is feeling. So like all bad guys, he likes to talk too much and reveals to us how his giant music sucking vibrator works. To show us as an example, since he hates music so much, he and the foot bust into their very own awful rap and breakdance. Look out electric boogalo! What a surprise treat, and a shame this baby isnt on the album. Maybe there is a special editon I don’t know about.

The turtles commicate to the crowd via vidcam satellite link, and reassure everyone that they have a plan. Sure would like to know what it is at this point, but as there is still thirty minutes left, I’m sure we have to wait a bit to find out. Shredder is agitated that the turtles are still alive and he and Baxter set off to destroy them. Leaving April alone on stage with some lackeys who start dissing the turtles for ditching everyone. April gets pissed they are talking smack on her boys and wait for it…I think it might be April’s big moment…yep, time for April Ballad.

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The song that makes you feel safe. Because that is the power of peace and love and music. A turtle is a friend, a friend to the end. That, or it’s the song that makes one question the nature of the relationship between her and the boys. Just like that, the turtles are back on stage, lured there by April and her beautiful music. The power of peace and love and music indeed. This bitch bagged a Broadway gig from this pizza powered performance. No lie. April’s got it going on.

Splinter notices she’s got it going so much that she’s draining the giant evil vibratdron of its power. Shredder tells April to stop singing and steals her voice ala Ursula. He’s not only stolen her voice, but as reports keep coming in to tell us, music from all over the world. This is so heinous, Baxter lets out maniacal laughter…it is working… IT IS WORKING!! This is the day the music died…bye, bye pizza pie.

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Shredder leaves and the turtles come back out. Seems that Donetello has fabricated some protection from the vibratronic pulses. They notice that the vibrator is powered off of their bad boogie and they bust out into another rockin jam!! Now because they have the protection, they can really stick it to the shredder at last! Finally!!

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Just as I got my hopes up that we were to the climax, it appears that the protective sheilds Donny made not only protect the bad boogie from coming in, it protects it from going out. Great lesson learned here kids.

Seems all this negativity is pulling the boys apart and we are about to have a turtle throwdown. Those shields didn’t keep out the bad boogie after all…another important lesson.

Splinter deduces that the only thing that can really hurt them is their own fear and that they need to follow the music in their hearts. Awww. Acapella turtle action. Not sure why April is mean mugging them, unless she was already up for that Broadway role at this point. April and the power of fierce facials! Let those shoulder pads do the acting for you!

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The music has brought the four ninja brothers back together. How precious. They made up with the power of music and peace and love. Splinter figures out if the audience helps sing along, Shredder and his vibratronic transducer will be defeated and all the music will be restored. We are so ready for this floor show! The turtles and the audience bust into the signature turtle song, Count on Us! Because we can always count on them! Lots of stage effect went into the flashing lights and shaking cameras on them. Shredder is forced to escape to the technodrome, but wait, the turtles foil that plan and send the shred to another dimension!! Tubular dudes!
Go ninja go ninja go!

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-BB

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