I started to put down a single thought about this on facebook but I kept writing and writing and realized no one wants to read through something this long on their tiny phone. So I'm crashing this blog so that people may be more inclined to start reading it on their tiny phone, then probably quit 1/3 of the way through and go to pinterest. Anyway, my trip to Nostalgia, NC has been great lately. It started with Haven, my 4 year old female daughter, discovering my old ninja turtle toys in the attic a while back. She has since become obsessed with them, constantly asking questions about what the heck these things actually are. A topic i find very hard to explain. Then a few Sunday mornings ago me and the girls were in the living room dancing to the Hoobastank Guitar Center session on Directv 101. More nostalgia. After it was over I searched around in the 500's for a music channel so we could keep dancing, naturally. Suddenly Haven stopped me and said, "wait, go back!!!" It was the original live action turtle movie from 1990 on some random movie channel I didn't even know we had. I was immediately sucked in, then 10 minutes later I came out of my trance and realized I had young children, and my daughters were slightly horrified at what they were looking at. But the horror quickly turned to amazement, at least for Haven, as she could barely grasp that this was not a cartoon, but the real deal. Real fake turtles. As real as fake can get. Jim Henson's most advanced creation up to that point in time. I obviously recorded the movie, and also the 1991 sequel that came on the same channel right after. So basically the last few weeks I've been living the dream watching ninja turtles every other night after the kids go to bed. My wife's questioning of my maturity is not even an issue because I'm not very mature to begin with. No bigs. I just get the occasional eye roll some days as I mumble "go ninja" under my breath or when I am perfecting the horrible Vanilla Ice dance number, which includes many, many pelvic thrusts. Complete with elbows pointed south, rocketing downward towards the hips with each thrust. My absolute favorite dance move of all time. However, I have realized there are some cons to sharing this real fake world with a 4 year old. For one, these really are no movies for kids that age. Or at least my kids. I realize that fact now seeing them through kid goggles. The first hint of this is Haven pronounces it "engine turtles." She probably shouldn't watch things she can't pronounce. Not to mention I completely forgot the turtles cuss several times in the first movie. This was a HUGE deal when I saw this as a tender 3rd grader who had just learned to write in cursive. I end up skipping through 85% of the movies so she only sees the light hearted cheesy parts, and usually only let her watch 3 to 5 minutes at a time. By introducing this world I have been faced with challenging questions lately such as:
- "Why do turtles like pizza so much?"
- "Why does Shredder take Splinter?"
- "Why do they live in a sewer?"
- "What is a sewer?"
- "Who is the leader?" ... "Well sweetheart, Leonardo is the leader" ... "I thought Splinter was the leader" ... "Well, he's more of a sensei" ...
- "If they are the good guys why are they always fighting?"
- "Why was April O'Neil recast with a lesser known actress in the sequel?"
Tough, tough questions. It's not easy being a parent when life throws you these curve balls. Such deep subject matter. I think I'm able to explain God, eternity, and the infinity of outer space better than this stuff. Maybe I should explain more about God to her, but I guess I'll keep trying to explain the mythology of fictitious mutated ninja warriors. Because honestly God and the Bible seem just as far fetched to her little brain at this point. Oh wait, but if she's not quite ready to digest the concept of feeding someone to lions, or destroying mankind with a flood, or throwing someone in a furnace to burn alive, then she's probably not ready for me to drop the knowledge of Krang and Dimension X on her. Or is she? Or maybe she can just handle the explanation of genetic altering ooze that started this whole hot mess. I'm getting sleep apnea just thinking about this. And did I just capitalize "Dimension X"? Yes, twice in a row for some reason. Not to mention the whole concept of, well yea they're fighting in the movie, but we really shouldn't fight like that in real life. I don't usually try and wrestle with my kids at home, mainly because I have two girls and I'm so afraid I might break them since I weigh their combined ages, plus 250. But also so I don't have to be the parent that constantly gets onto their kids when they're rough with other people in public. Kids their age don't quite get the "at home" vs. "in public" difference well enough yet. There are no social filters. They do and say whatever is on their little brains. For instance the first time Haven witnessed at a little person walk right past her at an aquarium. Suddenly the man-o-war became far less interesting. Now we're tasked with the task of convincing her that little people don't just exist at aquariums. Due to Haven's short exposure to ninja skills, one day while I was on the floor she did a full out knee-drop onto my nose without warning. The boniest part of her already boney knee. I heard a big crack, and now I have a slight bump/protrusion at the top of my nose bridge. I'm kind of ok with it since I've always thought I have a Native American looking nose. It's been a source of pride for me over the years. John Dunbar type pride, like I am really one of them. And now it just looks even more legit. But still I think I'm ready to cut out the ninja exposure for a bit with my kids. When Haven asks to watch the "dirty brown one", referring to the nasty sewers and overall dark, gritty tone of the movies as opposed to the cartoons, I need to stop and ask myself, "Could this stuff potentially give her nightmares? In a few nights am I going to be up with her for two hours in the middle of the night because she 'can't sleep', and will this be the culprit?" There's already way too much we have to explain to a 4 year old on a daily basis as it is, I'm really not wanting to add another topic to the list. It's basically like the parent who's overly stressed with life in general, can't ever get anything done because they have to take the kids to dance, t-ball, soccer, gymnastics, school, pre-school, day care, boy scouts, girl scouts, transgender scouts, tae kwon do, trampoline class, synchronized cooking, and oh yea we need to be at church 3 nights a week for Christian activities. Then after a week of dealing with constipation from being so busy and so much fast food, they decide to sign their kid up for swim lessons because it's summer, and I guess that's just what you do since everyone else is.
So, after heavy consideration I am pulling back the reins on my kids' exposure to ninja turtles on the screen. We'll just stick to the toys for now. It hurts me more than it hurts them. For that one instant on a Sunday morning I let my look become a linger, then my linger became lust, and now my kids are transfixed on ninja turtles. At least my marriage isn't in jeopardy, as that previous analogy about lust might have initially led you to believe. Anyway, it's ok. I started watching the new cartoon on Nickelodeon and it's pretty freaking great. I also have the new live action reboot coming out next year to look forward to. So far they've cast Will Arnett (Gob!), Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Mary Clarence?), and Megan Fox (yawn). Anyway, I'm sure I'll pick all this back up with my kids when they're older. In the meantime since I feel a little bad for teasing them with something so exciting and dangerous only to take it away, I taught them how to touch a 9 volt battery to their tongue to make up for it. However Holly didn't think that was a good idea either. But at least now they know in case they're ever bored.
After re-watching and reading up on these major motion pictures, I learned a lot of stuff I never knew, or didn't pick up on the first time around:
- The first two movies were filmed primarily in North Carolina. If only IMDB existed 20 years ago, I would have known and totally visited the set with my 25lb VHS video cassette recorder mounted firmly to my right shoulder.
- April O'Neil is definitely rocking a silk tank top with no bra at one point in the first movie. I guess my pre-pubescent eyes did not catch that the first time around.
- The sexual tension between Casey Jones and April is palpable. This is especially apparent during a scene in which he gives her a way over-the-top back massage while she's wearing the above mentioned tank top.
- Corey Feldman did the voice for Donatello. Haha, hilarious.
- Shredder from the second movie is Dr. Marvin Candle from Lost.
- A young Sam Rockwell appears in the first movie as "Head Thug #1".
- The first film was criticized for being too dark and violent, especially for kids. So much so that the second movie cut the fight scenes down to mainly hand to hand combat without the use of weapons. A couple of the turtles use their weapons only once each for the entire movie.
- UK versions of the movies were edited heavily due to censorship guidelines of depicting the use of forbidden Eastern fighting weapons.
And for those of you who don't know who Krang is, he looks a lot like Honey Boo Boo's mom.