Things Only Adults Notice In Teen Titans Go!

For all its gross-out gags that have made
it a favorite for the kids, there’s a whole lot for grown-up viewers to enjoy in Teen
Titans Go! From the Filmation references to the 1980s
power ballads, here are the things only adults notice about this crazy DC show. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies focuses on everyone’s favorite
team of sidekicks, but it’s a delight for any fan who loves the larger universe of DC
Comics. That might come as a surprise, though, when
you consider the cartoon’s well-deserved reputation for absurdity. For the most part, that’s a rep that the Titans
have earned it’s not exactly the intense drama of Batman: The Animated Series but that doesn’t
mean a diehard fan won’t love all the references, in-jokes, and tributes crammed into their
cinematic adventure’s 90-minute running time. In fact, one of the most charming pieces of
the film is also the fulfillment of one particularly dedicated DC fan’s long-held desire. That fan is Nicolas Cage, who finally got
the chance to play Superman on the big screen. Now, Cage isn’t your garden-variety superhero
fan. He paid over two million dollars for a pristine
copy of Action Comics #1, the Man of Steel’s historic first appearance. Not only did he name his son after Superman,
he skipped over “Clark” and went straight to the deep-cut Kryptonian name of Kal-El. He’s about as devoted as any fan can be, which
made the collapse of Superman Lives, the Tim Burton film in which he was set to play the
big blue boy scout, all the more devastating. Twenty years later, however, he finally got
to play the role in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. “Hey, I guess you kids weren’t such goofsters
after all.” Kids might not realize the behind-the scenes
gag, but that’s a union of fan and icon that every adult who has obsessed over the idea
of Nic Cage fighting a giant robot spider could appreciate. It might not be Superman Lives, and there’s
sadly no spider to be found, but it sure is better than nothing. Season 3’s “Finally a Lesson” isn’t quite
like any other episode of Teen Titans Go! For one thing, it’s actually educational…
maybe a little too educational. Robin takes the Titans on a whirlwind journey
through the world of property investment, because it’s time the team learned something
practical, and what’s more practical than real estate? Thus the teens, however reluctantly, learn
about down payments, rent control, and most importantly of all, building equity. That last part in particular becomes a lot
more exciting once they learn it’s just a fancy way of saying “money.” “Equity is the part of property you actually
own. It’s the difference between your loan balance
and your properties market value. If you sold your property and paid off the
bank the value of your equity…” The point of the episode that it’s boring
and adult-centric isn’t lost on kids, who get that Robin is a stuffy dweeb enforcing
a hilariously inappropriate tone upon the show. But what they can’t grasp is that Robin is
actually giving out some pretty good advice. “Finally a Lesson” is, in fact, a great introduction
to the rental market, with solid tips on how to improve your credit score and how to save
for retirement. Sure, the airhorns that blare when Robin celebrates
all that equity finally funding “Old People Medication!” are sarcastic, but darn it if
watchers over 30 won’t be nodding along. Decades later, perhaps some of the show’s
youngest fans will look back and realize that Robin’s lessons are the reason they became
realtors. Or maybe they’ll just feel weird when they
remember that the Teen Titans once bought an apartment building and immediately evicted
everyone to make more money. For a cartoon aimed at grade-schoolers, Teen
Titans Go! spends quite a bit of time on romance. Generally speaking, it keeps things fairly
tame, but there were entire episodes are devoted to Robin wanting to see Starfire in a bikini,
Beast Boy drooling over Raven’s legs, and a whole lot Looney Toons-style wolf-whistling. Adult eyebrows might raise at these PG-13-ish
moments, but really, that sort of borderline-risque content has a long history in kids cartoons. But every so often, Teen Titans Go! steps
over the line. Witness the scene from the first season episode
“Real Magic,” in which Beast Boy waits on Raven’s bed, clad only in his underwear, having
set the mood with candles and a scatter of rose petals. She’s not interested, but the implications
of the moment are clear and pretty adult. Kids might not grasp the full meaning of the
scene, but in the minds of many adults, it’s better not to test that theory. In fact, UK fans have reported that the shot
was cut from their broadcast. Teen Titans Go! made its mission clear from
the very first episode: silliness to the extreme, with a generous dollop of outright bad taste. Butt jokes, bad puns, extensive mocking of
Batman it’s all fair game. Many viewers, especially kids, love it for
exactly those reasons, but there have always been a handful of folks who can’t stand its
goofy approach to one of DC’s most beloved superteams, especially the fans of the slightly
darker 2003 series. “You are a mockery of everything the world
holds sacred about heroes” “Come on, what is wrong with being a little
silly from time to time?” While younger viewers might not realize this,
Teen Titans Go! Itself has addressed those critics directly
in what have informally become known as the “hater episodes.” These episodes cast the ultra-nerd villain
Control Freak as an aggrieved fan of the Titans’ previous TV incarnation, and serve as a direct
response to the most vocally displeased viewers. In “The Fourth Wall,” Control Freak even plays
clips from the 2003 cartoon to compare the current team unfavorably against, only to
have his fandom roundly rebuffed. Still, he remains undaunted, appearing again
and again to taunt the Titans with deleted scenes, old-school Superfriends style sequences,
and an endless supply of complaints, nitpicks, and rants. He is, in short, the sort of commentator who
has been talking trash about the series from day one. And the show misses no opportunity to make
it clear, through him, how they feel about that segment of Titans fandom. Slade, known in the comics by the over-the-top
name of Deathstroke the Terminator, was a long time coming to Teen Titans Go! He was one of the major menaces of the team’s
adventures in comics back in the ’80s, the most prominent villain in the 2003 cartoon,
and an increasingly major part of the DC universe as a whole. Finally, he returned to face his animated
arch-enemies in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies … only to be mistaken for
Deadpool. “Deadpool? What? I’m not Deadpool.” “I thought Deadpool was a good guy.” “Why does everybody think I’m Deadpool?” Since Deadpool’s movie carried a hard R rating,
this gag was already meant more for adults in the audience. But there’s a whole other level of reference
to this joke only the most seasoned of Titans fans grasped: Deadpool and Deathstroke bear
some pretty striking similarities, but it’s actually Marvel’s version that’s ripping off
Slade. In fact, after seeing Rob Liefeld’s designs,
Deadpool’s co-creator, Fabian Nicieza, gave their new character
the name Wade Wilson, an overt joke to Deathstroke’s name, Slade Wilson. None of that matters to the Titans or their
younger fans, of course, but to the savvy adults in the audience, it’s a joke decades
in the making. The episode “40%, 40%, 20%” unleashed an awesome
force upon the Teen Titans Go! universe. That’s right, we’re talking about Cyborg’s
ultimate pump-up jam, “The Night Begins to Shine.” A smooth, synthy ode to, uh, whatever “the
night beginning to shine” means, its effect upon Cyborg is so potent as to have become
a bit of a crutch. But who could blame him? When exposed to its sheer ’80s-inspired power,
the Titans transform into radical versions of themselves, with gravity-defying hair,
artfully ripped costumes, and sweet motorcycles. Transported to a neon desert, they cruise,
lost in the sweet riffs that Cyborg’s treasured cassette tape brings them. So powerful is this sequence that it not only
transformed Cyborg into a not-so-subtle tribute to Optimus Prime, it spawned an epic four-episode
arc. It was called “The Day the Night Stopped Beginning
to Shine and Became Dark Even Though It Was the Day.” It’s exactly as righteous as you’re imagining. To a kid, this is all extremely cool you don’t
have to be born in the ’80s to understand that heavy metal dragons are awesome, after
all. For the adults in the audience, though, there’s
another layer in the form of the show’s spot-on parody of 1980s sci-fi, down to the smallest,
most radical detail. The Titans’ 80s transformations are straight
out of Mad Max and Voltron, their world like a fever dream from the pages of Heavy Metal,
with all of it sprinkled with glitter straight out of Jem and the Holograms. What makes it even more hilarious for older
viewers is that the song isn’t actually from the ’80s. Instead, it was written and recorded in 2005
as an intentional throwback for Warner Brothers’ in-house music library. When an episode in Season 2 came up a little
short, the show’s director threw in a ten-second clip of Cyborg singing along to the epic jams. Fans wound up loving it, and the rest was
history and a surprise appearance for “The Night Begins To Shine” on the Billboard charts,
12 years after it was recorded. With this irresistible groove, Teen Titans
Go! doesn’t just poke fun at the decade that Cyborg seems to love so much. It celebrates it by bringing its best ideas
to the fore and wrapping them up in an absolute banger of a song. Batman isn’t exactly a fearsome force of justice
in Teen Titans Go!. He spends most of his time giggling with Commissioner
Gordon, serving as a celebrity judge on talent search TV shows, and rocking out on electric
guitar. Not quite the Dark Knight of legend, but that’s
how Teen Titans Go! rolls, right? No one is as sleek, cool, and powerful within
its cartoon confines as they are in other DC media. Batman might be the world’s greatest detective
and the hero Gotham needs elsewhere, but in Teen Titans Go!, he’s Robin’s weirdo, manchild
pseudo-dad. Except when it comes to background gags. In these, Batman’s corner of the universe
is just as brutal and ruthless as it ever has been, but only the sharp-eyed grown up
is likely to catch it. Consider “Sidekick,” an episode that sends
the Titans to Gotham City. The scenes in the Batcave contain a massive
number of references to more serious Batman stories lurking in the background, but nothing
comes close to what’s on the middle shelf of Batman’s display case. Next to a photo of Batman and Robin, there
stands a crowbar and an urn … labeled “ROBIN II.” This is a reference to the death of the second
Robin, Jason Todd, in the infamous 1988 storyline “A Death in the Family.” It’s a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, but boy
does it add a little darkness to the fun, bright world of Teen Titans Go! for those
who manage to catch it. Teen Titans Go! might have started out life
as a TV cartoon, but it still takes a few shots at DC’s cinematic ventures. In fact, there might be no greater source
of teasing for the DC films, especially since the show made it into theaters in Teen Titans
Go! To the Movies. To begin with, there’s the very premise of
the film itself. In the age of the omnipresent superhero movie,
Robin wants one to call his own. Everyone else has one, so why can’t he? Superman has had plenty. Wonder Woman admits hers took a while, but
it’s been made. Green Lantern even gets to join in, although
he acknowledges that his team’s cinematic outing wasn’t quite as successful as the others. “There was a Green Lantern movie, but we,
we don’t talk about that.” Parodies of cinematic Batman branding over
the years fill the screen, from the bright yellow of the Tim Burton era to the brushed-steel
aesthetic of the Dark Knight trilogy. But nothing comes close to topping the Batman
v Superman joke that sees Batman and Superman growling at each other about their “mommy’s
name.” Teen Titans Go! might love the DC universe,
but that doesn’t mean it won’t roast its movies. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
shows are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

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