Talkin’ Nerdy/Unpopular Opinions: DC Super Hero Girls is MY Teen Titans

An epiphany can come from the strangest places at the strangest times, can’t it?

The other day last week I was watching this DC Super Hero Girls short:

…And it suddenly dawned on me one reason why I like this series so much.

DC Super Hero Girls is closer to the Teen Titans

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…Or Teen Titans GO! series…

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…That I wanted.

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DCSHG is closer to what I wanted from Teen Titans: more familiar DC characters with closer ties to the iconic DC superheroes (nothing against the 2003 show, but I wouldn’t have gone with the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans team; I would’ve preferred a show starring the Founding Five…

teen20titans20founding20five_zpsmttbiuxz

…Or some contemporary derivation thereof; ideally, I’d like for there to have been some non-whites among the team and the odd gender-swap here and there, as the whole “several guys and 1 gal” thing never clicked with me.

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Perhaps replace Speedy with Artemis,

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Or switch out Garth in favor of Kaldur.

aquagirl

Or better yet Tula/Aquagirl, for some good ol’ fashioned fan-service.)

…Shorter, simpler slice-of-life stories with a greater emphasis on comedy, a diminished presence of villains and fight scenes and no wannabe anime look and feel. Again, I have nothing against anime, but I never felt the whole anime-aping look and feel had any place on the show. It had gotten to the point where some fans got the idea–and who knows where they got this idea–that Teen Titans was actually made in Japan, proving something a friend of mine once said: “It amazes me how half of [Teen Titans]’s fan base has never picked up a comic in their bloody lives.”

Now, let me again point out that I didn’t hate Teen Titans; I liked the show OK, but in my mind it wasn’t the voice and tone that I would’ve used. For my taste, TT was marketed too much and framed too strongly as a boys’ action show (though plenty of girls liked the show too). I have nothing against boys’ action shows, but they’re a dime a dozen.

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“COWABUNGA, DUDES! (And dudettes to a lesser extent.”)

My ideal Teen Titans show, rather than being part-action, part-comedy, would’ve been nearly ALL comedy, which I realize wouldn’t have sat right with many hardcore superhero fans, but I feel the comedic format showcasing the “calm between storms” moments depicting what the capes do in their down time was one of the few things Teen Titans GO! got right. Typically when the subject of TTGO! comes up, the biggest complaint I hear wailed towards the heavens is…

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“WHY IS IT A COMEDY?????!!!?????”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with a superhero show being a comedy. The whole superhero genre at it’s core is itself very, very silly: it’s about fit dudes and chicks who gain crazy magic powers, don wacky costumes, give themselves goofy names and go out to beat up mad scientists and would-be world conquerors. Superheroes are already as goofy as all get-out, so a lighthearted take on them isn’t that big a departure, folks.

No, my issue with shows like Teen Titans GO!, Ultimate Spider-Man

ultimate20spider-man_zpsvdhjnwqf

Da-derp-de-derp-da-derp-de-derp-da-DUM!

And Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.

hulk-and-the-agents-of-s-m-a-s-h-episode-2-doorway-to-destruction-part-2_zpsvhrczvtw

Comes in 5 fun colors! Try ’em all!

…Isn’t that they’re comedies, it’s that they’re not funny. If someone wants to make a jokey and jovial superhero show, then by all means do, but if you’re going to do that, be funny! My issue with TTGO! isn’t that it’s a comedy or that it features little to no actual crime fighting, it’s that the jokes aren’t funny, the characters act like amoral sociopathic a-holes and all of the characters shout their lines all the time. Volume doesn’t make a lame joke funny.

Now here’s what my take on Teen Titans would’ve been like: my TT would have been set in a universe which acknowledged the presence of the adult Justice League members, who would serve as parental figures/mentors to the kid heroes…

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It always bothered me how TT depicted the kid characters living on their own with no adults or any kind of adult supervision, and not even so much as a passing mention of the adult DC heroes. I know that bugs me more than it should, but it still bugged me.

…The main setting would be the Hall of Justice…

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…Which could probably have a separate guest cottage/quarters/club house for the kids.

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The basic crux would be that the adult Leaguers would typically sideline the kids from missions, so while they were off saving the day, the show would spotlight the kid sidekicks at home having wacky shenanigans. There could be the occasional passing mention of some of the League’s missions being overheard on the TV or radio or happening off in the distance, showing the wacky highjinks the kids are getting into alongside of the Justice League stories. On TT, all of the villain whomping and fight scenes would take place off-screen. My take on Teen Titans would basically be like the Justice Friends segments from Dexter’s Laboratory

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…Only cuter.

 

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6 Comments

  1. A few things to note:

    1. While the show still retains its trademark humor and tone, it has gone in a more story driven direction with episodes continually building off of one another, and even introducing multi-part episodes. For example, if you want to watch the Intergalactic Games movie, then you would have to watch the “Super Hero High” special, the Spring Prison Break episode, as well as the episodes involving Lena Luthor since they tie heavily into the movie’s multiple plots.

    2. Lauren Faust has own version of the series coming out this year, which is in an alternate continuity to this series.

    3. Speaking of alternate continuities, the Lego projects based on the series are not tied to either series since neither Shea Fontana nor Lauren Faust are involved. Some characters are changed, such as SuperGirl being more ditzy and clownish, and Harley being more artsy. There’s also the matter of done voice switches, such as Batgirl going from Mae Whitman to Ashlyn Selich, again only for the Lego projects, but the cast is otherwise consistent. Also, while you don’t have to watch the main series to understand the Lego projects, you still need to watch them to understand both the Galactic Wonder special and the Brain Drain movie, as well as the upcoming Super Villain High movie.

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    • silverstar

      “While the show still retains its trademark humor and tone, it has gone in a more story driven direction with episodes continually building off of one another, and even introducing multi-part episodes.”

      And typical of my Aquarian nature, I prefer the stand-alone shorts to these multi-part stories, But then, it should be noted that I’m cooling down a bit on DCSHG in general; I’ve already mentioned that I won’t be devoting any more blog posts to this show, as it was starting to look like this was a DCSHG fan site, now, I’m just not into it like that anymore.

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  2. silverstar

    Yeah, I’ve seen those. Ms. Faust’s designs are…OK, I guess, but I don’t see why we need an altogether different continuity; why not just bring the web series to TV? I hope Supergirl here isn’t going to be a reiteration of the one from Faust’s Super Best Friends Forever, who was just Buttercup of the Powerpuff Girls’ brain transplanted into Kara Zor-El’s body. I preferred the adorkable Supergirl from the web show. Jason elaborated on this already, but given how powerful Kryptonians are, Supergirl shouldn’t be a bully/badass, ’cause then she’d become impossible. Also, the article I read described Harley Quinn as a “teen fiend”, meaning not only is Harley not one of the main characters on this show, but here she’s a villain again. Do not like. Harley is one of my favorite characters on DCSHG, and DCSHG is my favorite take on the character, so I’m not thrilled that she’s going to be a bad girl on this show as opposed to the gang’s funny, crazy, annoying friend.

    I may catch one episode out of curiosity, but I can’t say whether I’ll be watching this series regularly.

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  3. One interesting point regarding Lauren Faust’s version of DC Super Hero Girls is that the series will be airing on Cartoon Network rather than on Boomerang, which has aired some of the DCSHG specials. Makes sense, since CN is in more homes and the show would attract a wider audience on CN than it would on Boom, but I thought that Turner wanted the revamped Boomerang to target girls the way that CN supposedly caters to boys. I guess all of that has flown out of the window at this point, and once again, it seems as though Turner is only keeping Boomerang (the TV channel) around because they don’t have anything to replace it with.

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  4. 1. One reason why I think we have a tv reboot is that WB wants to continue the franchise since it makes them a lot of money, yet they don’t want a creative burnout. Presumably, the Shea Fontana series will end within the next year or so to make way for Lauren’s series, while the Lego projects will be concurrently yet independently produced.

    2. They mention Harley as a teen fiend, so my guess is that, while she may become a villain again in this series, she’ll be given a redemption arc and major sympathetic qualities on the path to becoming a hero.

    3. In a video from Butch Hartman’s podcast, Grey DeLisle Griffin mentioned that she will still be Wonder Woman, but Batgirl will be voiced by Tara Strong (who voiced her on BatmanTheAnimatedSeries and SuperBestFriendsForever) . There will probably be a few more recasts to set this show as an alternate continuity.

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