The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have had their highs and lows throughout their history. Then there are versions so bad, they make me wonder if it stunted the development of any kid who watched it.
Released in 1994, “We Wish You a Turtle Christmas” might be the worst version of the TMNT. Ever.
This is right after the 1993 movie “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3”, which was, let’s admit, not great. The costumes show how little faith the creators put in children. The heads of the costumes are loose and you can easily see seams. The mouths move, but without reason. They don’t sync with the words, and usually just show more teeth. Instead, you can usually see the actors through the black screen in their mouths. And Splinter. Master Splinter looks like he’s made of used steel wool.
The special starts with the song “We’re the Turtles.” I thought we knew that, because why else would we be watching this hot garbage.With lines like “We laugh we sing we do our thing, we’re the turtles,” I wonder if the songwriter knew what the TMNT were? This is the first time I’ve heard the turtles sing, and it is, most definitely, not their thing.
The jump immediately in to a parody of a reggae song. It feels racist. Like, this is what a rich lady from the suburbs sings when she’s telling her friends about that one time she smoked pot. This was when I realized I was in for a musical. I wasn’t ready. I’m still not. Nowhere on the cover art did I see musical. Granted, I watched this on YouTube, but no one warned me. I saw a the Rockafeller Christmas tree. Ugh.
We finally get to the point of the video. Due to a mix up, none of the Turtles got Master Splinter a gift! It’s Christmas Eve! All the stores will be closing soon! They only have a few hours to get him something. They better hurry up and… sing another song.
It drove me nuts. They are Ninjas. They can move really fast, but instead waste time singing “Gotta Get a Gift.” I couldn’t focus on the song. Focus guys! You said it yourself! You literally have 2 hours. Get it together.
They eventually get outside, and they get surrounded by kids. In this universe, kids are used to giant mutant turtles and aren’t screaming. Instead, they help them sing a song. I think the turtles killed a child on rollerskates, but I can’t be sure.
Michelangelo sings opera. I swear we’re almost done.
They get Splinter a gift. Framed pepperoni pizza. Time for the next song, “Wrap Rap.” I just… look. I try to be positive about things, but this is a dumpster fire. Was cocaine still popular in 1994?
Finally in the homestretch, the penultimate song is a Turtle version of the 12 Days of Christmas. When the song started, I thought, “Ok, at least this is coming from something. It can’t be that bad.” I was wrong. It is the longest song ever. They cover all 12 days. By the end, you’ve seen the same video clip 12 times. Around the 7th gift for Splinter, you feel like a prisoner. You’ve been taken hostage by the song, and have a sense of Stockholm Syndrome when you think “Maybe it’s not so bad” since it’s been stuck in your head for 2 days. But it is. It is that bad.
There’s another song to close out the video. “We Wish You a Turtle Christmas,” the name of the video. At this point, though, all songs are “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” There are no other songs.
The video was worse than I thought. It made me want to slap anyone who says “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is the worst version. This video made me rethink all of the 90’s. There are some things that are bad, but enjoyable on silly level. This isn’t one of those things. This is a waste of time. But you don’t just lose the 23 minutes it took to watch the special. It stays with you. You’ll have a single line from the 12 days of Christmas stuck in your head for days. This video takes you hostage. Stay away from it.
“4 video games.” Ugh.