You know, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t really get the intense hatred over Teen Titans Go. I’m not saying it’s a good series, but I’ve seen tons of people denounce it as though it’s one of the worst things currently on air. I haven’t seen the whole series… I’ve only seen the first DVD collection… And I didn’t have a problem with it. It’s cheesecake. It’s fast food. It’s a light-hearted look at our favorite characters in new situations, and what’s wrong with that? It’s like Doug Walker said about The Last Airbender; Yeah, it was a bad movie, and probably not the last one, but it’ll never damage the series we love.
Besides, Go might have a few terrible episodes, but guess what? So did the original Teen Titans. As much as I loved the show, I get a little sick of hearing it deified through everybody’s nostalgia goggles, when… And I can’t stress this enough… Teen Titans, in it’s prime, was a little over-rated. And I know that’s a controversial thing to say, which is why I wouldn’t say it unless I had a list of not-so-great episodes to back me up. I re-watched the entire series on DVD over the course of a week, and these are the episodes I found lacking in an increasing number of ways, so sit back and enjoy my Top Ten Worst Teen Titans Episodes!
10: Revved Up
This episode begins with a new villain by the name of Ding Dong Daddy, a heavyweight dude in a goatee and a red funny car. He’s stopped in the middle of the road by the Titans, who demand he give back what he stole. He taunts them and challenges them to a race. He tries to move past them to get a head start, but he can’t, because Raven uses her powers to levitate and disable his vehicle. He can’t move, they arrest him and take the briefcase, and… Oops! No, they just let him drive past, agreeing to his terms. Yeah, I have to admit, this episode had me alienated from the start. I can’t stand seeing supposedly competent heroes ignore perfect solutions to their problems,
Okay, I’m going to level with you guys… There aren’t very many terrible Teen Titans episodes. The first few entries on this list aren’t insufferable or unwatchable, they’re more mediocre, boring, or just plain stupid. Case in point, an episode about a race that could have been over at any second if Harrison Ford had dysentery. There’s so much about this episode that didn’t make any sense, from the sudden appearance of the pit-crew vehicle to the fact that a finish line was already set up before DDD made his challenge. Or here, how about this; How did Red X know about the race for the briefcase before that information went public? It’s an episode that I watch mostly in stunned silence, wondering what I’m supposed to get from it, as well as what the writers were thinking.
I mean, was one of them desperately facing down an upcoming deadline, run out of time, and just happened to be watching The Wacky Races? This had to be the easiest script to write ever! At no point did I ever care whether or not the briefcase gets back safely, and the fact that Robin shows what’s inside to all of his friends and not us feels kinda insulting. I mean, at least give us a Pulp Fiction glow. So why is it only #10? Well, once the second half picks up, it’s funny to see a handful of past villains join the chase in their personally designed vehicles. Also, there are some jokes that do hit the mark… Like when Starfire dressed up as a villain with Raven as her sidekick. It’s not a terrible episode, but it’s just blisteringly mediocre.
9: Winner Take All
In this episode, the five core Titans(minus Terra for some reason) are playing a very intriguing card game. Cyborg wins, squabbles with Robin, and the two of them… Plus Beastboy… Are teleported to an alternate dimension to take part in a fighting tournament. As the brackets get whittled down, Cyborg gets suspicious about the fate of the losers and investigates, figuring out that The Master of Games, the being hosting this event, is absorbing the losers into his crystal to steal their powers. He absorbs Cyborg, and Robin advances to the finale, where Master gloats about the success of his plans. Robin challenges him, frees his friends, and they all get teleported home. Oh, but apparently Master wasn’t defeated, and now it’s the girls’ turn, end episode.
There’s no doubt about it. This is by far the stupidest episode in the entire series. Some writer came up with a simple, lazy concept, and wrote a script around that concept to turn it into an episode, without putting a lick of thought into whether or not ANY of it made any sense. The very plot itself revolves around one of the dumbest villain plans I’ve ever heard, and the show goes out of it’s way to point this out towards the end. Let’s see… Master has the ability to teleport people across dimensions without permission, and absorb them into his necklace, so he… Starts a tournament where he gets to keep the powers of the losers? You know they lost, right? And as we learn from his capture of Cyborg, they don’t have to be defeated to be absorbed.
Really, this guy should be one of the most OP, dangerous villains in the series. He has godlike powers that can remove people from the real world, and an endless supply of powers from a hero filled planet. Instead, he pursues a convoluted, overly complicated plan that doesn’t even favor him in the end. He’s apparently obsessed with rules and routines, because if he wasn’t, he would have just absorbed all of the fighters in an instant. Or hell, why not just send Robin back home instead of risking it all against him? Also, I wasn’t going to bring this up, but Robin was disturbingly out of character here, having his judgement clouded by the vague promise of prizes. If Cy had been caught cheating at cards earlier, Robin’s suspicions would have made more sense. And then there’s the ending, where the Titans blow a chance to potentially turn Gizmo good, and the defeated Master SOMEHOW brings in the ladies for tournament two. So why isn’t it higher? Well, it is a Jim Cummings episode, and the fights were kind of cool. That’s… something. It’s just too bad that nothing in this episode made any bloody sense.
8: The Beast Within
In The Beast Within, the Titans are fighting Adonis, a teenage wimp who wears a giant robotic suit to feel strong. Think of it as the Hulkbuster, I guess. He’s beating them pretty soundly until he question’s BB’s manhood, and Beastboy flies into a rage, destroying the Adonis suit and accidently spilling toxic ooze onto both of them. The next morning, he wake up to find himself a new man. He’s eating meat, exercising like crazy, channel-surfing, and copping an attitude with his friends. After an encounter with Raven, he finds he can’t control his rage. He begins transforming into a giant creature and abducting her, supposedly hurting her, scaring their friends. It’s eventually revealed that he was actually the one protecting her, and that it was actually Adonis transforming to attack her, with Beastboy playing defense.
So, this episode almost didn’t make this list. For the first three quarters of it, I thought it was actually kinda decent. Not great, but serviceable enough. The manly stereotypes bothered me, but it wasn’t directly condemning masculinity, just it’s misuse. Then it did one very baffling thing that landed it here; It’s twist ending. This might be one of the worst endings in the series. When it was implied that Beastboy was the one turning into a giant beast and hurting his friends, I found that really compelling… It was a force he couldn’t control, making him do things that he wouldn’t normally do, and he had to learn to control it, understand it, and accept it as a part of himself. But it wasn’t him… It was Adonis, who I’d like to remind you has NO ability to transform, making this reveal quite possibly the worst idea since Greedo shooting first.
It made sense for the ooze to run Beastboy’s transformation ability out of whack… He HAD a transformation ability! Now you’re telling me that with the ooze, anybody can transform into the exact same creature? Oh, and he wasn’t transforming because he was mad, he was transforming because Raven was in danger. Bullshit. First of all, we SAW him transform when Robin was interrogating him, and yes, he attempted to grab Raven. Was Adonis just coincidentally stalking around right at that moment? And by the way, how was Raven, the user of shadows who can move through solid objects, overpowered so easily? I’ll buy that Adonis would go after her, but even in beast form, how did infiltrate the tower, move around undetected, and knock her out? I have little doubt that this ending wasn’t the original ending, and that the network forced a rewrite to avoid making a main character loo bad, or something of the like. Well, at least I hope this was the case, because what we got robs that potentially powerful message from Raven at the end of all possible depth. Can somebody confirm this?
Remember Terra? That girl that ran away and turned evil all over a simple misunderstanding? She’s back, and it’s finally time for her to complete her revenge on the team that DARED to never clear up that misunderstanding! Yeah, bear with me on this one, there’s a rant coming. Ahem. After helping the Titans on a mission, it’s time for Terra’s master to finally put her into action. She disables the Tower’s security, and then takes Beastboy out on a date so that he’ll be safe from the onslaught of robotic drones that’s about to come. They do the hanging out, Terra eats a bad pie that makes her hallucinate, and Slade teleports into their ferris wheel car out of freaking nowhere to interrupt their date. Hijinks ensue, Terra’s all like “You said you’d be my friend even if I did something horrible, how dare you go back on that just because you found out I tried to kill your friends” and Beastboy’s all like “I think you should become a villain now.” Episode over.
There’s no easy way to say this… I’m not a huge fan of the Terra episodes. I know they have a huge following… I mean, if nothing else, Terra herself occasionally seemed like a cool character. But it ultimately amounts to one of the most poorly adapted comic book storylines I’ve ever seen. I’m not above grouping multiple episode into one slot if I want to… It’s going to happen in the future, get used to it… And there are a few Terra episodes I have problems with. But I think in this case, Betrayal is the best possible episode to represent my problems with this arc.
To start with, yes, I realize that the cartoon isn’t going to be the comic. More on this in entry #5. For obvious reasons, the creators of this series just couldn’t handle having Terra be a jailbait sociopath in a sexual relationship with Slade, and therefore being a perfectly understandable villain. But if you’re going to change something in an adaptation, it needs to make sense! Terra’s beef with the Titans is so week that in Aftershock part 1, when Robin asked her about it, she said instead “Because you were born.” Yeah, her biggest turning point is so flimsy that the future episodes straight-up gloss over it. At no point during the entire story arc did I believe that Slade had a single damn thing to offer her that could possibly turn her against the Titans, especially after the awesome Titan Rising episode did such a great job making her look like an actual friend and team mate to them.
So why did I pick Betrayal as a figurehead of my hatred of this arc? Is it because it’s the episode that doesn’t know how mirrors work? Or because of how inconsistent the tower’s security is? (I mean Christ, if Adonis can get in after turning into a brainless Yeti, I doubt someone as smart as Slade would need an insider) It’s because of how clumsily and poorly it advances the plot. This episode is where the arc turned to shit. Realistically, Beastboy is the only character who ‘betrayed’ Terra, so why is he the only one she wanted to save? Proofread much? And as I mocked in the plot summary, some of the dialogue between them is just insultingly stupid to the point that it makes both characters look unlikeable. Yeah, I know how The Judas Contract is supposed to go, but if this is the best they could do with it, then I wish they’d just thrown Terra’s betrayal out the window and played her straight as a conflicted hero instead. It could have worked.
6: Employee of the Month
In this episode… Which is apparently on everybody’s favorite episodes list… A bunch of UFOs are abducting cows, which is one of the oldest cliches in the book. In fact, it’s just old enough to be reinvented and subverted, so what will Teen Titans do with that classic trope? Get this: They set up a scenario where an evil Tofu alien is abducting cows from one town so it can replace the meat at one restaurant with alien tofu, so that it can leave with a bunch of cows and blow up the planet. No, I am not making a word of that up. I’m not nearly stoned enough to conceive something like that.
Oh, but that’s not all, we’ve got the main plot of Beastboy trying to get his hands on a moped, which the afforementioned store is giving away as an employee of the month gift! What a wacky and unpredictable coincidence this isn’t! How totally uncontrived this idea wishes it was! Of course the Mega Meaty Meats restaurant wasn’t Beastboy’s first choice, being that he’s a vegetarian… although I’d just like to point out that any actual meat eater wouldn’t go near a place that has a menu full of different beef cuts but only actually sells cheeseless burgers… So of course we get a bunch of lazy filler comedy where he tries a bunch of different jobs and fails them in so many ways that you won’t believe it. No, you literally won’t believe any of it. His over-the-top boss keeps calling him by the wrong name… No, there’s no actual joke there… And he himself is made out of tofu, so those bland and completely unappetizing burgers are literally just him dripping pieces of himself onto a plate in the back room, to be replaced by a new him whenever he runs out of him. This could have been funny if he was conspicuously missing body parts throughout the episode, but nope, it’s just gross as all hell.
As a comedy, this episode is aggressively unfunny. Even when I first watched it over ten years ago, I specifically remember watching it with my head cocked and my jaw open, with the phrase “What the fuck?” replacing any laugh I may have had for it. The only reason I don’t consider this episode dumber than Winner Take All is because, when a story reaches a certain level of weirdness, it becomes kind of unfair to rank it on a scale of intelligence. It doesn’t have to make any sense or have a well constructed narrative, because the writer was too high on the idea of tofu aliens stealing cows because… Because they breathe methane, and they need the cows unique ability to fart like an old motor so it can replenish the atmosphere of it’s planet? See, I’m already putting more thought into it than they did.
Humor is subjective. A lot of people find this episode funny, and I have nothing against them for it. Their opinions aren’t any more or less valid than mine. If you don’t find this episode funny, however, it has absolutely nothing to offer you but weird visuals, a poorly thought out plot and a series of jokes that will completely waste your time. Also, I really hate to bring this up, but the visual of Manager Bob oozing himself into every single burger sold brings up some very unpleasant fears some people may have about people in the fast food industry tampering with the food of customers they don’t like, adding a surreal sort of realism to the gross-out aspect of this episode. I really hope I never have to watch it again.
5: How Long is Forever
Before I begin, yes, I know that Mysterious Mr. Entrer and The Blockbuster buster have both praised this episode. I have nothing but respect for both of these reviewers and the work that they do, but suffice to say, when it comes to this episode, I just can’t tow the party line. I’ve got to be the dissenting voice, as well as the unpopular opinion… This episode sucks.
Instead of doing a plot synopsis, let’s talk a little bit about contrived writing. It’s that phenomenon where a writer paints a character in an untrue or nonsensical way for the sake of satisfying their own ideas. This is normally reserved for fanfic authors, but occasionally, it bleeds into actual professional writing. Characters will be acting in a way that would never actually happen, were it not for the fact that the author controlling them NEEDED it to happen. Case in point: If it wasn’t “Friendship day” to at least one character, the rest of her friends wold probably be getting along.
If you’re going to do this cliche, the conflict has to make sense. If Starfire’s four friends are getting on each other’s nerves in the living room, there needs to be a reason they’re there. Because guess what? It’s a big fucking tower, and Raven has already been established to prefer the silence and solitude of reading in her room, so why would she be trying to read while video games and music are being played less than ten feet away? Unless you have some excuse, like “The tower was recently damaged, so they’re all in the living room to make way for the reconstruction work,” and Robin, who’s never been established to enjoy standing around and listening to a boombox, is just doing so out of stress relief over the whole ordeal, this conflict would be believable, and not like the passive aggressive power struggle that it wound up feeling like.
That’s where the contrivances mostly end, but it doesn’t necessarily get “Better.”
The Titans meet up with a Time Traveling villain named Warp who steals a priceless artifact, and tries to go back home through a portal, but Starfire chases him through, and fucks up his plan, leaving them stranded twenty years in the future. Jump City looks bleak and lifeless… Although that’s probably just because she landed there during the winter, another small contrivance… And she returns to the Titan Tower, to find her friendship beads right on the floor where she left them, and a poorly aged Cyborg telling her that the team split up after she went missing. He doesn’t specify how long it took this to happen, but since the beads Starfire broke were still exactly on the floor where she left them, I’d say it’s pretty neatly implied that it took less time than it would take for anybody to realize “Hey, we should clean these up!” So, maybe a month, and that’s being generous.
Without Starfire, what were they supposed to do? Move on? Try to get her back? No, if the snow outside the tower didn’t tip you off, this is supposed to be a sad episode. They all just quit. There are so many little nitpicks I could make about this episode… Why does Cyborg know where Beatboy and Raven are, but not the fact that Robin is still patrolling the town? Why didn’t Beastboy just join another team? Why did they all keep their communicators? Why are they still working after twenty years? Why did Raven, a multi-dimensional being, resign herself to living in a bland white apartment? In fact, hasn’t Raven dealt with some pretty harsh losses before? She’ll turn into a broken hermit over Starfire, but not her own fucking mother? I’m sorry, but I just find it’s level of emotional manipulation to be skin-crawling. This episode was attempting to reach maturity and emotional nuance, which it demonstrably fell short of. This is why none of the Titans turned to a life of crime…They have to be sympathetic. This is also why the entire team split up soon after Starfire disappeared… Because it’s sad. And also bullshit.
Right from the beginning, I knew this Teen Titans wouldn’t be the same as the comic. There would have to be huge tonal and story-telling changes to make it appropriate for TV and palateable for young audiences. It doesn’t bother me that they call Deathstroke Slade, or that Starfire isn’t as sexy. It bothers me a little that they left out Donna Troy, but hey, they couldn’t get the license, I can accept that. The only time it bothers me is in regards to this episode. The Teen Titans are supposed to be a strong team, capable of overcoming any obstacle and moving past any tragedy. There are so many dead Teen Titans in the comic book, but did they ever break up over it? The Teen Titans I know wouldn’t dissolve just because Starfire went missing. They’d work together and fight to the ends of the earth to find a way to get her back.
But I hear what you’re saying… Those Teen Titans aren’t the ones we’re dealing with here. Well, let’s look at the cartoon’s canon instead. Did the Titans dissolve after Terra got petrified? No. They stayed together, barely mentioning her again for almost three straight seasons. I know Starfire meant more to them than Terra, but that difference in reaction is freaking ginormous. I know there are people who genuinely feel emotional depth from this episode, and I don’t want to come off as though I’m insulting them, but this is Teen Titans pulling out all the stops to achieve poignancy… And to me, it just winds up feeling melodramatic and emotionally manipulative. Also, it’s time travel mechanics are kind of confusing. I mean, Starfire is shown leaving in the end, but she’s also shown coming back, so… Is the world the new Starfire flies into still one where she doesn’t exist? Because we see her being immediately replaced. Ah, whatever.
4: Divide and Conquer
In this episode, Cinderblock breaks into a prison to bust out a fellow giant enemy. He runs into the Teen Titans, who introduce themselves with a count-off(ugh) and he escapes them easily after Robin and Cyborg screw up a needlessly complicated combo attack and squabble through some of the most annoying talking animations ever. He rescues Plasmus, who, like the average American if Trump gets elected president, only feels safe and human when he’s asleep. Cyborg leaves the team, the other four struggle to beat Plasmus, and then he shows up out of nowhere to save the day and rejoin the team. Also Slade is involved.
Fun Fact: This was supposed to be the pilot episode of the series. It’s even listed as the first episode on the DVDs. But the network that originally aired it, Cartoon Network… As well as Kids WB, for it’s second run… Decided the episode was too shitty to introduce the series, so they swapped it out with the far superior third episode, Final Exam. I’m not a huge fan of networks re-ordering the episodes of a series, as it happened obscenely to my two favorite shows of all time, Firefly and Titus, but what can I say? They were right, this episode is horse shit.
To be fair, pilot episodes are normally bad. Good pilots(Like Community) are the exception, not the rule. But similar to The Simpsons, I’m convinced the series wouldn’t have survived it’s first season if the pilot had aired first. The animation was decent, but just about everything else was done wrong. It features the normal pilot problems… Actors that haven’t gotten into their characters yet, writers who haven’t figured out the character’s speech patterns yet(especially Raven), and an overuse of techniques that would get toned down later on, like the anime-inspired animation quirks that the show is popularly known for and get BEATEN INTO THE GROUND in this episode.
But it does so many other things wrong that it’s hard to count them. The characters all fight like idiots when they go up against Plasmus at the Mountain Dew factory. The conflict between Robin and Cyborg feels forced, and the dialogue is full of trailer lines. There are plenty of idea it came up with… Starfire melting steel beams, the Sonic Boom attack, Slade having a butler, an explosion that can put people to sleep, the Titans having a Team Rocket like opening chant… That never appear again in the series, because they’re fucking stupid. It’s a painful episode to watch, and when I started this project, I was pretty sure it would be #1. But in it’s defense, it WAS a pilot, and the networks made a great move swapping it out. It drops a bit in the rankings because of this, so enjoy the next three entries.
3: Calling All Titans/Titans Together
It’s the thrilling conclusion to the Teen Titans animated series, and I hope you’re ready to get excited, because they’re bringing in every hero we’ve met thus far as well as a sizeable portion of the heroes from the comics to fight every single villain we’ve met so far(even the ones whose presence is physically impossible, like Puppet Master and Mother Mae Eye… Seriously, who ate the pie this time?) in one ginormous, epic, knock-down-drag-out brawl, on behalf of The Brotherhood of Evil, who are finally ready to eliminate the Titans once and for all! And if that doesn’t sound ambitious enough, they’re doing it all… In the space of two episodes!
Yeah, that’s where things really start to fall apart, but it’s nowhere near where it stops. To address the biggest problem first, let’s look at the Anime Charlotte, from last year. It had a decent premise, revolving around some complex and interesting characters, but then it shot itself in the foot by squeezing an entire season’s worth of story into one single episode. That’s not quite how badly paced this finale feels, but I’d still insist that it could have been stretched out into four or five episodes, so that there’d be more time to develop the concept and participants involved. They didn’t do that, because it was apparently way more important to save room for pointless filler episodes like Revved Up, Lightspeed, Hide and Seek, and (I’m sorry) Things Change. Episodes that could have been scrapped entirely, with the only big loss being Kid Flash’s debut and Jinx’s confusingly pointless face turn.
As it is, I could easily dedicate an entire Inconvenient Questions post to just these two episodes alone. I could start with questions like “Why did Robin wait until his friends thought they were on the way home to tell them that they were all going to separate and travel across the globe to find potential Titans?” “How do they know where all these Titans are, when Cerebro is from a different universe?” “Why would they go after Bushido and Pantha, when those two aren’t the only sword user and female wrestler in the world?” “If they’re going after all these super heroes to help them against the Brotherhood, why not stop in Metropolis and appeal to Superman?” Or better yet “If the Brotherhood has The Master of Games on their side, why don’t they just use him to teleport every single Titan in the world right into the base one by one, which he could literally do?” All questions that could have been addressed in a longer story.
It’s because of ambitious stories like this that the episodic nature of the series can be a serious double-edged sword. Individual episodes can be used to tell pretty much any story the writers want to tell, and in quite a few cases, they use this to the best creative advantage, exploring ideas and introducing new characters. In season 5 alone, we were given introductions to Red Star, Kole and Gnaark, three kids who amounted to less than a minute of finale screen time(?), and Kid Flash. But the series also had a lot of one-shot stupid episodes, a few of which wound up on this list, that could have been swapped out for good episodes that could have introduced the other new characters we’re supposed to be invested in. Oh, and speaking of Red Star, bringing him in cheapened the only episode ending that actually effected me emotionally.
I realize they couldn’t get the license for Wonder Girl, but they could have given individual episodes to Herald, Argent, Pantha and Bushido so we could find out what was so special about them that got them onto the Titans radar in the first place… But especially Jericho, a great character who is, oh, by the way, THE SON OF SLADE! What kind of hacks would bring in somebody like Jericho, and not take advantage of his blood relation to the series’ primary antagonist? Yeah, mt problems with this 2-part episode run deep, and the terrible pacing doesn’t help. Neither does the over-simplification of the fight scene, that should have been nothing short of epic, but ultimately came off as a little kid putting all of his hero action figures up against all of his villain characters, with that being pretty much as deep as the story was capable of going. Oh well, at least it ended on a good joke.
Have you ever thought there were too many villains with powers? Well just for you, it’s tie to introduce Johnny Rancid, A… Biker. Yep. He’s a punk biker who’s antics are rowdy enough to earn the attentions of the Teen Titans. He manages to take his rivalry with them a step further than most others by actually injuring Robin, leaving him with a broken right arm that keep him out of action for a few weeks. But it turns out robin won’t be staying home alone, as a tiny Robin pops out of his forehead, and declares himself to be Nosyarg Kcid. The rest of the team goes after Johnny while Nosyarg breaks reality, accidentily giving Johnny powers that the team has to overcome before everything can be set right again.
A while back, Channel Frederator gave credibility to a fan-theory that Teen Titans Go! was a cartoon that existed specifically in Beast Boy’s head. I disagree with this, but only because I’ve come up with a better theory. I’ve always postulated that it’s true pilot episode was Fractured, the episode that established a slew of alternate universes that possess an awareness of the real worlt that we can also be visited by. I have no problem believing that the Toddler titans came from one of the alternate dimensions. It also works really well as a pilot for Go! because it’s just as ungodly annoying.
I mentioned Mysterious Mr. Enter earlier, and there’s a principal of his that I’d like to bring up here; It’s okay for a character to be annoying, as long as they’re not annoying the audience, which is exactly what Nosyarg… Or, Larry… Does every single time he’s on screen. That’s not to say robin’s any better, since he’s finally dropped the stubborn thickheadedness that I hated just to be all mopey and self-pitying. Larry’s antics pretty much amount to bothering robin while he’s trying to watch TV, running around the living room making am ess, and… I hate to say this, but not really living up to his potential. His actions seem somewhat restrained, as if the writers know they have to make Robin snap to advance the plot, but they don’t want to make him seem too unlikeable, so they elevate his behavior in increments, which is kind of even more frustrating. They do eventually realize that Larry tormenting Robin and the other four chasing a biker they could easily beat isn’t enough content to carry an entire episode even when combined, so they have Larry break reality.
The problem? Reality breaks in other episodes, with the characters running for their lives through creative imagery and wacky threats. Revolution is inarguably the best version of this idea, and Mother Mae Eye is nowhere near as annoying as Larry is, which leaves a portion of this episode feeling like the most boring acid trip ever taken. I’m not kidding. I watched this entire series in a single week this month, only rewatched the episodes in consideration for this list, and this is the only episode that I found myself constantly nodding off through. Both times. The only thing that happens in this episode that’s even kind of amusing is seeing the other four swapping mouths and voices, but it’s over too quickly, and only worth about a single solitary chuckle. might have made a decent running gag, you know?
Johnny Rancid is a lame villain, and by my count, this is the SECOND time that a character’s had something weird pop out of their forehead as an homage to FLCL. This episode isn’t as stupid or offensive as the rest of the list, but it’s probably the only Teen Titans episode that I can really call boring. That’s quite a feat, as even at it’s worst, this show never came as close to putting me to sleep as this one did. Once again, both times..
Before I reveal the worst episode in the series, here are a few that almost made the cut.
Mother Mae Eye: This one actually WAS on the list, because while it tried to balance between horror and comedy, I felt absolutely nothing of either. It also ignores Cyborg’s immunity to mind control, and I’m pretty sure the Titans attempted to murder the Hive 5 at the end. I swapped it out with Betrayal, mainly because there wasn’t a lot I could say about it. It’s a nothing episode to me.
Deep Six: A lot of people were probably expecting to see this episode, as I’ve often seen it referred to as The Boring Episode. It honestly didn’t bother me, though. It was just kinda a meh episode. Also, I’m probably alone in this, but I thought seeing Raven go gaga over Aqualad was pretty funny.
Forces of Nature: My only real sticking point for this episode was Thunder’s reaction to Beastboy telling him that what he was doing was wrong. Has he seriously never considered that? And BB’s slow realization that he needs to apologize to Starfire was also kind of dumb, but I guess it’s a little more believable.
Masks: I’ll be honest, Robin’s bravado and desire to pursue Slade without his friends never felt right to me. I’m also going to call bullshit on how perfectly that hologram worked when he used it. That’s a pretty big leap of suspending disbelief.
Overdrive: The moral of this episode kinda bugs me. Yeah, juicing and attempting to improve yourself through artificial means is bad, but it doesn’t become a negative for Cy until he starts removing aspects of his life and humanity to improve it further. Does that mean the message is really “Use steroids in moderation?” Because up until he started willfully shutting himself down, the Max-7 chip seemed to be legitimately awesome.
#1: A Date With Destiny
Our heroes show up to catch a man with an entire giant spider for a head stealing some jewelry. They give chase, causing way more damage than the jewelry could possibly be worth, firing freaking missiles at a petty thief, which is okay because he’s part bug. He paralyzes Robin, and we’re introduced to one of Batman’s minorest villains, Killer Moth, whose plans to take over the city are being complicated by the love troubles of his normal looking teenage daughter, Kitten. She demands a date with Robin to her junior prom, so Killer Moth holds the town hostage to make it happen. He goes to the prom along with the jealous Starfire, as the rest of the team tries to track down the moths that the villain is threatening to release.
I don’t think I’ve said this yet for any of the other entries, but the romantic tension between Robin and Starfire is one of the weakest elements of the series. They have no romantic development, no chemistry, and it feels like they were thrown together for the same reason Starlord almost hooked up with Gamora… Because the lead male character needs to land the hot chick in some way in order to be a better self-insert empowerment fantasy. I don’t hate all of their episodes… Stranded was actually kind of smart, aside from some forced conflict set-up… But I’m just saying, it had an uphill battle to climb, especially with Starfire and Robin’s reaction to the date demand… Which is somehow worse than his demands of surrender and control of the town, neither of which he ever forces them to act upon.
Throughout the series, the Teen Titans make sacrifices to protect the city. They sacrifice their bodies, their health, their property, and more. But God forbid Robin go on a bogus date without acting like an unsociable prick. He acted like a villain for Slade, but he can’t act like a Gentleman for Kitten, and neither can Starfire put aside her status-quo not-boyfriend jealousy to act in the best interest of the town… Which, thanks to plot contrivances, happens to be stalking Robin. Thank God Kitten had the controller, and Starfire NEEDED to be there to help stop it from being used. If Killer Moth held it, they’d be proper fucked, but not as fucked as their team mates would be if the controller hadn’t been designed to turn the moths back into larva when destroyed. I’m not sure what to ask about that first… How does that work, or why did he set it up like that?
Oh, but if those were my only problems, it wouldn’t be the worst in the series. I despise Kitten. Yeah, I said Robin should have been nicer(at least pretended to be) but that doesn’t mean she’s off the hook. I can’t stand the fact that a Tara Strong performance makes me cringe this much, and yes, to be fair, that was the point, but it didn’t have to be. Believe it or not, her character could have SO EASILY been likeable, and it could have happened without even sacrificing her villainhood. Maybe if her overwhelming pride, and her aggression towards Robin .had just been a facade to cover her genuine heartache over Fang, and robin and Starfire were able to council her over it and TALK her into giving up her control over the moths, you could have redeemed her, while not having two main characters act like children. Hell, SHE could have contacted her father and convinced him to stop!
No, you know what? I would have LOVED this episode if, after Fang passed out on the table, Kitten had rushed to his side, and he gave her the necklace he stole, ending the fight right there. Robin and Kitten win king and queen, which Robin hands over to Fang. The two of them dance together, a girl and her bug monster, even as the cops come to arrest them. It would have been much more heartwarming to see these two weirdos make up than any part of the ending we actually got was, although that still wouldn’t have redeemed the animation, which was hideous. I’m not saying it’s low budget, oh no, that’s never the case with this show. It’s so badly directed that it’s kind of hard to watch. The way Fang crawls across walls, Starfire’s head turning into a monster, and every single facial animation on Kitten is just awful. Watching Kitten kiss her boyfriend’s spider head was fucking romantic compared to the faces she made when she was trying to kiss Robin.
Maybe calling this the worst episode of the series is a little harsh, but I’m sorry, it’s a concept that just had so much comedic and dramatic potential, and didn’t even bother trying to capture any of it. This could have been our first chance to see a Teen Titans villain as something more complex than just a criminal… We could have had a mutant man who’s just trying to make ends meet for himself and his daughter, a confused girl who just wants the love of her life back, a bad boy teenager who’s struggling to decide between her and his affinity for crime, and a team of animators who weren’t huffing glue and watching Ren and Stimpy before coming in to work. Instead, what we got was an episode so dumb, lazy annoying and hateful of it’s own characters that I can hardly watch it at all.
Teen Titans wasn’t a bad show, but it had bad episodes, and those were the worst of the worst! But hey, not only is that just my opinion… And I’d love to hear yours… But I do plan to balance out all this negativity with a positive list somewhere down the line. I have plans to post a Top Ten Best Episodes list, but I can’t do it until May, because, well, we’re coming up on two special events.
First of all, it’s Studio Gainax Month! And second of all, it’s going to be my fiftieth review next week! In honor of both of these events, get ready for something you’ve all been waiting for…
My Review of Gurren Lagann!
Look for it next week!