Monday, January 24, 2011

#0005: Turtlecycle

Somehow, as I cast these toys off into the great unknown, I feel as though I’m saving them, in a way. From an eternity of mediocrity and uselessness, to a future more fruitful. Perhaps they’ll become a child’s cherished plaything? Or maybe they’ll find themselves in the possession of an avid collector, to be proudly displayed upon the mantle? Perchance they’ll even be put to work in the salt mines, earning a hard life’s keep?

It’s hard, nigh impossible for me to say. But today… today stands out as even more of a rescue. This toy wasn’t scooped from the comfortable retirement of an air-tight plastic container in the laundry room like its reviewed brethren. Instead, it caught my eye while I was searching for a lost Vancouver Grizzlies basketball in the garage.

In case you’re wondering, the garage is essentially where my old possessions go to die. Everything is deteriorating out there, and each visit is more and more depressing. There’s my ancient stuffed Garfield, burrowed into by vermin. And there; there’s good old Elmo, caked under a layer of dust. And it’s hard to tell, but I’m fairly sure that sun-bleached tragedy was once Bucky O’Hare.

You could think of me as a saviour, plucking the forsaken from the rubble like the hand of God, or Moe Szyslak in that episode where Homer became a boxer. Like I said, I cannot say with any certainty where these toys will end up, but surely, it cannot be as bleak as the existence out here in the garage?

The victims are many, but I only had time for one.

So it was just like that, that I dusted off and gave a wash to the remains of the Turtlecycle.

You might think it’s disrespectful to the cherished Ninja Turtles franchise for me to make this tattered abomination the inaugural Turtles item. It’s dated, broken and incomplete. But dammitall, it was on its last legs, it was practically begging for redemption. Wolfman Leo and caveman Michaelangelo can wait. The time for the broken Turtlecycle is NOW.

Fantastic. Though my Turtlecycle no longer resembles the imagery on its packaging, the very promise that it once had makes me pity it more still.

Where to start? The marvelous slime-shooting slingshot? The inclusion of the National Turtle Quiz Jokebook? The insane Leonardo shouting ‘Turtles rule’ while wielding a trashcan lid, like the member of a cult? Perhaps I need not say anything at all. These things speak for themselves, really. If we’ve gained nothing else from this review, perhaps we should be happy to know that Leo is apparently batshit crazy. Like Westboro Baptist Church-type kookoo.

Also, don’t think that I didn’t notice that the figures in the inset are actually Raphael and Donatello, offering a whole slew of other questions. Wasn’t there a Leonardo available at the time? Is Raph slutting his ride out to all takers? DID HE DIED?!

…The latter was supposedly a meme. I just wanna be like the cool kids.

The reverse is perhaps even more enticing; if the wacky illustration didn’t hook you in, then this surely did: a bevy of Turtlecycle features. From ‘sewer saddlebags’ to ‘foot-ripping Hub Cap’, it’s all there and it’s all glorious.

The fact that you could also point the trashcan sidecar in either direction was apparently nothing to be sneezed at, garnering not one but two individual examples. Frankly, I didn’t think it was either that hard to understand or that incredibly exciting to make such emphasis necessary, but I’m not a child in the year of 1989 right now. For all I know, maybe that was the only thing worth talking about back then.

Take note that you save two pizza points for purchasing this product. Me, I never used any of those damned pizza points, but I reckon I would have accumulated enough to have been awarded something mighty special. It’s a shame, I don’t think I kept any of them, throwing them out with the rest of the packaging to be recycled. Some bastard at a recycling plant probably got rich off all of my pizza points.

And my favourite bit: the box tells us to collect all the Ninja Turtles merchandise ‘…or else!’

Talk about your pressure advertising!! It’s not like this was Goosebumps or Spawn, this was friendly, safe Ninja Turtles. Why threaten us like that?!
Between you and me, I never did collect all the accessories. I haven’t felt the ramifications yet, but I will have a little bit of trouble getting to sleep tonight.

Other than the unopened boxes of yesteryear, it’s hard to find this toy available in its entirety. Most of them are either missing the sidecar, the handlebars, or in my case, all the above. Plus, it’s a smidgen obscure for being one of the earlier ‘playsets’. Everyone wanted the much more prominent Turtle Party Wagon, or the iconic Technodrome. Ain’t nobody wanted a slimy motorbike.

As such, a Google search will net you less results about the enigmatic Turtlecycle than pages about a turtle’s life cycle. But maybe you’re into that.

Anyway, my Turtlecycle is in such a state of disrepair that there really isn’t much worth mentioning about it, so instead here are four turtley revelations I had while doing all my research on this toy.

1. What is the point in having a license plate on the Turtlecycle? It feels redundant; It’s not like it’ll be hard to identify the Turtlecycle if you got hit by it. It’s the GREEN MOTORCYCLE SHOOTING OOZE OPERATED BY GIGANTIC TURTLES. Even if there’s more than one of those in New York, there’s bound to be only nine, tops. It won’t take long to find.

2. Why is the Turtlecycle adorned with turtle shell gear? Did our beloved boys kill some hapless wannabe TMNT’s and fashion a bike out of it? I only shudder to think.

3. Not only is our sidecar missing, but judging by the two-decade-old sticky tape on the bottom, we must have snapped it off clean. Perhaps in the process of attempting their precious reversibility function? Blatant false advertising! They promised me reversibility and I got none. I want my pizza points back.

4. Did you ever wonder why humans always got scared shitless when they saw the Turtles in public, even though they’re so cute and cuddly? I’m inclined to think that it’s because they actually look like this costume.

Fuck, I’m running already.

Finally, if you’re wondering why I had a picture of Davy Crockett Raphael draped over the Turtlecycle, looking less like he wants to ride it; more like he’s challenging someone to an arm wrestling match, the answer is simple. Without the sidecar, this thing can’t balance for shit.

For your amusement, here is a brief video of me attempting to get him to ride. He’s either drunk, or safety conscious about his lack of a helmet. You decide!

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