Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Updated May 16, 2014 at 03:52PM EDT by Brad.

Added Mar 25, 2014 at 01:09PM EDT by Molly Horan.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an animated children’s show from the late 1980s which follows four ninja turtles living in the sewers beneath New York City. Action figures and other forms of merchandise based on the show became popular in the late ’80s and early ’90s. A live-action adaptation of the show ran in from 1997 to 1998 and the cartoon was resurrected in 2012.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a comic book published by Mirage Studios in 1984. The characters became popular action figures in the mid-‘80s. The original TMNT[2] animated show premiered December 11, 1987, and ran for 10 seasons airing its series finale on November 2, 1996. The live action series, titled Saban’s Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation[3], ran for one season premiering on September 12, 1997, and airing its series finale on March 20, 1998. The animated series returned for seven seasons on February 8th, 2003, and aired its finale on May 23rd, 2009. Its most recent incarnation[5] premiered on Nickelodeon on September 29, 2012. As of March 2014, two seasons have aired. A feature length film[7] starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett is scheduled to be released on August 8th, 2014.


The four teenage mutant ninja turtles are all named after famous renaissance artists: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael. They live in the sewers beneath New York City with their adoptive father Splinter (a rat). They are sometimes joined in their adventures by former lab assistant April O’Neil, and they fight against their enemy, a rat and ninjutsu master called Shredder.


The original 1980s cartoon earned a score of 8 out of 10 on the Internet Movie Data Base, while the most recent cartoon earned a score of 8.3. The most recent cartoon’s premiere had over 3.9 million viewers[6].


The most recent TMNT animated series was nominated for three daytime Emmy Awards in 2013 for Outstanding Casting for an Animated Series, Outstanding Sound Editing – Animation, and Outstanding Children’s Animated Program. It was also nominated for a 2014 Kids Choice Award for Favorite Cartoon.

Online Presence

As of March 2014, the Facebook page[8] for TMNT has over 1.2 million likes and its Twitter account[9] has over 11,000 followers. The five most recently aired episodes are available for subscribers on Hulu[10], while the ’90s live action series is available for subscribers on Netflix.[11]


In addition to its official social media presence, fan sites for TMNT include The Technodrome[21], a fan blog from the perspective of the TMNT villains, and ninjapizza[22] which features news and updates about the franchise. Tumblr blogs dedicated to TMNT include tmnt-central[22], tmntconfessions[23], and tmntmaster.[24] Popular tags used for the show on Tumblr include #TMNT[18] and #TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles.[19] There are over 1,300 submission under Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Fanfiction.net[16] and over 54,000 submission on DeviantArt.[17]

Tributes and Parodies

On January 25th, 2006, comedy YouTube channel Smosh[13] uploaded a skit based on TMNT and set to its theme song (below, left). As of March 2014, the video has gained over 10 million views. On December 9th, 2010, YouTuber Ploobers[14] uploaded a video featuring a shot by shot live action recreation of the original TNMT’s opening theme (below, right). As of March 2014, the video has gained over 1.3 million views.

On July 13th, 2011, YouTuber nmckaig[12] uploaded a capella cover of the TMNT theme song (below, left). As of March 2014, the video has gained over 160,000 views. On January 17th, 2004, YouTube comedy channel Annoying Orange[15] uploaded a video titled “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turnips” (below, right). As of March 2014, the video has gained over 690,000 views.

Notable Examples

Related Memes

Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses

Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses is a photoshop meme that involves drawing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mask over the tip of the subject’s nose, typically in photographs of celebrities.The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Noses” (TMNN) Tumblr[1] page was created on October 2nd, 2011. The first image featured on the blog was a photo of a child with drawings on his face, including a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask on his nose.

Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles

Because of the mutant ninja turtle’s specific age range (teens), many comedians and fan artists have imagined the turtles as children or adults.

On September 13th, 2008, comedy YouTube channel DogWalkProductions[25] uploaded the first episode in five episode web series titled “Middle Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles” which features the turtles doing stereotypically middle aged activities like working an office job. On October 7th, the premiere was featured on FunnyorDie. As of March 2014, the first episode has gained over 27,000 views.

On October 29th, 2013, Netorama[26] posted a comic created by illustrator Gemma Correll featuring the middle aged ninja turtles discussing their health.

“It’s Just a Mask”

It’s Just a Mask is a quote said by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character Michelangelo as he removes his mask to reveal his face in a rooftop scene from the 2014 live-action adaptation of the comic book and animation series. Following the release of the first official trailer, the scene inspired numerous parody animations in which Michelangelo reveals himself as another fictional character.

Search Interest

External References

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