There are plenty of great superhero cartoons, but for kids growing up in the early to mid-2000s, Teen Titans was the best one around. Based on the early 1980s New Teen Titans comics by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the show followed a group of teenage superheroes--Robin, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Raven and Starfire--as they fought supervillains while getting into regular teenage shenanigans.
Teen Titans differentiated itself from other superhero shows like Justice League and X-Men, which focused largely on adult superhero teams in action scenes and reenacting dramatic storylines from comics. While Teen Titans also had plenty of action, they blended it with plenty of humor and combined that with an anime-inspired art style that lead to plenty of hilarious sight gags.
Teen Titans also featured plenty of dramatic storylines, including Terra's betrayal of the Titans and Raven's apocalyptic birthday, many of which were lifted straight from the comics. Of course, this being a kid's show, much of the violence and mature themes from the comics had to be toned down or removed. They couldn't even call Slade by his supervillain name--Deathstroke--as the name was considered too scary for kids.
That being said, the animators and writers were able to get quite a lot of stuff past Cartoon Network's censors. Here today, we present a list of 25 inappropriate moments you probably never noticed in Teen Titans as a kid. Some of these are funny, and some are kinda disturbing, but all will make you wonder if the censors we're even paying attention the day they watched that episode.
In the season 1 episode "Switched," the Titans receive an anonymous package in the mail. Instead of checking the box for any bombs or traps like sensible superheroes, they open it, revealing a set of puppets, each resembling a member of the Teen Titans. Ignoring the common rule of fiction that all puppets are evil (or at least creepy), they decide that they must be gifts from a fan.
Robin expresses his admiration for the fans' craftsmanship, remarking that they are very accurate (again, total sign of a dangerous stalker watching you). Beast Boy decides to see just how accurate his puppet is by looking down its pants, presumably finding some sort of "Ken doll situation" down there. Disappointed, he tells Robin that the fan missed a very crucial physical detail: Beast Boy should be taller. That's one hell of a bait-and-switch, BB.
In the season 1 episode “Mad Mod,” the Titans are imprisoned in a labyrinth-like school by the titular villain, a 1960’s reject that would make even Austin Powers gag. The school Mad Mod has trapped the Titans in is filled with hypnoscreens, illusions, and other physics-defying tricks. The episode is filled with some really trippy sequences, and it even includes a chase scene reminiscent of old cartoons like Scooby-Doo, complete with an upbeat pop rock song by Puffy AmiYumi, the Japanese band who does the theme song.
It’s a pretty catchy tune and it’s in Japanese, so it can be forgiven if the censors didn’t know that the lyrics to the song may not be entirely suitable for a kid’s show.
In season 2’s “Fear Itself,” the Titans watch a movie so scary, that even little “Mistress of the Dark Arts” Raven gets unnerved by it. She denies it, of course (she’s got an image to keep up), so when the monster from the same movie appears out of nowhere, she and the rest immediately turn tail and run.
After the initial shock and confusion, the Titans end up dogpiling each other in the dark. Suddenly, Starfire screams, “Someone’s claws are on my grebnacks!” We hear a loud suction cup sound followed by Beast Boy saying sorry. Now I don’t speak Tamaranean, so I don’t really know what a “grebnack” is, but during the brief wide-shot of the Titan pile, Beast Boy’s tentacle can be seen close to a very sensitive part of Starfire’s body. Looks like someone’s been watching too much tentacle anime.
Over the course of "Fear Itself," the monsters from the movie end up picking the Titans off one by one. Despite some early jokes from Beast Boy before he gets picked off ("Funny guy goes first!"), it really is a pretty scary and effective episode. Eventually, Raven ends up as the final girl. Once she accepts her fear, she is finally able to regain control of her powers and recall the shadow monsters that manifested from her fear.
It may be hard to notice since it's a pretty cool action scene, but when Raven regains her powers, the energy actually seems to be coming from right between her legs. This brings up some disturbing implications. Did she somehow "give birth" to these shadow monsters, like Melisandre in Game of Thrones? Maybe its better we don't find out...
In season 2's "Every Dog Has His Day," Beast Boy runs into a green alien dog who's run away from his owner. In a classic mix-up scenario, the alien think's Beast Boy is his dog and abducts him, while the Titans think the dog is Beast Boy, who somehow can't turn back to normal. The dog, being a dog, decides to run away from the strange kids and the Titans chase him all around town.
For some reason, though, the alien dog seems very fond of Raven, as he jumps on her and licks her face every chance he gets, ending up in some very suggestive positions. Finally, the alien dog decides to tell the Titans the truth. Not only do we find out that the dog is intelligent, but his voice sounds like that of a grown man, making his overt "friendliness" with the teenage Raven even more inappropriate.
In the season 3 episode "X," the Titans end up facing off against someone who's adopted Robin's old villain identity--Red X--from back when he was trying to go undercover and find out Slade's secret plans. Not convinced that Robin hasn't gone back to his old tricks and left his team in the dark again, Starfire pokes him to make sure he isn't a hologram like last time.
Still not convinced, Beast Boy believes Robin could be a robot, and tells Cyborg to check him for batteries. Cyborg is all too willing to do so and snaps on a white latex glove, ready to go all "TSA selected screening" on Robin's various orifices. Robin is very quick to assure them he's not a robot, disappointing many CyborgxRobin shippers.
The season 3 episode "Haunted," as great as it is, is easily one of the most disturbing episodes of the entire show. Even long after having defeated him, Robin still wonders if Slade really is gone for good. He soon finds Slade once again plans to destroy the entire city, and its up to the Teen Titans to stop him. There's just one problem: none of the other Titans can see him, and it becomes increasingly obvious that something's wrong with Robin's mind.
Not only do we see Robin going through some pretty serious paranoia and post-traumatic stress, but it all culminates in a basement beat-down in which Slade mercilessly kicks Robin around. Sure, it's all happening in his mind, but hearing Robin begging Slade to stop is one of the most unexpectedly disturbing moments in the show.
During the course of season 2, it is made clear that honorary Titan Terra is secretly working with Slade as a mole, giving him vital information on the Titans. This betrayal comes as a shock to everyone, most of all Beast Boy, who had actually been smitten with her. Slade seems almost bitter about his crush on Terra, as during his faceoff at the end of "Betrayal" Slade tells Beast Boy "You could never give her what she wanted."
He almost sounds jealous, and there are other clues during the following episodes that seem to show an inappropriate relationship happening between the two villains, including the scene during the season finale which shows her swearing loyalty to Slade almost like a wedding vow. This could be a reference to the original comics in which it was flat out stated that the two were in a physical relationship the whole time.
If you thought an implied romantic relationship between a fourteen year-old girl and a forty-something year-old man was bad enough, keep in mind that Slade is a sadistic and sociopathic criminal mastermind. No matter what age you are, you do not want to be in a relationship with him.
During the season 2 finale "Aftershock," the Titans team up and go all out on Terra. She just barely makes it back to Slade's underground base in one piece. Of course, Slade is not pleased to see his apprentice running away from the Titans after she had supposedly defeated them all in the previous episode, and he makes sure to let her know just how he feels about failures by backhanding her across the room. We don't get to see what he does to her next, but as fans, we assume the worst.
In the season 3 episode "Spellbound," Raven is feeling more angsty than usual and starts isolating herself in her room. Hoping to find someone who can understand her, she comes across Malchior, a powerful sorcerer trapped in one of her ancient books. Malchior then begins teaching her some powerful spells to free him, and becomes a confidant for when her teammates are annoying her. Eventually, Raven falls in love with him.
However, it is soon revealed that not only was Malchior teaching Raven dark magic, but that he was never really in love with her and was just using her so she could free him. Malchior comes across as a sleazeball pick-up artist who just goes after girl's hearts and drops them once he's had his fill of them. Nowhere is this better summed up than in this line.
In the season 2 episode "Date with Destiny," the villainous Killer Moth threatens to destroy the city unless the Robin gives in to his demands. Having no other choice, Robin goes along with his evil plan to... escort his bratty daughter Kitten to her junior prom. Seriously. As bewildered and unwilling as Robin is, no one's more upset about the situation than Starfire.
We get to see a more territorial side to Starfire, as she does everything she can to stop mean girl Kitten from digging her claws into her man. At one point, she gets so infuriated with the idea of Robin going out with another girl that she bounces up in anger. Some viewers noticed that some other parts of her bounced up as well. The accompanying springy sound effect certainly didn't help.
The season 4 episode “Stranded” is a favorite of fans who ship Robin and Starfire. After the Titans end up stranded and separated on an alien planet, they must find a way to reunite and go back home. They also have to face individual obstacles, like Beast Boy’s struggle to repair Cyborg. The meat of the episode, though, is the tension between Robin and Starfire, and whether or not they’ll ever confess their true feelings for each other.
We’re not going to be focusing on that, though. Instead, we’ll be looking at Raven’s strange encounter with a tribe of miniature aliens. For some reason, the aliens start pampering her and treating her like some sort of queen. Towards the end of the episode, she receives a massage that elicit some very pleased groans. We never actually see what part of her they’re massaging, though, so fans used their imagination.
In “Sisters,” the second episode of the series, we are introduced to Blackfire, Starfire’s older, cooler and all-around worldlier sister. Though Starfire is happy to see her sister, she starts feeling insecure that her friends prefer Blackfire, as she’s somehow more attuned to Earth culture than she is. How does that make sense, anyway? Hasn’t Starfire been living on Earth for quite a while now? Blackfire shows up once and suddenly knows what is and isn’t a figure of speech.
At one point Blackfire invites the Titans to a cool party, during which the rest of the team ditches Starfire, leaving her alone and feeling socially awkward. She soon gets hit on by two guys at the party who end up laughing at her, but before that humiliation, you can see that they’re ogling a certain part of the poor Tamaranean girl’s physique.
In the season 4 episode "Forces of Nature" we are introduced to Thunder and Lightning, two teenagers with elemental powers. Though not necessarily evil, their mayhem wreaks havoc across the city and its up to the Titans to show them the error of their ways. The episode mainly focuses on Beast Boy, who learns a lesson on taking pranks too far.
Starfire stays mad at Beast Boy the whole episode due to an attempted prank on Cyborg accidentally blowing up in Starfire's face instead. Beast Boy tries to get her to smile by morphing into an extremely cute cat, but to no avail. Its not until he gives her a proper apology does she forgive him. He morphs back into kitty form and she snuggles him right up against her chest. Kind of makes you wonder how often he abuses that power, and how many times Starfire got fooled by it.
There are plenty of recurring villains in Teen Titans, but probably the only well-known team to routinely face off against them is the H.I.V.E. Five. Serving as sort of a polar opposite to the Titans, the H.I.V.E. Five are a group of villainous teenagers with a rotating cast. One of the members, See-More, is a boy with one large eye who has pretty much all the vision related superpowers (heat vision, x-ray vision, etc.) who uses them for all sorts of mischief.
In the season four episode "Mother Mae-Eye," Starfires fights See-More while wearing an ugly sweater. She fires her eye beams at him, quipping that she has powerful eyes as well. See-More responds with, "But I bet I'm the only one with see-through vision!" Upon hearing this, Starfire immediately tries covering up her private areas. Kinda makes you wonder if he ever tried that on his teammate Jinx.
Going back to the episode "Stranded," the tension between Robin and Starfire starts when Cyborg teases Robin by calling Starfire his girlfriend. It seems that "no romantic relationships" was part of Batman's training, as Robin firmly denies this right in front of Starfire. Of course, Starfire misunderstands the term, and believes that Robin doesn't consider her his friend (or a girl), and begins acting coldly toward him.
But as the One True Pairing of the show they couldn't stay uncertain of each other for long, so the writers decided to give Starfire a little push... off a cliff. Due to her emotional turmoil preventing her from flying, Robin swung into the rescue. The two end up landing safely into a cave, with Robin landing almost on top of her. It could've almost been the beginning of a make out session if Starfire weren't still mad at him.
In the season 4 episode "Employee of the Month," Beast Boy gets a job at a fast food joint called Mega Meaty Meat. Why would Beast Boy, a staunch vegetarian, ever agree to work at a place where he has to handle food made from animals that he at one point or another has been? Its all for the shot at winning the Employee of the Month prize: a brand-spanking new moped.
Beast Boy is so in love with the moped, in fact, that at one point he flips through the pages of a motorcycle magazine called Hot Rides and starts drooling over the centerfold. This obviously means there's some half-unclothed model riding his dream machine, right? Surprisingly no, as Starfire points out that its just "a land vehicle." He apparently just has an unhealthy obsession with mopeds. Robin should probably keep his motorcycle far away from BB.
In the season 1 episode "Car Trouble," Cyborg builds himself a hi-tech and very shiny car: the T-Car, or as he likes to call it, "my baby." Unfortunately, his happiness doesn't last long, as during the T-Car's very first test drive it gets stolen by a couple of street racers, H.I.V.E. Five's resident gadgeteer Gizmo, and the machine-possessing villain Overload. Not wanting to damage his pride and joy, it seems the villains have made off with his car.
Cyborg ends up feeling so dejected by the whole thing, it seems he's decided to drown his sorrows with some hard drinking. Raven eventually finds him sitting on a curb surrounded by empty cups, to which she notes, "Fourteen milkshakes. Not a good sign." Sure, maybe it was just milk and ice cream, or maybe he paid for some "special" milkshakes with a bit of bourbon or something to numb his pain.
Along with memorable villains, Teen Titans had introduced plenty of other great teenage superheroes who would go on to become honorary Titans. Two of the more memorable side heroes are the twin speedsters from Guatemala, Mas y Menos. Introduced in the season 3 finale "Titans East" as part of the title team, Mas y Menos are known for two things: running really fast and exclusively speaking Spanish.
This provided fun little inside joke for those of us who understood Español, as the twins were prone to making funny comments. One of their more shocking lines, though, comes from their introductory episode, in which they say of Brother Blood in Spanish, "And this old guy is [redacted] us over!" I could understand them not catching the lyrics in the Japanese song, but Cartoon Network really should've caught this one.
In the season 2 episode "Transformation," we get a look at how Tamaranean kids grow up. Starfire wakes up one morning to find what appears to be a comically large pimple growing on her forehead. She tries her best to hide it, but she soon experiences even stranger changes, including tusks on her neck, freakishly long fingernails and a craving for flies.
At one point she locks herself in the bathroom to examine her unusual growths. This spells bad news for Beast Boy, who really needs to use what is apparently the only bathroom in the entire Tower. Beast Boy tries to keep his mind off of it, but notices Robin using a garden hose in a very awkward position. Raven doesn't help, who moves some rocks to release a flow of water right underneath her. I didn't expect high brow comedy from this show, but toilet humor? Really Teen Titans?
The season 3 episode "Bunny Raven... or ...How to Make a Titananimal Disappear" is sometimes considered the funniest episode in the whole series, and its not hard to see why. Take joke villain Amazing Mumbo (voiced by Tom Kenny) and have him trap the Titans inside his funhouse pocket dimension. Throw in some hilarious musical numbers, sight gags and of course, Raven as a grumpy bunny.
Mumbo turns the other Titans into animals as well (with Beast Boy morphing into various inanimate objects) and has them perform in wacky circus acts. During Starfire's act in which she's been transformed into a tiger, Mumbo takes the old "putting your head in the tiger's mouth" trick a step further by climbing inside her mouth. He then pops out right below her, implying he went all the way through her. It might have just been a trick, but Starfire was clearly disturbed by it.
Back when Blackfire was first introduced, she seemed like the cooler, better older sister who Starfire could never measure up to. She seemed to get in every one's good graces, impressing Cyborg with her strength, Raven with her interest in spirituality and laughing at Beast Boy's jokes. She even started getting a little too close to Robin, much to Starfire's dismay.
It gets even worse when Starfire hears Robin and Blackfire making some strange noises in the training room. Obviously, the grunts and heavy breathing were just from them training, but Starfire was not in the right state of mind at that moment and let her imagination get the best of her. Of course, if you listen to Blackfire's lines during their sparring session, some viewers may have also thought something suspicious was going on.
At the beginning of "Date with Destiny," the Titans face off against a strange spider-headed thief. During the course of the fight, Robin gets paralyzed and has to be sent back to the Tower to recover. Starfire, being the helpful friend she is, decides to try out some alien acupressure techniques on Robin to help him recover. Stretching his legs while holding him upside down seems to do the trick, and Robin's back in action.
Some viewers noticed however that during Starfire's acupressure she gets a pretty clear look at Robin, and she seems very pleased with what she sees. Keep in mind that Robin is wearing tights, and in that position not much is left to the imagination. Makes you wonder if maybe Starfire was just looking for an excuse to check out Robin.
During the episode “Switched,” Beast Boy, Cyborg and Robin have had their souls trapped in puppets by the Puppet King. The same thing almost happens to Raven and Starfire, but due to some mishap their souls get switched around instead in some sort of Freaky Friday scenario. Since both girls’ powers are emotion-based, they have to learn to understand each other if they want to rescue the boys.
It takes some getting used to for Starfire to remember that she is no longer in her own body, though. When she and Raven find the boys, Starfire gets so excited she squeezes them right up against her chest. Except that’s not her chest. Its Raven’s chest. Considering how closely guarded she tends to be, it’s safe to say Raven was not happy about what Starfire was doing.
Despite Raven usually being completely draped in her cloak, there are many moments in the show when the animators decide to show off her legs or just how shapely she really is. This tendency goes to a disturbingly dark territory in the season 4 episode “Birthmark.” Slade comes back from the dead on Raven’s birthday, and he sets out to find the unfortunate birthday girl.
Slade once again acts creepy toward a teenage girl, as the episode culminates in him ripping off most of Raven’s clothes to reveal some glowing ritualistic symbols. It gets even creepier when it is revealed Slade is working for Trigon, Raven’s own father. It’s very telling that when notorious animator Zone decided to make a parody of this scene, they left in all the dialogue and some of the original animation, and it fits just as easily into that context as well.
Are there any other inappropriate Teen Titans moments you remember? Let us know in the comments.