Teen Titans, a show filled with strong character, powerful story lines, and deep and grounded life lessons was by and large a hit, during its early 2000's run. So when word began to spread about the Cartoon Network bringing the show back, fans were thrilled by the idea of an updated take on the legendary team of young superheroes and sidekicks.
Then, Teen Titans Go! arrived. It was nearly unrecognizable to fans of the old series. Gone were all the incredible plots of Teen Titans, including ones that included Robin afraid that he was losing his mind, when no one else could ever seen the reoccurring antagonist Slade. Instead, viewers were treated to extremely goofy animation and ridiculous, self-contained episodes that never went anywhere.
While Teen Titans did focus on the close, yet often rocky relationships between team members, Teen Titans Go! opted to go in the direction of best friends just being silly with friends. While critics, parents, and kids alike loved this new look, fans of the old show were horrified about this new take that was almost a parody of the their beloved TV show. Even so, juicy facts are still lie beneath the surface of this Saturday morning bummer. Let's take a look at 20 facts about Teen Titans Go!
20 Didn’t Do His Homework
It should almost go without saying that, when taking on a rebooted project such as Teen Titans Go!, it helps to do your homework. Anyone recreating an old property should at least have a general understanding of the background universe and its characters before making creating decisions, right?
It would seem that not everyone received that memo; not even the main creators of the reboot.
That’s right, Aaron Horvath, a former writer for Mad animations and one of the producers of Teen Titans Go!, knew very little about the DC Universe when the show started. It seems that you don't have to actually be one of the biggest nerds in the world in order to create for one of the most loved nerd shows.
19 Lost The Plot
Young Justice and the original Teen Titans were a serious take on the struggles of being a teen super hero sidekick working with other sidekicks to save the world. The shows had many varying story arcs dealing with the individual characters on top of an overarching narrative. It’s unsurprising that things could get very complicated very fast in the writers' room, as storytellers need to weave everything into a cohesive story that makes sense, at least as long as you’re following the episodes.
Each episode of Teen Titans Go! was self contained, and presented little to no story, unlike Young Justice and Teen Titans.
The reason for this happens to be because one of the main writers used to work on Young Justice, and they recalled that trying to keep up the increasingly complex storylines became a serious chore, and so decided that Teen Titans Go! should just stick to individual stories instead.
18 Didn't Do Their Homework, Episode 2
Another sign to many old fans that Teen Titans Go! was not to be the show for them is the fact that, before starting on the new incarnation of the famous team, the producers had actually only ever seen a handful of the old show’s episodes before. Once again, it became obvious that Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic never closely followed the original show.
Not all is lost, however.
When asked about this, both Horvath and Jelenic openly stated that the parts of the show that they did see were in fact good. Still, this isn’t likely to sit well with a die-hard fan of the original, who is genuinely confused at the entirely different direction of this new version of their beloved show. When such a popular program is being rebooted, it’s usually expected that having a good grasp on the old show is mandatory before any real creative decisions are reached.
Oh well, Teen Titans fans, better luck next time.
17 There Are Only 2 Rules About Write Club
There are very few rules in the Teen Titans Go! writer’s room, and the main two are: make sure that the audience is laughing, and don’t just steal gags from other shows to get a cheap chuckle. Writers are tasked to come up with entirely unique jokes pertaining to their characters and their respective overarching stories.
The latter rule almost sounds like a lot of nitpicking, but makes sense in the end.
While viewers are often complaining about how goofy the show is in comparison to the original Teen Titans, it’s not hard to imagine how much worse it could be if the rule about taking jokes was scrapped. Beast Boy would likely be turning into a knock-off Pikachu or other Pokemon at least once an episode, or Raven would be reduced to some silly Buffy parody.
Whatever your opinions on the show, just know that it could be so much worse.
16 Too Much Laughing Gas
Unlike it’s original form, Teen Titans Go! is brimming with all sorts of slapstick and cartoonish humor. As mentioned, one of the main rules of the writer’s room is to make the show as funny as possible. Considering that each episode is its own self-contained story, this can really open up the humor potential.
Remember, Teen Titans Go! has nothing to do with the canon DC Universe, so just about anything can go.
Due to how hilarious the show is always trying to be, it’s no surprise that the gag reel is going to be chock-full of involuntary giggling and guffawing. One of these actors is a bigger culprit than the rest. Tara Strong, a veteran actress who is behind the likes of Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls, finds it incredibly hard not to burst out laughing all the time while recording her lines. For added hilarity, remember that Tara voices Raven, the most serious character on the show.
15 Who's In The Right?
Sometimes, the biggest fan disappointments end up as the most highly acclaimed when it comes to critics and kids. Whether this is due to the general mentality of either group is up for anyone to decide. Regardless, Teen Titans Go! was well received by Common Sense Media, which is a website for mainly for parents.
It gave the show 4 out of 5 stars, citing some good lessons and clever comedy.
There is one surprising ally for this show as well: Scott Collura, a reviewer for IGN.com, gave the show a 7.8 out of 10. He happily reported that the show had been remade for a new generation, and with "pretty fun results".
It really is amazing who can like or dislike things these days.
14 Fan Fiction For The Masses
Fans of the original Teen Titans quickly began frothing at the mouth when they realized that Teen Titans Go! was nothing like their old show. Understandably, they demanded answers, and the ones they got might have only made things worse. The creators explained the extreme differences by stating that they always saw Teen Titans Go! as fan-fiction of the original series.
Teen Titans Go! really has no actual connection to the original story or characters, other than by name.
Self-contained funny stories based around the everyday lives of the Teen Titans was bound to make more than one fan feel that the show was something entirely new, rather than taking inspiration from an old property. Perhaps next time it would be better for the creators to at least try to make a rebooted show that has relation with the original source material.
13 Longer Than We Thought
Anyone who has ever done anything in animation knows full well that creating even the simplest short can take absolutely forever. Creating each individual action, every movement, frame by frame, with any degree of accuracy or smoothness is a painstaking process, and countless hours of work can easily by trashed by the whims of the producers or writers.
That being said, considering the more simplistic nature of the animation in Teen Titans Go!, one might think that episodes could be produced relatively quickly. This is far from the case. Each episode of Teen Titans Go! takes around nine whole months to create, from outlining the story of the episode in the writers room, to basic storyboarding, all the way to the final product.
Talk about serious commitment!
12 Familiar Faces
In a fun twist for a show that has been almost universally criticized by Teen Titans fans, the original cast of the old show actually came back to reprise their roles! Tara Strong returns as Raven, Khary Payton has come back as Cyborg, and Scott Menville is the Caped Crusader’s sidekick once again.
What's even better is the fact that the entire cast feels they are all family!
It seems that it would be too good to be true, as actors tend to have hectic schedules. This is especially valid for those who are in high demand. It looks like someone behind the scenes worked some real life magic however, and once again the Teen Titans ride together! Though perhaps in a way that no one expected.
11 Plot Twist!
At least two of the original voice actors reportedly love the show’s more cartoonish look. Khary Payton, the voice of Cyborg, and Scott Menville, the voice behind Robin, have both openly stated that they truly enjoy the new direction that the show has taken. While many fans disparage the goofy look and feel of the cartoon, it seems that these two like having a break from a gritty universe.
Some might interpret these statements as dishonest, however.
Most people would agree that if you're working on any kind of project, it doesn't do well to badmouth the hand that feeds. On the other hand, just because actors have regularly done plenty of serious shows, doesn't mean that they don't see a kid's cartoon as a breath of fresh air!
10 They're Back!
When a show on a big network ends a season, especially its first one, there can be a lot of bated breath on whether or not there is a demand for more. Plenty of popular shows have been cancelled after just one season (Firefly being a famous example). Teen Titans Go! being a far less loved show by the fans of the original, it was a surprise to find out that this reboot would be coming back.
Even more interesting, the news of the renewal came only two months after the show ended.
This is considered unusual because shows can easily go many months after the ending of a season before it's officially green-lit again. It seems however that the power of happy parents and kids was enough to rocket this show back on track before anyone may have even realized it was done.
9 All Together Now!
Generally when voice actors come together to record lines, they do so in individual, sound-proofed booths. This is to help them avoid accidentally ruining a take with involuntary sounds and to help ensure that the audio is as clean as possible. It’s more than possible for a voice actor to record their lines directly after another take on a different day than another voice actor because of this.
The cast of Teen Titans Go! are a family, however, and have been for a long time.
Instead of opting for the more traditional way of recording their lines, the entire cast gets together, and all of them record in the same booth! As we’ve pointed out, this can have its disadvantages. But one major upside of recording together is not only the bonding process between actors, but a better chance of a more genuine sounding response, and in some cases, some awesome ad lib-ing moments!
8 A Blizzard Of A Time
During the winter of 2016, a historic blizzard roared through the East Coast of the United States, dropping around 3 feet of snow, and producing wind gusts of almost 85mph. Any snow that did melt quickly refroze into black ice, which rendered many major roadways impassable. The entire ordeal lasted for 10 days before the storm finally dissipated. Needless to say, there were snow days in the interim.
It turns out that when American school kids were snowed in, the one comfort they turned to was watching episodes of Teen Titans Go!
The viewing stats were so high that it ended up being reported by CNN as part of their report on the storm. Say what you will about the new show, Teen Titans fans, but happy parents are more than likely to differ when it comes to having a show that consistently distracted their kids while snowed in.
7 My Little Parody
It’s no secret that shows of all kinds like to include Easter eggs of every kind (an Easter egg being a subtle callback to either something within or without franchise). Teen Titans Go! actually includes some surprisingly family unfriendly tidbits, but the first episode includes a rather adorable one. In the episode, Raven is trying to watch a very familiar parody about magical horse creatures, done in a cutesy style.
This show is obviously supposed to be My Little Pony, which on its own would be hilarious considering that it’s Raven of all people who is trying to watch it. What fans might not realize is that Tara Strong, who voices Raven, also voices Twilight Sparkle, one of the main characters of My Little Pony. This is a nice little nod to Tara’s other work, and presented in a hilarious light to boot.
6 Guest Star Mania!
Many TV shows feature guest stars, but not too many feature someone playing themselves. In the episode The Cruel Giggling Ghoul, the Teen Titans are late for a dribbling exhibition. This demonstration is held by none other than basketball star Lebron James as himself! Unfortunately, shenanigans involving a nasty ghoul don’t allow for the exhibition to go as planned, but it’s a fun cameo nonetheless.
Weird Al Yankovic also stars on Teen Titans Go! as Darkseid.
In real life, Weird Al is a musician who parodies many famous songs. Hilariously, Darkseid states that Weird Al is evil for making his parodies, and then threatens to destroy the world and the Teen Titan’s Weird Al once and for all. Anytime a star roasts themselves, we alway have a good time.
5 Adaptations For Bookworms
While Teen Titans was an incredibly popular show, surprisingly, it didn’t get a comic book adaptation. This is even more odd considering that the Teen Titans are an integral part of the larger DC comic book universe. In the end though, it wasn’t enough for them to get their own comic book spin off like so many other cartoons.
This makes the fact that Teen Titans Go! received their own comic series that much more baffling.
In January of 2004, the first of 55 issues were released, detailing stories about the current incarnation of the Teen Titans. It ran until July 2008, and while like the show contained mostly independent storylines, it did occasionally reference episodes from the TV show and even expand on some of the events.
4 Why So Serious?
One of the biggest complaints about Teen Titans Go! is about just how silly it is. Nothing in the show follows any kind of story arc, there is no character growth, and each episode is its own ridiculous story. Considering the dark twists and turns that the original Teen Titans liked to dish out, many fans were taken aback by the comical and cartoony nature of this new incarnation.
When the creators caught wind of the complaints, they responded as any content producer might when they draw the ire of fans.
Clearly meant to be a parody of what fans expected of the show, the characters are styled to look as serious as possible in episode Let's Get Serious, with everyone getting a chiseled chin and chest. As each episode is self-contained, the incident was never referred to again, but it certainly stands out as the one time the show’s creators decided to do things the fan’s way! Well, sort of...
3 A Disturbing Keepsake
The DC comic book universe is almost infamous for its gritty and dark take on the life of a superhero (excluding, of course, the likes of Bat Baby). In the four issue comic book run, A Death In A Family, Batman’s current Robin (Jason Todd) attempts to find his birth mother. Things quickly take a turn for the horrifying when Robin has a run in with the Joker without Batman to rescue him.
In a traumatizing twist, the Joker ends up beating poor Robin very badly with a crowbar.
The weapon in question showing up in such a cutesy cartoon is certainly jarring for many reasons. On such a kid-friendly show, no one would expect to see such a creepy souvenir. Long-time fans of Batman and Robin who have read the comic were likely quite surprised to see it on Teen Titans Go! of all things.
2 Crossing Acting Wires
Acting in general is a difficult profession, at least to the point where you can regularly support yourself, especially for voice actors. The competition is fierce, and if you don’t have a voice that many creators would like to hear on their work, then you’re out of luck. That being said, it is also true that once you find an in for the industry, then you’re far more likely to get work from all over the place within a genre.
Khary Payton is the voice of Cyborg in many DC Universe properties, including the original Teen Titans, Injustice, and of course Teen Titans Go! He also happens to voice Aquaman’s young sidekick Aqualad in Young Justice. Because of this, when Teen Titans Go! and Young Justice did a crossover, he ended up voicing both characters, which may have had viewers who are not in the know scratching their heads when similar voices kept coming from two entirely separate characters.
1 Not So Special Episode
If there is one thing that TV producers, viewers, and ratings like, it’s special episodes. These can appear for all sorts of reasons, whether it is to acknowledge and celebrate a holiday or event, or even just to mark a major milestone within a show. For many TV shows, a milestone might be at the end of a season, or even mark a significant episode number for the series. The Simpsons, for example, did one for their 300th episode.
Teen Titans Go! 100th episode was intended to be an entirely normal one as far as milestones go.
The same feeling wasn't shared by the voice actors on the series. Raven becomes too annoyed at all the constant noise going on around her, and makes a deal with to erase all the sounds in existence. So instead, the actors and characters had to make their own noises for opening doors and fight sounds.
That certainly fits the bill for unusual whether anyone likes it or not!