Turtle Power Turns 35: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Have Seriously Matured
Way, way back in 1984, four mutant turtles named after famous artists from the Italian Renaissance sprung up out of the sewers of Manhattan to fight crime using karate. And if that doesn’t sound weird enough, the turtles (who were raised by a giant rat named Splinter) ate nothing but pizza. The cultural explosion of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles not only clapped back against the crime wave strife and urban decay of Reagan-era America in the 1980s, they raised a whole generation of kids on a moral stance rooted in Zen philosophy (and outrageous catchphrases like “Cowabunga!”).
And while Japanese culture, martial arts, and pizza delivery may have skyrocketed in popularity as a result, how do the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fit into the modern zeitgeist? After all, a lot can change in 35 years. Today we celebrate all things turtle power and catch up with the greatest masked heroes of all-time (in a half-shell) as they navigate life after puberty.
Cover Photo: New Line Cinema
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The turtles have long since hung up their ninja spurs, but stay in shape with daily Zumba classes. No one knows how long a mutant turtle can live (especially on a strictly pizza diet) but the guys aren't taking any chances.
While none of the foursome completely settled down (finding compatible mutant babes is extremely hard in New York), their longtime crush, April O'Neil has since become a grandmother, ensuring babysitting duties are never few and far between.
Michelangelo is preparing to list his 6,000 square-foot subterranean bachelor pad, and getting it ready for open house is no easy feat. While there is very little dust to speak of, 35 years of pizza boxes and cheese grease has made scrubbing a routine.
With Reagan out of office, and super-villainy generally at an all-time low, many of the baddies from the turtle's salad days have abandoned their criminal pasts. Nowadays, you can find the gang entertaining the likes of Bebop and Rocksteady at casual dinner parties that end by 11 p.m. The fare still consists of pizza, with the recent addition of farmers market seasonal salads, fresh fruit platters, and non-sweetened iced tea.
A Move To The Burbs
Leonardo got tired of life in the city, and with the ever-increasing rent throughout the five boroughs, he bought a place out in rural Connecticut, a 45-minute drive from Manhattan. Once a month, the crew heads up there for some R&R and to reminisce about the good old days of handing hordes of Foot Soldiers a giant can of whoop-ass.
Poker Night With Shredder
In 2005, after someone turned him on to The Sopranos, Master Shredder finally sought the help of a therapist. Once he was able to pinpoint the route of his anger and deal with his demons, he apologized to everyone for being such a dickhead. He now hosts a weekly game night and is known to be a terrific Scrabble player.
After taking a job at the DMV, Raphael retired three months in to pursue his dream of perfecting the Hawaiian shirt/cowboy hat combo. He nailed it after only 12 hours.
Always the brainy whiz kid of the group, Donatello continues to quench his thirst for knowledge. Disguising himself in trench coat and fedora, he began attending night classes at the adult learning annex, before enrolling in an online coding course on his IBM XT 286. Donatello now designs mobile apps for Galaxy phones and is launching a social media service called TurtleSnap, the latest Silicon Valley unicorn turning heads.
Once you've saved the world a handful of times, no one will fault you for kicking back and letting the emails pile up. No matter how much time may pass, we'll always remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for being the coolest, most righteous crime fighters there ever was. Bodacious, dudes!