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The star signs of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
In the beginning, there were alignments. Then there were Hogwarts Houses. And then there was BDE.
When it comes to judging your favorite characters, these are all very fine and worthy metrics, but isn’t it time we went back to the metrics that mattered? You know, the stars?
With their hands determinedly covering up the birthdates of your favorite characters, FANGRRLS Clare and Sara set out to assign star signs to all your faves, one franchise at a time.
This edition, mutated turtles have star signs too! Sara and Clare take a look at the zodiac signs of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Clare: Fun fact: before I watched the original 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, I had never really seen anything TMNT-y before. However, through pop culture osmosis via things like my favorite bad movie podcast The Flop House, I had already gathered that Leonardo is kind of the generic turtle. The Scott Summers if you will: plenty of leadership tendencies, but definitely goes off on his own a lot. Alas, that Cyclops isn’t an astrological sign in and of himself.
Sara: The sign Cyclops is will be definitely disclosed another time.
Sara: The time is now: it’s Virgo. It’s obviously Virgo.
Sara: While Leonardo does have many Scott Summersian traits, he also has a sense of quietude and dreaminess in place of Cyclops’ relentless judgment, and that’s why Leo is not a Virgo but rather an Aquarius, the sign that can lead but also might just take off to do a spirit quest in the middle of a story and not even think about it.
Clare: Which is 100% what Leonardo does in the movie; he meditates so hard he develops telepathy. Aquariuses, man, you gotta keep your eye on ‘em or they start levitating.
Clare: Here’s what I know about Raph: HE’S A COMPLETE JERK. Let’s be real: in the movie, he and Leonardo have a really bad argument where he goes to, like, kick rocks on the roof or something. When April’s like “oh, wow, where’s Raph, is everything OK?” All the turtles are like “oh, Raph does this all the time.” He’s just so moody and terrible at controlling his temper. Also, I feel like having a Tom Hardy in Venom-level New Yawk accent before Venom is a stroke of genius.
Sara: Raphael was my favorite when I was a kid because I was really stoked on how mad he was. I also am an Aries.
Sara: We like to cause our own problems and then yell “DAMN!” at the sky a lot. I really found him highly relatable. As a kid, I shipped him and April but as an adult, I realized it was truly me that I was shipping with April. Also that humans shouldn’t date mutated turtles or any turtles in general. They’re too good for us.
Clare: I’d also like to note that when Raph is in what can only be assumed to be a coma, the way the turtle suit is just kind of shoved into a bathtub facedown, presumably so a performer did not have to be shoved into it for shots where he’s not moving, is deeply unsettling.
Sara: It’s the only time he’s not yelling “DAMN!”
Clare: This is the first time we’ve covered a team on Star Signs that falls into the Five-Man Band structure. This structure—The Leader, The Lancer (the Leader’s foil), The Smart Guy, the Big Guy, and The Girl—is very common in team-based children’s cartoons. It can also be a bit of a crutch for characterization. Each position has one preset character trait.
Sara: Liking pizza is not a personality-defining trait. Unless...
Clare: You’re a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. While the film does go further into Leonardo and Raphael, our other turtles are less developed. To whit, Mikey’s Character TraitTM is that he is a party boy, to the degree that he might actually be a dog in disguise? Which I love and adore since I was functionally a large, confused golden retriever until high school.
Sara: Tauruses love food and parties where they don’t have to leave their own houses to attend.
Clare: But he also cares: he’s the one who sits by Raphael’s bedside. Again, like a faithful dog.
Sara: I don’t think comparing someone to a dog is the compliment you think it is but I agree Mikey is very dedicated to his loud Aries friend, which is something that has played out often in my own life with Tauruses.
Clare: Dogs are the best of us, Sara! WE SHOULD BE SO LUCKY!
Clare: And, last but not least, Donatello, the Smart Guy. I didn’t go into this expecting to like Donny all that much, but… there’s something really tender about him.
Sara: Like most Pisces, he loves to be around people but not to be forced to interact with them as he drifts through the cosmos of his own daydreams.
Clare: But he does like interacting with Casey! Once Casey’s around, Donny forges a real friendship with him, which makes you wonder what he’s missing in his relationships with his brothers.
Sara: All they do is yell at each other so it’s probably for the best he makes friends outside of his group.
Clare: He’s the child that blossoms once they’re in college and make an identity for themselves.
Sara: Donatello: the Ninja Turtle most likely to take up acoustic guitar.
Clare: Is Splinter the greatest or the greatest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles character? Because I love everything about this dude, wow. I did watch some of the Nickelodeon series to compare adaptations, and that series retains the original comics origin story of Splinter having been a martial arts master horribly mutated into a rat. The fact that his response is “Whelp, guess I’m a single dad now!” made me realize that Splinter is one of the greatest characters to ever walk the fictional earth.
Sara: I like that he’s a rat but also he talks.
Clare: The film goes a less and yet somehow more weird direction by having Splinter just having always been a rat… a sentient rat who learned ninjitsu by copying his master. It’s amazing.
Sara: That’s my favorite part of the movie except Raphael yelling “DAMN!”
Clare: Splinter’s nurturing abilities are beautiful to behold; he even starts joking with his kids at the end of the movie! Even when he’s imprisoned against his will, he still has room in his big ol’ heart to engage honestly and without prejudice with Danny, April’s boss’ crappy teen runaway son. AND SUCCEEDS IN TURNING HIM TO THE LIGHT. Splinter is one of the best father figures in fiction.
Sara: No matter where you’re at in life, a Virgo or a giant talking rat or both telling you that you’re messing up will really put things in perspective.
Sara: For better or worse and usually for worse, Geminis always roll with a solid crew of supporters. If they’re not careful, those supporters can be minions rather than friends, attracted to a Gemini’s natural chaos power but unwilling to stand up to them or help them grow as people. For instance, the Foot Clan.
Clare: Anyone who dresses up his minions like goth fly-themed squeeze-toy Martians gets an A+ from me.
Sara: That Gemini flair coming in full force here. If you meet a Gemini and their clothes are boring, just know that there is a stylish icon living somewhere deep inside them that they aren’t showing you. Geminis like Marilyn Monroe and Prince have shown us what real Gemini style is about, and Shredder has got it.
Clare: Speaking of drama, Shredder has a cape for days (paging Rebecca Pahle), and he has one minion whose job is just to delicately remove it from his shoulder spikes so it falls perfectly while he bestows the honor of being a Foot clan lackey to some teen runaway. (Sidebar: because this is a PG movie, the best way for them to demonstrate that Shredder is acquiring teen runaways by providing them illicit thrills is for them to smoke cigarettes and have pizza on tap. Amazing.)
Sara: That would have worked on me when I was 15. Or now.
APRIL O'NEIL: LIBRA
Clare: Every outfit April O’Neil wears in this movie is flawless.
Sara: April is flawless. She is our balance-seeking queen.
Clare: Her pursuit of justice is ruthless! You could be forgiven for thinking April, who is a very nice young woman, might be a bit of fluff, but her boss constantly asks her to stop investigating the Foot Clan. Does she? No, she stares directly into the camera and calls out local law enforcement for not doing anything.
Sara: A Libra would 1000 percent just show up in a bright yellow jumpsuit making a passionate plea for equality and truth. I feel like I’ve been in a room when this happened before.
Clare: Your life is fascinating.
Clare: Casey is a scuzzlord maniac and I love him. I’m not sure if it’s because a lot of my friends really got into hockey over the last two years, but when he showed up in a hockey mask, I was like “Ahhhh, this is familiar and comforting.”
Sara: That’s fine for you, but I see someone in a hockey mask, I walk the exact opposite direction. Pack one single suitcase and leave town forever.
Clare: I also love that Casey and Raph get into a fight in a park at night, and then the next time Casey sees Raph, he’s like “OH NO MY BEST FRIEND!” Casey has no friends but he is honestly a nice guy… unless you’re a ne’er-do-well teen, then he will beat you senseless with a hockey stick and/or cricket bat.
Sara: I was definitely a ne’er-do-well teen once and must conclude that Casey would have beaten me and my friends up for drinking Boone's Farm in abandoned buildings, which is fine because looking back that was unsafe. On the other hand, some would say getting hit with a cricket bat many times is unsafe. For a Sagittarius, though, it’s really their way or the hockey stick. Also, he looks like Jason half the time, and, while I like Jason as an embodiment of my own underlying existential fear of the inescapable nature of death, I don’t want to be in a room with Jason ever. He’s really mad about teens, too. Maybe Jason is a Sagittarius.