Fam listen, I already know. Sunshine Anderson my Titan, I’ve heard it all before. Teen Titans was a great and emotionally impactful show. It was simultaneously a culturally important show while also serving up a great repository of DC Comics Nerdom. You could rarely find 3 Teen Titans fans who all had the same favorite Titan. Five seasons is a long time, but yes for this show, it was too short.
And I don’t disagree with any of that.
I understand how you can look at how they pulled Teen Titans and replaced it with a ridiculous, geared for children slapstick and it makes you want to send this shit to another portal. But I need y’all to listen for a second. Teen Titans Go…Still got hits. What you might have missed if you boycott the show based upon principle (again, I get it) is that Teen Titans Go is like, really damn funny. And while the cartoonish violence and sight gags pacify humans that are my daughters age, the actual writing is more Animaniacs then it is Bubble Guppies. As it retains almost all the voice actors from Teen Titans, the familiarity and comfort of the acting helps retain the likability of the characters, regardless if you were a fan of Teen Titans previously or not.
In their 15 minute (and that’s generous) episodes, they always, ALWAYS go left with the narrative. I can’t remember the last time I watched a new Teen Titans Go and could predict what the resolution is. Sometimes the Titans win. Sometimes one of their members is stuck in the 1700s or in the pages of a yearbook. And sometimes, them bastards just be dead (and probably ghosts as well). So many of the stories are set up for a moral ending and basically kick the train off the tracks at the end and go with the most savage ending possible.
Also, the nerd references stay on full tilt. Just take a look at the 40%, 40%, 20% episode where Cyborg can’t stop playing his favorite song “The Night Begins to Shine.” From the ode to 80s music videos, the Hulk Hogan reference or Transformers, it’s a straight up Tour De Force of nerdom.
Teen Titans Go also works hard at breaking down misogyny and tropes we see in typical media. Starfire and Raven are given agency early and often, sometimes naturally, sometimes as the point of the story that combats overt masculinity of their three male counterparts. The Raven centric episodes, like the one where her version of Rapunzel where she liberates herself from the tower and becomes a folklore with “Forget boys, get PAID.”
Or the Chivalry episode where the guys think they are being gentlemen when they are actually treating Raven and Starfire like invalids incapable of protecting themselves. The episodes results in the ladies joining a group of villains (also ladies) to save the boys from the trouble they’ve got into. Only to leave them there because of their foolishness and get milkshakes instead.
The nod and the wink of the show is how self aware it is. Self aware that it is dealing with issues that are both ridiculous and often socially relevant. But also self aware of its perception. There are numerous nods made at the show that proceeded it, the fanbase outrage over it’s current existence and how it is often regarded as the fall of Rome in DC Animated lore. It cares that you miss Teen Titans…just not enough to get these jokes off.
So look, if you jumped ship from Teen Titans Go or never even got on the damn boat because of your allegiance to Teen Titans, this gonna give you the motivation to NOT turn the channel when it comes on. But I’ll leave you with perhaps my favorite part of the show: The B-Boy that is Beast Boy. And fam, Beast Boy got bars.
You’ll notice that I didn’t mention my daughter throughout this even though I never watched the show until I was watching it with her. I could tell you how Teen Titans Go has value to her because of many of the “deprogramming” type of lessons like gender roles, toxic masculinity it gives voice against are nice things wrapped in entertainment for her, and something that we both can enjoy.
…but honestly, I watch the show without her, too. Feet propped up in front of the TV. Crushing her juice boxes and eating her fruit snacks. I regret nothing.