Nick's TMNT is introducing Pizza Face! The team behind the show has delivered plenty of episodes that are inspired by classic horror movies and even genres (e.g. John Carpenter's The Thing, Alien), and they use this silly character's debut to pay respect to another one: zombie movies. Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering how they can get away with a zombie theme in a show that has to appeal to all ages. Well, it turns out you can get away with some "gore" when your opponents happen to be flying pizzas! They can get stabbed, slashed, and you can even see their remains splattered against walls or see them engulfed in flames. It's not horrific for the younger viewers by any measure yet it's just enough for older fans to appreciate the blatant nods to the bloody genre. And yes, there is a scene of something being torn apart and eaten. On top of those parallels, they also find a way to "zombify" some characters and there's some really, really neat shots. The thought of paying respect to the undead never even crossed my mind (I view the previous mind control episode as Invasion of the Body Snatchers/The Thing), and this is an incredibly creative and satisfying way to give the popular theme lots of love.
There's some truly brilliant bits of humor in this episode. From the completely absurd yet lovable song Michelangelo performs to the absolutely hysterical interrogation scene, I can't even recall the amount of times I burst into laughter or had a big, goofy smile. Basically every scene had something that made me crack up. Seriously, it's amazingly ridiculous. On the flip side, having so many standout moments means the weaker jokes were really noticeable, so there were a few remarks that fell a bit flat. I can't forget to mention that Ice Cream Kitty has two cameos! One celebrates the mutant's previous appearances in a funny way and the other feels like a scene that's stripped right from a horror movie (to me, it felt like The Exorcist meets Jurassic Park). It's wonderfully creepy. Oh, and last but certainly not least, they may or may not drop a famous line from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.
"Pizza Face" also produces another illustrated flashback and it feels perfect for the tone. It's slightly haunting yet still creates a massively fun and engaging story. It's a little brief and it is just exposition, but it's still a refreshing way of handling it and so much better than simply having the character talk with basic reaction shots. The illuminated smiles in this segment will definitely leave an impression on you as well.
Minor gripes: April just can't catch a break, can she? This is like the third new episode where she's in big trouble and needs saving. I know Casey had a tough time in the last adventure, but maybe putting him in a rough spot could have made the situation feel a tad different. Also, a few things with the plot stood out to me. For example, it seemed like one "zombified" character had super-strength and it's a little odd how things are resolved considering that's how everyone else was turned. Honestly though, these are fairly minor points (not to mention they attempt to explain the resolution with one remark) and are outweighed by what this episode did so well.
"Pizza Face" is absurdly entertaining. The jokes are so over the top at times that you're either going to absolutely love them or wonder how people think it's funny. Me? I was laughing like a fool at so many of these scenes. Sure, not all of them worked but a whole lot provided some amazing laughs. You can't help but love how it cleverly pays a ton of respect to the zombie genre, too. Yes, it doesn't move the overall plot forward, but who cares when it's such a crazy amount of fun. This is without question an episode I'm going to happily re-watch down the road.