The Download: Robin Williams, 'Aquaman,' and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'

Posted 1:06 PM August 17th, 2014 by Binh Ngo
Robin Williams

We talk Robin Williams, Aquaman, and TMNT on this week's Download. Come and join in on the discussion.

Binh: Robin Williams left us on Monday. I'm sure you're as shocked as anyone when you heard the news of his suicide. It has revealed that he's in the early stages of Parkinson's Disease and has been battling depression for a long while.

Jeff: Most celebrity deaths don't matter much to me, but this one hurt -- partly because he was such a big fixture on the pop culture landscape for people in my generation, but also because even his most manic comedy was anchored by a touch of sadness and the type of empathy you can only acquire via heartbreak.

Sara: I somehow remember public service messages from the 80s/90s in which he appeared with a lab-coated DR to raise awareness for manic depressive disorder. Does this sound familiar to either of you?

One of the reasons I feel strongly about this loss is that he was 65 and wrestled with manic depression for a long time. I tend to believe that, once you're passed the middle age hump you have your ducks in a row. No one's perfect but by 65 you really hope you're accustomed enough to being yourself that...I don't know. I hope I can say "I've got this."

I really hope this can raise awareness about depression and bipolar disorder and I think, if it does, it would really honor Williams' memory.

Binh: Can't say I recall that commercial, Sara, but, yeah, maybe someone will be helped by his passing.

I think for many, including myself, suicide and Robin Williams are not something they expect to see in a sentence together. I don't want to get into the how and the why, so I just like to thank him for all the memories and wish him happy trails.

Jeff: Seconded.

Binh: Let's move on to something more lighthearted – like Aquaman. We just talk about this – on the previous Download, in fact – but Warner Bros. is giving us more to talk about. Looks like they're really serious about a Aquaman movie. Why, I don't know, but they setting two writers to work on two competing scripts, with the best one getting produced.

Jeff: As someone who has no emotional attachment to any of these characters, I find this development hilarious. It sounds like a plot point in a satire about idiot movie execs trying to get a franchise off the ground.

Sara: That's hilarious. Maybe they can get Rachel Dratch to star.

Jeff: Hell, I wish they'd hired Rachel Dratch to play Aquaman.

Binh: There must be a method to this madness, right? You think think they have a vision for these characters and a storyline to tie them all together, but this tells me they're just making it up as they go and hoping for the best. They don't need an Aquaman movie, they just want one. Again, why, I don't know.

Sara: Ok, maybe I'm asking the wrong guys, since you've both said you're not precisely fans of the character, but wasn't he like the Luke Skywalker version of comic book heroes? Like the rest of the comic book superhero world was like Han Solo and Aquaman was the only blonde/hayseed/fish-out-of-water?

Jeff: I mostly remember him as being useless and having one of the ugliest costumes in the hideous DC pantheon. The company tried making him EXTREME! later on by replacing one of his hands with a harpoon or something, but I don't think anyone was fooled.

Sara: I think it was a hook, like a pirate, wasn't it? I remember the Extreme version. It was the absolute inverse of the 50s clean cut look he had in the first place. He was far more attractive when he looked like he could date Barbie.

Jeff: The Sub-Mariner is far more interesting, Spock ears and all.

Binh: Yeah, Aquaman is really a poor man's Namor. I'm by no means an expert on Aquaman, but I believe he was more of a clean cut surfer dude in the beginning and then they tried to make him darker with that harpoon and some additional superpowers. His comics got cancelled and they had to house him in the Justice League. In short, his story is just not that interesting. Jason Momoa is reportedly playing him, so the blonde hair is out too.

My final thought on this is that they could have focus all this energy into a more worthy character instead, like Nightwing or the Teen Titans. Maybe they like the underwater aspect of it because the forthcoming Avatar sequels will have underwater scenes and they want to bask in that halo.

Okay, serious question, which one of you went to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because that movie won't could have made over $65 million last weekend without your help.

Sara: Can I just make one joke that's long overdue: It's totally possible Aquaman is about to become the superhero equivalent of this.

I did not see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because life is too short. I will not see it in a boot, I will not give them all my loot, I will not watch green shells and ham, you cannot make me, Sam I am.

Binh: I'm sure there will be many more jokes when the movie arrives, Sara. You know, I'll be thrilled if they can prove me wrong and come out with an awesome movie, but my expectations are very low.

As for TMNT, I got to hand it to Michael Bay and co. They resurrected the franchise.

Sara: I'm not much for necromancy.

Jeff: When I was in grade school, or maybe middle school, I had friends who were into the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, and those seemed cool and funny -- in the same anti-"comics" comics vein as Flaming Carrot or Megaton Man or Reid Fleming World's Toughest Milkman. But the cartoons and movies always seemed ridiculous to me, so I've never watched any of 'em. I chant along with Sara.

Binh: The TV show is still going strong, I think, so there's going to be an audience for the movie and as we found out, there are more TMNT fans than we think.

Sara: Ha! I can't believe my Plastic Bag joke didn't start a revolution! Do you remember the movie? It was such a big-viral-deal. It's about the existential crises of a plastic bag, narrated by Herzog. The dejected bag ends up in a giant island of bags just like him in the sea. Hence...Aquaman.

Binh: ... And we'll leave it at that. Thanks for joining us on this week's Download.

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