Scientifically Accurate Animal Superheroes Couldn’t Save Us From Anything

Slate’s animal blog.
Jan. 20 2014 12:00 AM

Scientifically Accurate Animal Superheroes

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Just wait until this loggerhead sea turtle gets its nunchucks.

Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

Last year the team behind the YouTube channel Animation Domination High-Def blessed the Internet with a series of disturbing, hilarious parodies of cartoon theme songs. The videos spoof animal-based superheroes, from Thunder Cats to Spiderman to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they feature visual references to the original televised themes. What’s really impressive and wonderful about this work is the clever lyrics. Relying on biological facts, the songs present some of the best profanity to come from the animal world.

My own Ninja Turtle fandom didn’t exactly take root in a passion for studying nature—I liked them mostly for their swords and nunchucks, and because Michelangelo was a party dude. The ADHD creative team has swept any such fluff off the table and shown us just how badly the Turtles and indeed most animal-human hybrids would fail at fighting crime. Warning: Though these videos are cartoons, they’re not at all safe for work.

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For the benefit of those who simply don’t know, and in the face of prudes who might erroneously cite human morals and suppress grotesque facts about animal physiology and behavior, ADHD’s writers give us delightful lessons on the underbelly of the natural world. If you’re ready to venture where the sun doesn’t shine, take a couple of minutes and watch their profane parody of Duck Tails.

Disseminating such odd animal facts is a job that shouldn’t fall solely on the shoulders of scientists with government grants to study duck genitals

The Scientifically Accurate web series unites ridiculous facts with the iconic elements of the original shows it parodies. Scrooge McDuck still has his top hat and spiffy jacket and his giant pool of gold. And the Turtles still have their ninja weapons. But the videos also teach us about the characters’ phenomenal and often debaucherous behavior, and they open the door for us to consider which animals could be the true heroes in nature’s evolutionary arms race.

Here’s to more work like this from Animation Domination High-Def and elsewhere. Most animal-based superheroes to have graced the television and silver screens are still ripe for parody.  Scientifically Accurate video series creator Heather Anne Campbell says there are two more videos in the ADHD pipeline, and the team recently released its latest piece, Scientifically Accurate Santa Claus. But among so many potential subjects my vote is for Sonic the Hedgehog. He is not actually the fastest thing alive, and his catchphrases are terrible. “Let’s juice”? Really, Sonic? No amount of steroids could make you as fast as you claim to be.

Ben Mirin is the project coordinator for Slate Custom. He is a producer, field ornithologist, and musician living in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter.