The original Teen Titans series, which ran from 2003 to 2006, is still highly-regarded as one of the best comic book adaptations made for television. That level of praise comes from the show's mature themes, solid character development, and pure entertainment value. Ever since the show was canceled and replaced by the more kid-friendly Teen Titans Go!, many fans of the original series have been left wanting more.
The show was anchored by Robin as he was the mainstream hero thanks to his association with Batman. Fans who were unfamiliar with the comics were then introduced to characters like Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire, and Raven, making them all household names.
However, as is tradition with many classic cartoon shows, there are many moments that are adult-oriented or reference a part of pop culture from the past. Regardless, they are the moments that went over kids' heads originally and only make sense when seen again years later.
Here are the 15 Mind-Blowing Things Even Die-Hard Fans Didn't Notice.
15 The Static Shock Easter Egg
While there was never a crossover with Static Shock throughout Teen Titans five seasons, both shows were part of the Kid's WB programming block. However, it doesn't mean that the two properties never interacted.
Right before Cyborg and Beast Boy are called into action during the final episode of the first season, they are both reading a Static Shock comic book. This appears to be the only Static Shock Easter egg in the show. When considering the fact that the Static Shock show was running simultaneously with Teen Titans, some cross-promotion seems pretty par for the course.
What is surprising is that WB never took the opportunity to have some kind of crossover event to further promote both shows. Unfortunately, fans will likely have to stick to Static Shock's appearances in the Teen Titans comics if they want to see these crime fighters together.
14 The Bruce Lee Homage
Beast Boy is in on his way to save Terra when he finds himself in a mind game with Slade. The titan is suddenly surrounded by a series of mirrors, all with Slade's reflection in them. Slade attempts to convince Beast Boy that Terra is undeserving of his heroics, which only angers Beast Boy more. He begins punching each of the mirrors, which is a clear homage to the Bruce Lee movie Enter The Dragon.
In the original movie, Bruce Lee's character looks for the villain by shattering each mirror that surrounds him, similarly to how Beast Boy looks for Slade.
There have been plenty of references to kung-fu movies using Robin, as his main powers are acrobatics and martial arts. However in this instance, it was Beast Boy who channeled his inner Bruce Lee.
13 The Elevator Scene From The Shining
If there are any characters on the show who shouldn't be watching scary movies, it's Raven. She is capable of bringing horrible things to life with her extensive telekinetic abilities. In the fifth episode of the second season, the Titans watch a movie called "Wicked Scary" that gives everyone nightmares.
After watching it, a frightening monster appears and the group is separated. At one point, while Raven is in the elevator, it starts to fill with black liquid. The doors then open, mirroring the scene from The Shining where the blood-filled elevator empties itself.
This is a surprising inclusion when considering the gruesome source material, but it is representative of the darkness that has always been present within Raven's character.
12 Beast Boy And His Marionette
When the Titans are given marionettes of themselves, everyone is obviously intrigued by them. Robin then describes how the maker of the marionettes got every detail right, which prompts Beast Boy to check if his puppet is anatomically correct. He then cheekily remarks "speak for yourself," and goes on to say that he is much better looking in real life.
An example of some of Teen Titans' adult humor, this joke is easily missed if you're not paying attention. After all, Beast Boy is examining his puppet rather closely throughout this scene while everyone else is busy talking.
His referral to the puppet's looks further deflects from the crudeness of the joke, but older viewers will know what he's alluding to. When re-watching the series, it does appear that Beast Boy is frequently involved in these types of jokes.
11 The Mutants From The Dark Knight Returns Cameo
When Starfire travels twenty years into the future in the episode "How Long is Forever," viewers were very excited. The moment that Nightwing shows up was a comic-lover's dream come true. While that is a cool moment in the episode, there's a small reference that most fans missed.
When Starfire is looking for Beast Boy, she discovers him being bullied by two boys. However, these boys are wearing the same headgear that the mutant gang from The Dark Knight Returns wear. It doesn't add anything to the plot, but it is an unexpected Easter egg for fans of the renowned graphic novel.
The baddies don’t appear again during this future sequence, but it is a moment that’ll make fans do a double take.
10 Mad Mod: The Beatles' #1 Fan
Mad Mod is a big fan of pop culture. More specifically, he loves The Beatles. In the "Mad Mod" and "Revolution" episodes, there are many references to Yellow Submarine, specifically the Sea of Holes segment.
Mod even makes his own version of Mount Rushmore using the heads of The Beatles. However, he's not the only one who gets in on the Beatle references.
The Titans, when discussing game plans in "Revolution," are staged similarly to certain scenes from A Hard Day's Night. This is done when some Titans are sitting on a phone booth with Beast Boy reading a newspaper in the background. The Titans even end up mirroring the cover of Abbey Road, as they walk the iconic crosswalk.
9 Beast Boy's Hands on Starfire's "Grebnax"
Following a rough start to an encounter with a villain, Beast Boy and Starfire get knocked back and fall hard to the ground. While they remain out-of-frame, Starfire asks Beast Boy whose hands are on her "Grebnax." He then gets up, looking clearly embarrassed and jumps back into the fight.
Once again Beast Boy is implicated in a racier moment in the show. In this case, it's entirely accidental, yet hilarious if you're of the age that can at least understand what Starfire could be referring to.
Considering Starfire's innocence, she likely doesn't think much of it. On the other hand, Beast Boy's pure embarrassment shows that he understands just fine. Surely, he’ll watch where he lands next time he gets knocked over.
8 Cyborg Channels His Inner Kool-Aid Man
The entire episode of "Crash" is full of quality gems. Cyborg gets infected by a virus and gets really energetic. So much so that he casually runs from place to place in search of food throughout the episode. This becomes an issue for the Titans as they have to hunt him down constantly, making sure he doesn't get into trouble.
However the first time he randomly runs away, he goes straight through one of the Titan Tower walls after eating a giant plate of waffles. Right before he does, he yells out "Oh Yeah!" in true Kool-Aid man fashion.
This isn't the last of his references to pop culture during the episode, but it's definitely one of the best.
7 Cyborg's Shrek Reference
Cyborg wasn't done making pop culture references with just the Kool-Aid man homage. He references Monty Python's Spam sketch when he repeatedly says "Yams" while being operated on, and even directly quotes the scene from Shrek where Donkey talks about parfaits. The difference here is that Cyborg swaps the word "parfait" with "waffles."
This is another reference that is easy to miss since it's kept in the background and receives little focus. However, considering that Shrek is owned by a separate studio, it's amusing that the writers snuck this one in under the radar.
If this aired today, it likely would've been recognized more because of Shrek's continued popularity. Regardless it's a glorious little reference that the show definitely gets some props for.
6 Robin's Evil Dead Homage
When Robin breaks his arm and gets visited by an alternate version of himself, he is understandably in a testy mood. Larry, his other self, notices this and attempts to remedy the situation by fixing his arm.
More specifically, he tries to transform Robin's arm so that he can use it again. His first attempts lead to Robin's arm becoming a hockey stick and then a fish. Finally, he turns Robin's arm into a chainsaw, which then revs up loudly before Larry changes is back.
Another references to an R-rated movie, this is a fun nod to fans of Ash from the Evil Dead series. If Robin had decided to keep the chainsaw arm, Teen Titans likely would have taken a real dark and violent turn.
5 The Plentiful Guest Stars
Considering the show's quality, it's not very surprising how many talented actors wanted to be a part of it. However, nobody expected the likes of: Thomas Haden Church, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Rosenbaum, Keith David, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Stephen Root to be a part of the cast list.
Even Jesse McCartney got in on the action, voicing Jason Todd in one episode. Each guest star really adds to each episode, ensuring no drop-off in episode quality. Not only that, but none of them phone it in - they bring plenty of charisma and fun to their performances.
When you think about how easy it could've been to just show up and say lines, these highly-energetic voiceovers are greatly appreciated. The show surely wouldn't have been the same without these guest stars.
4 Terra's Stockholm Syndrome
Terra really is a tragic character. Her inability to control her destructive powers mixed with Slade putting her on a dangerous path, leads to tough character moments. However, the most heartbreaking moments are those when she seems to truly hurt her former friends.
It's when you see these moments that you recognize Terra's clear case of Stockholm Syndrome. She's consistently yelled at by Slade and even gets slapped around by him. Following these moments of abuse, her actions can't be prevented as she has been literally beaten into submission and ends up believing that Slade wants to help her.
Her ability to rebel only comes in the form of self-sacrifice as she cannot fully join the good guys. This is something that fans undoubtedly missed while watching as a child, as Stockholm Syndrome is really quite a disturbing concept.
3 The Clockwork Orange Homage
Each Mad Mod episode is always chock-full of cultural references, and his introductory episode set the standard. There is a scene where Robin is strapped to a chair to be hypnotized and his eyes are kept open by straps. While watching it unfold, this is a clear reference to the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex's eyes are pried open as he is brainwashed.
To add to the reference, Mad Mod is voiced by Malcolm McDowell, who played Alex in the film. It serves as a fun nod to McDowell’s role and is a fitting method for the pop-culture-obsessed Mad Mod.
You can say what you want about Mad Mod, but don’t ever question his pop culture knowledge.
2 Robin's Past
Robin's traumatic backstory is never really brought to the forefront throughout the series, but there are definite references to it. Whether it involves Batman or his real parents, fans will recognize certain callbacks to his previous life.
There's a moment in the episode "Apprentice Part II", where Robin mentions that he already has a father. It then cuts to a flurry of bats flying away and some background music reminiscent of Batman: The Animated Series. There is also the episode "Haunted", where Raven goes into Robin's mind and sees him swearing allegiance to Batman, as well as his parents performing in the circus.
While there is no clear explanation, Robin's backstory is certainly present. If only they could've snuck in an actual Batman cameo.
1 Robin's PTSD
If there is any villain that traumatizes the most characters, it's Slade. The sheer amount of physical and mental abuse he dishes out is astonishing. Since much of Robin's arc focuses on taking down Slade, he ends up the most damaged because of it.
This issue comes to a head in the episode "Haunted" where Robin begins seeing his nemesis everywhere, even though Slade died during the previous season. Robin ends up fighting him throughout the episode and getting physically abused in the process. He's so obsessed with it that the other Titans strap him down to keep him from seeking Slade out again.
Robin's mental torment exhibits signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For a children’s show, PTSD is some heavy subject matter, albeit an important one.
Are there any more mind-blowing moments from Teen Titans that we missed?