On September 11th, 2001, something happened that readjusted American life forever. It to be a momentous day whose influence was so profound, widespread and long-lasting the American background can usefully be divided into 2 categories: pre and also post.

You are watching: Not turtley enough for the turtle club

Everyone knows where they were as soon as this historic event occurred. That is shed indelibly right into the cultural memory, in our collective consciousness together Americans together a day that will live in infamy, come paraphrase FDR’s words about another notorious attack, this time on Pearl Harbor.

I’m speaking, the course, around how Dana Carvey, a comedy terror of species in his finish disregard because that the rule of propriety and also single-minded hunger come make civilization laugh, and his gifted collaborators launched a devastatingly successful, complete frontal attack on our collective funny bone by filming, top top September 11th, 2001, the legendary Turtle society sequence in the great Dana Carvey’s 2002 standard Master the Disguise.

The people was never the same. To this day, just stating the words, “Turtle! Turtle! Turtle!” In a gratingly unnatural manner is sufficient to provoke Pavlovian shivers of happiness from me and also my fellow Pistachio Nuts, together I just decided Master that Disguise super-fans space known.

To it is in a true Pistachio Nut, and also not a pretender to dance on the bandwagon due to the fact that it’s cool is come forever be questioning yourself, and also then answering truthfully, “Am I no turtley sufficient for the tortoise Club?”


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That is the concern Pistachio provides to angrily and also righteously confront a Turtle club doorman play by Brandon Molale, a towering previous football player you might know from such functions as strip Club Bouncer in City the Lies, Beefy patience in Grey’s Anatomy and Noseless Troglodyte in Bone Tomahawk when he confronts Pistachio and also sidekick Jennifer Parker (Jennifer Esposito) and also inquires, “Can I help you? are you a member of the turtle Club?”

Before they go into the turtle Club, Esposito, who does a very convincing task of seeming embarrassed under to she bones to it is in seen and also associated with a man who looks and acts choose Carvey’s iconic character Pistacho Disguiesy does, tells she overly enthusiastic compatriot, “I don ’t mean to store harping, yet the name the tortoise Club, girlfriend know, is simply a name. I think you’re taking it a small too literally.”

The an excellent thing about this line is that it artlessly spells the end the premise of what’s to come. Pistachio is taking the surname of the Turtle society way too serious in that he thinks that it method that in order to belong, come fit in, to literally it is in a member of the club you must look like a turtle, act prefer a turtle, and possibly it is in a turtle also in in addition to connecting how a tortoise presumably would if it gained the gift of decided yet maintained the exact same level that sub-human intelligence.


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It would be prefer if ns tried to crash a Cub Scouts meeting as one adult put on a homemade bear costume made out of a bear rug ns picked up at a thrift store and also augmented with razor-sharp home-made “bear” claws and also teeth and then howled choose I imagined a gull-grown grizzly bear can growl and expected to fit in in ~ Cub reconnaissance meetings by dressing and acting the way.

I’m pretty sure I’d acquire shot dead pretty easily if ns were to attempt a stunt like that, deservedly so. I similarly suspect the if you to be to show up in ~ the Friar’s society in Los Angeles without a member or invitation but were pull in Monk’s robes and also chanting softly you would be provided the old heave-ho.

Pistachio mumble-stutters, “turtle, turtle” end the course of the step in a viscerally unnerving extraterrestrial whimper as if act so increases his turtle significance in an appealing and not disturbing and also deeply counter-productive manner.


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It’d be prefer if i were an alien pretending to it is in a human being being—which Pistachio definitely seems to more than the course of the film, and to rise my authenticity ns constantly mumbled, “Human! Human! person person here!” In the same sing-song cadence together the Yip-Yip aliens indigenous Sesame Street and expected passerby to it is in all, “Hey, cool! another human being! Always good to operation into one more one the those! Nothing much better or much more natural 보다 seeing one more human, non-alien simply hanging out, mumbling around what types it belonging to!”

“He’s dreamt of this place since he to be a child. Execute you think we might go in for a moment? fine be out in 5 minutes. Please?” Jennifer implores flirtatiously, using her beauty and also the full force of her womanly charm to to convince a man who should know far better to let what appears to be a mentally ill mutated turtle-man that keeps mumbling “turtle” right into the club when his ONE project involves maintaining the Pistacho Disguiseys of the civilization out.

Even prior to he beginning the club, that is the facility of attention. Anyone understandably seems to be wondering what the fuck is walk on v the mutated turtle-man v his hideously deformed back squeezed uncomfortably right into a green suit making unstable eye call with strangers and blurting through inexplicable yet deeply unstable hostility, “Turtle! no turtle. TURTLE! no turtle” as if going through the group to determine, on a patron-by-patron basis, whether or no they’re humans like everyone since the start of time, or people who room also, on some inexplicable but intense level also weird turtle-human hybrids prefer the fly in The paris but girlfriend know, disturbing.


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Pistachio keeps blurting out the word “turtle” transparent the scene for no discernible reason. It’s as if words is a safety blanket, the just thing that can possibly obtain his mind turn off the unspeakable horrors the the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that must have hit the Saturday Night Live breakout star an extremely close to home. So Carvey, despite the character of Pistachio, keeps return to castle over and over again, together if he cannot help himself, together if the only thing that provides sense in a civilization gone mad requires compulsively mumbling the word “turtle” as people look in through understandable horror and confusion.

There’s clunky narrative work-related going on in the scene. It’s created that Devlin Bowman, the flatulent poor guy Brent Spiner breathes life into through his artistry is a member the the turtle Club.

Jennifer purringly asks because that the villain’s address or phone number, his call information as it were, and if yes one quality many villains re-publishing is that they don’t desire to be as well accessible, an especially to your nemeses.

At that point the weird, overpowering but Implicit aggression the Pistachio’s demented turtle regime becomes explicit. Since if yes sir one thing turtles are well known for, the fucking world up. Seriously, you do NOT want to mess through a turtle. Over there is, after all, the story the the tortoise and the hare, which ends through the hare acquiring beaten to death by a an extremely angry turtle.


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“What if HARM uncovered its means to you? Terrible, terrible, terrible harm!?!” Pistacho endangers in a weirdly milquetoast fashion, fidgeting in a manner that’s supposed to it is in intimidating. “Would that change your mind? probably it’s time to enter my shell.”

“Shell time coming!” Pistachio promises as his bald, bespectacled head, i m sorry looks tiny in comparison to his massive human-sized tortoise shell begins to retract back into his body with the many legendary outsized suit because David Byrne in Stop make Sense, a film whose title additionally describes the thinking behind this details set-piece.

Pistachio’s shaved head looks like the head the a penis. His massive turtle shell-suit, meanwhile, looks choose a diseased scrotum, which, combined, gives him a disturbingly phallic look and also vibe.

Pistachio provides weird, grunting, growling, sub-verbal upset turtle noises as Jennifer tries come restrain the from walk off, native the devastation of “Shell time.”

Pistacho to walk away v Jennifer, at which point a cocky businessman, a real Chad type, ask Jennifer, “Hey baby, can I buy girlfriend a drink, and maybe part POND water for your friend.”

At very first Pistachio pretends to be amused, but the businessman’s cruel barb brings out the lunatic in Pistachio. There room two political parties to Pistachio: The maniac and the enforcer. We’ve checked out the enforcer transparent the film, an angry, turtle-like male of violence bristling over with incoherent aggression towards everyone that meets.

The snob’s insult sets off something ugly and an individual and devilish in Pistachio. He retracts his head back into his huge turtle torso-shell-body. The men foolishly come end to investigate, at which allude Pistachio’s tortoise head mister out. He then bites turn off a male nose, climate spits it back out so smoothly and quickly that it re-attaches to his confront instantly.


Then, since we have entered a civilization of pure madness where logic has no power and also chaos reigns, Pistachio spins roughly on the soil on the huge turtle-shell favor apparatus within his outsized environment-friendly suit.

And then, friends, it’s over. The totality sequence lasts a only 147 seconds but that’s every Carvey and his partners needed to do a step so singularly insane, so deeply nonsensical, for this reason wrong in every method that it deserves to be singled out and also examined closely the same way we could do a deep, scholastic dive into a step from Citizen Kane or Touch of Evil.


On 9/11, Dana Carvey stated what us were all feeling as soon as he said, “Turtle.” then he simply kept saying it since he was like most of us on that most momentous and also tragic of days: overwhelmed. Confused. Scared. Unsure the what had actually just happened and also what the undoubtedly significant consequences could be. No hope in require of consolation and comfort in a world seemingly careening right into madness. Attract a bizarre turtle-man costume and also mumbling the word “turtle” compulsively and senselessly.

So while background was do in a an extremely dark method on September 11th, 2001 it to be made in a life-affirmingly stupid way as well. The astonishingly, eminently re-watchable idiocy that the Turtle society scene in Master the Disguise stands as an essential rebuke come the awful solemnity and also seriousness of the cultural moment the birthed it, to the idea that us would never ever laugh again, the irony was dead and we would need to be earnest forevermore or we would be dishonoring the memories of the dead.


By filming the scene as planned, Carvey was telling Osama Bin Laden and also his entirety disreputable lot the not only would we laugh again regardless of 9/11, yet we’d laugh at stupider, more juvenile, much more insultingly idiotic rash than ever before, and also we would certainly never feel guilty for laughing. Not even a small bit.

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And you understand what? We’ve retained that promised. We’ve stayed dumb and also superficial and also that, ultimately, is just how we’ve survived, individually and as a culture.

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