On September 11th, 2001, something taken place that adjusted American life forever. It was a momentous work whose impact was therefore profound, widespread and also long-lasting that American history can usefully be separated into two categories: pre and also post.

You are watching: Are you turtley enough for the turtle club

Everyone knows wherein they were once this historic event occurred. The is shed indelibly into the social memory, in our collective consciousness together Americans together a day that will live in infamy, to paraphrase FDR’s words around another well known attack, this time top top Pearl Harbor.

I’m speaking, of course, around how Dana Carvey, a comedy terrorist of sorts in his complete disregard for the rule of propriety and single-minded hunger to make people laugh, and his gifted partners launched a devastatingly successful, full frontal strike on our cumulative funny bone by filming, ~ above September 11th, 2001, the legendary Turtle club sequence in the good Dana Carvey’s 2002 standard Master the Disguise.

The civilization was never the same. To this day, merely stating the words, “Turtle! Turtle! Turtle!” In a gratingly unnatural manner is enough to provoke Pavlovian shivers of happiness from me and my other Pistachio Nuts, together I just made decision Master the Disguise super-fans room known.

To be a true Pistachio Nut, and not a pretender hopping on the bandwagon since it’s cool is come forever be questioning yourself, and also then comment truthfully, “Am I not turtley sufficient for the tortoise Club?”


That is the question Pistachio offers to angrily and also righteously confront a Turtle society doorman play by Brandon Molale, a towering previous football player you could know native such duties as strip Club Bouncer in City the Lies, Beefy patient in Grey’s Anatomy and Noseless Troglodyte in Bone Tomahawk when he confronts Pistachio and sidekick Jennifer Parker (Jennifer Esposito) and inquires, “Can I aid you? are you a member the the tortoise Club?”

Before they enter the turtle Club, Esposito, who does a very convincing project of seeming embarrassed under to she bones to be seen and also associated with a guy who looks and also acts like Carvey’s iconic personality Pistacho Disguiesy does, tells she overly enthusiastic compatriot, “I don ’t average to store harping, however the name the turtle Club, friend know, is just a name. I think you’re acquisition it a small too literally.”

The an excellent thing around this line is that it artlessly spells out the premise of what’s to come. Pistachio is taking the surname of the Turtle club way too serious in the he thinks the it means that in order to belong, to fit in, come literally be a member of the society you must look prefer a turtle, act favor a turtle, and also possibly be a turtle also in in enhancement to communicating how a turtle presumably would if it got the gift of speech yet maintained the same level that sub-human intelligence.


It would certainly be prefer if i tried come crash a Cub Scouts meeting as an adult put on a homemade be afflicted with costume made the end of a bear rug ns picked up at a thrift store and also augmented with razor-sharp home-made “bear” claws and teeth and then howled favor I imagine a gull-grown grizzly bear can growl and also expected to fit in at Cub scout meetings by dressing and acting that way.

I’m pretty sure I’d get shot dead pretty conveniently if ns were to attempt a stunt choose that, deservedly so. I likewise suspect the if you were to show up in ~ the Friar’s society in Los Angeles there is no a member or invitation yet were dressed 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 scene in a viscerally unnerving alien whimper together if doing so boosts his turtle significance in an appealing and also not disturbing and deeply counter-productive manner.


It’d be choose if ns were an alien pretending to be a human being being—which Pistachio certainly seems to more than the course of the film, and also to an increase my authenticity i constantly mumbled, “Human! Human! person person here!” In the same sing-song cadence together the Yip-Yip aliens native Sesame Street and expected passerby to be all, “Hey, cool! another human being! Always an excellent to run into another one the those! Nothing far better or more natural 보다 seeing one more human, non-alien just hanging out, mumbling around what varieties it belong to!”

“He’s dreamt that this place since he to be a child. Carry out you think we could go in because that a moment? fine be out in five minutes. Please?” Jennifer implores flirtatiously, using her beauty and the full pressure of her womanly charm to convince a male who must know much better to let what appears to it is in a mentally ill mutated turtle-man that keeps mumbling “turtle” into the club when his ONE project involves maintaining the Pistacho Disguiseys that the human being out.

Even prior to he start the club, he is the facility of attention. Anyone understandably seems to be wondering what the crap is walking on through the mutated turtle-man with his hideously deformed ago squeezed uncomfortably into a green suit making unstable eye call with strangers and blurting v inexplicable but deeply unsettling hostility, “Turtle! no turtle. TURTLE! no turtle” together if going with the crowd to determine, on a patron-by-patron basis, whether or not they’re human beings like everyone due to the fact that the beginning of time, or people who space also, on some inexplicable yet intense level additionally weird turtle-human hybrids choose the paris in The paris but girlfriend know, disturbing.


Pistachio keeps blurting out the word “turtle” transparent the scene for no discernible reason. It’s together if the word is a safety blanket, the just thing that have the right to possibly gain his mind turn off the unspeakable horrors that the terrorist strikes of 9/11 that must have actually hit the Saturday Night Live breakout star very close come home. So Carvey, despite the personality of Pistachio, keeps return to castle over and over again, together if he cannot help himself, together if the just thing that makes sense in a people gone mad requires compulsively mumbling words “turtle” as people look in with understandable horror and also confusion.

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

Jennifer purringly asks for the villain’s deal with or call number, his contact information together it were, and also if there’s one quality many villains re-superstructure is the they don’t desire to be also accessible, specifically to your nemeses.

At that point the weird, overpowering however Implicit aggression the Pistachio’s demented turtle routine becomes explicit. Because if yes sir one thing turtles are well known for, that fucking civilization up. Seriously, you perform NOT desire to mess with a turtle. There is, after all, the story that the tortoise and also the hare, which ends with the hare getting beaten to death by a really angry turtle.


“What if HARM uncovered its method to you? Terrible, terrible, devastating harm!?!” Pistacho intimidates in a weirdly milquetoast fashion, fidgeting in a way that’s claimed to be intimidating. “Would that adjust your mind? possibly it’s time to go into my shell.”

“Shell time coming!” Pistachio guarantees as his bald, bespectacled head, i m sorry looks tiny in comparison come his enormous human-sized tortoise shell starts to retract ago into his body through the many legendary outsized suit because David Byrne in Stop making Sense, a film whose title likewise describes the thinking behind this specific set-piece.

Pistachio’s shave head looks prefer the head the a penis. His huge turtle shell-suit, meanwhile, looks choose a diseased scrotum, which, combined, provides him a disturbingly phallic look and vibe.

Pistachio renders weird, grunting, growling, sub-verbal upset turtle noises together Jennifer tries to restrain that from walk off, native the devastation the “Shell time.”

Pistacho to walk away with Jennifer, at which allude a cocky businessman, a real Chad type, ask Jennifer, “Hey baby, can I buy you a drink, and also maybe some POND water for your friend.”

At first Pistachio pretends to it is in amused, but the businessman’s devilish barb brings the end the lunatic in Pistachio. There are two sides to Pistachio: The maniac and also the enforcer. We’ve checked out the enforcer transparent the film, one angry, turtle-like guy of violence bristling over v incoherent aggression towards everyone he meets.

The snob’s insult sets turn off something ugly and an individual and devilish in Pistachio. The retracts his head earlier into his large turtle torso-shell-body. The men foolishly come end to investigate, in ~ which suggest Pistachio’s turtle head mr out. He then bites off a man’s nose, climate spits it earlier out therefore smoothly and quickly that it re-attaches come his challenge instantly.

Then, because we have gone into a civilization of pure madness whereby logic has actually no power and also chaos reigns, Pistachio spins around on the ground on the gigantic turtle-shell favor apparatus inside his outsized green suit.

And then, friends, the over. The entirety sequence large a mere 147 seconds however that’s every Carvey and also his collaborators needed to do a scene so singularly insane, so deeply nonsensical, so wrong in every method that it deserves to it is in singled out and also examined closely the same means we could do a deep, academic dive into a scene from Citizen Kane or Touch the Evil.

On 9/11, Dana Carvey said what us were every feeling when he said, “Turtle.” climate he simply kept saying it due to the fact that he was like many of us on that most momentous and tragic of days: overwhelmed. Confused. Scared. Unsure that what had just happened and what the undoubtedly significant consequences can be. Desperately in require of consolation and comfort in a civilization seemingly careening into madness. Wearing a bizarre turtle-man costume and mumbling words “turtle” compulsively and also senselessly.

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

By filming the scene together planned, Carvey was informing Osama Bin Laden and his totality disreputable lot the not only would we laugh again despite 9/11, yet we’d laugh at stupider, much more juvenile, much more insultingly idiotic nonsense than ever before before, and we would certainly never feel guilty for laughing. Not also a little bit.

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

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