Matching Up the Ninja Turtles with Other Pop Culture Foursomes

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesNickelodeon

Assuming you were born around 1983 and that your social circle in the early grammar school years consisted of a rigidly impermeable foursome, we can conclude indisputably that you spent a good deal of your time playing Ninja Turtles. Unlike other pop culture-inspired imagination games, Ninja Turtles never allowed for turn taking as far as the central roles were concerned. Maybe you’d alternate occupancy of Luke, Han, and Chewy when playing Star Wars, or switch off between Margaret and Jimmy for games of Liquid Sky. But when it came to Ninja Turtles, the margins were set before recess even began: you were either the leader, the tough one, the smart one, or the goofball. Without exception.

But are such stark roles present in any other pop culture phenomena? We’d have to imagine so. As such, we sought to our favorite foursomes from the entertainment world and took a stab at assigning them their respective Ninja Turtles.

SEINFELD

Leonardo
Jerry, the leader (who, incidentally, derives all of his moral fiber from the noble Superman)

Raphael
George, the truly “dark and disturbed” member of the group

Donatello
Elaine, the intellectual — she did graduate from Tufts (her safety school), and she scored a 151 on an I.Q. test

Michelangelo
Kramer, the hipster dufus

THE HOGWARTS HOUSES

Leonardo
Gryffindor, house of the daring and noble

Raphael
Slytherin, house of the severe and ambitious

Donatello
Ravenclaw, house of the wry and intellectual

Michelangelo
Hufflepuff, house of the spirited and kind

SEX AND THE CITY

Leonardo
Carrie, the glue, the narrator and the center of everyone’s attention 

Raphael
Miranda, stubborn and cynical enough to walk away from the love of her life (twice!) 

Donatello
Charlotte, the conservative, overachieving Ivy League grad obsessed with everything appearing perfect

Michelangelo
Samantha, who has never passed up a chance to see and be seen

The Beatles, A Hard Day's NightUnited Artist via Everett Collection

THE BEATLES

Leonardo
Paul: “Think globally, act locally.”

Raphael
John: “Everybody loves you when you’re six foot in the ground.”

Donatello
George: “When you’ve seen beyond yourself, then you may find, peace of mind is waiting there.”

Michelangelo
Ringo: “Peace and love. Peace and love.”

THE AVENGERS

Leonardo
Captain America, the wholesome, morally didactic good guy

Raphael
The Hulk, the “muscle” who is tortured by his own demons

Donatello
Iron Man, the tech genius who never hesitates to let his teammates know how much smarter he is than they are

Michelangelo
Thor, who’s just kind of an idiot

DAWSON’S CREEK

Leonardo
Dawson, proving that having your name in the title doesn’t save you from being the biggest buzzkill 

Raphael
Pacey, the rebellious, wise-cracking screw up of your teenage dreams 

Donatello
Joey, smart – she went to Worthington! – sweet, and innocent, and always likely to end up in a bad situation

Michelangelo
Jen, the reformed party girl with a heart of gold and a chip on her shoulder

LITTLE WOMEN

Leonardo
Meg, the oldest sister and de facto head of the household

Raphael
Jo, strong-willed and at odds with her siblings (and herself)

Donatello
Beth, who is shy, wise, and musically adept

Michelangelo
Amy, the li’l one with the penchant for art

GhostbustersColumbia Pictures via Everett Collection

THE GHOSTBUSTERS

Leonardo
Ray, the heart and soul of the group

Raphael
Peter Venkman, the rebel who plays by his own rules (and forces everyone else to accommodate)

Donatello
Egon Spengler, the smartest in a team of scientists

Michelangelo
Winston, who is also there

THE MT. RUSHMORE PRESIDENTS

Leonardo
George Washington, the diplomat who kicked off American democracy

Raphael
Abraham Lincoln, the agonizingly depressed hero who took to the front lines

Donatello
Thomas Jefferson, the braniac wordsmith who wrote the Declaration of Independence

Michelangelo
Theodore Roosevelt, the loon who used to fight bears and whatnot

GOLDEN GIRLS

Leonardo
Blanche, the open-minded, creative sort

Raphael
Sophia, a master of caustic wit

Donatello
Dorothy, the smartest of the lot

Michelangelo
Rose, the ditz

THE FACTS OF LIFE

Leonardo
Blair, who was rich and blond, so she was the natural choice for the central role in an ’80s sitcom

Raphael
Jo, who wears a leather jacket

Donatello
Natalie, who basically acts like she’s 40 at age 15

Michelangelo
Tootie, who wears rollerskates all the time

Fantastic Four20th Century Fox Film via Everett Collection

THE FANTASTIC FOUR

Leonardo
Sue Storm, the levelheaded voice of reason

Raphael
The Thing, who is, as one might expect, pretty pissed about being a giant rock

Donatello
Mr. Fantastic, the hyper-intellectual

Michelangelo
Johnny Storm, the jag who’s always jumping around and lighting stuff on fire, because he thinks it’s cool

STAND BY ME

Leonardo
Gordie, the courageous leader

Raphael
Chris, the young punk who has stolen his share of milk money

Donatello
Vern, the timid perpetual bullying victim

Michelangelo
Teddy, the kooky thrill-seeker

GIRLS

Leonardo
Hannah, who at the very least sees herself as a well-adjusted leader of mankind

Raphael
Jessa, the alleged loose cannon who is riddled with dark passengers

Donatello
Marnie, the uptight would-be sophisticate who tries to manufacture life experience by the book

Michelangelo
Shoshanna, the young nutter butter who garners the least respect

ROCKET POWER

Leonardo
Reggie Rocket, the smart, even-tempered overachiever

Raphael
Otto Rocket, the troublesome bad boy

Donatello
Sam Dullard, the awkward intellectual

Michelangelo
Twister Rodriguez, the idiot comic relief

Mean GirlsParamount Pictures via Everett Collection

MEAN GIRLS

Leonardo
Cady Heron, the acceptable human being

Raphael
Regina George, the villainous upstart

Donatello
Gretchen Wieners, kind of just by default

Michelangelo
Karen Smith… see “Thor”

THE SWEATHOGS

Leonardo
Vinnie Barbarino, the boring (albeit charming) leader

Raphael
Juan Epstein, the tough guy with whom everybody knows not to mess

Donatello
Arnold Horshach, the dorky dweeb

Michelangelo
Boom Boom Washington, the loudmouthed goofball

A special thanks to writers Angie Han (an easygoing Michelangelo type) and Rudie Obias (a total Raphael, with respect) for helping to mastermind this piece, and to everyone else who contributed their varied expertise to the cause.

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