"Episode 257-494 (a.k.a. "Don't Touch That Dial") is the fortieth episode of the Teen Titans series, and the first episode of Season 4.
One beautiful day, Control Freak suddenly pops up right on the Titans Tower TV screen, right before Beast Boy's eyes. The other Titans are originally skeptical about Beast Boy's somewhat incoherent report until a newsflash about Control Freak's escape from prison brings the official confirmation. The Titans trace him back to Cooks Electronics Store, where Control Freak appears before them inside the on-air TV scenes, gloating his ability to be literally inside the TV channels.
As it turns out, Control Freak has constructed an oversized version of his master remote control to transport himself into the TV Dimension. Just as the Titans proceed to check out the device, Beast Boy accidentally activates it, transporting them all into the TV dimension as well. A wild chase ensues, leading right across all running programs, but Control Freak manages to use his vast knowledge to his advantage: He recruits three notorious movie villains - The Creature from Jones Lake, Seven-Gorn-Seven and the Off-World Outlaw - to distract the Titans while he proceeds to learn kung-fu and alien martial arts and obtain a formidable arsenal of ultra-tech weapons from various fictional TV shows, which enable him to outfight the Titans and escape yet again. And to make things worse, a newsflash informs the Titans that Control Freak's and their presence inside the TVs is causing them to emit harmful electromagnetic waves which will eventually destroy the brains of all viewers. In other words, TV literally rots people's brains.
In this moment of peril, Beast Boy is finally able to draw upon his own immense knowledge about TV and movies, and he leads them right to Control Freak's next haunt, the sci-fi scenario Clash of the Planets. Again, Control Freak manages to maintain the upper hand against the Titans, but then Beast Boy recalls a vital detail Control Freak had overlooked, enabling him to strip him of his newly gained powers and imprisoning him in a dimensional panel for a while.
Back at Titans Tower, Robin and Starfire reflect on the effects watching too much television had on their mission: While Robin concludes that watching too much TV is indeed unhealthy, Starfire interjects by stating that it was in fact Beast Boy being a TV junkie that had enabled them to win the day. And all Titans - along with a guest from the TV dimension - join in a short laughter about this particular irony.
This particular episode is laced with obvious references to popular TV shows and movies:
- The entire episode's premise is similar to the 1992 film Stay Tuned where the film's main characters Roy and Helen Knable are trapped in their television set after ordering a television satellite from a demonic salesmen. Beast Boy's addiction to TV is also similar to Roy's.
- Opening: The show's opening is a spoof of the television show The Outer Limits's opening.
- Clash of the Planets: obviously a Star Wars spoof. Also, the Clash of the Planets name and logo design resemble the ones for Battle of the Planets, aka Gatchaman, in which some of the Teen Titans crew have also participated. Also, when the Titans run into the droids who demand that they identify themselves, Beast Boy imitates Obi-Wan's line from A New Hope "you don't need to see our identifications." while the droids resembles to the "Separatist Battle droids".
- The main character of Clash of the Planets's design is a reference to Koji Kabuto from the various Mazinger anime and manga series.
- When the Titans are looking over the channel guide, Clash of the Planets is shown as being made in 1977, the same year the original Star Wars movie was released.
- The killer robot Seven-Gorn-Seven is a clone of Robby the Robot, a character from the 1956 film Forbidden Planet. "Gorn" is also the name of an alien race from Star Trek.
- The dimensional panel Control Freak ends up trapped in is a reference to the Phantom Zone panel featured in the movies Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980), starring late actor Christopher Reeve.
- James Bond is spoofed by Agent 257 and Control Freak imitated James Bond villain Blofeld.
- Looney Tunes cartoons with the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner sequences are included.
- The Matrix is also spoofed, through Control Freak's impersonation of the film's lead actor, Keanu Reeves, and his manner of speaking. Control Freak quotes his famous line, "I know kung fu, woah."
- The Dukes of Hazzard are spoofed when Control Freak jumps a car.
- The Zinthos commercial, while clearly a parody of numerous medication advertisements, also mentions that you're not supposed to get Zinthos wet or feed it after midnight. This was a reference to the movie Gremlins.
- Highlander is spoofed by using the quote, "There can be only one!"
- Iron Chef, a now discontinued Japanese cooking show specializing in different international cuisines is parodied by The Red Chef. The Red Chef in the show is a parody of Iron Chef French Hiroyuki Sakai, one of the two chief cooks in the show.
- Another among the spoofed is William Dozer's Batman show from the 60s, with the spinning Titans T.
- Terminator II: Judgment Day is yet another example when Control Freak says "Hasta la vista, Titans".
- Creature from the Black Lagoon is spoofed by the "Creature from Jones Lake."
- Godzilla may also be spoofed, because the "Creature from Jones Lake" could fire what looked like atomic breath while it's dorsal fins glowed, similar to whenever Godzilla fires his atomic ray.
- The Six Million Dollar Man is mentioned by Control Freak's quote, "We have the technology."
- Stunt Fest is a parody of action reality shows, like Fear Factor or Survivor, while the host is a parody of the late Australian show host and wildlife expert Steve Irwin (The Crocodile Hunter).
- The black and white sitcom is a parody of family sitcom shows from the 40s and 50s like Leave It to Beaver.
- Beast Boy also says "Jeepers" when his pancakes get incinerated, a reference to Scooby-Doo.
- The end scene is a reference to the show Friends. It could also potentially be a nod to Seinfeld, which was known as "the show about nothing." Cyborg references this by stating that the episode was "completely meaningless".
- Modern soap operas are spoofed in the humorous scenes where a romantically confused woman mistakes Cyborg for a man named Lance.
- Control Freak's plan of bringing forth villains from TV shows to do his bidding may be a reference to the film Last Action Hero, in which the main antagonist plans on bringing villains from movies to life and use them to rule the world.
- When the Titans are looking through the channel guide, Robin exclaims, "500 channels?", to which Raven says, "and still nothing on." This is a reference to the 1992 Bruce Springsteen song, "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" (back in 1992, most TVs had only 57 channels).
- At one point, the bridge shakes and everybody runs back and forth in a manner reminiscent of Star Trek.
- The scene in which Robin jumps over a shark while on water-skis is a reference to a clip from the she show Happy Days, which also spawned the idiom "jumping the shark".
- The scene of Control Freak petting a cat during a meeting with his 3 henchmen resembles Dr. Evil of the Austin Powers franchise.
- The number 257-494 is the episode's actual production number.
- Control Freak's prison number, 257-325, is the production number of the episode in which he first appeared on Teen Titans, which was "Fear Itself".
- The commercial announcer for the Max-7 from "Overdrive" appears in this episode.
- The answers to the questions Starfire could not answer on Quizz Monkey are:
- "What is the capital of Liechtenstein?" - Vaduz.
- "When did Hannibal cross the Alps?" - In late 218 BC.
- "What was Spiro Agnew's middle name?" - Theodore.
- Cyborg breaks the fourth wall during the Clash of the Planets scenario, he says, "Hey, I know where we are! We're in the first episode of Season Four." This episode of Teen Titans is also the first episode of Season Four.
- Starfire's shriek at the sight of The Creature from Jones Lake makes this one of the few episodes where Starfire uncharacteristically emits a terrified, ear-piercing scream. Other times include the episode "Fear Itself" when she was buried under a swarm of demonic rats, and in "Transformation" when she was about to be devoured by the Cironielian Chrysalis Eater.
- Innuendo: When Beast Boy steals Raven’s cloak, she reacts to it as if she had just been stripped naked. This is further helped by the fact that the show arguably treats it as if she really was naked, with Raven covering her breasts and Robin’s fist conveniently placed over her groin area, despite the fact that Raven is still wearing her leotard after Beast Boy removes her cloak.
- The zinthos commercial had many references to Raven.
- It talks about "azarath" and "metrion", which are 2/3 of Raven's meditation chant. The symptoms of it pertains to Raven like disturbing visions, fits of rage, and the growth of additional eyes.
- This is the first episode to feature live-action footage, which appeared during the news broadcast.
- When Beast Boy is discussing Clash of the Planets, several fans appear above him, the exact same fans appear as villains in the episode "Revved Up".
- When Rebecca mistakes Cyborg for Lance and then kisses him, the person who opens the door is Joaquim, not Lance.
- The premise of the episode is very similar to "Bunny Raven... or ...How to Make A Titananimal Disappear". Where it’s a wacky episode of the team being sucked into another world.
- This is the first and only season premiere to feature the Japanese version of the theme song.
- This episode premiered two days after "Titans East - Part 1" and five days before "Titans East - Part 2".
- This was the first new episode to premiere on the Miguzi block.
- This episode aired exactly 1 year after "Every Dog Has His Day".
- This episode along with the other more comedic light-hearted episodes in this season were created to balance out the level of seriousness and sadness that came with the 5 episodes of Raven's destiny.
- The man hosting the talk show resembles James Lipton, famous actor and host of Inside the Actor's Studio. His guest, Dr. Victor Payton, is the name of the father of voice actor Khary Payton (Cyborg).
- According to the television guide viewed by the Titans, Clash of the Planets was released in 1977. This is an obvious reference to the original release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, which was also in 1977.
- The Clash of the Planets Boy's face resembles Ken Izumi's from the 1974 Sci-fi Anime Series, "Chargeman Ken!".
- When Beast Boy and Control Freak are fighting in the kitchen, the camera cuts to a close-up of the chef. In the background, Beast Boy in bear form is thrown into the shelves, but he is brown instead of green.
Click here to view the gallery.
Click here to view the episode transcript.