Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Episode 4: A Pressing Engagement

Man lifts heavy object 1000 times.
Demon Sphinx rolls down a hill.





Jason, in a move of pure hunkitude, is bench pressing inside the Juice Bar as Ernie eats a sub sandwich right above his face. It's the perfect contrast of a 90's beefcake with an enormous slob. This is like a scene out of a Jim Belushi movie. All that we're missing here is a scene where some slobbery lettuce falls right in Jason's eye and makes him drop the barbells on his throat. Just before Jason would shuffle loose this mortal coil, Jim Belurnie would look at the lettuce and go "UHHH YA GUNNA FINISH DAT?!"

Jason isn't just whistlin' dixie though, he's about to break Angel Grove High School's benchpressing record of 1010. I'd like to take a minute and discuss the fact that 1000 reps is pretty fucking insane. I don't know how much weight Jason is supposed to be lifting because the camera is usually zoomed in too close to tell, but 1000 reps of ANYTHING would be suicide. I don't care if you're a T-Rex superhero, your fucking arms would have fallen off at 200 reps and that's being generous. Also Kim is wearing this.

Amy Jo Johnston beautiful gymnastics
Power Rangers made a man out of a lot of 7 year olds.

Ernie fucks everything up because he loses count, probably because he was counting so sandwichly. He asks Jason to start over. Never mind the fact there's a crowd of people behind him who were likely paying attention. Maybe I don't know how records work but if they knew he was at 1000 couldn't they just make him do 10 more? To be fair though I haven't been inside a gym since '94 so what the fuck do I know?

Rita ascertains that Jason is nothing without his friends, which I'd like to ask where the hell she got that idea? If he had dropped the bar on his own and made a mistake, then I guess you could say he's weak. The only problem Jason had was that Ernie was too busy chowin' down to count. I don't want to get too personal, but Rita you're some old Japanese space witch, I'd like to see you get your pump on.

Jason's at 1009, and since this takes place after a commercial break that means he either had to start over or Ernie managed to remember whatever number he was on. I'm voting for the former. So Jason managed to do 2000 reps in the span of not just a day, but a few hours at most. I'm seriously starting to get a man crush on Jason here guys, I need help.

Zack's rolling around the Juice Bar on a skateboard, likely preparing for his Brink audition in a few years. Then an off camera extra says "Hey guys, look at Kimberly." with as much enthusiasm as you could muster while getting paid SAG minimum. Kim's blowing a huge bubble gum bubble and Zack skates right into her. The pop makes Jason drop his weights right before he finishes the last rep. It almost seems like Jason would be better fighting alone than with his clumsy friends ruining everything. Hooray for teamwork!

Walter Jones bails Brink
Zack pizza'd when he shoulda french fried.

So what he have here is a typical "Jason needs to learn how to accept help and work with his team" episode. If that's the case then why the hell was the last episode "We all need to work together!" episode if they're just going to do it again this week? Neither plot really lends itself well to teamwork at all; Trini and Kim want to close some dump and Jason doesn't want to give up. Not to mention the writers botching the execution by making it his teammates who cause his mistake and not him. I'd more expect this to be an episode where Jason starts taking steroids.

Rita plans to send Goldar down with a monster of Finster's choice. Finster, ever the consummate artist, has to really think what monster would be best to use. It's little moments with Finster like this that make me really enjoy how silly the character is. Instead of just doing whatever like Squatt and Baboo, he actually takes time to think of the best monster for the job as opposed to just dishing out some piece of shit. He could send down the most violent killing machine the world's ever seen, but decides to make a buff sphinx, or a skeleton who falls apart. Finster doesn't give a shit about world domination, he just wants to make life out of clay monsters he puts inside his oven, and at the end of the day isn't that all any of us wants?

Zack apologizes to Kim and Jason and buys them milkshakes, and there's absolutely no conflict because these characters are like 5 Ned Flanders. Bulk saunters up and makes fun of Jason for choking and says that the bench press record still belongs to him. Wait one motherfucking minute here. Bulk? Farkas J. Bulkmeier is the one who's got this record? The fattest guy in school? Are you shitting me? The entire joke of this guy is that he's fat but we're supposed to buy that he's an obstacle for 90's superhunk Jason in terms of strength?

Bulk tries to grab Jason, and we're treated to a sexually charged scene of Jason tickling Bulk, ending in Bulk ripping his pants. We're treated to a view of Bulk's boxers which, I'm not kidding, have fucking pigs on them.
 
I want to take a minute to say how much of a great guy Paul Schrier must be, because if I came on set and Saban tells me I'm wearing boxers with fucking pigs on them, I'd be real salty. Maybe dignity was scarce in the 90's but he should have torn up his goddamn contract right there. He should throw the pieces into Saban's face while frothing at him. You know maybe this did happen, but then Schrier immediately tripped over his shoelaces and fell into a big plate of pizza pie. Then Jason walks in and says "WHEN I SAID I WANTED EVERYTHING ON IT THIS ISN'T WHAT I MEANT!" then he high fives Zack.

Pictured: An insult to a single human being's dignity captured on film for all time.

Jason proudly mentions that he didn't need help fending off Bulk, and Kim asks what's wrong with getting a little help from your friends. If the show really wants to do this plot they'd need to have Jason actually needing help and turning it down; however the problem with the show's portrayal of the Ranger teens is that they're always amazing and great at everything. It's a corny stock plot that doesn't really lend itself to what they're trying to do, but thankfully Zordon gives the teens a call so we can forget about it.

Zordon tells Zack Kim and Jason about Rita's new monster named King Sphinx. After the briefing, the three morph and kick some Putty ass. During the fight we see some darker colored Putties that almost look like they're made of stone.

stone putty

When I was a kid I was confused if these were supposed to be some kind of leader Putty or just a Putty that Finster kept in the Monstermatic too long. Doesn't really matter since they die just as easy as a normal Putty. King Sphinx shows up, blowing Kim away with his giant wings and...holy shit look at his pecs.

King Sphinx wings
You can tell he even does his leg days too! Look at those buff ass glutes.

I'll bet King Sphinx could have won that benchpressing record. Man, that would have been a way better twist. Jason has to tangle one on one with a buff ass sphinx and only by killing him will the bench press record be bestowed upon him. A little known rule of Angel Grove High records is that you can receive them by murdering the former record holder.

That or Bulk meets up with King Sphinx and they both get oiled up and have a benchpress competition. All while Skull and Goldar act as their spotters. Skull's trying to tickle King Sphinx's feet while Goldar shoves him with the broadside of his sword. Oh my God I want this to happen more than anything.

Now that Sphinx has Jason all alone the two fight one on one. It doesn't seem like Jason's having a hard time at all but Alpha starts freaking out in the command center about how everything looks so hopeless, because he's horrible. All of a sudden King Sphinx teleports them both to a quarry and they hilariously roll down the hill for just a bit too long.

King Sphinx VS. Red Ranger
KEEP ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN'

Jason continues beating on King Sphinx and really shows the flaw in Rita's plan: She didn't think Jason would fight back. Goldar jumps into the fight and blasts at Jason, who ignores Goldar completely and slashes King Sphinx. Rita decides to give her boys an advantage, again, and makes Goldar and King Sphinx grow. Gotta tell ya Rita, if all these handicaps still aren't winning your fights for you, maybe it's time to take up a new line of work. The two giants blast at Jason who neglects to summon the T-Rex, probably because he felt bad he had to morph to fight some Putties and wants to make up for it now.

Kim and Zack head to Billy's garage where he and Trini are hanging out. It's good that in an episode on how important the team is we don't see 2 of the rangers until halfway through the episode. When Kim tells them Jason's been kidnapped, all Billy offers is an incredibly half hearted "Oh no." I guess after Billy got teabagged by Jason, he's been a little pissy about him and wouldn't mind if he got crushed by a giant sphinx.

Zordon brings the teens to the Command Center and tells them the secret to saving Jason is in their Power Crystals, another power he neglected to inform them of. Zordon says the crystals will add power to the Dinozords and help the Rangers find each other or something. They're a pretty superfluous add-on since all they do is act as joysticks for the Zords and in this one single instance they help Jason out. I guess teamwork solved this problem I don't know, who cares?


Jason uses the crystals to summon the Dinozords alongside the other Rangers, using their newfound crystal power to form the Megazord Tank Mode. Thankfully the Crystals were able to accomplish something the Rangers did effortlessly in Episode 1. Since Tank Mode is only about waist high  compared to Goldar and King Sphinx, the Rangers get their asses kicked until they decide to go full on Megazord. I don't mean to be a buzzkill Zordon but these crystals don't seem to be doing shit. After forming the Megazord the Rangers just trash Goldar and Sphinx with nothing but the Megazord's fists. Then when Goldar gets to be a bit too much they do this.

Megazord rams Goldar
Goldar just got a Mastodon snout to the nuts.

This is so ridiculous and out of place it's great. The Megazord will never do this maneuver again, and even doing it this time seems really unnecessary just to use a sneak attack on Goldar. It's actually kind of shocking how much worse Goldar is fighting the Megazord with a buddy than he was alone just a few episodes ago.
King Sphinx jumps back in to fight, but keeps getting knocked flat on his ass. He does the only thing that's worked so far and tries to blow the Megazord away with his wings. For some reason that doesn't work on Megazord, who promptly summons the Power Sword, referred to as the "Mega" Power Sword in this case because the writer didn't check what they actually decided to name the weapons. The Rangers finish off King Sphinx with the Power Sword, which is awesome, because we got totally blueballed when they brought the sword out against Goldar in Episode 1 and he pussied out. Look at them use that thing...

Megazord Power Sword King Sphinx


Alpha cheers for the Power Rangers and tells them "One down and one to go!" It's actually pretty cool that we're having someone advocating for murdering Goldar. Obviously since he's one of Rita's top brass he's not going down that easily, but it's good to see the Rangers are seriously about to finish him off. Goldar teleports back to the Moon Base, because if he leaves Rita with Squatt as her second in command things are going south real fast.

Do you need help eating something Empress Rita? Oh, I guess I'll sit this one out then.

Jason's back in the Juice Bar aiming for the record one more time. Trini and Billy are there now and Ernie is thankfully absent so he doesn't ruin everything again. Jason manages to break the record and everyone applauds. I guess everything was different because Trini was counting for him and Billy was there pushing up his stupid dorky glasses. Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you work as a team!

Ernie brings in a cake and what the fuck do you think happens when there's any food in this show, ever? Seriously?

You can tell Trini's scoping out those little piglets.




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Pig Boxers






Personal Thoughts:

This episode feels like a big mishmash, not just because of the reused teamwork theme from last episode, but because the footage is building up this fight with King Sphinx and Goldar so much but there really isn't much special about the fight. It's cool that Megazord is fighting two monsters instead of one, but Sphinx still goes down easy. I want to note the reason the crystals seem so pointless is because in the Sentai their entire purpose was to combine the zords. Obviously since we blew our Megazord load in the pilot they couldn't do that here, so instead they just look kinda cool and have a vague teleportation ability.

This episode was sort of like "Teamwork" for me, in that I didn't have it among my recorded episodes. The only reason I didn't care nearly as much was because I had vivid memories of watching it on T.V. and knowing what happened. There would also be a flashback to this episode later in the season so if I needed to remember King Sphinx, I'd just watch that flashback scene and it'd be the same thing to me.

If you were around during 1993 to see the merchandise for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, you'll probably recognize King Sphinx. He was on a lot of coloring books and trading cards and toys. He was even one of the bosses in the Power Rangers Game Boy game. I remember him most from this "awesome" ad that came with the Power Rangers VHS tapes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQCuJNVBecU

Well if you've looked at this review and wondered "What makes King Sphinx so special that he's all over everything?", then I'm not sure! I can't give a concrete answer but to the best of my knowledge it would probably be because in the original MMPR pilot, King Sphinx and Goldar's fight against Megazord was used instead of a solo fight with Goldar. You'll notice King Sphinx is grouped with the main antagonists in that toy ad, so I'm wondering if the rest of his exposure in other bits and pieces of Power Rangers media was just one idiot looking at the pilot and deciding to shove Sphinx onto everything. Well I'm sure wherever King Sphinx is now he's doing very well for...

Beetleborgs King Sphinx head
Oh

So I guess we had the suit for Sphinx but didn't feel like using it. That thing must have been in bad shape. Rest In Shit King Stinks.


4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was excited just to see a Ranger's house, even if it was just the garage.

    Yeah, I know, but, when you've seen the juice bar in every episode, a different location for the teens to hang out in is EXCITING.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This was MY "White Whale". As you said, King Sphinx was ALL over the merchandise, but I NEVER saw this episode, so I was always baffled.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm weirdly honored that someone else knows the feeling of having that one episode that they wanted to capture, but could never manage to find. I weirdly miss the difficulty of finding your favorite shows, because there was always such a magic to when you finally saw what you were waiting for. No matter how poorly it lived up to your expectations.

      Delete