Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 42: A Pig Surprise



Incompetent Bullies Provide Support for Obese Pig
Pig Demon Expresses Desire to be Murdered Alongside Lover






Before we get going I wanted to do a little promotion for Noiseless Chatter's "Manos Live" event. Click the link here for the details, but you can buy a ticket to see a pristine print of one of the worst movies ever made, "Manos: The Hands of Fate." For 12 bucks, and if you're in the Highland Ranch area, you can drop in and check out the movie alongside a Q and A hosted by Phil with regards to the movie. Even if you can't attend, your ticket will give you access to an online screening of "The Room." Consider buying a ticket and watching some really awful movies with some really funny people. Now onto a "fantastic" episode of this dumbass show I love.



Animals! Everyone loves em. Either you love to eat them, or you use them to maul people who break into your house with knives. So why wouldn't the Ranger Teens offer to volunteer at Angel Grove's "Pet Adoption Day?" From what I can gather, this is just a festival where a bunch of negligent alcoholic parents can dump their children's yappy dog off with a bunch of high schoolers; afterwards they can go inform their kids that Missy got hit by a car because they didn't love her enough.

The Ranger Teens, sans Zack, convene to discuss how great owning a pet is. Billy all but looks into the camera before saying in no uncertain terms that owning a pet is a big responsibility and he hopes these kids are up for it. These are the kind of characters I can look up to. Teenagers who talk like they're my grandmother. Speaking of my grandmother, it looks like she's in this episode!

Which of these actors do you think died first?

Before Billy can ask why Mrs. Doubtfire is dragging Bulk around on a leash, the old woman begs these kind young teenagers to adopt her hideously obese hog named Norman. This old bag has three lines in the episode and she manages to sound like she's passing a kidney stone through all of them.

Keep in mind we're watching Power Rangers. I'm not looking for Laurence Olivier out of some old woman petting a sow, but could you at least get someone who doesn't sound like they learned their lines phonetically? Her acting is so terrible that I didn't even buy her walking away when the Ranger Teens take Norman from her. She looks like she was struck by a sudden bout of dementia and just wandered off never to be seen again.

While the other Ranger Teens mull over what they can do with a 500 pound pig, Zack is hauling ass to make it to Pet Adoption Day. Zack's late for an unexplained reason, though it's probably because a white guy's writing this episode. While Zack rushes to the park, he spots a bizarre sight in the form of the old lady who was dropping off Norman. And what a sight it is.

She moves like she's in a silent movie.

Zack starts sassing the Old Woman Putty before another group of Putties jump in to fight. At the Moon Palace, Rita cackles about how brilliant her plan is going to be and I'm actually pretty impressed. Usually when we get scenes of Rita and her crew, Goldar spells out exactly what's going to happen and leaves no mystery to all of Rita's space magic. This time, the Moon Crew's discussion is shrouded in vagueness and doesn't elaborate on what she's got going on. I actually kind of enjoy that. It makes this scene kind of pointless in retrospect, but it's at least something different.

Zack takes on all the putties and shithouses them single handed. Zack drops a line about how the Putties always know how to ruin a good day. Why would that be the line you give Zack when the scene started out with him late for Pet Adoption Day? That isn't a good day at all. Just give him some generic line about how all the Putties fight like old ladies. 

Zack finds a small device on the ground that's been left by the Putties he just slaughtered. It looks like a really shitty 90's handheld camera with a spinning magnifying glass on top. Zack grabs it immediately without being concerned that it could be coated in space viruses or some kind of intergalactic bomb, and decides to take it to Billy. That way even if it is a bomb he can blow up the only member of his friends he isn't sleeping with.

Back at Pet Adoption Day, the Ranger Teens have successfully given away just about all of the animals. Good thing too, Ernie had a bid on any animals that weren't sold so he could give them a nice home. Right at the bottom of a bowl of his famous Juice Bar Chili™.

Bulk and Skull show up and hightail it to the Ranger Teens saying that they want to get a pet too. The Ranger Teens are hesitant to give the bullies a pet, knowing that there's a 50/50 chance they're just going to try and have sex with it, but they have the perfect pet for Bulk and Skull in Norman. The idiots initially look disgusted with him, but pretty immediately get excited because of how adorable he is.

The next day, Bulk takes Norman to school and shows him off to a bunch of nobody extras in the hallway. Before we discuss this scene, I'd be remiss if I didn't show you fine folks Bulk's wardrobe.

HE DIDN'T EVEN RIP HIS CLOTHES, THEY'RE JUST SITTING THERE MOCKING ME

To be fair, this might be the one episode in the history of this show where you can justify Bulk wearing pig boxers. When you give Bulk a pet pig and the only connection you draw is his stupid novelty boxers, I'll put up with it.

Bulk, in spite of everything you'd expect from him, is actually not that terrible of a pet owner. He's beaming about how cool he thinks Norman is, and he's showing him off to all the students at Angel Grove High School. Skull even has a book he's reading to Bulk about how to best raise a pig. They aren't doing an amazing job, but they're honestly coming across like pretty serviceable pet owners.

Bulk tries to make Norman do tricks, but since Saban wouldn't spring for a pig that could actually do things, Norman just sits there getting fatter. Even when Norman can't do fucking anything but sit there and have belch noises overlaid on him, Bulk still pets him and calls him the smartest pig in the world. It's shockingly adorable for what sounds like the dumbest goddamned idea this show has ever come up with.

Squatt and Goldar watch the events unfold on Earth while getting giddy that the Power Rangers fell for their weird and convoluted plan. Goldar then drops the title of the episode when he says the Rangers will soon be receiving "The Trouble With Shellshock."

Meanwhile, Billy tests the device that Zack found in the park to try and figure out what its deal is. He informs Trini and Zack that it has a timer inside of it that's counting down to zero, but he has no idea when that is. What? Do Rita's forces use a different method of mathematics than we do? If you have something the enemy dropped and allowed you to collect, and that item is also ticking down, why the fuck wouldn't you assume it's a goddamned space bomb. Billy you are the dumbest genius I've ever met.

Trini and Billy soon realize that Zack said the Putty he stole that Notbomb from was disguised as an old woman. Since that description is just vague enough to apply to the woman they met yesterday that couldn't act, they come to the conclusion that Norman is actually some kind of sleeper cell pig agent.

Billy's group meets up with Kim and Jason to inform them about Jack Sow-er, and tell them if they don't track down Bulk and Skull soon, they'll be murdered! The Ranger Teens all silently contemplate whether or not that's a positive or a negative, before ultimately deciding to track down the pig.

Unbeknownst to the Ranger Teens, Bulk and Skull are hanging out in the Youth Center with Norman eating out of a precious pink bowl with his name on it. A 90's babe comes up and says how cute he is, and asks his name. Skull answers "Bulk!" It's a funny joke that manages to work because they actually worked at it.

Jason Narvy says the line with total sincerity like he's been waiting for a woman to ask him that question for years. Even better is this girl doesn't roll her eyes because Skull is stupid  and she someone psychicly knows that Bulk is the dumbshit that Skull is hanging out with. She just assumes that's the pig's name and we don't need to make every living character despise Bulk and Skull immediately after meeting them.

Ernie asks Bulk and Skull what the fuck they're doing with a pig in his Juice Bar, and Norman shouldn't be there either. It's at this very moment that the device Billy is tinkering with hits zero and Rita begins casting her spell. Why she needs a spell on top of this dinky little Notbomb is beyond me, but her magic soon hits Norman.

Show of hands, who didn't see this one coming?

Skull tries to consult the book for tips on your pet pig becoming a monster from earlier in the season, but comes up short. Pudgy Pig then chases the bullies around the Youth Center demanding their food. This was your foolproof plan Rita? Bringing back what was easily one of your most ineffective monsters to harass people for some chow? I guess her earlier vagueness wasn't to confuse the audience, but because she was embarrassed this was what she had to resort to after that Cyclopsis loss.

Bulk and Skull ask Pudgy Pig how he could attack his very own parents, and it's funny while being tragic. This pig is the one thing Bulk and Skull haven't completely fucked up in their lives, and it turns out to be a mongoloid monster. All Pudgy Pig tells them is that he has the munchies and he wants some goddamn food. Even monsters that showed up for two minutes had more depth to them than Pudgy Pig does.

Zack runs in and tells Bulk to give the giant pig beast his half a sandwich if he values his life. Bulk refuses because he hasn't eaten since lunch, and because he's a stereotypical fat man arguing with a fucking pig. 

Zack says if he doesn't ditch that sandwich then Pudgy Pig is going to eat him, or at least his jacket which has accumulated enough grease to keep a local pizzeria in business for the next decade. It's also how Skull manages to keep his hair so slick. Bulk begrudgingly gives Pudgy Pig his sandwich before fleeing the scene where his only son turned into a mindless beast. Honestly though, what else was Bulk supposed to do?

He took care of that pig; he fed it, he took it with him everywhere he went, he presumably didn't have sex with it, and he treated it like one of his own flesh and blood. It was only for a day, but he treated that goddamn thing like it was one of the Bulk and Skull family. You give him another week and he would have had that pig falling into cakes in no time.

Zack confronts Pudgy Pig but the monster teleports away before any shit goes down. Zack contacts Zordon and tells him they've got trouble, as Zordon tells Zack he's got some real balls being late on Pet Adoption Day. Zack shows up to the Command Center with the rest of the Ranger Teens where Zordon informs them that they must defeat Rita's "overweight menace", but since he already gave up his sandwich the Rangers should focus on Pudgy Pig.

Trini says they can't fight Pudgy Pig since he's an actual pig and they don't want to hurt him. Where are you getting that from Trini? It's a pig Rita brought down to Earth, how do you know it's not a clay pig made by Finster? Maybe infant Pudgy Pigs actually look like that and you're just risking your team's safety against some dumbass space pig.

Only took me 42 weeks to make a Muppets joke.

Kim drops a bombshell when she reveals to Zordon that the pig's name is Norman. My god Kim you're right. What are we doing. A pig named Norman? If that pig was named Ulysses we'd put a sword right through his skull but Norman? That changes everything. Zordon says if it'll make them shut up they don't HAVE to murder the pig, and tells them to try and keep Norman under control until they can whip up some magic Depigulator ray or whatever the fuck.

The Rangers morph and locate Pudgy Pig on top of a building, coincidentally the exact same building they fought Pudgy Pig the first time he showed up. At this point I may as well just copy and paste everything I said from Food Fight, because this fight is almost exactly the same as it was then. It's the same goddamn fight scene used again to eat up time. Though this week Power Rangers offers one of the most perplexing and time wasting edits I've seen yet.

The episodes running 12 seconds short? I'LL FIX THAT!

The only big difference between this fight and the original is we don't see Pudgy Pig eating the Rangers Power Weapons. They just abruptly cut away from shots of Pudgy with the Power Lance or the Power Axe near his mouth and then ignore the fact the Rangers don't have their weapons anymore. It makes this whole fight weird and jarring, particularly if you've seen  the original fight. And if you haven't seen the original fight, then why would you be excited by Pudgy Pig returning for another episode with him in it? This episode manages to suck regardless of whether or not you've seen Pudgy Pig's first appearance or not. For two completely different reasons.

On top of that, if Pudgy Pig is supposed to be much more gentle since he was originally Norman, why is he still beating the shit out of the Rangers? Why even keep this fight scene if you're trying to talk about how Norman is actually a brave soul who doesn't want to be evil? Who cares, it's a lazy idea made to recycle a fan favorite monster. Naturally it's going to suck pig nuts.

After an unengaging fight with Pudgy Norman, we're informed he teleported away from the fight. We don't actually see that because it would require them filming something, but he totally vanished off screen. Trust us.

Pudgy died on the way back to his home planet

While the Rangers are preoccupied with locating Pudgy Pig, Rita unveils stage two of her plan. Oh so you weren't just going to reuse Pudgy Pig and let him die again? Good on ya Repulsa. The only problem is the rest of her plan is as follows: Send Goldar to Angel Grove and have him destroy it while they look for Pudgy Pig. Seriously. That's it.

Rita must trust the Power Rangers to have absolutely zero cognitive abilities if they're not going to drop this Pudgy Pig bullshit to go take care of Goldar. It's a nice idea that Rita's waging a war on two fronts, but if you're going to use a monster as harmless as Pudgy the fuck Pig, you aren't giving the Rangers some Sophie's Choice. You're just giving Goldar a few spare minutes to blows up some buildings before the Rangers stop him.

Zordon locates Norman's current coordinates and teleports the Rangers off to some nondescript farm in the middle of nowhere. The Rangers split up to locate the huge hog and are somehow unable to find him. What is he wearing a fake beard and sunglasses? He's the giant pig in a gladiator helmet. The one that won't stop gibbering about being hungry. That one.

Zack tells his friends to come check out what he found, because it's going to blow their fucking minds. The Power Rangers head off to find a scene so unabashedly dumb, it almost makes this episode worth it.

Dancing Pig
For anyone curious what the mobility was like in the Pudgy Pig suit, probably not great.

That's right, Pudgy Pig is dancing in the farm. Of course he is. The Rangers are equally perplexed as to why this monster is doing something so goddamn dumb when suddenly they see that Pudgy Pig is attempting to court a female pig he's found. Yeah, this is what the episode is doing now.

Pudgy Pig tells his newfound love how bad he wants to pork her and that they'll make such beautiful bacon together. That last one isn't a joke. He really said that. What a fucked up thing to say to someone if you're a pig. That'd be like asking a woman out and telling her you think the two of you would look good together chopped up in pieces in Jeffrey Dahmer's crisper.

For as much shit as I give Thuy Trang for not being a particularly strong actor, she absolutely kills it with a line in this scene when she sees Pudgy Pig courting this lady pig and says "How sweet, he's in love." It's such a ridiculous scene that her finding it encapsulating pushes it beyond the boundaries of lunacy. She totally sells the line as if she actually found this hideous pig beast getting a springy tail erection adorable. Kudos.

The Rangers surmise that this MUST mean Norman isn't one of Rita's monsters, because they couldn't possibly fall in love. I'll make sure to find and link all the episodes I've written about before where that was proven accurate. I'll bet there's going to be a bunch of them!

Zordon alerts the Rangers that Goldar is giant sized and attacking Angel Grove, and maybe if they weren't so busy watching a fucking dancing pig they would have noticed. The Rangers teleport downtown where Scorpina intercepts them. She blasts the rangers with energy from her helmet before siccing a group of Putties on them.

After a brief (re: pointless) Putty fight Scorpina tosses her scorpion blade at the Rangers while Squatt and Baboo cheer her on. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because  99 percent of it is just recycled footage from Green With Evil Part 4. Make sure to tune in next week kids, where you can see another boring rehash of old scenes we cobbled together to try and make a serviceable episode.

The Rangers soon remember that Goldar is fucking giant and maybe his threat should be neutralized first, so they call on the Megazord to take him on. Just in case you wanted something new, you're in luck! This is a brand new fight with Goldar, made from nothing but repurposed fight scenes you've already seen. Way to go Power Rangers, you nailed the rehash hat trick.

The Rangers call for the "Mega Sword" because just like last week, we can't be fucked to remember what we named things in this dumbass show. The Rangers try to use the finishing move on Goldar, but he teleports away before they can finish him off. It's sort of cool they seemed like they were actually going to kill Goldar this time, but obviously we couldn't have that happen or else who could we shove into episodes to pad them out?

After an unsatisfactory fight with Goldar, the Ranger Teens run back to find Pudgy Pig dancing with his piggy fair. They also see a farmer face down in the dirt that died of a heart attack, but it's probably not related. Billy's managed to recalibrate the timer that Putty dropped earlier to zap Pudgy Pig and turn him back into regular fat old Norman. That thing that was just a timer? Yeah now it can turn him back into a regular pig. Now Norman gets to bone his girlfriend all day while lounging on the farm. I can't wait for the spinoff novel where Norman meets the Spidertron monster and has him spell out messages to the farmer about how he's SOME PIG.

The next day in class, Mr. Caplan substitutes for Ms. Applebee because he's the only other person who works at this school. Then he brings in a pig for no reason and Bulk and Skull get scared. I'd rather this episode ended with a gunshot. Fuck you.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Pig Sex



Personal Thoughts:


Okay let's start off with the positives of this episode. Pudgy Pig dancing, Bulk and Skull petting a pig. Alright good, now that we've got those out of way maybe we can discuss why this episode isn't so great.

In all seriousness, I like that this episode didn't just rehash Food Fight with copious scenes of Pudgy Pig eating. The plot they made instead was utterly ridiculous, but at least it was unique. You give me a dancing pig and I'll give you my attention. 

What doesn't work is how clear it is the writers are padding this show out. Almost every Sentai shot in this episode has already been used before. The fight with Scorpina felt hideously shoehorned in, the Pudgy Pig fight scene was completely superfluous, and the Zord fight with Goldar was done better in the first goddamned episode.

I understand that the show was desperate for episodes they could make after eating up all the Sentai footage, but that doesn't mean you can give me the pigshit and expect me to like it. 

The writers had to make up a few episodes to stall for time it seems, and this is one of four of them. Last week's episode was the first, and I'm not quite sure which of the two I like less. I'm not very pleased with either of them, but they both offer something different. The civilian plot of this episode with Norman the pig is enjoyable because it offers us a bunch of Bulk and Skull. Last week we shoved them in a shitter and focused on the Ranger Teens planting trees. Last week had some unused fighting re-purposed to pad out the Octoplant story, this week had virtually nothing but reused footage. I guess A Pig Surprise is the yin to Rita's Seed of Evil's yang. Only they don't provide enlightenment, they just provide endless boredom.

For a monster who's considered so iconic to the series as Pudgy Pig, it amazes me that this is the last time we'll ever see him. Maybe the costume was falling apart and they had to scrap A Pig Surprise parts 2-9, or maybe they just didn't feel like using it anymore. Who knows?

My only wonder is if Pudgy Pig was as fondly remembered back when this episode aired, or if he's only remembered so well in hindsight. Did they just want to capitalize on one of the most memorable monsters of the season or was it random chance that they picked Pudgy Pig instead of one of the other half dozen monster costumes they had? Or was Pudgy Pig actually considered memorable at the time? Anybody who might have some insight please let me know, or offer me some crazy theories. I'm happy to take both!



3 comments:

  1. It's not technically the last time, the Rangers narrate the Food Fight plot on a talk show in Season 2 (with flashbacks).

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  2. Trini's comment was sweet. Of course, if she had said "Kim, tackle him and go to town; I'll go and fry some rice", and then the girls gave Pudgy Pig menacing stares before the episode abruptly cut to black, that might have been better.

    The "Norman" bowl was a cute touch.

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