Tuesday, December 15, 2015

MMPR Season 2 Episode 16: Beauty and the Beast


Evil Space Aliens Kidnap High School Student, Imprison Her in Fuck Dungeon
Fortune Teller Provides Bulk with Tips for a Healthy Diet












This week's episode is going to be pretty tough to write about. Not because of its content, but because it's one of very few Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episodes I have next to no memory of. I remember the monster (because of course I do), I know the general idea behind the plot, and I know one line reading that I'll discuss later, but beyond that I'm going in blind.

Even the episodes I didn't see as a kid I would watch by downloading some trash VHS transfers. I downloaded a lot of episodes that didn't even sound that good, so why did I exempt "Beauty and the Beast" from my rotation? Even I don't know for sure. I'm kind of concerned this episode is going to be so shitty that I'll end up slitting my wrists in the tub before the fat bully sings.

Well just to make sure my concerns are well founded, this dumbass episode's very first line is Billy saying "Sure is quiet around here without Tommy." Ah yes, the guy who wouldn't stop making a nuisance of himself and was always causing a ruckus. That's what I remember about Tommy. It's not like he was "Jason but wore green", but a fully developed character that the audience can feel the absence of.

Actually, we really can feel his absence. You know why? Because none of these characters will stop fucking talking about him.

Tommy hasn't been on the team for three weeks now, maybe we could spend some time with any of the other named characters that we're paying money to be in front of the camera. We could focus on Jason, Billy, Kimberly, Zack, or somebody else. Maybe we could spend some time doing something that isn't talking about how great Tommy is just in case kids didn't have time to buy a third Dragon Dagger yet. Maybe you could move some more product if you made any of these other characters more fucking engaging.

Billy and Kimberly spend the time they aren't reminiscing about Tommy discussing a weird looking mirror Kimberly has. A mirror that Tommy won for her at a carnival. Imagine the look on my face when I thought the episode was done doting on Tommy, only for it to swerve right back into Tommy Town.

Lord Zedd eavesdrops on Billy and Kimberly's tedious conversation while Goldar slobbers his knob. Zedd decides he should try to succeed more than twice in a season and sets his sights on Kimberly. So he's going to drain her power and weaken the Rangers even more? No way, he has something much different planned for her. Seeing the Pink Ranger's fiery spirit, Lord Zedd believes she would make an exquisite queen.

Oh I didn't know my DVD's were mislabeled. This is quite clearly the fan-favorite episode "Agony In Pink." 

So before we get any further into the episode, let's keep track of our main plot points so far. Billy and Kim miss Tommy, and Zedd is going to turn Kimberly into his fuck-pillow. Looks like I remembered incorrectly, this episode sounds like a real slam dunk.

As Kimberly sobs that she'll never be able to see Tommy again for another two episodes the rest of her life, Billy offers his beefy nerd arm to her and says he wishes he knew a way to help. Kimberly offers him absolutely zero response, which is her cordial way of informing Billy he will never get all up in these guts. Billy takes this uncomfortable rebuking in stride and instead charts out a series of very elaborate masturbation sessions through the month.

Luckily, Kimberly has found the answer to her prayers. She notices an ad in the newspaper for a fortune teller by the name of Madam Swampy. Billy responds by saying this dame wouldn't know science if it bit her on the clit, so Kim would just be wasting her time. Kimberly disagrees though, as Madam Swampy could potentially know something about Tommy's future.

Kim, what in the world do you want this lady to tell you? Are you worried about Tommy? Well here's a wacky idea. Why don’t you pick up your phone and give him a little ring-a-ding-ding? He's on a goddamn vacation lady, he'll be back in like a week. Why don't you get off the guy's nuts for four minutes and be your own person.

Not to mention, what do you actually expect a fortune teller to tell you? Best case scenario is she's totally on the up and up, which sounds quite reasonable considering her name is Madam Swampy. You want her to delve into Tommy's future and inform Kim he's going to break up with her to start dating Ronda Rousey? It's not like Tommy has cancer, he's 60 miles away hanging out with his uncle. Who gives a shit about his future?

"Beauty and the Beast", presenting us with new developments more boring than the last!

Thank God, the one thing I needed has finally arrived. As Billy and Kimberly depart, Bulk and Skull drop into the Youth Center discussing how they're feeling pretty frisky and need hella milkshakes in their maws. Skull especially, as he demonstrates here.

Only two actors have ever made that face: Jason Narvy and Gianna Michaels.

Bulk conveniently stumbles upon the ad for Madam Swampy's trash hut and decides this would be the perfect way to uncover the Power Rangers' identities. Because if two mentally deficient silent-film comedians can't figure it out, their next best bet would be some Romani lady wearing a towel.

Ignoring the fact that Kimberly and Billy came across this ad first, we immediately transition to a scene of Bulk and Skull visiting Madam Swampy's garbage dump. As they walk in and appear amazed at all the kitschy and tacky garbage in her tent, she demands that they pay five dollars for her services. I appreciate this episode of a children's television show airing its grievances with one of society's greatest ills: Fraudulent fortune tellers.

It was nice of Kathy Kinney to guest star in this episode.

Well as it turns out, Bulk and Skull are low on funds. They spent every cent they own on gimmicky props that led to a series of scenes with varied amounts of comical merit. They plead with this evil harlot who dares to charge money for her services to help them out for free just this one time. She sneers at them with her evil pseudo-foreigner glare, and offers them a janky looking piece of paper that she assures them is a treasure map. A treasure map!? That reminds me of another one of my favorite Power Rangers episodes, "The Rockstar." Things are getting better already.

Lord Zedd commands Goldar to go out and do his bidding yet again this week, as he must lure Pink Ranger to the dark side where she'll have no choice but to abandon her friends. Goldar specifically informs his master that he will "train her well", because this episode is gross and doesn't realize it.

Kimberly finds her way to the Swamp Shack, where she can meet an ogre with a heart of gold that tests the public's patience for Mike Meyers through three tedious sequels. Before she can get her fortune told, Goldar and some Z-Putties appear in front of her. Goldar promises Kimberly will enjoy her new life as Lord Zedd's queen, and grapples with her as she struggles against him for an uncomfortably long time. Kimberly isn't given a chance to morph or defend herself, instead she's left to be groped by Goldar while she demands he let her go. Thanks everyone, that's exactly what I want to see when I tune into this children's karate program.

When Kimberly refuses, Goldar exclaims he'll need to be more persuasive. My eyes go wide as I grip my chair. I don't want to know where this is going, and I want this episode to transition to Bulk and Skull looking for treasure right this instant.

As it turns out, Goldar's method of persuasion is throwing a handful of glitter in Kimberly's face. This glitter serves as some incredibly powerful space dust that knocks Kimberly out as soon as it hits her. Goldar then grabs her unconscious body and teleports away with it while laughing.

HEY GUYS? IS CURTIS PLAYING A JAZZ CONCERT THIS WEEK? THAT'D MAKE FOR A PRETTY COOL EPISODE MAYBE WE COULD WATCH THAT INSTEAD. PLEASE?

Lord Zedd zeroes in on Kimberly's discarded backpack and finds that shitty mirror Tommy won for her on the ground. He decides this mirror will create the ideal creature to give the other Rangers a reflection of what's to come. Booooooooo. Whatever. He makes the Mirror Maniac monster.

-10 points for not naming him Glass Jaw.

While their teammate is being taught how to service a space leather daddy, Zack and Billy enjoy a nice day of rollerblading in the park. They're not joined by anyone else because Trini doesn't technically exist anymore, and Jason is in the mountains fishing with his uncle. Or he refused to be on set until they stopped writing lines in his script about how his ostensible replacement is so much cooler than him.

Though Zack and Billy didn't think they would be alone today. Richie and Curtis were supposed to meet them for rollerblading but they were total no-shows. Great. On top of being complete non-entities of characters they can't even be punctual. Zack says Curtis must have met a beautiful lady on the way and got distracted. Oh goodie, another character trait for Curtis. I'm sure it'll pay off soon before he's promptly banished into the Forbidden Zone.

In news unrelated to Curtis, shockingly, Zordon contacts Zack and Billy and tells them to get to the Command Center lickity split. The boys teleport in as Alpha buzzes Trini to join them from parts unknown. As soon as the trio of Rangers are present, Zordon gives them the bad news. Kimberly has been placed under a spell by Goldar that makes her unable to escape his grasp by her own accord. That's not a spell you windbag, that's Stockholm Syndrome. Just another issue I was hoping we would get a babyfied version of this week.

Due to plot convenience, Zordon is unable to locate where Kimberly is being held, so her transformation into Zedd's queen will likely go off without a hitch. It's at this point I realize exactly what is missing from this episode. No, it's not Tommy if you can believe that. It's that at no point does someone hear that Zedd plans on turning Kimberly into his wife and responds by saying something to the effect of "Ew, that's really fucking gross."

They treat this like it's a totally reasonable plan, no different than "Make Kimberly jealous of Trini to divide their teamwork", or "Confuse the Rangers with a shape-shifting monster." This is a plan where Lord Zedd is planning on fucking a high school student on the Moon, can we get one of these goddamned characters to utter out a single "Yuck"?

Speaking of yuck, Curtis and Richie are rollerblading through the park without a care in the world, At least not until they're antagonized by half a dozen Z-Putties. This gives the boys an opportunity to show off their community theater acting skills.

What the fuck is Richie wearing?

While Billy tries to locate Kimberly's Sex Dungeon, Zordon alerts the Rangers that those two losers who nobody gives a shit about are being assaulted by Putties in the park. Zack tells Billy and Trini to take care of Kimberly for now, and he'll go to save Curtis and Richie in the park. Jason will remain off-screen because there was no way in Hell we would be getting him to show up this week. Try as he might, Zordon cannot triangulate the coordinates of a middle ground in Austin St. John's contractual dispute.

Blue and Yellow morph and instantly locate the cave where Kimberly is being held hostage. It's guarded by a Putty platoon, which tragically means this episode is going to go on for a few minutes longer. Zack also confronts the Putties who are harassing Richie and Curtis, which leads to a pretty respectable unmorphed fight with Zack and the Putties on some gym equipment. I keep expecting to get bored of the choreographers using jungle gyms as set pieces for fights, but I'm proven wrong every time.

Blue Ranger and Fake Voice Yellow Ranger beat the rest of the Z-Putties to death and resume their mission. Billy says they need to find Kimberly before abruptly stopping to pose right in front of a cave entrance. The camera cuts awkwardly back to the Rangers, and they declare Kimberly must be inside that cave they're in front of. The one they teleported to because Billy said it's where she was. Thank you for eating up that necessary nine seconds before continuing this dumbass episode.

Zack makes sure Curtis and Richie are okay, but all Curtis wants to know is who those slobberknocker morons were that were chasing him. Richie informs him those creatures are known as Putties, and they're on the news all the time. For what? Does the news use footage of them to brighten people's moods after they report on the mass shooting of the day? I understand the news can't report on Zedd's monsters since they're all in Japan, but there's got to be something more interesting to report on than those jackass Putties.

Back in the Cave of Sexual Degenerates, Goldar demands that Kimberly wake up. Then we pan out to see that Goldar isn't the only person in the cave with Kimberly. Nope, he also decided to bring along Squatt and Baboo for the ride. Just in case you wanted to pretend this was an innocent plot and not a creepy fuck barn, look at those two and try to tell me otherwise.

Goldar assures Kimberly she'll soon be made into their glorious new queen. Now she just needs to dress like a Moon queen in order to fit the bill. This leads to…oh great.

Some women just can't pull off a Madonna bra.

In case the viewers are morons, which is a safe bet if they're still watching this episode, Baboo says that Kimberly looks like Rita. Kimberly quietly mumbles to herself that Goldar's spell didn't actually work, so now she needs to figure out a way to get herself out of this predicament. The reason his spell didn't work is never clarified, but it still caused her to pass out when he used it so it's entirely possible Kim is a narcoleptic and Goldar got really lucky.

Oh before we get too far, Goldar informs us the actual name of this cave: The Cave of Fantasy. Barf.

Kimberly, decked out in Rita robes, decides to show Goldar she means business by affecting a Rita impression and berating the three space aliens. In case you wanted to watch an actor imitate someone doing a purposefully shrill and obnoxious voice, you are in luck this week.

Kimberly SCREAMS about how these three are giving her a headache, and boy howdy can I relate to that shit. God love Amy Jo Johnson, she's one of the best actors in this goofball show, but when you tell her to be grating then you better believe she's going to deliver on that. The problem is that I'm not tuning into this show to see someone bellowing and screeching at people. When Rita was around, her voice only got shrill and piercing when she was beyond pissed. That voice is all that Kim is doing this entire time and it makes me want to drill my eardrums out.

Goldar, having lost all desire to sexually subjugate this high-schooler, wonders if this plan was really worth considering at all. The Blue and Yellow Rangers appear inside Fuck Mountain to rescue Kimberly, who has apparently not needed any rescuing this entire time because she wasn't under a spell at all, but then we wouldn't have had an excuse to dress her up as Rita and yell at Squatt and Baboo. When it gets right down to it, why even have an episode without that?

With Kimberly rescued, Zedd becomes furious at his subordinates' failure. Zedd warns Goldar that he's going to be fucking someone tonight, so he better be prepared. Oh and also Zedd is going to use that Mirror Maniac monster that hasn't mattered for more than half the episode.

Zedd's lame-ass mirror thing runs around making mirror puns before firing a beam from his face at a building. Instead of causing the building to explode or do anything that would imply a threat, the building gently vibrates while the monster laughs. In hindsight it should have been obvious this monster was made from a carnival prize, absolutely nothing it's supposed to do works.

Alpha alerts Blue, Yellow, and Pink that Jason and Zack are already at the park to fight Mirror Maniac, so they will need to morph and join them. How about that, we didn't have to see Jason unmorphed once in this whole episode, what a coinky-dink. The five Rangers regroup in Angel Grove Park where the Mirror Maniac is waiting for them off-screen. He commands a squad of Z-Putties to bring the Rangers to him. Unless that means that the Putties would have to be on-screen with him, in which case don't do that.

The Rangers decimate the Putty squad as Mirror Maniac decides to run away. Way to go you fucking jobber, what have you done so far? You made a building jiggle and told some Putties to do your dirty work. You want me to show you a real chickenshit loser of a monster? Let me just hold up this mirror.

Zedd realizes this episode isn't ever going to end unless he gets this plot moving and makes his Mirror Maniac grow. That's all well and good, but for absolutely no reason the monster's face appears broken as soon as he grows. It's not explained why or how, but we're almost to the finish line so stop asking questions. It's none of your business.

When will my reflection show who I am inside?

Old Man Voice Jason summons the Thunder Megazord to fight Mirror Maniac. Once the Megazord is formed, Mirror Maniac unsuccessfully tries hurling energy balls at the Megazord to stop its charge. Surprisingly, this total chump of a monster isn't able to hurt the Megazord and is summarily slashed by the Thunder Saber. Thus concludes this impressive monster who stood around for three minutes before summarily dying.

Kim, Billy, and Zack enjoy some R and R back at the Juice Bar where Kimberly says how thankful she is that Goldar's dust didn't work on her. Yeah that would have been a shame, and also given this plot some stakes, but why do that? It's easier to script a scene of someone yelling at space goblins.

Kimberly becomes distracted that she can't find Tommy's mirror anywhere, and has not yet connected the dots that maybe the mirror monster they were fighting may have been related to that identical looking mirror Kim owns. Curtis rolls up much to nobody's chagrin and asks if anyone dropped an ugly looking piece of shit mirror in the park. Kimberly nabs it and thanks him for saving the only thing she has left of Tommy ever since he died in Da Nang, and he responds by telling her he'd do anything for a pretty lady. But he won't do that. 

Bulk and Skull stomp into the Juice Bar to declare they've finally found the location of the Power Rangers due to Madam Swampy's treasure map. Wait just a second here, they're in the Youth Center, and only the Ranger Teens are there. It appears that woman who bilked people out of money to tell them completely nonsensical fortunes wasn't on the up-and-up at all!

Skull chucks the treasure map to the ground where Billy reclaims it and sees that it was hardly a treasure map at all. All that paper had on it was a promotion for Ernie's Juice Bar, promising a free protein muffin to shared customers. Ernie informs the idiots that Madam Swampy is a friend of his and came up with the lamest way possible to advertise his shithole rink-a-dink shack to people stupid enough to fork cash over to her.

Bulk and Skull claim their free protein muffins and take a bite, only for Richie to inform them that the muffins only come free after buying a lunch. Sadly the boys are all out of money after giving their last dime and spider carcass to Madam Swampy, so they have no way to pay for the single bite they each took out of their muffins. Ernie tosses them both aprons and tells them they'll need to do dishes to pay for those. Yeah you'll have to wash dishes to pay off as much of that muffin as you ate, a whole third of an inch of one plate, what an unfortunate predicament these boys have gotten themselves into.

Suck my dick.




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: The Cave of Fantasy




Personal Thoughts



Don't watch this episode.

Alright now that I've gotten all that out of the way, let me get into some behind the scenes shenanigans. This is something I've wanted to mention ever since I started writing these reviews so hold on to your hats.

I talked briefly about how Black Ranger and Red Ranger had their voices dubbed over in previous episodes because of behind the scenes issues with their actors, and I had also alluded to Trini's actress Thuy Trang being on screen less often. In this very episode you'll notice she only shows up in the Command Center very briefly and isn't seen with the others when they're reminiscing about Tommy.

Usually when Trini was morphed, her dialogue was replaced with some very simplistic and awkward sounding lines from Season 1. This episode was the first time she had to be dubbed over by an extra to provide new lines specific to this plot. Jason's dubbed voice sounds like an insulting old man, and Zack's dubbed voice was the guy who played Curtis poorly imitating Walter Jones, so what did Trini's dubbed voice sound like?

Well that depends. The original airing on Fox Kids was what I downloaded and heard for the first time, and the dubbed voice present there is most definitely not what's on this DVD. Some kind soul has made a Youtube video detailing the differences in Trini's voice that I'll share with you good people now. Specifically please refer to the scene at 4 seconds, which is the version on the DVD release, and the comparison of the scene at 7 seconds which was initially aired on Fox Kids.


So what made me remember the original voice over this one? Just the fact that it was really fucking racist.

Like holy shit. You listen to Thuy Trang talk and she has a little bit of an accent I suppose. Whatever. That dubbed voice sounds like they hired an extra from "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips." It isn't even kind of close to how Trini has ever sounded. Apparently this Mickey Rooney voice is also present on the Netflix release, so if anyone wants to get some racism in their veins then check it out and let me know if that's true.

Judging by the comments on that video, the not-racist version aired later, but that awful pee-pee in Coke voice was used to send the episode out initially before the corrected version would air in syndication. Here's an idea, have someone talk like a normal human being. She already doesn't sound like Trini, why are you sending someone in a booth and saying "Yeah just talk like a World War 2 propaganda film for a few lines"? Ew.

Well I guess we may as well talk about Mirror Maniac, which won't take long because there's not much to say about him. He was the first boss in one of the SNES Power Rangers games that I'm being coy about mentioning as it spoils a few things we haven't gotten to yet. You know me, always hesitant to spoil details to 20 year old franchises.

Last thing worth mentioning was his mirror face breaking. Usually when you encounter discrepancies like these in Power Rangers, it's a product of the Japanese show having a monster becoming damaged in a scene that could not have been adapted in the US version. Honestly? That's not really the case here.


The initial shot of the Green Dairanger hitting his mirror face couldn't be used, but why not take this shot, and put in the Power Blaster stock footage before it? Just cut from the beam firing to the gif above. That would explain why the monster's face is broken, it would add some kind of ground battle with Mirror Maniac as opposed to the nothing we get here, and it would provide some level of interaction with a Dairanger monster that we'll be getting so very little of in this season. 






3 comments:

  1. Rushing to Netflix to check Trini's voice in this episode...it's the racist one. Damn it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ok, now I'm current on the blog. Just finished barreling through the archives.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just watched this the other day and I had the same thought on Trini's voice, it sounded like a white person trying to do a bad asian accent.

    It also drove me nuts that they dubbed Zach in the unmorphed Putty fight. He pretty much just says "hi-ya" a lot, why not just pull existing recordings of him saying "hi-ya" like they did with the dialogue a couple episodes ago? The dubbing is even more painful when it's an unmorphed fight.

    ReplyDelete