Tuesday, January 19, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 21: Zedd's Monster Mash


Spinning Teenager Punts Unsuspecting Ram
Half the Ranger Team Fed to Sharks, Little Said on Subject











Everyone enjoying the new year so far? Hope so, because it's time for one of my favorite January traditions, a spoooooooky Halloween episode. Maybe if I had planned out this blog whatsoever you'd be getting a review of this episode in October, but I didn't so now you can expect the Christmas episode sometime in March, and the St. Patrick's Day Episode around Halloween.

Today's adventure begins with Kimberly and Billy helping to set up a Halloween party inside the Youth Center. As soon as all the paper-mache pumpkins are set up, the Ranger Teens are going to escort some kids around to go trick-or-treating. After a few lines of exposition from Kim about Halloween safety and how to best mean-mug that asshole who gives you a Chick Tract, Billy starts jabberjawing about that World Peace Conference everyone is so excited about.

Billy awkwardly ponders aloud what would happen if one of the Rangers were selected for this peace conference, and how it would affect their team. Well Billy, if this peace conference weren't a manufactured excuse to abandon three actors who wanted a little extra money (which is an absurd notion of course) they could always try declining the offer for selection. It's just some foreign exchange bullshit not the Hunger Games.

This is the first episode where Austin St. John, Walter Jones, and Thuy Trang are no longer present and even the characters in the show are acting like their termination is a foregone conclusion.

It's actually kind of sad to watch. Even though Jason, Trini, and Zack are supposedly still on the show, we're never going to see them again. Their presence will only be felt in passing while we have to humor the show as it pretends they're still hanging around just off-camera. It's really awkward and the sad truth is we have to deal with another five episodes that have only half of the team present.

This is the shittiest Halloween ever.

Oh right, sorry, it is Halloween. So what are the characters dressed as? Tommy's a pirate, Billy's dressed up as Einstein, and Kimberly is dressed in some harlequin pajamas. Oh yeah and Jason is dressed as the Invisible Man, Zack is dressed as Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man and Trini is dressed as Trini.

With Ernie as a depressed Michael Jackson.

Tommy tells Billy and Kim that he just talked to Jason, Trini, and Zack, and they'll be dropping by a little later. Maybe around half past never? Kimberly pets Tommy gently on the shoulder and says "Of course they will sweetie. They'll be back really soon." Tommy smiles wide and asks Kimberly if she thinks that pirates liked karate.

Lord Zedd observes all the children celebrating Halloween and finds this holiday particularly captivating. Especially the part about putting razor blades in kids' mouths. Even though it's kind of a corny gag that Lord Zedd is intrigued by a day where people dress up as monsters, what else do you expect? Sending down shitty looking plastic monsters has been this guy's bread and butter since day 1.

Zedd asks Goldar if he has any ideas, to which Goldar responds by saying they could infiltrate the Rangers' Halloween party with a monster. Zedd tells him that bush league Season 1 bullshit isn't going to cut it this time around, and they're going to be throwing a party of their very own. An evil party! They're going to have spaghetti that you have to put your hands in and it totally feels like brains, and Zedd's dad is going to be upstairs all-night so they can totally drink a couple beers while he's not paying attention. Oh yeah and he's also going to bring the White Ranger into an evil dimension where some monsters will maul him to death. After the annual screening of Bordello of Blood of course.

Billy and Kimberly discuss how frightening all of the trick-or-treaters look, but there's a certain pair of costumes that are more terrifying than any other. That's right, Bulk and Skull make their grand appearance dressed as a pair of Spartan warriors. Not for symmetry, but because dressing them as the same thing means you can spend less time writing the script. At least we can thank our lucky stars this was 1994 and we didn't have to sit through a litany of tedious 300 references.

Why are those garbage bags wearing garbage bags?

Bulk and Skull recite the rhyme about trick or treating, and smelling feeting. Just before Skull threatens to pull down someone's underwear, Tommy cuts him off and tells him to "Cool it man." Yeah Skull, what kind of burlesque bullshit do you think happens on this show? You say the word "underwear" and those kids in the audience are going to become sex perverts turning tricks for treats.

Honestly. What kind of a disgusting television program would focus on someone's underpants?


Tommy asks if Bulk and Skull might be a touch old for trick-or-treating, and high school. The gruesome twosome explain that they're not doing some lame-ass school project, and Bulk's reasoning as to why is because, "Me and little kids don't mix." As much as I want to be a creep about that line, Paul Schrier says it with the most dismissive and disgusted tone that I can't help but laugh. It's impossible not to love a character who has so little going for him but still acts like he's superior to everyone else.

Bulk grabs a handful of candy, and just as he shoves them in his gob, Kimberly informs him that those are Red Hots. Seeing as Bulk is a white guy, he's unable to handle a tiny amount of spice on his tongue so he begins spinning around and hooting like a mandrill. Skull gesticulates to his only means of salvation, a tiny bucket of water containing a bobbing for apples game. Bulk hesitates for a second before diving headfirst into the bucket and landing his entire upper body into the water. If that weren't humiliating enough, as soon as he pops out of the water he has an apple sticking out of his mouth.

Reason #485 I would have quit this show if I were Paul Schrier: They made me stick an apple in my mouth like I was a roast goddamned pig.

Then just when you think the scene has no surprises left for you, Skull rips the apple out of his mouth and tells Bulk they need to vamoose. Just before they walk off camera, Skull does this


And I'm reminded once again why these two are some of the best material this show has going for it. God bless you glorious dolts.

Zedd commences his evil operation when he instructs a group of Putties to hightail it to Earth, where they'll disguise themselves as children dressed in Halloween costumes. The Putties magically transform into child-sized versions of the primary five Power Rangers and enter the Youth Center. Tommy introduces himself to the five, while somehow not realizing they're obviously the spawn of the devil. That or their parents don't have a fucking clue how to make costumes.

They got cake frosting all over their masks.

Tommy asks who these five mysteriously silent and ominous children are. When they fail to offer any form of response, Tommy assumes they're merely playing the part of the Power Rangers and hiding their secret identities. That or they're portraying Zordon's Columbian Power Rangers: the ones who got their tongues cut out after they squealed to the cops about a skag deal gone wrong.

Bulk and Skull mope at the Youth Center while they take notice of all the kids dressed up as Power Rangers. Bulk thinks about this for a second as he decides to jump to an absurd conclusion. The Power Rangers have insane magical superpowers, so they probably also have the power to shrink themselves. That means that obviously one of these kids in a Halloween costume is actually a Power Ranger in disguise. I have heard some spurious reasoning in my time, but Bulk's theorycrafting here might be the most airtight conclusion I've ever heard in my life.

Goldar reports to Lord Zedd that the preparations for his Halloween shindig are almost complete. All of Lord Zedd's favorite monsters have been invited, and Mr. Ticklesneezer has been threatened with violence if he comes within 500 feet of the party. The Dark Dimension Monster Bash is finally underway, and all that's left to do is kidnap Tommy and force him to mingle with people he doesn't know for all eternity. Truly a fate worse than death.

Outside of the Youth Center, Bulk and Skull spot a little Red Ranger and yank her helmet off. To the surprise of everyone in the audience, that child-sized Red Ranger is not Jason, but an actual child. Not like this show could make me believe we would be seeing Jason anywhere in this episode anyway. The little girl and her friends all spray Bulk and Skull with silly string before a woman in a witch costume starts beating the shit out of our pals with a broom. If nothing else I appreciate how quickly this plotline was resolved.

The only problem is these scenes are currently padding out an episode that has promised me a MONSTER PARTY. I am vibrating off of my chair hoping to see some of my favorite old creatures pop up, and for once I'm okay only seeing a little bit of Bulk and Skull. These scenes are fine but I want to see monsters like 10 minutes ago. Not some old crone slapping pedophiles with a broom.

The defeated morons sulk on the street corner as they munch on some candy. Instead of continuing to rip childrens' helmets off, the boys come to the conclusion this plan clearly isn't going to work, so they'll need to come up with something else. They see more kids dressed as Rangers and start lazily calling that they need help, and the kids respond by walking away from them really quickly. While this scene feels like there's no effort behind it, I think it perfectly captures Bulk and Skull's attitude. They just got harassed by some old lady in a witch suit, they're tired, they just want to eat some goddamn candy and call this day a wash.

While Tommy walks with the five ominously silent "children", Goldar appears in front of him and cackles. The kids turn into Z-Putties and begin manhandling Tommy. Some Wasserman rock plays as Tommy beats the shit out of the five Putties for having the gall to trick him. Not only that, but none of those little shits dressed as the White Ranger. He's unquestionably the coolest, and definitely has the biggest dick out of all the Rangers.

After a brief Putty battle, Goldar zaps Tommy with energy from his sword that teleports the White Ranger into Zedd's Dark Dimension. Which maybe he could have done before Tommy beat the piss out of all of his Putties, but this show is rated TV Y7FV, and they better live up to that promise of fantasy violence.

Then we cut to a scene apropos of nothing where some weird looking monster made out of keys appears. He purports to be the gatekeeper of Lord Zedd's dimension, where he'll lock in the off-screen Tommy forever. This of course translates to "We had some monster that didn't have any usable fight footage, so here he is locking a door." I sure hope this keyhole mouthed asshole isn't one of Zedd's favorite monsters, because he's going to turn this Halloween party into Shitsville real quick.

A monster so impressive and necessary, we didn't bother giving him a name.

Now that the gatekeeper is gone and forgotten forever, Tommy lands inside of a dark twisted dimension littered with tombstones and fog. Sorry that's not really fair, you're probably imagining something that looks creepy and imposing. To paint a more accurate picture, please imagine your elementary school's attempt at a haunted house, and divide that by 3.

Tommy realizes that wherever he is probably isn't the safest place to be, so he gets ready to morph. Just before he's able to, a tombstone shaped monster and Robogoat appear and restrain him. The tombstone monster, Doomstone (probably, he's never named on-screen), snags Tommy's Morpher and tells the young teen he ain't morphing his way out of this one.

Why didn't anyone tell me MHLCAEH died?!

Doomstone tells Tommy there are some old monsters who wanted to drop by any say hello. Pumpkin Rapper appears and starts dropping some real garbage rhymes. Stuff like "You better just quit or you'll get hit." "Hey don't play he's gettin' away." This motherfucker's less Dr. Dre and more Dr. Seuss. I sure hope Pumpkin Rapper and L'il Wayne do a collab sometime soon. Then L'il Wayne can put his barrel behind Pumpkin Rapper's head. Pop. Pumpkin pie.

Kimberly and Billy enjoy a couple of ice cold waters inside the Youth Center when Kimberly asks if Ernie has seen Jason, Zack, and Trini. Much like the producers of the show, Ernie hasn't seen them in quite a while. Billy asks why Ernie's hands are covered in blood, but Ernie screams that he just said he hadn't seen their stupid friends so quit asking.

Speaking of friends who are probably dead right now, Kimberly hasn't seen Tommy since they took the kids out trick-or-treating. Billy notes that all the kids that signed up are accounted for, so Tommy clearly screwed something up. Don't get me wrong, Lord Zedd might be up to some nasty shenanigans, but it's equally likely Tommy did something dumb again this week.

Kimberly tries contacting Tommy through her Communicator, but after five seconds without a response, she assumes something is wrong. Since this show has no time to let anything simmer and it's too lazy to overlay static sounds on the Communicator to indicate they can't contact him, it just makes Kimberly look like she's drastically upset that Tommy wouldn't respond to her calls the second that she made them. Maybe Tommy's trying to get away from such a clingy girlfriend Kim, did you ever consider that?

Billy and Kim teleport into the Command Center where they tell Zordon that Tommy could be in trouble. Zordon tells them that their fears are well-founded, as Zedd has kidnapped Tommy in his dark dimension, and the guests are playing Insane Clown Posse music really loud. If they don't hurry up, Tommy's going to be drowning himself in Faygo in no time!

Billy prints out the coordinates of Tommy's location as Kimberly asks if the other Rangers can help them. Zordon says he just contacted them off-camera and they have nobody to leave the kids they're chaperoning with, so they're not able to show up on-camera quite yet. Maybe next week though?

Kim and Billy morph and arrive inside Zedd's dimension where Doomstone instructs his monster duo to teach these party crashers a lesson. Instead, Kim decides to teach Robogoat a lesson of her own. A lesson on defying gravity, physics, and all logic.

She learned that one from Chun-Li

Billy doesn't have any cool wirework to show off, so all he does is jump-kick Doomstone and nab Tommy's Morpher. Billy tells Tommy to catch as he chucks the Morpher towards his leader, but instead of filming Tommy grabbing his Morpher, we see it skid across the ground before Tommy picks it up. This fucking show just filmed a stunt actress swinging through the air on wires and you're telling me you can't have a shot of some beefy young stud catching a prop? Power Rangers has some weird priorities.

Tommy nabs his Morpher from the ground and transforms into the White Ranger. Doomstone realizes that his shitty party only has two monsters in it, so he should probably call in some other guests before people realize what a loser he is. Doomstone summons Primator, who notes that it's good to be back. This confirms that all the monsters the Rangers kill are stuck in a miserable limbo where they remain cognizant of their horrific murder for all eternity. 

Primator makes the most of his second life by charging at the Rangers and instantly getting knocked to the ground by one kick. Instead of trying to fight back or attacking, Primator lies on the ground and rolls around. Are we sure these aren't people dressed up as old monsters? I remember them putting up a bit more of a fight than that.

Doomstone tries to summon a monster that won't embarrass itself this time and brings out the Rhinoblaster. Rhinoblaster puts up another mediocre fight, and doesn't make one single fucking football pun. That confirms it, these can't possibly be the real monsters. Thankfully when Rhinoblaster is in trouble, Primator gets back up to help him fight back.

Just funnin' ya.

With another monster succinctly knocked to the ground, Doomstone calls upon the Invenusable Flytrap. Tommy asks if he already ran out of monsters people gave a shit about, as Doomstone frantically tries texting Lizzinator and asks why he isn't here yet. I sit stewing as I pray for a third act cameo from my beloved Frankenstein monster.

While the Rangers knock Flytrap around, Pumpkin Rapper stands in the background and makes some more abysmal rhymes to try and distract the Rangers. That or he's trying to amuse himself. I really don't know anymore. All I know is that Pumpkin Rapper is the Power Rangers version of that dude from your hometown that says he's going to make it big as a rapper while offering his mixtapes to people in exchange for weed.

Now that Flytrap's been knocked to the ground, Doomstone realizes how bad his party is going. He tries to reign things in by bringing in an older monster to pacify the party, Snizard. Pumpkin Rapper informs the Rangers they're in a real spot, and that's totally hot. Much to the surprise of everyone watching, Snizard is also dispatched by a single kick that leaves him rolling on the ground. It doesn't even seem like the monsters are defeated when they get knocked down. They don't dissolve in energy balls or explode or anything to indicate they've lost. They just lay there without budging. What the hell happened to these guys while they were dead?

Alpha 5 panics that the Rangers are completely outnumbered by monsters, particularly monsters who are incredibly weak and are being defeated effortlessly. Zordon tells Alpha that the three Rangers who quit this stupid show need to be summoned, and Alpha will need to watch the kids instead. Alpha says that plan will work perfectly, since it's Halloween and the kids will think he's dressed up in a costume. We obviously can't show any of this because it would involve filming Jason, Trini, and Zack, but Alpha describes it so vividly it almost feels like this hypothetical scene really happened. In fact why bother filming anything when we can just have characters describe things instead? Then we can fire even more actors and make this show for nickels!

The Black, Yellow, and Red Rangers appear inside of Zedd's dimension morphed and ready to pretend they're those three actors that quit a couple weeks ago. Lord Zedd decries the Rangers for trying to make this fight fair, and hurls a Growth Bomb down to Earth. At this point things feel like they're finally heating up a bit. Who's he going to make grow?

We have Invenusable Flytrap who never got to grow, really powerful monsters like Rhinoblaster and Robogoat, and of course the most natural choice would be the new monster Doomstone. He could have all sorts of cool ways to fight the Thunder Megazord. Maybe Zedd's even going to make more than one of the monsters grow! So what's gonna happen? Who's going to grow?

Aw rats.

So for those of you who remember, which God willing is none of you, Pumpkin Rapper is a monster from Zyu2 footage. In his Zord battle he would be fighting the original Megazord and the Dragonzord, neither of which are around anymore. Know what that means? Of course you do. It's another spliced together Zord fight that doesn't look visually appealing!

The Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord arrive to battle the giant Pumpkin Rapper. Tigerzord fires its Thunderbolt which sends Pumpkin Rapper reeling. For some weird reason, the energy effect from the Thunderbolt is superimposed over Pumpkin Rapper's ass when he goes flying back. They didn't even have to overlay that effect, so why they chose to go out of their way to add in a joke about the pumpkin man's ass is beyond me. Maybe because this is a show for a children who might laugh at that, but as an adult watching a show for toddlers I find it none too amusing.

Pumpkin Rapper summons a pair of pumpkin bombs that he throws at the pair of Zords. We don't see the Thunder Megazord get hit by anything, but instead cut to it falling over as though something had hit it. Gee I sure forgot how much I missed these exciting Zord fights where nothing happens. Glad we could squeeze another one in this week.

The Rangers get as bored as I am of this lame Zord battle and finish off Pumpkin Rapper with the Thunder Saber. As he dies he raps something to the effect of "Ow my head, I am dead." I mean that's probably what he said, I've been tuning him out ever since he showed back up.

Back at the Youth Center, Tommy, Kim, and Billy thank their lucky stars they don't have to hang out at Zedd's loser party anymore. Tragically, a certain pair of losers have followed the Ranger Teens to the Juice Bar and complain about having tummyaches from eating too much Halloween candy. Kimberly taunts them by holding up a jar of gummy bears, which prompts the boys to run off and make barfing noises.

So what happened to that Doomstone monster? Or any of the other monsters in Zedd's dimension who may have been defeated but certainly didn't disappear? The only monster that got destroyed was Pumpkin Rapper. Is that Gatekeeper guy ever going to show up again? Is this a cliffhanger? No, of course not. Those monsters all drank Doomstone's special Kool-Aid and Jonestowned themselves apparently. Happy Halloween boils and ghouls!




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Bobbing For Apples






Personal Thoughts


This one was pretty decent. I wouldn't say I liked it as much as the most recent monster mash episode, "Orchestral Maneuvers In the Park", but it was still a fine experience. The action wasn't amazing, but it's still fun to watch the Rangers battling an onslaught of monsters. I wish there would have been more techniques like Kim's crazy sky flip done on the other revived villains, but I guess they blew their budget on those two wires.

Like I mentioned before with Zack, Jason, and Trini's absence, you won't ever be seeing them again on-screen since their actors have quit the show. This means any scenes with them will consist of old footage of the actors standing around saying generic lines, stand-ins who we'll only film from behind, and dubbed over footage of the morphed Rangers. In the meantime prepare for an awful lot of dropped lines about how the other Rangers are off bathing the homeless or negotiating peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

Something that bothered me as a kid was that the monsters that Doomstone summons have fucked up sounding voices. The guy who plays Rhinoblaster does Primtor's voice, even though Primator was voiced by Bulk's actor. You can't possibly tell me you couldn't have Bulk record a few extra lines for that scene. What's weird is that Rhinoblaster is also played by another voice actor, when his original voice is doing another character in the same scene. Flytrap and Snizard are voiced by different actors too, but the Rhinoblaster one bothers me for some reason.

Yeah this is something I've actually thought about. I don't know why either.

That Gatekeeper monster comes from very early on in Dairanger and had little usable battle footage available for Power Rangers. Much like Pursehead he was finished off by the Dairangers with an energy blast attack, and had no Zord battle to be used. They probably just threw the footage of him in here to spice things up and add a new monster to the Ranger Lore. Only problem is how little he actually does or matters since they didn't have his costume to film with. All he gets to do is turn a key in Sentai footage before he's forgotten forever.

Doomstone is a bit more interesting though. He's one of the rather few Dairanger monster costumes that Power Rangers had for filming. They used him to battle an unmorphed Tommy and hang around with some old Zyu2 monsters, so that automatically makes him cooler than Pursehead. Doomstone's Dairanger counterpart was part of a trio of monsters, the other two of which never made it onto Power Rangers. The reason we never got a Doomstone Zord battle is because his two comrades were always in the fights with him.


Also interesting is that the Japanese Doomstone had some crosses sticking out of his back. The American suit appears to have had these removed, likely so religious folks didn't get their panties in a bunch.

Coincidentally, Power Rangers also had the costume of that red guy in the middle. They never managed to squeeze him into an episode. Guess they never felt like having Lord Zedd turn a motorcycle into a monster. Instead we had to get a loser like Mirror Maniac. Hoo-rah.

Last thing to mention is Pumpkin Rapper's Zord battle. I mentioned when he first appeared that there was an unused Zord battle with him, and this is all we've ever seen of it. His Zyu2 footage has yet to be released which means his Zord fight is basically a mystery. It's safe to assume Dragonzord is in the fight since Green Ranger helped battle Pumpkin Rapper, and there's a slash mark when Pumpkin Rapper is defeated meaning he was supposed to be beaten by the Power Sword.

Other than that, this is some of the last new Zyu2 material we'll be seeing in Power Rangers. Who's to say if more footage will be revealed and what questions we can have answered? Until then, keep hoping Jeff Pruitt finds some more of those tapes and is nice enough to upload them. In the meantime, make sure to have a nice and scary Halloween....in 9 months.




2 comments:

  1. Do these made-up backstories tie up loose ends for this episode?

    Keykeeper: A monster Lord Zedd created from some antique key so that he can trap the Rangers in other dimensions. He met his fate off screen at the hands of Jason, Zack and Trini when they combined their Blade Blasters with their never-used Pulse Blasters (Thunder Slingers).

    Doomstone: One of the monsters Lord Zedd created that he tossed out. He was created from some Halloween prop in Tommy's house. When Lord Zedd saw he had potential, with his ability to make phony copies of dead monsters, he was re-invited to be used for his dark dimension plan. When he failed Lord Zedd, he thought he was so un-worthy of growing, that he gave the growth bomb to a phony copy of Pumpkin Rapper.

    Motorpsycho: Another one of Lord Zedd's rejected monsters. He was created from Bulk's father's motorcycle to not only "destroy" the Power Rangers, but to ruin Bulk's day for shits and giggles. After getting kicked out of "Lord Zedd's" fortress, he formed a team with Doomstone and another rejected monster. When Doomstone was re-invited, he fought against Jason, Zack and Trini off-screen and coward out. He has his own motorcycle, and would've prompt Zordon to give the Rangers their 5 Thunder Bikes.

    Big Phoney: Kimberly's parents bought her an expensive pink phone, and Lord Zedd turned that into a monster. Like Motorpsycho and Doomstone, she got rejected and formed an alliance with the two rejected monsters. Motorpsycho was the team leader and when Doomstone was re-invited, she was ordered to hang around with Keykeeper along with Motorpsycho. After Keykeeper was killed by the Jason, Zack and Trini, she chickened out with Motorpsycho and Lord Zedd told the trio to never step foot in "his" fortress again.

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  2. The logic of this episode hurts. How the fuck did they get out of a LOCKED dimension!? Fuck it, Power Rangers can teleport in and I guess teleport out.
    And yeah, the Blue Ranger chucking Tommy's morpher on the ground had me laughing.

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