Tuesday, March 22, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 29: Goldar's Vice-Versa



Bulk and Skull Become Petrified By Human Interaction
Tertiary Villain From 20 Episodes Ago Reappears, Disappears












The time has come. We have a full team of indentured superheroes again. Trini, Jason, and Zack are out of here, and now it's time to learn what these three new characters are all about. They like karate and listening to their parents, but what is it that makes Aisha, Adam, and Rocky different from those other three?

Here's where I'd make a snarky joke about this episode not doing that, but for once the writers made a good decision. This week's adventure details Adam trying to get a date to the school dance, and takes the time to give him a little humanity. Maybe I'm just excited since it's been so long since we had an episode focusing on a single character. That might have something to do with the fact the last 8 episodes did nothing but put a megaphone in your face and scream "JASON, TRINI, AND ZACK ARE QUITTING."  I realize how low a bar I'm setting when I say how excited I am about "an episode that focuses on a character," but we're talking about Power Rangers for Christ's sake. If this show were a person lost in the desert, it would find a way to drown.

Adam and Rocky begin the episode with a robust karate demonstration in the Youth Center. This serves only to remind the audience that all the Ranger Teens are good at martial arts, and that karate fucking rules. After sparring, Adam and Rocky greet Billy and disappointedly ask why he wasn't watching them dicking around on gym mats. Billy probably says something about protons and test-tubes, and asks if his new best friends have heard about the Vice-Versa Dance. A school dance after an impromptu karate display? This week's episode is rocketing through the list of things I make fun of this show for.

Rocky says he'd heard about this dance where the girls are going to ask the boys. WHOA! What a twisty turn. Those things with tits are going to be allowed to make a decision about something? As long as it doesn't involve them birthing I guess we can allow it just this once. When Rocky describes his thoughts on this dance, he reacts with an absolutely deplorably ADR'd line that sounds as good as pubic lice feels. It's hard to explain when something sounds bad, so I tried typing it out phonetically.

"It   s  a-bowt TIme thegirls hatto ask. Thu guides TO A dans."

Fuck almighty. That delivery sounds like an alien trying to mimic human language after observing a colony of people without tongues.

Rocky brags that he's going to the dance with that hot-lips Jessica Peterson. Uh oh! Don't wait up boys, because Rocky's got a date with THE Jessica Peterson. The way Rocky says this girl's name, you can tell she gives the best beejs in the tri-county area. Billy shifts all focus away from him so he doesn't have to make an excuse as to why he doesn't have a date again, and asks Adam who asked him to the dance. Adam becomes very sheepish and responds that he hasn't gotten a date, and he doesn't think any girl will ask him.

The way Adam talks about this is done in such a sweet and understated manner, and it endears me to this guy right off the bat. He's not a flawless genius like Billy, or a karate messiah like Tommy, but a more nervous and relatable character who doesn't have a lot of confidence in himself. Judging from Power Rangers' track record, I'm starting to think they wrote him like this by accident.

Billy proudly admits that no woman finds him attractive enough to speak to either. Aw don't worry Billy, there's plenty of fish in the sea. After the script gives Adam a moment to feel better about himself, it rips his self-esteem right out of his throat by giving Billy a date with Laura. What? You don't remember Laura? That sleepy girl who showed up once in that episode I wrote about while I was depressed? Well now, in Ranger lore, she has spent the past 8 episodes pining for Billy's RADBUG. Is that how long it took his ROPHYbug to convince her he wasn't some unfuckable creep?

You know what this image could use some more of? Plaid.

Okay I apologize. I've been making it sound like Adam is the only guy in town dreading this Vice-Versa shit. Well that couldn't be further from the truth. Two of Angel Grove's most respected loners are sitting at a table talking about how lame all of this mirthful co-ed interaction is. Bulk and Skull are disgusted not only at the fact that their classmates are enjoying themselves, but they didn't get a single scene in the last episode. No wonder it felt so uneven. There wasn't one cake falling to be found.

As it turns out, there's another reason these unsociable dickheads are dreading this dance. Some totally real human females are trying to pursue them! While this joke might work if the girls were made-up to look unattractive or undesirable, you're not going to disgust me with actresses looking like this.

If you've been to community college, you've met these girls.

These gender-swapped sweeties are looking to get sloppy while they grind on Bulk and Skull. The most interesting part of these two is the fact that the wiry skinny girl is hitting on Bulk, while the chubby girl with dark lipstick has a fem-boner for Skull. I'd say more about them, but there's literally nothing else to say. The only character to these two one-off characters is that they want to date the bullies, but the bullies are inexplicably not interested.

I'd like to take a moment to say how happy I am this seems to be a dying trend in media. You know; that stupid "unwanted suitor" nonsense where characters run away from someone that wants to date them. Particularly when you don't give us a reason to think the character is unappealing. Look at those two up there. One of them is kind of chubby? Okay? And? She's not belching and screaming at people, she's only asking Skull if he wants to go out. I mean sure, neither of these two are Jessica Peterson, but they seem like decent girls. Am I missing a joke here?

Out in the deepest and darkest parts of space, Lord Zedd cackles over the fact that Adam isn't going to a school dance. What a petty dipshit. Zedd has access to the most insane galactic magic this world has ever seen, and all he's doing with it today is eavesdropping on teenagers' plans on getting to 2nd base. It's important to contrast this with his plan in last week's episode: blowing up a goddamned planet. It astounds me that this dumbass show can go from "nuclear holocaust" to "can't get a date to the dance :(" in the span of a single episode.

The next day at school, Aisha catches Adam in the hall and asks if he's got a date to the dance yet. Adam looks at her loving eyes and wonders if perhaps this Ranger job was worth it after all. It's given him time to get closer to Aisha, and realize she's far more beautiful than he ever realized. Now she's asking him about a date to the dance? Does she feel the same way about him? Even if we're forced into mortal kombat against hideous beasts from space, we could still do it together. Side-by-side. In love. Adam responds with a wistful tone that he was planning on staying in that night to read. He awaits Aisha's response with baited breath as he prepares to bare his heart to her.

Aisha responds by telling Adam there's a girl on the volleyball team who really thinks he's cute. He should try talking to her.

…Cool. That sounds wonderful Aisha. I'll make sure to think about her as I'm kicking the chair out.

In all seriousness, Aisha telling Adam about a girl who wants to date him showcases something I'm only now noticing. No, not depressing sexual tension between the two of them. It's the fact that Karan Ashley adds a really sincere sweetness to her role as Aisha. I can't tell you much about the character, but she comes across as particularly innocent and warm. She's encouraging Adam to go after this date with a big smile on her face and playfully pats on the arm to ensure him it's a good idea. There's some genuine emotion there that helps make her seem much more vibrant.

From this point forward, even if Aisha is a complete non-character like Trini was, I'm excited for future episodes. Aisha puts a smile on my face by being so exuberant and looking like she isn't being held at gunpoint to be on-camera. For as much as I'm enjoying the portrayal of Adam by some guy who never acted again, Aisha is a breath of fresh air I never anticipated.

Bulk meets up with Skull in the Angel Grove High hallways and inexplicably ignores the fact his skinny friend is wearing an eyepatch in this scene. It might have something to do with the fact that Skull lives in the sewers and someone poured radioactive waste into his eyes. Either way, Bulk shows Skull a note with hearts all over it that someone left in his locker. The note reads "We have what you've been looking for." Bulk assumes this mysterious note is talking about the Power Rangers, and certainly isn't referring to self-respect, dignity, or humility.

Adam heads off to the volleyball courts to meet up with Sarah, the girl Aisha mentioned previously. Lord Zedd claims that if Adam meets up with that girl, his evil plan will be ruined. Let me drop a quick tip to any galactic sorcerers who are reading this. If the best evil scheme you've got planned can be wrecked by your subject talking to someone, go for whatever Plan B was.

Adam tries playing it cool by reminding himself that Sarah is just a human being. Which is dialogue that sounds like it should be coming from a robot. A.D.A.M. has little time to process all of these hughmon emotions though, because the Putties show up to do what they do best.

Dance around like theys a bunch a clowns.

Adam takes a break from his internal monologue to wallop some Putties. Some Wasserman rock sets the mood as Adam demolishes six Z-Putties with little effort. The only problem he runs into is the fact that Sarah has turned tail and gone home while he was murdering people in pajamas. While Zedd obviously has something more planned, I think I'd be pretty okay with an episode where he does nothing but mess with a character trying to get a smooch at the dance. At least Zedd has a heart and doesn't try to break up Rocky and Jessica Peterson. You only get one shot with Jessica Peterson, and even Zedd isn't wicked enough to try and ruin that.

Meanwhile, Bulk and Skull look around for whoever left that note in Bulk's locker. Hold on a sec, they didn't realize it was their female counterparts who left that? The thing was covered in glitter and hearts. It looked like Lisa Frank threw up on it. If you wanted that note to be a mystery, why would you have the prop designer dress it up to be all frilly and romantic? 

Kimberly spends some quality time with Adam and Aisha and fails to offer any meaningful reassurance to the ailing Black Ranger. All she can muster up is "Zedd has the worst timing ever," before she chews on some snacks sitting on the table. Glad we're part of a vigilante alien murdering squad with someone as understanding as you Kimberly. Adam loses the one girl who's into him and all you can offer is "That sucks, but I'm boning the White Ranger so what do I care. Smell ya later twerps." 

After Kimberly and her frigid indifference abandon her two newest and dearest friends, Adam and Aisha notice a crowd forming around someone in the Youth Center's gym. It turns out to be, what else, somebody doing karate. Flip the script though old timer. It ain't just anybody doing some sweet kicks. It's a G-G-G-GIRL!

Sorry sweetheart we already cast the new Yellow Ranger.

Aisha and Adam say they've never seen this girl before, which would mean an awful lot more if these two didn't move to Angel Grove yesterday. After her action-packed display, she introduces herself to Adam and asks if she could hang out with him. Her name is Sabrina, and Adam agrees to introduce her to all five of the people he knows in Angel Grove. Her interactions towards Adam remind the audience that she was hired for her martial arts skills and not her acting talents. Whenever she talks to Adam it sounds like a confused aunt talking to a nephew she hasn't seen in 20 years.

But Sabrina seems to have the social graces of a sloth. Aisha offers her hand for a handshake, and Sabrina shoves her gym bag into Aisha's face while introducing herself to Adam. It's almost like this girl isn't quite on the up and up, and has some sort of predilection for Adam. Zedd also mentioned having his own date for Adam, and Zedd is known for being a not very nice guy. Hm…Oh well, probably nothing worth reading into. Let's go learn new ways to kick things, Sabrina!

Bulk and Skull hide out in the Youth Center hoping to avoid their female counterparts. Not much of a hiding spot since it's one of the only two sets this show ever films in, which naturally leads to the girls showing up a few seconds later. Bulk and Skull leap behind Ernie's counter where they land safely on the corpses of numerous dead immigrants clutching half-burnt work Visas.

Ernie asks what their rancid asses are doing there, but the bullies beg him to keep quiet, or else they might have to interact with women who are interested in pursuing them romantically! Ernie kindly allows them to stay back behind the counter so long as they clean out all of his mousetraps with their tongues. Skull asks why they can't use their hands, and Ernie responds by belching in their faces as he takes another swig of bourbon.

After a conversation with Sabrina, Adam is on cloud 9. Some girl who likes karate talked to him? She called him a good martial artist? That's a certified Power Ranger proposal. Aisha walks in to bring Adam back down to Earth as she suggests Sabrina seems a bit fishy. Maybe it was the fact that all the flowers died  when she walked past them, but something wasn't quite right. Adam tells Aisha the three of them should all go hiking together tomorrow, which will give Aisha a better chance to get to know Sabrina better. That's got to be the clumsiest attempt at angling a threesome I've seen since the last birthday party my sister and her husband let me attend.

Oh and in case the subtlety of this children's program was eluding you, Sabrina is hiding in a corner while she snickers about her fiendish trap. As long as that LITTLE FRIEND OF HIS doesn’t get in her way. You know I hate to point fingers, but I'm starting to think that Sabrina might have some kind of ulterior motive.

Adam, Aisha, and Sabrina take their hike in the woods, which immediately goes to Shitsville. Sabrina awkwardly and loudly asks Adam why he brought Aisha along. This was supposed to be a day for Adam, Sabrina, and the plague of locusts that follow Sabrina around wherever she goes. Keep in mind Sabrina says all of this right as Aisha is following two feet behind her. Adam says he wants the two of them to get along and y'know…kiss if they were feeling down for it. No pressure. Sabrina tells him not to hold his breath, because she arbitrarily hates Aisha and can't go four seconds without mentioning it. Sorry, I take back everything I said about this being nonsensical. This is the most accurate portrayal of a relationship I've ever seen.

As the teens continue their hike, Goldar appears in front of them with a new batch of Z-Putties. The teens tell Sabrina to take cover, but she tells the Power Rangers she's a big girl and can take care of herself. She's also a horrific scorpion demon who was born from a boulder that rolled out of the depths of Hell, so this isn't a big deal to her.

Scorpina maybe you shouldn't be holding the blade side of your sword.

Yes that's right, Sabrina was secretly Scorpina the entire time. Whazat? You don't remember Scorpina? The villain who hasn't made an appearance for 28 episodes? Yeah that Scorpina. The one who was relegated to cameos in the back 15 episodes of Season 1. Of course, why wouldn't you remember her? Is it because we haven't heard anything about her for half the fucking season?

Okay I'm only nitpicking now because it's such an odd surprise to see Scorpina returning. I'm not actually annoyed, but perplexed that she's been absent for so long. Apparently she was still on the writer's minds because they chose this episode to bring her back. For all the facetious complaining I did before, I appreciate that the show remembered they had a character from Season 1 who was completely abandoned. Now we sit with baited breath waiting for the Squatt and Baboo focus episode the fans are surely clamoring for.

Aisha says she knew there was something off about Sabrina, and now she thinks that slightly more! Scorpina and Goldar enact their devious plot to ensnare Adam and Aisha. Goldar zaps the two teens with energy from his sword, which binds them to a nearby tree with a magical rope. That's it? Then what was the point of Scorpina's deception? It's not like she caused a rift between Adam and Aisha. She revealed herself like an hour after she met the Ranger Teens. Was all of this necessary to hogtie some dorks? They did that shit in Deliverance and didn't need a single scorpion lady to do it.

Gonna make em SQUEAL

Inside the Youth Center, Miss Applebee says their preparations for this teenage orgy have gone off without a hitch. Billy says it's gotten everybody's hormones raging so bad, that even that pathetic loser Adam got a date to the dance with that foxy new girl. Miss Applebee says unless she's been hallucinating due to her extensive usage of peyote, she hasn't seen any new girls at Angel Grove High since Aisha showed up.

Credit where it's due, I'm glad this show addressed the fact that Aisha is also a new student. Sometimes new characters are treated like they've been part of the cast from the first episode, but at least they're acknowledging the change happened. The last thing I need is getting Bewitched by this baby karate program.

Tommy shows up and asks where Adam is, and if anyone was talking about karate while he was in the can. Kimberly realizes something's up if there's no girl named Sabrina going to their school. Hey here's a thought. Maybe Adam made up a girlfriend to get all you nosy fucks out of his business. Sorry guys, I don't feel like going to the dance tonight. I'd rather be away from all you monster slaughtering weirdos for one goddamned night of peace and quiet.

The other four Ranger Teens drop by the Command Center where Alpha locates Adam and Aisha. Kimberly gasps when she sees Scorpina has shown up again, and Rocky asks who this scorpion-broad is, and where she's been for so long. Zordon tells him that pointing out dropped plotlines in this show's narrative is against his prime directive as a Ranger. Better not break that rule Rocky! Wouldn't want Zordon to blow up the bomb he put inside your brain.

The Rangers morph and teleport to the park where Goldar and Scorpina lie in wait for them. As the Rangers tries to save Adam and Aisha, Goldar re-summons his Z-Putties to…I really need to emphasize that this was their entire plan. For Goldar to put a rope around two of the Rangers and send Putties to fight the others. Adam beat an entire group of Putties without morphing in this very episode. This is what you called Scorpina out of retirement for? If Goldar had his sword to a Ranger's throat he would call up some Z-Putties to gibber around before he does it.

The primary three Rangers battle the Putties while White Ranger shows why he's so much more important than them by fighting Goldar and Scorpina at the same time. Sorry Rangers, maybe you can do things that matter when you're profitable again. Once the Putties are finished off, Billy whips out his Power Lance and slashes the rope that binds Adam and Aisha. The two morph just in time to make a difference in the fight with Goldar and Scorpina.

Maybe don't use slo-mo on a shot where your kicks don't connect.

Lord Zedd realizes his plan is coming undone faster than Jessica Peterson's bra after prom. He hurls one of his patented Growth Bombs to Earth and maximizes Scorpina and Goldar. The Rangers are petrified that two opponents from Season 1 are back to fight their significantly superior Zords. Zordon alleviates their fears by informing his slaves that the Thunder Ultrazord has been enhanced to take care of the monsters' combined threat. Were Scorpina and Goldar threatening? I remember them being humiliating jabronis back in Season 1. Not to mention Goldar's track record this season has been more embarrassing than his lust for foreign objects getting lost inside him.

The Rangers summon their Zords to engage in another riveting splice-fight with an opponent they can't be in frame with. Scorpina launches her head stinger at the Tigerzord, and we cut to it surrounded by explosions. Scorpina fires blasts from her claw, and we cut to the Thunder Megazord surrounded by explosions. It's one of the better attempts at a splice-fight, but it's still clear that something isn't right with what you're watching. These fights always pop in just when you think Season 2 is improving, only to slap you in the face with a harsh dose of reality.  

Though let's not forget, Zordon did guarantee us we would be getting a Thunder Ultrazord use today. My hopes were raised to the sky that we would see Tor try and crush Scorpina and Goldar, but instead of that we got this horseshit.

Thunder Ultrazord GIF
Wow what an amazing onslaught.

Power Rangers, I don't ask you for much. You give me a 300 ton turtle falling on top of people and I come to hope you'll continue delivering on that. As soon as you offer said turtle and give him a couple dinky laser blasts for a finishing move? You are spitting in my face. Why are Tor's blasters firing before his shell even closes? Why are his goofy turtle eyes glowing red? What was the point of putting the Thunderzords on top of Tor if all he's going to do is fire a couple blasts from his dinky cannons? When I get off a hard night at work and want to see a turtle crush someone to death, this is my only option. Wait...is the pet store still open?

That night, the Ranger Teens enjoy the Vice-Versa Dance where they reassure Adam that there are worse things than being without a date. Tommy mocks his lovesick comrade's heartbreak by saying "Yeah you could be here with Scorpina." Man what a trainwreck that would be huh? Out on a date with a sexy scorpion lady who's been around the block a few times? The kind of woman who knows every point on your body to drive you wild. Yeah I'm glad you shooed her away Tommy. I wanted to go to bed alone tonight. Enjoy your vapid karate-less sex with Kimberly while she pretends you're anybody else you dimwitted fuck.

Then that girl Sarah from earlier shows up and Adam asks her to dance. If you didn't see that resolution coming, then I hope your fingers haven't gotten sore from the Braille conversion of this blog.

Bulk and Skull hang around the party while they complain about all these normie losers enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. Ernie shows up to deliver another one of those love notes to Bulk and Skull, and tells them he's done taking their mail. Either they hire a secretary, or they find out the address to that dumpster they live in. When Ernie walks off in a huff, Skull snarls out one of the funniest goddamn lines in this episode, and an accurate summary of my life. "You'll never escape Bulk and Skull!" On paper it doesn't sound like much, but the fact that Skull is yelling at a mid-level café owner for refusing to deliver his mail is so perfectly absurd. As if Ernie should be privileged to deliver mail containing complimentary samples of dog food to these two lummoxes.

To the surprise of absolute nobody, the notes have been written by Girl Bulk and Skull. They offer the bullies true love, and aggressively take them onto the dance floor. The girls kiss Bulk and Skull before they pull back. The indescribable taste of Skull's lips, the disgusting dessert taste caking Bulk's. The girls see their own mortality after the taste of bully saliva passes into their poor unsuspecting lips. Their horrific experience causes the ladies to begin projectile vomiting all over the entire Youth Center. Enjoy everyone, you just witnessed the moment two young women discovered they were lesbians.




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Scorpina



Personal Thoughts


This one's actually quite a bit more fun than I remembered it being. I'm pretty shocked that an episode following Adam and Aisha was as worthwhile as this. Not to mention Power Rangers actually followed up on a character they left hanging from Season 1. For a show as feverishly episodic as this I'm always impressed to see it remember something it did previously.

It was also nice to get a little bit of character for Adam and Aisha. Emphasis on the word little, but at this point it's pretty obvious Power Rangers isn't too interested in delving into the psyche of superhero teenagers. Aisha is a go-getter who tries to make her friends happy, and Adam is a shy sweetheart who struggles with self-confidence. If nothing else, that's something. Already more than we got out of Trini in a season and a half.

To be honest, the only thing I have to talk about in this episode is Scorpina. This reappearance was supposed to lead into more episodes featuring Scorpina in Season 2, but all of them were in unproduced scripts. Also I think there was something about her actress not being able to keep coming back? I don't know. Maybe because Power Rangers realized they'd have to pay her. That means this Scorpina's triumphant return will also be the final time anyone sees her.

If anyone has a bit more information on why the actress for Sabrina never showed up again, drop me a comment and enlighten my foolishness. I know she does some of the Power Rangers conventions, but I don't feel like blowing 400 dollars to go ask some scorpion lady why she didn't fight a guy dressed as a tiger more.





2 comments:

  1. I saw some interview with the actress on Youtube where she said that as far as she'd have been concerned, she'd have come back anytime because y'know, when starting out in the business and you gotta pay the bills, you never turn down a gig. But she never heard anything from them, so either her agent didn't pass it on to her or the production team never got to the stage of contacting her. Or lost her number, which wouldn't surprise me.

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  2. Regarding the gender swapped Bulk and Skull chicks, who I have effectionately named Bulkmyra and Skellerina, I actually have a pet theory about them.

    Now, I could be reading too much into this, but for a show like Power Rangers, particularly in these early days of the MMPR era, where things are so formulaic and episodic it's ridiculous, you latch onto whatever nuggets of inspiration to fill in the blanks whenever possible.

    Anyway, my thinking about those girls is this: Bulkmyra is Bulk's twin sister, and Skellerina is Skull's twin sister. And it is my thinking that the reason Bulk and Skull are so terrified of them is because for Bulk to date Skellerina would be almost like if he were dating Skull, likewise if Skull hooked up with Bulkmyra. For them, it would not only be weirdly incestuous, but also weirdly homoerotic as well. I could be totally wrong, and it's probably not what was intended, but like I said it's just my own theory. Cuz if you take that into account, it certainly does add quite a bit psychologically to Bulk & Skull.

    It's a shame those chicks didn't stick around, I thought they were kinda cool actually.

    I remember this episode very fondly, and also being impressed that they brought back Scorpina, even if it was just for one episode. And again it's a shame they didn't bring her back more often because Scorpina was also a fan favorite, but that was largely due to the attractiveness of the actress that played Lamie on Zyuranger.

    I also rather liked the characterization given to Adam of him being shy and unsure of himself when it came to girls. I identified with that very much because I was very much like that growing up, I was a shy, sweet natured guy but unsure of himself. So it was nice to see that portrayed on the show, and it was also nice to see Adam grow out of that so by the time we get to his reappearance during 'In Space' to lend a hand to Carlos, we see him as a fully confident adult whose leaps into battle to lend a hand even without his Ranger powers and even risks his life to utilize a damaged Power Morpher in order to help his friend.

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