Tuesday, April 12, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 32: Rocky Just Wants to Have Fun


Rocky Loses Control of Motor Skills
Rhyming Pinball Machine Chases Frisbee







Well it's about time we get an episode focused on the new Red Ranger. Obviously our lord and savior Thomas J. Oliver is now in charge of the Power Rangers, but Rocky is the Red Ranger for crying out loud. He's on the front of all the merchandise, his Zord makes up 80% of the Thunder Megazord, he's the 2nd in command of the team by design. So why have we been excluding him like he's got leprosy? Adam has been in the spotlight for the last 3 episodes, and Aisha got a little bit of focus with him. Gun to my head I couldn't tell you anything about Rocky. So now we get to learn all about him the best way possible. An episode where he's put under a spell that makes him act out of character.

One step forward, twelve steps back.

In the Youth Center, Billy and Rocky discuss their upcoming math exam. They do so the only way the writer knows how, by spouting off a bunch of math jargon he barely remembers from Algebra 2 because he was busy staring at some classmate's tits. The two Ranger Teens are soon distracted from their inane math discussion when Ernie unveils the newest chintzy piece of shit that's going to put Ernie's Juice Bar on the map. A brand new pachinko machine straight out of that hot new store in the mall: "We Have Footage of a Pachinko Monster and Couldn't Fit it in Naturally, so Who Gives a Fuck?"

Billy describes the rules of pachinko to Rocky as he explains this is a game that's quite popular in Asia. Oh right Asia, that's the country that Trini lived in wasn't it? Well Rocky plays a round of pachinko and immediately declares it to be more goddamned fun than anything else he's experienced in his entire stupid life. The only problem is the way Rocky delivers this line.

Steve Cardenas, the guy who plays Rocky, will be a much better actor later on in this series. The problem is that in this episode it's clear he doesn’t know what the fuck he's supposed to be doing. He delivers the line "This is too fun!" in the most sing-songy obnoxious way, and I instinctively start vomiting. He delivers that line like he's the host of a show on Nick Jr. about helping cartoon animals find ice cream cones. This particularly enrages me because Power Rangers is certainly not a show for children, and should be treated much more seriously.

Rocky Pachinko gif
There is nothing in any person's life that merits that happy of a response.

Lord Zedd comes up with a real doozy of a plan today. Rocky's enjoyment over a single round of pachinko has left him with this stunning analysis; humans enjoy having fun. Sweet Georgia brown, you've really got their number now Zedd. Next you're going to tell me that they like how oxygen tastes and find not being shot to death "pretty nifty."

Zedd decides to cast a stupid spell on Rocky that makes him unable to stop having fun. Goldar acts as a surrogate for anyone with ears and asks Lord Zedd why he would do that. Zedd reacts with a Neil Hamburger-esque "WHY?!" before claiming that it will  lower the morale of the Power Rangers. At least it will right after your regularly-scheduled commercial break.

…Then we cut back from commercial to see Zedd sitting bored, and immediately firing a beam of energy at Rocky. Why bother putting the commercial there if you were going to directly follow up on that scene the second the commercial came back? It's not like that was some horribly tense moment. Zedd casts spells on people every week. You don't even give the audience enough time to chew on one of Zedd's threats. He says he's got something evil planned, then immediately goes through with it. Thanks for watching 3 minutes of ads about NESQuik, Six Flags, and Creepy Crawlers to see that scene through.

Rocky becomes enamored with the pachinko machine due to Zedd's spell, and refuses to pull himself away when Billy reminds him that they should be studying. Billy starts to get ornery with Rocky's selfishness, because solving complex equations is the only way he knows how to get off. Rocky tells Billy to take his braniac studying somewhere else. Whoa Rocky. I didn't know Zedd inflicted you with a spell to hurt feelings too. Zordon could still demote you down to Black Ranger if you keep mouthin' off.

While Rocky wastes his time dicking around on a piece of shit from Pier 1, Lord Zedd boots up Serpentera so he can make an appearance on Earth. He's ready to atone for his humiliating losses and the emasculation of his gargantuan deathbeast. He's going to wipe out the whole world with his Zord and show those Rangers who's boss around here. Since this isn't a two-part episode I wouldn’t count on any of those threats sticking.

Skull trounces into the Youth Center where he shoves a bunch of paperwork in front of Bulk's face. Bulk gets incensed at his cohort's actions, as he's playing an arcade game at the time. If this episode were a little smarter, it might try paralleling Rocky's behaviors to Bulk's. No time for that shit though, we got 20 minutes to fill and that ain't gonna take enough of 'em.

Skull showcases a big list of conspiracy theories to Bulk all about when monsters attacked Angel Grove. Then he mentions how he made a pie chart, and gestures to Bulk. Bulk opens the box in front of him, which has a big awful looking label reading "PIES" on the front of it, and looks disgusted. He throws the box off-camera, and I have no idea what the joke was supposed to be.

So I guess Skull bought actual pies and referred to them as a pie chart? I mean I understand the attempt at wordplay if that's what they were doing I guess. It's just that we never see what's inside the box so I really don't know. They shoot this scene like Bulk is looking into Marsellus Wallace's briefcase. Did pies cost too much so someone on staff refused to buy them? Why would Bulk throw a box of pies and not throw an actual pie? You can make a big stupid mess that way. Why are you writing a Bulk and Skull scene that stinks so bad that you're actively preventing me from seeing someone get made messy?

A 2nd grade science project was used as a prop in this scene.

Skull's rambling Alex Jones-ian babble leads to his main point. Ernie has called into work every time a monster has attacked the city in the last six months. He believes that Ernie truly is Pepe Silvia a Power Ranger. While I won't take the time to prove this hypothesis clearly false with evidence from the show, why is this the leap in logic Skull makes? Perhaps it's more possible that Ernie is practicing deplorably shady business tactics and chooses not to come in when he doesn't feel like it. Though I'm more curious who he's having fill in for him? We never don't see Ernie in the Juice Bar, so is he bringing in his non-union Mexican equivalent Ernesto?

A little girl named Kayla comes up and asks Rocky if he's ready to help with her karate lesson, but he blows her off because she isn't a novelty toy from Japan. He informs her that karate is too much work and she should play video games instead. Kayla rambles about green belts or something, and Rocky informs her that he "just wants to have fun." Very subtle stuff going on here, but I think this particular line may be in reference to the title of the episode, "Lions and Blizzards."

The other four Ranger Teens enjoy some fun of their own while playing Frisbee in the park. Oh no! More humans having fun?! ZEDD MUST HAVE GOTTEN TO THEM TOO!!!

No, thankfully they're just engaging in standard human fun-having and killing time in the park. Billy drops by to kill everyone's buzz and tell them how Rocky is acting like a complete dork. Maybe it's because Zordon has forced a bunch of perfectionist nerds into a soul destroying position as intergalactic crime-fighters and one of them finally snapped.

Zedd gets wind of the Ranger Teens trying to mess with his plans, so he ambushes them with a pack of Z-Putties to bring the heat. The Ranger Teens kick some Putty ass around a set of playground equipment, and Aisha contacts Zordon while saying there are Putties all over the place. Credit to this episode, this Putty fight is actually filmed in a way that makes her concern sound true. There are only about six Z-Putty costumes, but they're running around each Ranger Teen so quickly, it creates the illusion there are several more of them. It's the Power Rangers equivalent of the Battle of Winchester.

Even though the Rangers are shown to be slaughtering the Putties, Alpha contacts Rocky. When Zordon informs him that his teammates are battling in the park, Rocky tells the old bag of plasma to buzz off. After hanging up on the interdimensional space-head who could kill him with a single thought, Rocky realizes he could also potentially have fun in the park. So if you thought this episode was trying to rally against people staying indoors and playing video games, guess again dorkasaurus. It's actually about not having too much fun. An important moral to teach kids so they realize life will soon be squeezing every inkling of joy from their bodies.

Rocky shows up in the park but offers zero assistance to his team. He opts to mess around on the monkey bars and goof around instead. The same shit he's been doing for the last five minutes. It's a shame I don't know who Rocky is other than some boring white guy who loves breaking kids' spirits or else this change in his demeanor might strike me as jarring. Oh well, the Ranger Teens beat the Putties without his help and Lord Zedd gets sick of this bullshit, so he makes a monster. Out of what you may ask? Well let's just say it's something you never would have expected to turn into a monster as it was seamlessly woven into the tapestry of this script.

Unless you guessed that pachinko machine.

Zedd's new monster emerges and starts showcasing his obnoxious gimmick. Speaking almost entirely in really shitty rhymes. Billy informs the world of this monster's name by yelling out "Aw man it's a big Pachinkohead!" How Billy knows that is something I'm not sure of, but I assume it's because whoever wrote this script couldn't think of a word that rhymed with head, so the monster couldn't give its own name.

Rocky becomes enamored with this deluxe pinball machine and runs to join his friends. All six of the Rangers morph and get ready to fight this big piece of shit, but Rocky can't help himself from having fun.

I probably could have stolen this gif from Ebaums World

Pachinkohead informs the Rangers that he enjoys having fun, and the rest of the Rangers are perplexed as to why Rocky is acting like such a complete cock. Tommy asks Aisha and Adam if they remember Rocky behaving like a giant infant whenever he was exposed to gimmicky junk from foreign countries. Aisha says she doesn't know anything about Rocky aside from the fact he's a complete zilch in terms of personality. He might like karate? That's about it. Otherwise there's nothing else notable about him. He's the definition of whitebread. 

While the Rangers surround the monster, Pachinkohead shows off the one skill he's got. He zaps the Yellow, Blue, and Pink Rangers with an energy beam from his eye, and transforms them into oversized pachinko balls. I hope you like the premise of several Power Rangers being transformed into oversized versions of things, because we still have Season 3 to talk about.

Rocky is elated to see half of his team murdered by a giggling pinball machine, and gives the monster a round of applause. Well I mean he tries to, but clapping isn't fun so he's not sure how to do that.

Whiff

Hey here's a note to the editor, if the guy in the suit fucks up a clap, maybe cut that part out or ask him to do another take. What the fuck am I watching?

Adam and Tommy roll out of the way of Pachinkohead's attack and try to think up a plan of attack against the monster. Instead of helping out, Rocky starts playing with Pachinkohead and kicks around the corpses of his pinball-ized friends. I'm thinking that Lord Zedd's spell only changed Rocky into a fun-loving goof, but it couldn’t change the fact that deep down he's a horrific psychopath.

Pachinkohead enjoys a bit more corpse kicking before zapping Adam and Rocky and turning them into pachinko balls as well. Uh oh! Only Tommy is left to fight the monster now. Thankfully, Tommy finds that Frisbee the Rangers were playing with earlier and hurls it across the park. As it turns out, Pachinkohead behaves similarly to the spellbound Rocky and can't help but play whenever he wants. The monster runs after the flying disc before Tommy gathers up his pachinko ball friends and teleports them into the Command Center. If you want to know why this episode is stupid, read that last sentence on more time.

When Tommy gets into the Command Center, he asks why Rocky couldn't stop acting like such a jackass during the battle with Pachinkohead. Zordon says it might be that Rocky is a particularly worthless addition to their team, and they'll need to find some other dweeb who dedicates his entire life to karate and recycling. Tommy says there's no time for that, and they'll have to figure out a way to fix the issue Rocky is having before the end of this episode. Alpha 5's scan uncovers Zedd's fun-loving spell and explains to Tommy that must be why Rocky was acting this way.

It might just be me pouting, but that's kind of a shitty way to write characters when the only time they're allowed to have flaws is when you cast an evil spell on them. It's not like Rocky was acting particularly irresponsible before Zedd's magic. He played one round of a game he liked before Zedd zapped him. Why wouldn't you portray Rocky slightly brushing off his studying before having Zedd exacerbate the situation with his magic? You're not giving a character anything to overcome, you're just adding a problem that Alpha 5 needs to solve by waving a magic wand over it.

There's no time for Tommy to fuss though, because Pachinkohead is going on a rampage in an amusement park. The White Ranger morphs to the scene of the crime. Then whoever is editing the episode just stops caring and glues together a bunch of Sentai scenes with Pachinkohead talking, then cuts to other Sentai scenes of the White Ranger doing stuff. Since Pachinkohead is never on camera with the White Ranger, it amounts to a bunch of scenes of nothing happening. The exact kind of pulse-pounding action this episode needed to tide me over.

Lord Zedd realizes his dipshit monster isn't really achieving much, so he tosses a Growth Bomb to the monster. Pachinkohead goes gigantic, and Tommy calls in the White Tigerzord to stop him. Oops! Wait a minute. We don't have footage of that either, so Pachinkohead fires two energy beams from off-screen that immediately knock the Tigerzord out of commission. Tommy contacts Zordon and says that he needs someone to help him be an effective leader for once.

Alpha uses some magical Shopvac to change Rocky back to normal, which also reverts Zedd's spell over him I guess? Nobody talks about it anymore, and Rocky seems like he's back to being a boring cornball loser. Hurray! The problem has been solved due to teamwork and doing your homework. Glad we could solve the problem that was the crux of the episode while a character was turned into a giant marble.

Rocky morphs and summons the Red Dragon Thunderzord to battle Pachinkohead. The Red Dragon Warrior Mode spin kicks Pachinkohead a few times as we finally get a little more action going in this episode. Nice to see an actual fight with the monster as opposed to Tommy playing hide and go seek with him in an amusement park. Thanks for taking 15 minutes to get to the stuff I was waiting for this week Power Rangers.

Alpha uses science magic to restore the other four Rangers, because he used more electricity or something. In case anyone in the universe could possibly give a shit. Doesn't matter, we have a monster to wrap up. The other four Rangers morph and summon their Thunderzords to join with Rocky and bring out the Thunder Megazord. Pachinkohead chuckles and puts up a particularly mediocre fight against the Megazord before he's punched a couple times and falls down.

Instead of giving the monster a fighting chance to stand up again, the Thunder Megazord whips out its saber and slashes the collapsed monster to death. Jesus. Next time you talk about always fighting fair, don't forget you murdered an opponent who was defenseless on the ground. Way to teach the kids about pacifism, shitheads.

Well now that the monster has been destroyed, the Rangers have saved the day and there's nothing left to worry about! Looks like smooth sailing for the Pow-

Oh yeah.

While I'd love to say Serpentera gives the Rangers a real doozy of a fight, I don't much feel like talking about it. Why's that? Because I've already described this scene before. It's the exact same fight between the Red Dragon Thunderzord and Tor from "The Power Transfer Part 1", only it doesn't have a red tint over it. There's nothing new to add to it. They had so little usable footage of Serpentera that they had to resort to using one of its best scenes in its entirety a second time.

I mean cool to see a good scene. Again. …I guess.

So whatever, Zedd's Zord drains its battery as it stomps on Tor. Serpentera's eyes go dim and Zedd throws a big 'ol hissy fit about it. Serpentera flees back to the Moon and a generation of children learn the meaning of blue balls while this episode sputters out and dies in the middle of the highway.

Back at the Youth Center, Bulk and Skull realize that Ernie can't be a Power Ranger if he was there during the battle with Zedd's forces. Wow, glad we wrapped that riveting plotline up. Bulk and Skull thought Ernie was a Ranger, they found out he wasn't, and hilarity failed to ensue. A riveting B-plot like that is exactly what keeps fans tuning in.

When Rocky shows up, he tells Aisha and Billy he'll study with them as soon as he teaches his karate class. Billy asks if Rocky is making an excuse to goof off, and Rocky promises that he won't do anything like that again. Possibly because he's no longer under an evil spell and should have been absolved of all this shade getting thrown his way. I'm sorry Zedd cast an asshole spell on Rocky, maybe you guys could be a bit more sympathetic about it. All he wanted to do was enjoy a few rounds of pachinko and now he's getting shit for it. Hope you enjoy pushing Rocky away into a cold, hard gambling addiction you smug pricks.

Oh yeah and then Rocky teaches that girl from earlier a karate lesson, and Ernie gets his pachinko machine back. I'm glad we all learned a valuable lesson about keeping overbearing idiots in our lives. The kind who get all huffy when something happens to their friend that was completely out of his control. Make sure to put up with it for as long as possible so they can slowly erode your self-esteem and make you regret opening up to them. Happy to have you on the team Rocky!



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Pachinko




Personal Thoughts


I can sum up this episode in two letters.

P.U.

No seriously, what an awful showing of a character. I actually came away from this episode knowing less about Rocky than when I knew nothing about him. We got a deeper look at Pachinkohead in this episode than we did Rocky. Give me something to latch onto here Power Rangers. This is a brand new character, and you make it so that he isn't himself for 2/3rds of the episode. He's either a fun-loving goof under a spell or a pachinko ball. I know this show stinks at establishing characters, but the first episode focusing on someone shouldn't be an episode like this. Also it should preferably be an episode that isn't dogshit.

So Pachinkohead, yet another monster that leaves me feeling bland. I think of him as a complete bore even though I kind of like his design. He's got pins all up and down his arms to represent how a pachinko board is laid out. He's also got wrist and ankle braces that are studded with pachinko balls, and honestly those are cute touches. The problem is he's given so little to do in this episode. In such a shitty episode, that's going to bring things down pretty bad.

The most interesting thing about this monster is how he was originally supposed to be destroyed. No, originally the Thunder Megazord didn't murder a pleading and defenseless opponent. In the Sentai series Dairanger, Serpentera landed on Earth during the fight between Pachinkohead and Thunder Megazord. In the Japanese series, Serpentera was a neutral character who was sick to death of the fighting between the Dairangers and their opponents. He decided to intervene in the battle and finally put his foot down.

…Sorry.

So yeah, they would have had to adapt this scene as Zedd killing his own monster or accidentally landing on it or something.

While Season 2 was airing, parents were complaining that Lord Zedd was way too scary for kids and needed to be toned down. Because children aren't allowed to see things that are cool or interesting. Even if the writers were willing to write a scene of Zedd getting pissed off at his shitty monster and killing it, there's no way they could get away with it this late into the season. Parents would have been all the way up Saban's ass over that. Not to mention the show would have to really write up a reason for Zedd to be mad at Pachinkohead in particular. Every single one of Zedd's awful monsters has failed, so it wouldn't make sense for him to arbitrarily kill this one.

I dunno. I probably would have thought it was cool. Tell me what you guys think. Cool? No? What am I even talking about?




3 comments:

  1. Not sure why they thought to put Serpentera in here at all, if they were just going to kill Pachinkohead anyway. Did they not have enough footage for a full episode without the Serpentera fight?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To sell Serpentera toys?

      Delete
  2. "I probably could have stolen this gif from Ebaums World"
    Correction: You probably could have stolen that gif from whoever Ebaums World stole it from originally. :P

    ReplyDelete