Tuesday, May 17, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 37: Forever Friends



Jetpacks Used to Assault Superheroes
Women in Spandex Jump Around for Audiences' Amusement













INT. Solid Gold Mansion. November 27th 1994


What do you mean toy sales are down .03%?! We introduced that turtle Zord and the Power Cannon, why aren't kids buying those?

Well sir, Tor isn't going to show up in any more of our scripts. Not to mention that Power Cannon has only been used once.

I DON'T GIVE A HOT GAY FUCK! We could sell those dumbass kids shaving kits if we slap the Power Rangers logo onto it. What's a demo we're not pulling numbers in?

It seems like we aren't doing particularly well with young girls. They don't seem to be buying repurposed Barbie dolls that we put yellow and pink pajamas on.

The hell they aren't! Then tell my wife to write a script focusing on those girls. Kimmy and Trendy.

Um…Sir? Thuy Trang no longer works for us. You laughed her out of the office when she asked for more money.

AND I'D DO IT AGAIN TOO! Now call up Australia. I hear they'll pay me to film a movie in their shithole country. You tell 'em when I get there they better have toilets that flush the right way, or we're gonna be down a continent.



Time for an episode devoted to the members of the Power Rangers without a Y chromosome. Season 2 already had a girl power episode early on, but we haven't done one with Aisha yet! This show wants us to believe that Aisha and Kim are best buds through thick and thin, so it's about time to prove that's true instead of just paying lip service.

Aisha watches Kimberly practice her gymnastics in the Youth Center and tells Kim about how great the gymnasts were at Stone Canyon High School. Kimberly isn't excited to hear this, because she's going to be participating in a gymnastics competition against Stone Canyon! Way to keep your friends' spirits high Aisha. Take your nostalgia down a notch.

Aisha mentions her dear friend Shawna was a gymnast at Stone Canyon. Three seconds pass by after Aisha says this, and Shawna walks into the Juice Bar. The brass balls it takes for this show to shoehorn exposition and character introductions that awkwardly is breathtaking.

Aisha says how happy she is to see Shawna, and Shawna's response is less than warm.

Aisha Power Rangers Hug
I have never seen someone chew gum so disdainfully. 

As soon as the two old friends begin conversing, it becomes evident what the issue is. Shawna is irritated that Aisha transferred from Stone Canyon and clearly hasn't been keeping in touch. Aisha mentions that she didn't choose to transfer on her own, that decision was up to her parents and Haim Saban.

Shawna points her icy glare at Kimberly next. She realizes that two girls hanging out together in the '90's have clearly synchronized their menstrual cycles and become lifelong besties. Kimberly tries politely introducing herself to Shawna, which is met with a look of pure contempt. 

Power Rangers Shawna
Every girl I asked out in the 8th grade.jpg

The most striking thing about this scene is that Aisha isn't defensive or frustrated with all this shade Shawna is throwing her way. Instead, she's very kindly trying to pacify her friend's barely concealed disgust. It's a nice way to set up Aisha having a very warm personality, even if it's something this show isn't going to offer much insight towards. Shawna is written as immediately abrasive, which doesn't quite work for me, but I understand why she's supposed to be pissed. Aisha made a new best pal in Angel Grove and left her in the dirt. It's a relatively human reaction for a show that's clearly written by Martians. 

Speaking of Martians, Lord Zedd finds this situation with Shawna to be his golden opportunity to split up the Rangers. All he has to do is let Aisha's rivaling friends tear her apart, and then presumably the male Rangers will fall apart too. All he needs to do is wait for one of Rocky's friends to…okay maybe this plan has a few kinks.

Back at the Youth Center, things are starting to get a lot more intense. Shawna looks Aisha up and down before mentioning her bestest buderooni doesn't look to have a broken finger. If that's the case, why hasn't she picked up the goddamned phone and given Shawna a 'lil ring-a-ding-ding?

Oof. If there's one thing that gets me, it's awkward situations. We're two minutes into this episode and there have already been about 8. Forget the Ranger stuff, I want an episode of nothing but Shawna breathing heavily out of her nostrils every time Aisha tries defending herself.

Aisha tells Shawna they've kept missing each other's calls, and she hasn't been ignoring her. Shawna fires back that Aisha always seems to be gone every time she tries calling. Power Rangers decides to not condescend to its audience this week, and leaves out the elephant in the room. Aisha is off being a superhero in some recycled yellow pajamas.

Aisha can easily be friends with Kimberly since they're frequently hanging out together and fighting monsters made out of space dust and Japanese film reels. It's a lot more difficult to keep friendships afloat with someone out of town who doesn't form the skirt of your giant death machine.

What I love about this scenario is how it ties in the fact that Aisha left her old school behind and became a Ranger. This episode is exploring how both of those situations could affect your past relationships. It's an incredibly natural plotline that I wouldn't expect Power Rangers to explore, and that's probably because we spent last week palling around with a giant kabuki-faced monster who spoke in broken English. Why would I even bother predicting a straightforward character study after that?

Kim shows that she's smarter than anyone gives her credit for and excommunicates herself from Aisha and Shawna's argument. Aisha calls after her and says to both her friends that she wants all three of them to get along together. Even though Shawna has been a bucket of sass since the moment she walked on-camera, she takes a deep breath and accepts Aisha's ceasefire between the girls. I'm sure the show wants me to be relieved she isn't mad anymore, but honestly I could use some more uncomfortable moments from Shawna putting Aisha in her place. Forgive me if I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, the male Ranger Teens are enjoying themselves in the Angel Grove High woodshop. Adam says his birdhouse isn't coming along quite as he expected, and Tommy says his project isn't looking so hot either. This leads to a surprisingly amusing visual gag that helps cement Tommy as a clueless karate lummox.

Tommy Power Rangers Season 2
If it ain't karate chopping 'em, Tommy doesn't give a shit about wooden boards

What makes this joke great is how Power Rangers typically spends so much time making its characters immediately great at everything. I'm in love with moments where the Ranger Teens attempt to do something, and prove to be less than satisfactory at it. When you make Tommy out and out bad at something? That's fantastic. You're one step closer to making these characters less wooden than their birdhouses.

Bulk and Skull are also working in the woodshop and tell the Ranger Boys their projects are giant embarrassments. Take it from them, they have to look in the mirror every morning. Bulk says he doesn't have time to help them out though, because he and Skull are working to create something way better than a birdhouse.They're going to make their own jetpacks so that they can catch up to the Power Rangers when they use their new Jetting ability.

You remember Jetting right? That thing they've done twice before? One of those times being deep in the recesses of space where nobody would be able to see them? The thing that was written into scripts multiple times, but got cut out because it would have cost money to film it? That Jetting? Yeah that's everyone's favorite thing the Power Rangers can do.

The bullies take their woodshop jetpacks into the park, and they work flawlessly and allow the two stupidest human beings ever conceived to fly around in the air without fail.

Yeah I didn't think you'd buy that.

Aisha, Kim, and Shawna enjoy a tense picnic lunch in the park. Granted it's only tense because Kimberly starts asking some hardball questions. Stuff like, "how long have you two known each other?" When Aisha says they've been friends since 2nd grade, Shawna throws a fucking fit. She asserts that they've been nearest and dearest compatriots since the 1st grade and it's despicable that Aisha can't remember that incredibly important detail in their lives.

Now to be fair, this moment in isolation seems pretty over the top. The only reason I'm not bitching about it is because Shawna came into this situation pissed off at Aisha for giving her the cold shoulder. I don't imagine Shawna is always some hypercritical psychopath who jumps down Aisha's throat at any given chance. I perceive her as a friend who feels scorned and is getting agitated at the slightest provocation. Maybe I'm misreading this plot and it's actually about how Aisha has horrible taste in friends, but I feel confident in an episode for once in my life.

15 minutes on the clock for it to disappoint me!

Goldar appears on Earth to kidnap Kimberly and Shawna, as well as help sew further dissension in the Rangers' ranks. The Ranger Girls try and defend Shawna, but Goldar zaps her and Kim with energy from his sword to teleport them away. Aisha becomes petrified that her only two friends are gone, and tries to get in contact with Tommy and the other guys. They don't respond, because Aisha is receiving karmic punishment for all the phone calls she didn't give Shawna.

Then this episode shocks me. It actually follows up on Lord Zedd's plan. We cut back to Zedd in his lair where he ponders how the Ranger Boys will react to Aisha not keeping Kim safe. He assumes that they'll think Aisha was unable to keep the Pink Ranger safe, and lead to the other Ranger Teens being unable to trust her. I seriously assumed Zedd would do nothing but kidnap Kim and Shawna, then act like his plan was foolproof. Even if this little addition has a 0% chance of payoff, it shows that Zedd actually had some kind of follow-up after the initial kidnapping.

Oh man, please don't let this episode start sucking.

Aisha runs into the woodshop and alerts the guys that Goldar must be some kind of racist because he only kidnapped the two white girls in the park. Tommy says his impotent woodshop demonstrations will have to wait and the five Ranger Teens depart for the Command Center.

Surprise of all surprises, Zedd's scheming didn't cause any rifts in the Ranger Teens. Fear not, the evil emperor has a backup plan. Instead of counting on Goldar to be even the slightest bit competent, Zedd creates a monster from a saw inside the woodshop. This devious creature is referred to as the Jaws of Destruction. Because the censors would have a conniption if he was named the Jaws of Death.

Jaws of Destruction
What kind of freaky Tricyclops is this?

Meanwhile, Kim and Shawna are stuck in a horrid predicament the likes we've never seen before. Zedd has thrown them in a cave where some Z-Putties hold them prisoner. Sweet Jesus are we doing this again? Does Zedd have a plan other than haphazardly tossing people in caves? And why does he keep using Putties as guards? You can kill those idiots by breathing on them too hard.

There is one small change that makes this cave a little different though. Kimberly and Shawna are being held within a forcefield of pink energy and rocks. That's better than putting a wooden snake on the floor and telling your captives they had better behave or they might get bit by a cheap prop.

Kim calms Shawna's nerves and informs her that they'll be fine as long as they keep focused. Shawna drops her cold fa├žade and asks Kim why she's being so kind to her. She's acted like a total rotter ever since she came to Angel Grove. Then Kim says "It's because I'm a generic good guy stereotype an…" wait hold on a second. Kim has an actual reason for being kind to Shawna.

Kimberly tells Shawna that she's not upset with her, because she's felt the same way before. She knows how hard it is when you feel you've lost someone. Kim talks about how difficult it was when her parents got divorced, and how abandoned she felt. Shawna practically interrupts her in shock, and mentions that her parents are divorced too. Kim flashes her a comforting smile as the two girls find solace in their mutual sadness. Then it becomes clear. This episode's got its hooks in me.

Shawna tells Kim she can't take it whenever someone close to her leaves. It reminds her too much of when her parents split up and hits her in a real sore spot. Kim tells Shawna that no matter what happened, her parents love her just as much as they did when they were together. She makes her point hit home as she reminds Shawna that someone moving away doesn't mean that you've lost them.

Holy fucking moly. This episode pulled it off. It retroactively made Shawna's behavior seem human after her prior cartoonish display of anger. Not only that, it dovetailed her animosity towards Kimberly into a sweet scene where the girls bonded over their situation. This moment is the most human I've seen any of these characters in months. This one-off character has actually managed to tug at my cold dead heartstrings. I'm flabbergasted, but I love it.

Inside the Command Center, the Ranger Teens are alerted to Zedd's new monster, and how he's far more deadly than Zedd's previous creatures. Trust us. Tommy tells Aisha and the others that he'll find Kim and Shawna while they take on Zedd's monster. Why's Tommy get to go rescue the girls during an episode about Aisha? Because the band's called Huey Lewis and the News, not The News. Don't forget it nerd.

The Rangers morph and jet through the park. Not because it will provide them some kind of advantage against the Jaws of Destruction, but because the script needs them to for Bulk and Skull's subplot. As the Rangers fly overhead, Bulk and Skull activate their jetpacks to catch them. It goes exactly how you knew it would.

Test footage for Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters From Beverly Hills

The four Rangers land and confront Jaws of Destruction, but he's too busy posing off-screen to fight them. He calls forth his Z-Putties to battle his adversaries instead. Rocky tries to sound badass with some line about any friend of the monsters' being an enemy of his, but it falls completely flat. Probably because Rocky has the charisma of a sock filled with wet spinach.

The Rangers battle the Z-Putties in a scene that might look familiar to you if you watched "Lights, Camera, Action" before this. Y'know, if you watched the episodes in the order they were aired. Special thanks to that dumbass montage for using footage from this episode before we could possibly see it.

While the regular four Rangers are engaged in battle, the White Ranger reaches the cave where Shawna and Kimberly are held. He immediately clowns all of the Putties in front of the cave, even though the other Rangers had to band together to beat the group of Putties that were in front of them. In case you forgot the White Ranger is superior to all those other losers and might as well be the whole team by himself.

Tommy rushes into the cave to save the gals and with a swipe of Saba, the White Ranger cleaves a hole in the forcefield to let Shawna escape. Kimberly doesn't move as quickly and is zapped back inside the forcefield. Shawna tells the White Ranger she refuses to leave without Kimberly, but Kim offers a warm smile and says she knows she'll be safe too. As long as the White Ranger still wants to get laid.

Alpha teleports Shawna away from the danger and Kimberly morphs to break through the forcefield. As Tommy and Kim escape the cave, they're confronted by the unfortunate sight of Goldar's ugly mug blocking their way. Tommy tells Kimberly to help out the others while he takes on Goldar. Kim asks what they'll do if they need the Tigerzord's, and Tommy reminds her that the Tigerzord never fucking shows up in fight footage. They'll be fine.

For as lame and non-productive as Jaws of Destruction has been, the action quota is fulfilled with a really nice battle between Goldar and the White Ranger. The warriors clash swords and knock each other around for quite a bit, and it almost makes Goldar look like a credible threat...

Until Tommy kicks him to the dirt and you remember what a fucking jabroni he is. Wakka wakka! Maybe next season shithead.

The other four Rangers appear to be struggling against the Z-Putties…somehow. Even though it seemed like they were all defeated before Kimberly escaped. A pack of Putties leap at Aisha, but they're soon stopped by an attack from Kimberly. The Pink Ranger helps her friend up before apologizing to Aisha. Not for the trouble with Shawna, but because this script had to make her lose to some Putties so Kim would get a cool scene rescuing her. 

The Jaws of Destruction continues idling in the background and doing nothing as his forces are decimated. Adam informs the monster that he is a "saw-toothed turkey," and the monster's three eyes begin to mist up. Though he may be a monster in name alone, this creature is nothing compared to the destruction coming from Adam's jaws.

Zedd gets sick of his monster doing nothing, so he turns him giant. The Rangers summon their Thunderzords and bring the Thunder Megazord out to fight the oversized Jaws. The battle turns into a samurai duel between the Megazord and JoD, and both combatants stand still. What should be a cool moment is ruined by this jackass monster making as many cutting puns as humanly possibly. Thankfully as soon as he charges at the Megazord, it cuts him down to size with the Thunder Saber. Leading to a sweet shot against a setting sun.

Next time try using something other than your sword. Dickhead.

Not to be outclassed by his five subordinates, Tommy swiftly knocks Goldar's sword out of his hands and tells the monkey to hightail it home. Oof. You want to talk about emasculation? Tommy wouldn't even finish a fight with Goldar. He spanked him so bad that he dropped the whole battle just to let Goldar know who's boss. Suck these lily-white nuts Goldar, you're a fourth tier jobber wearing a golden bucket on your head. Kick all the rocks.

Back at the Youth Center, Bulk and Skull run into the male Ranger Teens. The idiots are covered in bandages due to their pathetic attempt at jetpacking earlier. Skull promises the Ranger boys that someday soon they're going to figure out who those Rangers really are, and for some reason that will make them the heroes. Jesus guys. It's like even you two don't know why you're doing this shit anymore.

Aisha drops by to thank Kimberly for being so kind to Shawna during their kidnapping. Kimberly hugs her and says that shit's old news, because it's time to settle this gymnastics competition everyone was wondering about. Show of hands out there, who else forgot they were doing this? I can't have been the only one.

Kim and Shawna are (naturally) the only two competitors left. Both girls take time to display their gymnastic skills, which helped teach a 5 year old me what women covered in spandex looks like. I was about to gif what their displays look like, but I get enough people coming to this website so they can jerk off. I'm not going to make it any easier for them.

Well, maybe just this once.

The spandex-clad Kimberly and Shawna both do their best, but they end up tying. Because it's Power Rangers and we can't commit to two good guys not winning. There are no tie-breakers, there's no judges choice, both girls get to win! Yay! Whatever. Maybe it's not that big of a deal if children learn that victory isn't only assigned to one person. It might entirely be possible for everyone to be a winner if they're both impressive in a category. It might not be that big of a deal for more than one person to be victorious even if it's a competition, so long as they both deserve it.

Nah fuck that. Those goddamned millennials get too many trophies.




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Saw-Toothed Turkeys




Personal Thoughts


What a great surprise. After five weeks worth of episodes featuring almost nothing but mediocre nonsense, there's finally something to enjoy. I don't know how they managed to make an episode like this work so well, but Power Rangers really pulled it off. Shawna's irritability is handled in a way that's surprisingly rational, and the reveal as to why she's taking Aisha's departure so hard is a really logical and human reaction. The action isn't some of the best this show's ever given us, but it's written so well that I barely gave a shit. An excellent experience all around.

I hate to clutter up this episode with any sort of negativity, but Jaws of Destruction really epitomizes the lackluster Season 2 monsters. He doesn't attack the Rangers one single time and only exists to stand around until it's time for a Zord battle. Probably because there's next to no footage of Jaws doing anything other than standing around. He's a total bore until he grows giant, and further cements how tired I am of Season 2's lackluster action sequences.

There isn't a whole lot more I can say than how much I'd recommend checking this episode out. It's definitely a stand-out for Season 2. Even if that sounds like I'm damning it with faint praise. It's definitely worth seeing for yourself.

Oh yeah, and please let me know what you think of this episode! I'm hoping I didn't become so desperate for a good episode that I invented one from nothing. Though I'd like to think this episode does stand on its own merits.

Not to mention it's got some qts in spandex.





3 comments:

  1. I remember this episode rather fondly, not so much for the monster, but for the character interaction. It was handled and written exceptionally well, for a one shot guest character, Shawna definitely stood out, plus she is absolutely smoking in spandex.

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  2. In that MMPR SNES game based on the movie, you collect CD's, where characters, villains and monsters have profiles. Here's Jaws of Destruction's profie:

    A monster magically created from saw for Lord Zedd's billionth plan about trapping people in caves.

    "I wish my name was Jaws of Death."

    Good Point: Is said to be Lord Zedd's deadliest creature before his previous ones.

    Bad Point: Won't do shit unless he grows giant.

    Likes: Making stupid puns about saws.

    Dislikes: Being called Archbishop Saw.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That random as fuck "WOAH!" when Kimberly backflips had me in stitches.

    ReplyDelete