Saturday, July 30, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 47: Best Man for the Job


Children's Karate Programming Solves Gender Inequality
Political Instability Cured By Houseplant









After what feels like 106 weeks trapped inside of episodes shot in Australia, the Ranger Teens are finally back home. You know what that means? We can finally stop looking at that grainy quality footage being passed off as California. We can actually see the Rangers inside of the Juice Bar and Command Center. Best of all, we never ever have to send the Power Rangers back in time again.

The Ranger Teens walk the halls of Angel Grove High and learn that it's currently Student Election Week. Billy asks Tommy if he's ever thought about being the student president, and Tommy rolls his eyes before kneeing Billy in the ribs. Of course he's thought about being student president, but that's so boring. He deserves to be the actual president since he's such a perfect specimen of humanity. Think of all the things he could do! He could pass all sorts of leg-sweeping legislation to change our country. Tommy would make it illegal to be fat, revamp our judicial system to be more kickboxing-based, and put out a personal presidential hit on one Austin St. John.

After about two sentences worth of prompting, Billy convinces Tommy to run for school president. With the idiot in his grasp, Billy nonchalantly adds in that he can be Tommy's campaign manager. Billy Rove rubs his hands together knowing that his charismatic meat-puppet will sweep that election while he turns the school around completely. Mandatory "Bone a Nerd" events will become commonplace as Tommy feasts upon the most expensive bones money can buy.

Tommy isn't the only one who's considering this illustrious career decision though. Skull declares that he could be the most amazing president this dumbass school has ever seen. Bulk tells the world's foremost second banana to cram it down his throat, because this school president business has a more significant benefit. If Bulk wins the presidency, he can finally Make America Overweight Again.

Sorry.

No, Bulk's more interested in gaining access to the school's files to use them in uncovering the identity of the Power Rangers. Ugh. I thought we were done with this horse hockey. We haven't said word one about secret identities for the last 8 weeks, and now here it is rearing its ugly head once more. If we in the audience saw these two goofballs progressing in this goal once in a while maybe we would have a reason to care. Instead, we have to sit through another boring, nonsensical scheme that a pair of lunkheads barely concocted before allowing it to tumble out of their half-deformed mouths.

I just want to see them fall into cakes again. Is that too much to ask?

Aisha and Kimberly discuss how maybe a man isn't cut out for all this presidential shit, and maybe a woman might be the best man for the job. Kimberly laughs this notion off, because the concept of gender fluidity was widely ridiculed during the 90's. Kimberly declines because she knows she couldn't possibly run against Tommy, or else he might not involve her in another session of complacent, ignorant, and passionless lovemaking ever again.

Aisha tells her that since they're such good friends, the race will be a particularly clean one so there will be nothing to worry about. Until Kim's e-mails get hacked and we learn that the DNC was offering her favoritism over Tommy's platform of "Free Karate for the Middle Class." The e-mails would also uncover that nobody in the DNC knows who the fuck Bulk and Skull are.

You'd think I would learn after 100 episodes of disappointment, but I'm actually interested in this episode so far. Power Rangers has done a few plots where two characters that we're supposed to root for are pitted against one another, and they usually chicken out by saying the characters tied or something like that. In this case, that is absolutely not an option. It's an election for Christ's sakes. You can't have two presidents can you? Even if one of these characters became the vice president or something, it would be clear that they came in 2nd and effectively lost the race.

So I'm left wondering what route Power Rangers is going to take with this episode. Will Tommy win after Kimberly realizes she's a woman in the 90's and nobody takes her seriously? Will Kim win when she reveals to the audience that Tommy is illiterate? Will Bulk and Skull win and then get shot by Lee Harvey Oswald for their radical stance on racial politics? I honestly don't know. The only thing I remember about this episode is I think there's a magnet at some point. Maybe I'm making that up. Unless Zedd summons Magnetbrain again, and I'd totally be down for that after those lame ass Rat Monsters last week.

Heavens to Betsy I've invented a magnet machine!

Speaking of the Big Z-E double D, he and Rita are enchanted by the situation on Earth. Zedd says that nothing will ruin a relationship faster than politics, which I can attest to personally. Every girl I asked out in high school turned me down, and that probably had something to do with my radical views. Did you guys know our taxes pay for things that we may not even use? Where do they come up with this stuff!

Rita declares that she has just as many crazy wicked plans as Zedd does, but he scoffs at the mere notion that she could be a better bad guy than him. As he so astutely points out, "You're not even a guy!"

Oh Jesus, is Power Rangers seriously doing an episode discussing gender politics? Fuck me runnin'. What else is on?

Rita whips up a plan to show Lord Zedd who wears the pants in this relationship, and summons Squatt, Baboo, and Goldar to assist her in a spat of world domination. Holy cow, you're busting out Squatt and Baboo for this one? Move over Alexander the Great, Rita Repulsa's military prowess is about to be witnessed.

Rita tosses Squatt and Baboo a magical red rope that she commands her bumbling servants to use on Tommy and Kimberly. Once they're bound by its magic, the two of them will become violently competitive. Psh. You think you need to use magic to turn the Ranger Teens competitive? You must not know what show you're on sweetheart.

Since when did Baboo have such thick DSL's?

An unsuspecting Kimberly and Tommy enjoy a walk in the park, as the horrifying fuck-goblins prepare to ambush them. These buffoons somehow manage to trip both Tommy and Kimberly with their magical jump rope, and inexplicably don't alert two hypersensitive teens with their yammering and giggling from behind the bushes. Granted if I heard rustling in the bushes and these two clownshoes voices' giggling, I probably wouldn't inspect it either.

After the Ranger Teens are tripped by Squatt and Baboo's mystical rope, they immediately start bickering like a young married couple. Tommy blames Kimberly for tripping him, which sounds like the opening scene to a Lifetime movie. Kim sharply slaps his hand away from hers and pointedly calls him "Buster." With the two of them arguing like G-rated Disney villains, Kim and Tommy mock one another's chances at winning the student election.

We soon see the effects of Rita's competition spell taking place inside of Angel Grove High School. Billy finds Tommy in the hallway, and notices that Mr. Oliver has been fixing up some of Kimberly's campaign posters for her.

Win With Kim might be the worst slogan I've ever heard

This dumb little gag has been done a million times before, but I enjoy the follow-up to it where Tommy takes one of his own posters and gleefully pastes it over Kim's. Not only because it's some of the best acting Jason David Frank has ever done, but because it makes Tommy's own petty poster vandalism completely pointless. He took the time to scribble all over his girlfriends' face, but decides to completely cover up his own handiwork right afterwards. It couldn't be more counter-intuitive. It's a perfect little moment of Tommy dumbness that reflects what a moron his character truly is.

As soon as Kimberly and Aisha run into Tommy and Billy, Kim lays into her beau with some hefty helpings of trash talk. Tommy returns fire by calling her "Ms. Second Place," and demands that Billy help him find more of her posters to "fix." The way that Tommy says this line has this hilarious tinge of sociopathy to it and I can't help but laugh. It's such a bizarre way to deliver that line and make it sound so much more serious than it really is. He's drawing a dopey mustache and glasses on his girlfriend. It's not like he's burying bodies in the Angel Grove River.

Oh but that's nothing compared to what Kim has in store. As soon as Tommy walks off to go murder some more posters, Kimberly makes an adjustment of her own to Tommy's poster.

Political Cartoons.jpg

Almost as funny as this subzero degree burn is Aisha's response. She drops her playful attitude and informs her dear friend, "Whoa Kimberly, that's really mean." I can handle impaling space claymation monsters in the guts with a sword, but calling one of your friends a dummy? That's some vulgar shit Kimberly. If you see Tommy dangling from a noose you'll know who helped him kick the chair out.

Then there's a dud of a scene where Bulk and Skull reiterate the same plan they made earlier in front of a group of their classmates. The only reason I mention it is because I needed to have some kind of context for this gif. Enjoy!

You'd be forgiven for expecting a musical number to break out.

Using some of that voodoo she-do so well, Rita zaps a letter addressed to Tommy. It disappears from the Moon Palace and appears on the front of Tommy's locker as he walks by. Billy asks Tommy why he's acting like such a weird competitive jerk-off lately, and by lately he means the last two years. Tommy brushes off Billy's concerns as he reads the magical letter from Rita. It promises to give him information that will help wreck Kimberly's campaign. Hopefully this ends in Tommy being given information from Rita's source, "Deep Throat." It will take 30 years to uncover the secret that Deep Throat was secretly Terror Toad all along.

Tommy visits the park to find the dirt on Kimberly, but encounters Goldar and his Putty posse waiting for him. Tommy morphs into the White Ranger and a battle with Zedd's forces ensues. Though Tommy is able to beat down a handful of the Putties, Goldar proves to be more than a match for him. When did Goldar become semi-competent in battle? Probably when the writer of this script realized he needed a fight that lasted longer than 20 seconds.

Back at Angel Grove High, Alpha and Zordon tell the rest of the Ranger Teens their leader is in grave danger.  Lucky for Zordon they didn't ask what the emergency was, since there's no way in Hell they'd believe Goldar is worth their attention.

The other Rangers morph and show up to see Tommy getting dogpiled by Putties. For whatever reason, there are only like four Z-Putties messing with Tommy when the Rangers show up, but there were significantly more beforehand. It's common for the Putties to vary in number between scenes, but not as frequently and as often as they have in this episode. Case in point; as soon as the primary five Rangers show up, there are enough Z-Putties to fight all of them. It might be something of a nitpick, but without those this blog wouldn't even be here.

Kimberly asserts that she'll save her jackass boyfriend from his predicament and leaps towards the Z-Putties. As soon as she knocks the foot soldiers away from Tommy, he starts throwing the mother lode of shade at Kim. Pink and White engage in a gigantic hissy fit that is a lot more entertaining than it has any right to be. Not because of the content of their argument, but because of the physicality of the stunt actors during it.

This scene doesn't forget that it's taking place on a battlefield, and it uses that for some pretty fun gags. A Z-Putty comes up behind Kimberly and is nonchalantly knocked away by her while she remains focused on Tommy. The duo inadvertently trip a Z-Putty and Kimberly ends up walking on him as she chases after an aggravated Tommy. Though the highlight is when Goldar gets caught in the middle of their squabble.

Goldar can't handle when Mommy and Daddy fight

Goldar eventually ceases his comic relief routine and sucker punches Tommy. When the White Ranger falls to the ground, Goldar immediately snatches up Saba from his holster. Goldar growls out a victorious laugh as the talking saber demands to be removed from this gladiator dogs' hands. In case you forgot this show you're watching is weird.

As Goldar slowly walks away, the Pink and White Rangers run after him to retrieve Saba. Even though Goldar has the power of teleportation and could have zapped himself back to the moon by now, but if he had we wouldn't get a scene of Tommy and Kimberly getting in each others' way again.

The two Rangers crash into each other while they try to grab Saba, and begin bickering yet again. Their feud is soon cut short when Goldar blasts them with energy from Saba's eyes and causes all six Rangers to go flying. Oh cool, Tommy's weapon is strong enough to stop all of the Rangers with one attack. Way to keep things fair Zordon.

The Rangers retreat to the Command Center where Tommy and Kimberly bitch at each other yet again. Alpha 5 holds his head and ay-yi-yis himself out of their way because he clearly wasn't programmed to handle any level of conflict. Billy gets sick of all this nonsense and angrily asks if his friends are under a spell or if they're simply acting insufferable because politics have gotten to their head.

Alpha runs a quick diagnostic test which reveals that our heroes have been trapped in a devious spell by Rita Repulsa. Aisha asks how they can hope to overcome her wicked magic, but Zordon has come up with the perfect contingency plan.

…What?

Zordon's cure for this incredibly powerful spell is to have Tommy and Kimberly smell roses. Because they're a symbol for "love" and "friendship" and "writing yourself into a corner."

If you can believe it, this absolutely ridiculous piece of bullshit writing works perfectly and the Ranger Teens are cured! I'm not even sure if those things were magical roses or what, but I guess they did the trick. What an utter load. There have been some ridiculous plot resolutions in this show, but this has to be the most inane I've seen in at least the last four episodes.

Kim and Tommy apologize to one another for acting so out of character. Tommy's apology is a lot creepier when he tells Kim in front of everyone, "You know I would never do anything to hurt you, right?" Yikes. If I were a betting man I'd say this isn't the first time Tommy had to break out that old chestnut after an argument.

But there's no time for barely sincere apologies, because Rita has appeared in the park with Saba. She's brought a significant chunk of the Moon Crew with her too, as Goldar, Squatt, and Baboo are celebrating her stolen tiger sword along with her. It's awfully nice of Rita to let her flunkies go down to Earth, but where the hell is Finster? He's the reason you're even here right now and you won't bring him to Earth with you? Nice to see your loyalty extends to the vampire ape and the toll troll but not to the only person in your cabinet with a soul. You make me sick.

Tommy wonders how they can possibly get Saba back from Rita, and ponders if it might be time to solve this issue with some well-placed karate. Billy refuses on the grounds that it might provide an interesting scene, and suggests that they build a large magnet to rescue Saba. The show doesn't bother to extrapolate on why this would be a better idea than sneaking up behind Rita and ripping it out of her greasy mitts, but maybe someone can craft a fan-theory to make this scenario any good.

Tommy stays with Alpha as the latter prepares his Saba-Magnet, and the primary five Rangers head to Earth in order to stop Rita. Unfortunately for them, she holds Saba into the air and summons the mighty Tigerzord to attack the city. The White Tigerzord converts to Warrior Mode, despite the fact that Rita isn't inside of the cockpit or putting Saba inside the Zord which is mandatory to shift it into Warrior Mode. But that would require access to the Tigerzord cockpit set, and we don't have that so we'll just have her control the Tigerzord from the ground.

Power Rangers: If It Costs Money, Fuck It

The primary five Rangers have to keep the Tigerzord at bay, so they call forward the Thunder Megazord to stop it. Oh great, another spliced together Zord fight where…wait a second hold on. Doth mine eyes deceive me?!

Saints be praised!

That's right, Saban is actually filming a new Zord fight with Megazord costumes. This is the first time we've seen the White Tigerzord in US footage, but we briefly saw the Thunder Megazord suit used all the way back in "The Power Stealer." But since Power Rangers can use these Thunderzord suits to film, that means they can create unique Zord fights without mashing together stock footage!

With five episodes left in Season 2.

…This fucking show.

Honestly the fight between US Thunder Megazord and White Tigerzord isn't much to write home about, but it's at least a fight with both participants on-screen together. The Zords move kind of clunkily, and the fight is still stitched together with bits and pieces of stock footage, but this is Power Rangers' first effort at making their own Zord fight. I'll cut them a little slack this time.

Alpha 5 finishes his dinky looking magnet and leaves it with Tommy to stop Rita. He teleports to the park and sneaks up behind the villains so he can get the best possible vantage point to snag his sword back from her. As if this shit isn't actually going to work. Who does this show think it's trying to kid?

By the way, the magnet works flawlessly and rips Saba right out of Rita's hands. Phew. Tension resolved. Thanks for coming by everybody! Maybe we'll have something worth watching next week.

Okay, let me retract that. There is a scene after Rita's loss where she returns to the Moon Palace and Zedd starts swinging his dick around over how damn cool he is. It's a good enough scene on its own, but the best part about it is this absolutely ridiculous flexing pose Zedd goes in to show how badass he is to Rita. It's absolutely beautiful and I will not hear a one of you besmirching it.

That Lord Zedd's a dang hunk, ya dingus.

With Rita and Zedd's plans foiled, now we need to find out who our next president is. The candidates give their speeches in the Youth Center. Why aren't they giving these speeches in the Angel Grove High School set? Shut up.

Kim ends her speech as we return from commercial and because nobody cares what she has to say anyway. Tommy comes up to the podium and prepares a speech that he doesn't know how to read. He clears his throat before looking at the audience and comes to the realization he's a goddamned sham. The president doesn't get to do karate, he doesn't get to break boards with his fists, he doesn't get to swing nunchucks, and he certainly doesn't get someone to scratch him behind the ear in that one spot he can never reach. Well…I think LBJ had someone do that for him but look how that turned out.

Tommy declines giving a speech when he tells the audience that the best person for the job is Kim. He informs us that she's got great ideas for the tough issues facing the school, like what the theme for prom should be this year and how to handle that handsy woodshop teacher. Tommy informs the audience they should vote for her over him, and leads them all in applause. It's sort of a sweet moment, and it manages to remind you that Tommy actually has some sort of affection for Kimberly. It might be a little cliché, but we're watching fucking Power Rangers. I think we can all handle it.

Now that we're done with that, it's time to strip all of the emotion out of the room when Bulk and Skull dope their way into the room. Bulk is clothed head to toe in red, white, and blue garments, and he's wearing the same hat Apollo Creed had on in Rocky IV. I can only hope this election ends the same way that boxing match did.

Bulk announces his plan to reveal the identities of the Power Rangers once he's elected, which inexplicably causes the audience to applaud. This clown couldn't figure out an episode of "A Pup Named Scooby Doo," why would anyone think he could figure out who those alien superheroes are?

After Bulk's ridiculous speech, Principal Caplan announces the results of the election. Kimberly wins in a landslide, in case you actually thought Bulk would matter for once in his stupid life. Bulk demands the votes be tallied again, and Caplan informs the lummox that he only got one vote. That's right, not even Skull voted for him. You couldn't capture the heart of the dumbest piece of shit in the tri-county area? You really JEB!'d this one up Bulk.

So congratulations to Kimberly Hart! The newest president of Angel Grove High School and the best person for the job. Now she can use all of her newly found political powers to help the impoverished students in school get a leg up in their classes and allocate funds to help the school stay under budget before the beginning of the next fiscal year.

Or at least she would if we weren't going to immediately forget this episode happened next week.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Politicians Sliding Down the Banister




Personal Thoughts


I wish I had a more concise way to summarize this episode. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. I feel bad calling it average because it feels above average, but when I say that it feels like I'm being overly generous. I think what I appreciate about this episode is how ambitious it is. Rita getting control of the Tigerzord is a cool concept, but I think it might have been better suited to a two part episode. I'd prefer a more engaging resolution than some lame magnet ripping Saba out of her hands. Maybe another episode could have built up to a more satisfying conclusion. It couldn't have been any worse than the last three episodes of garbage we had to sit through.

I'll at least say the humor in this one is pretty on-point, so it's at least worth watching for some of the more absurd scenes like Zedd's flexing.

I'm pretty amused how obvious it is that Power Rangers is running out of Dairanger Zord fights to use. They've resorted to making their own original Zord fights because they already used up almost all the available Sentai footage. This week the Zords fought each other, last week the Zords fought stock footage of the Dragonzord, and the week before that they fought old Zyu2 monsters. The next Zord fight is also going to be pretty absurd, but that's not for another few weeks.

I will leave you with this question though. Why didn't they save one of those Rat Monster costumes from Australia and film a US-original Zord fight with it? Did they know how utterly terrible it looked and wanted to be done with it forever? I hope so. I never want to see those ugly bastards again in my life.




4 comments:

  1. Today on Power Rangers! Lord Zedd and Rita have a feud, disguise themselves as Trump and Hillary, take over Angel Grove High, and now the students must be forced to pick between the two evils. Tommy thinks Trump will fuck them less, but Kimberly disagree and thinks Hillary will fuck them less. Will this feud divide the fucking Power Rangers? Find out today!

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  2. Do you have any idea what it would cost to ship a ROUS costume back from Australia? They probably burned them all to avoid paying for storage or dumping fees.

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  3. This episode was never one of my favorites. I can understand wanting to do something that has our favorite Ranger super couple go at each other's throats, and something like the realm of politics is very much a battle ground or mudslinging, and the notion of having a battle of the sexes was also something a bit appealing, and having the parallel go on between Rita and Zedd was nice particularly as it dealt with the reason why Rita wanted to marry Zedd in the risk place. And while I commend the writers for clearly having a field day with the banter and the back and forth stuff, it just seemed to add more to the notion of making Zedd into a joke. And the bickering and jealousy and competitive nonsense between TOmmy and Kimberly was just played for laughs rather than done seriously, the whole thing just felt too juvenile to enjoy. Yeah sure it's a kid's show, but considering how serious evil spells were done during the Green With Evil saga, how do you go from serious menace with mind control to all other instances of mind control and having the characters acting contrary to their personalities being ramped up to the point of utter over the top ridiculousness?

    Season two did struggle quite a bit around the time of the change in cast, I mean being under pressure and dealing with change of cast, making episodes at the same time the cast was off to film a big budget feature film, also the pressure of parents rights groups saying Zedd was too scary and too menacing, and also making preparations for the next season.

    I do agree that things did during the second half o season two seemed to have this weird patronizing and condescending tone with its simplisticity.

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  4. Oddly enough, there was a Thunder Megazord vs. White Tigerzord fight in Dairanger, and they even used some of the footage from it in some of the cut-and-paste fights. After watching Dairanger, I was baffled as to why they didn't use even some parts of that fight in this episode instead of spending the extra time and resources to film their own fight scene. Not that I mind having a US-filmed Zord fight, it's just strange that with all of the corners this show has become notorious for cutting, the one time they have perfectly usable Sentai footage they say "fuck it, we'll film this shit ourselves".

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