Monday, June 26, 2017

MMPR Season 3 Episode 22: Follow That Cab


Stuntman in Wheelchair Shoved Down Road to Portray Taxi Goblin
Demon Cat Runs Food Drive For Homeless 














Sorry about the delay, but I'm back and ready to catch up with a new post about…wait what's this one again? The one with the taxi monster?

Ah, fuck.

Our exciting adventure begins as the Ranger Teens enjoy a peaceful day at Ernie's Outdoor Café. Kimberly cuddles her kitten, Park Cat, when Ernie brings out a bowl of spoiled milk for the cat. As Kimberly thanks Ernie for the gift, the Juice Bar barista silently sizes up Kim's kitten and ponders how many bowls of stew he could make out of a nice plump tabby.

Kim reads the newspaper and shrieks like a banshee. Tommy panics, as he assumes she's about to roll it up and bop him on the nose after he chewed up her new slippers. However, her screaming is because the front page article is about some German schmuck named Gunthar Schmidt coming to Angel Grove. Who's this putz? Why he's none other than one of the world's most famed gymnastic coaches.

Hey everyone, real quick like. Try naming one gymnastic coach that you've ever heard of. Without using Google. What's that? You can't? Exactly. Which is all the more reason this shit should be kept out of the headlines.

If I live in a town where my house is constantly under siege by monstrous spiders in janitor overalls, then I'd rather not see a headline about some dingus who's good at telling people how to do the splits on the front page. Why don't we get some news about how we can survive perpetual death by space monsters? Bunch of Fake News bullshit.

Tommy asks if Kimberly would ever want to train with this Panther Shit guy, but Kim acts demure and says she it would be a dream come true just to meet him. Tommy looks at Kimberly as her lips are moving, but he's unable to make out any of the noises that are escaping from her vacant mouth. As she's talking, he thinks he sees her mouth form the shape of the letter "K," and he smiles as he thinks of all the good words that start with that letter. Karate, kicks, Kung-fu, Ki-yah!, kandy, karate, and kats to chase!

Zedd takes a moment to do what he does best, and bitches at all his subordinates for being so incompetent about this Power Rangers fiasco. Not a single one of the rubber-suited freaks he allows to live in his moon palace has come up with a worthwhile idea to stop those functional infants. Goldar laughs as he berates the rest of Zedd's moon Muppets for their failures, but Rita snaps back and taunts him by referring to him as "Goldbar." Which reads less as an insult and more of a typo in the script that nobody bothered fixing.

Rito chimes in and tells Ed that he's got a damn fine plan for stopping those dirty Power Rangers. Zedd reminds him that his name isn't fucking Ed, for the billionth goddamned time. Rito's response? Pretty pitch perfect.

"Yeah, sure."

It's flawless. Like Rito is dealing with some clown who's so beneath him, despite the fact that he's a giant pile of dumbass bones. Why couldn't he have been here in Season 1? Why'd we get stuck with Baboo and the other one?

Rito suggests turning one of the Power Rangers into a monster, so that the other Rangers would be unable to defeat their friend. While Rita finds this to be a particularly stupid idea, Zedd disagrees. If they manage to turn a Ranger into a monster, they would be able to overcome the rest of them with no problem. Unless they choose Rocky, in which case the Rangers would slaughter him without remorse.

Back at the café, Tommy tells his gal-pal to try out for that gymnastic thing she was probably talking about in the last scene. Kim declines, and then Tommy says the exact same thing a second time, which convinces Kimberly she should go meet him. Because she's unable to make decisions for herself unless her beefcake boyfriend decides a course of action for her. Kimberly runs off to meet with Gunthar, and asks Ernie to keep an eye on her cat while she's gone. Ernie licks his chops as he promises to turn P.C. into the most succulent cat-kebabs his patrons have ever seen.

P.C. refuses to be skewered by an obese man, and hightails it out of there once Kimberly leaves. Tommy notices the cat is absent, and asks Ernie if he's seen her anywhere. Ernie fucks up his line when he refers to the cat as "he", and says the cat is probably in the kitchen "looking for a handout."

Ugh. So sick of those freeloading welfare cats drinking bowls of milk from MY tax dollars. Why don't they go get a job at the scratching post and work for a living, goddamnit?! It's time we cut this safety net and see if those cats really do land on their feet.

P.C. ducks into an alleyway where she transforms back into Katherine. Rita beams down to Earth and asks her feline spy, "what's new pussycat?" I can tell you what's certainly not new. Tom Jones references.

Kat gives Rita the scoop on Kim's ambitions to meet some German guy, and Rita says this will prove perfect for the scheme to turn a Ranger into a monster. Even though Tommy's currently all alone as well, so he'd probably make for a pretty decent monster too. Why not make a monster out of the Ranger who isn't critically injured and doesn't even have their own damn Shogunzord?

Meanwhile, Lt. Stone instructs Bulk and Skull to keep an eye out for suspicious looking individuals in the area. There have been a number of car thefts lately. The boys in blue take this news about as seriously as you would expect.

Bulk Skull Lt Stone
Each day, Bulk becomes more and more Private Pyle-esque

While the dipshit duo discuss this case of Grand Heft Auto and what it could do for their careers, they fail to notice that some grubby-looking sleazeball is stealing a car right behind them. As soon as they see this sketchy man putting a crowbar inside of a car, Bulk and Skull run up to him and tell him exactly what he needs to hear.

…He dropped his bag while he was trying to get into his car. Wouldn't want to forget that!

Ah fuck it, I smiled.

The carjacker drives off as Kimberly spots him and panics. Turns out it was her car that got stolen, thanks to Bulk and Skull's due diligence. The boys promise to help her out, and Bulk runs out into the street to hail a cab. Not like a human being would, but by jumping into the road and holding his hand out to signify the car needs to stop. Somehow, the taxi stops just before it drives headfirst into Bulkmeier's dong.

Please comment on this blog if you've ever had a chance encounter with a car running full speed into your dick.

Bulk commandeers the taxi by telling some degenerate, homeless, old drunk to get the fuck out. This is Angel Grove Junior Police property now, bub! Bulk drives, as Kimberly and Skull ride along as his passengers to catch the carjacker. The cab driver offers some G-Rated frustration at the officers who stole his vehicle, culminating in him tossing his hat to the ground and putting his hands on his hips. You couldn't even have him jump up and down on it too? Zero stars. You're slipping, Power Rangers.

Lord Zedd grumbles that Bulk and Skull are too close to Kimberly, and they're going to muck up this whole scheme. Rita contacts Zedd to tell him that this won't hinder them much, because they can still turn the cab into a monster to take Kim on one hell of a wild ride. Which wasn't even sort of the plan they had originally concocted, but we had footage of a taxi cab monster and come hell or high water, we're gonna use it.

Rita takes a break from completely altering pre-existing schemes to thank Katherine for being such an evil girl. These words echo in Kat's mind, as she flashes back to her childhood. A young Katherine receives a good Samaritan award from her teacher. It's a scene that is here to sow the seeds of Katherine secretly being a goody two-shoes, and not some sort of evil cat monster. But this whole scene plays out like such a terrible mess. Let me try and break it down.

First off, this classroom is obviously supposed to be in Australia. In case that wasn't clear enough for you, the homeroom teacher is standing directly in front of an Australian flag. That in of itself isn't so bad, but what makes it ridiculous is how this scene is so obviously shot inside the Angel Grove High School set. It looks like the director moved all of the seats to the opposite end of the set and filmed from a different angle to mask how clearly American this set is.

But what's far weirder than that is how the classmates react when Kat is awarded. They all applaud her with big stupid grins, which is fine by itself, but all their applause is slowed down just enough to make the scene look like it's all some sort of heroin-induced fever dream.

kids clapping
I'm at a loss for which of these kids is the worst.

After that brief moment of reminiscing, Katherine comes back to reality where Rita thanks her for the sacrifices she's made in the name of Space Satan. Kat angrily protests that she's not evil, and Rita responds in kind by blasting her with energy from her wand. This causes Katherine's eyes to glow as she agrees with Rita's earlier sentiment, and that she's totes bad to the bone.

Hmm, so the plot thickens! Perhaps this character is not all that she seems. Maybe she's not even a horrifying cat demon monster after all, what with her pre-established education and bathing of the homeless. Who knows where this roller coaster of a plot will go? What's next week's episode called again? A Different Shade of Pink? Oh…I think I might have a guess.

While Bulk continues chasing after the carjacker in his carjacked taxi, Finster delivers a giant monsterfying gun to Lord Zedd. He says this is the only way the evil emperor can turn that car into a monster, because all those instances of Zedd making a monster with his wand were nothing but fever dreams. Zedd fires his repainted super soaker at the Earth and blasts Bulk's cab with a beam of energy. The cab shimmies and shakes before it leaves the mighty Crabby Cabbie monster in its wake.

Crabby Cabbie
Someone must have mistyped "p's" as "b's" in the script.

By the way, what do you think this monster sounds like? Did you guess that he sounds like a big ball of New Yohka stereotypes? Like he just rolled past some heroin junkies, informed them that he is "WAH-KIN HEA!" told someone else to "move it or lose it," and shoved a pastrami in his mouth before listening to coverage of a Jets game on his handheld radio.

Crabby Cabbie rolls down the road as he babbles out a bunch of Bronx-isms to nobody in particular. Bulk, Skull, and Kimberly panic as someone shines a bunch of disco lights on the three of them to lead us to believe they're currently trapped inside the gut of a taxi monster-man who's busy asking everyone if they are or are not "talking to him."

Crabby quips that his stuck-up cousin "The Limo" has never had this much fun. Which is a goddamned preposterous lie if I've ever heard one. This idiot just came to life like two minutes ago. He doesn't have a familial connection to all cars. What kind of lopsided logic is that? And if this is accurate, why does Crabby Cabbie have an actual name when his cousin is apparently named, "The Limo?" This doesn't make a lick of sense!

Unless Power Rangers is making some kind of "joke," in which case please forget all of my childish ramblings.

Zordon and Alpha are alerted to the existence of Krusty Krabby Kabbie or whatever, and become even more alarmed when they learn that Bulk, Skull, and Kimberly are all trapped within the confines of Crabby Cabbie. When Zordon declares that Alpha should contact the other Rangers, Alpha 5 quips that he hopes they're not off scuba diving.

Which…I think is supposed to be a meta joke? I guess? I'm assuming it's in reference to the three separate times that some of the Ranger Teens were unable to reach Zordon because they were underwater. Most notably this was used to keep Jason, Zack, and Trini out of a fight in Season 2 to mask the fact that their actors had quit the show weeks prior. But this never struck me as something that happened all the time or was particularly notable.

Were the writers of this show just particularly incensed with that specific instance of sidelining characters? Because at best, this joke comes across as a complete non-sequitur, and even after trying to dig into it, it doesn't really come across as particularly humorous in regards to this show's own foibles. Maybe someone can clear the air for me here, but man oh man does this gag not land for me whatsoever.

Thankfully the Ranger Teens aren't scuba diving, and quickly rush to the Command Center when they learn that Kimberly is in trouble. The Rangers ask Zordon how the hell they're supposed to defeat the monster when Kim is stuck inside its innards, but Alpha 5 has been unable to get a suitable solution for this either. If he tries to molecularly de-scramble the humans inside of Crabby Cabbie, he may turn them into horrific hybrids of one another. So it'll be fine as long as Tommy doesn't mind getting hot and heavy with KimBulkly.

But Zordon also explains that the Rangers will need to surround the monster on all sides. Since the monster is a giant taxi cab, they're not going to be able to stop him without a hit and run conviction. Luckily, Zordon has prepared for just such an occasion, and presents the Rangers with their new Shark Cycles. Because the loan your parents took out to buy the Shogun Megazord wasn't enough. Keep consuming until you die precious pigs!

Power Rangers Shark Cycles
Hey Kim, more bad news!

Oh and why are they sharks? Because uh…Zordon made them from a shark fossil. Sure, whatever. Who gives a shit?

The Rangers morph and board their new Shark Cycles to locate Crabby Cabbie. Thankfully this gives the Rangers plenty of time to drive the cycles around town and show off how cool they look, so all you stupid fat kids out there can get an eyeful of these badass new toys we're shoving in your maws.

Soon enough, our heroes see Cabbie drive past them. They try and circle him with their cycles, but the monster speeds past them and blasts exhaust at him from his tailpipe. Though the Rangers make it through the smoke unharmed, Crabby Cabbie escapes his pursuers with a throaty laugh.

…And that's the end of the Shark Cycles contribution this week. Congrats everyone! We debuted a bunch of new toys specifically to stop a speeding monster, and they completely failed to do so. They weren't even able to catch up to him. How is Power Rangers consistently shoving merch into our faces and somehow manages to be absolutely terrible at it? Here's a tip from me to you: In the episode where a new toy shows up, it should do literally anything. 

Zedd and Rita decide to up the ante on this battle and turn Crabby Cabbie gigantic. Or as Rita puts it "Time to make our monsters grow!" How on Earth do you have the live action actress for Rita and the voice actress for Rita doing this line and not realize you fucked it up? Why did they not just do a second take? How is this show held together with half-torn rubber bands and rusty paper clips?

The giant Crabby Cabbie mocks our heroes, as the Rangers have a terribly-delivered session of lines about how they need to stall for time against this monster. It's a conversation that makes more sense the more I watch this episode, but it basically involves the Rangers repeating information that the audience already knows so the episode can have another 30 seconds filled up.

The Rangers bring in the Shogunzords, which stand around and watch as Rocky's Red Shogunzord gets knocked over by Crabby Cabbie. Because Rocky is deadass the worst Red Ranger in the history of Red Rangers.

So far.

Alpha 5 announces that his decombob-mo-tron is probably working now that the episode is almost over, so maybe it'll save Kim and the others? Or it won't and we'll need to get a new Pink Ranger, but who has time for that? The monster is hit by Alpha's (off-screen) energy blast, which sends Bulk, Skull, and Kimberly flying out of his exhaust pipe. Big deal Alpha, you could have gotten the same results by feeding this guy a meal at Arbys.

Now that the hostages have been freed, Crabby Cabbie is left face to face with the five Shogunzords. After the monster makes a ?hilarious? Rockettes reference, Tommy calls for the Shogun Megazord. What the Shogunzords proceed to do is…not that.

Shogunzord GIF
Did those giant robot animals just murder that paraplegic monster?

You might assume I'm cutting out some kind of fun fight sequence with this monster, but that's untrue. The Rangers' Zords jump onto one another's shoulders and spin into the cab until he dies. That's it. That is everything the monster did. He drove around a little bit, rammed into the Red Shogunzord, then promptly got hit by a hurricane zoo. Thanks for showing up buddy, you're the greatest!

Now that the monster has been vanquished, Bulk and Skull stumble back into town to try and drown their memories in milkshakes and bleach. Lucky for them, they locate the carjacker from earlier as he attempts to fix Kimberly's car on the side of the road. Bulk and Skull cuff the criminal and contact Lt. Stone. Stone asks Skullovitch if they're still alive, and when Skull confirms, Stone sighs in disgust. Of all the carjackers in Angel Grove, why couldn't this one have been armed?

The Ranger Teens, aside from Aisha, reconvene at Ernie's café to celebrate a job well done. Why isn't Aisha there? Uh…she's at the animal shelter. She's certainly not in the process of disputing her contract with Saban. Yeah, that's the ticket!

As the Rangers prepare to chow down, Kim leaps out of her chair when she sees Bulk and Skull driving her car back into the parking lot. She offers Bulk a big hug, as Skull is left depressingly hanging when he opens his arms for the touch of a woman. Maybe next season, buddy.

Oh who am I kidding? You're going to be an Incel forever, Skull. Better start figuring out what you want to blog about now. You best not even try for Power Rangers though. That market's cornered and I'll hold onto the glory of "Biggest Loser Still Watching Show For Infants" 'til my last gasp of breath.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Taxi Cabs



Personal Thoughts


Not even sort of feeling this episode. I like the design of Crabby Cabbie, but I don't even sort of care about anything else happening in this episode. It drops some plot points that will become important later, primarily the first mention of Gunthar Schmidt and Katherine's past, but that doesn't stop this episode from being pretty boring.

It feels like there's too much setup to the scheme of having a monster made out of a Ranger, and that's immediately brushed aside as soon as Kim gets inside the taxi. Then we piss some more time down our leg because Alpha won't let the Rangers kill that monster until enough minutes are on the clock. 

Oh man, and those fucking Shark Cycles? Give me a goddamn break.

I don't have much to even say. This episode was just draining. Though I did get a kick out of watching the Kakuranger episode with this monster. Mostly because the guy in the costume had to physically lift the entire suit up in a a scene where he was supposed to turn around.


Oh yeah, I also noticed that the Japanese costume for Crabby Cabbie had a cigar sticking out of his mouth. This looks to have been removed in the the American version, because if children see a taxi cab monster smoking, all decency would be removed from our beautiful nation.

Japan

U.S.


Close, but no cigar.




   



1 comment:

  1. Crabby Cabbie's also one of my all-time favorite monsters, and the car chases seemed fun enough, but why did they bother getting the Shark Cycles if they weren't going to recreate Kakuranger's bike-launching finisher? Just to recreate Dairanger's end credits?

    I'm also going to be disappointed if I learn that the Power Rangers fandom has never created any fanart of "KimberBulk."

    But oh man, I love that you opened on that pic of Lord Zedd aiming that strange gadget gun. I guess it was worth throwing together one more prop for the "continuity" of Zedd's staff needing multiple episodes to heal from being stuck as a snake, since he knows everyone will notice if he uses duct tape again.

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