Tuesday, July 4, 2017

MMPR Season 3 Episode 23: A Different Shade of Pink Part 1


Bulk and Skull Wear Leotards
Immigrant Tricked into Marriage With Ninja Bird











Yeah, it doesn't take Einstein to figure out what this trilogy is going to be about. You know that one Ranger who hasn't been hanging around with the others in group scenes very often? The one who gets excuses made up to explain her absence? Turns out she's leaving the show! That means the audience gets to say good-bye to the best actor on the team, as well as an entire generations' first crush.

Kim begins her final days shackled to this accursed children's program by practicing her gymnastics on the balance beam. Tommy watches her leap around as he sports a big dumb grin on his canine face. The kind of smile that translates to "I don't know what she's doing, but she'll be upset if I'm not paying attention." 

Another onlooker, an old foreign man with salt and pepper hair, approaches and compliments Kimberly's form on the balance beam. Tommy asks this ancient creep why he's checking out his girlfriend's hot bod, but the man explains Tommy's all mixed up. This man is none other than the "world-famous" gymnastics coach, Gunthar Schmidt. I think he's supposed to be German, but I couldn't even find this guys' IMDB profile. For all I know, he's a ghost that's haunting the set of Power Rangers.

Gunthar Schmidt? His name is my name too!

Kimberly hops off the balance beam and nearly wets her leotard when she finds herself face to face with Coach Schmidt. He asks Kim if she's going to be at the tryouts for the Pan Global games. Kim reluctantly says that she's not part of the games, and Shit loses his Schmidt. He proclaims that Kimberly is too talented to let her talents go to waste, and he'll clear some time to personally train her. So long as she guarantees that nothing will come before her training.

Anyone care to take a guess where this plot's headed?

Rita flies into a panic when she learns about Kim's new outing. Because the conceit of one of the Rangers having something that makes them happy gets her absolutely livid. Rita decides that the only way she can get off this week is if she makes sure to prevent that prissy little brat from even sniffing the Pan Global Games. Because if your monsters and goblins can't kill these kids, at least they can ruin their goddamned dreams.

The Ranger Teens reconvene at the Command Center to talk with Kimberly. They congratulate her on Coach Himmler's offered training of her, since he's apparently worked with several gold medal gymnasts in the past. Though there's a problem. Kimberly is wary of taking this offer because it may very well cut into her time as a Power Ranger. How can she hope to train full time and also fight against armored birds that besiege her town every week?

(Spoilers: She can't.)

Zordon interrupts this internal dilemma by telling Kimberly her maturity towards the Power Ranger position is admirable, and he would never want to deprive any of the Ranger Teens of such a golden opportunity.

"I'M SO SORRY RANGERS. I'LL GLEEFULLY EQUIP YOU WITH THE FINEST MAGICAL GENOCIDE ROBOTS TO INDISCRIMINANTELY SLAUGHTER THE SOULLESS ARMIES OF SPACE DEVILS, BUT I COULDN'T FATHOM KEEPING YOU FROM DOING BACKFLIPS ON A PIECE OF WOOD IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE OF SWEDES."

After that glowing endorsement from her floating head sorcerer, Kimberly gets straight to training. But hold the phone here. We've got 3 parts to fill, and who knows how much shit to get through. How can we devote time to Kim's training regimen if it's not selling any action figures?!

My friends, that's when we bring in a fuckin MONTAGE!

Kim runs on the beach, backflips in the park, hops along a balance beam, and so on and so forth. Though apparently the director didn't film enough footage for this montage, because the editor shoves in scenes of Kim on the balance beam from the beginning of the episode. In case you thought that Season 3 might mean that we'd get more money put into this ramshackle production.

While Kim trains, Bulk and Skull watch a news report that an international spy has been located in Angel Grove. He has gray hair, blue eyes, and speaks in a thick accent. What kind of accent? A thick one. So watch out any of you immigrants, because the White House is coming for you!

Bulk and Skull freak out when they realize this international spy sounds exactly like Kimberly's new coach. Though we get a pretty weird gag when Bulk lists off the criteria for this international spy and asks Skull if it sounds familiar. "5'11, gray hair, heavy accent." Skull responds, "The president of the United States?" in a really bad Bill Clinton impression.

I thought I'd chuckle at this gag, but it does absolutely nothing for me. I sat in my chair, completely stone-faced about this joke. I don't know why. Maybe it's because Skull's Clinton impression sounds more like he's channeling Gary Busey.

Bulk forms a plan to kidnap this wily ?German? so they can prove to Lt. Stone how flawless they are at solving mysteries. I'm sure your commanding officer will appreciate that, boys. Bring a hogtied elderly foreigner into his office, throw him on the desk, and demand a promotion. You'll be stacking pension cash in no time!

Later that day, Rita discusses the Kimberly situation with Katherine in Angel Grove Park. While Rita babbles endlessly about her crazy schemes, Katherine flashes back to a moment in her youth where she jumped off of a diving board. Then Rita tells her to stop daydreaming and get back to the task at hand.

I used to remember this arc having good foreshadowing, but saying it out loud like that kind of lessens the impact.

Though there is a moment that makes me laugh quite a bit when Rita tells Kat to snap out of her haze. As soon as Kat starts paying attention again, Rita says some generic villain line about how the Power Rangers are going to be hers soon and starts cackling. Rita was acting like Kat needed to hear some critical information about the "distract Kimberly" plan, but she really just wanted someone to hear her completely unnecessary villainous posturing. It goes to show how empty and barren Rita and Zedd's lives are that they're hiring teenagers to listen to their meaningless boasts in a desperate attempt to make themselves feel better.

Inside of the Command Center, Zordon alerts the Rangers that Zedd's Moon Freaks have launched a massive attack on Angel Grove. The forces of evil are working a bit smarter this time though, as they've split up their manpower into multiple locations. A group of Tengas in one area, Rito and Goldar in another, and Vampirus and Artistmole in another. Wait just a goddamned minute here, Vampirus and Artistmole are back? How the hell did that happen?

I know that Zedd and Rita can revive monsters whenever they damn well please, but these two are way more complicated creatures. Finster didn't make either of these guys, they were hatched from an egg and sucked out of Kimberly's nightmare, respectively. How did Zedd pull this shit off? Did Rito have a backup Vampirus egg? Did Finster make a more modestly-sized badger monster and feed it until it became plump enough to call himself Artistmole? These Moon gremlins don't make any goddamned sense.

Tommy suggests that the Rangers split up so they can take each threat on in groups. Billy and Adam can tackle the Tengas, Rocky and Aisha can fight off the monsters, and he'll fight Rito and Goldar solo. Wow, shocker. Tommy's giving himself the biggest fight and he's going to do it all by his lonesome. Glad we left the big decisions up to you, shithead.

The Rangers make a vow that they will only call Kimberly if the situation gets dire, so they can allow her to focus on her training in peace. Which shouldn't be an issue so long as Rocky can get his act together and fight something without totally cocking the whole thing up for a change.

The three battles ensue as Billy and Adam face some difficulties against the Tengas. Billy's arms manage to get quite a workout though.

"Thanks, Adam. I couldn't keep those puppet feet propped up for long!"

Aisha and Rocky handle the battle against Vampirus and Artistmole reasonably well, but Tommy is left completely overwhelmed by Rito, Goldar, and their remaining Tenga pack. Gee whiz, I wonder why? Tommy can't defeat like, 20 guys all by himself? Who writes this garbage? Jason David Frank is going to give you a piece of his mind.

Tommy contacts the other Rangers and requests some backup, but they're preoccupied with their own fights. Rocky suggests that they should call Kimberly, because big bad Goldar is just too much for Tommy to handle. I hope Kim enjoys watching the Pan Global Games from home while Tommy asks her to let him outside, and then when he comes back he'll drag a dead rabbit in front of her to apologize.

Inside the Youth Center, Alpha buzzes Kimberly in the middle of her practice. Kim explains that she forgot to do something really important to Coach Schmidt, and that she'll be back in just a little bit. Gunthar tells her that she doesn't grasp how important this training regiment is, and she's throwing away a great opportunity if she leaves now. Not only that, he doesn't have all the time in the world for her to go fiddle around with that hound she was bedding.

Kim hesitates for a bit, but her Communicator buzzes again. Kim completely bugs out and says that she has to go, but she's only leaving because of something extremely important. She doesn't want to admit it, but it was raining and Tommy stared at the sky with his mouth open.

Kimberly, honey, here's a little tip from me to you. Tell this old fuck that you ate some bad scallops and you need to go to the bathroom. Boom. Bingo. He can go suck down one of Ernie's Drano Milkshakes because he thinks you're indisposed with diarrhea. Then you can go fight whatever talking washing machine Zedd has cooked up this week.

But no. Kim gives some vague, flighty answer about something she needs to do before abandoning her dreams. Maybe it would help if the other Rangers tried using their Power Weapons. Remember when they used to do that in Season 1 and early Season 2? Did Zordon melt those down and sell them for scrap?

As Kimberly rushes out, Bulk and Skull ponder how they can bring this dastardly foreigner down. Since this is before the advent of Prison Planet, they're left to their own devices. Skull suggests making a citizen's arrest, and unfunnily adds, "Ve Have vays of making you talk you know." Yikes. Another swing and a miss from Mr. Skullovitch. I don't know what it says about me that I'm actually not enjoying scenes with Bulk and Skull. Maybe it means I'm finally becoming a functioning member of society.

Anyway, back to the fight with the nightmare raisin, the obese marmoset, the peck of purple pigeons, Mr. Skeltal, and a golden sodomy dog.

The Pink Ranger leaps into battle and slaps the Tengas away from her man. The battle restarts as Kim takes on Goldar and some Tengas, while Tommy handles Rito and some Tengas. Kim kicks Goldar's ass around, but Tommy contacts the other Rangers and tells them this still isn't working. Then, Tommy says the absolute biggest load of shit I've heard in my entire life.

"Guys, our strength lies in teamwork!"

Oh? Does it now?


Get stuffed Oliver. You make me sick.

Meanwhile, Bulk and Skull have a scheme to trick Coach Schmidt into revealing his evil plot. They've dressed themselves as gymnasts and will lie about being interested in the Pan Global Games. Once they get into his inner circle, they'll be able to figure out if he's on the up and up or not. Because if he's stupid enough to believe that Bulk is a gymnast, he'll be dumb enough to fall for this plan.

Soon enough, Adam and Billy reach the park to join forces with Tommy and Kimberly. Vampirus and Artistmole also land in the park, having been beaten there by Rocky and Aisha. Now all six Rangers are back together and…did Kimberly really need to leave training for this?

I mean, I understand that Kim helped rescue Tommy, but why did she need to come back for Tommy to realize, "Shit! We need to fight as a team, guys!" Wouldn't Kim's presence seem more necessary if all five Rangers were fighting together and it still wasn't enough to beat the various villains? Or maybe the other Rangers don't really give a shit about Kimberly's hopes and dreams and felt like messing with her.

The six Rangers regroup and engage in a massive battle royale with the Moon Crew. Rocky kicks Goldar in the stomach, Billy is about to get decapitated by Rito, and Adam pronounces Artistmole's name wrong. What a botch! Everyone should tweet at Johnny Yong Bosch to make sure he knows how badly he bungled the name of a badger in a smock. I sure hope somebody got fired for that blunder!

The Rangers turn the tide almost immediately, and Goldar commands his forces to retreat.  The villains disappear in streaks of energy, and the Rangers promise they'll finish off the forces of evil next time. Tommy tells Kim she had better get back to practice before Gunthar Schmidt flies back to his home country of "Somewhere in Europe."

As Kimberly walks into the Youth Center, Bulk and Skull rush out in gymnastics-related disgrace. It's not an awful gag, and I find it kind of funny that their humiliation is completely left up to our interpretation. Also, we get to see our main men in some sweet spandex. Meow!

Now here's something for the chicks!

As Kimberly walks in, her Communicator goes off once again. It's Tommy, and he says the villains are back and stronger than ever! They'll need Kimberly's help again for sure. Probably. Kim decides to disappoint her third father by bailing on their training routine once again. Thanks for believing in my athletic prowess Mr. Shit, now fuck off. I've gotta go beat up a purple bat in a toga.

Actually...wait a second. A grown-ass adult who's abandoning their responsibilities for the sake of the Power Rangers. Why does that sound so familiar? Ah well. It's probably nothing.

Katherine witnesses Kimberly's departure from a corner of the Juice Bar, and sneers to herself about the situation. Suddenly, the look on her face changes as she frowns and flashes back to her youth yet again. Katherine recalls when she was in a diving competition, and some Aussie dickbag referred to her as "Kay-Thrine." Power Rangers, you're a show that hires approximately 389,000 voice actors. Why don't you have one of them slap on a shitty Australian accent and say the name Katherine right?

So wait, why are we flashing back to this? I don't know. Kaythrine gets out of her own head a few seconds later. Good lord, kitty. Please just get on with it and remember what you're trying to convey to the audience. Hachi machi.

The Power Rangers board their Shark Cycles and chase after Goldar, Rito, Vampirus, and Artistmole. Kimberly even shows up with a pink Shark Cycle of her very own! Nice of Zordon to give her a bone after she got screwed out of that Shogunzord deal. Sorry, Kimmy. Maybe start moving some merch and we'll consider giving you a big pink robot of your very own.

The Rangers speed at the four monsters and get into a road battle with them. Since these monsters all move slow as dogshit, Rito thinks of another way to fight the Rangers.

Shark Cycle gif
Anyone think this is this a reference to Zyuranger episode 2, when Dora Skeleton jumped onto Tyranno Ranger's bike and attacked him?

Kim is saved by Tommy (natch), who kicks Rito off of her Shark Cycle. The other monsters are soon dispatched similarly, with Aisha knocking Artistmole down, Rocky speeding past Goldar, while Billy and Adam dispatch Vampirus.

You would expect this scene to end with Artistmole and Vampirus getting destroyed, but no. They teleport away just like Rito and Goldar do. There's no conclusion to these revived monsters, so hypothetically they're still chilling somewhere inside Zedd's Moon Palace. Someone get Fox on the line. I've got the best goddamned sitcom you've ever seen. A nightmare creature with a face made of molded purple ooze lives underneath the Moon with his roommate: a clinically obese ferret with a penchant for the arts. See what happens when these two stop getting along, and start getting real.

After the monsters have been dealt with, the Rangers park their Shark Cycles and congratulate one another on a job mediocrely done. Tommy notices Kim looks a little light-headed and asks if she's okay, which she responds to by fainting in his arms. Possibly because a Ranger who's been perennially at death's door for the last four weeks shouldn't be piloting a motorcycle that moves as fast as a goddamned shark.

After the commercial break ends, Tommy drops Kim off to the Youth Center later that night. She thanks Tommy for dropping her off, and mentions that Ernie was nice enough to leave his café open for her to practice all the things she wasn't able to get done today. You're not going to think he's so nice when you trigger the Youth Center's alarm and the cops come running. Then they ask why a nice young girl is inside of a gym that has its walls lined with some of Mexico's finest black tar heroin.

The exhausted Pink Ranger Teen hops aboard the balance beam and begins practicing her moves. Little does she know that Kaythrine is hiding outside and waiting for something sinister to happen. Though not before she has another series of flashbacks that remind her of the evil that's overtaken her life. We even get the detailed story of how Rita tricked her into the clutches of darkness in the first place. It's a tragic tale that rivals any play penned by the Bard himself.

We've all been there, haven't we folks?

Kaythrine starts pondering what the hell has been going on in her life ever since that witch tricked her into dating a bird man. After reminiscing about her meeting with Rita, Kat recalls the diving flashback we've been witnessing pieces of throughout the episode. It turns out that Kat had accidentally injured herself during a crucial dive and struck her head against the diving board while leaping into the water.

…At least that's what the announcer tells us. That Saban coward didn't have the guts to actually injure one of his actors to tell this story.

As soon as Kaythrine finishes her flashback, she realizes that she's putting Kimberly in the position to fail exactly like she did in the past. Kat bangs on the Juice Bar's door in an attempt to get Kim's attention, and finds her way into a back entrance that Ernie leaves unlocked for "Special Customers" every night. As soon as Kat gets inside, she's met with a tragic sight. Kimberly has tumbled off of the balance beam and fallen onto the mats below. Kat looks on in horror as the critically-injured Kimberly writhes on the ground in pain.

Well, great. Looks like America just got fucked out of a gold medal in the Pan Global Games again this year. Thanks for nothing, Kim!



TO BE CONTINUED




Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Bill Clinton Jokes That Didn't Revolve Around Blowjobs



Personal Thoughts


I appreciated the idea here, but this episode felt like it was really bogged down by filler. The biggest offender here was the battle with all of Zedd's Moon monsters. The battle felt like it was supposed to end no fewer than 4 times, but it kept coming back. What was even worse was how there was no real ending to this fight. The monsters go away, Rito falls off a bike, and Goldar teleports away when he's in danger. I realize that Zedd's forces are trying to interrupt Kim, but that doesn't mean this episode should lose its climax. Unless you consider the Rangers driving around on their big toy bikes a satisfying climax. I don't know.

I enjoyed Kimberly's conflict, I mostly enjoyed Katherine coming to grips with what she'd been doing, and the ending scene was surprisingly pretty tense for Power Rangers. So if nothing else, I'll give this one a pass. Wasn't really atrocious, but nothing amazing. It's a good start for this trilogy, though I hope it gets better soon.

The one thing I noticed in this episode that I wanted to comment on any further was Zedd's ass. Look at his costume!


It looks like that big metal piece came completely undone, so now all you're left with are his chiseled cheeks. What is going on with Zedd's costume? How is it falling apart more and more by the day? Yowza.




12 comments:

  1. "European Gymnast Coaches" is your 2nd piece of 90s nostalgia because it was obvious back in the day that Schmidt is supposed to be an expy of Bela Karolyi, the US Gymnastics coach who coached the US ladies to a bronze after world champion Kim (Zmeskal, that is) fell off the balance beam and aggravated an ankle fracture somewhere in beyond tenth place.

    Gee, you don't think the ending of that episode ending of KIM FALLS OFF BEAM has any significance to anything, do you? Nah.

    This episode was about a year before Atlanta 96, which is known as the one where Karolyi urges Kerri Strug to do a second vault jump (and take a ligament injury) to begin a proud tradition of Americans beating foreigners in the hallowed venue of 11 year old girls launching themselves into the air.

    The other odd thing is the pink shark cycle. Kakuranger had three motorcycles and two rangers travelling in a sidecar, but all six motorcycles have the same design below the handlebars, so I'm guessing Toei sent them two copies of the red/blue/yellow Kaku sharks, Saban removed the sidecars and painted the others.

    It should be noted that the sharks have a completely different "head" than in the source material The red Kakuranger shark has a totally different look than the red and white PR versions of that bike (they have the longest fins). Likewise, the yellow/pink heads have much smaller "sawblade" noses, and the blue/black ones are more boxy and less bulge-ey than KakuBlue's. They're also all in their primary color instead of the white or black two-tone accents.

    This has been another fine episode of "I'm middle-age now and still staring at Power Ranger stills". Thank you for your time.

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    1. Also it appears that if I'm going to post more than fifty words about a kids show, I'll need an editor. Great googly moogly the grammar and redundant words.

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    2. Bela Karolyi, AKA, "The answer to last episode's command to name any gymnatics coach you have ever heard of."

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    3. This made me chortle. Bless your heart, Ross.

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    4. Please never stop commenting, Pumpkin Rap God. This is seriously some of the coolest shit to read. I'm watching this show completely divorced from the 90's aesthetics, considering I was like 5 years old when this shit aired. It's interesting to learn some of the insight as to these plots. I appreciate that!

      I actually wanted to mention how the Shark Cycles were likely based on the Japanese props, but I really couldn't make heads or tails what the fuck happened to those things. The American versions look to have much doofier faces and, as you said, look boxier and less sleek overall. I appreciate you pointing it out though, because clearly I couldn't notice for shit.

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  2. What if it comes to light that Johnny Yong Bosch was the only one pronouncing Artisimole's name correctly? Then we'll all feel silly about our targeted harassment campaign!

    That gif of the bike fight reminded me to check if this could be the episode where Rito got that repaint job I imagined.

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    1. You tell Johnny Yong Bosch that he can kiss my grits! I don't care how many Personas he was, I'm the only one who knows how to pronounce rodent monster names!

      I've tried to keep up with Rito's constantly changing body color, but it seems like it ebbs and flows every time I pop in the DVD.

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    2. SirStack's Morphylogeny has been very helpful: So far every time I think Rito's coloring has changed back, I look up the episode and see "Recycled" by the shot used.

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    3. Johnny Yong Bosch is a national treasure! Don't you talk smack about him!
      Or whatever.

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  3. I am stupidly charmed by the notice in the background of the Youth Center announcing the advent of "Tai Chi Tuesdays"

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    1. I'm so glad I have readers like you to notice the mundane set dressing nonsense that is 10 times funnier than whatever I could write about it. Bless you, Ross.

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  4. It's fun to examine how Rita felt the need to prevent Kimberly from getting into the Pan Global games despite the fact that Kimberly leaving for the games would weaken the Power Rangers and therefore benefit the evil space aliens. It helps that the plan appears to be more "Make Kimberly work herself to death" by the end of this episode, but after "Turn a Ranger into a monster" turned into "Trap a Ranger inside a monster," I suspect somebody just isn't thinking through the plans enough to commit to them.

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