Tuesday, August 1, 2017

MMPR Season 3 Episode 26: Rita's Pita


Tommy Critiques Child's Dietary Choices
Police Officer Uses Fish for Wallet












For as much as I bitch about how much attention this show gives Tommy, there's something I've noticed. When is the last time we had an episode where Tommy was really the main focus? When was there a lesson for him to learn, or an obstacle he had to personally overcome? Usually he does nothing but rescue his girlfriend from space goofballs before hollering a load of karate nonsense.

Tommy is supposed to be the face of this franchise and we don't really take the time to expand on him. Is it because Jason David Frank has to have his lines translated into katas for him to read them? Possibly, but I digress. From everything I remember about this episode, it's a nice and quaint episodic affair to bring some levity to the show after a more serious experience with Kimberly's waning health. How will they lighten the mood?

By making an episode where Tommy eats fucking everything.

But things don't begin quite so simply. No, Tommy is currently teaching a young man named Danny how to perform martial arts. So he can protect himself and his mother in the event that his father comes after them with an axe.

Rocky and Aisha take a moment to inform everyone in the audience how great it is that Tommy's such a wonderful teacher, and how everyone looks up to him, and he's such a positive role-model, blah blah blah. Who was the script supervisor on this episode? Mason David Crank?

Ernie drops in and asks Tommy and Danny what they would like to eat. Tommy orders a veggie pita and a fruit smoothie, whereas Danny orders a double cheeseburger, fries, and a shake. Tommy grimaces for a moment before telling Danny that what goes in his body will make a big difference in how he feels. Like they say, you are what you eat. Must be why I'm such a huge dick.

Danny, having been browbeaten by a dog in a gi, rescinds his order and asks for a pita and smoothie instead. Poor kid. If only he knew he could be a tri-county area-famous blogger. They let you eat whatever you want, and you get to live to the ripe old age of 40!

Rita observes Tommy's predilections towards healthy eating and decides this will be her one opportunity to finish off the Power Rangers for good. Hahaha, yeah. That's what we're watching this week. An episode teaching all us kids about how to eat healthy and why to not let space monsters influence our eating habits. Well kudos to this episode, because I'm sure it got Haim Saban a nice juicy check from the Department of Education.

Rita demands to know when her new monster will be completed, and Finster promises it won't take much longer. She continues to chew his ass about how slow he's moving, because this whole moon is filled with ungrateful dicks. You're getting on a guy's case who makes abominations of all that's good and holy out of moon clay. He has created devilish imps in a kiln. Finster is playing God inside his laboratory every single week, and you're hassling him because he isn't getting the lead out fast enough? If you tasked me with creating a clay-beast, it's going to take me more than three Mississippi. Get a fucking clue, Repulsa.

While Tommy is body-shaming a 10 year old, Billy and Adam take Katherine on a walk through Angel Grove. Billy asks if all the changes in scenery are causing much of a problem for Kat. Katherine says she'll be okay, even if she is a bit worried about the Communicator going off. I'd be a bit more worried regarding the space demons looking to murder me every week, but I'd imagine the wildlife of Australia prepped her for this. If you told me that Soccadillos were indigenous to Sydney, I wouldn't bat an eye.

Back in the Youth Center, Bulk and Skull don't have any wacky shenanigans or think that Ernie is actually trying to murder the prime minister or anything like that for once. All they want is something to eat. Because in an episode about being responsible for what you eat, you'll have to present a counterpoint as to why. Because if you don't watch what you eat, you'll turn into Bulk and or Skull. Two men who look like they were designed by Lloyd Kaufman.

Skull orders an item from the menu labeled the "Indigestion Inducer." Bulk drops his jovial fa├žade when he looks at Skull and informs him he doesn't know what he's getting into. The exact same thing he said when they signed their contracts back in Season 1. Skull gives Bulk the stink-eye for a few seconds before persisting, "Bring it on." As Ernie leaves, Bulk's voice goes up an octave as he says to Skull, "Good heavens, man. You realize what you've done?"

I didn't need any of that cop shit from the last few week. Just give me these two chuckleheads yapping about their miserable lives and I'm fine. God bless these oafs.

Did Ernie dump his trash out on Skull's plate?

Oh and just in case you missed this episode's point, Tommy makes sure to inform Danny that Skull is a perfect example of what you shouldn't do to your body. Then Tommy looks at Danny very seriously, firmly grasps his shoulder with one hand, and points the other hand directly in Danny's face.

"That piece of trash is lower than dog shit on the bottom of your shoe. If you ever so much as say something that rhymes with indigestion, I'll pistol whip you until you're unrecognizable. You filth. You utter trash. You oafish piece of shit."

Back on the Moon Compound, Finster presents his newest creature: The Ravenator!

Ravenator
Terry Bogard, is that you?

Rito responds to this freak of nature by saying his grotesquely-giant mouth reminds him a lot of Rita. She reacts in kind by reminding her brother that he's a despicable skinless fuck who's going to die alone, what with him having no organs to possibly warm another living body with. Rito falls silent as he realizes his sister's insult game has far surpassed his own.

Rita discusses her plan for shrinking the Ravenator to the size of a bug, where he'll attack Tommy from the inside-out. This scheme somehow transmits into Katherine's head, as she's still feeling residual effects from the spell Rita had her under.

As much as I want to think that idea is total bullshit, I kind of like it. Kat was put under some evil witch's mind control, and just because she told a girl sorry for causing her to fall off a balance beam doesn't mean she's completely freed from the pulsating evil energy inside her brain. 

Zedd realizes that his former spy is on to them, so he summons his avian foot soldiers to stop her. Katherine ninja morphs for the first time and gets a solo fight against the Tengas. Yet again, I've got to give this episode credit. It's an episode about Tommy getting infected with a monster parasite, but it isn't stupid enough to forget that we introduced a new Ranger literally one episode ago. Instead of putting her in yet another meaningless group fight with the other Rangers, the show throws Katherine a bone and allows her to strut her stuff alone. Even if she's wearing the same costume that Kim did, it's the thought that counts.

Well, that's not technically true. Katherine has actually taken the mantle of the rarely-known Orange Ranger. Don't believe me? Take a look.

Orange Power Ranger
Eat a dick, Boom.

What's cool about the fight with Kat and the Tengas is that she spends the first bit of it completely out of her element. She fights clumsily, she goofs up, and she isn't really sure what to do. I could be a big pot of piss and complain how this doesn't match with other Rangers becoming immediate martial arts masters (BILLY) but who cares? That was in the first episode of this series when everyone knew it was going to fail and be forgotten. Now that Power Rangers has some sort of legacy behind it, we can do things right.

Please?

Back at the Juice Bar, Ernie gives Tommy his meal: a single leaf of lettuce dipped in water. Unfortunately, the Ravenator monster has other plans for Mr. Oliver. Now that he's been shrunk to the size of Bulk's self-esteem, the monster sneaks inside of Tommy's lunch. In case you thought this particular set-up wasn't dumb enough, allow me to refer to the monster's line as he sneaks into a Greek sandwich.

"First they made me bite-size, now I gotta imitate a pickle so some guy can swallow me!"

Been there, Ravenator. More times than I can count.

So as I was saying, Tommy accidentally eats the big-toothed chef goblin. Ravenator lands inside of his stomach and causes the White Ranger to become famished. Tommy discards his pita and grabs the remnants of Skull's Indigestion Inducer, promptly grabbing handfuls of the slop and shoving it in his maw. What's that? An episode for vore and feederism enthusiasts? Be still my beating erection. 

Now some of you readers may think the image of Jason David Frank throwing handfuls of dumpster food into his mouth may sound kind of funny. Well I'm here to inform you that nothing could be further from the truth. This isn't funny whatsoever.

It's fucking hysterical.

~FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION~

Meanwhile, Katherine starts to gain her bearings as the Pink Ninja Ranger and slaps the Tengas around. Kat acts like a giddy schoolgirl as she realizes how fun it is to be a Power Ranger. She sounds like she's got a massive smile on her face as she offers cutting remarks to these giant birds. After she beats them she even tells them to give her regards to Zedd and Rita, while waving derisively. If this characterization for Kat keeps up, I think Season 3 might perk my interest again.

Billy and Adam walk into the Youth Center where they find their glorious leader scarfing down food. They ask why he's eating unhealthy food one time in his entire life, because it will completely destroy any and all progress he's made on his body in the last 19 years of doing karate. Danny pouts as he wonders why he ever looked up to Tommy. If only Tommy could tell Danny that Ravenator is a little boy that lives in his mouth. The young karate student throws a real bitch fit and says Thomas K. Oliver is a total fake.

Jesus Christ, you moralistic weirdos. Sometimes a person can eat something that's bad for them, feel like shit, and then exercise. I realize that Tommy is currently eating that plate like he's a raccoon, but maybe he likes to have a burger every here and there. Just like me, I have a burger every here (breakfast) and there (2nd breakfast.)

Katherine shows up and tells Billy about what she heard from accidentally doing her shining-routine on Rita. Billy tells Tommy that they should run a diagnostic scan on him to see if he's feeling alright, and Tommy garbles something out about a donut. I got a laugh simply because half of Tommy's lines are near-incomprehensible while he's shoveling trash into his gullet. He sounds like the teacher in a Peanuts cartoon.

Unable to get Tommy to abandon his gorge session, the other five Rangers teleport to the Command Center. Zordon commands Alpha 5 to set the Viewing Globe on Tommy's location, but isn't able to find anything wrong. Not until he turns on the X-Ray magnification to locate Ravenator chilling inside Tommy's body.

The inside of my stomach is also a gym mat painted pink.

The Rangers ask if Zordon can bring Tommy into the Command Center so Alpha can throw some pixie dust on him to fix the problem. Zordon apologizes but firmly proclaims he can't abide by having Tommy inside his chamber while there's a monster inside of him.

There's something I really appreciate when I'm watching Power Rangers, and it's incidental moments like this. The writers could be lazy and handwave this situation by having Zordon say, "No, Rangers. I am unable to do anything for him. I am very sorry." Instead, there's possibly a way that Zordon could help Tommy, but he doesn't want to risk it because of the unique circumstances in which this monster is attacking.

Basically, I enjoy explanations that don't boil down to Zordon bellowing, "RANGERS, I CAN'T ASSIST YOU UNTIL AFTER THE SECOND COMMERCIAL BREAK."

The Ranger Teens head to Angel Grove High once they learn that Tommy is invading the Junior Police Bake Sale, headed by Bulk and Skull. The two dipshits discuss how much they like this job, and figure out a brilliant scheme. If they don’t sell anything, they can take all the food home and eat it themselves!

There's something so pure and beautiful about Bulk and Skull coming up with dumbass ways to eat charity food.

To keep people from buying their food, Bulk and Skull put toy fish (???) on top of the bake sale goods. I…I assume they're fake fish to scare people away? Though why they brought a bunch of plastic mackerels into a police fundraiser is beyond me. Well whatever, it seems to deter enough customers. Soon as someone starts eyeballing a pie, Bulk plops down a Big Mouth Billy Bass on it, and they waltz away in disgust.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work on people who are infected with parasitic, buck-toothed gremlins. Tommy barges into the bake sale and consumes handfuls of food at a time. Bulk bemoans his appearance by referring to Tommy as "The Human Vacuum Cleaner," which is just fucking priceless. Your God-given name is BULK and you find yourself in a position to criticize someone else for their eating habits.

Bulk gets sassy and asks Tommy if he plans on paying for any of the food that's inexplicably covered in plastic bait shop memorabilia. Tommy digs out a wad of cash to give the boys, and Bulk decides to put it away for safe-keeping.

Bulk fish gif
A Fishful of Dollars

The other five Ranger Teens rush into the hallway where they pull all of Tommy's food out of his hands and tell him that they need to get moving. Tommy stuffs another handful of fish food down his throat and tells the other Rangers that he's busy right now.

Honestly, I have to give this episode kudos. Jason David Frank's pig-out sessions are actually making me laugh. I'm happy to say that he can be funny on purpose too. I know I bag on the guy at basically every opportunity, but he's entertaining me here. Now I just need to find another 600 nice things to say about him, so I can finally stop sleeping in fear that he'll break into my house and karate kick my dick off.

Billy all but slaps the food out of Tommy's hands and drags him off to the park. The Ranger Teens explain to their boss why he can't stop inhaling food, and he mentions that it makes a lot of sense. Right before guzzling a forkful of pancakes he brought with him to the park. Jesus Christ, is there a worse food to have outdoors than syrupy-ass pancakes? I have the weirdest hang-up about eating food outside and getting a shitload of bugs all over it, and this scene nearly gave me a panic attack.

Aisha comes up with a foolproof solution to get Tommy to stop eating so damn much. No, it isn't shoving a muzzle on this pooch's mouth, it's something a bit simpler. She asks Rocky for his assistance, and the two of them head over to an ice cream truck to order a gigantic dessert. Why she needed Rocky for this? Probably because his uncle is a rich football star, and the only reason we keep him around is to foot the bill for shit like this.

Regardless, the Ranger Teens order Tommy the biggest, juiciest, tastiest, fakest ice cream you've ever seen.

You may have wanted to peel that banana first.

Aisha's master plan is to put this enormous bowl of rubber ice cream in front of Tommy, and test his willpower not to eat it. If he can endure, this should defeat the monster's curse. Probably. Billy and Adam restrain Tommy so that he doesn't scarf down the sundae, which seems like it would defeat the purpose of testing Tommy. They let go of him for about two seconds, and Katherine tells Tommy to take a deep breath.

Approximately two seconds later, the Ravenator decides he's had enough and leaps out of Tommy's craw.

Well, glad that's finished. Thanks for showing up everyone. Cripes, what a quick burn. Tommy doesn't even have to hold himself back or anything. He stops for a minute once the Rangers let him go, and that's it. He doesn't have to focus or remind himself about why he shouldn't be inhaling all this garbage. Someone just tells him to stay calm and not eat so much, and ta-da! Back to normal.

So whatever, the Ravenator emerges and mentions that Tommy could use a breath mint. Because of course he does. This show would be out of business if it wasn't making jokes about peoples' breath smelling bad at any possible opportunity. The Rangers morph, and Katherine takes a moment to admire her newfound powers as she truly has become the Pink Ranger. She looks down at her gloves and clenches her fists in awe, and Ravenator inexplicably hollers "HEY, WHAT'S WITH THE HANDS? I'M OVER HERE!"

Like, that line has always baffled me. There wasn't a close-up on Kat's hands or any real focus. She looked at them and then…what the fuck was even the point of that? Is this some meta joke I'm missing about the Power Rangers and their hands? Is Ravenator one of the many people in our society who pleasure themselves to hands (particularly the Mona Lisa's?) I mean, they're just folded over her knee and...how do I say this? I know it's a bit crude but...heheh

Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah. The Rangers attack the Ravenator, but he puts up a decent fight for a monster who should be covered in gastric acid by now. Adam suggests that the Rangers should use teamwork to beat the monster. Yeah, no shit. That might be better than each of you barreling at him one at a time. Moron.

Oh wait, scratch that. Tommy knocks the monster over with one scissor kick and that's the end of the fight. Fighting together? Weapons? Bullshit. Let Tommy fix it for you losers.  Why'd you even bother showing up?

Rita and Zedd make some mouth-related pun, and Goldar responds by saying something about big mouths. Zedd presumably says something else referring to a mouth before he and his wife make Ravenator into a giant. The Rangers panic briefly before summoning their Shogunzords. Our favorite teenagers form the Shogun Megazord, Ravenator charges at the mech, and the monster is immediately killed by the Megazord's fire saber.

That's the fight. All of it. Ravenator runs forward and instantaneously gets murdered. What an absolute load of shit. He doesn’t battle any of the Shogunzords one on one, he doesn't fire any laser beams or throw giant tooth bombs at them, he gets effortlessly slaughtered. That's absolutely not my shit right there. When I mentioned before that I wasn't crazy about the Shogun Megazord, this is the main reason why. There are going to be a few fights where zero actual fighting takes place. The monster grows, runs a few steps, and promptly gets cleaved in two. It's some of the laziest Zord material I've seen, and I watched every goddamned episode of Season 2.

But enough about Zords, because Tommy's got some 'splainin to do. He approaches that Danny kid at the Youth Center and apologizes about his recent voracious behaviors. Danny, barely turning away from the arcade game he's playing, offers some incredibly natural delivery and tells Tommy, "I'm not listening to any more of your lies." Danny even says that he's going to quit karate as well, which nearly causes Tommy to go into cardiac arrest. Though the trough loads of dumpster food he was guzzling might have aided in that as well.

Tommy apologizes for the mistakes he made, like eating that Twinkie that one time, and hopes that Danny will forgive him for being a human being once in his life. Sensei Oliver also mentions how good at karate Danny is, which would mean something if Tommy was training more than one person.

"Danny, you are one of the students I've ever had."

Danny relents and agrees to give his teacher one more chance. Tommy high fives the kid, and hilariously starts "playing" the game with Danny. Though he didn't put any money in, so I'm left to believe that Tommy stole this kid's turn and wanted to show him up in a game to teach him who's boss.

The episode concludes with Bulk and Skull laying on the Youth Center floor, with dessert fixings splattered on their faces. Lt. Stone, with a deeply-annoyed look on his face, asks the boys how their bake sale went. The boys mention how they didn't sell all of the food, to which Stone says he'd be happy to donate all the food to the elderly home. Bulk stammers for a minute before saying they actually did sell everything, and he forks over a stack of cash to the lieutenant.

Yeah, but what about all those who are starving at the old folks' home? The Angel Grove Senior Center has become desolate with miserable old folks who want nothing more than one extra scoop of tapioca for dessert. Sadly, the crooked orderlies have commandeered this food for themselves. A man who fought in two world wars has to watch as some 20-something dumps his applesauce right in the trash. A tear rolls down his wrinkled cheek as he wonders what became of the food he was supposed to be eating, the desserts that were promised to him. Cut to Bulk vomiting violently in the dumpster outside, as the old man's heart finally gives out.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Toy Fish



Personal Thoughts


I'm absolutely astonished how much I ended up enjoying this episode. Just reading a plot summary made me cringe. Tommy has to learn about the threats of overeating? That sounds utterly wretched. But by some fucking miracle, it actually came out pretty good. The moral was ham-handed and the action was lackluster, but who gives a shit? I got a good pack of laughs while I was watching this episode, and that's far more than I can say about some of Season 3's weaker material. 

I'm still kind of shocked how useless the Megazord battle with Ravenator was. It couldn't have lasted more than 40 seconds in total. I don't have any problem with this monster or anything, but Power Rangers could have done this same exact plot with their own monster, cut the Zord fight, and nothing would have been lost. Or trim the Zord battle entirely, because holy shit is it a clunker. 

Speaking of the Japanese footage, this episode's plot is incredibly similar to the Kakuranger episode that Ravenator originates from. The Sentai version has Ravenator's counterpart get ingested by the Yellow Kakuranger, who turns into a giant with an unquenchable hunger. Then the rest of the Rangers desperately try to figure out a way to remove the monster from inside their comrade. Those scenes with Ravenator inside Tommy's stomach were done almost exactly the same in Kakuranger. Even the set design looks nearly identical between versions.

Japan

U.S.

I'd almost wager that the script writer assumed they would use the Japanese footage, but the director decided to re-film it for shits and giggles.

Though ultimately, Kakuranger created a far superior product over Power Rangers. Primarily because the method of coaxing the monster out of their comrade was significantly more emotional.

Kakuranger burger









9 comments:

  1. Now that you mention it, maybe they should have taken the time they spent recreating the stomach scenes to instead add some individual Shogunzord fighting, since by this point they had the costumes and miniature sets and all.

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  2. Fast forward about seventeen years to RPM and it's actually one of the reasons why I dig the series: Many of the Zord fights are blessedly short. It really helps set the tone of that series, that the Rangers are trying to end things ASAP, and you get minimal sequences of men in eighty pounds of rubber and cardboard lumbering around at one another.

    These early seasons, IMO, had the some of the best Zord fights going for them, when they bothered to have fights and didn't splice footage. Largely because they weren't in the habit of 12+ Zords combining into a single mech so that you had some poor stunt actor wearing every one of them and still trying to seem like they can do more than stand up and wave their arms around yet. Lighter costumes, more sense of speed and action.

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  3. Two men who look like they were designed by Lloyd Kaufman.

    Thank you. I was having a rough day and needed that.

    Incidentally, I explained the plot of this episode to my son at dinner time (He had randomly asked why the bad guys never make a really small monster who'd be hard for the Rangers to hit) tonight, and he could not get past how even Tommy could be dumb enough to eat Ravenator without noticing that he was consuming a small monster-shaped living being.

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    1. You could always tell him that the Rangers tended to be slow on the uptake when one of their own was under a spell even though all members from Jason to Tanya were basically flawless.

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    2. "People just develop new flaws spontaneously in an instant, right?"

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    3. One, Tommy wasn't even looking at his pita when the Ravenator got in. Two, the likely had some kind of skin that imitated that of the pita so when it came into contact with the teeth it would bend but not break while making his tongue not detect something foreign (like it would with rubber or metal). This skin would give off secretions to imitate the pita's flavor to further deceive Tommy's mouth into letting his brain know that he had a morsel being chewed up; much like how flavored gum produces flavor to give one sensation of chewing on a fruit while becoming thick enough to discourage swallowing. The rest of the set up requires the artistic license in form of disregarding the square cube law (which has been happening the whole time in both Power Rangers and Sentai). Now, that's just my hypothesis on the creature.

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  4. Watching this episode again, Tommy's "eat healthy" speech to the kid who wants a burger is sort of cringe-worthy, because with his dumb temple steward analogy he comes within SUHKIYAAAHH distance of calling fat people slobs. And Ernie is standing RIGHT. THERE. And it is even worse (or maybe slightly justified to a certain mind, I guess) when you consider how Rich Genelle died.

    On the other hand, all that cringing pays off when Tommy starts ordering all the food in the place and you can basically see Ernie's eyes roll out of the building. He can only just assume that Tommy chose to up his usual super-dickery to new levels with this one. It's not like he would know that these kids are regularly being preyed upon by a family of Moon Sorcerers.

    (Or does he? One of the plans when they laid foundation for and then decided to discard was for Ernie to be the one guy in Angel Grove who figured out the team's identities. It's supposedly why he keeps giving them run of the youth center for no charge.)

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  5. Wow! Am I the only one to get that Jojo reference?

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    Replies
    1. See what you can do to make me wish I watched Jojo!

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