Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MMPR Season 3 Episode 28: A Chimp in Charge


Writers Expect Us to Believe Tommy Cares About Egyptian History
Rasta Gorilla Shot in Heart by Missile




















I'm not going to mince words here. I remember this episode from when I was a kid, and I absolutely detested it. I may have changed my opinion in the years since what with the bevy of knowledge I've gained (about Power Rangers), but there's no guarantee it won't still disappoint me. So maybe this episode won't be half bad!

Inside the confines of Angel Grove High School, Ms. Appleby assigns her students their last assignment of the year. A presentation about any language of their choosing. Bulk and Skull wisely inquire if they can just do a presentation on the only language that matters: American. Appleby agrees, but promises that she's fail anyone who tries to get credit for senseless rambling.

The Ranger Teens reconvene at the Youth Center and discuss which languages they plan on studying. Billy and Tommy have paired up to discuss Egyptian hieroglyphics and how they're translated. Take a wild guess which of those two suggested that. If you asked Tommy to come up with a foreign language, he'd break into a cold sweat and instinctively karate chop your head off.

Aisha and Katherine have taken a different approach to this project, and are going to interview a good friend of theirs. Say hello to Kelly.

Rocky looks great in this episode!

Get this; Aisha and Katherine plan on teaching this chimp sign language for this class presentation. Jesus Christ you overachieving psychopaths. Go read a book on Greek assfucking culture and spout out a few factoids so you can get a B+ and go on with your lives.

But Rita Repulsa has other plans for that chimp, because of course she does. Any time something vaguely interesting happens in the lives of these kids, Rita has to make a scheme out of it. Much like any woman trapped inside of a miserable loveless marriage.

Though credit to this scene, there's a moment when Rita looks at the monkey and comments "Wow Goldar, he looks just like you!" Goldar responds in kind by exclaiming, "BREAAAAHRAAAA" which gave me a good laugh. This big golden lummox can't even muster up an argument unless it's a series of guttural grunts.

Zedd waltzes into the chamber and asks what his wife is blathering on about now. Goldar complains to his surrogate father that he's been referred to as a primate, and he doesn't like his new step-mom anymore. Zedd offers little reprieve and instead suggests that they could turn that chimp into a new monster. I mean, sure, whatever. It was a brick wall last time, so we might as well use a monkey this week.

Back in the Youth Center, Lt. Stone is quietly eating a plate of spaghetti while he quietly asks where his two stupidest cadets are. On cue, Bulk and Skull pop into frame in the most bizarre way imaginable.

Does Lt. Stone know how to eat spaghetti?

That's actually pretty amusing. I don't know how Bulk and Skull are so constantly able to impress me with their physicality, but I'll be damned if it isn't happening at least once every few episodes. These two move like they're puppets on springs, and it's the most appealing thing about this clusterfuck of a show. The two trash badgers move funny.

Stone tells the boys that there's been a major robbery in Ernie's Juice Bar. It's up to them to locate the stolen goods and return them to Ernie safe and sound. Bulk and Skull ask what was stolen from inside the Youth Center; gold, jewelry, the bones of those who crossed Ernie by asking for money? Stone responds to their inquisition with a flawlessly deadpan delivery of what they're looking for.

"Bananas."

This moment is so goddamned good. Not because it's so funny that there are missing bananas and lol so wacky. It's funny because Lt. Stone is giving these two the most humiliatingly lame job and not even pretending to act like it's important. He's telling these lunkheads to go find a bunch of missing produce because he's come to grips with the fact that they're a cosmic joke. If Stone told these two that this burglary was serious, and those bananas were of the utmost importance, this scene would suck eggs. But delivering this line so apathetically absolutely nails it.

The Ranger Teens take Kelly outside to the Café patio, what with her being a dirty animal who probably shouldn't be anywhere near food preparation. Officers Bulk and Skull head outside and spot this miniature gorilla on Katherine's lap. Bulk saunters up to Tommy and asks him if he and his "twin brother" always travel together.

That settles it. This episode is good. I don't care what happens next. This episode just had Bulk tell Tommy he looked like a big dumbass chimp. 10/10, EOTY. Give me another 30 Brick Bullies in the remaining 15 minutes and I'll put up with 'em.

Bulk and Skull soon put two and two together, and deduce that this flea-ridden chimpanzee might be the one behind their missing bananas. Which they conclude once they see Katherine pull one banana out of her purse. Obviously Katherine's possession of a single banana would lead one to believe her purse also contains an infinite amount of bananas. It's the only logical conclusion.

Our six superpowered high school students take their new pet chimpanzee on a trip through the forest, but are abruptly ambushed by the Tenga patrol. Kat tells Kelly to go run and hide, as she and the other Rangers Ninja Morph. Notably, Katherine doesn't relay this information to Kelly in sign language, which means she'd better prepare to fail that assignment.

All four of the Rangers lunge into battle as...wait a second. Four? Billy, Tommy, Aisha, and Katherine are all here, but where are Rocky and Adam? It took me this long to realize it, but those two haven't even shown up in this episode yet. Really goes to show how little it matters when all six Rangers are together. You could have an episode with half of the team and nobody would notice. I guess Adam and Rocky are off learning about the language they're best at: Silence.

While the Ninja Rangers fight the Tengas, Finster shows up on Earth! Oh hell yeah, this episode's getting better by the second. Bulk throwing shade, no Rocky, and now Finster is doing stuff? My child self was a dumbass, this episode is bananas.

Finster whips out a massive laser gun and fires wildly at the chimpanzee, but she proves too fast for the decrepit leprechaun. Katherine spots the monster maker trying to make a monster out of her new daughter and attacks him. Finster vanishes before she can land a hit, and the Tengas soon follow suit.

So that plot about turning Kelly into a monster? It didn't progress any during this scene. The Rangers didn't even know that's what Finster was trying to do. They just required an action scene or else the kids watching would get bored and shut this episode off.

Aisha and Katherine take Kelly back to Aisha's house to relax, where they're tailed by Bulk and Skull who seek to uncover the mystery of that monkey. As soon as Kat and Aisha leave Kelly to go get some lunch, the rambunctious chimp finds her way outside into the clutches of Bulk and Skull.

The two dumbest men on the planet try to solve the mystery of the missing bananas by setting Kelly down and having her point to where they would be? Kelly gestures towards a fruit peddler in the middle of the woods who is inexplicably dressed in Rasta clothes.

Now I'm starting to remember why I wasn't too keen on this episode.

Kelly strides up to the fruit peddler and sits calmly next to him, hoping this weird stereotype in the middle of the woods will allow her to sample some of his wares. But Mr. Rasta says that this little gal can't help him sell unless she's wearing the appropriate clothes. He dresses this chimp in a wig, beret, vest, and shades. Which is truly a sight to behold.

This one image summarizes the entirety of "The Chimp Channel"

What in the fuck is the point of this scene? Why are they dressing a chimpanzee up in a Rasta costume? No, there's a better question in there. Why are they only now dressing a chimp in this ridiculous get-up? I could have had an entire episode dedicated to Kelly the Reggape and instead we had to putter around about sign language. What a bunch of bullshit. 

Whatever, Bulk and Skull approach this guy and demand to know why he stole all those bananas and why he's messing with their monkey. The shop owner says Mon a couple of times and continues to babble for a few more seconds until we graciously cut back to Zedd and Rita's compound.

Lord Zedd finally gets fed up with this episode being half over and not having a single monster to show for it yet. He tells Finster off for failing to spank that monkey, and fires a beam from his staff right at Kelly. This blast transforms the jovial chimp into this week's monster du jour, Sinister Simian.

Bananas only 50 cents a pound? The 90's were a blessed time.

Um, Please retract my previous paragraph on the nonsensical nature of Kelly's Rasta clothes. It appears Power Rangers saw that someone Fed-Ex'd them a Rasta monkey costume and desperately attempted to justify its appearance.

Now that Kelly has been transformed into a gorilla wearing shades, the whole city is in danger! Sinister Simian hoots and hollers as she attacks a playground in Angel Grove park. A bunch of nameless civilians run and scream from this horrible ape and its equally horrible dreadlocks.

Meanwhile, Aisha and Katherine desperately search to locate Kelly. Their search is soon ceased by Zordon, who informs them he has some disturbing news. Which is really saying something coming from an amorphous blob granted eternal life as he sleeps inside a fish tank.

The six Ranger Teens meet up inside the Command Center where they learn about Kelly's situation. The Rangers decide that they can't harm her, since she's just a l'il baby chimp that doesn't know any better. The same rule they use with regards to Rocky.

Zordon warns the teens that she is still one of Zedd's devious creations, so they'll need to be very careful in dealing with her. Big Z commands Billy to search for a way to reverse Zedd's magic. That's right, Alpha 5 can't possibly do anything about this. It's up to history's greatest super nerd to crack the case of the Vape Ape.

Billy grabs a pair of tongs and says that all he'll need to do is snag a piece of Kelly's fur in order to figure out how she was transformed. Ah yes, I see. This fur has trace amounts of Moon Magic Category 3 all over it. The best way we can handle this is by blowing this monster up with a flaming fish sword. Perfect!

The Rangers morph to Angel Grove Park to find Sinister Simian chilling on a bench whilst munching on a banana. The Rangers try to appeal to Kelly's inner kindness by approaching her delicately and telling her that they're not going to hurt her. Though this is mitigated when Billy approaches her while armed with a big pair of tongs. Hell yeah. Go for broke, Billy. Bare your teeth and approach the monkey with a foreign object. Make sure you square your shoulders so you can guarantee your face gets ripped off.

After a brief scuffle, the other five Rangers manage to subdue Kelly long enough for Billy to snag a sample of her fur. Billy immediately takes the clump of fur and teleports back to his lab to examine it.  25 seconds later, Zordon demands to know if Billy has figured out how to defeat the monster yet. Gee whiz, sorry about that Zordon. I just learned what a tuition is, but I'm sure trying my darndest to figure out an antidote for that rabid gorilla that's tearing apart my superhero team. Maybe you could try and offer some assistance instead, Zordon? What with you being a mystical energy being as old as the cosmos themselves. Must we always rely on the brainiac high-schooler to solve these problems?

Thankfully, Billy's managed to come up with a magical cure for Kelly's Monster-itis. Including the perfect method of administering it. A big ass missile. 

Hell yeah bitch. Welcome to America, stand for the pledge, pray before dinner, or get torn apart by a tomahawk you banana-peelin' bitch.

Far be it from me to doubt Billy's scientific ingenuity, but isn't a missile the size of your forearm a bit unnecessary for subduing this monster? The only time it would make sense for Billy to use this thing would be after the monster has already grown, and he has no way of knowing that Zedd and Rita would turn Simian into a giant.

…45 seconds later, Rita and Zedd use their magic to turn the transformed Kelly into a giant. How convenient. Maybe you should have put this scene before you had Billy creating an massive bullet that would have unquestionably drone wiped this dumbass ape off the map.

The giant Sinister Simian babbles repeatedly about things tangentially related to monkeys as the Rangers ponder what they should do. Thankfully, Billy shows up in time to present his Kong Gun to the Rangers. He surmises that the weapon will work if they fire it at Kelly from the Shogunzords. Aisha asks Billy if he's tested this thing, which he declines. Billy promises that he will test it though. All over that furry fuck's face.

The Rangers summon their five Shogunzords and surround Simian. Billy informs his team that they'll need to hold the monster down while he aims the missile where memories are kept, her heart. Jesus Christ on a cracker, Billy. This is sounding more insane the further you delve into it. First we're going to rip out a chunk of this dumbass ape's fur, then I'm going to feed it into a nuclear warhead, and once we've got her subdued, we'll fire it directly into her fucking heart.

I should note that this battle with Sinister Simian and the Shogunzords is entirely U.S. original footage. No Japanese Zord scenes are used with this monster at all. I'll explain why in the personal thoughts segment, but I feel really bad about this Zord "fight." I appreciate Power Rangers trying to do its own thing and film something unique, but it's just not a good action sequence. It doesn't help matters that the Shogunzord suits are all obviously clunky and awkward to move in, but even worse is how tenderly they move against the monster. Simply put: I'm not interested in a light struggle between the Rangers and a Rastafarian chimp. Go all out or don't bother showing up.

Billy is ready to cross that monkey's heart and hope he dies, but the Rangers are incapable of slowing down the slippery chimp. Thankfully, all of the time that Katherine spent with Kelly inspires her to come up with a foolproof plan to gather her attention so th-what's that? Katherine didn't come up with it? It was Tommy who figured out how to distract the monster? Even though he'd only spent maybe 3 minutes with that monkey?

Of goddamned course. Katherine and Tommy discuss what they should do, and Tommy is the one who comes up with the solution. Though to be fair, it's a particularly clever method of outwitting the ape. Tommy uses his Shogunzord to wave at the monster which…seriously? That was it? That's the climactic strategy to defeat the monster? I'm not making this shit up. The White Shogunzord waves at Sinister Simian, makes a little "come here" gesture, and the monster is enamored.

I have a good guess why my childhood self hated this episode so much.

As Kelly is distracted by a robot crane moving its hand, Billy pops up from behind Tommy's Zord and ambushes the ape with a nuclear weapon. With a great deal of help from the Red, Yellow, and Black Shogunzords!

We blew our budget on Photoshop '95 and goddamnit we're going to use it.

Now that a massive bullet has pierced through her chest, Kelly has returned to normal inside the park. Because this show knows I can't make fun of its realism without looking like an asshole, so now it's just mocking me. Katherine scoops her chimp up and the Ranger Teens proudly take her back home, a job well done. Presumably well done anyway. We have no idea what effects that missile could have had on Kelly. That thing could have been riddled with the Planet of the Apes virus. Jesus Christ, you simpletons. The last thing you need to be doing is teaching that adorable little chimp our language. You'll kill us all!

Back at the Youth Center, Bulk and Skull drag in that irrelevant Rasta fruit peddler from earlier. They inform Ernie that they've found the banana bandit, because this sub-plot needed a resolution so this is close enough. Ernie rebukes this information when he claims his new stock boy put his banana shipment in the freezer by mistake. Bulk and Skull apologize to this poor unfortunate caricature, and let him go free. Mr. Rasta responds "You'll be hearin' from my attorney Mon."

Y'know what? That's it. This episode skated the line between enjoyable and dreck, and I've had it. I was going to give it a pass, but that awful attorney line from Mr. Rasta pushed it over the edge. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that this episode could do to make me enjoy it.



...Oh alright. All is forgiven.



Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Attorney Jokes



Personal Thoughts


I'm actually pretty surprised here. I didn't like a lot of this episode, but the parts that worked actually had me entertained. The chimp was cute, Bulk and Skull were funny, and even Lt. Stone had me laughing. All of the action scenes were duller than dogshit, but there was some competent work on this one. If this one didn't have so much charm, it'd be scratching the Bottom 10 for Season 3. As it stands, there's enough cute stuff here to merit a middle of the road episode. Not to mention the laugh I get at Billy's solution to curing Kelly. It would have been less jarring if they hit her with the Shogun Megazord's fire saber. A rocket to the heart? Holy shit.

I think a big issue is that this episode needed a second pass. Either the script wasn't managed very well, or the director didn't give a shit during filming. The main issue this episode kept running into was how often the characters would refer to Kelly the chimp by a different gender. Zedd and Rita call Kelly a "he", and Billy even refers to her as "they." It seems like a really simple fix, but whoever was in charge of this episode didn’t feel the need. This show isn't a masterpiece or anything, but keeping fucking pronouns consistent shouldn't be a particularly difficult thing to accomplish.

Speaking of things that were busted in this episode, here's another in a long line of .gifs demonstrating how bad the Lord Zedd costume is falling apart. Look at the plate he has covering his ass. It's supposed to be connected to two metal pieces on his hips, but it's completely come apart. Did they just have to jam that thing straight up his ass? God I hope so.

R.I.P. That Stuntman's Buttcheeks.

Oh man, and the Sinister Simian costume was having butt troubles too. During her fight with the Rangers, you can see the monster's pants tearing up and fraying from the bunghole down to the right leg.

Please don't tell anyone I have this picture on my laptop.



Let me conclude with an explanation about Sinister Simian's Zord battle. The reason they filmed a Shogunzord fight with her wasn't just to soften the violence against the monster in the Japanese footage. This fight was created because in Kakuranger, Sinister Simian fought against an entirely different fleet of Zords! We'll discuss them soon enough though. In the meantime, here's a .gif of how Sinister Simian was originally destroyed. Also, check out her episode (21) of Kakuranger on the Shout DVD's. It's one of my favorites in the series.








8 comments:

  1. Good catch about the 'twin brother' line. Man, Bulk is spoiling all of the Zeo plot beats lately.

    Zedd's Butt Plate isn't attached the rim of his hips, go back to the end of The Mutiny and watch him chew out the Rita crew after Pirantishead takes the honorary First Shogun Megazord Finisher and it isn't connected to his waist, but to his metal spinal column. You can see in that GIF where a notch above the waist is supposed to connect it to the spine.

    I love that Goldar protests that "she said I look like-- like-- like THAT" and just gestures towards Earth. Yet Zedd knows exactly where to look and asks, "What's so bad about that?" I'm beginning to buy into your theory that Zedd has a monkey fetish.

    The Saban prop department built a few knee-height buildings and some dollhouse mountains for this zord fight, which makes it all the more charming, really.

    The blue zord taking down monsters with minimal help seems to be a running theme right now. It even happened in Kakuranger!

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    1. Also, I'm now confusing the Shogun and Thunder Megazord.

      Because really, if something was going to be called "Shogun Megazord", the Thunder Megazord would have been it.

      But it's not.

      Delete
    2. I'll be damned, I'm glad I wasn't completely incorrect about Zedd's ass looking off, but you're spot on. Thank you for going on this absurd journey along with me Pumpkin Rap God.

      And hey, look at that. You're confusing two of my least favorite Megazords. Maybe I'm rubbing off on ya.

      Delete
  2. I used to have that 'missile'. It's one of the old Nerf 'screaming' footballs, with whistles that'd howl when you threw it just right. Mine was purple and neon green.

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    Replies
    1. Found it: https://thumbs.worthpoint.com/zoom/images1/1/0414/18/nerf-koosh-vortex-football-screamer_1_853d43eaa196b50ab7434a520e9223c8.jpg

      Delete
  3. So Sinister Simian joins Pursehead and Doomstone as monsters whose costumes originated from Super Sentai but no Sentai footage was used to portray them, eh? Then I know a bunch more Kakuranger monsters show up just to fill out crowd scenes...

    If I recall the subtitles correctly, Kakuranger's Sarugami was said to have kept the clothing of the women he took as sacrifice, and so I groan at the thought that we might have gotten a bit of ethnic stereotyping to cover for a bad trans joke.

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  4. I Demand that Vape Ape be a MOTW in Ninja Super Steel or whatever.

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  5. Zedd's metal butt piece may not be messed up in that gif, but, to me, it looks like his left leg's metal knee piece may be. Looks like it's dangling a bit far to the left (lol)

    ReplyDelete