Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Episode 5: Different Drum

White People Dance Poorly.
Sheep Man Worships Devil to Create Pedophile Goblin.

Kim starts this episode by teaching a group of girls at the Youth Center some aerobics lesson. For those keeping score at home, that makes three of our main characters a "something instructor." While the girls practice the 90's equivalent what old Jewish men thought hip hop was, Billy and Ernie stand in the back moving along to the generic background music Kim's playing. It's unbelievably embarrassing and makes you even more ashamed of Billy.

Billy and Ernie dancing Power Rangers
I apologize in advance for the amount of gifs that are just embarrassing dance routines.

Billy, because he's a tone deaf nerd, ends up slipping onto Ernie's cart which rolls him through the dancing girls. This thing must have rocket boosters on it because it doesn't slow down once as soon as he's on it. Billy crashes into a broom closet and then the cart rushes him out the other way. That's literally impossible, did Ernie stash a giant slingshot in there? Billy you're a nerd, use your knowledge of physics to fix this.

Rita's watching the teens exercise as she discusses how much she hates music. She instantly decides she'll use music to defeat the Power Rangers....and that's her plan. It's great how quickly the episode wants to move along from the Rita stuff. In the course of two sentences she's decided on the reasoning for her plot and what it will be. There's no attempt to flesh out why she hates music or whatever, because who cares, we need to see Billy roll around on a cart for another 5 minutes.

Trini helps Bitch Boy Billy up and you can almost get a sense that Trini kinda has a thing for Billy. Trini always seems like the first to help out Billy whenever he's in a pinch and I always wondered if they were building to the two having a crush on each other. Granted my knowledge of romance solely consists of Power Rangers episodes so for all I know David Yost and Thuy Trang could just have a modest amount of chemistry together and I'm reading that as intense sexual lust. Before we get too far into this discussion I'd like to make a note of Billy's outfit.

Billy Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Billy what the fuck are you wearing? You're dressed like a Rugrat.

But Billy isn't the only one lookin' a fool today, as one of the girls in Kim's aerobics class slams into another girl when she tries to turn. She runs off in embarrassment, probably looking to find Billy and ask him how he handles his entire life. Kim shuts down the class and goes to talk to her. We learn that this girl's name is Melissa, and the problem isn't that she's tone deaf, it's that she's just plain deaf. Kim actually seems to not be a typical boring valley girl stereotype as she apologizes for not signing the dance moves for Melissa, and how she thinks Melissa is a great dancer. Of course we can't just have a nice moment in this show, so Kim points out to Melissa that even hearing people make mistakes, and we see this.

Billy dancing Power Rangers
Holy shit

By the way, look at the girl in the pink behind Billy. Was that what girls wore in their 90's workouts? Holy shit. It's literally spandex with a thong over it. Man I miss the 90's.

Rita demands Finster make her a monster, but he's hard at work at creating a monster that he promises will eat cars and smell like a fish. Can't be less efficient than Bones so I'd say give that one a shot Rita. I also noticed something while he was crafting this monster that I wanted to share with you fine folks.

Finster making monster tarot
It was always such a pain in the ass to max out Finster's Social Link.

Look at the little white poster Finster has next to the Monstermatic. I never noticed this until today but that is actually a Tarot Card, specifically The Devil. It's good to see that Finster is representing his pent up lust and materialism while he slaves away for his mistress. Perhaps Finster pines for Rita and that little card is there as a clue to let her know that he wants to take her by the hips and pound her with such reckless abandon that after 10,000 years she's gonna know what it REALLY means to be free.

Oh right, Rita wants a musical monster, and Finster strokes her ego by saying how clever that is. Finster then brings her back down to the Moon by saying how musical monsters aren't reliable and also total punk bitches. Rita gets mad someone is trying to talk sense into her and demands he fulfill her stupid desires or she'll turn him into some made up space animal.

Bulk and Skull wander into the Juice Bar and see Kim's girls showing off their dancing skills. Bulk calls them rapping ballerinas, which doesn't seem to mean anything other than "Bulk is dumb and hates everyone." I may just not have the bully mindset, but what's Bulk's endgame here? He's just talking shit to everyone and then falling down, what is he accomplishing other than getting messy and ripping his pants?

Zack and Jason are sitting nearby and say they'd like to see the bullies do any better. Bulk starts trying to act tough but immediately Zack defuses things by challenging him to good old fashioned 90's dance off. This means Zack gets to take a break from strengthening the bonds of friendship and ending pollution to shuck and jive with Bulk. We are then treated to a moment of unspeakable embarrassment. 

Bulk Dance Battle Power Rangers
White People.gif

Zack asks Bulk to try and follow him as he does a handstand on top of the Juice Bar's counter, if you don't see where this is going you need to talk with your doctor because your brain has no ability to recognize patterns. After "Bulk falls down and a mess is made on him™" you can see Skull stifling his laughter, which makes me wonder why Skull even bothers hanging around with Bulk. Skull seems like all he wants to do is giggle like a moron and ask out totally rad babes, but Bulk is such an asshole that nobody wants to associate with the two of them. Don't bother remembering this as a "character trait" because neither of these two are consistent in anything except being dicks and falling down.

Zack prompts everyone to cackle at Bulk for being so stupid and pathetic, and I'm starting to notice a pattern here. I also think this sort of thing is totally a product of the 90's, because if you tried to pitch this show today and started talking about kids who are clearly mentally unstable getting mocked by people constantly in High School, I guarantee you'd get your happy ass laughed out of the office.

Finster explains his newest creation to Rita, the Gnarly Gnome. The plan is for Gnome to use his hypnotic accordion to kidnap some of the dancer girls and hold them hostage. The Power Rangers will come do their hero thing and then get hypnotized by him. It's actually not a bad plan, but what makes them think Kim's going to realize the girls are missing? These girls don't seem to be her friends or anything, just some girls she helps work out their buns and thighs. If Kim doesn't notice the girls are missing are they just going to let Gnarly Gnome hang out with a bunch of teenage girls under his hypnotic command? I'm sure there's nothing weird ab-

Gnarly Gnome Youth Center

EW JESUS NO. He looks like a rapist pied piper. A pied piper that's trying to lay some pipe. Fuck that! No seriously I want to keep a tally on these girls because for all I know Gnome's gonna try and take one to use for himself. He's cutting Rita a "one for you, one for me" kinda deal. If these girls don't use the buddy system I guarantee you he's gonna do something heinous. I mean look at him, he looks like Jeffery Jones post-child pornography lawsuit.

Jeffrey Jones

Gnarly Gnome plays his accordion as five of the girls walk outside the Juice Bar, Melissa included. Since she can't hear the accordion, Melissa is stuck trying to prevent the girls from following Gnarly Rapist, but they're too enraptured with his shitty accordion music. I'm wondering if Rita realized while watching those girls that maybe someone who couldn't hear her monster might mess up her plans a little bit. Rita never said the deaf girl alerting the Rangers was part of her plan so I don't know if this is clever or if Rita's just not paying attention to her own ridiculous half baked plans for the billionth time.

Melissa follows the hypnotized girls to a cave that Jeffery Gnomes has taken the girls to but she's blocked off by a massive rope net. I like that Gnome doesn't even seem to realize she's there while he plays his music, he's so ineffective as a monster he doesn't notice the girl who is frantically trying to assist his victims. Though I guess Melissa isn't much of a threat because she's stopped dead in her tracks by a fucking net made out of rope. It's not even tied to anything, just lift it up and go underneath it lady!

We haven't gotten to the rope lessons in dance class yet!

Melissa rushes back to the Youth Center and frantically signs to Jason and Ernie about her predicament. They look at her like she's an alien and Jason even tries talking to her. He seriously sounds like he's trying to talk to a dog the way he says stuff to her, it's incredible. Melissa realizes she's only missing one sense so she's tired of trying to sign to these fools, and just writes down her message on a piece of paper. Crisis averted, I guess we all learned an important lesson today about how being different doesn't stop you from saving your friends from being kidnapped by a sexually abusive goblin.

Gnarly Gnome plays his accordion inside the cave as Putties dance along with him and the girls dance off in the corner. Baboo is wearing an apron and chef's hat and is cooking Gnome some weird shit that he puts a bunch of bouncy balls into. Then Squatt opens up a little gift box with a bug inside of it and eats it. It's such a weird fucking scene that has nothing to do with anything. It's the editors just plopping down a scene from the Sentai in to save money, but I honestly love when they do it because it's so weird and inexplicable.

All of a sudden Gnome decides to take a nap. We didn't see him eat anything or do much besides dance around in his chair but he's also a shitty lazy monster so who cares what he does. Baboo and Squatt follow suit and fall asleep because they didn't want to do too much to help the plot. Rita sees her henchman doing nothing but wasting her time and screams at them to wake up, rightfully so because it's been about 4 minutes and they're already fucking up her already silly plan. I'm not a magical elf monster but I think rule numero uno when capturing kids is to not take some time off for a little snoozearooski.

Gnome wakes up and turns invisible. Yeah didn't you know he could do that? Finster just decided to give him that power on top of the whole music thing just for the hell of it. Isn't that a lot more useful of a power than just hypnotic accordion music? Why does he even need to kidnap the girls? Just turn him invisible and send him to the Juice Bar and you've got them. Gnarly Gnome takes his boots off and puts them back on and becomes visible again and...okay honestly don't feel lost, this scene is completely absurd and serves no point. It's totally bonkers.

Melissa shows the Ranger Teens to the cave as they send her off to hide. They morph, which might not be a great idea because Melissa is deaf not blind. She's probably going to wonder what happened to her five friends and why five superheroes showed up instead. Maybe they threatened to take away one of her other senses if she told anyone who they were. Granted the only person in Angel Grove who seems to know sign language is Kim so I guess nobody would know what the fuck Melissa was talking about even if she tried. Kim just smirks in the corner as Melissa tries pointing to her and miming the morphing gestures and everyone looks confused.

Pink Ranger grey
Kim was using some cheap detergent this week.

Gnome appears to fight the rangers with a goddamn rake. He instantly gets his shit pushed in by the Rangers and their Power Weapons. He doesn't even try to use his accordion, which was the plan in the first place. Compared to the last few monsters Gnarly Gnome doesn't seem to be doing anything right except that kidnapping girls thing, and I'm pretty sure that was just for kicks. He fucked up the entire plan by having a weird party, sleeping, and turning invisible when his boss started screaming at him for screwing up so bad. I'm starting to get why Finster said this guy wasn't very reliable because he's just some old pedophile gardener they dressed up like a Viking and gave a magic accordion to.

The Rangers bring together the Power Blaster, while everyone but Jason uses a different name for their weapons because this is just a kid's show that's going to flop in a few months so who cares? Gnome gets blasted by the Blaster and then this happens.

Gnarly Gnome Power Blaster
Even in death Gnarly Gnome really ROCKS. LOL

Rita then makes the rocks grow back into Gnarly Gnome. Nothing like this ever happens again when they use the Power Blaster and it's probably the fortieth thing that's happened in this episode that seems bizarre as fuck. We don't have any time to dwell on it though because the Rangers call on the Megazord. Megazord immediately takes Gnome's rake away because that asshole isn't doing any gardening on their watch.

Before the Rangers can finish him off, Gnome pulls out his accordion and starts to play his music. Maybe you should have done that a few minutes ago fatso. I'm not sure I can do the show justice as to what this music does so let me just show you.

Megazord Gnarly Gnome Power Rangers
Bet you wish Zordon was in this episode to explain what was goin on huh?

As you can tell by the end of that gif, they've grown as sick of this fucking creep as I have so they bring in the Power Sword and slice him down the middle. This is the first time I've ever been so relieved that the Power Rangers have brought a monster down because that Gnome made me uncomfortable to have kids. I don't have it in me to explain to innocent doe eyed children that if you follow a man with an accordion, all he's gonna do is play you a fancy tune and then bury you so deep in the ground nobody will even remember you existed.

The Ranger Teens turn back into civilians off-screen to rescue the kidnapped girls and what's weird is one of the kidnapped girls says "The Power Rangers were great!" This implies that the Rangers saved the girls, but then somehow nonchalantly turned back into the teens and said "Hey girls we'll take ya back home!" Try and think of a way to do that without coming across unbelievably suspicious and I'll buy you a coke.

Everyone regroups at the Juice Bar and Ernie offers them all free sodas, because Melissa saved the day or whatever, also those magical superheroes kinda helped. Jason tries to sign something to Melissa but he accidentally tells her that his dog smells. This is immediately followed by a line from Jason about how sign language isn't that hard to learn. Either end on the joke or make your important didactic speech guys, it's one or the other. Zack delivers the cringeworthy line that sign language is "a whole new way of rappin." and says they can learn a whole lot from Melissa. Like what? How to not get kidnapped by goblins? Oh yeah and then we have to end with this.

Billy breakdancing

Just fuck this whole episode.

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia
: Deafness

Personal Thoughts:

I've stressed it about a hundred times already but this episode is really goddamn odd. They spend about 7 minutes dancing before we actually see the monster, only for the monster to just get beaten like a punk. They obviously have good intentions with the Melissa subplot, but it just comes across as typical heavy handed 90's "DIVERSITY IS OUT OF SIGHT!" garbage. This wasn't really unique to Power Rangers or anything, so I can't act like this one example is outrageous, just a trend of the times that was particularly embarrassing.

Gnarly Gnome has the distinction of being the first monster of the day that we see in U.S. footage. What this means is that the Gnarly Gnome costume was one of however many suits that Saban received from Toei, the folks behind Zyuranger, for them to use to film new scenes to bridge the gaps between Power Rangers stuff and Zyuranger stuff.

It's unclear exactly how many monster costumes Saban had access to, but I like to keep a mental running total. Since King Sphinx's head was in that Beetleborgs screenshot last week, we can obviously say we had his suit for use, but as I mentioned there he never got any new scenes filmed. The suit could have been in awful condition or they just had no use for it, but Gnome's appeared to be fine.
Why's Kim grey up in that shot by the way? The footage for this episode got fucked up if I understand correctly. She goes from pink to grey a handful of times in this episode and instead of saying the music is making her weak or something they just ignore it, which is usually the funniest way they handle issues on this show. They even use that exact shot from above in the pilot and Pink Ranger is still pink, so I'm not sure what happened between then and when this episode was edited.

This was yet another episode I had limited access to in my childhood. The way I saw the majority of these episodes was my dad would set them up to be taped and let the VCR run before he went to work. The next day he would set the tape up to record again, only recording right after the previous episode had ended. I guess my dad just made the mistake of rewinding the tape too far because after the scene of Melissa at the cave, the episode was taped over with another episode.

I was bummed out as a kid because I really wanted to see the fight between him and the Power Rangers. All I remembered about anything after the tape stopped was Gnarly Gnome turning invisible in the cave and leaving his footprints. For some reason I always remembered a scene at the end of the episode where Gnome was still invisible inside the cave and laughing about still being alive, which obviously never happened. Chalk it up to just being a stupid kid though.


  1. Billy can dance. He just pretended like he couldn't because he was afraid his secret would be out. :(

  2. Comments are working again. :D

  3. I waited a long time to read this one, because I knew it would be a riot.

    Thank you for not disappointing.

  4. Why would Bulk challenge Zack to a dance off? All Zack ever did was dance.

  5. I was kinda wondering why Gnome and the American kids were in the shot at the same time. I didn't know Saban had access to the costumes. I kinda figured they just made a few of their own.

  6. Is it only the rake that makes Gnarly Gnome a gardener, or do I also see a resemblance to Wild Weeder from "The Gardener of Evil"?

  7. A lot of this made sense in Zyuranger. Over there, Dora Goblin (his counterpart is a goblin which is why he doesn't look like a gnome to anyone paying attention) was sent by Bandora to suck out the souls and eat them so the become souless husks (Bandora had a child torture obsession due to her son Kai being consumed by the dinosaurs that would go on to become the Guardian Beasts which became the Dinosaurs). In Zyurangger, a kid named Toru was taunted and a little girl he was in love with had her soul consumed (not so coincidentally, the soul eating is why Baboo was cooking in this episode). His main power in Zyu was illusion making and invisibility which is why he becomes invisible in the Sentai footage at random points for no reason. Anyone with a keen eye may notice that his shoes visbly change feet between him falling asleep and him being awoken by Rita. In Zyu, the only way for him to (unwillingly) reveal himself was to switch his boots due to this liking back to goblin mythology or something. Between the sleeping and Bandora yelling (she was yelling about Toru being there in the source footage), Toru came in and switched the boots although they were later switched back when Totpat/Baboo pointed it out to him. The loine if you're wondering was “wait a second. You’re not getting off that easy.” when he pointed at the camera within the cave. THese souls are also the orbs that you can see leaving his firey remains after he is destroyed.