Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers Episode 8: I, Eye Guy

Brilliant child invents useless technology.
The word eye is homophonous with the word I.

You know who the show hasn't done much focusing on? Billy. It may not seem that way with the emphasis Eye've been putting on him and how ridiculous he looks and acts, but Billy hasn't been a central point of any of the plots so far aside from the first few minutes of the pilot. All Billy's been around to do is introduce gadgets and say big words the writers got out of the thesaurus. So an episode based around Billy should be interesting to see how they handle the character.

Power Rangers Willy Billy
Eye don't know what Eye was expecting.

Oh boy, another child actor this week! To be fair though, this kid isn't even a percent as grating as Maria was because all he's asked to do is pretend to be smart instead of acting like a little brat. This pint sized version of Billy is named Willy, because the writers wanted to go to lunch early. We don't really know who Willy is other than a smart little kid who's friends with Billy. Maybe Billy couldn't make friends with anyone he wasn't in a superhero team with so he had to look for someone half his age to hang out with.

Willy's entered a junior science fair that the Ranger Teens are helping out with. Willy has created what he refers to as a game, but it's really just some glasses that put you on a virtual reality roller coaster. Since VR Troopers is another year off, he's not able to make another team of superheroes to watch, so he just makes people think they're at Busch Gardens.

Rita sees Willy's brilliant technology and demands her Moon Crew go capture him, because nothing they have is on par with a pretend roller coaster. Rita can fly in the sky on a magic bike while throwing her enchanted scepter at monsters made from clay by a leprechaun dog grow taller than skyscrapers, and she's got her panties in an uproar because a kid can make people see pretend roller coasters? Finster made a pig that could eat all of the world's food Rita, do you really think the secret to finally defeating the Power Rangers is some nerdy kid in a newsboy hat?

The Rangers escort Willy to the science fair when some Putties jump into the fray to kidnap him. I'll give Rita credit for one thing, she remembers the one thing the Putties were able to accomplish ever since she got to Earth was kidnapping a kid. It's probably in her best interest to use them to handle people that can't really fight back. Unfortunately the Ranger Teens have smartened up and circle around Willy to keep him safe. The Putties get their asses knocked flat while Willy pays no attention to the fact his five teenage friends managed to beat a bunch of space golems.

The unmorphed teens have fought Putties in front of people a few times, but it's never really clarified if anybody ever thinks the five teenagers who hang out together doing karate are at similar to the five heroes who show up and do karate. We never get a scene of them fighting the Putties and then some kid points at them and says "wait a sec are you guys..." and then they deflect it. The writing staff either never thought this would look obvious to anyone watching, or didn't feel like writing the Ranger Teens making excuses for why they have to leave abruptly every episode, but it's something that's becoming really apparent as Eye go through this. The secret identity aspect of the Power Rangers is never really fleshed out for anything more than a gag of the Rangers hiding their communicators from someone.

Rita has absolutely no reaction to the Putty failure and just requests a monster from Finster, because she knows what to expect from the Putties. Finster suggests a monster by the name of Eye Guy,  because he was tired of using monsters whose names were in the "Adjective+Noun" category for the last three weeks. Eye Guy assisted the Moon Crew during their assault on a made up planet that I'm positive some nerd has written a fanfiction about. Eye Guy kidnapped smart children on this planet, and by smart children Eye mean a Japanese girl with a baseball bat.

Eye Guy Main Eye Japan
Smart kids don't own sporting goods, what kind of bullshit is this?

Willy makes it to the science fair safe and sound, and it's conveniently being held inside the Juice Bar since Ernie needed some extra scratch this month. It's beautiful that this show is shot so cheap that they have four sets to use for non fight locations. I'm sure they would have held this science fair in the Command Center if they weren't able to use the Juice Bar set.

There's a really stern guy in a labcoat who announces that anyone who arrives late will be disqualified. Eye appreciate what appears to be an actual scientist being demure enough to judge a bunch of kids making solar systems out of tennis balls, especially while he suffers an affliction where his voice needs to be dubbed over. Both this guy and Willy are having their voices dubbed just like Maria, and it's something Eye absolutely don't understand. Were the actors giving such shitty performances that this was the absolute only way to make something presentable? Have you seen some of the acting on this show?

Austin St. John acting

Finster proudly presents his newest creation, Eye Guy. As he forms, we're introduced to his speech gimmick of saying some sort of eye pun every other line. "Aye aye", "Sight for sore eyes", Eye spy some Power Rangers." Sounds funny right? No? Oh well! You're stuck with him.

Eye Guy Dora Argos gif
You can just feel the strings holding those eyeballs in place.

Thankfully the episode decided to spice things up a bit, because we're taking a break from eyeballs and Krelboynes to see what Bulk and Skull think about this science fair garbage. As you may suspect from two bullies who are dumb as rocks, they don't seem to take kindly to intelligence around these parts.

There's an unintentionally sad moment where Skull tries to read the flier for the science fair but stammers through it because Eye guess he can't read? This is just more great 90's insults to people who have an actual problem, but let's mock the shit out of them for being so fucking STUPID. Granted Eye wouldn't object to a very special episode of Trini having to teach Skull how to read. It's fun to see them pat themselves on the back for being so nice to a deaf girl, then going off the deep end saying how stupid Skull is because he had a shitty home life and never learned how to read.

Bulk decides to have some fun dicking with nerds, hoping someone invented a second dimension for his character to steal. He sees some dork with a spray gun and has Skull steal it. Bulk asks him to use it on something to see what it does, Skull immediately points the contraption at Bulk and sprays it on him, dissolving his pants to reveal...

Bulk pig boxers

YOU'VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME. Of ALL the things to make into a running joke this is what it is? The Pig Boxers? Holy fuck. Eye can't handle this.

Everyone laughs at Bulk because he's covered in pig's blood boxers. Billy just says that there's no room for people without I.Q.'s in the science fair. Bulk and Skull threaten him all while we mustn't forget Bulk has lost his pants. During this whole scene Bulk is standing around in his skivvies trying to talk tough. Jason and Zack make Bulk and Skull look like complete chumps while the bullies try and pretend they're legitimate threats.

Zack fighting Skull
You guys aren't good at doing Billy and Willy's handshake.

The Ranger Teens flip Bulk and Skull onto a cart, and Kim says they'd be perfect volunteers for some girl's "Freaky Fashion Machine." The bullies get wheeled into the fashion machine, and come out looking like this.

Gender swapped Bulk and Skull
Bulk and Skull Rule 63

Well clearly this machine is broken, it can't even tell the gender of the person who goes inside it. Even though it knew the exact measurements required to fit Bulk and Skull, and dressed them perfectly in 15 seconds, and did their makeup for them. Y'know what? This thing is far more miraculous than the VR garbage Willy made, and Martin's milk carton ukulele. The girl who made this is the only one worthy of the trophy and the box of Nesquick.

The stern scientist from before comes over and disqualifies Willy for causing the ruckus. Willy really didn't do anything but help wheel Bulk and Skull into the fashion machine, but we need to have a plot so Willy's disqualified and feels like a real screw up. Willy runs off but Trini's to the rescue as she begs him to wait. We see her gear up for a speech about believing in yourself but instead she just flops her arms down and petulantly whines "Don't go...."  It's the same tone of voice you use when you're pissed off at someone but trying to feign sadness to make them stay. It's so weird they bothered including Willy reacting to her at all, which only calls her bluff as she has nothing else to say to him. Sorry Trini, you already have enough attributes, can't make you thoughtful too!

Willy runs off to the park, where Eye Guy and Baboo lie in wait for him. Baboo is here to perform the important task of telling Eye Guy not to mess up. Thanks Baboo, couldn't do it without you. Eye Guy detaches the giant central eye from his face, which captures Willy promising to make good use of his genius.

Willy gyroscope
Yeah this is how you get intelligence using eye monsters, what did you expect?

The Ranger Teens continue their search for Willy and find his ridiculous hat. Billy mentions that Willy wouldn't go anywhere without it, mostly to avoid respect from his peers. Jason assumes Rita has something to do with this kidnapping business, and Zordon confirms their suspicions. Billy is concerned that his young friend has been kidnapped and is in a perilous situation that could endanger his life. Alpha summarizes this fear astutely by saying, and Eye quote, "Ay-Yi-Yi." Zordon informs the Rangers they need to destroy Eye Guy's "Main Eye" if they hope to defeat him.

The Rangers morph into action to save Willy, but Eye Guy is ready to fight them. His massive central eye from earlier is closed but he still puts up a damn good fight for someone who's made of one of the most sensitive organs in the human body. Jason uses his Power Sword to hack at Eye Guy who shoves him aside like a chump. Eye Guy doesn't even flinch while he's getting slashed, it's incredible. The rest of the Rangers try surrounding him, but he just blasts them with feyereballs.

Jason is sick of getting punked by a sack of medical waste and calls on the Rangers to bring in the Power Blaster to finish him off. The Rangers blow Eye Guy away into a pile of eyeballs and celebrate their victory, but something feels a little off. The eyeballs roll themselves together and reform into Eye Guy, completely unharmed. The Rangers are stunned, and Eye Guy uses the moment to blast them in the most ridiculous way possible.

Eye Guy boobs
He's got natural I-Cups.

Zordon alerts the Rangers to the same thing he just told them to do and attack the main eye. Billy decides this is a good idea and goes to find the eye. Billy locates the main eye in a forest somewhere, but even a disembodied floating eye is too much for him and it blasts him right on his ass.

Billy VS Eye Guy
With a cameo by that little Japanese girl!

Billy decides to stop being such an ineffective fighter, and dive bombs the eyeball with his Power Lance and stabs right into it. Just before Eye Guy can do anything he starts sparking and blowing up. It's actually a cool idea that he was that powerful and would have won if the Rangers didn't know about his weakness. Rita's pretty pissed that one of her less pathetic monsters is getting its big old eyeball titties slapped around so she uses her wand to turn him giant.

Eye Guy's main eye rejoins him just as he's growing, and the Rangers call in the Megazord to lay an ass beating on him. The Rangers bring in the Power Sword and hack at Eye Guy, but he just reforms like he did against the Power Blaster. Billy then yells that Eye Guy's main eye is open and they need to hit him now, even though his main eye has been open ever since he grew. It doesn't matter because as it turns out, the Power Sword cuts Eye Guy down to size, never to make another pun again. Eye'll miss him.

Willy's rescued and taken back to the science fair, where he sees the mean old dubbed scientist using his VR helmet with Ernie. It turns out that they totally love his radical invention, which is sure to revolutionize Chuck E. Cheeses across the nation. Dubbed Scientist walks over to Willy and says he acted too hasty in disqualifying Willy. There's no scene of anyone talking to Dubbed Scientist about how he was overreacting, so we just have to assume he spent a lot of time thinking while a massive pile of eyeballs was kidnapping children out in the mountains.

 Not only is Willy forgiven for whatever he was supposed to be in trouble for, he's awarded first prize. I'm sure this is supposed to be an important moment for the kid, but Eye can't take this conversation serious when you can tell neither actor's real voice is in the scene at all. It's like the moment in 2001: A Space Odyssey where Hal reads the astronauts lips. You can tell what's being talked about, but something is viscerally off about the whole thing.

Thankfully the episode isn't done just yet, because Bulk and Skull want their clothes back, as they'd rather be draped in towels than be seen in ladies clothes. Eye guess that means they've been wandering around half naked all episode instead of just going home and getting a change of clothes. As it turns out though, the bullies' clothes shrank in the wash and everybody laughs at them. Luckily for Skull he can't read the size of his clothes so he won't know the difference.

Bulk and Skull half naked
Before we go, here's a little somethin' for the chicks.

Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Virtual Reality

Personal Thoughts:

This is yet another episode I didn't have a lot of experience with as a kid, and it was one I had always hoped to see on T.V. but never managed to catch. I was able to see a few clips of this episode on one of the several tapes Saban would release to promote the show, this one being nothing but clips of the monsters fighting the Power Rangers. I could tell it was a Billy focused episode based on the clips of him fighting Eye Guy, and I was pissed off I couldn't see an episode centered around my favorite Ranger, fighting one of my favorite monster designs.

I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it, but this episode brings up a very vivid memory I have of my childhood that's none too flattering. I was sitting by the T.V. waiting for Power Rangers to come on, because I had convinced myself that today would be the Eye Guy episode and I really felt like seeing it at that moment. My mom had to make a trip to the grocery store, and took me along with her while I told her we NEEDED to get home in time for Power Rangers. I had no knowledge of the time and I kept trying to make things go as fast as possible to be home at 4:00, or whatever time the show would come on.

I tried my hardest to speed everything along as fast as possible while we were in the store, didn't my mom understand I had a show about karate to watch? My little brain's concept of time was deeply flawed though, because by the time my mom got us to the car, it was 4:37, and I burst into tears. It felt like I lost the one chance to see an episode I really wanted to see all because my mom had the audacity to buy food for our family.

Keep in mind this was a conclusion I jumped to regardless of any evidence or logic. I just assumed that episode would be on that day because I was a kid and I wanted to see it. This is just another one of those memories that make me think "Man I need to call my mom and say sorry for being a child." I encourage you all to do the same.

This episode is actually a pretty enjoyable one all in all. I think they managed to balance out the ranger stuff and the science fair stuff fairly well. Neither part of the plot feels particularly overbearing or intrusive to the other, and it meshes significantly better than many of the other early Season 1 episodes. The dubbed extras are really weird and uncomfortable to watch, but as the show went on they phased most of that garbage out which is an absolute blessing.

I mentioned earlier that I really loved Eye Guy, but I never saw this episode, so how could I know about him? Well that's easy, cause he was all over the place! There was a toy made out of him, he was the 3rd boss in the Super Nintendo Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers game, and his suit was yet another one that Saban had for use. There aren't any U.S. shots of Eye Guy filmed for this episode like Gnarly Gnome or Pudgy Pig, but don't forget about him too quick, we might see him again later down the road.

Carl ATHF eyeballs
With smaller breasts this time.

I don't have a source for this, but apparently Paul Schrier, who plays Bulk, went out of his way at a convention to mention how awful the Eye Guy costume stank. I just want you to imagine that any time we may see Eye Guy later down the line. Thank you.