Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 32: A Star is Born

Angel Grove High Promotes AIDS Precautions
Silkworm Traps Power Rangers inside PVC Pipe.

Today we get to have an episode that appears to focus on Tommy. We get to see what makes him tick, how he feels about things. He hasn't been the main focus of an episode for quite a while since his whole appeal is showing up halfway into a fight to help out. After all it would feel disjointed for him to be heavily involved in the plot then drop off a cliff when the fight starts. So what do we get to learn about Tommy today? He's going to be auditioning for a karate commercial because it'd be cool to be on T.V. Oh shoot I forgot, Tommy isn't a person. He's a karate action figure. If it ain't martial arts he don't give a fuck about it.

It was at this moment that Power Rangers made me laugh. It made me laugh hard. Bulk and Skull start to walk down the hall to trash talk Tommy, but this has nothing to do with my laughter. No, what I was laughing at was this.

Several 12 year olds drop the needles in their arms as they realize what they've been doing.

This is the funniest goddamn thing and it's only visible in a shot for about 3 seconds. It's one of the weirdest set dressing choices the crew could have made. This is a karate show for babies and fetuses, so why the fuck are you throwing around AIDS safety tips in your anti-drug posters? If this was a realistically portrayed High School then sure these sort of posters might make sense, but nobody is fucking or doing drugs in Angel Grove. Who on the staff thought this was the best possible time to grandstand and make a point about doing drugs? Well congrats Power Rangers you successfully managed to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Alright enough about AIDS, time to see Bulk and Skull. Skull is on a shitty 90's cell phone that looks like a Wiimote with an antenna on it demanding that he needs a limo for this acting audition. Whoever he was talking to hangs up because nobody, including characters that only exist off screen, will ever take these two idiots seriously. Bulk hopes that's going to change though because he's auditioning for the karate commercial too. Why is Bulk interested in this karate commercial? Is there a part in it the script for a sexual assault criminal that he'd be a shoe-in for?

Tommy shows off his karate moves to intimidate his obese nemesis and instead of a scene of Bulk embarrassing himself, he tells Skull he needs to "do some practice just in case." A great line but it leaves a disappointing taste in my mouth that we don't get to see Bulk look like an idiot. Thankfully this episode isn't over yet and so long as Bulk's in a scene there's a 500% chance he will look like an asshole at some point.

As for Rita she has had enough of this Power Rangers shit. She's nearly passed out and says she can't possibly make some stupid ass plan to fight the Power Rangers. Goldar says he's a spineless idiot and can't win without her help, but she tells him to lead the fight today without her. Goldar says he promises he'll attack the Earth with the worst monsters they've ever seen. Sorry Goldar, they already fought Ticklesneezer

The rest of the Ranger Teens are enjoying a relaxing day at the beach while their green friend goes to do spin kicks in front of cameras. They aren't alone though, because Bulk and Skull show up to get Bulk a nice tan before the audition. Skull also mentions he's going to hire some guys to shove Bulk back into the ocean or blow him up with dynamite while they're at the beach. Whoever was filming the episode didn't seem to care the sun was already setting, so Bulk can just soak up some rays from the Moon instead.

Bulk walks up to Jason who is, of course, doing karate poses on the beach. Bulk starts making vaguely racist karate noises to show off to a man who is approximately one third his size. Bulk then saunters over to a spot on the beach where he lays down and demands Skull oil him up. The scene goes how you might expect.

Bulk lotion facial

Skull sees he's out of lotion since he just ejaculated the last bottle on his best friends face. Skull must be awfully naive to think he only needed one bottle of lotion to lather up Bulk. The diminutive bully looks in his beach basket to find an acceptable substitute and fishes out a jar of "Timmy P's Real Mayonnaise" to slather all over Bulk.

The best part of this scene is not the big fat dude getting gooed up by mayo, but an old fashioned jingle that plays in the background for this fictional brand of mayonnaise. The reason it's so great is because it's the smallest amount of effort put into something to service a scene. They didn't need to make a fake song for mayonnaise but goddamnit they had an extra half hour in the studio and they're gonna use it.

Bulk mayonnaise
For my foreign readers, this is what every day is like in America.

We cut to a comically sunburned Bulk talking trash to Tommy at the location for the audition. It's being held in Angel Grove High School, because the Youth Center was closed that day. Skull supports Bulk by slapping him on the back, and causing any human being who's ever had a sunburn to cringe as Bulk howls out in pain.

The casting director calls Bulk in to try out because it's been a long day and she could use a good laugh. The big sunburned mess says he'd be proud to show off his karate prowess, and humiliate the entire human race.


Have you noticed for what seemed like a Tommy episode how much we've been talking about Bulk? This episode has been all about the bullies so far and honestly I'm having a lot of fun. Not because it's some intense character study nor should it be, but because it's funny to watch. These two are easily getting to be my favorite characters ever since they hacked apart Finster's screen time.

Oh right the rest of the Rangers are on the beach. Well they play a rousing game of volleyball, which includes them just knocking the ball around to each other while they stand in a circle since the prop department was too cheap to buy a net. Just before any of the Ranger Teens realize how depressing this whole scenario is, Scorpina shows up with a group of Putties to damper their day. The Teens morph and begin to combat Scorpina's gang when suddenly they end up combating the main lady herself. We ignore the fact Kim is clearly not with the rest of her friends when Scorpina busts out a little worm monster to spew silk all over the Rangers and catch them in a giant cocoon.

Borrowed from the set of Killer Klowns From Outer Space

The Rangers try to kick the shit out of the cocoon they're trapped inside of but it's sealed completely shut. They're unable to contact Zordon or teleport out either. A group of Putties soon nab the cocoon and hurl it down a cliff and into the sea. Alpha 5 takes notice of this and tells Zordon what's going on, and the giant head informs his robot slave to call Tommy since they can't count on the other five to figure this one out.

Unfortunately they've called Tommy a bit too late, because he's already gone in for his audition and left all of his stuff outside. There's no moment of tension of Tommy having to neglect this audition to save his friends, he just forgets to be a superhero for a couple minutes while his friends get sent onto Miss Scorpina's Wild Ride.

The casting director notes that Tommy's done a lot of martial arts, and he stops the show dead to tell her about how karate made him better at schoolwork and he has more self confidence now. The casting director asks him to stop giving preachy speeches and do some sweet fucking roundhouse kicks this instant. He obliges and gives the crew a show of some kickin' rad 90's karate. Everyone in the room is clearly amazed and that's been the focal point of conflict today. Tommy is good at karate but might not get cast, and Bulk is terrible at karate and thinks he will be cast. My knees are shaking guys who knows what might happen?

Alpha asks why the new guy isn't answering his goddamn phone, and Zordon says to keep trying to get through to him since he couldn't possibly be stupid enough to not have his Communicator on him at all times. We don't see what Tommy's up to after finishing his karate demo, but he clearly isn't too concerned. He shouldn't be too scared though, his friends seem like they're having a great time inside Scorpina's Transparent Pipe cocoon.

I loved playing in the cocoon in gym class

The Rangers realize Tommy isn't going to be able to bail them out this time and decide they should figure out a solution on their own for once. The Rangers remember that they have weapons that resemble toys they could be using and promptly pull out their Blade Blasters. The energy starts to blast through the cocoon to provide the Rangers an escape route.

Zordon tells Alpha he needs to teleport the Rangers into their Zords as soon as they escape so they can fight against the new creature Goldar has sent to Earth; Babe Ruthless, the baseball monster. Pack it in boys and girls, that's the best monster name we're getting all season.

You remind me of the babe

The Rangers get inside their Dinozords as Babe Ruthless, Scorpina, and Goldar all grow to wreak havoc on Angel Grove. The Dinozords neglect forming the Megazord so they can fight the three monsters without getting decimated. That's what I assume anyway, they don't form the Megazord and nobody really asks why. Goldar and Scorpina attack the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord while Babe takes on the Saber Tooth Tiger, Mastodon, and Triceratops Dinozords while saying something about baseball.

The other Rangers notice that Scorpina and Goldar have incapacitated Jason while they were getting attacked by a sasquatch with baseball gloves for hands. Ruthless laughs and then says something about baseball. For some reason we don't see Kim involved in any of these discussions or the Pterodactyl Dinozord. She was also missing in some of the shots when the Rangers got trapped in the cocoon earlier. Is she a little too busy to do this Ranger stuff lately? She must be dodging fights after the last one got her stuck in a giant bottle

Tommy leaves the audition room to see he's missed 163 calls on his Communicator. Zordon tells him to get his dumb ass in gear and go fight a bunch of monsters in the city. Tommy morphs and summons the Dragonzord to knock away Goldar and Scorpina from Jason's Zord. With Tommy here, the Rangers call on the Dragonzord in Battle Mode to fight the monsters. Dragonzord takes on Goldar and Scorpina while the T-Rex combats Babe Ruthless. It's a nice shot of two fights occurring simultaneously; one in the background and one in the foreground. You can call this show cheap, but at least it goes for satisfying visuals.


Babe Ruthless says something about baseball, then busts out some new tricks. He sprays pink mist at the Rangers that gets scattered by the Dragonzord's Power Staff, and he throws a giant red ball at the Zords which gets knocked back at him by the T-Rex's tail. Babe thinks he's still got a good chance though, as he says something about baseball and charges forward. The Dragonzord has a different approach in mind.

Babe Ruthless death
Remember kids, if some bully throws a baseball at you, drill his fucking stomach open

After having brutally maimed a monster Zordon congratulates the Rangers on their successful violation of the Geneva Convention, and informs them Scorpina is back in the city. Billy weirdly makes a point to note she's probably back in HUMAN form. No shit Billy, she's always in human form when she's regular sized. The Rangers leap out of their Zords to challenge Scorpina who is indeed in HUMAN form. Her pet worm teleports out of her hand with red energy and instantly grows. If you thought Babe was ugly just look at this thing.

God him and his empty eye sockets. Gross.

The Rangers call on their Zords again to combat Weaveworm, but Kim warns Jason if he traps them again they might not be able to escape. Jason promises this won't happen and the Rangers call on Megazord. The Megazord fights with Weaveworm in a weird slowed down battle that consists of the Megazord punching a couple times and knocking Scorpina's worm onto its big gooey ass. Weaveworm then spews more goo at the Megazord and traps it inside another cocoon. What were you saying earlier Jason? Something about not getting trapped again? Oh well it probably wasn't important.

Weaveworm adorably dances around the cocoon while cheering for himself in a creepy mouth stitched shut kind of voice. Before the monster can do anything else, Tommy shows up and calls the Dragonzord back into action. Where the fuck did you go Tommy? Weren't you just helping them fight Babe Ruthless? Whatever the case, Dragonzord knocks Weaveworm away and drills the cocoon open. Jason calls for the Megadragonzord which disintegrates Weaveworm and leaves poor Scorpina without a pet.

That was the last Weaveworm in existence. Congrats to the Power Rangers for wiping out another species.

The destruction of Weaveworm appears to have awoken Rita, as the next scene is her screaming at her minions inside of the Moon Palace telling them never to take charge without her again. Goldar stammers about how it was all Finster's fault for making such lame monsters. So Finster made a monster that primarily served as a pet for Scorpina? Was she really lonely one day and needed a companion? Did Goldar make her send her pet to fight and die or was it created specifically for this plan? Goldar is a massive piece of shit if that's the case.

The next day at the Youth Center, the Ranger Teens watch T.V. where a newscaster announces that the Power Rangers killed some monsters and caused some property damage. I'm not shitting you, the newsman actually mentions that the Rangers caused property damage but no harm came to any civilians. Well thank goodness, wouldn't want some prissy Angel Grove socialite having one hair on their pretty little head harmed.

Bulk shows up awaiting the commercial that he knows will propel him into the Hollywood Pantheon. As the commercial comes on, we see footage of Bulk humiliating himself as the commercial says trying to learn martial arts on your own could make you look like this, and I quote, " bundle of blobbering blubber." Holy shit. That sentence even makes me feel bad. The rest of the commercial shows Tommy's skills and says what you could look like if you sign up at the Angel Grove Karate Center or wherever the fuck, but more important is how Bulk must be feeling.

Think of this from Bulk's perspective. You're told you got a part for a commercial, but it's just footage of you humiliating yourself broadcast on television to destroy your self esteem. It's a shame the episode is over before we get the scene of Bulk getting cut a six figure check in a defamation lawsuit against these producers. Then he falls down the steps of the courthouse right into a cake being delivered to a wedding.

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Timmy P's Real Mayonnaise

Personal Thoughts

This episode happens to be one of my favorites. The plot's servicable with the commercial audition, and we get a nice wraparound of the Power Rangers fighting two unique monsters. It's really easygoing but it's also a lot of fun. It's one of the shortest episodes clocking in about a minute shorter than most, and there isn't a lot to say about it because so much of it was action. But no matter what I can't even explain to you how fucking pumped I was as a kid to see two monsters in one episode.

Why would they use footage of two perfectly good monsters in a single episode you must be asking yourself. Well it's because neither monster had enough usable footage from Sentai of the Rangers fighting the monster on the ground. Babe Ruthless was a little child during his ground fight and Weaveworm was almost always in his larva form in Scorpina's hand. The writers made a choice to combine the episodes Zord footage and it actually works out nicely and the idea of recycling Sentai monsters with little usable footage would become a popular trend in later seasons of Power Rangers.

Originally in the script, there was another monster by the name of Thornos who showed up in between Babe Ruthless and Weaveworm. Thornos would be another monster that had very little usable Sentai footage but Power Rangers decided to save Thornos for a later episode. The results were pretty mixed but we'll talk about that later.

The fight with Babe Ruthless actually comes from much earlier in Zyuranger than Weaveworm. Weaveworm coming from Episode 38 of Zyuranger and Ruthless coming from Episode 23. I mentioned in Itsy Bitsy Spider that the Dragonzord Battle Mode's debut fight just has it using its finishing move and not doing any actual fighting. The reason for that is because the Babe Ruthless fight was the original debut for Dragonzord in Battle Mode, but was cut to splice together in this episode.

According to the script for this episode, they were originally going to have Babe Ruthless explode when the Tyrannosaurus Dinozord knocked the big red ball back at him. This was probably an attempt to tone done the blatant violence of the Dragonzord in Battle Mode's finishing move, but it also sounds like such a bland way to end a fight. I can't even imagine how they would make that shit work. That moment might have actually soured me on the episode just because I wouldn't get to see some big idiot get drilled in the gut. Even as a kid I realized how brutal that scene is. I love it.

With regards to Weaveworm, the U.S. production staff actually had the monsters costume on hand. It's likely the reason Japan had the suit in such decent condition was how little fighting they had to film with it. The only proof of the U.S. crew having Weaveworm's costume is a promotional image of the Red Ranger fighting the monster. I'm afraid I don't still have the image of this, but if any of you eagle eyed fans out there might have it I'd love to post it. It's odd though that for an episode that had so little Sentai footage the crew didn't take some time to film unique scenes of Weaveworm.

The final note I want to make is what the hell was going on with Kimberly. In the initial scene of the Rangers getting caught in Weaveworm's cocoon, she's very clearly not with them in the Japanese footage. The production team tries to distract us from noticing this by hilariously dubbing in a line from Kimberly while she isn't actually there. Kim was also not involved in the Zord fight with Babe Ruthless aside from recycled shots of the Battle Mode cockpit. This is obviously all Sentai related stuff and not something they could fix without filming new shots.

Honestly this seems like such an easy fix when you write the script. Just say Kimberly went to watch Tommy's audition instead of acting like she's in fights that she isn't. I'd blame the script for this, but this episode probably assumed they would need Kimberly to be involved in the cut Thornos fight so it was too late to rewrite her hanging out with Tommy. 


  1. Fun fact, they use the Thunder Slingers to blast their way out of the cocoon in Zyuranger.

    1. Damnit! I figured I was missing a use of the Thunder Slingers. That was it. Thanks for letting me know!

  2. I don't even like Power Rangers I'm just here for the shirtless fat guy

  3. So, it wasn't so much an audition as it was the actual filming of the commercial itself.

  4. I think the episode was trying to make us think the auditions were being held at the Angel Grove Karate Center, but it's very clearly the high school set. You can even see lockers, but I suppose you can pass those off as places for students to store their clothes and other personal items after they put on their gi.