Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Episode 54: Trick Or Treat

Prisoner Deceives Vampire With Help From Mummy
Teenagers Threaten Pumpkin Through Rap

Boo! Sorry everyone, hope I didn't scare ya. I just had to get into the Halloween spirit! At least I would if this were dropping anywhere remotely near the month of October. Forget all that though, set your pumpkins out boils and ghouls, because we're going trick or treating in the hot as hell month of June!

Kimberly takes a break from doing erotic gymnastics on a balance beam to go shove her good news in Trini and Tommy's faces. She's been selected to be a contestant on the game show Trick Or Treat. Tommy asks if that's the same show that is, and I quote, "The most popular game show in America." Yeah, the most popular game show in America is a show that can only possibly air one month out of the year. That's what's pummeling Jeopardy in the ratings. This show has expected me to swallow some dumbass shit before, but this is some of the dumbest assest shit they've said in a long time.

Kimberly basks in the glory of being on a gimmicky holiday themed game show, before informing her boyfriend and that girl who won't leave them alone that she could win a brand new car. Sounds like Kim's sick of needing Billy to haul her around everywhere in the RADBUG. Can't blame her though, Billy has a real problem keeping his hands at 10 and 2. One of those nerdy little palms always seems to find its way in her lap.

Kim asks Trini and Tommy if they can make it to the taping. Trini says she wouldn't miss it for the world and Kim tells her to shut the fuck up and let Tommy speak. Sadly, Tommy won't be able to watch his girlfriend answer a bunch of pumpkin themed trivia questions because he's got a prior engagement that day. Just in case anyone was on the edge of their seat wondering what Tommy "I enjoy karate" Oliver had to do that day, it was a karate tournament. For those of you surprised by this revelation, welcome to the website! I hope you'll enjoy your stay.

Just as Kimberly contemplates dumping Tommy, Bulk and Skull come in and announce Skull will be Kim's opponent on Trick Or Treat. For no particular reason this deeply upsets Kimberly. If my opponent on a game show was someone who had incredible difficulty reading, I would already be smelling victory. Though it seems like Skull is too.

Bulk and Skull gross
Bulk finds this delicious.

What piques my curiosity is the fact that it's Skull who's on the show and not Bulk. Skull has not once had a plot to himself on this show, so it's interesting that they decided to put him in the front seat over Bulk. Maybe Jason Narvy wanted to get some screen time to himself for an episode, or maybe the script writer thought Skull would fit better in a Halloween episode because his name is more spooooooky. Who am I kidding that's exactly why.

Rita takes notice of the game show being about Halloween and commands her lackeys to plant her evil Pumpkin Rapper monster. Oh wonderful, remember how great it was the last time Rita planted a monster? Well Goldar assures the audience that the Rangers doom is at hand as Squatt and Baboo have already planted the rotten pumpkin seeds to produce the creature. To make a Pumpkin Rapper you don't use magical space seeds. No you just leave some regular seeds out to rot and eventually they work well enough to make a devious pumpkin creature. Whatever you say Goldar.

After all that exposition's out of the way, we cut straight to the set of Trick Or Treat. Points to this week's episode, we aren't dicking around before getting straight to the plot. Even if the plot is just a hacky game show. Speaking of, let's see what the number one game show in America looks like behind the scenes.

It looks like a kindergarten classroom.

While the studio audience of 25 extras take their places, Bulk and Skull discuss their game plan through distractingly bad ADR. Bulk informs Skull the only way to win is to cheat, to which Skull mutters something unintelligible to him.

No seriously, for a show that uses ADR in half of its footage you would think they would know how to do it so that it didn't sound like two actors recording lines in two different states. It doesn't help that we see the bullies walking towards the camera so you can see their lips not matching up to anything they're saying. It's like watching a goddamn silent film. If I wanted to watch Abbot and Costello Meet the Pumpkin Rapper, we wouldn't be here right now.

Oh let's not forget this is a Halloween episode, so that means everybody is dressed up in costume. Kimberly's a princess, Trini's dressed like Jeannie, and the boys are dressed up as the three musketeers. What lazy shit. The writers didn't feel like coming up with three individual costumes so they just thought of a famous trio to have the guys dress as. At the very least we get to see Skull dressed as a prisoner and Bulk dressed as a mummy who will be buried with all his worldly hamburgers. These costumes clearly represent the fact that both boys have been bound by the constructs their society has built around them. This is deep stuff everyone, try to keep up.

The host of Trick Or Treat, some clown named Monty in a vampire getup, calls Kim and Skull on stage. Skull mugs to the camera and gives an honest to goodness "Hi mom" joke. He then asks Monty if he would be willing to take his wife, please.

Monty explains to the contestants the object of the game: They must ask him questions that he's unable to answer to get a pumpkin point. Questions like "Why are you dressing up as a vampire when you got a bachelors degree in broadcasting?" The person with the most points at the end of the game wins the car. Monty informs Skull he gets to ask the first question, and Skull blows it by asking him "I do?" A joke that might work if anyone at all committed to it. Instead, we cut to the audience looking like this.

If you can tell me what that woman with the mohawk is dressed as, I'll give you all the pumpkin points.

Maybe if you want to make Skull look silly for answering incorrectly you could have the audience laughing at him. Why do you have them looking horrendously bored on the set of the most popular game show of all time? The only person looking even remotely interested is Trini, because Thuy Trang is excited they didn't cut her character out of the episode this week.

Meanwhile, Tommy heads to his karate match while taking a detour through the park. Maybe he should be the one winning a new car so he doesn't need to hike through the friggin' woods every time he has a karate match. Tommy notices a bunch of stank ass pumpkins and wonders why they smell so bad. You know who tend not to win karate matches Tommy? Lookeeloos who waste their time sniffing pumpkins in the park. Get it together.

Rita notices Tommy is sniffing her pumpkins and demands Goldar do something about it. I'm sure she would love to command her own forces, but she's a confused old space woman and she doesn't have the time to be relevant.

A troop of Putties assault Tommy in the park to protect the secret that he really wasn't in any danger of uncovering. All Tommy did was comment to himself that the pumpkins smelled bad and Rita shit a brick over it. Just what I always wanted, Putty fights as the result of misunderstandings.

Back at Trick Or Treat, it's Kimberly's turn. She asks Monty "Can you tell me the identity of the Power Rangers?" Monty is stumped because it doesn't occur to him that it could be those five teenagers that are hanging out together all the time in multi-colored outfits. He also doesn't think to respond to Kim's question with "No I can't." Since Kim is the good guy, she gets a pumpkin point. Your show is the biggest thing on cable and you can't see through these holes Monty?

Life has not been kind to Butch Patrick.

Monty inexplicably becomes exasperated with the fact one of the contestants on his dumb show managed to succeed. He offers Kimberly the chance to get three more pumpkin points by playing the Wheel of Misfortune game. Wow! What a clever pun! They must have been sitting on that all season waiting to use it. Shame it never got a chance to be used before.

So Kimberly's strapped to a big spinning wheel that whirls her around, and because whoever wrote this episode doesn't know how game shows work, we just cut away from the show. As soon as we cut back, Kimberly has gotten three pumpkin points for whatever she did on the Wheel of Misfortune game. I see why this show's so popular now, people tune in every week to try and figure out what the fuck is going on.

Tommy finishes cleaning up the Putties and calls Zordon to tell him something strange is going on in the park. At least he assumes it is, because some Putties got all feisty with him when he stopped to smell the pumpkins. Zordon tells him his razor sharp intuition has proven him right and Rita is up to no good, but he can go on to his karate match. Zordon says he'll alert Tommy if the other Rangers need him, and the two share a brief chuckle at the concept of the other Rangers not needing Tommy to bail them out.

Monty gives Skull another chance to ask him a question he can't answer, and Skull looks over to see Bulk mouthing a question. The incredibly difficult question it took two people's minds to think up was "What is my best friend's name?" Surprisingly we don't have to hear Monty shocked that Skull has a friend because he's a big loser who should kill himself, Monty just doesn't have an answer and Skull gets a point.

Skull then gets the opportunity to play the game "Web of Disaster". Though it sounds more like a description of what Skull was born out of, it's more just an excuse to do this.

Spiders shoot webs out of their mouths right?

Rita gets pissed it's been half the episode and her dumbass monster hasn't woken up yet. She directly asks Goldar to explain what's going on, so the editors don't have to spend time dubbing her over. Goldar says a bunch of expositional nonsense that means nothing but to tell the audience the monster is almost ready to appear. RIGHT AFTER THESE MESSAGES!

In the Command Center, Alpha 5 watches Kimberly outsmart an illiterate Neanderthal. His joy is short-lived however, as the alarm goes off to alert him to some pumpkins shaking around in the woods. Alpha buzzes the rest of the Ranger Teens who silently gesture to Kimberly that they need to go. Sorry about your dreams Kim, some pumpkins are stankin' up the park and we need to use our superpowers to pick them up. Also it's definitely gonna take all five of us to clean up some old moldy vegetables.

Kim fakes a dizzy spell to fool Monty into thinking she's fainted. Her friends come to help her up and tell him they need to get her some assistance. Because the production team behind Trick Or Treat never planned for this, Skull is automatically announced the winner of the new car. Thanks for watching this fake game show for the past 12 minutes everyone, now we get to some of that karate action stuff you tune in for. 

The Ranger Teens are informed that Rita's wicked plan today is that she planted some pumpkins they need to go and observe. Sorry Kimberly, that was completely worth you losing out on a car. When the biggest pumpkin in the patch ripens fully, it will evolve into Rita's Pumpkin Rapper monster. Trini intelligently asks what this ludacris monster can actually do, and Zordon responds that it will use its clever raps and rhymes to distract them. S-stop laughing Zack. He's being serious.

The Teens morph to figure out what's going on with all this pumpkin junk, and pick a few of them up to investigate. Kimberly goes behind some bushes to blow off some steam over losing the car while her friends try and decipher the mystery of the evil pumpkins. Though it doesn't go quite as planned.

Oh my god Jason's karate chop. I'm dying.

Kim notices her idiot friends are being suffocated by pumpkins so she jumps into action to rescue them. Using her Blade Blaster, she cuts the pumpkins off her friends faces; although she takes a little bit of time to let them choke until their faces are the same shade of blue that new car would have been.

The Rangers look around the woods to see what the hell just caused some pumpkins to glue themselves to their faces only to notice some of the pumpkins hovering and glowing with orange energy. Soon enough, a new batch of Putties materializes!

That's what Putties were missing, an inability to see.

Hahahaha. Yeah. Terrifying. Is this footage supposed to be hilarious? Because so far this is the funniest goddamned thing I've seen in my entire life.

The Rangers start Smashing Pumpkin Putties and knock a bunch of them to the ground. After a handful are beaten, they dissolve into a regular pumpkin once more. Noticing that the Pumpkin Putties don't seem to stop showing up, the Rangers look around for the source of their problems. Off in the distance they see a massive pumpkin and surmise that's the culprit behind these pumpkin shenanigans.

The Rangers leap forward and corner the giant pumpkin before, and I'm not making this up, reciting a horrible five person rap to the pumpkin to I guess mock it? Defeat it? I don't fucking know. It's the worst thing I've ever heard. It's so terrible that it manages to make Pumpkin Rapper wake up from his eternal pumpkin slumber and start strutting his stuff.

It's the Pumpkin Posse! 

We're then introduced to the conceit of this monster, everything he says is a rap. By rap I of course mean he rhymes very complicated words such as "mad" and "bad", or "do" and "you." In other words, he's the absolute most ridiculous monster this season has ever seen and his very existence makes me laugh. It's something that's so goddamned stupid it wraps around to being hysterical. Then right back around to being stupid. The Pumpkin Rapper is a Möbius strip of terrible ideas.

Pumpkin Rapper sics some more Pumpkin Putties on the Rangers, before they're easily cut down by the Rangers Blade Blasters. Why they aren't coming back in droves now that he's awake? Who cares, that wasn't a boring fake game show so we're not going to explain it.

The monster taunts our heroes with another abhorrent attempt at rapping before using a vine whip to slap their Blade Blasters out of their hands. He then launches a leafy vine at the Rangers which ties them up and electrocutes them. Damnit Zordon! You didn't tell us how fresh his beats would be!

Alpha informs Zordon that the Rangers are being beaten by a giant Halloween decoration that learned 1st grade level rhyming abilities. Zordon contacts Tommy and tells him to forget this stupid karate shit for one day and go save his lame friends. Tommy loses the match by forfeit before morphing to go fight the monster.

Tommy hacks apart Pumpkin Rapper's vine and releases his friends from the rapping vegetable. The Green Ranger tells his friends to get their weapons ready while he keeps the monster busy. Tommy then charges Rapper and holds him down as the other Rangers form the Mega Blaster. Oh sorry, you must mean Power Blaster. No wonder you guys forgot the name, you haven't used it in 16 episodes.

After his friends combine their weapons, Tommy kicks away Pumpkin Rapper and says "Hasta La Pumpkin, Squashbrain." After I finish throwing up all over my computer, I look up to see the Pumpkin Rapper getting Power Blasted. Only thing is he doesn't dissolve or burst into sparks or anything. Instead this is what happens.

Pumpkin Rapper's spitting some hot fire.

By the way, that's the end of the fight. Pumpkin Rapper got killed by the Power Blaster. I can't imagine why a pumpkin with sub-par freestyling abilities didn't stand a chance against the Power Rangers. One of history's greatest mysteries I guess.

The next day, Tommy and Kimberly loudly talk about how they made a pie out of that monster. Right in front of some extras walking into the Juice Bar. No attempt at whispering, just loudly discussing their secret identities in front of a bunch of Randy's. Who knows, maybe they were talking about some other giant pumpkin that was befouling their city.

Kim and Tommy deal with the shared tragedy of losing the new car and the karate match, but find solace in spending time with each other. The toll of being a superhero interfering with your civilian life is a theme that's rarely explored in Power Rangers, so I'm always excited to see it pop up. So there's...what four good things so far?

Bulk and Skull drive up to the Youth Center in their fancy new car and start trying to cuck Tommy by begging Kim to ride with them. Before Bulk and Skull can Thelma and Louise themselves, a woman comes up to the car and demands they get out of it. She starts bitching at them saying she's a member of network standards and practices. She reviewed the tape and saw that Bulk and Skull were cheating during Skull's episode of Trick Or Treat, and will be taking the car back as retribution.

Since the episode only has a minute left, Bulk and Skull don't ask this woman for credentials or why she was watching tapes of the audience to see Bulk's cheating, or why nobody noticed Skull was clearly stuttering out a question someone was feeding him during the show, or why they didn't have Monty come back and take the car instead of some lady we never saw before, or why Kimberly didn't get the car by default and it instead went back to the network, or how this lady knew Bulk's name to accuse him of cheating, or why a fucking pumpkin was rapping.

Speaking of raps, I just thought of one guys. Check it out.

Oh shucks. This episode sucks.

Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Orange People Rapping

Personal Thoughts

I don't think I've been more disappointed with disliking an episode in quite a long time. Pumpkin Rapper is absolutely one of my favorite monsters in all of Season 1 solely for being such a stupid idea, but the rest of the episode was such a slog. I didn't give one iota of a shit about the game show plot, and I can barely force myself to care about Tommy going to some karate match that absolutely doesn't matter. Not to mention how lame this is compared to the last Halloween episode Power Rangers had. Which also had Kimberly dressing as a princess because it was the 90's. What else could women be?

Another problem was Kimberly and Skull being the contestants on Trick Or Treat. There's no banter between the two of them and no playing off of each other the entire time. Not once does Skull flirt with Kimberly who he has a big weird crush on, not once does Kim roll her eyes at Skull for being stupid. Nothing happens that is in character for either of the two of them. You could replace Kim with any other Ranger and it wouldn't matter whatsoever. The only actual reason you have Kim as the focal point of this episode is to tie into her saving the other Rangers in the Zyu2 footage. That's it.

They try to tie Kimberly and Tommy together by bookending the episode with the two of them being all cutesy, but it amounts to nothing. She's kind of upset he can't see her on the show, and then they're both upset they had to give up something they wanted to save the day from Pumpkin Rapper. Sorry. Had to choke back a laugh typing up that sentence.

Yeah, Pumpkin Rapper. Man I love Pumpkin Rapper. He's such a ridiculous concept for a monster. A giant pumpkin is dumb enough, but making him a rapper? It's like the script writers were trying to top themselves with who could come up with the stupidest concept for a monster. Sorry to spoil the rest of the season for you guys, but nothing is going to top Pumpkin Rapper.

I do heavily enjoy a lot of the fight against Pumpkin Rapper, specifically the part where Tommy holds him off while the other Rangers summon the Power Blaster. It's a really unique strategy for this show which usually expects the monster to be somewhat incapacitated before getting blasted. Part of why I love Zyu2 is how the fights would branch off in interesting ways unlike what we had seen earlier in the season. It manages to keep you really invested to see what they come up with next.

Oh I should probably explain that Power Blaster death. Well I mentioned back in the Goofish write-up that quite a few Zyu2 monsters looked like they were about to get the Power Blaster, or definitively did get hit by the Blaster. We can assume a few earlier monsters got hit by the Blaster because the scripts indicated they did (Jellyfish, Fighting Flea), but this is the first time a Zyu2 monster's defeat by the Power Blaster was retained. Unfortunately it seems like the only reason they kept this scene in was to completely cut out the Pumpkin Rapper Zord battle.

Yes Pumpkin Rapper, beyond a shadow of a doubt, had a Zord fight. We'll discuss it in the future, but it was trimmed from this episode to give more time to the game show aspect I guess? They might have also wanted to keep extra Pumpkin Rapper footage for another Halloween episode the following season, but I'm not sure one way or the other.

The last thing I want to discuss is flipping footage. Power Rangers will flip Sentai shots all the time to either make the scene look more organic, or to use a scene more than once but make it look different to the audience. The only reason I bring that up today is because almost all the shots of Goldar talking to the camera were reversed and ended up looking like this.

Jesus. He looks like he's got the mumps. Moral of the story is: Sometimes flipping the shot works, sometimes it doesn't.


  1. This episode reminds me of Thursday nights at the Neverland ranch.

    Seriously, zord fight >> game show ish.

  2. I did like that this episode addressed the notion of their superhero activities conflicting with their regular lives, and actually I would have liked it if Kim had gotten the car as karmic justice she was ahead of skull in points and had she not had to tap out she would have won anyway.

  3. Clearly, Kim was never meant to win the car - it wasn't pink! Also, the Les Miserables fan in me will never be over Skull's prisoner number being 24601. :-D

  4. Another highlight of a less-than-stellar episode...my TV's closed captions translated "I Will Win" as having the following lyrics: "Ah, well, well/Step into my hell..."

  5. Worst part of this episode is Michael Soricn's performance. And i don't mean the "get hip with the youths" element in the Pumpkin Rapper. I dunno whose fault it is, his or the voice director, but he sounds just like Squatt with the only difference being that Squatt speaks like he has his mouth full 24/7.

    1. Also doesn't help it's the same voice as the later Hate Master, also done by Sorich.

  6. The director for this episode was Worth Keeter, the guy who gave us the Dramole whereas the writers were husband and wife Ellen and Daniel Sarnoff who had this as thier first project and aren't notable for much in the franchise besides Ellen writing "A Reel Fish Story."

  7. Anyone else find it weird that the Pumpkin Rapper has more screen time in "Zedd's Monster Mash" than here. His fucking Pumpkin Putties have more screen time than him if one doesn't count references, allusions, or shots of his pumpkin form which I don't since he was not actually doing anything.