Tuesday, May 31, 2016

MMPR Season 2 Episode 39: Ranger Back in Time Part 1

Tommy Regresses in Age, Progresses in Acting Talent
Married Couple Mortified by Hot Dog Buns

Now Featuring: Jim Henson HAIM SABAN'S Power Rangers Babies, already in progress.

The only thing I want to say about this episode before I begin is that it's going to focus on a gaggle of child actors. Child actors who are asked to mimic the performance of the actors on Power Rangers, one of very few shows that asks its actors to take a golden bucket-headed dog seriously. 

If that ain't the recipe for success then I don't know what is!

Ms. Applebee conducts today's plot-relevant assignment in Angel Grove High: Each of the students is to present a photo from their childhood that represents their most memorable experience. Now to tick off the boxes on my Power Rangers bingo card. Kimberly presents some gymnastics thing, Billy presents some science thing, Tommy presents a karate thing, Jason pre-oh wait a second. We have three new Rangers around now. Maybe we can take an opportunity to get absolutely any idea who Rocky "Plank of Wood" Desantos and Aisha "Fires Suck Dick" Campbell are. Adam's already come across as a shy goofball and endeared himself to me. The other two new Rangers better ship up or they aren't getting a voice acting career after this garbage show is over.

Aisha goes first and talks about her very first dance recital and how exciting it was for her. Not because she was able to beat all the white kids who couldn't dance for shit, but because her sick grandmother was able to show up and cheer her on. I suppose that's exciting for someone who appreciates their family and loved ones, but as an unfeeling psychopath, I don't quite get the appeal.

So there's what we learn about Aisha. She does dance recitals that we'll never hear about until she's booted off the show, and she loves her family. I guess I should appreciate these table scraps. I'll at least be fair and say dance lessons remain consistent with Aisha's friendship with Shawna. Shawna was into gymnastics, and that's similar enough to dance lessons that I can see them connecting. So I guess that kind of adds to the little we know about Aisha?

Sweet Jesus am I searching for ways to compliment this show.

Well during Aisha's beautiful story about her sick grandmother, Skull exhibits his characteristic empathy.

Calling it, that earwax is going to be Zedd's monster this week.

Next up is Kimberly, and she brings a picture of her 1st gymnastics tournament. Pick up those dropped jaws everyone, I know you never would have expected that from her. Even more unbelievable is when Kim says she lost her first competition, but that taught her to never give up.

I call serious foul on Kimberly having ever lost anything in her life. She's a Power Ranger for Christ's sake. Power Rangers have never lost at anything in the history of forever. What kind of revisionist bullshit is this? I have it on good authority that Kimberly has won a soccer game against 11 roided-up Argentinians while both of her feet were broken.

Lord Zedd is sick of all this bullshit about childhoods, considering his was ruined when his father stapled a grill to his face. Zedd comes to the conclusion that the linear progression of time is exactly what's getting in the way of his victory. All Zedd has to do is turn back time, using his coveted Rock of Time. The Rock of Time will cause the Earth to spin in reverse, and reverse the flow of time. Then Zedd can not only kill the Power Rangers as harmless children, but he can save Lois Lane from getting crushed to death.

Next up to talk about how great his childhood was is Tommy. If you guessed that Tommy spent an inordinate amount of time during childhood practicing karate, you hit the nail on the head my lovely reader. Unfortunately it seems like Tommy spent too much time learning karate, and not enough time learning his fucking lines.

How this scene should go is as follows: Tommy holds up a picture, blathers about karate, the audience applauds, and he sits down. Instead, we get an awkward close-up shot of Tommy's childhood karate picture, and then cut to Tommy in the middle of an "Um…" before he rambles off something about dedication and flashes a charming smile. It's a moment that flawlessly summarizes Jason David Frank's acting. Even when a line doesn't land, he grins his way through the scene and comes out looking like Teflon.

Billy shows a picture where he disassembled her mom's vacuum cleaner because he's a little motherfucker. Your mother slaves away working to support your stupid thesaurus addiction and you have the gall to break her means of keeping the house clean? Why don't you go fix that vacuum and suck a dick. 

 Oh and in case you wanted to know what Billy looked like as a kid.

Why's he wearing Sally Jesse Raphael's glasses?

Rocky goes up to the front of the class to talk about his dog Buster. Of course. Rocky's such a dweeb even his dog's a buster.

Oh yeah, guess that's all we get for Aisha and Rocky. She enjoys her family and he likes dogs. Add it to the series bible everybody, this is groundbreaking stuff!

Adam shows off a picture where he's fixing up a car with his dad. I hope for Adam's sake it's a shitty green jeep. He's going to need to get used to them.

Then we get to a presentation that is way more adorable than any of the Ranger Teens'. Skull shows a picture of the time he dropped a popsicle down Bulk's back, and cemented the two as best pals. Bulk says that moment could have resulted in him beating Skull to death, but the fact that he didn't was when Skull knew they were destined to be buddies. It was that moment that God realized his limitless mistake, and his two most degenerate dregs have come together to form the most despicable duo in existence.

Lord Zedd and Goldar chuckle over the foolish Earthlings that enjoyed their youth, and briefly reiterate the plot in case you weren't paying attention two minutes ago. Zedd charges up his staff and fires a bolt of energy at the Rock of Time. In case you expected it to look impressive, I'd like to nip those suspicions in the bud.

Rock of Time
This show could not have been made without awful filters

The Earth begins to spin backwards, which I'm sure all scientists out there can confirm is a surefire way to go back in time. He does all of this during an incredibly awkwardly shot presentation in the Angel Grove classroom. We hear dialogue from a girl talking about a horse, and how if it weren't for that horse she won't end up spending a year in college. The issue is we never see this student at any point, and only see actors reacting to someone who isn't on-camera at all. Why not cut to Japanese footage of a monster? That's what this show usually does when all the characters are looking at something we can't see.

It's so bizarrely done, and I can't imagine it as anything other than a shitty way to save money on hiring an actor to deliver these lines. It'll cost less to have a voice actor say something while we pretend some nameless student is delivering lines, and it'll look just as good right?

Then another awkward moment occurs when Miss Applebee informs the class that everyone did a marvelous job presenting their boring whitebread childhood photos. Instead of continuing her lesson plan, the entire classroom bursts into applause over how amazing they are I guess? It's not like she told the students "Give yourselves a round of applause." She told them the assignment was done appropriately, why are they patting themselves on the back about it?

While the student body of Angel Grove High School congratulate themselves for talking about pictures for 15 seconds, Alpha 5 and Zordon notice an irregularity in the Earth's rotation. Yeah it's turning the wrong way you clods. All the scientific gadgets in the known universe and you can't tell when Zedd is shifting the Earth into reverse? Zordon says this could drastically affect the space-time continuum if not monitored. He's completely right! If we don't stop Zedd now, there may be no such thing as a slave trade in the universe of Power Rangers.

Billy notices the classroom's clock is running in reverse and asks why this show is so cheap that it has to resort to the worst special effects known to mankind to gets its point across. Rocks with photoshop filters? A .gif of the Earth spinning backwards? A clock played in reverse? What kind of ridiculous horseshit is this?

Before Billy can be sent to the latest Peace Conference, the classroom shifts back in time to when the Ranger Teens were only grade-schoolers. Oh.Boy.

So what's one of the cool things about characters experiencing time travel? Do you like the part where everyone has to realize what happened and then accept it? Too bad. We don't do that shit here on Power Rangers. As a matter of fact, it's as if nothing changes from high school to grade school. The Ranger Teens are in the same classroom, Miss Applebee is still their teacher, and nobody seems any wiser about something strange happening.

Let's also dissect that a bit further. I can buy the Ranger Teens not getting sent back to their old grade school, but why is their teacher the same woman for nearly a decade? Teachers don't follow you as you get older, you tend to learn from a few of them during your tenure in primary education. She must be the most chill woman on the planet Earth to accommodate her lesson plan for whatever age group is shoved in front of her. Or maybe she's always been a 4th grade teacher and that explains why all of her homework assignments sound like such simplistic horseshit.

Baby Kimberly gets the opportunity to solve a math problem in front of the class. It's a pretty simple division problem about how much of your paychecks you need to cut your parents in if you're involved in the luxurious career of child acting.

Wait just a minute here though! There are two other babies unaccounted for. Baby Bulk and Baby Skull have some wacky pranks to pull. When Kimberly goes up to answer the question in front of the class, Baby Skull puts a balloon full of shaving cream on her seat. How he prepared this during his session of space-time travel is unknown to me. Maybe he's one of those Time Lords all you Doctor Who dorks are in love with. Sorry losers, I'll be over here watching a real man's show like Power Rangers.

So who cares. The balloon falls off and pops in the bullies' faces because comedy. Then we get to see two children covered in foam or shaving cream or whatever the fuck this shit is supposed to be.

Enjoy that life full of humiliation boys!

Ms. Applebee demands to know what happened, and little miss narc Baby Aisha tells Ms. Applebee what happened. Applebee responds to Aisha by saying, "Who the hell are you? You didn't live here when I was teaching fourth grade. You should be in Stone Canyon. What the fuck happened to Trini, Zack, and Jason? Oh sweet Jesus I lost another three again. They're going to demote me back to teaching high school after this!"

Tommy laughs and says, "You tell 'em Miss A!" Then she begins feverishly sweating and demands to know who this kid with the ponytail is. Why the fuck are there four students in her class that she's never met before. Tommy didn't move to Angel Grove until we needed someone to put in green pajamas, and Adam/Aisha/All the Rest moved here when they heard they could get steady work from three chuckleheads who quit.

Just doesn't work out canonically is all I'm sayin'. This is serious stuff.

Alpha and Zordon flip their collective shit when they learn what Lord Zedd has done to their civilian death merchants. Now that they've become kids, they lost that killer instinct Zordon hired them for so many moons ago. Zordon demands that Alpha 5 whip up some science contraption to turn the Rangers back to normal. Alpha asks if Zordon will be willing to help, and the giant brain monster stares at him for a couple of uncomfortable seconds. Alpha sighs and begins tinkering on his new magic toy.

I have to give this episode some credit, it addresses a question I immediately had about the premise. Alpha asks Zordon why they can't simply teleport the Baby Rangers into the Command Center. Zordon refuses that option because the Command Center would be much too frightening for children. Which is a pretty reasonable explanation for why you wouldn't subject children to that horror show.

I don't give a shit how old I am, if a sentient blue plasma head talks to me from his fishbowl while a neurotic android jitters around me, I'm biting down on my tongue to drown in my own blood. This was not the world I was led to believe I was born in.

Well forget about those intergalactic idiots, what's Baby Aisha up to?

This is what made Grandma proud?

So here's the point where I have to ask the obvious question. Are any of these kids tolerable actors? As we all know, child actors are the most insufferable thing since Stage 4 gonorrhea, and you'll be happy to know that these kid actors aren't necessarily "bad." It's more of a case of them being a bunch of mush-mouthed dorks with indecipherable line readings.

To be fair, this isn't really their fault. If one of the Ranger Teens' actors botches their line (Tommy), then the actor can go into the voice-over booth later and redo the line more clearly. Based on the fact that this show was made for approximately 43¢ and a can of Timmy P's Real Brand Mayonnaise, nobody was going to bother taking the time or money to retake the lines for these kids. Whoever was directing them probably used the best take possible before immediately moving on.

So a bunch of lame child actors dick around in a park for a while, and then a chubby Midwestern couple drops by to take a picture of those adorable kids. Hey lady, what's your angle? I know it's the 90's and you can still sort of get away with this shit, but why are you taking pictures of other peoples kids? Why don't you go carve some more moths and get your brand new suit ready Buffalo Bertha.

Thankfully, the creepy Midwesterners are thwarted by Bulk and Skull spooking them by…uh. I don't really get this part. They sneak up on this couple, and pop in front of their camera with hot dog buns in their mouths? For some reason that scares the couple? I don't even kind of understand that scene. Shouldn't they be wearing monster masks or making noises other than muffled grunting? Something that might actually be startling? How is it that these two grew up to be bullies when all of their pranks were the worst pranks ever recorded in human history?

Oh yeah, and then the man drops his camera to help his startled wife, and why even bother pretending. You have to know by now exactly why a unique prop is placed out in the middle of nowhere in Season 2.

Also Billy and Adam are building a kite? I can't even pretend to care. Who gives a shit about any of this? Is the Rock of Time still forcing the planet backwards? Are the Ranger Babies in any imminent danger? Who cares, Billy needs to figure out the wind trajectory to make that kite go super far.

Holy shit this episode is boring. I don't know what I was expecting but this episode is giving me nothing. The Ranger Babies may be younger, but this episode isn't adding anything else to that premise. We throw in some more childish activities like kite building and Bulk referencing cooties, but it's all really surface-level bullshit. The Ranger Babies act exactly like they do as teenagers, so there's no point in turning them into kids.

Kim teases Skull, the bullies get tied up in Billy's kite and fall over, Tommy and Rocky practice karate. I keep wanting to detail these scenes but there's fucking nothing here. For the love of God will something happen?

Never thought I'd be so happy to see these guys.

The Ranger Babies become petrified of these spooky ass space monsters, and this is possibly the one time I can buy anyone being perturbed by Putties. When they're literal karate babies that don't realize these idiots in gray potato sacks aren't even sort of threatening.

The Z-Putties surround all the Ranger Babies and even harass Bulk and Skull for no particular reason. Maybe they realized the episode was running short without more shtick? The Ranger Babies try to figure out what to do since they no longer have magical dinosaur powers to protect them, but the Z-Putties' ferocious dancing and warbling has our young heroes unable to act. It's a shame the Putties have no form of offense other than jumping around or we might be afraid for these kids.

Baby Billy suggests a wonderful idea, and tells his friends to ask the horrible gurgling aliens if they're lost. How in the fuck did you survive this long Billy? Aren't you supposed to be the smart one you dipshit? Kimberly even mentions that her parents taught her never to talk to strangers, and you're the one trying to make peace with these freaks? You absolute clownshoe.

I'll give credit to this scene for trying to make the Z-Putties look threatening. They encircle the Ranger Babies, and most of the shots of them are filmed at an angle to make them look much more threatening. The only problem is we've been hanging with these dunderheads for nearly 40 episodes now. We know how ineffective and shitty they are. Even putting them against literal children is going to be, at the very closest, a totally fair fight.

Adam offers his dodgeball to the Putties, but that's when they turn up the attack and start chasing after the Ranger Babies. The pint-sized heroes run desperately away from the foot soldiers, and that's when the scene turns to complete goofery. If you ever thought the Z-Putties could be taken seriously, enjoy this episode shattering your immersion.

Rocky hurls the dodgeball at one of the Putties, and his child arm somehow manages to hit the Putty so hard that it causes him to go flying through the air. That's right, the kids are going to start beating the Putties through the power of precociousness. Gag me.

So who cares, the tide quickly turns and the Ranger Babies start trashing a bunch of Putties. Though I will be reasonable. There is one moment that made me laugh really hard in this scene. Not Baby Kim crawling through a Putties legs and kicking him in the ass, but Baby Tommy's scene. All of the rest of the kids are doing cutesy believably kid things like tripping the Putties or throwing a dodgeball at them. Then we cut to Baby Tommy and he's doing this.

Young Tommy Oliver

The juxtaposition absolutely kills me. You see the other Ranger Babies acting like the Little Rascals, then you cut to Baby Tommy shithousing the Putties. Not only that, but Baby Tommy has intensity on his face while he's beating them. He's easily the best of these kid actors and honestly makes me believe I'm watching a young Jason David Frank. Only this kid seems like a better actor than Tommy would grow up to be.

Unlike the Baby Bulk and Skull who wouldn't know a cake if it didn't hit them in the face.

Baby Tommy chucks the dodgeball at one of the Z-Putties and discovers its emasculating weakness. In case you thought this scene was going to end with Zedd's forces retaining any dignity, you can rest assured that's not the case. All of the Putties are summarily blown into clay chunks after getting hit in the Z with a fucking rubber ball. If I were Lord Zedd, I would call this plan a wash right now. That's a loss so humiliating that you can't possibly redeem yourself from it.

Well it turns out Zedd has become immune to shame, because he instantly brushes off the Putties' failure. He realizes nothing is going to get done in this episode unless he summons a monster to do his dirty work, so he scans the Earth to find something to make into a creature. What could he use to create an insi-it's the camera. He makes the camera into a monster.

The past is so bright, she's gotta wear shades.

The Ranger Babies walk through the woods after successfully murdering a bunch of space goblins, only to run into the devious Photomare. She menaces our child heroes from off-screen while telling them to smile for the camera, and all of the Ranger Babies act like they're looking at something they can actually see. Instead of pretending to be scared, the Ranger Babies stand around and make incredibly stupid retorts about the monster. Yeah that's true that this probably won't be like having your class picture taken, why the fuck aren't you running away?

This scene seriously only works on a meta-level, because Power Rangers doesn't have the Photomare costume. The director is telling these kids to look at a monster that isn't there and pretend it's real, but these kids couldn't possibly give a shit because they're looking at nothing. The scene with the Putties worked better than this because the children could actually interact with them. Of course these kids aren't scared, you're editing in footage of a monster that could look like anything. It's only natural they're acting so blasé about something that should be terrifying to them.

Photomare zaps the six Ranger Babies with a beam from her chest-eye, which captures them inside of a photograph. I'd like to think the Rangers being captured inside of a photograph is supposed to be an echo of their earlier class project, but knowing this show I'm more inclined to believe it's a coincidence.

Oh right, I forgot. The Ranger Babies are now trapped inside of a photograph for all eternity. None of them can escape to rescue the others, and now they're forced to live their lives in a state of arrested development. A child who is unable to grow into adulthood, how utterly depressing. Someone who is unable to progress into maturity and accept their responsibilities, but instead chooses to cling to childish nonsense for the rest of their life.

Anyway drop by next week when I write about the Power Rangers beating up a camera monster. It's gonna be totally badass!


Your Weekly 90's Nostalgia: Inappropriate Applause

Personal Thoughts

Not great but not nearly as bad as I was anticipating. I mean the worst that can be said is how goddamned boring this one is. The premise of turning the Rangers into children really doesn't get fleshed out, and I can promise you that Part 2 isn't going to do anything with it either. On the plus side, the child actors weren't given much to do. That's a blessing in disguise considering how terrible kids are at everything. I like the stupid Putty fight, and that scene of Baby Tommy beating the fuck out of the Putties is enough to elevate this one into "Not Bad" territory. It's just an incredibly barebones experience. How do you think the Ranger Teens would act as kids? Well whatever you're thinking is more interesting than what this episode presented.

Though I do honestly have to give credit to whoever cast these kids. Well two of them anyway. Baby Kim and Billy are passable, Baby Aisha and Rocky barely look like them, Baby Bulk and Skull are pretty lame, but Baby Tommy and Adam work well. Baby Tommy is a way better kid actor than I would expect to see in anything ever, and Baby Adam really reminds me of Adam. He doesn't look exactly like Johnny Yong Bosch, but he has little quirks that really remind me of the Black Ranger. I'm not saying this kid was meticulously studying JYB or anything, but it seems like at least two of these kids went in and really wanted to look like the characters. The other four read lines off of a script and hoped that would be good enough.

I keep assuming next week is going to be better, and I really don't know why. Nothing I have experienced in this show would lead me to expect that. What am I even doing? Why did they go back in time if Zedd used a monster to trap them in a picture? He could have done that in the present!
Man. This fucking season.


  1. "If we don't stop Zedd now, there may be no such thing as a slave trade in the universe of Power Rangers."

    What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of the Power Rangers fandom, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret discussions on Zordon's plasma tube works, and I have over 300 confirmed ownages at Ranger Crew. I am trained in advanced vocabulary and I’m the top debater in the entire fandom. You are nothing to me but just another plebe with a very low post count at Ranger Crew. . I will wipe you the fuck out with, my articulate abstract thinking, the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my harem of women (who have given me hand-mes at an Arbys) with advanced computer skills, across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can own you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with using kindergarten vocabulary. Not only am I extensively trained in owning people using kindergarten vocabulary, but I have access to information from people who worked on the show and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.

    1. I look forward to seeing you try to top this comment, because holy fuck I was giggling like an idiot at it.

    2. I got lazy at the last part and forgot to add "how" in the "discussions on __ Zordon's plasma tube works" part. Someone could make a better version by replacing certain words with more advanced vocabulary. Not to mention, I've brought up "Ranger Crew" and "kindergarten vocabulary" twice.

  2. I can't re watch these ranger baby episodes. The middle of season 2 is really rough. I almost wanted you to skip everything in between White Light part 2 and The Wedding part 2.Kudos to you for persevering! Thankfully we're towards the end of these crappy middle episodes, and you'll have some exciting things to talk about... in 2 weeks!

  3. Adam's already come across as a shy goofball and endeared himself to me.

    I have a largely irrational affection for Adam as well. It's my personal headcanon that he goes on to win the presidency of the united states in the 2020 election, and is the last US president before the complete collapse of society due to a complex series of collective neuroses, economic crises and insurance scams stemming from thirty years of weekly city-devestating attacks by ridiculous-looking space-monsters.

  4. The Putty loss is even more humiliating than your play-byplay would indicate. Even *Bulk* manages to explode one of the Putties. BULK.

  5. In some ways, there is nothing worse than a boring episode. At least with something offensive like "Cassie's Best Friend" or "Alarmed and Dangerous", there's something to fucking complain about. This is a total non-entity.