Friday, April 6, 2018

Power Rangers Reflections Redux #03: Best Man For The Job

(Quick Note: This was going to be a whole new write-up, but I wasn't too happy with what was there, so decided to push that back another week. So as to not "stall" the return of a long dormant feature, I decided to do a quick repost of an old write-up with some minor tweaks and bobs. So sorry about this, folks, but next week, we have a new write-up that's long overdue.)

When I originally posted this back in August 2015, I opined that it might've been possible that I posted this particular musing in the past either here or in a prior blog. Turns out that that posting was the first time it was posted at any point, so there you go. In any event, this episode was chosen completely at random and thus subject to a write-up at the time. The write-up remains as is for the most part.

We begin today's episode of Power Rangers in the great halls of Angel Grove High School (because outside of school and the juice bar, these kids have no lives what) where we learn that elections are coming up to vote in the new Student President of the school. Kinda reminds me of that Killing Mr. Griffin television movie - except nowhere near as dramatic or as exciting... but they both got Amy Jo Johnson, so that fixes everything, right?

Anyway, Tommy (the White Ranger) decides that he'll run for office (do student presidents HAVE offices? Not being one, I never really know) and Billy (the Blue Ranger and resident Nerd) comes up with the clever catchphrase "Best Man For the Job". Why it's the very name of the episode itself! What a coincidence! Bulk and Skull, the comedic duo of the show, also decide to run albeit for different reasons; Bulk so that he'd have access to the student files (???) so he can figure out who the Power Rangers really are - here's a hint: look for the kids wearing the SAME FUCKING COLORS! - and Skull so he can cancel classes for good. Considering the shitty high school experience I've had, if I had to place a vote, it'd be for Skull.

Not to be left out of all the fun, Kimberly (the Pinky Ranger and Tommy's girlfriend) also decides to run for office... or something. This results in what is supposed to be a friendly competition between two friends who also happen to be dating. Oh, I'm sure nothing is going to go wrong here, no siree.

Meanwhile, Lord Zedd and Rita discuss their plans for the Rangers. Rita already has a great idea, but Zedd shoots her down because she's a girl... apparently feminism is at an all-time low within the Evil Space Alien ranks. So Zedd goes bye-bye for the rest of the episode to formulate a plan - no doubt one that involves turning some random inanimate object into a rubber monster and terrorize kids in the park - while Rita creates jumbo-sized rope (with electric charge!) and gives it to Squatt and Baboo - the two most useless monsters in Power Rangers - so that they can make the two Rangers running for office trip over it and hate each other. Of course, this would involve some stealth strategy on their part... which will no doubt be developed during the commercial break.

A bit of useless, personal trivia: I didn't have total access to the second season when it first aired. Since the local cable package didn't have FOX in any shape or form (and wouldn't have it until a couple years later), the only way I could watch fresh new Power Rangers was on the local CBS affiliate every Sunday morning. Of course, the problem is that episodes weren't shown in sequence - one week, they would show the first half of a two-parter and the next week they'd show a totally unrelated single episode. So, as a result, this episode was the first time I had seen Lord Zedd and Rita together and to further add to my confusion, they were married?! I had known a bit of Rita's outing, but this was completely out of the blue especially considering I had no means of following the series on a regular basis. Suffice it to say, this was a true WTF moment in my viewings of Power Rangers and it would be until much later that I'd see the whole story unfold, clearing up a few things. Unfortunately, none of this would resolve the dilemma of the idiot plot device that would emerge years later and claim to be the evil duo's offspring, but that's a story for another day... one I hope I never have to revisit anytime soon... because once is enough!

Anyway, back from commercial, we see Tommy and Kimberly aimlessly walking in the park discussing their strategies and counter-strategies as opposed to doing all the things you'd usually do when running for office - like spreading propaganda and bullshit promises you never intend on keeping. Meanwhile, the two idiot monsters stretch out their magic rope and hide behind a bunch of bushes in a poorly-devised trap that a blind person can spot a mile away. Somehow, the two Rangers trip over the stupid magic rope and do these whacked angry faces that defy believability. From there, they go into this fight basically "I'm gonna beat you!" "No, I am!"

And then they leave. Meanwhile, Lord Zedd gets his five-second cameo appearance before fading into obscurity for the rest of the episode. Back in school, Tommy draws glasses and beard on Kim's face (plastered on a pink poster)... and subsequently covers his artwork with his own shitty poster. Kimmy shows up and they then corner this random guy with the following exchange:

Tommy: You're going to vote for me, aren't you? I'm Tommy! The White Ranger! So you have to vote for me! Huggies See OUYAH!
Kim: No, you're not. You're going to vote for me! And to emphasize this, I'm going to give you a picture of me wearing revealing bikinis over my sleek Pink Ranger suit.

Okay, I made that up.

So Tommy, not able to compete with that kind of selling power (because nobody wants pictures of Tommy wearing his gold thing), tells Billy to fix up some more posters while Kimmy changes Tommy's poster around so that it says "Don't Vote For Dummy". This prompts the following exchange between Aisha (the Yellow Ranger) and Kimmy:

Aisha: Now, Kimberly. That's mean.
Kimmy: He started it by drawing those mean pictures! Besides, I could have posted "Don't Be A Dumbass! Don't Vote For Tom-Ass!"

Okay, I made those up.

Meanwhile, Rita devises a trap for Tommy which involves placing a note on his locker door that will direct him to the park if he wants to destroy Kim. Apparently, they're going to bait him with a copy of Agony In Pink, the Porno Ranger fanfic... because that's all you need to know to get rid of Kim. Naturally, Tommy The Dummy takes the bait and shows up at the park, where he is ambushed by Goldar and a group of Putties. Why should Tommy be worried about this? He can beat these guys! He's the White Ranger! But of course, they kick his ass anyway.

Cue the other Rangers to help Tommy and they get sidetracked. Evidently, Kimmy bails Tommy out of another mess and they get into another argument. It's actually quite funny as they basically ignore the action and just argue the heck out of each other. The bit with Goldar vying for attention is classic, but the fun ends when he takes the more direct route - punch Kim out and steal Tommy's plastic sword, Saba. I don't recall that being in Agony In Pink - must be the kid friendly version. Proving how dangerous he is, Goldar forces Saba to shoot out his sissy laser beams at the Rangers, resulting in the worst selling of an attack in the show. With Goldar's ability to shooting sparkly things, the Rangers retreat.

In the Command Center, the Rangers discover that the happy couple are under a powerful hate spell and the only way to remove the spell is to get them to smell roses... because roses are the symbol of love and friendship. Amazingly, nobody had to go out to some far off place to acquire the roses (like they would any other strange flower that has the power to remove random spells) as Alpha seemingly creates them out of thin air. So the two hatebugs smell the roses and the spell is broken. A sappy moment comprising apologies and other fluff is thankfully interrupted by Rita in the park, who promptly summons the Tigerzord.

The Rangers (except Tommy - because someone stole his Zord) summon their own Megazord and thus we have a Megazord vs. Tigerzord fight via US-based footage. You could tell it's US-based footage because the city models are barebones, the Zords move somewhat more stiffly, and the explosions are even crappier. Still, it's a surreal moment that attempts to recreate the Megazord vs. Dragonzord fight magic, but doesn't quite have the same zing or special effects budget. Still, baby steps...

All the exciting action comes to a halt when Tommy appears and steals Saba back from Rita's hands using a magnet device - yep, a gimmick weapon ended this second-rate zord battle instead of... oh forget it. It works, why complain about it? I mean it's not like they're going to pull off the same sort of stuff on the show fifteen years later. Anyway, Rita and crew flees and receives a final insult from Zedd. Not bad for a guy who did fuck all the entire episode.

Oh yeah, Kimberly wins the election. And Bulk only had one vote... because Skull hearts Kim. The end.

The basic theme of this episode seems to be girls can do anything men do, but unfortunately that theme pales in comparison to two things: we got a zord-on-zord fight that looks cheap (but at least they tried - not to mention that they would eventually get better) and we got a lovers' spat because of course we do. It's a fairly typical episode that doesn't really stand out or anything, but it's not terribly offensive either.

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