Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bring me five teenagers with attitude! [Ryan]

I’ve been thinking about my childhood. Specifically, I’m referring to the shows that dominated the airwaves of my youth. It was a simpler time then, when we were too young to look at the premises of our favorite shows and ask precisely which part of the brain stem of the shows’ creators had been taken over by alien sponges.

Hey, that would make a great idea for a 90s TV show.

Foremost among my memories of childhood television is Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. If the omission of a necessary apostrophe in its title were the show’s only grievance, it might have become more than a reasonably predictable acid trip. Instead, with a little supplementary information from Wikipedia, I’ve compiled the basic premise:

A couple of astronauts accidentally free an evil space witch — the devious Rita Repulsa, an aptly named villain with a curious resemblance to Madonna — who immediately sets her sights on conquering Earth, or at least California.

Her arch-nemesis Zordon, whom she trapped in an alternate dimension a long time ago and whose base is conveniently located in California, manifests himself as a giant floating face and speaks to his robotic servant Alpha 5. (Makes you wonder what a floating head has been up to for all this time. He probably has a database somewhere of himself making funny faces in PhotoBooth.) Zordon gives Alpha 5 the succinct and totally logical command, “Bring me five teenagers with attitude!”

Alpha 5 beams five ethnically diverse teens into their headquarters, who spend a remarkably short time coming to terms with the idea of calling upon the spirits of prehistoric beasts and fighting evil on a weekly basis under the direction of a psychedelic floating head.

Each episode begins with Rita Repulsa throwing another clay-mation figurine into the oven. The creature then materializes on Earth, where it begins wreaking havoc until the Power Rangers attempt to stop it. But they can’t — and they have to call in their Zords, giant robots that somehow manage to hide in the wilderness of California.
The Zords and evil beings do battle, but the evil clay-mation creatures always prove too tough to handle, resulting in the Zords joining up to ultimately defeat them.

This happens every week. It seems like a fair assumption that the most efficient course of action would be to simply combine the Zords and kick some bad-special-effects butt right off the get-go, but we have to remember that these “teenagers with attitude” agreed to wear checkered jumpsuits in their quest to fight evil, so we can’t ascribe too much common sense to them.

Speaking of common sense, it’s a wonder this show ever became popular. Looking back at my memories, I’m inclined to believe that gas fumes in our basement near the TV contributed to my enjoyment of the series. However, I could also just write it all off as the follies of youth.

It’s a wonder I turned out normal.

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