10,000 years ago Rita Repulse was imprisoned in a space dumpster on the Moon. She remained there until two unsuspecting astronauts opened the dumpster and changed the world forever.
-Austin St. John
Since I spent most of the holidays watching and reviewing the Goddamn Mighty Morphine (teeheehee!) Power Rangers it would be apt to close the season 1 reviews with the very first episode, “Day of the Dumpster”. Instead, I am going to review a television special from 1999 celebrating the 300th episode in the Power Rangers franchise. It includes the unaired pilot episode (also called “Day of the Dumpster”) which follows the same story as the version that made it to air, but contains several differences from the dumb series we came to know.
Austin St. John, who played Jason the Red Ranger, and Walter Emmanuel Jones, Black Ranger Zack, host this special because they needed the paycheck. After MMPR, Jones was on Space Cases, a Nickelodeon sci-fi show, and very little else. Rumor has it St. John did gay porn. We thoroughly investigated this claim a few years ago. Well, not really investigated so much as people kept sending us emails saying it was true, while others sent us messages that said no, he’s actually a REALTOR®. I don’t see a reason why he couldn’t work in real estate and gay porn at the same time. Especially today, with the housing market what it is.
The two hosts give a little background to the series (you know, how it originally a Japanese show re-edited with American actors), and then have some amusing banter about which Ranger was best. Jones is probably the only person who has ever claimed it was Black Ranger.
Then we see the unaired pilot. It begins with Zack in bowling alley, high-fiving everyone he walks past because he just made out with a girl. He joins his four friends, who will be the other future Rangers. In the series, the kids spend all their free time at Ernie’s gym, but that location is not in the pilot.
Jason prepares for his frame, but messes his throw when Zack squeezes his ass. Jason’s cool, though, they squeeze ass all the time.
Kimberly, the future Pink Ranger, is next. She has to be all girly and loses her ball setting up her throw. It flies behind her, bounces off a table with food on it, and some punk (the original Skull?) gets food all over his leather jacket.
The punk goes up to Kim and says “Hey, you’re going to pay for this!” Which she should. Bulk is here as part of this punk gang, and played by the same actor, but series Skull is not present. Bulk’s gang doesn’t look a comical as they do the series either. Instead, they look a lot more dangerous, resembling villains from Escape from New York.
Bulk goes up to Billy, future Blue, and Trini, future Yellow. Billy is played by the same actor, but looks a lot seedier than in the series. Here, he looks like someone who locks himself in his bedroom and watches Japanese porn all night.
The biggest difference between the pilot and the series is that here Trini is played by a black actress with short hair who talks a lot, instead of the Asian with long hair who rarely speaks who we came to know for a season and half. The producers replaced this Trini (Audri DuBois) with the new Trini (Thuy Trang) because of, well, I don’t know. The official explanation was the DuBois wasn’t right for the part, but that’s hard to believe as it’s not like being on this show required a lot of acting skill or anything.
OK, getting back to the story, so the leather jacket punk wants Kimberly to go on a date with him as payment. He went from reasonable to creepy really quick. The punk gang picks a fight with the Ranger kids. Zack starts it off with some smooth dance moves which turn into a roundhouse kick to Bulk and a guy in denim. Trini takes on leather jacket guy by herself and kicks him in the stomach, like, three separate times before he stops trying to fight her
Jason smacks Bulk and denim guy with a bowling ball and sends Bulk sliding down the alley into some pins. Meanwhile, a girl punk picks a fight with Kimberly because she is mad Kim doesn’t want to have sex with her leather jacket wearing friend. Billy even gets one in by accidentally punching denim punk in the gut.
Whoever is on shift tonight needs to call the police.
The TV channel on in the bowling alley interrupts cartoons to go live to the Moon, which looks nothing like the Moon. Maybe the Moon got a moon of its own because it was tired of not having anything orbit it. Our Moon deserves it too; it’s been such a good Moon all these millions of years. Let’s consider it a well earned promotion.
Two astronauts have detected a stinky trash dumpster on the Moon after they parked their shuttle down. You’ll recognize these scenes from the opening credits: the two astronauts opening the trash can prison and Rita and her gang emerging from a 10,000 year slumber. Rita and each of her dofusses have different voices than in the series.
Rita decides it is time to get to conquering Earth, so she sets her sights on Angel Grove, her target now and forever, and causes an earthquake in the American city by hitting Africa with an energy beam.*
*I already commented on that here.
We then go to the Command Center, which looks so much better in the pilot. Why did they not use this set for the series? Alpha looks different but just as retarded, and is wetting his pants because of the earthquake (I wish literally wetting himself because the water would short out his circuits forever). Zordon is called Zoltar and has a better fish tank to live in.
Zoltar: Initiate Plan B immediately.
Alpha: What is plan B?
Zoltar: Just push the button, Alpha!
Alpha: What will that do? [fucking push the button Alpha!!!]
Zoltar: Teleport to us the most dangerous group of ruthless, underhanded, overbearing, self-absorbed, and over-emotional humans in the area.
Alpha: No, not teenagers!
Take THAT teenagers!
Back at the bowling alley, the five future Rangers are pulled into the sky and teleported to the Command Center. They are all like WTF! except Billy, who looks about as excited to be at the Command Center as he is when he masturbates while thinking about his mom’s friends.
Zoltar explains the back story of Rita and why he is trapped in a fish tank. He says the kids have been chosen to fight Rita, who is right now riding around on a flying bike with her loyal puppy Goldar following behind. This is what Rita thinks terrorizing Earth is. She has been trapped on the Moon for so long, she doesn’t know we invented airplane technology. She thinks just the sight of someone in the air is enough to scare everyone on Earth into submitting to her powerful magic.
“Yeah right, and I’m a Ninja Turtle,” says Zack.
Zoltar doesn’t understand that reference and continues talking. He gives them their “trans-morphers” and explains that they will command giant robots drawn from the spirit energy of dinosaurs: tyrannosaurus, mastodon, pterodactyl, triceratops, and saber-toothed tiger. Two of those are mammals, but whatever.
The kids are skeptical so they turn Zoltar down and leave the Command Center. They are going to have to survive in the desert for a few days until they reach the nearest town, but it’s better than being in a room with Alpha.
Rita observes this and sends down Putties to attack the kids. They are taken by surprise and Kimberly is instantly captured. She’s Power Ranger material alright.
The kids don’t know what to do, until Jason suggests they use the trans-morphers they were given (and took with them even though they declined to be Rangers, because teenagers are thoughtless like that).
The morphing sequence is different and much less exciting than the lighting bursts around dismembered heads. When the Rangers morph, it also morphs the background from rocky, jagged cliffs with no plant life, to a quarry with vegetation along the perimeter. Zoltar tells Alpha to teleport the Rangers to downtown Angel Grove so the Rangers and Putties are now fighting on top of buildings for no real reason. I think it would be safer for the city if the fight was kept away in the quarry. Now with their powers, the Rangers defeat the Putties easily. Yellow shoots them with her laser gun, which the Rangers rarely use despite having with them at all times.
Rita makes a King Tut monster and Goldar grow, so the Rangers call on their Zords. The Rangers immediately know how to operate these machines and form Megazord, which shoots a laser from a gun on the top of its head. I don’t remember it every doing that in the series.
The King Tut monster is quickly destroyed. Up on the Moon, Rita has to face her first of many defeats. “Oh,” she cries. “I’ve got such a headache!” A PMS headache. Rita has PMS all the fucking time. You can tell it’s a PMS headache because there are two scared men huddled in a corner.
The Ranger kids return to the Command Center and accept their roles as Power Rangers. Zoltar compliments each for bringing the following traits to the team:
Jason – leadership and courage
Kimberly – beauty and grace
Zack – a love for life
Billy – a knowledge of the ages
Trini – lighting hands and a peaceful soul
What do most of those have to do with fighting space monsters? Zoltar even admits Kimberly got in for her looks. If Zoltar wasn’t dealing with space/time vortex blue balls, he would have been clear minded enough to cut her from the team. Kimberly is dead weight.
“Five-and-a-half years, over 300 episodes,” says St. John. “Power Rangers has captured the imaginations of children around the world.” I don’t think it was capturing imaginations for nearly that long. Try a year-and-a-half, maybe two. The two actors say goodbye, as the special ends and we change the channel and they hope this will be enough to get their SAG membership reinstated.