Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: 1.08 “Happy Birthday, Zack”

Season 1 Episode 8
Airdate: September 16, 1993

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The Ranger kids and Ernie, the gym owner, are setting up a birthday party for in the gym Zack, the Black Ranger. Zack is not there because this will be a surprise party. The kids are working on this at night when the gym is closed. Not that they are working very hard. Billy, the Blue Ranger, is bopping around listening to a Walkman because Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, just introduced him to Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album (1993’s top selling album) and he is rocking out.

Ernie needs the blue nerd’s help when his cake machine goes crazy. Billy built Ernie a Cake-O-Matic cake making machine because an oven is just too damn complicated, I guess. You know Billy just stuck some foam shit onto his Easy-Bake Oven.

Bulk and Skull meander into the gym. They try to ruin the party set up because they are jerks and also were not invited. The Rangers boot them from the gym using KARATE.

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Ernie sees Zack coming toward the gym, so his friends remove all evidence of the party and hide. It probably would have been easier to just have locked the doors. I guess people just come and go as they please through the gym after it closes for the day. Zack can’t find his friends and asks Ernie what is up. Zack does not worry that Rita did something to them, because Rita isn’t actually a threat in any meaningful way. If she was, I think the US military would be called in whenever a monster attacks. They don’t bother.

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Meanwhile, Rita and her gang are working on their next monster, a black knight thing. Usually, Rita’s monsters are made out of clay, but this one is created from a sword that has to be forged by pounding hot metal and then has a spell cast over it. The knight is supposed to be extra badass this time. Rita and her gang of dickless wonders recall that his proved to be a formidable warrior on Tarmac III. I don’t think that was a planet. I think Rita and pals were stuck in an airport tarmac on the way to a cosplay convention Seattle, and Black Knight was able to pull some strings with his frequent flyer card to get them upgraded to first class. That is the most impressive thing any of Rita’s monsters have been able to accomplish.

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The next day at school, Zack talks to Kimberly. Kim and the other Ranger kids have to pretend they don’t know his birthday is coming up, so the party will be a surprise. It’s still pretty shitty of them to pretend they don’t know their friend’s birthday.

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Zack sulks off into the mountains because he thinks everyone forgot this birthday. His whines that his friend are “too busy thinking of their own lives.” Jesus. Way to be emo. Anyone who expects people to make a big deal over their birthday and is older than 13 is a kind of a douche. And did he skip school?

Rita confronts Zack and send the Black Knight to attack him. I guess Rita knows the secret identity of the Power Rangers then. That would mean trouble for the Power Rangers if Rita was a halfway decent villain. I mean, if the Joker knew Batman’s true identity then Bruce Wayne would have to sleep with one eye open. The Power Rangers don’t even bother to lock their doors.

Zack quickly morphs into the Black Ranger but gets his ass kicked. It was pretty cool when he came at the Knight with his axe though.

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Zordon the floating head summons the other Rangers to the scene. They morph and huddle around the Black Ranger, protecting him from further harm. So the black man can’t stand on his own and has to rely on the white people to help him succeed? This is something we call the White Man’s Burden.

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Rita makes the Black Knight grow into a giant. The Power Rangers have to summon their giant robot DinoZords to fight now. The whole sequence that follows in just about every Power Rangers episode has always bothered me, even back when I was 8. So the DinoZords have to be summoned from different points on the Earth: The T-Rex has to come out of a volcano, the Mastodon has to come down from the Arctic, the Triceratops wheels over from the desert, the Sabertooth Tiger comes out from the jungle, and the Pterodactyl flies out of another volcano.

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Then we have to wait while the Zords meet up and assemble into the MegaZord. That whole process has to take a while. I mean, even on TV it takes a few minutes to run through all the footage,which doesn’t even show us the full travel time.

So, what is Rita’s monster doing while the DinoZords are coming together? Is he just standing around waiting? Is he leaning against a mountain taking a smoke break? I never understood why the monster just didn’t step on the Power Rangers before the MegaZord came together.

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The MegaZord and Black Knight sword fight and the Black Knight totally kicks ass. That’s when the Black Ranger realizes that the Black Knight is able to deflect whatever energy is thrown at him back onto his opponent. The Rangers use this knowledge to send more energy to the Black Knight, which causes him to explode rather than deflect that energy back or something. It’s not like any of the 8 years old viewers gave a shit about the specifics. We were all in this show for the robots and electric guitars and flashing graphics. Unless you were the kid with epilepsy. Then you couldn’t watch Power Rangers and got called a fag.

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After the battle, the Ranger kids head to the gym where the surprise party begins. Zack is happy as can be.

Final Thoughts:

What the fuck is a guy like Ernie doing owning a gym, anyway? Would you want to join a gym run by a guy who is that fat? Maybe he inherited it from his father or something. I’m sure he was more interested in the cafe side of the business.

I kind of thought it was funny that they made the black kid the Black Ranger and had him fight the Black Knight. It was a Battle of the Blacks, a Black-Off if you will. Would have been funnier if the monster was the White Devil.