Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Season 1, Episode 37: Clean-Up Club

There are a few things that make Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as fun and enjoyable as it is.  The Japanese footage is really fun to watch because of the physical nature of Japanese action.  The cheesy, moral high school stories that teach lessons to children.  The comedy that is funny because of how dumb it is.  And the American attempts at replicating Asian martial arts fighting scenes.  All of these things help to breathe life into Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

My favourite of these components is the Americanization of the Asian martial arts stereotypes.  During the action scenes, there are random slow motion shots.  The characters get air that nobody could ever get.  In order to fight, the characters are flipping around.  They pose after ever few punches or kicks.  It’s what you would think of if you were imagining the old martial arts films of yesteryear.

That kind of scenery was on full display in this episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  There were two different scenes like this.  One was a fight, and the other was a scene of picking up garbage where the garbage was the enemy and the gang was doing what they would do in a Putty fight.  You’ll understand that more as I write about the episode itself.

Season 1, Episode 37: Clean-Up Club

At Angel Grove High, where Tommy is mysteriously absent but not addressed in any way whatsoever, the class that the gang is in is doing video projects.  We get introduced to this idea when Bulk and Skull come into the classroom taping a video and buffoonery happens.  They aren’t presenting, though.  Trini is.  Trini shows a video about pollution and how it’s bad for Earth.  Garbage and recycling and all the things we’ve heard a lot about.  She proposes that a group gets put together to clean up Angel Grove.  The gang makes the Clean-Up Club (Hey, look!  The episode’s title!) to get rid of the garbage throughout the city.

Rita looks down upon Angel Grove from the moon, like she always does.  She has the perfect monster to ruin the plans of a clean planet.  This might be Rita’s least dastardly way of taking down Earth yet.  She decides she’ll send down Polluticorn to fill the Earth with garbage.  As if the Earth isn’t already a planetary landfill.  But first, she sends down some Putties.

I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself.  The gang is in the park cleaning up garbage before Polluticorn shows up.  They have an entire three minute or so montage of picking up the trash and building a pile of garbage bags.  When they leave to clean the last part of the park, Bulk and Skull show up to take credit for the cleanup with their camera.  They fall in the garbage.  That’s about it for that.

When the gang is cleaning up the last bit of the park, the Putties arrive.  They fight for a while before the Putties are defeated, and they go to the Command Center to figure out what’s going on.  That’s when Rita sends down her unicorn monster.  The Power Rangers must take it down and save the world from garbage!

The Power Rangers suit up and head out to fight Rita’s team.  They split up into groups.  Two against Scorpina, two against Goldar, and Jason against Polluticorn.  When Jason cuts off the horn of Polluticorn, Rita decides that she’s had it with these monkey fighting Rangers on this Monday to Friday Earth.  She throws down her staff and makes Polluticorn grow.  That doesn’t matter much.  The Power Rangers easily destroy it with the Megazord and the Power Sword.  The fight is over.

Back at the Angel Grove Youth Center, the gang is collecting the recycling.  Bulk and Skull show up, fall over and knock all of the stacks of recycling across the floor.  All of the hard work for seemingly nothing.  Don’t worry.  The gang gets a good laugh the next day when Bulk and Skull must present their video project.  All of the bumbling antics are in there with everything else edited it out.  It is presumably the worst project.  The episode ends with Bulk chasing Skull out of the room.

I said in there that there was an extended scene of cleaning up garbage, right?  That scene was edited like what you would expect from an old martial arts film.  I don’t know who decided that would make a good scene for the show, but I salute them.  I’ve never seen an anti-litter story done as cheesy as this, and I love it for that.

That’s about all I’ve got for this episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  It’s not one that meant anything at all to the series.  I’m not going to remember this episode three episodes from now.  It’s teaching children that it’s bad to just toss your garbage.  That’s a good thing.  But it doesn’t have any real story to it.  The next episode might.  We’ll see.  I’ll see you next time for the next bit of writing I do for it.

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