Childhood Cartoons Revisited

Cartoons from our youth dissected as a young adult

Mighty Morphing Power Rangers: Recycled Formula and Poor Acting

on February 17, 2012

I don’t remember much from my childhood, but I do remember the days of sitting down close to the television in the family room and turning on “Mighty Morphing Power Rangers” to start my day. This was back in the day where television shows would air six new episodes a week, so seasons would have well over 30 or 40 episodes. I feel like “Mighty Morphing Power Rangers” was the equivalent of what Pokemon has become, minus the trading card game. You couldn’t go into a toy store without seeing some new Power Rangers action figure on the shelf. But the merchandise spread to much more than just toys; there were costumes, blankets, shirts, shoes, etc. I even dressed up as a Power Ranger a few times for Halloween. As I kid I used to love “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.”

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” first premiered on Fox Kids in 1993 with a 60-episode first season. The show’s plot dealt with five (originally) teenage kids that had been selected by the sage Zordon to stop the villain Rita Repulsa, who has escaped from a capsule after 10,000 years. Rita wishes to conquer Earth with the help of her evil minions, Goldar, Scorpina and Finster. Zordon chooses Jason Lee Scott, Kimberly Hart, Zach Taylor, Trini Kwan and Billy Cranston. Jason is portrayed as a strong, athletically-built leader, while Kimberly is the pretty and popular girl. Zach is the show’s only African-American and Trini is the only Asian. Billy is the stereotypical tech-savvy smart one.

Zordon gives the group the ability to transform into the Power Rangers using morphing belts. Jason becomes the Red Ranger, Kimberly the Pink Ranger, Zach the Black Ranger, Trini the Yellow Ranger and Billy the Blue Ranger. With their new powers, the Power Rangers are in charge of stopping Rita’s evil schemes and protect the Earth from being taken over.

As a 21-year-old re-watching “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers,” I seriously wonder what I ever saw appealing about this show. The show has become much more humorous, as the effects are extremely cheesy, many scenes are used over and over again and every episode follows the exact same format. It’s no surprise that “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” is based on an installment of a Japanese Super Sentai franchise, as every fighting move by the Power Rangers is followed by an over-the-top battle cry or grunt.  Also, the scenes featuring Rita and her minions are straight out of the Japanese version of the show, as the spoken words don’t match the lip movements of the characters.

“Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” has got to be the most predictable show ever created. Each episode follows the exact same formula, with the only difference being the underlying theme of the episode. Rita creates an evil monster that in some way connects to the theme of the episode that attacks the fictional city of Angel Grove, Calif. The Power Rangers are summoned by Zordon and struggle in hand-to-hand combat for a portion of the episode. Eventually they get the upper hand on the monster, but Rita throws her magic wand down to Earth, causing the monster to grow. The Power Rangers call for their Dinozords, colossal assault machines, and fuse together to create the Megazord. They eventually call for the power of the Power Sword, which always destroys the monster with a charged up attack. Every episode is exactly the same.

A sixth member joins the group to mix things up. Tommy Oliver becomes the Green Ranger, but appears off and on throughout the series. Tommy is only allowed to use his powers sporadically, or risk losing them forever.

There are plenty of hilarious moments in the show that aren’t supposed to be deemed as funny. The first moment is in the opening, when Zordon wishes to recruit “teenagers with attitude.” Why would you choose a group of teenagers with attitude when you could pick from people with actual fighting experience? Another interesting aspect is the Yellow Ranger. When Trini morphs into the Yellow Ranger, it is actually a male character in the costume with Trini’s voice dubbed over the action.

The acting throughout the series is absolutely horrible. It’s no wonder they hardly got paid for their roles in this series. Billy, especially, is hard to watch. The brainy geek stereotype goes above and beyond in his role, as his dialogue resembles nothing like conversational English, but rather that of a theory paper.

After watching “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” as a young adult, I feel like I need to take a shower to cleanse myself of the crap I had to witness in 18-minute intervals. I don’t know what I saw in this show, but I’m glad my brain has developed enough to know that this isn’t a show worth devoting any more of my time to.

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6 responses to “Mighty Morphing Power Rangers: Recycled Formula and Poor Acting

  1. Donna Steiner says:

    One of the things you can consider, when conceptualizing the blog, is how to break up any sense of predictability. Next time, for instance, have a blog that is about a particular cartoonist, writer, animator, etc. Instead of talking about a cartoon, you’ll be talking about a significant individual. This way readers of the blog never start thinking oh, just another post about another cartoon… Even though that’s the FOCUS and SHOULD be the content, mixing it up and keeping it fresh is also crucial.

  2. Mike,

    I thought that this post was funny because your other posts were about cartoons you loved and still love and then this one was about one you used to love and now can’t stand. I feel like that happens a lot when I watch old cartoons. Maybe if you talked more about where you are now mentally compared to when you were a kid that could be interesting. The things you notice as a 21 year old are funny though and they seem so obviously terrible that it’s funny to think that you once lived for the show. Good post though, I enjoyed how you changed it up from one you enjoyed and one you didn’t enjoy the second time around!

    -Molly

  3. deanna says:

    I really enjoyed this post because I too used to watch the mighty Morphing power rangers. I even went so far as to watch power rangers in space. It’s true that power rangers is the most predictable show known to man and the acting is awful. Though hoenestly I look back and find that a lot of shows I used to enjoy were like that. I really like how your post shows your changed opinion but I was curious if you remembered what about the show you loved so much when you were a kid. I’d love to see that expanded upon. Good job.
    -Deanna

  4. bissell89 says:

    It’s good to see a post where you are critical of the show you’re commenting on. It shows you’re taking an honest look back at them. Personally, this is why I would never want to go back and re-watch the shows I loved as a kid, it would probably be somewhat of a bummer.

    I do have some advice though. I would have liked to see this post touch a little more on the humor aspect of re-watching Power Rangers, I can imagine it’s pretty ridiculous.

    -Alex

  5. Although I agree with our class mates when they say it was a refreshing change for you to review a show that you no longer enjoy, I’m a little disappointed! I absolutely loved Power Rangers as a kid, although I do agree with you that it’s cheesy and totally ridiculous watching it as an adult. I would suggest that maybe you could spend a bit more of your post reflecting on the reasons you liked the show as a child, rather than only why you hate it now.
    -Laura

  6. cmcphers says:

    I loved how you took a through something of the past. I too was a huge Power Rangers fan growing up. In fact, I wrote my story in CRW 208 about my love for Power Rangers. You make a good point when you mention the bad acting and predictability. The show did have the same format repetitively. I think what you could do is ask a young kid to watch an episode and see how they feel about it. This could show you if it was just something of a certain era, or if it was truly just a how for kids’ interests.

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