Sunday Nostalgia: Power Rangers

Now, a few bits of nostalgia have come up this week for me, so I had to choose which I wanted to write about first. Integrity Toys announced that they would be releasing new Jem dolls. Now I loved the truly outrageous ways of the show when it was on TV, and it usually leads me down memory lane of all the 80s cartoons I loved. I have a very clear divide in my mind between “80s” and “90s” shows because my family moved in 1991, and the syndicated shows (at least I presume this is the reason) were different. This means some shows I think of as 90s shows may actually be 80s, but I never watched them during the 80s.

More importantly, a friend linked me to Atop the Fourth Wall’s History of Power Rangers, where each season is watched, analyzed, and evaluated by the blogger. Because I stayed up way too late and watched many of the videos currently provided, I felt that Power Rangers deserved my attention this week.

Atop the Fourth Wall is planning to cover every season of Power Rangers, with the exception of the MMPR movie and the “redone” season one with the added comic book gimics. Currently, he has only covered up through Power Rangers SPD. If you want more information, you can watch the intro video below.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/hM07gdKkBwI?p=1 width=”480″ height=”392″]

I started watching Power Rangers at the very beginning with the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Those of you who have rediscovered MMPR at an older age will recall the lovely racial sensitivity of the series, with the Black Ranger played by an African-American guy and the Yellow Ranger played by an Asian-American girl. But since at the time I was young girl in the Deep South (I was seriously confused as to why African-Americans were called black. Their skin had an obvious brown pigment.) so that didn’t occur to me then. As far as I can remember, MMPR was originally broadcast on weekday mornings opposite the Today Show, and on Saturday mornings with the cartoons. I really can’t remember if the show was broadcast on weekday afternoons where I lived. For me, this meant I got to watch about the first 10 or 15 minutes of an episode before I went to school each day. Because my family is a rather observant Jewish one, there was no TV on Saturdays, and even if there was, we most likely would’ve been at Saturday morning services when MMPR aired.

At this time, MMPR was likely one of very few TV shows that both my older brother and Icould agree on, and I really think one of the reasons I liked it so much was because it had

Yellow vs. Pink was a huge dilemma for me when I first started watching Power Rangers. Pink eventually won when Aisha became the Yellow Ranger.

girls who could fight. MMPR provided a very different type of female role model for me than many of the other shows I watched. I was constantly torn between Kimberly and Trini as my favorite. Kimberly was a gymnast and the Pink Ranger, and at the time I hadn’t yet started my hatred of the color, it was my favorite, while Trini obviously had a history of martial arts training and appeared to be smarter than Kimberly. So I obviously had different elements that let me identify with both of them. I likely would’ve began some form of martial arts training, except I would’ve needed to give up my ballet lessons, and MMPR did not top my love for dancing.

At some point during the second season of MMPR, the broadcast schedule changed, and I was no longer able to easily catch episodes. Looking at a list of the episodes, I managed to catch a sampling across the season, mostly of multi-part episodes. By the time the third season came, I basically had lost interest, and Power Rangers was pushed aside for being childish. At least until a few years later with the broadcast of Power Rangers in Space.

PRiS caught my attention for a few reasons. First, these were not any of the Power Rangers I knew. Second, space makes everything cooler. And third, I really liked Andros’s hair. I never learned the full story of the season until I “discovered” the Internet (read:

The hair! It’s stripey!

gained an interest in it, my family had had access for a few years at this point). But I did get the chance to watch enough episodes to gain a sense of the world PRiS, and I got to watch Countdown to Destruction. Countdown to Destruction was one of those epic finales, and after I saw the two episodes, I was prepared to say my goodbyes, because Power Rangers was obviously over. And then I learned about Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.

PRLG gives me mixed feelings. It includes some of my favorite episodes, but the series itself wasn’t enough to keep my interest. Plus the opening theme drove me insane.

So once again I said so long to Power Rangers. The next time I picked up Power Rangers was with Power Rangers Wild Force. I don’t know why I started watching PRWF. I can’t remember what the first episode I watched was; the only episodes I truly enjoyed were the team-up ones. Maybe it was because I’d heard about Forever Red, and the chance to see some old favorites again was enough to get me to watch it. I stayed on after PRWF ended and watched Power Rangers Ninja Storm. I know PRNS has its problems (like most of

Green Samurai Ranger, Cam

Power Rangers), but I really enjoyed this season. And the reason why is the green ranger, Cam. Cam was snarky and sarcastic, two personality types that I’ve enjoyed since high school. After PRNS, Power Rangers Dino Thunder came out and included everyone’s favorite multicolored ranger, Tommy Oliver. PRDT wasn’t able to hold my attention. Even though I knew from the first episode he was going to be a ranger again (He was wearing black. Tommy’s colors were green, white, and red. A black themed outfit meant he was going to be a Black Ranger.), I really wanted Tommy to purely be a mentor figure. That issue combined with my disinterest in the White Ranger story led me to drop the series.

Power Rangers had an influence on me. It was my first introduction to martial arts, as well as kick ass females. All of the other female characters I enjoyed before Power Rangers fell more in the categories of Barbie and Disney Princess. And while I know that Power Rangers was developed from the sentai, I don’t include this in what prompted my enjoyment for Japanese pop culture. Along with Sailor Moon being an anime, I might’ve known that they originated from Japan, but they didn’t kickstart my obsessiveness, most likely because I was too young and didn’t really know about/how to use the internet.

Any fond, or not so fond, Power Rangers memories for you?

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