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Shift! In! To! Tur! Bo!

After the first 5 episodes, I temporarily lost the Zeo set so I switched over to Turbo. And ohhhhh, that's it. That's the fandom time I remember. The heart-pounding anticipation of every new episode, the intense level of emotional investment in the first and last five minutes of each one, everyone's hair the ideal length and style -- I'm sure that started somewhere in the latter half of Zeo, but I don't have those episodes and I do have these, and they are kind of making me faint with giddiness at just how hard I'm being transported back to the feeling of being 11. You have GOT to try this with something you loved as a kid but haven't seen in 15-20 years.

It still annoys me that I can't get my hands on the movies without paying, but there is enough of a recap in the first episode to tide me over, plot-wise. I think it's about time I did a character rundown for the guys:

Rocky, who exits stage right at the beginning of this season: kind of a dim goofball, never really did much for me and I wasn't sad to lose him -- but having said that, I guess he's kind of endearing as the funny friend with no sex appeal. He's certainly more relevant to me than Jason, Trini and Zack, whom I just cannot muster up genuine affection for. They seem cool but were so far before my time that they're like distant cousins at a family reunion.

Adam: While he did not compare to the leader, I always thought he was cute. I have to high-five Kid Me, he is in fact pretty adorable. And sweet, and quiet, and underappreciated and just generally all-around intriguing.

Tommy: Listen, I will be 90 and probably still swoon over this guy. When he first shows up as the Green Ranger with that mediocre mullet, since it's curly he's cute in a sophomore way, but after his hair grows out more and falls like a perfect sheet (assuming he's not showing off the awful shaved lower half in a ponytail), he is straight up 50 Most Beautiful People cover material.

It wounds me to the core that the actor has since decided to go with the "short spiky hair plus goatee plus tattoos everywhere" look, not least because he just keeps coming back to this franchise and BOO-URNS that I can't enjoy it...but one look back at this era is enough to about send me into a faint every time.

Justin: Irritating me right now for stealing focus, but I'm pretty sure I appreciated his value as an audience stand-in back then? He was approximately my age, and I have journal entries to attest to how jealous I was that the character got to be in the perfect setup of hanging out with cool teens who normally would have been way too old to give someone that age the time of day, and on top of that, being treated like a valued friend.
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General Impressions, after skipping through the entire set for the good parts in a mad glut of indulgent joy:

  • One of my favorite things about this season is the Big Brother aspect of Tommy letting Justin hang out in the racetrack auto shop with him. I also really like how much Kat mothers him. I can't decide if I see him having an ill-advised 12-year-old crush on her or if I just want them to be his legal guardians through whatever convoluted means necessary.

  • Speaking of Kat & Tommy, I'm getting impatient about the lack of sweet moments. Not that I will not hang on their every word/exchange of expressions, but Moments are so sparse I about did a cartwheel of joy when she got close enough to whisper something in his ear. I am vaguely aware that TPTB was pushing the show in a dumber direction to improve ratings, hence the casting of a kid, and it looks like the suppression of overt romance was part of that unpleasant package deal.

  • In fact, it just occurred to me I don't think they ever even kissed.

  • Update: I'm over here on the Wiki right now and it's like, "they went on one date. It's unknown if the relationship continued after that." Which...oh my god, you're right. Did they even hold hands past that one time? When did they last hug? My imagination/fledgling ship radar must have been superb to have built this couple into such a legend based off the barest hints of suggestion.

  • I thought I was seeing it before, but seriously, everything Tanya and Adam say to each other when Kat and Tommy aren't around is flirting. Everything. It's great.

  • Kat + Tanya = favorite friendship.

  • Some of the actors on this series have been more gifted in the acting department than others, but by Turbo I feel like most of the veterans have hit their stride. At least 94% of the time, they manage to sell their oft-terribly-written lines as something real people would say.

  • OK, I admit it: I'm pretty attached to Space Pirate Divatox. Best villain ever. I love her entire being, her contempt for the fools around her, and also her outfit.

  • I was really dedicated to professionally hating this show when I was 11, to the point that I would sing my own version of the theme song when it came on, and I find that's so deeply embedded I can't stop myself from hearing it even now. (Don't) go! Power Rangers Nerd Mode, (don't) go!

  • No wait there's more: Mighty engines, SNORE! I hate Turbo more! Seriously, dedicated.

  • I have wasted a lot of time today rewatching "Shadow Rangers" not just because it has extra minimal morph time and an excellent combo of mentoring and rescuing in the first 2 minutes, but because the monster in this episode does the most ridiculously elaborate, prancy dance steps with a lot of arm flailing and and hip shaking every time he talks and I cannot stop laughing at it.

  • At the beginning of "A Bicycle Built for Blues," in which Tommy pops his head out of the shop door to give a clearly fake excuse why Justin can't come inside (where they're setting up a surprise party), I like to imagine that is also what it looks like when the words are more along the lines of "oh hey Justin, looking for Kat? She's definitely not here. Haven't seen her. You should probably look for her somewhere far away and definitely not inside this place. Gotta go, shop business! *slam*"

  • There is a certain poignancy to the fact that The Passing of the Torch, a.k.a. the thing that instantly ended my connection to new episodes of the show, occurred roughly two weeks into 6th grade, my first year of middle school. Ah, the symbolism of changing eras. But in retrospect, I think I honestly only watched it for a year as it was. So little time for such a big impact!


News To Me

  • I have no memory of Dimitria replacing Zordon. Which is weird, because she's gorgeous and mysterious and so much better. And, according to the Wikipedia, Divatox's twin sister/played by the same actress. And at some point in the series after I left, Divatox is rehabilitated and becomes good?? See, I knew I liked her.

  • These little behind-the-scenes bloopers that accompany the closing credits? What a delightful surprise!

  • In "no wonder I forgot this," Bulk and Skull do not get better when turned into chimpanzees. Just...why? Never have I seen a show cling so hard to such useless characters.

  • The voice of the new Jive Turkey Alpha is awful. Why would you allow this? Why must I suffer it?

  • Chronology surprise: I never realized that this season starts with them graduating, and that it follows their post-grad summer before The Passing Of the Torch. I have a suspicion that they might have rerun the graduation episode shortly before this, and that it was the first time I'd seen it, because my Sept. 1997 diary entry, in what may be my earliest recorded instance of talking about TV, starts with "GOD I hate Saban! The 4 big Power Rangers are gone. ... Oh sure, they graduated from 12th. So now he kicks 'em out?"


  • I am flabbergasted to see that Carlos and Ashley had been subtly incorporated into the background long before TJ & Cassie showed up. I guess they were innocuous enough for me to ignore them, unlike the new kids who hopped off the bus to save the day and promptly earned themselves the resentful monikers "Total Jerk" and "Assy Cassie." (Source: 1997 diary entry)


  • Speaking of TJ & A, I found myself sucked into the plot of Passing of the Torch because my diary entry was juuuuuust tantalizing enough in describing the Tommy/Kat scenes, and I would hereby like to issue my overdue apologies. While I have no interest in their continuing story, from their first meet-cute on said bus to the final scene, they're actually both quite likable. Cassie seems extra cute with her 90s headphones/portable music player and her 90s flannel shirt.


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All right. Time to break this spell and...get excited...for Zoo. Where there is a new team member, doomed to earn my wrath for existing because my patience for change on television is now zero. If Mitch and Jamie are not together front and center on my screen to placate me, I am taking all of my wrath out on her. Always good to go into new seasons with a chip on your shoulder, right?

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