Back to Action: 12 “Morphinomenal” Lessons Remembered During My ‘Power Rangers’ Binge

Most people don’t believe that I was old enough to watch Mighty Morphin Power Rangers during its original run. Heck, most people don’t believe I was born prior to the turn of this century. But, alas, I have proof! Right over there: >>>

When Power Rangers premiered 24 years ago—August 28, 1993—I was on the cusp of turning six. Now, as I approach 30, I’ve seemingly reverted back to my elementary school days and, thanks to Netflix, I’m reliving my first childhood obsession. While it’s been more than two decades since we first met the Rangers, to me, it feels like yesterday. Here are just some of the lessons learned (and remembered) thus far during my binge in honor of the show’s anniversary:

  1. Billy the Blue Ranger was basically the glue that held the team together…

Jason might’ve been the ideal leader, but Billy was the brains behind the operation. He created the team’s essential gadgets, including the communicators that also allowed them to teleport in times of need. He designed the machine that ultimately transposed his brain with Kimberly’s, and he repaired the entire command center after the Evil Green Ranger sabotaged both Alpha 5 and Zordon. He could cure Alpha of any virus, and he could develop devices that’d rid the world of Rita’s monsters in his private lab. I think it’s safe to say that, if Billy were an actual person, he’d be more successful than Elon Musk by now.

  1. …and he’s the most handsome Power Ranger, too.

Don’t agree? Then you’ve obviously never seen this photo: >>>

Plus, when in glasses, Billy exuded that Clark Kent vibe, which—considering he’s his own sort of Superman—seems ever so appropriate (and attractive).

  1. Walter Jones, Zack the Black Ranger, should compete on Dancing with the Stars.

He had the moves back then and, if you check out his Instagram (@walterejones), you’ll see that he still has the moves now. He’d be the perfect contestant! ABC always tries to lure viewers using boy band nostalgia, etc. Why not hit us right in the childhood?

  1. Day of the Disappointment: That time I thought I was going to meet Walter Jones, but didn’t.

My mom took me to our local ice cream shop because “Zack the Black Ranger” was scheduled to make an appearance. We arrived semi-late, but still within the designated time frame, except it didn’t matter. Instead of meeting Walter Jones, we came face-to-face with some puny man in an oversized helmet—think Rick Moranis in Spaceballs. If you’re curious, no, I still haven’t met Walter Jones, but the ice cream shop eventually went out of business, so I guess karma really does come back to bite everyone.

  1. Tommy was destined to become the Green Ranger because he had the necessary wardrobe.

In Angel Grove, if someone wears the same color day after day, they’re probably a Power Ranger. Rita didn’t even need to second-guess herself when she transformed Tommy into the Evil Green Ranger because his clothing coordinated. How the other Rangers didn’t automatically zero in on him from the start I’ll never know. Tommy’s taken on many different colors over the years, though, which must get rather pricey. He must buy new clothes during each transition, after all.

  1. Sorry, Cory and Topanga, but Tommy and Kimberly were the true power couple of our time…

For some reason, 90s kids are still enamored with Cory and Topanga’s love story. Sure, they were cute, but if the writers had been realistic, Topanga would’ve moved away during Season Four, marking the end of their romance. Plenty of my friends moved away throughout the years, but their families didn’t move mountains just because their kid couldn’t bear to leave their friends.

Tommy and Kimberly, however, were truly meant to be. (Shh, don’t tell me what happens when Kimberly leaves the show! I haven’t gotten there yet…) Even the episode where Tommy lost his powers was ultimately happy because he got the girl. Every 6-year-old on the playground wanted to emulate these two—that’s why there were 20 Pink and Green Rangers running about at any given time—and deep down, we’re probably all looking for this sort of love because they ruined us forever and no one’s ever measured up.

  1. …but when it comes down to it, I’m all about that Billy/Trini friendship.

It’s hard to put this bond into words. Trini was always there to translate Billy’s scientific lingo, and she conquered her fear of heights to save him from an onslaught of Putties. Though Thuy Trang might be gone, she’ll never be forgotten… and I’ve got the sneaking suspicion that she was just as kind and smart in real life. That’s quite the legacy, if you ask me.

  1. Oh, and can we talk about Trini and Kimberly’s friendship, too?

Female friendships are often seen as superficial, as they always seem to devolve into competition over some man, or so popular culture would have us believe. But, when it comes to Kimberly and Trini, there’s nothing but love and admiration. Even Lord Zedd’s evil jealousy spell couldn’t tear these two apart. Their example was subtle, yet perfectly attuned to their target audience.

  1. Bloom of Whom: Apparently I used to think Kimberly’s name was Geranium.

My mom claims that, before I started watching the show myself, I thought the Pink Ranger’s name was Geranium. Honestly, I don’t remember this at all, but if my mom’s correct, then I suppose she should just be glad her 6-year-old could even say Geranium in the first place. Once I can finally time travel, I’ll visit my younger self and save her from years of embarrassment.

  1. Every time I rediscover something I’d completely forgotten, I get to relive my childhood.

Some things are hard to forget. For instance, I’ll never forget that I hated “Calamity Kimberly” (S1 E31) because she didn’t deserve to get stuck in that jar/barrel/jug thing. But when I rediscovered the RADBUG, I squealed with delight! I’d also forgotten about Scorpina and the Thunderzords. I can’t wait to see what else I have yet to remember.

  1. Affirmative: I’m tempted to adopt some of the show’s catchphrases and use them in everyday conversation.

While 1995’s Clueless brought us countless catchphrases that we still use, albeit ironically, today, Power Rangers was a 90s gem that was just slightly ahead of its time. Highlights include:

“It looks totally far out and funky down the drain, dude.” –Kimberly, “Clean-Up Club” (S1 E37)

…and, of course, this glorious moment from “A Bad Reflection on You” (S1 E38).

Oh, how I pity today’s youth. Their lingo will never be as “morphinomenal” as this.

  1. Parents who found fault with the show’s “violent” nature clearly never watched an episode in its entirety.

Adults are notorious for blowing things out of proportion. Many thought Power Rangers was “too violent” for young children back in the day. But, if they bothered to watch the show, they would have realized that, from Day One, the Rangers never escalated any fight without cause. (It’s quite literally one of the stipulations that came along with obtaining their powers.) Even when teaching martial arts classes, Jason and Tommy always emphasized the fact that the skills should be used in cases of self-defense only.

Instead, parents should’ve focused on the underlying themes of friendship and teamwork. From the environment to animal welfare, the Rangers strived to bring peace and love to Angel Grove and the world with every breath they took. They fought battles great and small, and they’re still worthy idols today, for their fight—the good fight—rages on. We might not have special powers, but together, we have the power to overcome the monsters that threaten our world right now.

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If I Could Save Time in a Capsule

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’re probably aware that I’m currently obsessed with Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Somehow, within the last month, I’ve reverted back to my 6-year-old ways and now I cannot get enough of those teenagers with attitude. But, last week, just before reaching the episodes where Tommy regains his powers—one of the most important events of 1994, as you might recall—I came across something that made me hit rewind multiple times.

Source: RangerWiki

During Episode 47, “Reign of the Jellyfish,” the Power Rangers are tasked with burying their class’ time capsule in the park. Rita Repulsa wreaks havoc before they can complete their mission, but the ensuing battle wasn’t what caught my attention. Instead, it was the conversation the five Rangers had at the end of the episode that truly hit home.

Jason: You know, I hope the people who open this time capsule in the future live in a peaceful and friendly world…

Kimberly: …with no hatred…

Billy: …no prejudice…

Trini: …no crime…

Zack: …and no wars.

Then, the following day, chaos broke loose in Charlottesville, VA, amplifying the message behind this episode even louder than before. While the Rangers dreamt of peace and harmony, reality unveiled a present unlike any future they could’ve ever imagined. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists flooded the streets, drowning our nation in the very hatred and prejudice the Rangers denounced nearly 24 years ago.

Unfortunately, the dissonance hasn’t relented. Racists have found validation in Donald Trump’s reluctance to condemn their actions, and protesters find their efforts infinitely more difficult now that the alt-right feels empowered. We’re on the brink of repeating history because those in charge clearly haven’t learned from the mistakes of decades past, and many feel disheartened by the overwhelming anger that permeates almost every facet of our daily lives.

But, when all hope seems lost, it’s the final exchange in this all too relevant episode that inspires optimism.

Kimberly: Think it’ll ever happen?

Jason: If we all do our part, and try to get along with each other, yeah, I do. We’ve just gotta hope for the best.

While this dream world might seem particularly distant to us right now, we have the power to change the future. It’s our love, not their hate, which will win out in the end, but we must not lose sight of this goal. Hatred can only win when there’s a vacuum—when all those fighting for what’s good and right have given up. If we insist upon holding these bigots accountable, including Trump, they will inevitably retreat.

Source: CNN

More than hoping for the best, we must also do our best. We must spread kindness and love wherever we go. If you find yourself in a position of privilege, then you must use your platform to speak for those who have no voice. As Jason said, we must do our part and try to get along with one another. There may be countless people who wish to return to a time defined by hate and cruelty, but we don’t have to look far to see that those who seek understanding and acceptance spread far and wide.

Grand gestures aside, anyone and everyone can make a difference no matter their situation. Simply holding the door for someone can go a long way in a world on edge. Smile at people who appear upset. Start conversations with people who aren’t exactly like you. Support those who feel invisible and unloved in today’s tumultuous world. Small acts add up quickly over time, especially when we all commit to becoming the best we can be. We might not be able to cut these enemies down to size with the wave of the Power Sword, but through kindness and community, we will ultimately eradicate evil every time it rears its ugly head.

MTV Presses the Rewind Button, Brings ‘TRL’ Out of Retirement—but Why?

Source: ABC News

For television executives, future success seems to lie in the past. From sequel series, such as “Raven’s Home”, to reunion reboots, such as “Will & Grace”, many TV networks are turning to old favorites to attract new audiences. Yet, while nostalgia certainly seems to sell these days, MTV’s upcoming “Total Request Live” revival fails to take the passage of time into account.

When “TRL” began its initial run in 1998, life was much different than we’re used to now. YouTube was still about seven years away from its debut, internet connections were primarily of the dial-up variety, and cell phones were bulky, analog devices that belonged to businessmen and… well, Zack Morris. Texting wasn’t possible, but beepers were still popular, and killing time on the “World Wide Web” meant monopolizing your family’s landline. Without music television, video never would’ve killed the radio star.

By the time “TRL” called it quits in 2008, the world had transformed dramatically. Smartphones existed, even if they weren’t yet widespread, social media was on the rise, though it didn’t retain the same level of influence it does today, and nearly every video you could imagine was accessible on-demand thanks to Wi-Fi networks.

Now, nearly 10 years later, MTV’s already fighting an uphill battle before “TRL” even premieres.

First and foremost, the team must tackle the elephant in the studio: social media. For those of us who grew up during Carson Daly’s “TRL” days—the days before DVR and live-streaming—our idea of “sharing” was talking about the latest Britney Spears video the next morning before the first middle school bell rang.

Source: Scott Gries/ImageDirect

Today’s teens and tweens, however, will likely spend more time staring down at their smartphone screen than their TV. Perhaps that’s why the network plans to split hosting duties among five VJs during this go ’round—they need to satisfy this generation’s self-induced ADHD. How they’ll integrate social media remains to be seen, of course, but it’ll likely distract the viewers from the true premise of the show.

MTV will also have to pad the show’s latest incarnation with plenty of appearances and performances by today’s top artists if the network hopes to gain and retain the interest of these fickle viewers. Anyone can watch the hottest music videos of the day via YouTube now—a luxury unavailable to its original audience—so even the countdown alone won’t draw people in, no matter how interested they might be. Plus, anyone who’s ever watched “TRL” knows that they only play videos in their entirety when they premiere and when they retire, so if they stay true to the nature of the show, they’ll need to find a way to alleviate the subsequent disappointment.

While “TRL” was our reason to rush home back in the day, it doesn’t hold much allure for modern audiences, at least not in its original form.

MTV lost its way for years as executives focused on developing reality programming that disregarded the “M” in “music television” entirely—think “Jersey Shore” in all its spray tan glory—but the current leadership hopes to return the network to its lyrical roots. If executives can channel today’s young music lovers’ fascination with social interaction and use these behaviors to enhance the “TRL” experience, they might just attract the audience they seek.

As for us oldies? We will probably take the Carson Daly route and leave well enough alone. If you need us, we’ll be off in the corner relearning the dance moves to “Bye, Bye, Bye” for old times’ sake.

(This post originally appeared on Storia.)

The Art of Crying Your Eyes Out

There is nothing more depressing than turning on the television at nearly one o’clock in the morning only to stumble upon the series finale of The Golden Girls.  As Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) stand there, hoping Dorothy (Bea Arthur) will pop in for just one more hug goodbye, you realize you don’t need to watch the whole episode, or series, to cry along with the cast.

By looking at the faces of everyone on screen, you will see their eyes say so much more than any dialogue could ever express.  The audience feels an overwhelming sadness because the end of a long-running program – a show with which they invested time, and often, emotion – looms near, while the actors cry not only because it’s what the script dictates, but also because a chapter in their life is drawing to a close.

And, with this being the season for graduations, we cannot help but look upon the current hour as one of melancholy and nostalgia.  While the majority embrace change and eventually accept it for what it is, memories flood in and only relieve themselves in the form of tears.  Even for someone like me, who graduated over a year ago now, the outpouring of sadness cluttering my Facebook News Feed in the form of photo albums and status updates is enough to make a girl misty-eyed for the good ol’ days, when my best friends were only a short walk away.  Life goes on, and the aftermath isn’t really as bad as one may imagine, but the idea that what once was will never be again creates a dark cloud that will only dissipate with time.

This week, the last Harry Potter film wraps up shooting.  The film franchise that launched the acting careers of its stars, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, will enter its final post-production phase, capping off its ten-year stint at the top of the box office with a two-part send off in the form of The Deathly Hallows.

Yet, while we as an audience are mourning the impending end of a series that has entertained millions over the past decade, for Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, this ending shall be bittersweet.  As if they are actual graduates of Hogwarts, the threesome will now be free to spread their wings and dapple in whatever they see fit.  And though this change may be liberating, it also holds that same melancholy severity that comes at the end of all things.  The cast has grown up before our very eyes, right along with many of us as we too matured alongside Harry, Hermione and Ron.  But as the overly used cliché does state, all good things must come to an end.

Perhaps this is why many of the world’s self-induced endings come at this time of year.  Have we strategically timed sad events with the beauty of the budding, nice weather as a way of buffering the inevitable?  Sure, our eyes may be clouded with tears for a moment as we say goodbye to television shows and the characters that became members of the family as they celebrate their series finale.  And it is safe to say that the tears will fall like rain on a mortarboard as caps are tossed toward the sky and we wave goodbye to the friends who became brothers and sisters.  But, once the cloud lifts, and we begin to see again, the beauty of the springtime and the world around us dries the tears and bombards us with a sense of life and vigor that proves to us endings truly are just a way to begin again, that everything has its season, and that all will come full circle no matter what the circumference.

Power Rangers and Pokémon

There must be something about the train that induces thinking, for every time I’m on one lately, I feel the need to write. (Having to waste time during the 20 minute delay helps, too.) Whenever one connecting train is late, there is a trickle down effect, delaying everyone else (even though most everyone is seated already.)

With an abundant amount of downtime, one has much time to think about whatever may pop into their head. (For instance, my immediate thoughts are on the annoying person behind me shaking my seat and the atrocious smell of the woman who chose to sit next to me.) But even more so, my thoughts keep landing on something that’s crossed my mind rather frequently the last week – my childhood.

Looking back at photos of me as a child, I see a much different person than I was used to seeing for the majority of my life. My three-year-old self was fearless and confident, wanting to sing and dance for anyone who would watch. The older me, the one that existed from about the start of middle school until the end of high school, was shy and independent, avoiding the limelight at all costs. Even the me I was merely a year ago is an entirely different person.

However, the more I reflect upon the changes made in just one year, the more I can see myself reverting back to my childlike characteristics. Where I was once too shy to express my potentially unpopular opinion, I now share my feelings, knowing it is better to be honest than to blend with the crowd. The me who used to think I wasn’t good enough – that there was always someone better – now believes my work is worthwhile and will lead to good things sooner or later. I’ve learned to embrace the individuality that once would’ve been looked down upon in the cookie-cutter world of teenagers.

We need to remember what life was like when we were children, when the biggest issue was who would get to play as the Pink and Green Power Rangers that day on the playground, or which starter Pokémon was better, Bulbasaur, Squirttle or Charmander. We need to reconnect with the younger version of ourselves who would run around confidently in the most mismatched outfits during a time when fashion wasn’t about status but about freedom of choice.

Children know how to wholeheartedly enjoy their increasing freedoms as they grow, but the fear that settles in as we age tugs at our confidence and willingness to take chances. But like a group of kids at the other end of the rope, we must tug back and reclaim the person we once were.

It is that person, and everyone you were in between, that trickles down into the personality you exude now – a personality that would have never existed if not for the others. Learn from who you’ve been, for delaying your own development will only hold others back from getting to know the real you.

Something Blue…

Melancholy and nostalgia: hence why it qualifies as ‘blue’.

No matter how wonderful or terrible a book may be, reaching the last page always brings with it a touch of sadness.  Like a fading relationship, or a turning point in one’s life, we are sad to see things come to an end.  Even if we are ready to start anew, leaving the past behind can bring a sense of melancholy to anyone.

But what we fail to realize is that, whether painful or heartwarming, we carry our memories with us forever.  Nothing ever truly ends as long as it lives on inside us.

It is hard to move forward when the grip of the past holds you in place, leaving you stagnant and depressed.  And with your head constantly over your shoulder, admiring what once was, you miss all the joy and wonder that lies ahead.  Of course, no one said it was easy.  There will be peaks and valleys in your climb ahead, but the view is what you make it.

We all have the power, no matter what the obstacle, to make our future the bright one our parents always told us about, even at the most difficult and trying times of our lives.  Sometimes the only way to achieve our dreams is to go to extremes; go out on a limb.  Maybe that limb will snap and you’ll come crashing back to the ground, only to have to climb back up again.  And maybe – just maybe – that branch won’t snap.  Maybe it will provide the support you need to reach your goals.

There’s a time to hold on, and there’s a time to let go.  There’s a time to fight for what you’ve got, and there’s a time to move on.  There’s a time to treasure what you had in the past, and there’s a time to look ahead to what the future may hold.

Like the lyrics from a Billy Joel song, “The good ol’ days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”  So look ahead and enjoy what tomorrow has to bring, learn from the past and carry the fond memories with you on every journey you embark upon.  And even when challenges and hopelessness block your way, “keeping the faith” you have in yourself will surely pull you through.