MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS (1993-1997)
Note to readers:
This is the first time we will be skipping an episode. “Different Drum,” while an interesting episode, just didn’t have enough in it that justified a full blog post.
Episode: Food Fight (1×06)
Director: Robert Hughes
Teleplay: Cheryl Saban
Cast: Amy Jo Johnson, David Yost, Walter Jones, Thuy Trang, Austin St. John, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, David Fielding, Richard Steven Horovitz, Richard Genelle, Barbara Goodman
Original Air Date: September 9, 1993
Reason for Inclusion: One of the five episodes available on VHS.
Ernie’s Juice Bar is hosting an international food festival…which seems to consist primarily of American food and Trini. The gang is super jazzed for the festival and hope that not only will they raise enough money to build new playground equipment for the kids of Angel Grove, but that Rita won’t get involved.
Meanwhile on the moon, Rita bemoans the fact she’s sick. The sight of the food fest makes her feel worse.
We return to the Juice Bar where there are hula girls dancing…because that’s what we need at all International Food Festivals–more American culture. (I know it’s Hawaiian culture, but since it’s part of America and we’re everywhere, I’m lumping it in.)
Trini and Billy seem to be manning a table about Asia…Zach is at a strange table that seems decked out to be Jamaican, but has “American” behind him…and Jason and Kimberly are hawking “Good old American cheeseburgers!”
Bulk and Skull and two random friends decide to start a Food Fight. I like to think they did it because they were bothered by the lack of non-American food, aside from Trini’s one sort of Asian table.
Meanwhile on the moon, Rita decides that she wants to send Pudgy Pig to eat all the food on earth. Finster tries to warn her that it’s not his best work, but she chooses to ignore it. So, Pudgy Pig is born…with his two front legs inexplicably coming out of his mouth. I can’t even begin to imagine how that works.
The food fight wages on and soon Pudgy Pig is working his way through Angel Grove towards it. In trying to stop the food fight, Jason uses a group of sausages like nunchucks (couldn’t get a good screengrab on it), Zach taunts Bulk like a bull fighter and Mr. Caplan gets drenched in punch. Enraged (for justifiable reasons) he blames the Rangers and demands that they be the ones to clean up the mess. This makes the Rangers sad, however, Zordon interrupts before the cleaning can begin.
At the Command Center, Zordon tells the Rangers about Pudgy Pig and that in 48 hours he will have consumed all the food on Earth. They morph into action and fight the Pudgy Pig…on top of a roof.
They pull out their Power Weapons, only to have Pudgy Pig eat them. Not that this should really surprise anyone. Then somehow he shoots laser beams out of his eyes and traps the Rangers in a colorful spinning vortex.
The Rangers find themselves back at the park and unmorphed…because that’s what happens when gigantic pigs shoot laser beams out of their eyes at you. Zordon tells the Rangers that the Pudgy Pig has made its way to the Food Festival (or it’s remains) and has been consuming what is there.
By the time our heroes make it to the Juice Bar, the Pudgy Pig has come and gone, however he seems to have skipped one table. A table of random hot items like radishes and peppers. Because apparently that’s a culture all its own or something. Billy deduces that the Pudgy Pig must be allergic to spicy foods, and that if, perhaps they can lure him to eat something with a spicy radish inside, he might vomit up their weapons and be defeated.
Meanwhile, back on the moon, Rita is looking for Finster. He’s hiding for some odd reason.
So the Pudgy Pig decides to visit a major Food Warehouse (Not Wal-Mart), and the Rangers morph into action.
They bring food to the Pudgy Pig and plant a radish inside a gigantic sub sandwich. He takes the bait, eats the sandwich, and proceeds to throw up all over the place.
The Rangers recover their weapons and use the Power Blaster against him. The Pig is defeated.
Back on the moon, Rita is unhappy.
We return to the Juice Bar where the Rangers lament the loss of all the food. Zordon pages them to congratulate them on a job well done. Alpha 5 has made some sub sandwiches for the Food Fair and teleports them to the Rangers. Shortly after this, Mr. Caplan arrives and apologizes for his behavior earlier in the day, saying he knows they weren’t responsible. And that they’re just a little shy of having enough money for the equipment. He sees the trays of sandwiches and buys one, unfortunately he picks up one full of spicy radishes. Kimberly hands him a pitcher of water to help his mouth and he ends up soaking himself. In good humor, he and the Rangers laugh it off as the episode ends.
This is probably the most solid episode since the pilot. The storyline melds perfectly (minus the rooftop) with the stock footage and doesn’t seem forced. The episode is actually a bit typical of many of the Season 1 episodes. The Rangers are trying to do some activity that is Good, Rita interferes, Good Activity is nearly ruined. It also shows, to a degree, how out of touch Power Rangers was with actual kids. I don’t recall my high school having an International Food Festival for a fundraiser. We did have a Greek day in my Senior English class once…everyone brought Baklava and focaccia bread.
The episode has also improved in the acting quality. By and large the line readings are good, the jokes are reasonably well timed, and everyone seems to know their lines. This will not always be the case, particularly when Tommy shows up or during the period when the first cast changeover takes place.
The episode does have three firsts:
- First appearance of Alpha in a costume. This happens from time to time, and is one of the most endearing things about the show.
- First time a monster appears on the English set. The Pudgy Pig costume was expected to go over well with audiences (and while it may not have, the VHS release and his appearance in certain merchandise certainly give the impression) and since it had survived in good shape, they were able to bring it over.
- First appearance of Japanese text in a shot of stock footage. This is largely avoided successfully, however it does occasionally show up.
- No Putty Patrollers. At all.
Overall, I’d rate the episode an A. The writing, acting and story all come together and finally feel like they’re all of one piece.