Boy Meets World (1993-2000): 1×08 “Teacher’s Bet”

Episode: Teacher’s Bet (1×08)
Production Code: B610
Director: David Trainer
Teleplay: April Kelly
Main Cast: Ben Savage, William Daniels, William Russ, Betsy Randle, Will Friedle, Lee Norris, Rider Strong, Lily Nicksay
Guest Cast: Danielle Fishel, Lindsay Price
Original Air Date: November 19, 1993

Teaser

It's cool that Cory reads the newspaper.  Even if it is just the sports section.

It’s cool that Cory reads the newspaper. Even if it is just the sports section.

In the cafeteria, Shawn brings over a newspaper article on “the $43 million dollar man,” Barry Bonds.  Minkus, standing nearby, asks why he’s called that, and Shawn explains it’s because of his six-year contract for that much.  Minkus figures out that it amounts to $7.16 million/yr.  Well shoot, I know it’s a different sport from basketball and all, but Ersan Ilyasova is due for $7.9 mil this year.  (Who?  Exactly.)  Bonds’ contract doesn’t seem like anything to me, relatively speaking.  Cory points out that Bonds is a premier baseball player.  Ah, the 90s were such an innocent time, when a boy could idolize a baseball player without the possibility of steroids crossing his mind!  (I realize that Bonds has never actually been found guilty of doing so.  I am accusing him of nothing.)  Minkus observes that Mr. Feeny is a premier teacher, who makes only $40k/yr.  This is pretty much on target  for a Pennsylvania elementary teacher’s salary in 1993-94.  For curiosity’s sake, I looked up what Mr. Feeny would be paid in the 2010s.  Not bad, in my opinion.  Apparently PA pays its teachers better than in some places, though.  Anyway, Mr. Feeny’s salary is news to Shawn and Cory, and Shawn expresses his disapproval, as he thinks it’s too much money.  Cory rhetorically asks Minkus if spelling and history ever change, and posits that Mr. Feeny doesn’t have to change because Sixth Grade is constant.  To prove his point, Cory predicts that, within the next five seconds, Mr. Feeny would walk into the cafeteria, drink at the fountain, flick the water his mustache, walk to the coffee machine, and say, “Good morning, Mr. Matthews.  I trust you’ve done the homework.”  Mr. Feeny walks into the cafeteria and does each of these things.  Cory replies that he did do the homework, and he and Mr. Feeny say in unison, “But my little sister ate it.”  Mr. Feeny rolls his eyes at Cory’s predictable self.

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Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993-1997): 1×22 “The Trouble with Shellshock”

MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS (1993-1997)

Go Go, Power Rangers!

Go Go, Power Rangers!

Episode: The Trouble with Shellshock (1×22)
Director: David Blyth
Teleplay: Stewart St. John & Julianne Klemm
Cast: Amy Jo Johnson, Jason David Frank, 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: October 11, 1993
Reason for Inclusion: First episode with all six rangers present.

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Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993-1997): “Green With Evil” Final Commentary

MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS (1993-1997)

Go Go, Power Rangers!

Go Go, Power Rangers!

NOTE: This being what I call “The Green Ranger Saga.”  The next 6 weeks will focus on this saga alone, five episodes and one big closing post of analysis and thoughts.  Subsequently, there will no closing commentary for each individual episode beyond the final thoughts.

Episode: Green With Evil
Director: Robert Hughes
Teleplay: Gary Glasberg & Stewart St. John
Cast: Amy Jo Johnson, Jason David Frank, 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: October 5-9, 1993
Reason for Inclusion: Introduction of the Green Ranger/Tommy, plus being a pretty epic 5-part series


When “The Green Ranger Saga” began in the fall of 1993, I was pretty vested in Power Rangers so the prospect of a five-part mini-series (the equivalent of a feature length film) that promised to be the most epic thing ever was intense.  At the time, the show came on at 5p CST, so I remember being very antsy about the show starting from my arrival home at 3:45.  Each day the tension grew and the fear that maybe the Ranger would be beaten, would get stronger and stronger.  The ultimate pay-off was worth it.  There was a new team member, a new Zord and all sorts of new possibilities for defeating Rita and saving the world.

THE WRITING

It’s with those eyes that I look back on it now and feel some significant admiration for what they actually did in those five episodes.  As much as I do like to mock certain aspects of the series, they really did out-do themselves in many ways.  It certainly can’t have been an easy undertaking, but Glasberg & St. John really managed to make a very cohesive five part mini-series without drawing it out too long.  It drags some during Part IV (just how many times can Green Ranger break into the Command Center?), and the ending is a bit…anti-climactic (Green Ranger is good, new Zord combo, the end! No big fight or anything).  But over all, the mini-series keeps it moving and keeps you excited.

Right away, every single one of us knew that Tommy was going to be the Green Ranger.  Not only did we learn it in the credits, but unless the vast majority of 8-10 year olds are living under rocks, we knew that the introduction of a new character was not coincidental.  What we didn’t anticipate was how much of a challenge for Jason he would be.  We also didn’t anticipate the sparks that would fly between he and Kimberly.

The Saga also brought in a few other things that didn’t normally happen.  Bulk and Skull had their first major encounter with Rita’s henchmen.  Scorprina arrives on the scene, which marks the first major female warrior (if you don’t count Madame Woe…which I don’t).  We also see more of Rita’s castle as well as the alternate dimension (that will come back into play several more times).

The Saga also brings about one of the biggest changes they made during the first part of the series: they shift the balance of power from Jason to Tommy, making Tommy the new leader.  In the original Japanese series, the Red and Green Rangers were brothers, and for complicated plot reasons (which sadly aren’t terribly clear on the websites for the original Zyuranger series), the Green Ranger has been in suspended animation (this is clearly visible in the first episode) and would have been the leader from the get go.  Because the American storyline did not follow this, and all post-Green Ranger footage presents the Green Ranger as the leader, they were forced to write this into the series.

Unfortunately, this had some unforeseen ramifications backstage.  According to cast members in the interview available on the box set, once Frank came in, St. John started to get restless and difficult to work with.  While no one seems willing to go into details, most of the cast members refer to him as a bit “odd” and “strange,” and he is noticeably absent from the interviews. (Amy Jo Johnson declined to appear and Thuy Trang is dead and unable to appear).  Presumably it was not too long after this that he began searching for reasons to leave, even though his departure is a good year or so away.

THE ACTING

Overall, the acting across the episodes is pretty consistent and actually above the board.  The cast had more to do with their characters and with their emotions, so they were able to actually get some development in…not a lot, no major revelations about anyone came out, but enough to make it seem like they were actually trying.  The only one who isn’t a terribly good actor (unfortunately, given his status) is Jason David Frank.  His line readings are stiff and he has the emotional range of a wet rag.

To be fair, none of the actors on the series are really spectacular in the acting department.  It was a non-union children’s show that churned out episodes at an alarmingly fast rate, the actors were frequently having to voice-over themselves (due to outside filming locations) and honestly, it wasn’t a show that really revolved around the acting.

That being said, Frank is a notable exception.  He has moments, but quite frequently he always seems like he’s there to fight nice and look pretty.  It’s also nice to see Austin St. John given a run for his money for worst acting ever.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Time has been a fickle friend to the Power Rangers.  Some episodes retain their original power and awesomeness. Some are downright bizarre and laughable.  This segment definitely falls into the former category.  While there are things to laugh at, overall they created one of the best arcs the series and the season have.  They created an event in the lives of its fans, and they created something you can look back and and go “This. This is why I liked this series.”  I have to say that it gets a really solid A+ from me, because despite its problems (of which there are few), it all works overall and all comes together in the end.

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996-2000): 1×06 “Dream Date”

SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (1996-2000) Logo Time

Episode: Dream Date (1×06)
Director: Gail Mancuso
Teleplay: Rachel Lipman
Cast: Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick, Nick Bakay, Nate Richert, Jenna Leigh Green, Michelle Beaudoin, Paul Fieg
Guest Stars: Brian Austin Green, Tom Wilson, Eddie Cibrian
Original Air Date: November 1, 1996

Cold Open

The kitchen’s wall phone is ringing, and Sabrina runs downstairs to answer it before Zelda can.  It’s Harvey, who has a question to ask.  Before he can do that, Sabrina asks Zelda if she minds leaving so Sabrina can have privacy.

Zelda always seems to have tea that smokes...

Zelda always seems to have tea that smokes…

It takes Zelda a second to get it, but she eventually leaves.  Sabrina returns to her conversation, and hears chuckles emanating from a picnic basket on the counter.  Salem says that cats are curious.  He mocks her undying love for Harvey, and leaves.   Sabrina returns to the phone conversation, where Harvey reveals that his only question has to do with whether or not “photosynthesis” would be on the upcoming exam.  Sabrina tells him it’s not on it, and hangs up, obviously disappointed.  The wall painting of “Louisa” tells Sabrina that Harvey will surely ask her out at some point.  Sabrina screams that she doesn’t get any privacy in the house.  “Louisa” sing-songs “Harvey and Sabrina!”

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 Geoffrey: I love that every time Louisa speaks, it’s a different voice.  This time very obviously Caroline Rhea.

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Boy Meets World (1993-2000): 1×07 “Grandma Was a Rolling Stone”

Episode: Grandma Was a Rolling Stone (1×07)
Production Code: B609
Director: David Trainer
Teleplay: Ed Decter, John J. Strauss
Main Cast: Ben Savage, William Daniels, William Russ, Betsy Randle, Will Friedle, Lee Norris (credit only), Rider Strong, Lily Nicksay
Guest Cast: Rue McClanahan, Keri Russell
Original Air Date: November 12, 1993

Teaser

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Cory and Shawn are working in Mr. Feeny’s yard.  Alan comes outside and asks what they are up to.  Cory explains that they are hunting for snails to use as fishing bait on Sunday.  Alan pointedly says that fish don’t eat snails.  Mr. Feeny guiltily says that he made a mistake.  Cory shames Mr. Feeny for manipulating innocent minds, although he doesn’t seem to mind much.  The boys hop the fence to the Matthews’ side, and Alan starts demonstrating proper fishing technique to them.

Never forget the magic words: "Heeere, fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy!"

Never omit the magic words: “Heeere, fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy!”

Alan’s hook snags on one of Mr. Feeny’s flowerpots, making it topple over.  Mr. Feeny, surprisingly, is not upset at this, and asks to give it a shot.  Alan hands the fishing rod over to him, and Mr. Feeny casts the hook perfectly into a bucket sitting in the Matthews’ yard.  Satsified, Mr. Feeny says that it’s just like riding a bike.  Cory expresses his surprise that Mr. Feeny is a fisherman.  This provides Mr. Feeny with an opportunity to tell an old fishing story (1956, small-mouth bass, Louisiana Delta).  Alan half-heartedly says that this tale is incredibly interesting.  Well, I’m interested!  Mr. Feeny is using language that is quite descriptive and vivid.  Plus, his fishing story is already at least 5x as interesting as Moby Dick is.  Okay, okay, fine!  It’s more like 5000x.  Cory asks why Eric won’t be going along on this year’s fishing trip.  Alan explains that Eric’s discovered girls, and once Cory starts liking girls, he’ll take Morgan instead.  He calls it an “endless cycle of fishing.”  Cory asks what he’ll do after Morgan gets too old.  Alan says he’ll then be a fellow in a fishing hat who tells a lot of dull stories.  He looks over the fence to his gardening neighbor, and experiences shortness of breath.  Cory, concerned, asks if he just frightened himself.  Alan says he did.

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Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993-1997): 1×21 “Green With Evil: Breaking the Spell (Part V)”

MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS (1993-1997)

Go Go, Power Rangers!

Go Go, Power Rangers!

NOTE: This being what I call “The Green Ranger Saga.”  The next 6 weeks will focus on this saga alone, five episodes and one big closing post of analysis and thoughts.  Subsequently, there will no closing commentary for each individual episode beyond the final thoughts.

Episode: Green With Evil: Breaking the Spell (Part V)
Director: Robert Hughes
Teleplay: Gary Glasberg & Stewart St. John
Cast: Amy Jo Johnson, Jason David Frank, 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: October 9, 1993
Reason for Inclusion: Introduction of the Green Ranger/Tommy, plus being a pretty epic 5-part series

Previously: After finding and then losing Zordon again, the Rangers attempt another battle with Rita.  Rita, however, uses a solar eclipse to bring Megazord, and the Rangers, to a grinding halt.

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Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers (1993-1997): 1×20 “Green With Evil: Eclipsing Megazord (Part IV)”

MIGHTY MORPHIN’ POWER RANGERS (1993-1997)

Go Go, Power Rangers!

Go Go, Power Rangers!

NOTE: This being what I call “The Green Ranger Saga.”  The next 6 weeks will focus on this saga alone, five episodes and one big closing post of analysis and thoughts.  Subsequently, there will no closing commentary for each individual episode beyond the final thoughts.

Episode: Green With Evil: Eclipsing Megazord (Part IV)
Director: Robert Hughes
Teleplay: Gary Glasberg & Stewart St. John
Cast: Amy Jo Johnson, Jason David Frank, 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: October 8, 1993
Reason for Inclusion: Introduction of the Green Ranger/Tommy, plus being a pretty epic 5-part series

Previously: Rita brings in Scorpina to the party.  Jason manages to escape from Goldar.

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