Mighty Morphin Power Rangers S:01 E:11

Episode Title: No Clowning Around
Original Airdate: September 17, 1993

Some people are afraid of clowns.  I admit, it’s hard for me to relate to this particular phobia, especially since I actually have several friends who are professional clowns.  While watching my friends perform I’ve seen grown adults leave the room because of this irrational fear.  Perhaps these folks were traumatized by today’s episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.  It is perhaps one of the most iconic episodes of the show’s first season…No Clowning Around.

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As our story begins, the gang is spending a fun day at the Angel Grove Fair.  Trini even has her cousin Sylvia along with.  Of course, Bulk and Skull also show up to cause some trouble.  But the real troublemakers at this fair are the clowns, most of whom are really putties.  The leader of these clowns is bizarre yellow-haired joker who goes by the name of Pineapple.  He is actually one of Finster’s creations in disguise.  While everyone is having fun, Pineapple manages to get Sylvia separated from the rest of the group.  When Trini tries get her back, the clown sprinkles some sparkling dust on the little girl and transforms her into a cardboard cutout.

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Not wanting a major incident at the fair, the rangers decide that the rest of the crowd must be evacuated.  So Jason grabs a bullhorn and tell everyone that Rita is attacking the fair, while Trini heads off to Billy’s house to restore Sylvia.  Now, hang on.  First, apparently everyone in Angel Grove knows who this Rita is!?!  Maybe, but I would think a bunch of the people at the fair would be like, “Rita who?”  Then we have four teenagers (wearing red, blue, black, and pink, by the way) initiating the evacuation.  Once again, something that should be a dead giveaway to everyone as to who the Power Rangers really are.  People complain about Clark Kent’s measly glasses, but the Power Rangers seem to repeatedly do things to give themselves away.  Yet nobody seems to be catching on.

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Anyhow, the clowns soon transform into putties, all wearing clown dickies, no less.  A battle then ensues with Pineapple eventually transforming into his true self…a part pineapple part octopus.  At this point the rangers finally morph for the big battle with the pin-octopus.  Meanwhile, Trini and Alpha figure out that they just need to add water to bring Sylvia back to normal.  When Trini rejoins the group, Rita uses her wand to make the monster grow to giant size.  The zords are summoned and we actually see them battle the monster without coming together right away.  Eventually though, they form the Mega Zord and make short order of the monster.with a laser blast from the forehead.  

Though we do get some rubber-suited monster action in this episode, the real monster is Pineapple, portrayed by Vernon Ballesteros.  This clown is truly sinister.  Just the fact that he skips off with young Sylvia is creepy enough.  The girl needs to be taught some simple stranger danger rules.  But Pineapple’s grin and the devilish look in his eyes is enough to give anyone the willies.  I also love his gimmick, using some sort of fairy dust to turn people into flat cutouts.  Remember I said how clowns don’t scare me?  Well, when I was a kid I saw a magic show where the assistant went into this machine and came out as a flat cutout.  That terrified me!  Thanks Pineapple the Clown for bringing such a scary moment from my childhood back for me.  Ballesteros apparently did the makeup and costume for Pineapple himself and even did another version of the character in a small part on an episode of the show VR Troopers, which was also produced by Saban.  

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When Pineapple does change into his monster form, it is completely off the wall.  I can hardly describe the thing other than to say it’s a pineapple with tentacles like an octopus.  No eyes, no face…just a walking pineapple!  I also thought the monster battle was a bit more original this time since our heroes didn’t instantly form the tank or the Mega Zord.  The individual zords actually did some fighting this time.  The triceratops used it’s projectile horns and the mastadon uses it’s freeze blast.  

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Another great aspect of this episode is just the fair atmosphere in general.  With lots of rides around, the rangers are able to battle putties in a bunch of creative ways.  At one point Kimberly swings around on one of the seats from a swing ride.  Zack lures a puttie to get smacked by the pirate ship that swings back and forth, and other putties end up hanging on the outside of another ride for dear life.  So far many of the hand-to-hand battle sequences of this show have just taken place in a field, or in a quarry…so putting this sequence in a more interesting setting was a nice change of pace.

I realize we’re only eleven episodes in when it comes to this show, but I have a feeling that this episode will remain one of the highlights.  It clearly made an impact on young Power Rangers fans back in the 90’s and it was a treat for me to watch now.  There’s more craziness to come, though. Next time a couple of the rangers end up turning into punks!?!  Shove a safety pin into you cheek in preparation for our next episode, Power Ranger Punks.

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