Hello again, everyone, and welcome back to episode 4 of How Screwed Are They, Really?, where we take some of your favorite beloved heroes from childhood, and show just how hard it would be for them to stay out of the slammer if their shows were any more realistic / cynical.
I'll admit, this one was a huge reach. Orange is the New Morphin' Time? Possible, but the classics were some of the most clean-cut heroes on television at the time. Even under evil spells, they rarely did anything in civilian mode that would get them more than a citation, at worst.
However, their war tactics have often made them just as vulnerable as any legal oversights might have. So for this episode, we're gonna look not only at times when their disregard for the law should have gotten them in trouble, but also for times when their tactics were just plain wrong, and should have gotten them killed.
1. Kimberly flying without a license
Now, I know what you're thinking: this is totally understandable, right? In "Foul Play in the Sky," she either had to commandeer that airplane, or everyone aboard would have been dead. Even so, how does that look to an overzealous prosecutor? Her uncle passed out after drinking a beverage. Hmm...flying under the influence? Even if she made it out of that mess without too much legal hassle, her uncle is never seen again after that episode. (I wonder why!)
2. Green With Fridge Logic
Did Tommy not cause millions of dollars in damages to Angel Grove during the "Green With Evil" saga? If Rita had any sort of genius at all (which, she probably had none,) then she would have made a backup plan to have a lawyer under her control. So in the event that the Sword of Darkness is reset by Jason and Tommy defects to the Rangers' side, she can simply have all the Rangers indicted for causing massive amounts of property damage with their Zords.
Oh, you say, but the monsters inflict tons more! True; but that didn't stop the UN in Civil War from blaming the Avengers for everything, did it?
A criminal case against the Rangers may not go very far; but a civil lawsuit against them might force them to have to reveal their identities - and undergo some sort of Ranger Registration Act. Poor Zordon would just have to get with the program! This litigation would have made it near-impossible for them to do much of anything, granting Rita an easy victory.
Instead, she rested all her hopes on candle wax! More signs the show ran on no sort of logic prior-known to its audience.
Also, the Radbug. If they couldn't enter the Command Center without Zordon's help, and needed the Radbug to get inside, couldn't the Radbug have simply been shot out of the sky? I'm not talking with Rita's useless lasers. I'm talking, have Goldar commandeer the SDI (which was probably still a thing in 1993) and blast the Radbug out of the sky! It's not like Rita couldn't see it coming! The thing was a LOT slower than teleporting!
To that effect, why not just have Goldar steal nuclear codes!?!?!? If not for Jarvis, Ultron would've done it. Heck, even Soundwave considered it in Transformers Prime, until Raf screwed him over!
MMPR came out only two years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And there was probably still a 100 megaton Tsara Bomba in storage somewhere in Russia. Let's see the Megazord take a hit like that one! Aye yay yay indeed!
3. Where Does Billy Get All Those Wonderful Toys?
In "The Mutiny" 3-parter, Billy and Trini arrive inside his family's garage to work on a scrambler device that will somehow make Pirahntishead's black magic not work, thus freeing the Zords that he took control of from his control.
During that whole fight, the only reason the Tyrannosaurus and Dragonzord didn't whip the other Rangers to puree, appears to be because they are big, clumsy, and have terrible aim. How convenient!
As for the scene where Billy is putting it together...his parents don't ask any questions? How does he even know what signal Pirahntishead is using, to know how to scramble it? And to have that kind of tech in his garage with nobody asking questions where he gets the materials from, puts him dangerously close to 2015 Fantastic Four Reed Richards territory! (Yes, I went there!)
Yet, for all his supposed smarts, he makes two REALLY STUPID mistakes!
1. Putting the batteries in wrong on his own machine! (Derp!)
2. Working on his machine in plain view of the entire neighborhood!
He never even closed the garage door! How he has room for all that equipment in that suburban garage, and still room for his parents' cars, is another question altogether. The point is, Zedd just completely ignores Billy and Trini working on the scrambler, shortly after noticing they were doing it!
It's like the villains are contractually obligated to half-ass their schemes!
How hard would it have been to:
1. Mind-control a random street thug in the area and
2. Have said thug sneak up on the Rangers and pop a cap in them before they even had a chance to morph or use their gymnastics/karate? No more Billy, no more scrambler! Even the Bootleg Universe parody "Power / Rangers" understands that!
Have the thug blow Billy's brains out, and then shoot Trini in the abdomen! Would she be able to morph to avoid being killed - or worse? Or would Zordon frown on that, the way Justin was frowned upon for teleporting to escape those bullies in Turbo?
Just like that, the entire rest of the season 2 arc could have been completely avoided! Yeah, it'd no longer be a kids' show. But still...when the heroes only win because the bad guys are half-assing it, you know the show's writers are half-assing it too!
4. Time For...Squatting Force!
Being Time Cop-themed doesn't give you the right to take up residence in an old clock tower! Moreover, that's the most logical place for Ransik to look! Why take a whole season to figure it out??? If Ransik really wanted to mess things up, he should've just got everyone questioning what those obvious squatters were doing in there.
Now, they were in California, right? So if they had stayed there for five seasons, they would have been able to establish ownership under California law. Since they failed to stop Ransik from wrecking the place, they would be viewed less favorably. Though, it's hard to say they could have been criminally prosecuted. Were they in England in 2012 instead of California in 2001, they could have been sent to prison for 6 months - more than enough time for Ransik to rewrite history!
5. Dino Blunder, Lawyer Up!
Above: The smug face that could have killed a franchise.
Perhaps in no other season have the Rangers found themselves in more potential hot water just from little things, only for the villains in that season to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
Tommy is witnessed by hundreds battling Elsa on the front lawn of the school! Elsa could have tried to continue the act and pressed charges on him for assault! No, she simply "resigns" when exposed, and then vanishes to go work for Mesagog full-time. Police ask him zero questions about this!
Yet, when she's freed from Mesagog's control later, nobody asks her any questions about her time in service to Mesagog either! Surely, a clever prosecutor could come up with something, right?
Also, the episode where the Rangers are trapped inside bad dreams. Why wait to see if they wake up, Elsa? Just have a monster sneak into each of their homes, and run a steel rod through their left eye sockets while they're still asleep! Just shoot them! Heck, it's such a simple assassination plan, even Col. Fitts from American Beauty could have done it!
As if all that weren't enough, Cassidy growing a conscience and handing her tape over to Tommy after the final battle with Mesagog reveals that if she hadn't, she would have ruined the Rangers' lives - possibly forever!
What, apart from property damage here or there, could they be charged with, I wonder? Then again, the way they were careless and let Zeltrax trash their Zords, I'd say there was probably enough of that to warrant a maximum of 10 years per Ranger.
After SPD, the show got so convoluted, I'm not even gonna try. But suffice to say, the Rangers often lived to blow up monsters another day due to good luck and bad writing, more often than not.
Apart from the obvious charges of vigilantism, arson, and destruction of property, it would be really hard to charge most of them with enough serious crimes that any of them would feel any reason to be threatened by. But not impossible.
As for them surviving key moments in their history? Chalk it up to the fact that the villains must seem to really not know what to do with victory, so they let it slip through their fingertips.
As long as Nickelodeon gets ratings and sells toys, it seems that the team can avoid the courts for now. And we will probably be seeing many new incarnations of them in the years to come. At the same time, the new movie in 2017 indicates that the classics' nostalgia power can outlast pretty much anything the passage of time can throw at the franchise.
Next Time, on How Screwed Are They, Really?...
The Ninja Turtles? Semaphry? How realistic is Jailbait? Or a surprise topic you never saw coming? Find out!