Monday, March 26, 2018

Manic Mondays: Queering Power Rangers

Lately, I've been watching Linkara's History of Power Rangers. It's no secret that I'm a Power Rangers fan. In fact, I'm planning on catching back up before Beast Morphers, and I might even go back and watch some of the better-reviewed Super Sentai series, just to see what's going on.

But watching the history of Wild Force (Spoilers for that 15 year old series, I guess.), the ending "Where they are now" section shows Danny and Max off globe-trotting. I immediately was like "Oh, so they were gay together."

But of course they weren't because it's a US children's show from the early 2000s, and gay people didn't exist. Jesus, women and POC barely existed. But it got me thinking: how fucking righteous would it have been to have two gay Power Rangers (Note: this is still possible, as the series is ongoing. Crossing fingers, but not holding my breath.)? One thing Power Rangers has had since the beginning is romance between team members. Tommy and Kimberly, anyone (I'm not giving you a spoiler warning for that one. It's been 25 years. And yeah, I know that she sent him a dear John letter and broke things off, but they were sill a couple.)? One of the major plot elements of Time Force was the weird 1000 year love triangle between Jen, Wes, and Alex. Even solidly into the Disney era (Spoilers now, I suppose), we see: Ziggy and Dr. K, Camille and Dai Shi, and Lily and Theo. So it's not that the showrunners think romance isn't a child-friendly theme for the show. And at least some of the showrunners carried over from the halcyon days of Disney into the...less halcyon days of Nickelodeon.

(I haven't seen much of the Nick/Neo-Saban era, so apologies there - this is why I need to play catch up before Beast Morphers and the 25th anniversary.)

But since we know that Power Rangers is currently attached to Nickelodeon, why couldn't it be queer? We know Nick isn't afraid to touch the subject, not after The Legend of Korra. Not to mention the rampant success of Steven Universe on Cartoon Network.

Plus think of the possibilities. Power Rangers, for any who aren't fans, delves into some real deep, dark subject matter (So many spoilers are coming, guys. So. Many. You've been warned.). You have the Astronema brainwashing plot from In Space, not to mention Zayne's mysterious illness. Lost Galaxy opens with a guy falling to his death in chasm (He got better.), and also one of the Galaxy Rangers sacrifices herself to save the others...and then they have to deal with the actual fallout from one of their team mates dying. Cole's parents were murdered, the Time Force Rangers nearly have their memories wiped out, Eric and Wes display socioeconomic disparity...hell, even Operation Overdrive has Mac practically going suicidal because he finds out he's actually a robot. And RPM? Get the hell out of here, RPM opens with "The bad guys have basically won. There's one city left on Earth. That's it." And from there: brainwashing, infected humans, and their mentor was the one who created the big bad in the first place.

So why couldn't their be a gay romance? "Gay people exist" is way less intense than "I was kidnapped as a child and gaslighted into believing I could never go outside, so I created a computer virus to break the security systems but they wouldn't let me stop it in time so it became sentient and took over the world and killed the majority of Earth's population."

Not to mention, the franchise as a whole has now had a canon lesbian Power Ranger. So let's have two battle-hardened Power Rangers find love again - but this time, could it be boys loving boys or girls loving girls? Just, like, this one time, see how it goes? If not, we're just going to end up with more badly written Jason and Tommy fan-fic, and there's quite enough of that out there already.

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