Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Recap 41: Invasion

Okay, so it's been a couple of weeks since my last recap. So let's see if I still remember the swing of these things.

Today's episode is called "Invasion." Seems promising.

Cowborgs, Caricature-Bots and Kids, Oh my!

Ah, I love you, 80s theme song. Modern cartoons need better themesongs. I mean, how else can you gloriously date them many years later.

Aside from animation techniques and art style, of course.

So we start with a nifty orbitting facility which is, according to a lady's voice (which sounds remarkably like one of Maria Bamford's stuffier voices) is the "Albert Einstein School for Gifted Youngsters."

Crap. It'll be a kid episode, won't it. Jeeze, take a few weeks off, and you get punished with kid episodes. Damn. Anyway, there's an annual science fair, which in a science fiction setting always promises something interesting. Or possibly apocalyptic. Either way.

The show area looks pretty swanky too. Lots of space and chairs. My science fairs never looked that nice. Fuck you, Albert Einstein School.

Anyway, cute little Jessica Foxx is sitting with some girl whose hair is a very unfortunate offspring of mullet and pompadour. I'm sorry, little girl. Anyway, mullet-girl asks (valley girl accent and all) where Jessica's parents are.

Ouch. I mock, but that's got to be rough on a kid. Anyway, Jessica's face falls but she recovers quickly and heliums enthusiastically that her dad couldn't come because he's on a mission. Mullet-girl doesn't take the hint-by-omission and asks about Jessica's mom. Jessica just says she couldn't come either.

I'm surprised that the first victim of an intergalactic slaver/kidnapper wouldn't have made the news. But then maybe they kept her name out of it. It is pretty sad, but probably fairly realistic, that Jessica never told any of her friends. Poor kid.

Anyway, stupid mullet-girl's parents show up and she darts over them after cheerfully having made her best friend feel like shit. But then someone calls her name and her face lights up. It's little Zach! Aw!!!

They hug, and Zach 2.0 hands her a rectangular "holo-card" featuring a tiny holographic Jerry Orbach apologizing for being late but promising he'll be there as soon as he can. Aww.

Mullet-girl comes racing over, and Jessica introduces her as "Erma". Erma for her part is very surprised to meet "LITTLE?!" Zach. When you are twelve, Zachary Foxx 2.0 clearly embodies his name, I guess. Heh. Wait 'til you hit highschool, Jessie.

Anyway, Zach 2.0 wants to see the project so they run off.

Now we cut away to a long control room type area, where some alien fellows sit and make odd noises. Why do aliens seem to work a lot of the menial jobs in this universe?

Anyway, the alien guy we focus on apparently does routine maintenance while not playing computer games with a sulky AI. I can't disapprove. I'd be doing that too. Suddenly he perks up though and asks if anyone hears anything. The guy next to him did not. But he does hear the crash subsequent. Maintenance guy goes to check it out and sees something very small sticking out of a machine. He's then attacked by tiny robots dressed like native americans out of a western. Awesome.

Anyway, the maintenance guys flee the tiny arrows. Wimps.

Back with the kids, Erma's clearly trying the whole "get with the hot older brother by complimenting his sister" technique and tells him Jessica's project is super.

It does seem interesting at least. It's a giant antenna thing that has been tuned to pick up "pulsar waves." I wish I paid more attention in physics class. Damn you, cartoon kids for making me feel dumb. Zach asks how it works, and she explains. Something to do with signals bounced of stars. Blah-blah, technobabble. It seems swanky though. Zach 2.0 thinks that even Waldo would be impressed.

Suddenly the machine picks up tiny metallic voices. Zach thinks it's a space navy war game and wonders where the target is. He finds out when the wall behind them blows up. Tiny robot cowboy types with very real looking firearms and pink shirts storm the room. Their hats are glowing.

Goddamnit show. I'm SORRY. I'll recap more often. Just stop doing this to me!

Anyway, they circle the kids babbling something about "injuns" and shoot pink lasers at them which apparently tickle. Gotcha.

Erma and Zach 2.0 think it's part of Jessica's project which makes me puzzled about what scientific principle it's supposed to illustrate: that tiny racist robot cowboys are cool?

A stuffly looking lady teacher in big square glasses enters and commands they stop at once and screams "You children are ruining the science fair!"

Um. How inappropriate is it for a teacher to yell that at a twelve year old? I'd sue, personally. The cowboys introduce themselves as Cowborg series F-E or something like that. They shoot at her and she's all "Well, I never!" and says she'll call their parents. Well, Erma's are HERE. And Zach and Eliza are kind of unreachable, so good luck.

Also, shouldn't you at least try to find proof?

Crappy school. No wonder they have so many field trips, they'd never learn anything otherwise.

Anyway, the teacher flees with the cowborgs chasing after. Jessica, who unlike me actually LISTENED to the little buggers, realizes that they want her dish. Zach 2.0 realizes sensibly that they need to get help. After many kids shows where they inexplicably think they have to take on bad guys alone, I'm pleased.

Meanwhile the indian-caricature robots are still in control of the control room. They are breaking shit and talking about preventing "Blue Team" from advancing.

There's disaster in the rest of the science fair, as the cowborgs wreak havoc. They're doing something to a maze of rats. That can't be good. I bet they'll ride them. And indeed they do. Hee.

Okay, apparently the room that the indian-caricature robots took over was actually the "machine" room, as we find out as a brown haired woman (human of course) is told of the problem. She grouses that she told two guys to fix that stuff. Her name is apparently Captain Paz. She demands a report, and is answered with a quick "We're busy. Everything's fine down here!"

The Captain may be shouty, but she's not stupid, and she demands video. She takes one look at the conquered room and yells "Invaders!"

The station seems to be glowing with multicolored laser blasts. Can't be good.

OMG! Is that?! It IS! It's Ranger One! And all four are aboard! Shane's leaning against a wall for no apparent reason. But they're all there. Shane Gooseman vs. tiny robots. This episode is looking up!

Anyway, Doc promises to get Zach there by lunch time, and Zach is looking forward to relaxing with the kids. Aw. He's a good dad. Suddenly Walsh pops up telling them about a code five emergency (alien invasion) at the
"space colony". Shane is skeptical as there's no sign of a fleet. Doc notes that their powers are nearly depleted. No rest for the wicked though. Especially since the colony's life support is in danger. Zach finally does the math and remembers his daughter and son are there. So yeah.

Back at the school/colony, the kids are fleeing, but Jessica slips and drops the card from Zach. Fortunately, they're smart enough to keep running.

Of course, they're then cut off by more tiny robots and are forced to duck into another room. You know, we've yet to see these critters actually use lethal force. It's perfectly understandable that the kids flee, but the grown-ups are wimps.

Of course, once the cowborgs and indian-caricatures meet, they start fighting over who got there first. They fight. When one on each side gets blasted and keels over, Zach 2.0 realizes they're robots. Because the blue metal skin was not indicative enough.

Somewhere else, in what looks like an auditorium, some poor janitor is mopping, all unaware of the chaos. He appears to be human though, so maybe I'm too hasty with my aliens-doing-menial-jobs complaint. He is suddenly illuminated by a spotlight, which he blames on kids fooling around. It doesn't stop him from "greeting" the empty audience. Aw. He has dreams of stardom too. He starts singing badly and then bows. The tiny robots seem to like it though. Then they shoot at him. Poor guy. Simon Cowell's become a total bitch lately.

Back up with Captain Shouty, her robot sidekick announces they've lost radio contact. She makes him (Arnold is his name, which is hilarious) give her an update. There are lots of problems. Then the console blows up. The Captain is all "Speak to me!" and cradles him. I'm getting uncomfortable.

Meanwhile. The indian caricature bots are still having fun. They're even giving off warcries. Oh, 1980s non-PC dom. How I wince.

Anyway, in their hiding place, the mechanics debate coming out to stop them. But their musing is interrupted by Zach popping up on screen. The indian-caricature-bots are intrigued by Jerry Orbach's eyebrows as I am. They poke at the screen, mutter something about tv party. And one says "Hello America" into a microphone.

Meanwhile, the mechanics recognize a galaxy ranger when they see one, and one of them has a plan. He can't tell him though, he has to show him. Drama Queen. I had a date try pulling that once. It wasn't impressive, let's put it that way. :-)

Anyway, the mechanic does show him, by throwing him out of the closet. Dick. Anyway, he tries to convince himself that they're puny toys, but soon runs for it. As the caricature-bots chase him, the other mechanic saunters out smoothly. Well played. Dick. He's not so cool when he actually makes contact though as he babbles hysterically into the monitor. Shane points out that he's glad to see no one's panicking yet. I love you.

Back at the ranch, the cowborgs have the school teacher tied up. She's still blaming the kids. Bitch. The cowborgs want to know where the dish is. The caricature-bots are watching from a hiding place as the cowborgs "banter" back and forth. Then of course there's another cowborg/caricature fight. A good bit is when one caricature-bot pulls a cowborg's hat over his eyes and bonks him. The caricature bots win, swarm the teacher and carry her off like ants. They bitch about her weight.

The cowborgs banter amusingly more, and one with an arrow through his head pulls it off to reveal it's a Steve Martin esque headband. Heh.

Anyway, Ranger One approaches. The station blasts them. Oops. They blast their way into the airlock and careen inside. Well done!

Meanwhile, the kids walk farther, and comment that it's freezing. But then she hears Jerry Orbach call her name! But it turns out to be the caricature bots using her card. They aim their arrows at her, but the cavalry (and theme music) arrives just in time! All posing amusingly too. (Stop leaning like that, Goose. It's distracting.) Jessica runs for a hug and then is shoved behind a wall while Zach steps forward and stares down at the circling caricature-bots. He just shoots down. It's cold and awesome. Doc and Shane join in as they realize they're robots. Shane seems to be enjoying it a bit much actually.

Zach, Erma and Jessica fill them in on what they know. Zach gives marching orders. Niko is to get people to the launch bay. Doc is to dissect the robots. And Goose is to reclaim the machine room. He smirks. And so do I. This will be satisfying. One of the bots perks up and shoots Doc in the butt. Poor Doc. Niko laughs.

Now that everyone's in the launchbay, Zach gives them the "remain here" speech. While elsewhere, we see a montage of chases. Heh.

Shane enters the machine room, notes the caricature bots, and rescues the devious mechanic from what looks like an overhead compartment. Shane asks if there's a way to fix the machine center. The mechanic suggests a brand new one. Shane is not amused. Also, the mechanic wants a day off.

Elsewhere, the cowborgs sit by tiny covered wagons. They note a galaxy ranger, and Zach looms over them. They fire, and he is unconcerned. He shoots them and mutters "stupid little droids." Caricature-bots also try attacking from behind. That goes equally as well for them as Zach thunderbolts them. Overkill much?

One cowborg escapes the slaughter and runs ahead. He stops, takes duel stance and yells "draw". I kind of love him. Zach complies and they walk toward each other. Then Zach steps on him. I love you, Zach.

Anyway, Doc calls with the progress report. The robots are "something else" and very sophisticated. But mass-produced. Also, one has a price tag. Hee!

The hapless other mechanic is chased into the auditorium area, where luckily, Niko is waiting. She taps her badge, shields the poor mechanic, and saves his ass. Yay!

In the machine room, Shane's doing some laser dismantling. He asks Stanley (the devious mechanic) where the weapon system is. Stanley points, and Shane shoots it. And that's why I love him too. The next step is a stable orbit. Unfortunately, those were in the same panel.

This is why we shouldn't give 19 year olds guns. No matter how badass they are. :-P

Niko and the other mechanic arrive, while Zach finds Captain Mc-shouts-a-lot. She's glad to see him and accompanies him to the machine room.

In another room, the teacher is still tied up, but she has an unlikely savior in the janitor! He creeps in and tosses a bucket of water on the bots. Well done! He lets her out and is rewarded by a kiss on the cheek and a hug. Aw.

Now everyone of significance is in the machine room. The plan is simple: Niko gets an image of how the orbital controls are designed, while Doc reconstructs it. Doc complains, but he is very good, with one glimpse from Niko, he's got an idea of how to fix it!

Zach makes a good spot-welder and can Thunderbolt very small, it seems. Neat! They stabilize the orbit! And a cheering Erma, Zach 2.0 and Jessica come running. Zach is amused, if exasperated. But he's interrupted by an unidentified ship approaching, and smoke suddenly appears revealing...a kid in an indian-caricature headdress, warpaint, but a cowboy type uniform. The caricature-bots greet him with cheers, as he says something about tabulating scores. The Cowborgs come bearing Jessica's dish, claiming they won.

The kid explains that they're his toys. He got the idea for them from "[their] tv." Another robot appears, much to the kid's chagrin. It's his guardian robot apparently. The robot addresses them as "humans" apologizes for the kid's behavior, and promises punishment. Shane volunteers, and I'm kind of intrigued by the idea of supertrooper child rearing.

The guardian tells him to collect the toys. He's a bit puzzled by how few there were, but seems to take the knowledge that some were "broke" pretty well. He asks if he can keep the dish, and Jessica scolds him that he could have just asked for it. She does give it to him though, and he does seem all cutely sheepish about it. Zach, always good at seizing an opportunity, says that he can have the dish if he promises to introduce his parents to the League of Planets. The kid is enthusiastic, and the robot says he'll make sure they get the message. Then they vanish.

So. This universe has Q. Good to know!


As episodes go, I think this one was on the fun end of mediocre. The kids would definitely have liked it, and the property destruction was satisfying.

There wasn't really any real sense of threat from the toys, but that was balanced by the fact that the story centered around the kids for a while. And while the adults had no problem, the kids were justified in being frightened.

And there were nice moments of unexpected heroism here and there, which I like.

I also thought that the interaction between Zach 2.0, Jessica and Erma seemed pretty natural for kids that age. Kids keep secrets even from their friends. Kids can be inadvertantly thoughtless/hurtful. But they're not bad kids in the end. And there's a clear parallel between Zach 2.0 and Jessica and the alien kid. What with the conspicuous absence of parents, and overbearing guardian.

I kind of hope to see that kid again. :-)

Finally, it was nice to see just a hint of how hard the entire situation would be on the two kids. They seem to be dealing well, and Zach does his best, but it's nice that it's not completely ignored.


  • At August 21, 2009 11:23 AM, Blogger Delora said…

    Nice to see you are back recapping. I liked about the episode that it gave us glimpses how an invasion would be handled but otherwise it was rather unremarkable

  • At August 21, 2009 9:05 PM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I have to admit that I've always liked this particular episode, mainly because it's so silly. The part where the little robots try and carry the lady off, and are wheezing because she's heavy just cracks me up for some reason.

    Possibly because I'm juvenile.

    But yes, Zach Sr. is quite awesome in this, the whole "draw" bit was a hoot.

  • At August 23, 2009 11:31 PM, Blogger Elizabeth B said…

    If the stereotypical Indianbots in this one make you uncomfortable, you will probably absolutely hate "Horsepower" and "Promised Land." I'm just sayin'.

  • At August 24, 2009 2:06 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Duly warned. :-)

    It'll be something to bitch about in the recaps. :-)


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