Back in the days when waking up at 8am to watch cartoons was a perfectly normal thing to do on a Saturday morning (anyone else used to watch Are you afraid of the dark? Dexter’s Lab?), one of the shows I loved watching was the original Power Rangers series. I followed this series when it first started, vivaciously learning the names of the characters and their Power Ranger ‘animals’(which was basically big, awkward-moving robots that which flew sparks and was in the colour of the corresponding Power Ranger).
My favourite character, was always going to be, inevitably, the Yellow Power Ranger (played by the lovely Thuy Trang).
My reasoning is as follows:
- There were only two girls in the original series, the pink Power Ranger and the yellow one. The yellow Power Ranger was called Trini, and was an Chinese-Asian woman, while the pink Power Ranger was a girl called Kimberly. Everyone else was a yucky boy.
- I hated pink as a child. For years. This is also due to several reasoning – pigs and worms are pink, and they are yucky. Also pink was a colour I’d been forced to dress in for years. So naturally I would go the other way in my tom-boyish years. Even now, as comfortable as I am with the colour pink, I’d still pick another colour before I look at pink because I worry it’s a slightly Barbie-fied, bimbo-ish colour. Sorry, pink lovers.
- The pink Power Ranger was a white girl. I am not a white girl, I am a reasonably brown, British-Pakistani girl. Trini was a different type of Asian, but she was still Asian. And naturally, I would relate to the token-Asian character of the series (I’m also sure it wasn’t a coinky-dink that the only black character of the series was given a black-coloured costume, while the Chinese character was given yellow. Racist much, Might Morphin Power Rangers producers? We didn’t notice much of that symbolism back then though, mind you.)
So there you go, from then on, Yellow Power Ranger, with her sabre-tooth tiger grinding robot became the one I was crazy about, and naturally she was the best fighter (she really wasn’t, none of them were) and yellow was a super-cool colour. The Yellow Ranger one was my hero, and while everyone was off fancying the pants off the Pink Ranger, I liked Yellow Ranger for being the token-ethnic-minority character, and frankly, for having a bit more sass than the pansy-ass Kimberly.
From the shiny one-sie Lycra costume (complete with matching bike helmet), and the cringey lines like “It’s Morphing Time”, “Get off our planet! Cause we’re the Power Rangers!” and best (or worst) of all, “Make my monster grow!”, there were a lot of questionable things about the Power Rangers series which of course, made it all the more memorable in hindsight.
Not to mention the odd storylines in the show, like how one Power ranger kept changing colour from green to white whenever he kept changing from evil to good (I never did figure out what happened to him and whether he triumphed over being a teenager evil in the end). I also remember thinking that it was a bit lazy that Yellow Power Ranger Trini never got a boyfriend either, during those early PR years (Kimberly got the romance storyline, which essentially involved trying to decide whether to date Red macho Power Ranger or the confused Green/White one).
But I don’t think this was too much of a big deal, because for me being a Yellow Power Ranger was more than just being a yippity teen, she got to beat up some aliens and still go home (wearing yellow cday lothes even when she wasn’t in her costume) and have some ice cream at the end of the day.
The Might Morphin Power Rangers came at a time when gaming and the Internet was strictly restricted to a Nintendo 64, and children didn’t spend their day with their heads stuck in their iPads, mobiles, PCs, cable tv or electronic watches. For girls like me, there wasn’t a lot of alternative role models besides Barbie and Sindy (who remembers that poor soul?), or otherwise combing the hair of that giant scary head with make-up – Trini the Yellow Power Ranger seems cheesy now, but she was someone who did martial arts, kicked aliens asses and had a diverse group of friends.
And yes, it’s something which was silly at the time too (a robot who said ‘Ai-ai-ai’ in every episode which was enough to make you want to break its head), but it was also fun pretending to do high kicks like a hero in the playground and dragging around a dinosaur toy which was meant to be a sabre-toothed tiger.
Right now, remembering the Yellow Ranger brings out the feminist in me, and although she was probably included just to have a token Asian in the group, for me she was the coolest because she was a girl who could defend herself, had pretty long black hair and didn’t need to act like a boy to be a hero. So in that way, I think we all need a little bit of the Yellow Ranger’s strength in us, sometimes.