animehem/central casting 3

animehem/central casting 3

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

head and another really long head to take up lots of space

animehem/central casting 3

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Meanwhile back at Thrill Central, I’m over the moon. This woman isn’t just an actor, a huge plus all on its own, but also a Power Ranger! My kids were just toddlers back then. My son, the oldest, could take it or leave it but my daughter loved the show. I only sat down with her to watch it a couple times but I’m pretty sure there were three…or was it four?…boy rangers and two girl rangers. I vaguely knew their faces—gaydar pinged a little bit on the blonde with glasses, the Blue Ranger. Still, I couldn’t tell you the character’s name, the actor’s name, nothing. But I definitely knew the pink ranger: Kimberly. Because as luck and merchandising tie-ins would have it, PR’s impact was so strong PR’s PR Department cut a deal to get action figures in the poisonous but unavoidable happy meals that very summer.

We were on our annual trip to the coast with the ‘rents, and I loathed this annual hell. Not because of my family. (Although there are times…) But it’s just that every year it was the same: the beach. I hate the beach. Beaches in Texas are disgusting. My first time to see this shit-colored soup in real life was when I was about the kids’ age when they first saw it. They didn’t seem to care at all while, when I was their age, I was freaking out, wondering how Hawaii Five-O could color the water on the TV. I was too young to understand special effects, but I was sure they fucked with something somewhere to make the water change from Hawaii glass blue to Gulf of Mexico beer bottle brown. My little sister and I would run to the television set just to watch the opening credits to see those big beautiful azure waves of surfer heaven. But we especially loved that one closeup of the hula dancer which cracked us up beyond belief. After she shook her grass skirt, we were done with Hawaii and back to our regularly scheduled program. We saw the credits every week. I don’t think we ever watched Dano book one felon. So when I saw the water was actually brown in Texas, not blue, I felt cosmically gipped. When I got older and found out about that whole sediment thing–what a selling point–and that, no the water wasn’t magically colored blue, there was blue water everywhere else, I felt even more ripped off. Now I had to spend a week at this giant toilet every year until the kids went off to college when I would be mercifully released from coast duty.

But that summer, Zoe was still a little girl, I was still at the beach, and I purchased a happy meal only to find Zoe had actually won the luck of the draw and, lo and behold, there was a Kimberly in her happy meal. Sometimes you do catch a break.

So there she is, playing in the surf, the disgusting-colored sea mix only about thigh-high on her, so just a little more than a foot deep in the surf. I watched her from the virtual living room I’d brought down so I could tolerate the day. While I grabbed vodka, olives, and a martini glass from my own ice chest, and commenced to watching the joy of childhood. Her little hands would drop down, pink ranger swimming for just a second or two before leaping up, dolphin style, to silent but obvious fanfare. I needed that drink. This was making me nervous. The potential for danger was worse and more probable than anything Rita Repulsa could dream up. Well, sure enough, 3, 2, 1…

“Kimberly!” came the tiny shriek.

I leapt over the bar, martini sacrificed to the omnipresent glue-sand, and bolted toward the surf and was by my baby’s side in seconds, totally quick enough to have saved poor Kimberly but the murky muck of Texas Gulf clouded any sign of her. So Kimberly was gone, taken out to tide on Crystal Beach, a name so rage-inducing for its boldface lie of a moniker, I was surprised I was the only one to ever spraypaint M-E-T-H on the sign.

Oh, the tears on that little girl. Even though Kimberly was long gone, Zoe kept a look on her face that changed from horizon-viewing hope to dusk-approaching depression. We were holding our own toward the end of the day until some idiot with a farmer’s tan walked by and when he was told what happened, said that a fish probably swallowed her. More tears. Thanks, asshole. You can shut up and go now. Not before adding one more bon mot.

“I bet sum fisherman’s gunna catcher and go, ‘Now how’d this purdy little pink park ranger get in this ding dang fish?”

Well, you know what that meant. And it’s power ranger, you hayseed.

So, natrually, at dusk, sitting at the dock of the bay was my little daughter and I, my inner DJ putting Otis Redding into heavy rotation.

But this? Meeting an actual power ranger? This could redeem all that my-father-failed-me feeling I just knew she had! No longer would I be the loser who let Kimberly die in that fatal drowning accident, then be swallowed whole, Jonah-like where she would eventually be grilled on some hick’s barbecue pit. Now I would be the Dad who lost the toy Kimberly but reeled in the real one.

“Which one are you?” I ask, looking very much like those bug-eyed anime characters I stare at all day.

“Oh,” Lesley demurred. “I’m not a ranger. I’m the girl who runs the juice bar.”

The juice bar? Are you kidding me? You’re not even the yellow ranger? I was crushed. And disappointed. For two. I tried to hide it but Lesley seemed to have noticed. Either that or she’s not entirely unfamiliar with this reaction.

“But just like the rangers have their color, I have a color I always wear,” she offered brightly as a consolation prize. “Orange.”

Orange. Yellow ranger is to Gale as pink ranger is to Oprah. Using this scale, orange would be, oh, Oprah’s intern.

“Orange. Juice bar,” I told her, plastic smile smashed onto my face. “I get it.”

She’s not buyin’ it. And I’m doing this luminous angel a huge disservice by not coming clean. So I did. I told her about the untimely, tragic death of Kimberly, my daughter, etc. That’s when she gets The Look on her face. I’m so used to it by this time, even way back then.

Now remember this is over a decade ago, gay adoption wasn’t showing up on every sitcom, much less street. So make note of the following dialogue.That way I don’t have to repeat it because it comes up every time I meet someone. You’ll be sick of hearing the same story. I know I’m sick of telling it.

“Oh, I thought you were gay,” Lesley admits, slightly bewildered.

“Oh I am,” I tell her.

“So, how did you…”

“Oh, it’s all true. We just jump over to your side to propagate the species, then we hop right over the straight fence back into Gay Sector 9 and report our sex success rate and the birthdate and gender of the child to our supreme leader, RuPaul.”

She laughs and suddenly she seems more, comfortably human to me now. Still Bright and Happy, if a tad more earthly. She tells me she’d love to audition and I make her promise to bring me her reel if it has some Power Rangers clips on it, which she says it does.

Lesley made good on her vow (eventually). And it was impressive. Especially in the episode where the Gold Ranger, the hunkiest member of the team was hurt on the beach outside the juice bar.

Lesley—yes, in orange—runs forth, bosoms first, like they’re vertical turrets on a sideways tank. She positions her arms out, Helpless Damsel 1o1, and stops just short of reaching…

“Billy!”

Billy? Juice girl and Gold Ranger, first name basis? Is there a thing here?

It’s a big scene but her hands are too busy stuck in damsel mode. She’s got to get the other parts of her body into play to pull off the big moment, all the emotion, the danger, the tension… Billy could die! And Lesley goes at it with busty gusto, delivering the line with not only a Pantene hair-tossing head shake but a matching rack quake as well.

“Look out, Gold Ranger!” she shimmy/shakes.

Shampoo commercial mane toss + Airplane! jello boobquake = we are done.

The group watching, a good six or seven of us howl and I’ve never seen a tape ejected so fast from a—old school alert!—VHS player. Lesley storms off, playfully pissed.

“Fuck ya’ll! Fuck all ya’ll,” she told us, walking down the hall of studio row, middle finger raised high. The finger lingers in midair for emphasis, even after her body’s turned and disappeared around the corner. Then she vanishes and we hear her voice coming back toward us, echoing down the hall.

“I saved Billy’s life!”

 

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

animehem/central casting 3

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do

It's only rock and roll But I like it, like it, yes I do