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The Case Of The Cola Cult
The Most Surreal Disney Television Animation Episode Ever!
Well; it was bound to happen sooner or later. All DTVA shows have it which is that one episode that goes beyond the call of duty (no stupid puns intended this time around) to not only entertain the masses with it's awesomeness; but it shatters the person's perception on what Disney entertainment is about. Darkwing Duck had Time & Punishment, Gummi Bears had Light Makes Right, Ducktales had Golden Suns and TaleSpin had too many episodes and got buried as a result for being too awesome (Her Chance to Dream, Jolly Molly Christmas, Stormy Weather, P&L, From Here to Machinery and maybe even Mommy for a Day.). I believe Goof Troop had it with their Christmas Special, The Wuzzles with Moosel's Monster, and Gargoyles had Deadly Force and a few others in their own right. So Chip & Dale's Rescue Rangers just had to have one and it's one of the most surreal episodes ever made in DTVA and that's saying something when TaleSpin was shoving surrealness as a PREMISE one year later and Gargoyles pushing the Hamlet angle into infinity four years after THAT.
You know this episode was written by someone who was a wee bit higher on the sin juice than usual and was given more creative BS&P than it probably SHOULD have gotten. I mean if you see the word cult in the episode title; you know there is something really creepy about it. This is one of Juan F. Lara's favorite episodes to watch in DTVA and features the most important performance in Gadget's career that finally got Gadget MONSTER over for good. So; how does it measure up after 20 years? Let's rant on and find out shall we...?!
This episode is written by Kevin Hopps. The story was edited by Bryce Malek and supervised by Tad Stones. The animation is done by Wang Films/Cuckoo's Nest Studios .
Annoying Moment #1: And we return to the first version of the opening sequence again.
We begin this one with a shot of the city BEFORE HAPPY HOUR (Read: Sunset) as we start on street level with Gadget and the Rangers riding on the skateboard mobile though the streets with reckless abandon. I don't think those white helmets are going to protect the Rangers from her innocent sadist routine. This device wins the award for Best Use of a Pink Hairdryer which should make Hoppo and Sunni jealous. AHHAHAHAHAHA! POW! OUCH! Ummm...First golly is spoken 11 seconds in which is a new record even for her. Sadly; she inserted brakes; but they fell a few blocks back as we go into traffic. If Wang Film's background sequences were drawn a little bit better; this would be the most awesome sequence ever! The wheels come off so Gadget tells everyone to lean to the right and then we go into a factory through a wire vent; roll on a metal oil drum and then crash into some wooden boxes which has only slightly more give than the COLD, HARD STEEL or the dreaded cold concrete floor. The Rangers are like they have been in a car wreck. Oh wait...Gadget of course proclaims that the test worked out better than she had expected. BWHAHAHAHAHA! What a sadist this Gadget love is? And she's doesn't even realize it to boot! Golly #2 beckons barely a minute in as she is completely unhurt and she dusts herself off on her feet. Chip questions her test and Gadget counters that some adjustments will have it back in shape again..for her to test her sadism on them! BWHAHAHAHAHAHA! Monty isn't amused by this as the Rangers look around and they are in a soda packaging company as Dale calls Chip a Koo-Koo. HAHA! Chip protests this outrage; but Monty agrees because this is where the Koo-Koo Cola company stores it's empties.
Interesting Moment #1: Ironically enough; Koo-Koo Cola has become a sort of staple of Tad Stones work on DTVA as it was present in Darkwing Duck a year after TaleSpin was released. In fact; Koo-Koo Cola became a drinking game of sorts used in Darkwing Duck for crappy routines that were present in the series when Darkwing Duck episodes turned crappy due to Cartoon Duck Syndrome. I think Tad wishes this episode never happened considering that Darkwing Duck became more and more of a joke; although after watching Rescue Rangers for the time that I have, I'm beginning to see why Jymn Magon is so under-rated as a producer. It's probably because Tad Stones has been so over-rated as a producer by his fans which is quite sad because Tad Stones is a very good producer, but he tends to let his productions get too far out of control and it tends to lower the episode quality. While it's not very obvious in this show; it will become more obvious as future productions he made were released such as Darkwing Duck, Aladdin and Buzz Lightyear dropped in quality even by this show's standards. Magon's writing tends to be more constant; although he really only had one production credit in Disney and it was one of the most consistent series of all time which was TaleSpin. It also explains why TaleSpin aged so well too.
Now back to the rant....We then have bottle caps flying like ninja stars into the wooden boxes and we see the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA MICE in red karate gear spinning around. Okay; enough with the TMNT mocking guys! It's not going to help you beat TMNT in the ratings. TaleSpin had better luck competing with TMNT not doing playground insults to other shows manhood than this one. Let the damn show be itself Tad! Then a fat mouse dressed with a purple hood which looks like Kander from Dragon Quest III; only more naked and gay. The purple underwear just doesn't help matters much for him as he invokes the bottle opener which is the staple of all beer drinkers everywhere since soda typically can be opened with your hands nowadays. It certainly works for TaleSpin though Baloo is so strong that he can unflick bottle caps with his fingers. However; before it can get interesting we see an elder mouse wearing a red robe, a golden thimble hat and a toothpick staff with a bottle cap pierced through the top. He calls himself PopTop as he tells his purple bouncer to stop because he is scaring the visitors. The Gay Kander is Bubbles whose name was recycled for TaleSpin as Major Tiny Bubbles in Flight School. Dale mocks the name just to be Dale; but Bubbles does the mean look to stop Dale from gaining any more work rate in this episode. Bubbles accuses them of snooping around as Gadget claims that they are lost as we get golly #3 for the episode barely three minutes in. Yikes! Now I see why people think Gadget spews golly every single minute: They only watched this episode.
PopTop reveals that they were lost once until they founded the Cola Cult in a really creepy overtone. UH OH! I do not think Peggy Charmon is going to like where this is going if you catch my drift. Maybe Kit wasn't the only one who who Eisner could justify burying considering that this is a CULT and any adult worth his salt knows what that implies (and how it's used as a smear later on) and that Gadget is the FOCUS character here. Dale wonders what is a cola cult and Bubbles pushes the crushed soda can away from the wooden wall to reveal DA...HOLE (God bless Baby Plucky!) and everyone goes in to see a bunch of mice dressed all in white with gray headbands watching with zombie eyes towards the stage showing a fountain device for spewing soda into cups much like I see in an average Subway. HOLY CRAP?! It's clearly obvious that this is a CULT and the real creep factor hasn't happened yet. I'm amazed Kevin Hopps kept his JOB after this episode. Of course Gargoyles had used a CULT as a major storyline arc during the Chronicles era; but that era sucked so it didn't gain the heat this episode has since this episode DOES NOT SUCK! 80% of all media criticized is media that is popular and doesn't suck since if it did suck, the choir would NOT CARE. PopTop proclaims that the service is about to begin as a couple of mice put a VHS tape in the VCR and the big screen television in the back turns on as we cut to a shot of space and this cheery pop plays and we see some humans riding in space on a soda bottle of orange soda. OH MY GOD! This has got to be the creepiest cult I have ever seen...and somehow these guys are SAINTS compared to Fred Phelps, Heaven's Gate, BD and all the rest. While I will not call the spots since this is a musical piece; I will do something I didn't do with Home is Where The Heart Is: Reveal the lyrics in full because you have to see this to believe it (and if you really want to get the full effect; watch the DVD with the subtitles on)....
Come along, you belong
Feel the fizz of Koo-Koo Cola
It's the cola for making you proud
Take another sip and you're one with the crowd
Feel the fizz of Koo-Koo Cola
Come along, you belong
Feel the fizz of Koo-Koo Cola
Get to the store and take all you can carry
We got the flavors, orange, grape and cherry
You belong with Koo-Koo Cola
Singer: Come along, you belong
Feel the fizz of Koo-Koo Cola
It's bottled in Pensacola...
Oh DAMMIT; in comes one of the followers Myron to spoil the awesome creepy cult brainwashing addressing himself as such as he asks if they want to take the soda shower? Oh god; out of context that is absolutely creepy. Much like this entire episode. I mean; it's a CULT. Do we honestly want children to think that a CULT is cool and awesome like this one? Monty declines in typical Monty fashion as Gadget proclaims that she already belongs in the Rescue Rangers. Remember that one for later. Chip then notices the mouse as Harold Bucksup The 3rd (Disney Captions uses the 3rd as III for goodness knows what reason) who happens to look like a purple mouse wearing all purple with a necklace with a ruby gem in the center which he gives up to the red ninja mouse with the silver platter. Oh man; they are going all the way with the religious cult angle. And these thing are typical in many churches nowadays which just ups the creep factor even more 20 years later. Man; I wonder why the Southern Baptists were so upset with Disney?!
Then we see PopTop and the ninja mice place the necklace into a pop can filled with treasure as the mice chant Feel the Fizz over and over. HOLY CRAP?! No wonder Juna F. Lara loves this episode so much; it's as creepy as Her Chance to Dream; only more offensive to religious groups. Kind of puts the whole phantomphila angle with Rebecca and William Stansbury in it's proper light; doesn't it?! We then see a follower on top of a drawer (NOT THAT ONE!) pulley up the pop can and puts it into the SODA OF ACIDS. Then it pulleys up and onto the ground as PopTop opens it and there is nothing there. Man; that soda is worse than hydrochorlic acid. Monty then proclaims that the cheese has fizzed. Man; that makes a million times more sense as a logic break then it does without it. Monty thinks that they are crazy and wants to leave as Gadget agrees with this. PopTop takes it awfully well (thus turning babyface right there which makes the whole angle even MORE CREEPY now with hindsight 20/20 and all that) as the Rangers leave without incident. The mice chant the song all this time as Dale cracks a funny joke just to be Dale as PopTop waves goodbye.
Interesting Thought #1: You know; if TaleSpin did this and got rid of the soda references and replaced them with veiled Sky God references; then I think Christians would blow a gasket like nothing else. I mention this because I had an interesting theory that Kit Cloudkicker might not have any parents at all and is really a fallen angel from the heavens. The son of the Sky God if you will who fell from the sky after realizing that he was going to be his successor and wanted his freedom from the bondage of such and so the Sky God punishes him by making him a bear cub on Earth/Earthia/Midgard/whatever you want to call it. Kit managed to steal an airfoil which is his defense against evil and then went on the streets to suffer for years and years before finding Don Karnage and later Baloo. He would soon realize that the world he lives would die if he doesn't replace the Sky God who is mortally ill and losing power by the day.
So we head back to Ranger headquarters inside Gadget's workshop as she, Chip and Dale are working on a magno-ray device which should come in handy which indicates that it will be involved in the finish somehow. There is a knock on the door and Chip goes to answer it welding a hammer and when he opens it he sees Myron from the Cola Cult and he doesn't look very happy. He wants to talk to the Rangers as Gadget's magnet ray starts up and it starts going haywire catching metal from everywhere that is not nailed down. Thankfully it stops before it can do any more sadism and Chip blows Gadget off because it might hurt someone. NO?! REALLY?! Dale then notices that Myron has disappeared and the Rangers storm off to find him because he might be in trouble as we pan up to see the RR logo on top of the door sliced by a bottle cap. UH OH! This is going to get even more surreal now. So we head into the skies in the Ranger Helicopter as Monty wants the Rangermobile and even Gadget questions that as she gets off golly #4 for the episode at the six and a half minute mark; after three and a half minutes of creepy, awesome golly free action. And what is with the black spot on Gadget's front tooth?
I think she need to visit a dentist even more than Greg Manson does right now. See; they are going down to the vents via the gyro-mobile which is a giant sphere ball with plungers to use as wheels. HAHA! Memo to stereotype: Take this awesome crap and LIKE IT! And of course she miscalculates the fact that the wall doesn't exist in the sewer and the gyro-mobile crashes onto the floor with a sick MAN-SIZED bump and it is still intact! That thing is tougher than Steve Williams! They are somehow back in the packaging factory with no context whatsoever. Oh please don't screw this one up Wang! The Rangers pop out as Gadget proclaims that she can fix it and Dale blows it off. Chip wonders where Myron could be as somehow appears out of nowhere behind the gyro-mobile loosen a screw the a screwdriver and it's clearly Bubbles practicing the fine art of not being seen as he tips over bottles like they were dominoes. The bottle roll like logs as the Ranger bail back into the gyro-mobile on instinct and it goes backwards up the wall as the bottle shatter on impact. About damn time something like that happened; which renders Sun Woo even more useless now. Gadget plungers up the ceiling and the springs and screws come loose as the Rangers are worried completely now as they are stuck up the ceiling. Well; at least this isn't Gadget's fault, but then again it's understandable if the Ranger think otherwise since they didn't see WHO sabotaged the controls.
The thing explodes and we get a really dramatic free fall (even by DTVA standards minus Kit's falls from the Iron Vulture) as Gadget grabs onto the blue seat and gets off golly #5 for the episode nearly eight minutes in. She admits that this is not working well after all which is true to a degree, but since I judge on episode quality, I disagree totally with her since this is AWESOME BABEE! We pan up to Zipper as he is hanging on for dear life and Monty blows him off because he can fly see. Geez; rub it in why don't ya you Aussie Stereotype. Zipper gets the LIGHTBULB OF BLOODY CLAIRTY and squeaks as he flies away to become the blasting cap for everything Gadget does from now on in this episode. Zipper flies over and grabs the white blanket to use as a cushion; but has trouble pulling it out as the plunger is losing it's grip. Suspense?! Drama?! I thought Eisner disallowed THAT! Worse off; that broken glass is like spikes in Mortal Kombat if you catch my drift here. The plunger lets go; but Zipper manages to get the blanket over the undamaged bottles just in time to allow the Rangers a soft landing and then Zippers get a sick case of whiplash and falls dead into the blanket with his face covered. UH OH! Everyone recovers as Dale blows off Gadget's invention again and then Monty is horrified as he sees Zipper dead on the blanket. HOLY CRAP?! Monty goes over and tries to get Zipper to respond and Zipper manages to squeak weakly as the whiplash has clearly injured him good. That was really nasty as Gadget goes all Kit Cloudkicker on us and blames herself. Man; she is Kit's teacher. No wonder Kit Cloudkicker kicked her ass a year later as she walks away; but the Rangers to their credit don't attack her for it which increases my respect for them a notch.
So we return to Ranger Headquarters with the shot of the Ranger Plane outside and then inside the dining room as Zipper is eating on a chair with a polka dot pillow as Monty is spoon feeding him. Ah! Isn't that so damn cute and awesome?! I wish I could go back to those days.....Yeah; that makes me sound like a man child; so let's continue on. Gadget then steals all of the tools from the Rangers when they are using them and puts them into her tool box and then blames herself again for everything. Monty tries to make her sound better; but Gadget proclaims that she is through inventing and walks out. Oh man; that is just cruel of her to self-harm herself like that. Kit stole that one for Bullethead Baloo and did a twist to it. So we go inside the kitchen as Monty is cooking another one of his recipes from his BS story adventures as he is using the pepper shaker to shake pepper into the red bowl. He tastes the cheese chowder of doom as the chipmunks and Zipper enter in their night gowns yawning as Monty is making hot cream of cheese which the Rangers blow off. HEE HEE! I think they are catching on as Gadget walks in and waves goodbye to them and they casually say goodbye to her back which pretty much seals the fate of the group right there. And no LIGHTBULB OF BLOODY CLAIRTY is going to help the males as Gadget proclaims that she is quitting the Rescue Rangers. Oh man; that means Chip is the ONLY one who hasn't quit on them and he's the BOR-ING one! Monty goes over trying to convince that it is a bad reason to blame his cooking for her to quit. What a freakin idiot this Aussie Stereotype is?! Anyone with an IQ of above 10 can figure out why she's quitting. Gadgets get off golly #6 for the episode 10 and a half minutes in as she states the obvious of why she is quitting.
She basically proclaims that she is quitting because she cannot live up to her inventing skills and she sheds tears in a really dramatic moment and I'm very impressed with the writers here. I'm not in tears; but I feel very sorry for her in this case because she tries. Oh lord she tries; but her execution seems so off that it would cause more harm. And it's not because she cannot live to her name; she's upset that she nearly killed Zipper even though Zipper basically did it to himself on the whiplash. And it was Bubbles that destroyed the invention; not Gadget which makes this scene more painful. This is the most emotional moment in the series without question and it is effective. However; I must point out that it didn't quite tear jerk me the way Home Is Where The Heart Is did simply because Gadget is 18 years old or above and it doesn't have the same effect as with Kit since he's 12 years old and really did nothing to deserve his fate as an orphan and really didn't know the entire world in full since he was exposed to the very worst it had to offer.
Kit is the most lucky character in DTVA and that makes the emotion even more painful to shallow. Chip pleads for Gadget not to quit; but cannot think of anything to respond as Myron busts in and faints on his face. The Rangers this time help him up as Gadget tells Chip to get some water and leave her be as Chip cannot respond and decides to bail to get the water. Disney Caption is a complete asshole because Chip said but..but.. not I..I.. Chip returns with a glass of water and Monty tries to snap Myron out of it as Myron sips some water. Gadget gives one final goodbye which sounds more subdued than it should be and walks out to officially end the segment 11 and a half minutes in. Gadget quitting the Rangers isn't edgy by any means since Dale and Monty have quit the Rangers in this series before this episode rant. However; what happens next might very well be and it actually sets up a foreshadow to an angle that sealed another show's fate....
After the commercial break; we see the rain pelting down hard on the city alley which is supposed to be symbolic of Gadget's woes; but the slightly cheery music taints it a bit. He pan down to see Gadget on a wooden box sobbing so badly that it makes me realize how talented Sally Struthers was as an actress. I have heard Sally and she can cry well. Tress might have a voice range; but Sally runs rings all over her since she CAN act. We then see Gadget run off into the rain as then we notice the Cola Cult mice marching along using kazoos. Okay; this cult is so cooky even by cooky standards. Gadget follows them sighing as the chant of Koo-Koo Cola marches on. Somehow I think this proves parent group's point about ads brainwashing kids since the writers are writing storylines around it. PopTop stops the band and they crash into him in a funny spot and PopTop goes over to Gadget because he heard her crying. Gadget explains that she doesn't belong anymore and PopTop feels sorry for her; but that's no problem because she can belong in the Cola Cult. I sense Peggy is pushing the panic button now. I have even heard conflicting reports that this was an anti-drug/anti-gang episode; but it's too goofy to be one and it only makes kids think that these gangs are cool. I mean; who wouldn't want to be in THIS cult?!
Gadget walks with him and Gadget isn't sure getting off golly #7 of the episode 12 and a half minutes in. She accepts the offer since she needs to get out of the rain as we cut to the street in front of the Koo-Koo bottling factory (I guess they are in Penscola Florida which provides evidence for me concerning the Miami Vice connection to this series) as the Cult followers enter through DA...HOLE along with the Rangers and Myron wearing the white togas. Sadly; Monty is blowing their cover easily since his blue sweater is still clearly showing. I guess the white undershirt is too small for him. Monty blows it off because they hiked across town just to look like technicolor cheerleaders. And somehow Nintendo thought THIS angle was too offensive when Elite Beat Agents was released? Granted the Japanese name wouldn't have pass muster; but how is Elite Beat Cheer offensive? Use female cheerleaders instead so that the thing makes sense and doesn't offend Americans as much. Monty's crack is on the Joseph and The Techincolor Dreamcoat play I remember seeing in Gatez Brook Junior School 15+ years ago. Myron pokes on Monty and the Rangers bail behind the glass bottles of doom as they are here to find out what Myron is up to and find Gadget.
Monty then proclaims that they already did as we cut to the front of the stage area as PopTop is throwing Gadget's toolbox into the FIZZED CAN OF ACIDIC DEATH because she'll be relieved of the burdens of his past life. Oh man; this whole thing is getting more surreal and more awesome as I see it more. The Six Pack version rises on the pulley and it gets dunked into the soda bucket as Monty proclaims that Gadget has left to join the Cola Cult. I can just hear it now: WHAT MESSAGE DOES THIS SEND TO CHILDREN?! PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN! Somehow; that statement makes more sense today and for religion that is NOT a good sign for them. This is the G-Rated version of PZ Meyers wet dream on religion which somehow is a lot more plausible now that I think about it. C&D argument #4321 ensues because we just had to pin the blame on someone. I call it a draw between Monty, Chip and Dale. Zipper ; who was the one who nearly got killed and that gave the Gadget the reason to leave had the most sympathy for her. Sadly; Bubble arrives in shadows and the Rangers bail and hide away in various places until they hide inside the six pack dunking fizz cans of doom and Bubble outsmarts them and shuts the door on them. Now there is a big brain fart if I ever saw one. The pulley rises them up and then drops them into the BUCKET OF ACID which is only soda as Monty drinks up.
The six pack can drop down the trap door as the Rangers are now under soda. HAHA! The trap door opens onto the side and the Rangers plus Myron spray out and then drop right in front of the treasure. Well; the acid soda thing is an Urban Legend; so there you go as the Rangers' toga is now orange along with their hair. Orange you glad it's not banana flavored. AHHAHAHAHAHA! I'm SHOCKED Rhinokey didn't steal that one. Zipper squeaks as Monty goes over to the far side of the area and there is Gadget's toolbox sitting on the thing. Chip then declares that the fizz is a fraud and the cult is really a bunch of thieves. NO?! REALLY?! Doesn't that sound like...umm....the Religious Right?! No wonder the Southern Baptists complained. Maybe I did overplay the terrorism thing with Kit and TaleSpin way too much after all? Sure; what Kit did was really bad; but this is somehow slightly scarier and it becomes even more so as we cut back to a shot of Gadget getting showered with orange soda as she chants the Koo Koo Cola chant like a zombie. Can this get any more creepy and awesome? And people wonder why Gargoyles and TaleSpin pushed the envelope so much in their runs?! Gadget somehow has her vest stay purple while PopTop giggles on the lever (WRONG LEVER!); but on the next shot she is all orange as she sulks that this is not working right. See also gets off golly #8 for the episode 15 minutes in after two and a half minutes of golly free creepiness. Gadget walks off as PopTop goes to her trying to explain to her to give it more time and Gadget proclaims that she is done and wants out. However; Bubbles (Jim Cummings clearly now) comes up from behind and Gadget is horrified.....
Post Production Glitch #1: Half second black slug to annoy me...Moving on....
We cut back to inside the treasure room of doom as Chip wants a way out and in comes Bubbles as we welcomes them to Fizz Land and he has Gadget brought in by two guards with candy canes. Okay; that is a fashion faux pas to say the least as they throw Gadget on her ass inside. Gadget runs over to the tool box and demands answers on what is going on. She also gets off golly #9 for the episode. I smell new record commencing here. Chip proclaims that PopTop is stealing the donations and then the ninja mice with candy canes come in with PopTop and throw him into the gold coin as Bubbles turns on him! HOLY CRAP?! I didn't that THAT SWEVRE coming! Bubbles steals the bottle cap staff (what a bastard?!) as he basically calls PopTop a deluded soul for believing in this stupidity. He calls him fizz face as Bubbles decided to profit from it as PopTop cements the babyface turn by proclaiming that he was tricked and only wanted his souls to have some place to belong. That's a real interesting twist to have a true babyface instead of a heel turn babyface because a bigger monster heel took over. Now Bubbles is the leader and he then admits that he sabotaged Gadget in order to break her spirit and make her quit the Rangers. Major, major heel heat for that as Gadget is SHOCKED and APPALLED as she gets golly #10 for the episode sixteen and a half minutes in. Gadget grabs the tool box as Bubble proclaims that he won't let her ride in it again as Monty rolls up his sleeves to get ready to fight. The Rangers remind them who they are and Bubble trumps that as the Ninja Mice with plastic swords, purple candy canes and bottle cap stars (around 20 of them) surround the Rangers; but Gadget escapes through the crushed can door before the caps can hit her. Bubbles decides to let her go since she won't be coming back. That is the fatal mistake of the episode for Bubbles right there. I'm calling it now. Purple Candy Canes? What's up with that?! Bubbles laughs badly as the Rangers are surrounded with creepy organ music to end the segment seventeen minutes in....
After the commercial break; we go to outside as Chip, Dale, Monty, Zipper, Myron and PopTop are inside capped empty soda bottles. Zippers tries to un cap the bottle; but no dice. Monty is thankful that Gadget escaped; but Chip wants one of Gadget's inventions to escape as Bubbles enters and taps on the bottles with the staff as he asks for last request..like a drink of soda and then laughs badly as we fade to black again. What is with these black slugs today?! Anyhow; we return to Ranger Headquarters outside AFTER HAPPY HOUR (Read: After dark) as hammering metal is beckoning as we go inside to see Gadget tap on the hammer and nail on the gyro-mobile one more time and it doesn't screw up. She climbs inside and it's Rescue Ranger away nearly eighteen minutes as the rocket rides away stage left. So we get the scene changer as we cut to the stage with Bubbles as the Six Pack Bottles (with the Rangers inside) is raised on the pulley and they are all corked as Bubbles proclaims that the trap door is staying trapped and there will be no air for them to breathe and they will die, DUH!! Bubbles addresses the crowd of followers as he proclaims that PopTop won't miss the ultimate fizzing as he pops the tape in and we replay the entire song again just to bring the surrealness up to unbearable levels now.
The followers all get fizzed as the Six Pack Bottles of Doom get lowered into the bucket. This is just plain unreal and scary. And somehow; I'm supposed to boo Bubbles out of the building now?! Is Rob Paulsen singing or something since it sounds like him when the line bottled in Penscola is sang. The parachuting soda bottles are just plain creepy now that I have seen similar efforts with religious groups with Left Behind: Eternal Forces which is a game I described on Live Journal long ago as one of the most disgusting and scariest games I have ever seen in my life. And then the television fizzles out and Bubble hears the rumble and now he..is..so..dead..now! And here comes the gyro-tank as the Ninja Soda Mice jump down and knock boxes down to do the bottle logjam again ; but the gyro-tank counters by turning on it's side and plunger up the boxes. The Ninja Soda Mice throw their candy cane spears and they are deflected. It's a bunch of purple candy canes. What did you expect? Gadget lifts the hatch and she wants to get really rough now as she puts on the goggles and pops back in. Now you know she is SERIOUS BABEE!
The followers are stunned as Bubbles gets mad and bangs his staff on the cans to order the followers to chant; but the followers no sell since there is about 500 mice and one Bubbles. Bubbles then marches and sings half decently. It's Jim Cummings; what did you expect?! It just doesn't work without a bad singer. The Gyro Tank continues moving down the floor as the Ninja Soda Mice Bottle Cap Throwers get into position. The tank stops and Gadget pops down onto the floor with her commando crossbow. If you think the makeshift one makes her look like a badass; wait until I can rant on Puffed Rangers on Youtube someday. The mice throw the bottle caps and Gadget counters with her Magno-Ray (on top of her head, natch) and the bottle caps return and force the mice to duck which allows Gadget her opening with the crossbow plunger. Which has a bag and the mice are bagged in polka dots. As opposed to wearing orange soda stained ninja outfits?! I call that one a draw. Gadget blows them off for making her look bad (YAY!) as now I can safely boo Bubbles out of the building now. And not because he cannot sing badly to save his life.
We return to Bubbles crappy bad singing as the followers are still no selling this as we pan over northwest to see Monty suffering. HAHA! Now I cannot boo Bubbles anymore when the Aussie Stereotype is getting sappy sang to death. Chip then notices his saving grace as Gadget hops down on her plunger feet and thus the awesomeness level goes up a notch. Bubbles notices her and breaks the staff. HE BROKE THAT AWESOME STAFF?! YOU BASTARD!! Bubbles tries the old bottlecap throwing trick; but Gadget counters with the Magno-Ray (HEE! HEE!) and it cuts the bottle tops with the Rangers in bottles. Now that is perfect deflecting aim there Gadget love as Monty gives the thumbs up. Please use a bottle cap to knock him out Gadget love; I don't want him to ruin your moment in the sun in any way. Gadget thanks him and uses the remote control as the wall breaks and in comes the gyro tank plungering around as the followers all bail like scalded mice. Bubbles orders his follower to kick Gadget's ass because she's not one of them and Gadget counters that Bubbles is a crook. You know; the Bubbles isn't one of them would have worked better if the mice no sold Bubbles the whole time. Gadget uses the remote to allow the gyro tank to bump the BUCKET OF ACID away as is shows a hole in the floor which happens to show the vault of goodies inside.
Interesting Moment #2: I have been proven wrong again! Kit Cloudkicker is NOT the first person to say OH MY GOD for real in a DTVA show. When a mouse notices his necklace he actually says Oh my God. And guess what? Disney Captions actually allowed him to get away with it! So Disney doesn't like child characters taking God's name in vain like Kit did in A Baloo Switcheroo since the mouse is an adult in this case. Wow...just wow...
Gadget invokes the grappling rope plunger on the television and slides down and sticks onto the television with her plunger feet. Bubbles has had it and invokes the bottle opener! About damn time he used a kick ass item as a weapon and he swipes away Gadget's plunger gun. Oh; you just pissed her and me off there Bubbles! BOO HISS! So Gadget counters with the Magno-Ray and flips the openers like a thrown spear onto the top of pop can causing a hole as Bubbles sells fear. For about three seconds as he goes over and struggles to uncork the opener. Bad move there you crappy bad singer as he pops it out and he faces the GYSER OF ORANGE DEATH! HAHA! Told you that was a bad idea. Then Gadget comes down and starts opening cans of soda left and right as Bubbles gets fizzed and cream by the sprays of soda in a juggling motion. Did I mention that Wang Films absolutely rocks in animation here? Jolly Molly who? The Rangers cheer for death as Gadget pops the grape soda (oh the irony?!) and Bubbles gets thrown into the BUCKET OF ACID. HAHA!
The soda whirlpools as we discover that Bubbles cannot swim. Ooops. We then cut to the stage as the Rangers have finally dried off and changed clothes apparently as PopTop proclaims that this is the end of the Cola Cult as he dusts his thimble off. Gadget proclaims that it might be the end of the cult; but that doesn't mean the end of a decent group that needs to belong together while getting off golly #11 for the episode to break that record at the 21 minute mark. After five minute of golly free surrealness. Gadget gives off the moral lesson of the episode and then we fade to black to end at 21:18. Wow; what a weak ending all things considered. However; that is not enough for what this episode truly deserves both quality and historically as it lived up to the hype and then some. And now we know Kit Cloudkicker was watching this episode since watching Gadget being awesome is not the ONLY thing he took from this episode (Baloo Switcheroo anyone?). Not even Sindy McKay could ruin this episode. By the way; Kevin Hopps and Tad Stones wrote the Cola Cult Song and the music was done by the same folks who did the Rescue Rangers theme song; not Silversher and Silversher who usually does the songs for DTVA minus some of the theme songs. ***** (100%).
THE REVIEW LINE
Wow...just wow. I knew this episode was a classic; but wow. The writing was excellent, the animation was dead on; there was few logic breaks to speak of, Monty was a non-factor and Gadget's performance was the best in the entire series without question. Not even Sindy McKay could ruin this episode; nor could a slightly weak ending after an awesome finish nor Bubbles Crappy bad singing. However; the creep factor in this episode was in evidence throughout this episode after 20 years of hindsight because this episode was shown years before religious cults were a big rage in the mass media and still are today in fact on blogs throughout the net. I'm sure you have heard of the famous slaughter in Waco Texas, or Heaven's Gate, or even as recently as Fred Phelps WBC church which is flirting with true cult status at this point. What makes this even creepier is that this cult is a likeable cult. Only Bubbles and his Ninja Soda Mice were the evil religious people as most of the mice including the leader PopTop were merely misguided babyface mice who wanted to belong in the grand scheme of things which is what we all yearn. Ask Kit about it.
Gadget quitting the Rangers because she felt that she almost killed Zipper wasn't edgy since she does that sadism all the time with the other Rangers and Monty and Dale have quit the Rangers before. Joining a cult is edgy and if Gadget was 12 years old like Kit was when he joined a terrorist group like the Air Pirates; it would have been even edgier to the point where Eisner might have panicked. Thankfully; the cult was a babyface cult with a few heel characters like Bubbles trying to steal stuff, but it does make the whole thing rather confusing, creepy and awesome all at the same time. The Cola Cult song is also surreal from a cult angle and from an ironic standpoint of commercial ads brainwashing children (according to people like Peggy Charmon anyway). It was a beautiful ride that just clicked on all fronts. And I owe the Ranger fans and everyone an apology for the hyperbole over Kit's historic moment in A Baloo Switcheroo when he yelled Oh my God; and I made such a big deal over it since I didn't realize it until I saw the scene where the mice followers see the evidence of the vault of stolen goods. Kit's still historic on a “child takes his good name in vain” level; but not “first character in DTVA to take his name in vain” level. You may now mug me good....
...So where to rank this episode. This is the undisputed best episode in Rescue Rangers; without fail. Good Times, Bat Times is the second closest in the series. In terms of DTVA episodes; I rank it around the fifth best episode in DTVA history. It's difficult to pick between 2-15 since there is three times as many episodes in early DTVA that can be put in those position. I still see Plunder and Lightning as #1 for historic and quality reasons (the only thing that it could be better was keeping the artwork consistent.); but you cannot go wrong with Cola Cult as an entertaining episode as long as you don't take it seriously as a cult. Sadly; with Eisner marketing this to 6-12 year old's; that can be a problem. Thankfully; Disney doesn't see it as a big deal compared to other episodes in DTVA. So; last up is Does Palov Ring a Bell and there is the impossible act to follow to say the least. So.....
Thumbs way up for this episode and I'll see you next time.
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