It’s crazy to think that a show that started with five adults pretending to be teenagers in a slew of colorful costumes cut together with footage of a different show in Japan would ever gain traction, but the Power Rangers managed to pull it off for more than twenty-five years.
As a kid who grew up on the show and original movie, the franchise has an impact on the person I am today, and taught me valuable life lessons.
1. Escalate as appropriate
While one could argue the repetitive plots of each episode of Power Rangers was just bad writing, it taught kids an important lesson: Don’t take more than you need. Each episode went practically the same: the Rangers fought weak bad guys without their powers, and then fought the monster of the week with their powers, and then the monster would get big and the Rangers would use their giant Megazords (zords) to finally finish the creature.
Even at the age of 7, I wondered why the Power Rangers didn’t just use the zords to immediately crush the tiny monsters and get back to making out behind the bleachers as high school kids. As an adult, I realized it’s all about escalation — it’s the same reason we don’t drop a nuke when we disagree with another country and why we don’t immediately start punching someone in the face when they hurt our feelings. There has to be an opportunity to stop the issue before it gets worse, and communicate issues before pulling out the big guns. Sure, this failed in the show every single time but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.
It’s simple: Don’t stab your neighbor when they accidentally take your mail, and don’t call down a giant zord when a Puddy jumps out from behind a tree.
2. Get involved
In the movie alone, the Rangers go skydiving for charity, hang out with friends and go roller blading — all before noon. In the weekly show, each teenager is actively involved in clubs, projects and various social circles while still managing to find time to go to high school and save the world.
As a kid watching the show, I knew I could do more than just go to class and play with action figures in the evening — there is way too much to see and do out there. I thank the silly show for encouraging me to pick up hobbies in my free time.
3. Always use teamwork
Arguably the main lesson of the show, there is no substitute for teamwork. Let it be for the school science fair or for stopping a giant evil pig that ate half of your friends, most activities go better when you have other people helping out.
4. When opportunity knocks…
Being a Power Ranger ain’t easy. With daily near-death experiences, constant violence, on-call availability 24/7 and the need to lie to everyone about it all, it takes a lot of courage to say yes to being a Ranger. However, each teen selected still manages to power through, because it’s an opportunity granted to few. Sometimes it can be hard, but there are amazing experiences out there for all of us. Even if the opportunity itself may seem ludicrous, it can result in untold possibilities.
I’m not sure if Zordon gives recommendation letters, however.
5. Don’t be afraid to use body language
The Power Rangers take this one a bit far. Between having expressionless faces due to giant helmets and trying to maintain children’s attention, the Power Rangers are expressive with their hands (with sound effects included). While they may be a bit over the top for the rest of us, though, there is still an important lesson here — don’t be afraid to be expressive. Use your hands. Strike a pose. Make a presence. Get out there and show the world who you are.
6. Stay healthy
Getting punched repeatedly in the head isn’t healthy, but every superhero has to deal with it. However, what they do in their off hours is what matters. While Batman skips sleep and broods in his cave, the Rangers have active social lives, go to bed at reasonable times, exercise regularly and eat a ridiculous amount of fruit smoothies. Hey, anyone needs antioxidants after fighting Rita and Zed.
7. Avoid falling in love with someone on your team
Remember when Tommy and Kimberly were a thing? Remember when Kat came, got turned into a literal (and evil) cat, screwed with their relationship and almost destroyed the Power Rangers, because Kimberly and Tommy couldn’t handle it? Yeah, don’t bang your teammates, everyone.
8. Own your brand
Upon being hired, each Ranger is assigned a color and zord. Once that happens, you don’t see the teen turn back — they own that animal’s motions, they wear their color in their uniform and daily clothing and they even have themed weapons and combat moves. That’s owning a brand. While the rest of us may not to go to that extreme, it’s important to have an image you want others to see, and make it a part of who you are.
9. With great power anything is possible
When Zordon dies in the 1995 movie, the Rangers are able to bring him back with what appears to be Charka healing arts, which one has to take with a grain of salt, but what Tommy says during the scene is legit advice: With great power, anything is possible. We may not have the same powers as the Rangers, but we all have the power to do great things, make positive change and improve the world.
10. You can’t do the same thing forever
Rangers come and go. While it’s mostly due to contract disputes, for the sake of this article, let’s go with the reasons they use in the series — which vary from finding love, getting job opportunities, chances to do something unlike anything else done before… the list goes on and on. The point is, though, no one can do the same thing forever, and everyone has to move on at some point. There is too much to see and do to be limited to one job, even if that job is being a Power Ranger.
This story originally appeared in my old personal blog, Coffee Therapy.