Slash Film

Tragedy breeds fond reminiscence. In November 2022, Jason David Frank, who starred as Tommy Oliver in the 1993 live-action superhero series “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” and almost every subsequent “Power Rangers” story, died at the age of 49. Other Rangers came and went with each fantastical iteration, but fans could confidently rely on the Green Ranger — or the White Ranger. The man bore a million monikers — always present whenever the world was in peril. No official cause of death has been reported, although speculation has been unkind in its stead. In the wake of such a sobering moment, craving gentle comfort is only natural. 

That’s where we can help. The original run of the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” ran concurrently with a number of popular family sitcoms, like “Boy Meets World” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Only one of them, though, saw Frank don a set of night-black baggy clothing, not too distantly related from his more familiar gee, to do glorious battle with the legendary Jaleel White. Doesn’t sound familiar? That’s fair, it was almost 30 years ago. Stick around for a second so that we can remember a very strange episode of “Family Matters” together. 

Sci-Fi Meets Martial Arts When Skull Meets Urkel

“Family Matters” is a memorable family sitcom that originated as a spinoff from “Perfect Strangers,” a family sitcom from the mid-1980s. Hollywood’s always been doing spinoffs, friends. It’s nothing new. The story was supposed to center around the Winslow family but their squeaky little neighborhood — who was only supposed to appear in one episode — ended up stealing the show right out from under their feet. Kind of an odd beginning for Steve Urkel, the loveable trainwreck, right? Played by Jaleel White, Urkel was … a lot. Endearing and witty and hellishly destructive, Urkel’s shenanigans were quite literally boundless. 

In season 8 episode 8, entitled “Karate Kids,” Urkel steps into his transformation chamber (Oh yeah, “Family Matters” is pretty much science fiction) to become a variant of Bruce Lee so that he and his friends can fight a street gang that has taken over a local park. Any guesses as to who is part of that street gang? Jason David Frank portrays Skull, a member of the villainous street gang. We’d say that the name is a reference to a character that Tommy Oliver dealt with in the earliest days of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” but everything and everyone in the 1990s was seemingly named like a cringey gamertag, so it’s hard to really say for sure. 

Jason David Frank Knows How To Fall With Style

The ensuing brawl was just as ridiculous as it sounds. “Family Matters” let Jason David Frank flex his acrobatic and martial arts abilities in a space where he didn’t have to look cool. Frank understood the assignment, too, because he sold his shameless takedowns with the same intensity that he would pilot the Megazord. He crashed into a bench, toppling the whole thing. He crashed into a concrete building and he crashed into a spring rider (one of those outdoor rocking horse things). Between hits, he spun and kicked like a human tornado, but Urkel outmaneuvered him at every turn with the magic of plot armor and a dash of painfully outdated racial stereotypes. 

The poor guy took a cartoon-esque beating, complete with silly sound effects. He even managed to perfectly imitate the “a protagonist beat me up so badly that my head is spinning” head … spin … thing before sprawling on the ground, dazed and defeated. Is there even a name for that? There should be. 

It might have been a bit part for Frank, one that maybe he even left on the cutting room floor of memory, but those fleeting seconds of screen time are still enough to elicit a warm smile from a fan base in mourning. Hopefully, we’ll get to see Frank in action one last time, if his final movie ever gets released, that is. 

Read this next: The 15 Best ’90s Comedies Ranked

The post Power Rangers’ Jason David Frank Once Had a Playground Brawl With Fellow ’90s Icon Steve Urkel appeared first on /Film.

/Film – ‘Slash Film: Power Rangers’ Jason David Frank Once Had A Playground Brawl With Fellow ’90s Icon Steve Urkel’
Author: Cameron Roy Hall
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November 23, 2022

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