Rocket Power: "New Squid On The Block"Season 1 Episode 1
Airdate: August 16, 1999 If you're anything like me, you remember the countless hours you spent on your skateboard as a child, going off huge ass ramps and pulling spins with the degrees up in the thousands as your totally rad friends cheered you on. And when your stunts got too crazy and you bailed, giant seizure inducing letters with wacky slogans such as “MAJOR BEEF” would
Then you’ll remember this
actually happened in Rocket Power, that you suck at skateboarding, and that
your life is not nearly as extreme as the lives of the kids in the show.
Rocket Power was a show that most of us who were born in the early 90’s remember as being ridiculously awesome and over the top with its Southern Californian stereotypes, and after realizing that Rocket Power is more than 10 years old (holy SHIT), I decided to take a look back and see if it’s as intense and awesome as I remember it.
Before I go on, let me just comment on how the theme song always pissed me off because of the horribly drawn, miscolored characters in half of the clips. I don’t know if the creators were lazy or if this was how the show was originally going to look, but if it’s the latter, I’m glad they changed it because the eyes of millions of kids would have probably bled dry after staring at this for hours.
Otto and Twister are tearing up a half-pipe while Reggie records to get some screenshots for her “Zine”. I’ve never heard anybody refer to a magazine in that fashion before Rocket Power, and I’ve never heard anybody do it again. Way to create a failure of a slogan, Reggie.
Anyway, Otto and Twister defy the laws of physics as they mess up their McVarials or whatever the fuck they’re trying to pull and bail out. Unfortunately the large seizure inducing letters don’t come up, so I’m assuming the creators decided to add this schtick to the show a little bit later. Reggie shows the guys how it’s done, portraying her equality as a female and foreshadowing those annoying “POWER GIRL SURFERS” episodes where all the girl characters in the show have surf contests and eat cupcakes and talk about their feelings or something. I don’t remember what went on in those but they were probably annoying and lacked Tito. Otto makes a joke about Twister being the “Squid”, because they haven’t met Sam yet. He then follows up by saying “It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta be the Squid!”
The concept of Twister being the Squid before the kids met Sam always kind of boggled my mind. We have three kids hanging out with no other friends, two of them being siblings. The kid who’s not part of the family gets shat on all the time and called a name he hates. Twister must really have no self esteem at all if he’s taking this like such a champ. There are obviously no other kids in all of Ocean Shores who like him if he’s hanging out with these two, and Otto and Reggie are seemingly totally fine with being the the big fish in a small pond rather than being smaller fish in a big pond.
Sam moves in across the street and the kids make fun of him because they see his computer. I guess this was 10 years ago when every 8 year old wasn’t attached to their own laptop and cell phone, so I’ll let it fly. After having a hearty laugh and calling him a nerd, they scheme to draft the kid onto their “quad hockey team”. These kids really ARE a bunch of pricks. We are then introduced to the Stimpletons, the wacky next door neighbor couple made up of a grumpy old man fed up with these crazy kids hanging out by his house and a way-too-happy woman to comically compliment him.
The kids are repairing their skateboards, when Twister spouts out: “I can’t believe how much work a skateboard needs!” If Twister is good enough to do crazy fucking McTwists, how has he not yet realized that skateboards require maintenance? Unless he’s only been skating for a day, which wouldn’t be too far fetched for the show anyway.
The kids take Sam down to the pier to play some hockey, and it’s soon evident that he’s horrible. Wiping out several times, Sam is not doing too well while Twister snipes in with some subtle, snarky comments such as: “The bad people are gone now, you can go back to being a lame-o”, “Think fast big boy” and “Dude, that was the biggest demonstration of lameness I’ve EVER seen”. As awesome as Twister is (the best character, in fact), he’s really coming off as a total dick. Personally, I think Twister is just venting his frustrations which have built up over the years of him having only two friends who are constantly antagonizing him, but I digress.
Later, back at home, Sam shows Reggie a finished copy of her “Zine”. Twister hits a slapshot which somehow bounces off like 40 different things and still retains enough momentum to dangerously sail towards Sam’s face. Even so, Sam nonchalantly sticks a hand up which stops the puck in its path even though the velocity of it probably would have caused his wrist to snap. The kids are fucking stoked, and Sam becomes their new goalie just in time for their crazy match with Twister’s older brother’s team.
Team Rocket is kicking ass, and the older kids are getting really pissed off. Lars’ robust friend in the red shirt is wigging out because they’re older and should be winning by principle, and the creepy guy in the middle starts incoherently mumbling. I now realize that the creators probably made Lars and his friends creepy and devious looking so kids watching the show wouldn’t pay attention to how much of a bunch of pricks the Rocket kids are. Lars is dirty looking and missing a tooth, so he’s automatically more of a bad guy than Twister or the crew could ever be.
The kids launch the puck into Mr. Stimpleton’s mailbox, which is somehow engineered to be a miniature model of his actual house. Nearly soiling himself out of excitement, Lars claims that “According to the international rules of street hockey, you lose the puck, you lose the game”. I didn’t know there was an actual set of rules for pre-teen street hockey, and there’s a good chance he made them up. Either way, who are the kids to question a 12 year old when they’re only like 9?
Luckily, Sam was hanging out with Mr. Stimpleton earlier in the episode and knows how the contraption works. He ends up freeing the puck to Lars’ chagrin and the kids go on to win the game.
In an ending that makes no sense whatsoever, Sam is rewarded by receiving the title of Squid. Twister looks like Christmas has come early because his days of being the group bitch are over, and Sam is happy because he finally has friends, thus beginning a series which probably lent a huge boost to the skateboarding industry in the early 2000’s and caused thousands of wrists to explode in pain as kids tried to do the tricks from the show.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.