Hey guys! We’re closing in on the end of Season 1, so next week I’m only going to do one episode, then take a week off before diving in to season 2. This is mostly because I’m going to be away week after next, but also just to give myself some breathing room.
Anyway, let’s talk about this week before we do anything else.
Season 1: Episode 19: “Monkey Ninjas in Space”
There are so many things that I love about this episode. Just it’s title is sort of everything great about the show. Back when the show was new, I always loved Monkey-Fist, and Ron’s ties to the mystical Monkey Power, and the idea of Monkey Ninjas is so bonkers fun, and I’m a fan of sending just about anyone into space…so basically this ads up to a winner.
Monkey Fist has retrieved a Golden Banana, which when placed before an ancient scroll will reveal the secret to becoming the “Ultimate Monkey Master,” which is, obviously, what he wants to be. The Banana releases the spirit of a the “Monkey Monk” (heh) who says that they need to follow the smartest monkey to the stars, making the master, “unstoppable.” The smartest monkey turns out to be Frederick, a trained astronaut monkey, under the guidance of who else? Dr. James Possible!
Mr. Dr. P. is excited to bring Kim to the annual “Rocket Booster’s Day.” He founded the group when Kim was little to show her that science was cool, and is having trouble accepting that his Kimmy-Cub just isn’t that into the whole thing anymore. Luckily Ron is super into it, or at least into the rocket shaped cookies that they’ll get to eat.
There’s a fun bit of animation where Ron is actually bouncing with Glee in the back of the car as they drive to the lab.
Frederick immediately identifies Ron as a friend, and as Ron is terrified of him, this leads to some good comedy. When Monkey Fist attacks and insists that Frederick lead him and the monkey ninjas to the stars, he goes along, in order to protect his friends. (Frederick also speaks with a computer, look, there’s a lot of monkey related suspension of disbelief in this episode.) Ron, of course, winds up in space and Kim and Frederick rescue him.
Kim also gets up the courage to tell her father that she’s growing up and he begrudingly accepts it. It’s actually one of the most organic, “Kim’s teen girl life” and “Kim’s hero life,” episodes in the series, and that’s one of the reasons it’s one of my favorites.
It is revealed to the monkey ninjas after Monkey Fists’s apprehension that in fact, the “Monkey Master” is “RON Stoppable,” not “Unstoppable.” Again, this is an important world building detail that becomes a really big deal later on.
Season 1: Episode 20: “Ron The Man”
You want to know what’s fun about watching KP after years of studying feminism in an academic setting and reading tons of articles dissecting popular culture from a feminist view point, and even writing a few pieces of that kind myself?
EVERYTHING, that’s what. But in particular, this episode, which I recall finding a little bit irritating when I first saw it, becomes revelatory. Kim’s frequent saving of Ron, as well as their mostly platonic until the very end of the show friendship, are fun subversion of genre tropes, sure, but “Ron The Man,” actually spends a whole episode dwelling on what being a man means, a culture and attitude of toxic masculinity, and why being who you are, regardless of traditional gender roles can be pretty awesome.
Plus it’s funny.
Anyway, Drakken and Shego are scaling a mountain to steal something called a “pan dimmensional vortex inducer,” only to thwarted by Doctor Dementor, who, is Drakken’s other nemesis, but as an evil doer. He’s frustrated, especially when he sees Dementor’s, big strong, competent henchmen. Shego suggests that Drakken go see Jack Hench, a villain consultant, but Drakken balks at the cost. So Shego decides to go steal some new HenchCo tech, with her boss’s blessing.
Meanwhile, in Middleton, the students are presenting projects on their personal histories, and Ron talks about how he became, “The Man,” pointing to his Bar Mitzvah as the true proof, when it’s revealed that his Rabbi never signed his Bar Mitzvah certificate, he has a crisis. It doesn’t help that Barken points out that he’s constantly being saved by a girl and he’s small and weak. He talks to his parents who assure him that he’s fine as he is, as do Kim and Rufus.
Wade buzzes in with the call that Jack Hench has asked for their help, and it turns out that Shego stole a ring that provides instant muscle enhancement. Ron uses the ring to feel more manly, but everyone else hates not just Ron’s ridiculous new physique, but his cocky attitude.
Drakken, meanwhile, brings his new buff Henchmen to Las Vegas to steel back the Pan Dimmensional Vortex Inducer from Dementor. Their fight is interupted by Kim, and Ron runs into his rabbi, who assures him that he can be a man, without the bulk, and it’s this realization that saves the day.
Boo-Yas and Nacos
- Elliot Gould and Andrea Martin voice Ron’s parents. Just in case this voice cast didn’t rule enough. Patton Oswalt is Doctor Dementor.
- When Kim convinces her father to let her take his new ship into space it’s a great moment for them.
- Ron’s appreciation of those Rocket Cookies does not get old, throughout the episode.
- Little Kid: Are you here to babysit us?
Kim: No. (It’s not a great joke just, delivered perfectly by Christy Carlson Ramano.)
- I love Shego in this episode, she and Kim get really competitive and it’s really fun.
- The Vegas, Las Vegas hotel where Dementor is hilarious, and actually very close to my experience of the city last month.
- Mr. Stoppable: I prepared a lot of advice about manhood.
Ron: Huh, well, you can talk to Rufus, he’ll brief me.
- Ron: Kim, how often do you save me?
Kim: I don’t know, sometimes? Frequently.
- Monique is immediately disturbed by Ron’s muscles, because Monique is always right. (Have I not made it clear that Monique is my favorite.)
- Monique: Since when do you care what Brick and those other guys think?
Ron: Since…right now, when they accepted me.