Bulk and Skull

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Bulk and Skull
Series Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (151)
Power Rangers Zeo ()
Power Rangers Turbo ()
Power Rangers in Space ()
Power Rangers Lost Galaxy () (Bulk only, cameo by Skull)
Power Rangers Wild Force () (One episode)
Power Rangers Samurai () (Bulk only, guest appearance by Skull)
First appearance Day of the Dumpster (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)
Last appearance Samurai Forever (Power Rangers Super Samurai)
Homeworld Earth
Portrayed by Paul Schrier
Jason Narvy

Bulk and Skull are fictional characters in the Power Rangers universe. They appeared as permanent cast members from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers until Power Rangers in Space. Bulk (by himself) was a recurring character in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy and Skull made a cameo appearance in the first episode, making the pair the two longest consecutively appearing characters in the program. They later returned for a Power Rangers Wild Force cameo and in Power Rangers Samurai, where Bulk is teaching Skull's son Spike.

Farkas "Bulk" Bulkmeier (Paul Schrier) and Eugene "Skull" Skullovitch (Jason Narvy), from the very beginning, provided much of the comic relief in the series, usually through an over-the-top slapstick; they came with their own background music, which Jason Narvy has said was based on Skull's laugh and "fat guy: tuba".[1] This was highlighted by their physical appearances: Bulk was heavyset and Skull was lean, similar in style to the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy. Bulk was the dominant member of the duo, and Skull would usually follow and attempt to emulate Bulk. Such is exemplified when Skull would repeat whatever Bulk had said, usually beginning with "Yeah."

MMPR pilots[edit]

In the pilot for the TV show, a gang of punk bullies included an unnamed character played by Paul Schrier. One of the gang members hits on Kimberly but she rejects his advances. This leads to the entire gang engaging in line dancing at a bowling alley with the five Rangers-to-be. Each one is disposed of by a typical gang manner, such as a generic "Punk #5" played by Paul Schrier sliding into the bowling pins when kicked in the back by Jason. Another gang member is unwittingly hit by Billy. Jason Narvy is not present in the pilot. Schrier got the role, according to him, by turning up ten minutes earlier than the other auditioning actors, so the director standing in for "Punk #5" at the audition got him to do it.[2]

In a second pilot, shown at Power Morphicon 2007, Schrier was playing a named character (Bulk) and was now the leader of the gang, which included Jason Narvy as Skull and a female punk. Narvy had originally auditioned for Billy and was called back to audition for Skull, as, according to Narvy, the actor who played "Punk #1" in the pilot was thought to look too intimidating to play a comedic character. He turned up to his audition intending to be obnoxious, as he was tired of the industry at the time, which helped get the role; Narvy and Schrier quickly bonded during rehearsals.[3]

This version of Bulk was defeated in a similar slapstick style to the show - he's eventually tied up by a skipping rope - but is more menacing than he'd be in the series, physically intimidating Kimberly and throwing aside both the female punk & Skull when they get in his way. The debut of the pilot's Bulk and Skull would end up as the ending scene in the episode "Big Sisters".[4]

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers[edit]

Bulk and Skull started out as bullies at Angel Grove High School, usually targeting the Power Rangers in the 'B plots' of the episode. They were regulars at Angel Grove's Youth Center. Their actions were motivated by greed and ego in the first season. Wacky schemes abound (such as creating an obviously-fake kung fu style called "Cockroach Kung Fu" to attempting to catch fish or claiming reward money for themselves) always ends in failure and/or humiliation. They are also frequently put in detention by Angel Grove High's somewhat-antagonistic principal, Mr. Caplan.

In early episodes, as with the second pilot, Bulk and Skull had accomplices: a female punk is with them in "Teamwork" and "Food Fight", and a black male punk in "Food Fight". Early scripts for Season 1 show the female punk was meant to be a recurring character named Sharkie. She was written into scripts up into "The Trouble With Shellshock"[5] (The name, though differently spelled, was already in use on Fox Kids).

Skull had a crush on Kimberly, and Bulk appeared to want to win Trini's heart, as well, in a few episodes. Whenever the girls were alone, they tried their best to win them over, although it resulted in Bulk and Skull's humiliation. When Kimberly and Trini with the four other Rangers, however, they referred to all six as "nerds" and "geeks" (despite the fact that Kimberly originally appeared to be ditzy and materialistic, not intellectual), and occasionally "dorks" and "losers", as well, among other insults. This group of demeaning insults and name-calling would eventually turn against them by the time of the episode "A Friend in Need", when two teenage girls call them as such throughout the episode. This was later explained by Paul Schrier himself that the two were being angry at the world and jealous of the five teens, hence the namecalling, shoving, and bullying that they originally did.

Often, the duo got themselves mixed up with some of the villains' schemes. In "Green with Evil (Part IV)", the two tried to flee the city in a bus, but were taken hostage by the giant Goldar. The Power Rangers had to summon the Megazord to save them from being thrown over a cliff. In "The Wedding", when they went to Australia with the Rangers for Spring Break, Alpha 5, who was under an evil spell, sent them to the outback, where they encountered Australian wildlife up close. After Alpha recovered from the spell and sent them back, they decided that if anyone asked, "nothing happened!" In the following episode, "Return of the Green Ranger (Part I)", the Wizard of Deception brainwashed them into going to get a lock of Tommy's hair, but failed miserably. The Wizard angrily put Bulk and Skull to sleep for their failure.

During the early part of the first season, Bulk and Skull would occasionally be presented as threats, physically intimidating or attempting to assault the Rangers or others; Bulk even had a bench press record in "A Pressing Engagement". Over time, while still being antagonists, their more aggressive nature was toned down and they would get some more sympathetic portrayals. In the early "Foul Play in the Sky", which had footage shot later in production and then edited in later, Bulk and Skull were even shown with a normal hobby (plane-spotting) and politely asking to join Kimberly; "A Pig Surprise" would have them happily looking after a pig; and in "A Ninja Encounter" in season two, when Bulk spotted a runaway baby stroller he immediately sprang into action to help out, and the duo would spend the rest of the episode looking after the baby after its father was abducted by Goldar. As noted, they would even get to save the Rangers and would sometimes be imperiled. Bulk and Skull even got to save the Rangers by fighting the Scatterbrain monster. This was also the first time the duo were seen on skateboards which, despite their generally unathletic nature, they appeared moderately skilled at.

During the second season, they attempted to discover the secret identities of the Power Rangers and repeatedly failed, eventually giving up by the time of the episode "A Friend in Need Part III". During this, Bulk and Skull started showing greater intelligence and initiative than before, coming up with complicated plans and utilising bizarre gadgets. Ironically enough, they discovered the Rangers' identities twice. At one time, they saved the Rangers when the Ranger team lost their memories and de-morphed in front of them - Bulk and Skull tricked the Scatterbrain monster to fire his amnesia beam through a prism, distorting the beam and restoring the Rangers' memories. Unfortunately, Bulk and Skull lost their short-term memories in the process due to being flung back by the amnesia beam and landing on their heads. The second time, a psychic pointed the Ranger teens out to Bulk, but he didn't believe her as they were holding a picture of the morphed Ranger team at the time just given to them by Ernie. (They would eventually learn the identities of one set of Rangers and possibly Tommy as well; see "Power Rangers in Space" and "Wild Force")

A change of direction for the duo occurred in the third season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, when they joined the Angel Grove Junior Police Force (having heard girls like men in uniform) and first met Lieutenant Stone, explicitly changing from stereotypical bullies into good natured goofs; Ernie and the Rangers expressed pride at the duo for graduating police training. Lt. Stone became a permanent character himself, frequently giving Bulk and Skull orders that they failed to perform, leading eventually to his anger (rather than just their humiliation). Despite this, Bulk and Skull were close to Lt. Stone and would be shown trying to perform police duties (albeit incompetently) and occasionally try to help people out: in "The Changing of the Zords Part 1" they rushed to save children from drowning (who weren't), in "Follow That Cab" they tried to stop a thief who'd stolen Kimberly's car and did manage to apprehend him, in "Rita's Pita" they used their own money as donations to an elderly home to cover for their mistake, and they assisted in a housing project in "Another Brick in the Wall"..

A number of season three jokes would also be based around Bulk and Skull constantly running into monsters and being comically terrified; in "The Changing of the Zords", Lt Stone finally questioned why they always seem to run into monsters. The best way to describe them is "monster magnets".

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie[edit]

Bulk and Skull participated in the charity skydive with the Ranger teens, but landed in a construction site. They're later seen during the party at Ernie's, and assist Fred and the other kids in stopping the parents of Angel Grove from leaping to their doom. When the movie ends with a celebration at Angel Grove harbor, thanking the Power Rangers for saving the world, Bulk and Skull claimed it was them who did so.

Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers[edit]

Bulk and Skull are regressed to children due to Master Vile's Orb of Doom. They would act like the bullies they were in the first season. Unlike what happened when Lord Zedd regressed time, Bulk and Skull didn't have their memories altered to believe they were already acquainted with everyone they were when Master Vile activated the orb. As a result, they didn't recognize any of the rangers other than Billy. Bulk is briefly turned into the "Brat Boy" monster by Rita and Zedd during the course of the mini-series and battles the Aquitian Rangers, but soon rebels against his masters as his human self surfaces from within, prompting Rita and Zedd to return him to normalacy in retaliation.

Paul Schrier directed a few "Mighty Morphin Alien Ranger" episodes, including "Attack of the 60' Bulk", which he also appeared in briefly, despite his character at the time being reduced to the age of a child. Schrier (under the name of Paul Schrier II) had also directed a few episodes of Power Rangers: Turbo during the first half of the season (while his character of Bulk was a chimp).

Power Rangers: Zeo[edit]

During Power Rangers Zeo, Bulk and Skull remained members of the Junior Police Force (even getting a new motorcycle with a sidecar). They remained members until Bulk's attempts to woo the police chief's daughter accidentally caused Lt. Stone to be fired. They quit the force out of loyalty to Stone and joined him when he opened his own detective agency. They later became full-fledged detectives after taking the required exams during a monster attack. They actually failed, but earned extra credit for taking the exam during a monster attack. (Having not seen the attack with their own eyes, the duo merely thought Stone was testing their resolve via elaborate methods. Upon learning the truth after getting their grades, they promptly fainted.) While they initially continued to be scared of monsters, their sub-plots would shift towards their detective work after they switched jobs. In "The Joke's On Blue", they also had to clash with a rival gang of detectives, Humphrey and Bogart, until Katherine and Tanya help expose the rival detectives as the practical jokers with the help of the owner of the novelty shop in identifying both Humphrey and Bogart as his customers, forcing the two to apologize to Robert.

Also, during this time, Bulk and Skull secretly hosted Rito and Goldar, who lost their memories after setting up the bomb that destroyed the Command Center at the end of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, adopting them as their "pets" (though the two monsters really were more like Bulk and Skull's servants). However, when Rito and Goldar regained their memories, they turned on their masters and went back to Lord Zedd and Rita.

In one episode, Skull shows he is an adept classical pianist by playing Chopin's Revolutionary Etude. While Skull enjoyed classical music, it was something of a hidden shame behind his tough guy image. Fearing mockery, he long kept his talent hidden even from Bulk. However, after seeing Skull perform at a recital, Bulk was honestly moved and praised his friend.

Perhaps Bulk and Skull's greatest achievement during their time in the series occurred during this season. In the "King for a Day" two-parter, they're accidentally trapped in Prince Gasket's prison while looking for a lost Tommy. They encountered another prisoner, a reptilian alien named Tritor, who believed them to also be great heroic warriors that Gasket had abducted. The duo play up this facade, and end up being part of Tritor's battle to bring down the prison. They get to defeat a squad of Cogs and help destroy the forcefield that trapped the Rangers in the prison. Before sending them back to Earth, Tritor says that they will be legends and honored on his homeworld of Horath (which they have just helped save). Nobody believes their later tale, except for Tommy, Katherine and Jason (who overhear them boasting about it). However, thinking they are just being further mocked, the duo storm off.

Zeo concluded with Bulk and Skull accepting an offer to work for an agency in France on a top secret mission, They departed much to the dismay and frustration of Stone. This major plot point was dropped without explanation in between Zeo and filming of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. The main reason being was that Zeo was originally the last series the duo were set to appear on, with a spin-off show being planned. However, this would be cancelled.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie[edit]

At the beginning of the movie, Bulk, Skull, and Lieutenant Stone are again seen working as police officers (the reason for this remains unexplained until the first episode of Power Rangers Turbo). Later, while on a secluded road, they are abducted by Elgar to be used as sacrifices for Maligore, scrambling their brains in the process to make them easier to deal with. When Divatox deems the pair inadequate as sacrifices, they are thrown below deck on the Subcraft. Due to the brain scramble, they come to be under the impression that they are Antonio Bandaras (Skull) and an unnamed German (Bulk), much to the annoyance of their inmates, Jason and Kimberly. In spite of their disoriented state of mind, they are able to successfully escape the Subcraft with Jason and Kimberly and are later rescued by the Power Rangers, who presumably help them restore their minds back to the way they were.

Power Rangers: Turbo[edit]

At the start of Power Rangers Turbo, Bulk and Skull are given a chance to rejoin the Police Force with Lt. Stone. Unfortunately, their assignment inadvertently brings them into contact with Elgar, who turns them into chimpanzees.

Bulk and Skull would remain chimpanzees for several episodes. They are voiced by the actors who play Bulk and Skull, however only the audience can understand them. Jerome Stone takes the chimpanzees into his care (claiming that they seem 'familiar'). They make several attempts to inform him and others of their true identities, but are unsuccessful. (They were transformed into apes so Narvy and Schrier would have time to work on a proposed spin-off series for the characters which would have seen them operate a hotel, featuring El Vez, the "Mexican Elvis" (a local personality in Southern California). The attempts never made it to a final production, and the actors returned full-time to the series.[6])

Later, four of the Rangers are shrunk by one of Divatox's monsters. They use one of her submarine's torpedoes (her way of making monsters grow) to return to normal. Bulk and Skull happened to be near the impact site and are return to normal as a result, though they are also temporarily made invisible. This state only lasts for a small number of episodes, until they finally return to fully normal. When they return, Stone asks where they've been, to which they reply, "Just monkeying around."

Out of high school and no longer on the force, Bulk and Skull needed something to do. Stone arranged for them to get jobs – ranging from pizza delivery to construction. They were always fired from them, so they usually had new jobs in every episode they appeared in. Also during this time, they got to know the second generation of Turbo Rangers. During most of the season, the Rangers outright didn't like them or simply tolerated them, but later on they seemed to like them. T.J. specifically treated them as his friends. Notably, in "Parts and Parcel", Bulk and Skull are suspected of stealing and T.J. outright states to the Rangers that he knows they wouldn't do that; as the Red Ranger, he goes on to prove them innocent.

Power Rangers in Space[edit]

In "Save Our Ship," Bulk and Skull spot a UFO approaching Earth. They end up going to work for Professor Phenomenus, who is constantly on the search for aliens on Earth. The professor immediately proved eccentric, but also quite brilliant. The trio's antics frequently saw them crossing paths with the Space Rangers (whenever they were on Earth, of course). Due to the Rangers' adventures often taking them off Earth, Bulk and Skull appeared less frequently than in previous seasons.

In "Countdown to Destruction", Bulk and Skull undergo their most noteworthy change. The Space Rangers had battled the invading forces of Astronema, but were overwhelmed and forced to retreat. Astronema demanded that the Rangers be turned over to her or else Earth would be destroyed. When other civilians openly question the Rangers' dependability, Bulk says, "The Rangers have never let us down before. We have to believe they'll be here." The next morning, the Rangers (sans Andros, who left to board the Dark Fortress) intend to turn themselves in to save Earth. However, Bulk suddenly announces he's a Ranger, prompting Skull, Professor Phenomenus and every other present civilian to do the same. A frustrated Astronema orders their destruction, but then the real Space Rangers reveal themselves (Bulk is stunned to learn the Rangers were "them"). As the Rangers battle Elgar, the Quantrons and the Piranhatrons, Bulk & Skull have arguably their most defining moment. Bulk, inspired by the Rangers, rallies the civilians together and he and Skull lead the charge to help the Rangers in battle. After Zordon's energy wave destroys the invading forces, Bulk and Skull are among those celebrating.

In the original plans for in Space, Bulk and Skull were going to form a volunteer Citizen Force Group to protect Angel Grove while the Rangers were away.[7]

Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy[edit]

Bulk and Professor Phenomenus board the space station Terra Venture for its interstellar journey. Certain that they were forgetting something, Bulk and the Professor realized too late that Skull wasn't with them. Skull had overslept and did not wake up in time to join them.

Sometime into Terra Venture's journey, the two were working at the station's restaurant, the Comet Cafe. Mike Corbett thought they were supposed to be working in the science division. Despite Professor Phenomenus' attempted spin, Bulk clarified that they had been fired. At the end of the series, Bulk and Phenomenus survived Terra Venture's crash and evacuation to Mirinoi. After the Galaxy Rangers saved the people from Trakeena's last attack, Bulk and the Professor were among those cheering them.

Power Rangers: Wild Force[edit]

During the Power Rangers Wild Force episode "Forever Red", Bulk and Skull made a special cameo appearance. (It is not explained how Bulk returned from Mirinoi)

Bulk and Skull were shown as servers and managers of a tropical-themed bar called "Bulkmeier's". Tommy Oliver, the veteran Power Ranger, is also present. In this episode, Bulk and Skull were shown having a conversation about the early days of Power Rangers - in particular, Bulk is bragging to Skull about how he once met Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa. Skull feigns interest before pointedly reminding him that he did, too. Bulk takes a call from Andros that was meant for Tommy, and the two seemed somewhat intimidated by the idea of talking to Tommy despite having known him for years; they may be aware that he's a Ranger.

In the original cut of "Forever Red", their scene went on longer. The two would try refer to more monsters to one-up each other (including later monsters they hadn't seen on screen; Skull stated he was avoiding Phenomenous; and the characters are wary of Tommy because he's their boss and the real owner of Bulkmeier's.[8] (As this was never aired, it is not taken as canon and was contradicted by the later Power Rangers Dino Thunder.) In an earlier outline of Forever Red, Bulk & Skull weren't going to be present but Tommy would pass up a T-shirt of "the famous two-man rock band Bulk & Skull".[9]

This was Schrier's final on-screen appearance for nine years until his return on Power Rangers Samurai, and Narvy's final appearance until the Power Rangers Super Samurai episode "Samurai Forever". Between Lost Galaxy and Wild Force, Schrier was still involved with the PR Crew, voicing Infinitor in Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue and Severax in Power Rangers Time Force.

Power Rangers Samurai/Super Samurai[edit]

Power Rangers Samurai follows Bulk trying to train Skull's son Spike in the ways of the Samurai, but failing each time; due to Bulk's friendship with Skull, Spike addresses him as "Uncle Bulk". Skull made a brief appearance in the Power Rangers Super Samurai finale, "Samurai Forever", where Skull picks up his son and as they bid Bulk farewell, he and Spike hit their heads against a hanging sign.

Skull is shown to have become rich (since he was riding in a limo), most likely thanks to being left behind on earth during Lost Galaxy and not getting dragged into anymore backfiring schemes involving the unusual. Still keeping his friendship with Bulk, Skull remains accident-prone as he and Spike hit their heads on a sign when waving good-bye to Bulk.

Cancelled spinoff[edit]

Around the time of Zeo, Saban planned to make a Bulk and Skull comedy spinoff show, where they would run a hotel (Jason Narvy has said that he thinks it was "their grandmothers' hotel"). A Mexican Elvis impersonator was going to be a supporting character. Narvy claims that the video release The Good, The Bad, and the Stupid was put out as a "test market" and when "no one out there bought it", Saban cancelled the plans.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]