Kimberly Ann Hart's Possible Impact on Popular Culture?
As a fan of Power Rangers to a lesser extent (I also had my Sentai purist days too), I would like to write about Kimberly Ann Hart, a fictional character I believe had impacted my life and perhaps the lives of others too. The fact she was played by Amy Jo Johnson had created an almost irreplaceable character, hard to imitate charm, hard to replicate charm of a character.
Looking at Kimberly Hart as a character, she started off as a ditz but she was also the team heart. Earlier on, she was easily blunt not hesitating to tell Billy that what he did (that is attempt to imitate the girls) was not a way to meet girls. While she seems shallow, she actually has brains to a certain extent but unlike Billy who is probably even physically weaker than she is. She knew how to do sign language and she's outsmarted some nuisances like Skull (fooled him into kissing Bulk) and in season two, outsmarted Lord Zedd who once thought she could be the perfect replacement for Rita if she got turned evil.
She could have played an important role in gender culture, breaking both negative stereotypes in both sides. Little boys may have started to crawl out of their fear or biases of girls. Little girls may have started to avoid being passive and standing up to any form of gender biases without becoming like the boys who bully them. She also may have communicated the idea of brawn isn't everything. Her character was portrayed to be physically weaker but makes it up with her wits in battle. It shows that sometimes the weaker physically may be stronger mentally... which is most women anyway win a battle not by brawn but mostly by brawn. So she is a very woman empowering, man empowering character which places balance on both genders.
She could have also played a role not only in gender culture, but also in the show's multicultural aspect- different races working together to save mankind although technically, Power Rangers is still an all American team because they all are American citizens. But still, it was probable way to combat racism like Zack's being a black ranger and Trini's being a yellow ranger just can't be racist, because they were portrayed positively. As a white girl, she is portrayed to be racially tolerant aside from understanding other's differences, even if she's kind of a ditz. So her best friend is Trini who is an Asian, later she also becomes best friends with Aisha (in season two) who is an African-American. She beats out the idea that all whites are racist. In history, some white people were also against unfair treatment of non-whites.
For me, the possible impact of her character was not only left to Power Rangers but also its parent show Super Sentai. Why do I think she also had an impact on Super Sentai? Super Sentai post-MMPR usually ends up trying to make more show babes than not but not in every season. I just want to assume that her character ended up being "ported" into several characters later. We ended up having characters like Chisato in Megaranger, Ashley in the second half of PR Turbo and one full season in Space (she was the second cheerleader after Kimberly), Nanami in Hurricanger, Mako in Shinkenger (both being feminine, pink and tends to get blunt in the wrong way) and Emma in Megaforce (who is just a wannabe imo). But it would not be good to actually try and replicate her too much lest originality is corroded.
However she may have also had also left some negative impact namely her character decay (becoming Tommy's damsel in distress) and the very OOC moment of the Dear John letter (which was bad writing). In spite of Douglas Sloan's bad writing, I still think she left more positive than negative impact. Some fans may have chosen to blame Douglas Sloan than the character herself, maybe even unfairly bash Kat who they treat as just a shadow. Just made me think, was she really an experimental concept of a character that was so received positively? Most likely!