Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flashback: MST3K

I didn't get MST3K when I first came across it on Comedy Central. It was a too-long two-hour block of programming in the middle of the stand-up shows that I preferred. Who wants to re-watch the crappy old movies I used to make fun of at my grandma's house? To my tween brain, it seemed pointless.

One day a couple years later, I grew bored enough to not bother changing the channel when it came on. A half hour into Attack of the The Eye Creatures, I was hooked and kicking myself for having ignored MST3K for so long. I don't think I ever laughed so hard at a TV show, or saw non-stand-up comedy that was so acidic and free-flowing with pop culture references. With my freshly cynical teenage mind, I became a bot, heckling along with Joel and Mike and the gang.

Now, ten years after Mystery Science Theater 3000 went off the air, I find myself missing the show and lamenting the fact that I missed so many episodes early on. DVD availability is spotty, due to copyright issues with the original films. I do like knowing that out there in geekland, there are unseen episodes and maybe someday I'll have that 'new MST3K joy' feeling again.

Side note: I've always wanted to see classic films get the MST3K treatment. The Sound of Music, for example, would be beautifully shredded. "The Lonely Goatherder" alone offers more poking opportunities than a Gamera movie.

They're all great, but here are my personal favorite five episodes

Attack of the The Eye Creatures- The one that started it all for me. Necking teenagers are waylaid by aliens with an excess of eyes, definite articles, and visible sneakers and zippers.

Teenagers from Outer Space- Cute teenagers who look thirty years old land on Earth to farm giant lobster creatures. Sensitive Derek woos perky Betty in a snazzy duct-taped jumpsuit. Dog-vaporizing fun at its finest!

Alien from L.A.- Big-boned Californian Kathy Ireland gets lost underground, is aided by a miner with an iffy Australian accent, searches for her dad, and is pursued by various characters played by the same two people.
The quintessential "So funny it doesn't even need the mockery from Mike and the bots" episode.

Catalina Caper
- Gleefully stupid beach party flick starring Tommy Kirk, with an appearance from Little Richard. There's an ancient scroll search, but they keep getting distracted by the urge to boogie down on the sand.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
- The Martians kidnap Santa and two Earth kids (the girl is played by Pia Zadora), in order to bring fun to Martian children. The movie title alone should tell you how utterly frickin awesome this episode is.

What are your favorites?

1 comment:

  1. When I first moved to San Francisco and was too scared to go outside, watching MST3K is basically all I did. I'd stay up all night in my friend's apartment, smoke all his cigarettes, and watch the endless marathons on Sci-Fi until my eyes bled. These are all great episodes, but I don't think I've laughed harder at anything in my life than at the episode for 'Mitchell' starring Joe Don Baker. For my money, it is absolutely the undisputed heavyweight champion of the MST3K world.

    Not only was 'Mitchell' Joel Hodgson's last appearance on the show and Mike Nelson's first, but it is also the only episode of MST3K that solicited threats of violence towards the cast and crew. Joe Don Baker was super-pissed at the show's treatment of his movie, and pledged to tear them all limb from limb should he ever meet them. Yeah right, Joe Don. Like your heart could withstand that much activity. So long, CHUM!

    Also, for the record, I am a Mike man all the way.