Wednesday, April 12, 2017

MST3K Returns Friday! A Look Back Part 2: Our Favorites

It is pretty amazing that one of the smartest television ideas/written shows is returning this Friday with new episodes on Netflix. Mystery Science Theater 3000 gets a full on reboot on the streaming service starting, April 14th.
Original creator Joel Hodgson did a crowd sourcing campaign to get the Satellite of Love back into space, to be tormented by bad movies and it was wildly successful. For those not aware of the original show, the gimmick was bad movies (really bad movies) would play and a human with two robot sidekicks would make quick fire sarcastic retorts, 70's cultural references and intelligent quips that you had to really think about at the screen and with the viewer. The humor was all over the map, from fart jokes to grand sociological statements.

That may sound like high praise, but the show clearly took a lot from the great Monty Python in that they played up to their audience always expecting them to be smart enough to get the jokes, they did win a Peabody after all.

Yesterday we focused on the shows classic episodes. Those are pretty rock solid and almost all fans would agree those five are their most known/beloved episodes, however everybody has their personal choices for various reasons.

For instance, one episode that just missed this list is Time of The Apes a Japanese TV show cut together and then showed as a movie somehow. I use the quote "I Don't Care!" on a daily basis, and every time I watch the beginning of that episode I still laugh:

There are countless moments like these so click on that read more button and dive in...we got movie sign!!!

Just to reiterate these are the episodes that mean the most to us, we may find other episodes wittier, more clever or just better, but these are the ones we seem to go back to all the time; our personal favorites. So like the classics, we will embed a video but also link to the Club page in the title in case the embedded video gets taken down. Now let's address them in order they aired from oldest to most recent, starting with....

Master Ninja 1:
Take a supposed up and coming actor an over the hill almost A-list name, some beautiful young co-stars, a country infatuated with ninjas and what do you have? a failed TV show called The Master...Huh?!? Somehow the show failed to catch on (surprise) and the great minds behind it edited two episodes together into disjointed TV movies that they aired on cable channels and sold on VHS tapes. MST3K got a hold of them and the delightful jokes flow out.

From Lee Van Cleef's gut to Timothy Van Patten's accent this one never gets old for us. Honestly, one of the main reasons we like it is because if we were just a little bit older, it probably would have been one of our favorite TV shows growing up in the vein of A-Team, we wouldn't have even needed the riffing, but now? It sure as hell helps. The mid movie split to a completely different story makes no sense and they don't even try to mask it with voice overs (like the almost equally great/bad Riding With Death).

There are so many silly/great scenes the combo of great jokes, character actors from our youth (The White Shadow, The Good The Bad & The Ugly, etc) make this one (and Master Ninja 2) re-watchable almost anytime. HIKEEBA!

Favorite Riffs:
I'm Max Keller! "I'm a seagull!"

Demi Moore!?!? I dreamed of her running out of the woods into my Chevy Van!!!

The tranquility of post-war Japan??

Oh and before you completely disregard the lead...check out his directing credits on IMDB, he has evolved to run the sets on some of your favorite shows I am guessing.

Warrior of the Lost World:
Yes we are.
While the movie is utter crap, the riffs of the crew and the actual host segments of the season five opener make this a really strong episode that is easy to re-watch. Most of the time we will skip the host scenes, while the actors and writers all try they rarely hit the mark during these scenes (on an average episode we may think one out of five is funny) here though all of them are strong, adding to the overall enjoyment of the episode immensely. Tell me that the Square Master wouldn't sell today?!?! Especially with TV Frank's cute shape pitching it...

The post apocalyptic movie has just enough movement to keep things flowing and everyone's disdain for the "Paper Chase Guy" really hits home; the crew are rarely dismissive of their subjects so when they are, it really works. Some decent actors in bad roles also help the movie along but really it is the jokes and the hosts that make this one of our personal favorites.

Favorite Riffs:
You know, it's not so much the Apocalypse, it's the humidity!

Any fruit to declare? ANY FRUIT TO DECLARE??!?!?!!!!!

-I thought the afterlife would be more crowded, kinda like Ellis Island.
-Well, there was a big rush after the Apocalypse, than things calmed down.

Alien From L.A.:
She wear glasses, she can't be pretty
Well, everyone remembers their first and Alien From L.A. was our introduction into the nerdy great world of MST3K. It was the first episode we ever saw back in college and we were instantly hooked. It does help that the movie is ridiculous in every way shape and form, but the concept just spoke to us immediately.

We go back to this one often and perhaps overall it is not on the level as some of the other episodes we are showcasing, but it will always has a special place in our heart...Kathy Ireland doesn't hurt the eyes either...but she sure as hell hurts the ears, what the fuck is up with her voice!?!? Speaking of voices gotta love those come and go Australian accents (so many jokes around everyone's voices) and the odd underground world in general. The gateway episode for us and one we will always treasure.

Favorite Riffs:
Sorry, I wasn't Australian there for a second...

Look, your dad's not responsible for everything that happens in the world!

You know, in Australia, my voice is as annoying as yours!

Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell:
Worst Casting of Batman Ever....
All of the episodes from a shortened Season 7 are fantastic but for us Deathstalker sticks out for a few reasons. First, it is the only movie MST3K riff'ed on where we actually watched the original before the MST3K version, so that is odd in itself but the younger us was a sucker for these kinda VHS rentals.

Second is the quote Mike makes at the end of the episode, "This is one of the most ambitiously bad movies we have ever done" and that feeling is spot on. Third and most importantly, this one never stops being funny, every joke seems to land dead on. From the ren-fare jokes all the way until the side two of Terrapin Station joke as the credits end, non-stop A+ work.

While it is hard to pick a flat out favorite episode of this series, if we were forced to, we would go Deathstalker and then slap on some "Delta Lady" WOOO!

Favorite Riffs:
Potatoes are what we eat! Horses are what we ride!

"-Who are you?"
"-Smelled your food."
-That was the last guy's name!

Guess what I've been doing! (the dirtiest riff in show history)

Why oh God, Why?! Why give him a Filthy Back Brace!??!
One of the great appeals of the show is how was it's DIY feel from the props to the wacky humor, and a lot of that comes from the shows broadcast location in Minnesota. The whole crew were proudly Midwestern with lots of jokes strictly being done for and by those people. In retrospect it what makes the show stand out, it's sweetness. If the producers and writers had been from say Queens or Boston the show wouldn't be nearly as nice to the movies they are riffing on. Sure, they were bad but the people who made these films tried and MST3K respected that, not a lot of others would have. 

Then they get a chance to take out one of their own...and they let it fly. The Giant Spider Invasion was made by Bill Rebane a Wisconsin director who set this crappy tale of horror (?!?) in his home state. The writers let loose a barrage of Wisconsin jokes that almost started an interstate war! In actuality the crew loved that Rebane got the movie made at all and they kid because they love in the end. From the Packer jokes to the Skipper jokes this one is a doozy all around.   

Favorite Riffs:
"A showered person, Thank God!"

It's befuddlin' my dumb cracker mind...


and finally:
And the movie ramps up the repulsion! This movie hates us, doesn't it?


Below is our list of 5 more of our personal favorites that just missed this cut, feel free to add yours in the comments, 
Hope you enjoyed reading about, watching, or reliving these episodes as much as we did. Enjoy the new episodes on Netflix and keep sharing the tapes.  

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