Home / TV / Every Episode of MST3K…RANKED! (#150 – #101)

Every Episode of MST3K…RANKED! (#150 – #101)

It’s nearly Thanksgiving and we’re doing something only a couple of websites have done: watch every episode of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and rank each one.

I’d love to sit here and pontificate about the show’s history and how great it was…but 1) you’ve heard it all before 2) you don’t really wanna sit here and read what I think about the show’s history when so many other people have said what’s already been said and 3) we’ve gotta get going with this thing.

If you still insist on knowing what the hell I’m talking about, feel free to visit the following sites:

The MST3K Wikipedia Page
The MST3k YouTube Channel
Their Official Website
The MST3K Satellite News Site

And, if you wanna compare lists (though that doesn’t sound the LEAST bit healthy for a growing man such as yourself), you can do so here:

Mighty Jack’s MST3K Review
Ranking Every MST3K Episode, From Worst to Best – Paste Magazine

If you want to watch episodes with other MSTies, you can visit the following sites.

Club MST3K – This site compiles a full episode guide for the show along with corresponding streaming video of nearly every single episode available online. It also offers a forum to chat with fellow MSTies while you watch. 🙂
Where to See MST3K Episodes – This site does the same thing.

And last, but not least, if you didn’t get to read Part 1, you can do so here:

Every Episode of MST3K…RANKED! (#196 – #151)

With all that out of the way, WE’VE GOT MOVIE SIGN!!!

#150 is…

150) 803 – The Mole People

“The Mole People” has been seen on MST3K before. “The Wild Wild World of Batwoman” made reference to it and Dr. Forrester’s two henchmen, Jerry and Sylvia, were Moles. So, here we are, we’re on our third SyFy episode and our third Universal film (from SyFy’s vault) and it’s “The Mole People” starring John Agar and Hugh Beaumont and it’s dull. There’s a ten minute sequence where we’re just hiking and digging holes and crawling around in the dark. With NO MUSIC (Crow remarks that the music supervisor had it real easy). And that means Mike and the Bots do their best with what they’re given. The riffing gets a little better toward the middle but peters out again near the end. At least the sketches are halfway decent as Servo attempts to sing a folk song but has issues with his guitar, prompting Crow to tell him that he “couldn’t tune a kazoo” which still makes me laugh hard. Also, we finally get “our” Crow back as he goes on an archaeological dig and discovers the truth about himself and his past with Mike and Servo, so that’s out of the way.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: Ah, treasure these brief moments…when John Agar ISN’T TALKING.

149) 805 – The Thing That Couldn’t Die

BEST OF REEL:

The fifth Universal picture in a row for Season 8 and, thankfully, it’s the last for a bit. This one’s about a severed head which makes people do unspeakable things…and the young woman who sees unspeakable things. It’s all as forgettable as the episode which mainly makes fun of the big dumb guy who originally discovers the head and keeps it sitting near a tree. Aunt Flavia’s mispronunciation of “treasure” is funny for about 3 seconds and becomes unbearable once the guys latch onto it and try to make it a thing. The sketch work is decent as we are introduced to “The Observers” (played by Bill Corbett, Paul Chaplin, and Mike Nelson) and their world.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: So, she’s kind of a “Ouija Broad”? (laughs to himself)

148) 623 – The Amazing Transparent Man (w/ short: The Days of Our Years)

Another case of the opening short overshadowing the feature completely, “The Amazing Transparent Man” leans on a running joke about a transparent Guinea Pig far too much. It’s cute but it’s not everything. The film is uninteresting and the riffing is just so-so, which is frustrating since “The Days of Our Years” is so hilarious despite the insanely bleak subject matter (the short focuses on at-work accidents that ruin the lives of ordinary people and it’s just awful to watch in any environment), that it just renders the feature moot.

BEST RIFF:

WOMAN: We’ve been at a party at Pritchard’s Point…and I’m afraid he overdid it.
MIKE (as woman): He’s a Kennedy.

147) 204 – Catalina Caper

MST3K takes on a wacky comedy caper film…and it works. Behold, “Catalina Caper”, a film with a guy who steals a painting, then heads to Catalina complete with a cast so blonde, they look like they’re from “Village of the Damned”. You know things aren’t going as planned when even Little Richard shows up and looks bored as hell. The guys have fun with the film with more than a few great riffs (SERVO: “Screenplay written in crayon.”; “JOEL: “Little Richard: the only real talent in this film!”) but it’s odd to see them attempting to riff on a comedy. Some of it doesn’t work so well. That said, the sketches are fun and it’s a much more lighthearted second season romp than, say, “The Sidehackers”. (Free on YouTube)

BEST RIFF:

(Man and Woman tread water and the man keeps touching her.)
WOMAN: You’ve got the wrong sport!
MAN: When does it become the RIGHT sport?
CROW: When ESPN merges with the Playboy Channel! Now, get under water!

146) 304 – Gamera vs. Barugon

The second Gamera film on MST3K has the giant turtle facing off against a monster that (checks notes)…emits a rainbow death ray. Yup. I don’t know if it’s the way it’s been edited but Gamera doesn’t really star much in this one. The riffing is decent with some good lines (SERVO: Look! It’s a bridge over troubled models!) but the humor is sparse and, at times, it comes across like a first year episode. The sketches are hilarious with at least two really funny segments in Joel trying to convince the Bots that “everyone in Hollywood wanted to be in a Gamera film” as he has Cambot show stills of the actors from the film and tries to pass them off as the likes of “Harrison Ford” and “Willem Dafoe” to which Crow responds, “Uh, Joel, when you went to the drive-in, did you spend a lot of time in the trunk?” The end segment where Joel shares books about the making of the Gamera films is also a scream, featuring a “book on tape of The Velveteen Turtle read by Meryl Streep” in which “Streep” reads the line, “You aren’t like the other toys, you’re different. That is why I…am going…to kill you. Why? Because YOU are GOING to DIE!” It’s very clever stuff. It’s just too bad the rest of the episode doesn’t follow suit.

BEST RIFF:

VOICE-OVER: Gamera is attracted to any form of heat energy…
CROW: And I’M attracted to Bea Arthur, go figure!

145) 307 – Daddy-O (w/ short: Alphabet Antics)

A mid-50’s B-movie starring Dick Contino as Phil, a street-racer who gets in too deep with the mafia. It’s perfect fodder for MST3K — which is puzzling since Joel and the Bots have an epic batting practice session with the short which precedes it in Alphabet Antics, where the boys make fund of each escalating letter of the alphabet (SERVO: “N is for Parade Float — wuh–HUH?!”) but then pull some punches on Daddy-O when it counts. It does get somewhat better near the end (the second time Phil performs at the club is SO funny; the boys have a gift for mocking musical numbers in films) but there are moments when there are long periods of silence before the guys take a swing at the film and the jokes which do land aren’t great. It’s really too bad for an episode that had a promising start and wonderful sketches, culminating with the famous “button” on Deep 13 breaking down and no longer working — great stuff.

BEST RIFF:

(PHIL sings a slow, romantic pop groove in a nightclub, terribly.)
CROW: Why couldn’t THIS guy have been on the plane instead of Buddy Holly?!

144) 416 – Fire Maidens of Outer Space

Oh, man…there’s some real crap on this show…and then there’s some REAL crap on this show. Some guys find a slightly less advanced society that doesn’t matter because chicks, bro. There are long periods with no dialogue that drive one CRAZY and plenty of classical filler music. The whole thing feels like a student film. The episode isn’t much and is glued together by the whole running “Timmy” sketch where a dark, evil version of Crow runs amok on the SOL and attempts to bring down the members of the crew. It’s a cute idea but the riffing doesn’t match the sketches.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: There’s more action in the wallpaper!

143) 1011 – Horrors of Spider Island

This movie has it all: women, misogyny, women grinding, water, women taking their clothes off, hiking, women grinding on a deck, dancing, women cat-fighting over clothing and, eventually, I suppose…spiders that are really men in bad half-assed werewolf costumes. Kinda. Remember that moment where Crow said “Filmed in glorious black and…slightly LESS black”? THAT’S THIS FILM. It’s almost bad monochrome at times, ugly to look at by any stretch of the imagination. The women are all blithering idiots and the men are horny assholes who just mansplain and boss them around and manhandle them to the point where Servo remarks that the women might as well have handles on them to make them easier to carry. Almost nothing here has to do with spiders and it’s the sharp riffing near the middle and during the end that saves this episode from being a total loss. It gets so bad, Crow takes a break, saying that he deserves it “after 10 years of this”. At times, this show does wear you down like that.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: Oh, man…I’m not just wondering if there’s a point to the movie now…I’m wondering if there’s a point to anything!

142) 606 – The Creeping Terror

Imagine if “Monster A-Go-Go” had an even worse film print, was slightly older and dustier and actually HAD a monster and the actors had to crawl up inside it to give the illusion that they were “being eaten”. That’s “The Creeping Terror”, the story of an over-sized, carnivorous rubber sack terrorizing a local town. The film is god-awful and, somehow, snuck by, undetected, as one of the worst films every featured on the show. The riffing gets better as it goes along but the film’s uneven descent from talkie horror film to pseudo-silent film doesn’t do Mike and the Bots any favors. Still, they hold their own with the material. It was at this point that one might start to notice the show’s more colorful, ambient turn. The lights on the SOL had been dimmed little by little and the ambient accent lighting had been turned up to highlight certain spots. Mike’s jumpsuit became a bright blue and the show seemed to have more visual pop during the sketch sequences.

BEST RIFF:

NARRATOR: Bradford dismissed Martin’s fears by pointing out that the creature was not exhibiting any signs of violence.
CROW: Aside from EATING PEOPLE.

141) 406 – Attack of the Giant Leeches (w/ short: The Undersea Kingdom, Chapter 1)

A Corman-produced mess of a film with giant leeches (basically, people wearing big rubber suits) terrorize a local town of southern yokels. It comes with the first short in quite some time in “The Undersea Kingdom” which, thankfully, doesn’t get much play beyond Part 2. It’s more dull than Commando Cody, if that’s even possible and there’s maybe one or two good riffs which keep it somewhat afloat. This is one of the rare instances where the riffing on the feature is much better than the short before it — but not by much. Joel and the Bots get some mileage off the “dumb southerner” thing and the sequence where they simply blow up whatever is floating around in the lake is hilarious. But it’s a long time getting to these scenes and it’s hard sitting through fits of dialogue and seemingly endless shots of the leeches in their “underwater cave”.

BEST RIFF:

(Dave fires a shotgun round into the ground, scaring his wife.)
JOEL (as DAVE): Now, I know what you’re thinkin’: did I fire one shot or only one?

140) 611 – Last of the Wild Horses

Another MST3K episode, another Western. This one is murky and hard to hear, featuring a rancher war of epic proportions…but the main crux of the episode revolves around the gimmicky storyline sketch where an ion storm screws up the transfer of a Matter Transference Device to the SOL, which creates an alternate dimension in which a plucky, good version of Frank and Dr. Forrester are stuck on the SOL and an evil version of Mike and the Bots (well, Mike and Crow, anyway) end up on Deep 13. The entire thing is a parody of the old Star Trek (original series) episode, “Mirror, Mirror”. It gives us something different in that Dr. F and Frank get to riff the first portion of the film up until the first sketch. It’s all very clever but the riffs aren’t any funnier than they were when the regulars return to the theater. The riffing, itself, takes time to get off the ground and doesn’t pick up until about the second half where we get some great zingers (Mike: “That’s dating in the 90’s…THE 1890’s!”) but the episode feels too reliant on the running sketches rather than the theater jokes.

BEST RIFF:

CROW (as Narrator): And, now, Robert Lippert pretends he is John Ford…

139) 315 – Teenage Caveman (w/ shorts: Aquatic Wizards & Catching Trouble)

It’s Roger Corman’s second feature on MST3K and, oof. As well-meaning as Corman is, he’s made a career out of B-movie schlock and this is a prime example of his early dreck: a meandering plot, loads of stock footage haphazardly pasted into the proceedings, and horrible acting by people who don’t fit the part. The riffing is solid, however, so there’s that, but most of the good stuff comes early on with the two shorts which precede the main feature. The second short is better than the first as it features a madman who wrangles wild animals for a living in the most unfriendly way possible which horrifies Joel and the Bots to no end. It’s just frustrating to see that early promise go out the window when the main film starts.

BEST RIFF:

(A caveman examines a hurt man in a cave as everyone watches.)
SERVO (as doctor): Give me the 3-0 Silk…now the metzenbaums…boy, this bullet is buried DEEP, close to his heart…
CROW: He was killed by a BEAR…
SERVO: Oh, uh…ahem…

138) 1007 – Track of the Moon Beast

Another episode, another crappy monster flick. This one is about a guy who is struck by a tiny part of meteorite and it causes him to turn into a freakin’ Gorn (the riff about being ready to fight Captain Kirk is just brilliant). It’s another grimy 70’s mess with terrible audio and bad acting but at least we have “Johnny Longbow” as the main hero! The riffing here starts out well, then sinks near the middle only to clean up well with a great ending where everyone “decides to act” before driving off as Mike points out “And they abandon the film one by one.” It’s not a great episode but it has its moments.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: Well…I’ve learned something from this movie, you guys…
SERVO: Yeah, Crow?
CROW: Yeah, I learned my vomit can rise pretty high…and I can still tamp it down!

137) 403 – City Limits

It’s more 80’s sludge with a post-apocalyptic tale about teens who have survived a plague and their war against the rising powers that be and, just like “Space Travelers”, we have a somewhat decent cast in James Earl Jones, Kim Cattral, the insanely active John Stockwell and Robby Benson whose appeal I STILL don’t understand to this day. The riffing is steady here with a great freeze-frame opening credits callback to “Master Ninja” (“I’m Max Keller.”) and some deserved shots at Robby Benson. The sketches aren’t great but is buoyed by Crow’s somewhat sewn-together Kim Cattral ballad. Not the best of the series by any means, but still better than I expected given that I initially thought the episode was boring as hell.

BEST RIFF:

(The Clippers bust into Carver’s office — Carver is played by Robby Benson)
CROW: All right, Benson! What the heck have you been DOING in this movie?!

136) 408 – Hercules Unchained

The first of about a half dozen Hercules flicks in the MST3K library. This one is about Herc and his sex drive kicking into high after he drinks water that makes him forget who he is. It’s light movie pain this time around. The film is low-budget but looks good. The riffs get better after Herc’s arrival with some real winners revolving around Herc’s lust for Omphale and her female servants/dancers. The entire product, however, is brought down by weak sketches — though Mike Nelson is a riot as Steve Reeves who has taken up a career as an exterminator after his acting career didn’t work out.

BEST RIFF:

HERCULES: Ha, ha! I’m beginning to like this place!
QUEEN OMPHALE: And me?
SERVO (as HERCULES): Uh, YOU, I could take or leave.

135) 804 – The Deadly Mantis

(Watch here.)

Four Universal pictures in and the 8th season feels like it’s dragging. It isn’t that the films they’re showing aren’t worthy of the show, it’s that the lower-end Universal sci-fi/fantasy fare was fairly decent stuff B-movie stuff. It’s still riffable. Except for the opener (“Revenge of the Creature”) I just don’t think the guys ever really synced up right with these films. Here, the riffing is steady and solid. It gets better as it goes along, though most of the jokes revolve around the female lead in the film and come across as fairly juvenile (Though “There’s a mantis in my pantis” is inspired.). At least the plot outside the theater moves along somewhat as Mike and company are hurled into space after a nuke destroys what’s left of Earth. Pearl and Bobo manage to escape in Pearl’s rocket-powered VW Bus. The country-music-in-the-middle-of-nowhere sketch is great but the others are a bit of a mixed bag. That was the issue with the running storyline. It didn’t give the writers much to work with and, aside from the theater sequences, really weren’t much to look forward to.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: So, did you like meeting my privates? I MEAN THE GUYS BACK AT THE BASE!

134) 108 – The Slime People (w/ short: Commando Cody: Radar Men From the Moon, Chapter 6)

The aliens have landed and invaded Los Angeles. But you can’t see them. Like almost ever. Because the news describes them a lot and there’s a lot of fog which covers them up. There’s more fog here than “The Fog”. Our heroes drive from place to place and meet a dude with a goat (Servo: “It might work better if he made it into a coat instead of just carrying it around the whole time…”) before hiding out in a butcher shop (“Good thing they’re in a butcher shop…if one of them gets a black eye, they’ll have a cold steak to put on it!” says Joel.) and then eventually fighting the spear-tossing slime people. The episode is a riot with better joke pacing and great humor. Slightly above “The Crawling Hand” for the consistency. It’s joined but, yet, ANOTHER Commando Cody short which plays into a hilarious sketch where Joel and the Bots put Cody on trial. The Cody shorts would continue through most of Season 1 but it’s already reached a point of fatigue. The episode is available on YouTube.

BEST RIFF:

MAN: Look at this! Blonde hair!
SERVO: Yeah, you can USUALLY find blonde hair in a field of WHEAT…
CROW: At NIGHT!
JOEL: In FOG!

133) 313 – Earth vs. the Spider (w short: Speech: Using Your Voice)

It’s another Bert I. Gordon adventure which follows the legendary “The Amazing Colossal Man”. This one’s basically about a small town struggling to defeat a giant spider. It’s not the comedy masterpiece that was the adventures of Glenn but it does boast a great short about how to speak properly (“with lots of lip and tongue action”, the narrator says in a creepy voice, prompting laughs from Joel & the Bots) and some great sketches in “Spydor”, a spider-themed rock band as well as Crow’s passion for writing his prized screenplay, “Earth vs. Soup”. One of the other jokes that works well is the cop who laughs at his own jokes. This works precisely because the guys know when to quit with it and don’t drag it on throughout the episode. The episode is also notable for paying homage to the first season with the (possible) fate of Dr. Erhardt finally being revealed and a bit where Dr. Forrester and Frank both say “THANK YOU!” in the same tone after Joel scolds them for being so evil that they stole one of his inventions.

BEST RIFF:

[Reverse angle shot from the POV of the spider. All we can see are the guys surrounding a big furry leg.] CROW: Oh, imagine if they had the budget to show it ALL!

132) 802 – The Leech Woman

It’s hard to watch this episode because of just how awful the men in the film treat the women in their life — and, perhaps, that was the entire point of the thing. Whatever the case, it’s a cruel film, a mean film. The stock footage of “Africa” doesn’t help things — though it provides for some good jokes from Mike and the Bots who point it out, ad nauseam. The riffing doesn’t get really good until the last third of the film, when June comes back from Africa and sees Neil for the first time in ages — and discovers he has a new fiance. It does have a great sketch, though, as the Bots attempt to extract Mike’s pineal juice to make themselves younger.

BEST RIFF:

CROW (as sleazy guy): Hey, what do you say we go home, turn up the thermostat to 85 and watch a little Matlock?

131) 402 – The Giant Gila Monster

Almost after a dozen episodes without one, MST3K returns to a tried-and-true formula: a giant monster movie. “The Giant Gila Monster” (from the director of episode 407’s “The Killer Shrews”) isn’t a great episode by any means but the consistency of funny riffing improves somewhat after a slew of by-the-numbers entries. The mockery of the male cast members’ penchant for propping their legs up on elevated objects is funny as hell and, thankfully, Joel and the Bots know when to quit so it doesn’t get old. The rest of the episode mocks the town drunk and Chase’s arbitrary musical numbers. This is a fun episode and most welcome after it felt like the show was beginning to buy into its own hype and mail a few episodes in.

BEST RIFF:

(Chase sings a song on his ukelele. His family looks at him, stone-faced.)
SERVO: Ouch! Tough room…
(His little sister does not look at all thrilled.)
JOEL: She’s trying to wish him into the cornfield right now…

130) 420 – The Human Duplicators

Richard Kiel is such a sweet guy, it’s hard to laugh at some of the guys’ jokes about him. The dude was a lot of fun in the two Bond films he starred in and was one of the most memorable villains in Bond lore. He was delightful in Happy Gilmore and easily had one of the best lines in the film (“And YOU can count…on ME, waiting for YOU in the parking lot!”…gets me EVERY single time). Regardless, Kiel’s the butt of many of the jokes here. Perhaps Joel felt bad about that and that’s why he becomes the guys’ pseudo-hero in “Eegah!”, shown in the 5th season. Regardless, the episode is steadily riffed, but not quite on par with the last few episodes before it this season. It’s the episode after this that begins a nice streak that ends the fourth year of MST3K nicely.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: “This is ‘Beverly Hills Cop’, only the slow, white version.

129) 1205 – Killer Fish

(Available on Netflix)

“Killer Fish…is like watching the entire 1970’s go on the world’s worst vacation”, according to Kinga Forrester. And it is. And the frustrating thing about the episode is that the execution of the film makes everything uneven. One moment, you’re dealing with Lee Majors in a shower. The next, you’re witnessing a photoshoot. The next, you’re seeing piranha eat somebody while James Franciscus somehow channels Guy Pearce as he smugly stands in front of a piranha tank like a James Bond villain. The film is, at the very least, watchable. Of the six films presented thus far, it’s quality. The riffing, however, comes in fits. When it slows down, it really slows down. When the riffing takes off and the cast starts hitting jokes like the Steph Curry rains three-pointers, it’s hilarious. The best shots come near the end, when our group of heroes is attempting to survive being stranded on a boat in the middle of the piranha-infested lake. The belly-laughs are few and far between, however, as most of consistent riffs only induce mild chuckling, at best. The problem is that there’s always some sort of un-riffable sequence that murders any momentum Jonah and the Bots create. Case-in-point: the inclusion of Growler, Gypsy and M. Waverly during the bit where Karen is attacked in the reservoir by the piranha. Suddenly, Growler comes into the theater with, along with M. Waverly and a piano. Gypsy hangs from the ceiling and a full-on song breaks out. The entire cast appears to be having fun…but it just isn’t funny. It’s silly. Might it have worked better as a sketch? Yes! Considering just how weak the sketches are in this episode, the song would have gone a long way in improving things on that front. The beauty of MST3K is the simplicity. Every single character has a place in the show. We’ve done different characters in the theater. It’s an experiment that hasn’t worked. Furthermore, Growler makes about a half dozen more appearances in the theater throughout the film and, aside from his first bit (the Kool-Aid bit listed below), his quips are really off-putting. This sort of thing worked for Joel in Cinematic Titanic…but this isn’t Cinematic Titanic. So, while the riffing saves this from being a total loss, it’s too sparse. Combine that with weak sketch work and “Killer Fish” is the weakest offering of the 12th season.

BEST RIFF:

(A prop plane takes off, flying over water.)
CROW: Good move! The director is high-tailin’ it out of here!

128) 602 – Invasion U.S.A. (w/ short: A Date With Your Family)

A bunch of people walk into a bar and watch as World War 3 unfolds on live TV…very slowly. In fact, it’s more like a mix of stock footage and people watching a sweaty guy frantically read about how much we suck at war. Anyhow, Russia eventually takes over everything and one of their soldiers tries to rape one of the female characters in a fairly disturbing scene where she struggles and falls to her death — except the whole thing’s a dream. Aren’t you glad? This. Movie. Sucked. Even by MST3K standards. It’s awful and painful on every single level and the riffing barely saves it as there’s just far too much talking and dialogue, though they do manage some great lines near the end during the taxi driver sequence. The short is the highlight of this episode. It’s sexist as hell and way outdated and the guys make sure to go all in with that, making cracks about the darkness of the otherwise perfect American family.

BEST RIFF:

(Lots of talking occurs)
SERVO: Will somebody PLEASE invade SOMETHING!

127) 522 – Teenage Crime Wave

Two murderous teens break out of prison and escape to the country where the terrorize a wholesome farm family. “Teenage Crime Wave” is one of the films featured on the show that’s watchable to the point where the riffs don’t matter much and that’s probably why sitting through this one is a bit of a chore. It’s still funny but not “funny ha-ha” as the young kids say these days. The sketches are also pretty fun. The SOL Deil sketch needed more time to breathe but the “Mystos Commerical” sketch was perfection, even though it bordered on heavy-handed comedy overkill. Mentos commercials were terrible on their own so a parody feels like it’s low-hanging fruit.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: At this point, it’s more like a “Teenage Crime RIPPLE”.

126) 901 – The Projected Man

Season 9 starts with a stuffy British film about a professor (played by Bryant Halliday who was “Vorelli” in 818’s “Devil Doll”) who becomes a killer after he’s transported or “projected” to another location nearby. The film’s tone reminds me a bit of 1101’s “Reptilicus”, only with a murderer instead of a giant lizard. The riffing isn’t totally memorable though Tom Servo’s obsession with Sheila, a woman who spends a good portion of the film in plaid picnic blanket lingerie, produces some big laughs. The riffing does get stronger near the end but it’s nothing to write home about. The episode IS notable for finally ending the continued storyline sketches as a wormhole sucks everyone back into their own dimension, pre-ape apocalypse, and sees Pearl, Bobo, and Brain Guy wandering into “Castle Forrester”, a structure that has been in Pearl’s family for generations. It’s here that the “Deep 13” vibe returns, somewhat, and episodes can be enjoyed out of order once again.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: Youo know, even when stuff’s happening in this movie, stuff doesn’t happen.

125) 1004 – Future War

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, along comes another MST3K feature which says “hold my beer”. “Future War” stars Daniel Bernhardt, a Jean Claude Van Damme look-alike who starred in several “Bloodsport” sequels, as a (checks notes) mute, kickboxing slave from another time who crash lands on Earth and joins a hooker-turned-nun in the fight against dinosaurs that are bred to hunt slaves. It’s insanity. There’s no other way around it. It’s cheap, too, and it’s hilarious to watch Bernhardt kick and choke and punch dinosaurs. The problem is that the riffing is kinda dull until about midway through the feature when it finally picks up — then frustratingly peters out. By then, it’s hard not to wish for the episode to simply end.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: See, I COULD point out that this isn’t “the future” and it’s not a “war”, but…you know me, I don’t like to complain.

124) 806 – The Undead

We’re on our first (and last) Corman adventure of the SyFy era. We wouldn’t see another Corman production until Season 11 at this point. And it’s time to get weird. A woman is hypnotized and sent back to medieval times where unrelated stuff happens. It’s so goofy and weird, it makes everything we’ve seen so far from Corman look like a set of masterpieces. The riffing is frustratingly uneven on this one to start, then gets going midway through when all hell breaks loose (literally) to the point where Mike says the film needs a flow chart and remarks, “I’ve never known more about what ISN’T going on in a movie.” The Livia sketch is one of my absolute favorites as she visits the SOL, then can’t control transforming into various creatures and objects, such as a football and a container of bleach, which she eventually remains because she gets “stuck”. Good stuff.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: You know, when Satan thinks you’ve gone too far, you’ve gone too far.

123) 1009 – Hamlet

The Bard meets MST3K as Mike and the Bots take on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, an episode which is infamous for being one of the worst on the show. It’s not close to that. That’s not to say it’s the greatest. The version they watch is crusty and old (a German dubbed version that Mike “won” the privilege of watching after beating Pearl in a game of Three Card Monte; he really wanted something by Branagh or even Mel Gibson’s version but Pearl turns out to be crafty) but the guys are all in with their riffing. This is one of the most famous plays in all of history. When would there be another chance at something like this? The production is dull. Black-and-white. No real decor. It’s bare bones theater. Yet, the guys make the absolute best of this. Usually, in moments like this, they sell the guys as afraid and accepting of their fate. Not so. Yes, the riffing doesn’t always hit but, when they do, it’s good: “May a flight of angels see thee to they rest” is met with “But they’re Northwestern Angels, so they’ll be late.” It’s playful stuff.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: This place could use a shrub…hell, even a stick would cheer it up.

122) 1010 – It Lives By Night

It’s a bat…man. A scientist who deals with bats runs afoul of the little night rats and — you guessed it — starts to become a bat himself. Or a weird gorilla/wolfman thing depending on the terrible lighting. The film is your usual dreary 70’s pile of crap this show foisted on us in the latter years of the SyFy era but the riffing is a hell of a lot of fun and the hilarity involving the guys’ incredulity that bats could do much damage, if any, to the locals. Servo’s disbelief that a “creature that weighs one pound kicked a guy’s ass” is so genuine, you can’t help but laugh.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: So, who’s this movie’s target audience?
SERVO: Oh, I don’t know…a bat fetishist named “Stan”…and even he missed this.

121) 311 – It Conquered the World (w/ short: Snow Thrills)

It’s Peter Graves vs. a flying…something. It’s like a bat mixed with a bird mixed with an oven mitt. And it possesses your family and friends like Pokemon Go! and makes them do weird shit. This is the first Corman flick we’re subjected to on this series (we’d see him two more times in the next six episodes) and it’s a lot of fun to watch by itself. The riffing (which is slightly better on “Snow Thrills”) is fairly steady here with several of the jokes coming at the expense of Peter Graves. Crow’s Peter Graves impression is right on and we would revisit that obsession two years later in Episode 517 with “The Beginning of the End”.

BEST RIFFS:

CROW (as Peter Graves): Next, on Biography, ME, being terrorized by a giant plastic flying mitten!

120) 407 – The Killer Shrews (w/ short: Junior Rodeo Daredevils)

Dogs dressed in weird fabric attack a bunch of drunken morons on an island in a film directed by the man who brought us “The Giant Gila Monster”. It’s the perfect complement to the episode prior to it in “Attack of the Giant Leeches” in that the star attraction (the “shrews”) are as ridiculous as the “leeches” in the last film. The crew spends most of the time trying to riff on the horrible audio in the film but the best riffs come at the end when the action ramps up and the Shrews go on the attack. It’s frustrating to see another movie go to waste like that but the last half hour is worth the wait. Some funny sketch work makes up for the rest of it which is great since we get a somewhat lackluster sketch involving rodeo cowboys.

BEST RIFF:

(The group opens the fence door and looks around.)
SERVO (as main character): Well…looks like the coast is clear!)
(CROW and JOEL suddenly make attacking, rabid shrew sounds.)

119) 503 – Swamp Diamonds (w/ short: What to Do on a Date)

Another Roger Corman adventure, this time in the Louisiana swamps where a group of women who just broke out of prison go on a quest for hidden diamonds in the Bayou. This flick would be NOTHING without the great Beverly Garland who would go on to become one of MST3K’s biggest ambassadors next to Miles O’Keefe of “Cave Dwellers” fame. The riffing here starts well enough with the “dating” short which tells you how to ACT on a date rather than what to do or where to go. This inspires all the sketches on the show as Servo attempts to take Gypsy out on a date that ends in Gypsy putting him in the Friend Zone. Funny stuff. The riffing on Swamp Diamonds starts slow but gets better as it goes along. Most of the jokes come at the expense of the notion that every single women in the film shamelessly attempts to get into his pants as well as the cattiness of the female actresses. It’s a fun episode, if not all that memorable.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: Do you guys think it’s possible that the Video Watchdog people are WRONG and that Roger Corman really IS a terrible director?

118) 320 – The Unearthly (w/ shorts: Posture Pals & Appreciating Our Parents)

A weird medical monster movie starring Tor Johnson who you’d THINK the jokes would revolve around — but they only target him when necessary. Most of the funny stuff comes at the expense of the doctor stuff, which the boys have a history of excelling at with “The Brain That Wouldn’t Die”, “Ring of Terror”, and “The Atomic Brain” just to name a few. It also helps that the episode has fantastic riffing on two great shorts in “Posture Pals” and “Appreciating Our Parents”. Joel has the line of the week on the latter when the narrator says that the little boy, for the time being, must “put things away”. Joel: “Yes, like all his hopes and dreams!” Great stuff.

BEST RIFF:

JOEL: Man, the doctor lives in the same house and you still have to wait an hour?!

117) 318 – Star Force: Fugitive Alien II

The final Sandy Frank film we’re subjected to is the sequel to whatever the hell we saw in the original “Fugitive Alien” — only it makes even less sense. The riffing is a lot of fun on this one, far more loose and relaxed than the original “Fugitive Alien” and noticeably better than the episode which came before this one in “Viking Women”. The style very much reminds one of sitting in the dark with your friends, late on a summer evening, tossing back some cold ones and watching a really crappy movie and just having fun. Even the expansion of the “Forklift Song” works and doesn’t feel repetitious due to the constant change in lyrics which precede the chorus. It’s a nice send-off in the Sandy Frank parade of films.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: So! Let’s review the plot so far: they went into outer space and, uh…let’s see, uh…oh, wait a minute, it’s, uh…
CROW: Yeah…
SERVO: They went into space…it’s on the tip of my tongue!
CROW: Oh, I know! I know! They suffocated for awhile!
SERVO: Yeah!
JOEL: Then came lots of explosions…
(SERVO and CROW make ship and firing sounds)

116) 113 – The Black Scorpion

The first season concludes the same way it began: with a black-and-white creature feature. This one features giant mutant scorpions (or just regular scorpions…I dunno) who go nuts all over Mexico. The episode ends the first year on a nice high note which is fantastic, considering the slow start it had. There are some great lines here, with a free-wheeling relaxed style from the cast. Servo (as Ramos): “I’ll just move this high voltage power line with this piece of metal…let me dip it in water first.”. There’s a roar heard off-screen as two men hold a rescued baby. Servo: “No more beans and tortillas for THAT kid.” A Mexican man warns Dr. Ramos not to go on his journey. Crow: “Look, Frank…drop the cheesy accent…” A precocious kid serves Tequila to adults as Joel says “Take a shot for yourself, little buddy!” and Servo dubs him a “kiss-up”. Just some good stuff. The film, itself, reminds me a lot of the 5th season’s “The Beginning of the End”. It’s so silly. Squeaking prehistoric scorpions which have somehow survived inside of rocks…I just can’t.

BEST RIFF:

NARRATOR: And, then…tragedy struck!
JOEL: “We ran out of stock footage!”

115) 417 – Crash of Moons (w/ short: General Hospital, Part 3)

It’s another round of “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger” and if you loved epic plotlines involving invisible rockets…you’re gonna LOVE endless sequences of rockets taking off and landing…and taking off…and landing…and taking off and landi–AAAAAAAAAAA!!! The riffing here is about the same as it was on the last entry with a little less emphasis on Rocky, Bobby and Winky. The sketches are decent, with the highlight being the VERY cute “Gypsy Moon” sketch where Crow and Servo attempt to serenade Gypsy and get her to fall in love with them. This, by the way, is the last time we’ll see “General Hospital” and that’s a damn shame because I think they were riffed beautifully.

BEST RIFF:

CROW (as narrator): Even in the future, booze satisfies!

114) 413 – Manhunt in Space (w/ short: General Hospital, Part 1)

Two episodes of “Rocky Jones, Space Ranger” are put together, a’la “Fugitive Alien” to make “Manhunt in Space”, a film which gets some great riffing courtesy of the constant referral to “invisible” ships…which shouldn’t be that hard to find, despite the insistence of every single character saying otherwise. The rest of the jokes come at the expense of “Winky” and “Bobby” who are two of the most annoying sci-fi kids since the Gamera films. The riffing style reminds me a lot of what was on “Rocketship X-M” and that’s just fine with me. The riffing is even good on the “General Hospital” soap opera short (which my Mom watched at one point in her life) which makes for an incredibly fun episode.

BEST RIFF:

REGGIE: No use kidding ourselves, Vena. It’s like a million to one shot that we’ll ever be seen…
CROW: Oh, they’re on Comedy Central!

113) 109 – Project Moonbase (w/ shorts: Commando Cody: Radar Men From the Moon, Chapters 7 & 8)

Two more Cody shorts to lead off — and they’re both hilariously riffed (the line about “Cody Institute for Selective Editing” is great, poking fun at the silly “cliffhanger” endings of each chapter that don’t work once you see the solution edited in during the opening of the next chapter). That was just a harbinger for things to come. “Project Moonbase” is just a fun ride. Gone are the gritty, ugly black-and-white monster films we’ve been seeing. We get pure sci-fi here and it’s still awful. Sexist as hell (the big boss threatening to spank a young Captain is just unforgivable) and not so futuristic (the Dodgers are still playing in Brooklyn, according to a radio broadcast; “This is the future where the Dodgers were sold BACK to Brooklyn,” says Crow. The pauses between riffs are gone. Joel and the Bots are rapid fire as the movie just provides perfect fodder for them with the cheesy effects and horrible characterizations. Joel & the Bots outright booing the ending is just the cherry on top of a great first season cake. The sketches are a lot of fun (SPACOM!) as the stiffness is gone and the interaction between Joel, Servo and Crow is much more natural. This is, easily, one of the best episodes of Season One.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO: “Spanking really IS protocol in the upper echelons of NASA.”

112) 112 – Untamed Youth

This is the first song-and-dance film the show got a hold of and it’s SO good. Joel & the Bots rarely fail when it comes to movies with musical numbers and the ones seen in this film are so odd and corny, the frustrated tone of the riffs is perfect: when a character just arbitrarily begins shuckin’ and jivin’ and singing (acapella, which just makes it even weirder) in a cotton field, Servo just goes “Shut up…don’t even start,” and all you can do is laugh because the scene just FEELS that way, especially with the lack of musical accompaniment. That’s every other sequence in the film, a few of them courtesy of then-fantasy girl, Mamie Van Doren who wails and gyrates so much, I’m surprised she didn’t dislocate something. There’s a great line where she’s on a bed, posing seductively with a piece of cloth pulled over her bent leg, prompting Servo to say “Check out that LEVER! NICE fulcrum!” It’s simple stuff like that which makes the episode a riot. The sketches aren’t great, however. Gypsy having a virus is a cute idea (she needed a spotlight) but it’s just a little boring. Regardless, this and “Project Moonbase” are a joy to watch in the first year and this is the best of Season One.

BEST RIFF:

(One of the cotton pickers in the fields just randomly sings and dances in a cotton field. Everyone joins him, singing and dance and it’s really weird.)
JOEL: Interesting enough, this scene was included in the film, “Scared Straight”…

111) 415 – The Beatniks (w/ short: General Hospital, Part 2)

A black-and-white “Beatnik” musical of sorts which devolves into a noir thriller. The jokes fly fast and furious right out of the gate, thanks to another round of “General Hospital” which just asks for verbal fists to the face. The best parts of the episode center around the musical numbers, like every other episode featuring a “musical”. The riffs are great during these spots and everything else is fairly even-keel, too. It’s too bad the sketch-work isn’t on par with the rest of it, but so it goes.

BEST RIFFS:

CROW: “You know, if any real Beatniks come by, it’s really gonna be embarrassing…”

110) 523 – Village of the Giants

We arrive at the final Bert I. Gordon romp of MST3K’s run (so far — the Netflix era has only just begun) and it’s odd for Gordon. Gone is the thoughtful camp, replaced by gratuitous sequences of scantily clad men and women dancing in slow motion, jiggling everything they have on their bodies. And, as Crow says during the first round of it, “So far, there’s not one thing wrong with this movie!” But, therein lies the problem: the line between sophomoric jokes and true incredulity is very thin and there’s not a whole lot that can be done with giant boob jokes. The rest of the time is spent making fun of Tommy Kirk’s dweebiness and Ron Howard (who is in single digits here) for making “Willow”, which the boys debate over in a running joke that runs the length of the film.

BEST RIFF:

(The teens dance endlessly.)
CROW: Mike, do you think this scene is providing characterization and establishing narrative?
MIKE: No…but who cares?

109) 421 – Monster A-Go-Go (w/ short: Circus on Ice)

I think my next MST3K list will be “The Worst Films Shown on MST3K”. I mean, they’re almost always horrible but some are more watchable than others. But, sometimes, there comes a film that even riffing doesn’t fix. This might be one of those. There’s a monster on the loose and government agents (or whatever) are after it. It kills and murders. And then, at the end, there was no monster. It was all made up. You can’t really hear the dialogue which just adds to the confusion. The riffing is somewhat steady with some great lines (Servo playing the narrator promising “unspeakable horror” over and over is great) and the show’s “Pina Colada song analysis” sketch is absolute gold. It’s just too bad the short isn’t very good.

BEST RIFF:

SERVO (as NARRATOR): This is a test. Had this been an ACTUAL movie, you would have been entertained!

108) 601 – Girls Town

Mamie Van Doren stars as a woman who goes to an all-girl reform school where Paul Anka is the object of every girl’s dream. Like, he’s actually a visitor at the school and girls drool all over him. And he actually singes “Ave Maria” inside a church in one of the most embarrassing, hokey musical moments in film history. The film is largely unappealing due to the behavior of the male characters (the film literally opens with an attempted rape…which two other characters ignore) and I just can’t get with it. That said, the guys do a good job riffing the movie — but it doesn’t really pick up until about a quarter of the way through and they do nothing but add to the sexism by making light of the rape attempt which does not age well upon modern viewings. The episode IS notable for adding in the “Umbilicus” gimmick where Dr. Forrester tethers the SOL to Earth and is also able to send and receive objects to and from the ship.

BEST RIFF:

MIKE: This song is longer than “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida”…

107) 622 – Angels’ Revenge

(PART 1 and PART 2)

What would you do if you took “Charlie’s Angels” and cast it with actresses who couldn’t act? Well…you’d probably STILL have “Charlie’s Angels”, honestly. It’s the type of film Uma Thurman describes in Pulp Fiction (“Fox Force Five” — something even Mike and the Bots make a reference to during the riffing) starring about a half dozen ladies attempting to break up a drug ring run by Jack Palance. Jim Backus and Alan Hale (who would later be seen in “The Great Spider Invasion”) also make appearances here in a film that tries so hard to be sexy, it ends up being a boring parody of films that do it right. Even Mike and the Bots become disillusioned when the “Angels” make two drug dealers remove their clothes on a public beach and declare that the director of the film “doesn’t have Ed Wood’s passion for this kind of material.” The riffing is fairly solid but is more of a fit of incredulous reactions to this rip-off of “Charlie’s Angels”.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: All right! You know what? I’m just givin’ in and LOOKIN’ at the breasts.

106) 816 – Prince of Space

The first Japanese import we’ve had during the SyFy era, “Prince of Space” is about a goofy hero with a face-guard and a cape who defends the Earth against “Krankor”, a kinduva human Muppet with a really weird, slow cackle of a laugh. It’s not as endearing or fun as the “Gamera” films or anything Sandy Frank brought us and the jokes get old quick (Did anyone explain that the constant “cram school” riffs were overbearing to the point of being borderline racist?) but, overall, the riffing is mostly fun. The sketches, while not entirely funny, are interesting as Pearl and the SOL are sucked into a wormhole, causing some weird crap to to occur aboard the ship (conversations are out of order, Mike becomes a robot, and Mike and the Bots end up in a weird dimension where the bridge is transformed into an actual forest) before Pearl and her minions find themselves in ancient Roman times, another ridiculous stop on the way to normalcy. It’s not a bad episode, just not at the bar the show has set.

BEST RIFF:

(The camera pans across empty streets.)
CROW: A rare Godzilla-free day.

105) 819 – Invasion of the Neptune Men

This would be the last Japanese flick featured in the SyFy era and it’s a doozy. If you thought Krankor and his invasion of Earth was clunky and awful, just wait until you experience the last third of “Invasion of the Neptune Men” which features non-stop shots of radars and missiles and ships firing at one another and exploding…all to the point where Mike and Crow actually lose hope and semi-retire from watching the film for a bit. Reminiscent of yelling for “The Wild Wild World of Batwoman” to end, Servo losing it near the end of this film, with his “Stock Footage Song”, is as soul-cleansing as it is hilarious. It’s just too bad the riffing isn’t as consistent during the first half. The sketches are so-so with a silly “Who’s On First”-inspired sketch about Noh Theater and how it relates to Kabuki Theater. The best moment (which is anything but the dumb “ancient Rome” sketches with Pearl and Brain Guy) comes from Krankor visiting the SOL during Mike and the Bots’ darkest hour, as they’re huddling in fear and confusion over the hellish mess that is the movie. It’s a surprisingly moving moment that makes you smile…if only for a few minutes before we witness the awful climax of the movie.

BEST RIFF:

CROW: You know, maybe the Japanese didn’t know they were making a film, per se, Maybe they thought they were…working in a different medium, like fabric sculptures or something…

104) 201 – Rocketship X-M

Changes were abound with the lead-off episode of the second season of the show. The intro sequence no longer looked cheap, with better models and new footage. The ship’s bridge had been completely re-designed to look more industrial, adding flashing beacon lights at the top of the ship’s hallway door behind Joel. The “Hexfield Viewscreen” gimmick was introduced where Joel and the Bots could now be contacted by various beings and people outside the ship — even though the viewscreen’s door wasn’t there yet, so Joel and the Bots simply turned off the light inside the compartment housing the actor on the other side of the screen and pretended they were gone. Deep 13 was more immersive. We got to see more of Dr. Forrester’s secret base of operations and Jerry and Sylvia, Dr. Forrester’s horrific housefly/human hybrid things, were also introduced. Josh “J. Elvis” Weinstein had left the show to find his fortune, so two changes had to be made: Dr. Erhardt could no longer be Dr. Forrester’s right-hand man and Tom Servo’s voice had to be re-cast. I’ve never liked Dr. Erhardt. I always thought he was whiny and annoying and he never connected with me. Enter Frank Conniff who not only filled in as Clay’s second banana…Frank became a legend. Literally named “TV’s Frank”, he’s arguably one of the greatest characters in comedy television because he’s accessible. He’s supposed to be “evil” for all intents and purposes, but he’s lovable because he’s a goofball. You can’t help but feel terrible for him as Forrester pushes him around and abuses him because he’s human. He has empathy and he’s hilarious. So, that was one casting issue out of the way. Servo’s big shoes were filled by the great Kevin Murphy who would play the voice of Servo for the next nine years until the end of the 10th year. This Servo was more jovial, more expressive, more alive. He could sing (in harmony…just wait until “The Starfighters”…my god, it’s gorgeous) and he could shoot the breeze and you were laughing. So, while I miss Weinstein, I don’t totally grieve his absence on the show. In any case, the second season gets off to a roaring start with all the new blood injected into the show. The writing became much better. Riffing was tighter and more natural and films were slightly more edited to eliminate dead spots. Jokes were rapid-fire, better-timed and more of them seemed to land and induce a good laugh thanks to Joel and the Bots becoming more observational and riffing during dead spots where there wasn’t any dialogue and, most important, they stopped coldly reading lines. More emotion and acting was put into the riffs. Perhaps “Rocketship X-M” is a simple, run-of-the-mill episode, perhaps it isn’t. It’s still very funny, with the guys lampooning Lloyd Bridges’ “SeaQuest” time with the immortal running MST3K riff, “By this time, my lungs were aching for air” as well as the guy from “The Rockford Files” who never seems to shut up. Everything is much improved. Even the sketches have more energy (future host Mike Nelson plays a space vixen who Joel speaks with using his pop culture knowledge of “space vixens”. Great stuff, all around.

BEST RIFF:

MAN: We’re still drifting…
CROW: …off to SLEEP!

103) 208 – The Lost Continent

Get ready…for HOT…ROCK…CLIMBING…ACTION! Oh my god, this film. I lost weight watching Robert Lippert’s epic where these guys traipse through the jungle and climb endless rocky mountain summits to view — and then shoot — stop-motion dinosaurs. The riffing starts out slow but picks up speed once the men reach the “Lost Continent”. Most of the jokes have to do with the sheer amount of rock-climbing footage seen here, but you’d be amazed at how much MILEAGE those jokes get in this episode mainly because Joel and the Bots play everything as fed up and frustrated. The skits are the weakest thing about the show. One of them is half-realized, with Mike Nelson playing Hugh Beaumont for the very first time. He’d reprise that role later on in the series. Even still, when the riffing does pick up, it quickly moves up this list.

BEST RIFF:

(EVEN MORE rock-climbing scenes are shown)
SERVO (as narrator): “From the director who brought you that earlier stuff…more of the same!”
CROW: Doesn’t the action let up for a MOMENT?!
JOEL: This is better than that Indiana Jones truck sequence!

102) 212 – Godzilla vs. Megalon

(Full episode is here.)

The first of the Japanese monster films on MST3K is a Godzilla film — one of two. After this, Gamera would become the preferred MST3K Kaiju. It’s a great episode. The film is your typical Godzilla film: a couple monsters shake loose and wreak havoc in Japan. Jet Jaguar, a robot invented by a total goofball inventor who runs around, toting his nephew  with his friend, is sent to summon Godzilla to take them out. The riffing is fast here with the boys mocking “Roxanne”, the nephew of the inventor in the film, mercilessly. It’s not hard to see why. He talks with this whiny, high-pitched voice and you just want him to shut up. The film is just bizarre with lots of unnecessary close-ups and characters doing some stupid things (One of the main characters is seen on a surveillance camera…he knows it’s there and waves at it; Crow goes, “It’s the All-Idiot Channel!”). The big climatic monster fight is plain silly with Jet Jaguar becoming 100 feet tall and battling two monsters alongside Godzilla — who has somehow learned how to slide forward on his tail. The sketches are funny as hell, with the highlight being the insanely dark-humored “Orville Redenbacher” popcorn sketch which ends with Crow berating his “son”, played by Tom Servo as Servo screams in anguish over the lack of a life he has being related to his “dad”, Orville. It’s apropos of nothing, but it doesn’t need to be when it’s this well-executed. The episode is also notable for Joel finally ditching that god-awful baby blue jumpsuit and debuting his trademark crimson red jumper.

BEST RIFF:

MAN: Hey, listen! It would be funny if the earthquakes destroyed your robot!
JOEL: Yeah, it would be funny if the earthquake killed your FAMILY!

101) 302 – Gamera

With Godzilla films out of the running, MST3K introduced us to “Gamera”, a giant turtle that could fly and breathe fire and trash Japan just like its spiritual cousin, Godzilla. The film was a creation of Japan’s Daiei Films and was intended to try and grab some of that sweet 60’s Giant Japanese Monster money. The riffs in the film come at the expense of Kenny, the little kid in the film who somehow befriends Gamera and is allowed, by the Japanese military, to pretty much do whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it. Like the Joey the Lemur stuff in “King Dinosaur”, the joke never gets old because the characters pretty much DO allow Kenny to do what he wants and keep doing it throughout the movie. The sketches are great, as well, with Servo singing a ballad for Kenny’s turtle as Crow completely messes it up. We also meet “Gamera” who is represented by Mike Nelson. (“I don’t have to separate my laundry because it’s…all green,” he says). Still, besides the Kenny stuff, the movie is so goofy, Joel and the Bots miss some targets, so it’s not as good as it should be.

BEST RIFF:

(Kenny looks at Gamera as he comes up over a hillside. Gamera looks back at him.)
CROW (as Gamera): Those kids at school, they tease you, Kenny…because they’ve never tasted HELL. Today, we turn the tables!

That’s it for the next 50…we will be back tomorrow to give you the next 50 episodes as we count down to #1 on Turkey Day!

Until then, push the button, Frank…

About Matt Perri

Matt Perri
Matt Perri is one of those literary Ronin you’ve never heard of until he shows up and tells you he’s a literary Ronin. He’s a native Californian, a film buff, old school gamer geek, and a sports/entertainment fan. A lifelong Giants, 49ers and Sharks fan, he also covers the world of pro-wrestling, writing recaps for WWE Monday Night RAW and Total Divas at Scott’s Blog of Doom. You can follow the guy on Twitter via @PerriTheSmark as well as here at The Workprint and his own blog, We Hate Your Gimmick.

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