Ed. Note: Our “Love Story” feature encourages writers to tell the story behind their love for their favorite movie, band, or television show. Today, Kat writes about Mystery Science Theater 3000.
If you’re expecting this piece to be a tender testament to my never-ending obsession with Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) and you too are a fan of this cult comedy series, then you’ve landed your boots in the appropriate space. In all its zany antics and esteem for silverfish, I love this show. I love it because it’s clever, because of the wacky skits, for the cast’s presentation and delivery of riffs, for its pop culture quips, because I also devotedly admire B, C, and Z movies—and above all, I love it because there is always a bout of fine, hearty laughter that accompanies the experience of watching this show. And what speaks “love” more than laughter? In fact, I have yet to partake in a MST3K experiment that wasn’t doused in durable, high-octane hilarity. Admittedly, some of the movies are more accessible and watchable than others, but that’s why we have the riff-masters (Joel or Mike, and crew) present, proficient, and ready to shift the mood toward amusement.
I began watching MST3K when I was a wee lass. Of course, I was only ever able to catch clips of the show when I visited with friends, because my family either didn’t have electricity at the time or our channels were limited to a spotty antenna signal pickup. Fantastically enough, the shows that were forfeited in my grimly, misspent youth are now available for leisurely and convenient viewing through a range of streaming video services. Thus, in the past few years I’ve been afforded the opportunity to reconnect and really fall in love with this series. Now, I didn’t always intrinsically understand or appreciate the pop culture references as a kid, and even now I can recite several instances where I’ve found myself researching the names of actors, actresses, directors, characters, and songs referred to on this show. Nevertheless, every episode I’ve seen has had me hooting and bent in jovial hysterics at some point.
Obviously, most of the humor in MST3K is contextual, which makes it problematic when trying to convey through words. For that I call upon my champion, the puppeteers and creators of YouTube MST3K clip and montage content, to do this for me.
Best of Pod People
MST3K – Favorite Moments – Jack Frost
MORE Jack Frost – Ivan is unBEARable!
“Every time I meet a man, he’s either gay or a bear.”
Also, I have a few beloved standout episodes I would highly recommend. What the heck – I’ll even count ‘em down for you, AT40 Style, but way less than 40, more like 5. And I won’t reveal any major details about the films. I’ll just reiterate that I love them and in this order.
Note: Before I begin this list, let’s agree that ALL of the Gamera experiments are quality. Also, I feel compelled to share that this list is subject to change tomorrow or within the hour.
1. The Pod People
2. Jack Frost
3. The Touch of Satan
4. “Manos” The Hands of Fate
5. The Atomic Brain
Runners-up – Squirm and Soultaker
And I offer my sincerest apologies to Joe Don Baker. You did not make the cut this time, but may your acting abilities allow you to gain recognition on the next list, and may you forever reside in the Land of Crap Filmdom.
Which brings me to …
Some people (namely some of the participants and responsible parties for the original films) are offended by the wisecracks and remarks on MST3K. Others deem this show a depraved mockery of artists, and I tend to disagree (almost always to spur a fiery argument, but this time legitimately) because I think this show actually highlights films that are otherwise undervalued and overlooked. MST3K sheds light on these films, in an awkwardly charming and witty manner, through their commentary and diligent attention to detail. If I ever made a B flick (or worse), I would like to think I would be the kind of person who would appreciate their observations and comments, and that I would cheerfully, with hugs, accept their homage, in the form of sharp digs, to my work.
Another thing before I go: I really want to mention the robots. Don’t get me wrong, I adore all of the made-from-scraps bots on the Satellite of Love and regret not making an effort to roll-call and elaborate on each of them individually in this piece. Still, I wish to write a line or two naming my favorite. Not only is he my preferred robot, but incidentally, he is also my preferred crow.
In fact—on a scale of Crow to Crow, Crow T. Robot is THE NUMBER ONE CROW, punting the needle all the way to the red—and quite frankly the only crow that matters.
I want to end with a simple suggestion for the creative players behind MST3K. Seriously, it is just the tiniest tweak, and certainly not to suggest that the show isn’t already flawless. Obviously, I LOVE this show. My proposal is modest and humble, because I am utterly humble. I am. Ahem, straight to it – I propose the crew add a fresh, new, vibrant, trendy female to the Satellite of Love team. Uh, I mean, I’m not sure I would be up to the task myself, but wait, I am female. I’m also relatively fresh and trendy. Hmm, that is rather fascinating. Are you suggesting I do the show? I do look exquisite in a red jumpsuit. Of course, I would do my best, and on average, I operate and function at about 30 percent (when sober), which makes me scantily efficient. Also, although I blush to admit it, my CV, which includes my many years of Netflix experience, is somewhat impressive. By golly, you talked me into it! I’ll have my people contact someone at Gizmonic to squabble over details.
And that’d be the end, folks! Love in the time of randomness—and a half-cocked, convoluted write-up conveying my intense feelings toward MST3K.
How did I do, Joel?