I’ve always had conflicted feelings toward the beloved series, Mystery Science Theater 3000. I remember catching an episode or two early on, but it wasn’t until high school when I actually sat down and watched multiple episodes in close succession. I mean, this was the type of material made for high school boys. Right up there with Monthy Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail.
And I enjoyed it.
But the thing is…I often enjoyed it more for the movie than for the riffing being done alongside it.
That’s not to say that the antics of Joel/Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo didn’t amuse me. I would frequently laugh out loud and my usage of wakka-chikkas comes purely from the Mitchell episode. And, to be completely honest, sometimes it would feel like the movie would get in the way of the story actually happening on the Satellite of Love. What were the Mads up to now? How were Joel/Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo going to battle insanity this time? Is this really just a Pee Wee’s Playhouse spin off?
So, when I heard they were making a comeback, I had mixed feelings. While there was a definite enjoyment to be had, something just always felt off about the series…but I could never quite put my finger on it.
And while working my way through the new series these past few weeks, I’ve finally landed on my issue with MST3k. Ummm…I really like bad movies, especially bad monster movies. And like that guy who will shush your coughing in the theater, I just want those guys in the front to shut up so I can watch the terrible story progress.
Of course, there are bits brought up by the crew of the SoL which does help enhance the movie. Things they notice in the background, or odd combinations of music and scene, that I might not have noticed if it weren’t for them. But generally speaking, I find myself annoyed at the guys talking during my movie. Even if they do make me laugh from time to time.
But then, at the same time, I find myself connected to these characters. Watching the cut scenes split out by 20 minutes (or however long) of movie makes me also eager to get back to watching these guys goof off. Jonah’s infatuation with wood burning has me intrigued. Will Kinga actually marry Jonah? Will TV’s son of TV’s Frank finally get Kinga to notice him?
This is where I find the true brilliance of MST3k to be. You see, while making fun of bad movies, they, themselves, are in a bad movie. It’s intentional, of course, but done so brilliantly well.
So…here’s my final thoughts. And no one in the world will agree with me. Split out the movies and the cut scenes. Let me watch the movies without those people up front talking through out and let me watch the rest of the episode without those long stretches of film.
That’s my thought of the day.
But seriously…I still don’t find “Watch out for snakes” funny…