* ActorAllusion: Lots of them, if an actor is most famous for another role, like [[Series/GilligansIsland Alan Hale or Russell Johnson]]. And every time Creator/PeterGraves shows up, you can expect a [[IncrediblyLamePun host]] of ''Biography'' jokes.
** And because Peter Graves showed up in so many [[MysteryScienceIndex3000 MST'ed]] movies another gag was referencing his role in the ''last'' film they saw him in.
** The writers were quite proud of themselves for limiting themselves to only two ''Series/TheBradyBunch'' refs in one film co-starring Robert Reed.
** They also did this for actors who weren't famous, for example the "Coffee? I like coffee" guy from Creator/ColemanFrancis films (Eric Tomlin), or Depressing Dad (Malcolm Atterbury) who showed up in several unrelated episodes, and yet somehow always played a really depressing dad.
** Possibly reached its zenith when they noticed an actor named Merritt Stone had showed up in several of the films they'd done, but no one was sure who he actually was. So the big running gag of ''Film/TheRebelSet'' is Mike and Crow giving the name to the train conductor (actually played by Gene Roth, who was ''another'' recurring actor), to which Tom keeps shouting "HE'S NOT MERRITT STONE!"
** Averted completely when no one at all noticed that ''Space Mutiny'''s spaceship was the ''BattlestarGalactica'' flying backwards.
* AdoredByTheNetwork: Though it would wind up getting ScrewedByTheNetwork later, the old Comedy Channel considered [=MST3K=] its flagship show - when they merged with Ha! to become Comedy Central, they threatened to cancel the merger if Ha! insisted on getting rid of [=MST3K=] in spite of the Comedy Channel's anonymity and Ha!'s comparative success. [=MST3K=] also scored an unprecedented three-year contract, which was a big factor in producing the stellar seasons 3, 4 and 5.
** The only reason the tenth season happened was because the departing director of programming at Sci-Fi was a huge fan and signed off on it as his final act of business on the network.
* ChannelHop: From one KTMA season to two on the Comedy Channel. The latter channel merged with Ha! to become Comedy Central, and ''[=MST3K=]'' made the transition--staying for Seasons 3-7. Afterwards, Sci-Fi picked the series up for three more seasons.
** Also with their DVD releases. At first, they were handled by Rhino, then they switched to Shout Factory.
* CreatorCouple: Mike Nelson is married to Bridget Jones (no, not ''[[Literature/BridgetJones that]]'' [[Literature/BridgetJones one]]) who was also a writer on the show and occasional actress, most famously playing Flavia during the Ancient Rome arc in season 8.
** Bonus points for when Mike had to, and could not, flirt with Flavia.
* TheDanza: Michael J. Nelson played a character named... Michael J. Nelson. He's the biggest example but not the only one. Frank Conniff played TV's Frank and Joel also played a character named Joel, though he at least changed his character's last name from Hodgson to Robinson, except in the pilot and KTMA episodes, in which his character was also named Joel Hodgson.
* {{Defictionalization}}: An invention exchange (By the Mads no less!) became a reality on Feb 1st 2014 when Crest announced it was going to bring out CHOCOLATE toothpaste! Hope Deep 13 gets a portion of the royalties.
* ExecutiveMeddling: Despite signing a show renewal contract saying that they would not re-air Season 1 of the series, Comedy Central did just that. They also reran the "special edition" version of episode 701 (''Night of the Blood Beast'') that aired as part of the 1995 "Turkey Day" marathon, prior to Season 7's official start.
** When the show went on Sci-Fi, the network demanded that there be "story arcs". Kevin tried to explain that "there is no story arc in a puppet show!", but they didn't listen. The result is the stories of Bobo, Brain Guy, the camping planet, and the Rome arc. Unfortunately, since Sci-Fi haphazardly would air 3-4 episodes then rerun them (often out of order none the less), this forced them to have to include recaps at the start of each episode to fill fans in. And then, to add injury to insult, Sci-Fi ordered them to cut the number of host segments in half!
** Comedy Central's shoddy treatment of the show was one of the reasons [[Creator/PennAndTeller Penn Jillette]] quit as their spokesman.
** Sci-Fi Channel (during Seasons 8-9) demanded that the show could only feature sci-fi, horror, or fantasy related movies, though the staff tended to find rather loose definitions of the concept in order to create variety. It wasn't until Season 10 that they were allowed to do drama films again (''Film/TheGirlInGoldBoots'', ''Film/FinalJustice'')...though in this case it was because the show was essentially going to get cancelled anyway and nobody at the network cared anymore.
*** In a more extreme case, ''Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie''. It was so botched that the cast ended up having to vent their anger in a Season 7 episode where they had Crow's idea for a film be butchered in similar fashion.
** In-universe example: Mike, acting as a studio exec, completely altering Crow's TV series treatment of ''Film/TheFinalSacrifice''. Now, the title is different, the show is set in America instead of Canada (possibly UsefulNotes/{{Pittsburgh}}; [[StargateCity but they'll still shoot the film in Canada]]), the main character (now with [[GenderFlip a different gender]] and name) is living in an apartment with a bunch of other girls (thus [[GenreShift completely changing the genre]]). Also, Mike wants recurring, "tasteful" full frontal nudity of Rowsdower.
* FanCommunityNicknames: The show's viewers are known as "[=MSTies=]" (or, less frequently, "Misties").
* HeyItsThatGuy:
** Jim Mallon, the puppeteer and voice for Gypsy, previously received recognition for being the head of the "Pail and Shovel" Party when he was a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. To garner votes, he would make outlandish campaign promises such as decorating the front lawn of Bascom Hall with hundreds of pink flamingo lawn ornaments, or bringing the Statue of Liberty to Lake Mendota. [[CrazyEnoughToWork And he did.]] The former was straightforward (though 60 students requested a complete refund of their money, and he followed through...for a total of $6.00), and the latter was achieved through creating a replica head and torch that seemed to jut through the ice of Mendota during the winter.
** Joel Hodgson achieved some pre-''MST'' recognition for his standup/prop comedy act, which was showcased on ''SaturdayNightLive'' and ''LateNight with DavidLetterman'' among other venues.
* KeepCirculatingTheTapes: They were the trope namers, after all. Almost all episodes that haven't been legally released can be found on YouTube easily.
** Poopie II is INCREDIBLY hard to find, so much some fans don't even know there ''was'' a second tape. Half of it is available on the Volume 10 set, but the rest is unavailable. However, those who ''have'' seen it [[{{Sequelitis}} don't think it's as good as the first]].
*** It also contains a scene where Trace's lip starts to bleed after Mary accidentally hits him with a trombone. There was lots of raging about it.
* MarathonRunning: On UsefulNotes/ThanksgivingDay, during the Comedy Central era; they called each one the "Turkey Day" marathon. Best Brains would produce special host segments and bumpers to tie the episodes together. One year they had Creator/AdamWest hosting. The show premiered Thanksgiving 1988.
** They were less than thrilled when it came around on them, and previously planned episode air dates were [[ScrewedByTheNetwork abruptly preempted by marathons of other Comedy Central shows.]] So much so that they cut a promo for their next episode where they talked openly about the possibility of being preempted yet again. (As an additional TakeThat, the promo featured an appearance by CC's then-opaque and very intrusive network bug.)
* McLeaned: Doctor Forrester was killed offscreen by his own mother.
* MissingEpisode: There are two types.
** The first is the kind where they can't clear the film rights for home video release, and are therefore ''[[KeepCirculatingTheTapes legally]]'' missing. At any given time about half the series falls under that header, but Website/YouTube and file-sharing make it a non-issue.
** The second is the kind that are really, legitimately missing, as in nobody has access to them even through more underhanded means. There are only three of these; the first three KTMA (local broadcast) episodes--understandably so, as the series had yet to find a fanbase (and thus no one recorded the episodes) and aired only in one market (driving down the number of potential tape holders.) Jim Mallon, the show's executive producer, recently revealed he had copies of said episodes, which he had converted to digital media and put up clips on [[http://mst3k.com the show's official site]]. However, the movie rights for those three episodes remain uncleared, and ([[OldShame due to the crew's low opinion of their KTMA work]]) are unlikely to see release any time soon, and are therefore still not accessible and therefore still missing.
** And then there's the "lost short". There were, at one point, plans for an [=MST3K=] CD-ROM. As part of the bonuses on the disc, riffs of two shorts were filmed, ''AssignmentVenezula'' and ''What's It To You'', the latter being a promotional piece for Mylar. When the CD-ROM was canceled, the shorts vanished. A work print of ''Assignment Venezula'' was found and released on DVD alongside ''TheKillerShrews'', but ''What's It To You'' has vanished entirely; not even the script is believed to exist.
* NamesTheSame: No, the Josh Weinstein from this show is not the former writer of WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons. This is why he goes by J. Elvis Weinstein now.
* NetworkToTheRescue: When the Comedy Channel picked up [=MST3K=], it was a little-known, low-rating cable network which was losing viewers to the more popular HA! Network. HA! offered Comedy Channel a merger to boost profits for all involved, but saw the Channel's lineup as being of little value and wanted to scrap the lot of it. Comedy Channel, however, saw [=MST3K=] as their flagship series and ''refused to go through with the merger if it the show wasn't kept around.'' HA! relented, and not only picked the show up again but signed it for three, 26-episode seasons on the initial contract, and increased its per-episode budget so it wouldn't have to rely on public-domain films. A few years later, Comedy Central, the network formed out of the merger, suddenly had no love for the show that basically put it on the map and canceled it.
** This is when [[SyFy The Sci Fi Channel]] stepped in, their departing director of programming was a huge fan of the show and signed them for three more seasons [[DyingMomentOfAwesome as one of his final acts.]]
* OldShame: They requested that Comedy Central cease airing Season 1 episodes shortly before Season 4's premiere, although they still recycled some of the better material.
** To quote the [=MST3K=] Colossal Episode Guide: "Q: Why have you requested Comedy Central not air the season 1 episodes? A: Because they weren't very good."
** Also the KTMA episodes. As Joel explained in the "So Happy Together" retrospective (from Shout Factory's ''[=MST3K=]: Gamera'' DVD release):
-->'''Joel Hodgson:''' We don't count any of the KTMA's as "real" shows. I mean, granted, if people really love ''Mystery Science Theater'' and they feel they must go back and watch them, I think it's fine just to kind of learn about like, what it was like when we were starting out. But none of us feel really great about them, because we just weren't writing them. It was just the beginning of it. But along the way, we figured it out.
* TheOtherDarrin: Tom Servo's, Crow's, and Gypsy's voice actors were all eventually replaced.
** [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] when Mike turns briefly into a "werecrow" and Crow tells him, "Your voice will change about every seven years."
*** Beginning in the season where his voice changes, Crow's line in the opening song changes to "I'm different!" in his new voice (the only thing different about him).
** Also lampshaded in the first episode of the SciFi era (and presumably when the voice-change happened) where Mike actually realizes that Crow's voice has changed and keeps on calling him up on that fact.
*** And again in the ''Film/{{Soultaker}}'' episode, when Joel comes back and immediately notices that Crow sounds different: "Oh, you changed your bowling pin!"
** When Murphy replaced Weinstein as Servo's voice actor, it was explicitly explained as Joel tweaking Servo's voice box and personality.
*** Apparently an irate fan sent them a large banner that read "I HATE TOM SERVO'S NEW VOICE!", which Kevin Murphy proudly hung in the Best Brains offices. Years later, Bill Corbett received a nearly identical note, which he interpreted as good-natured hazing from the fans.
*** Weinstein, at ''WebVideo/CinematicTitanic'' live shows, will frequently introduce himself as "the Tom Servo you don't like as much."
** Apparently, Weinstein voiced Crow in "Invaders from the Deep", but unfortunately, [[LostForever it's one of three KTMA episodes not recorded by fans]].
** Magic Voice has changed performers more often than any of the others; in the first four seasons she was voiced by various female performers, most often Jahn Johnson and Alexandra Carr, before being played by Mary Jo Pehl in seasons 5 through 7, and then Beth "Beez" [=McKeever=] in the Sci-Fi seasons.
* ThePeteBest: Josh Weinstein. Josh was only 17 years old when the Comedy Channel picked up the show. The age gap between him and the other performers, as well as his objection to the less improvisational and more scripted new nature of the show after its transfer to cable, caused friction which led to his leaving the cast just as the show was beginning to take off nationally.
* PopularityRedo: When the show made the jump from local low-budget KTMA to the cable station Comedy Channel, they reused some host sketches in their first season and revisited movies from the KTMA era in their third.
* PromotedFanboy: Bill Corbett.
* RealLifeRelative: At the end of the Comedy Central finale, Trace Bealieu's father made a brief cameo as an extremely-aged Dr. Forrester in a parody of ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''.
** Additionally, Mike Nelson's real-life wife, Bridget Jones ([[NamesTheSame no, not]] ''[[NamesTheSame that]]'' Literature/BridgetJones) appeared several times, including as Film/MrBNatural, Lisa Loeb, Nuveena, Flavia, and Slicer the Nanite. She was also one of the actresses who portrayed Magic Voice before Mary Jo Pehl took over permanently. Bridget was also one of the show's writers, including a stint as a full-time member of the writing staff from season 4 onward.
* ScrewedByTheNetwork: ''Twice''.
** In the case of Sci-Fi, Mike Nelson maintains that Bonnie Hammer, after taking charge at the network, said one of her priorities was, "I'm going to kill that #$%&@*! puppet show."
* TalkingToHimself: There was always at least one actor overlapping between the mad scientists and the 'bots. It got even worse in the Sci-Fi Channel era, when both Tom and Crow's actors were also playing Pearl's assistants.
** That was true in [[OlderThanTheyThink season one]], as well.
* ThrowItIn: The crew frequently left in the less serious bloopers -- robots falling apart, the actors cracking up at each other's lines, et cetera -- because they felt it added a certain something to the show.
** One particular example would be a skit they did when Crow got fried by Servo's DeathRay. Crow's little fire on his head after being shot wasn't supposed to spread to his eyeballs, so his head burst into flame and he started screaming, giving a literal spin of the [[EyeScream appropriate trope]].
-->'''Crow''': ... Oh, my ''God''. Well, I'll be in my trailer.
** During the short before ''Film/RobotMonster'', Servo's puppeteer [[http://youtu.be/MDIudeaZYis?t=5m11s sneezes loudly while in the theatre]] and (inadvertently or on purpose) jerks the puppet. The cast treat it as though it was ''Servo'' who sneezed and keep going, with Crow telling him 'gesundheit' and Joel patting him on the shoulder and giving a confused [[LampshadeHanging "You're not supposed to do that."]]
** ''Any'' time a bot gets damaged - even in takes that ''aren't'' used, Trace and Kevin always remained in character. For example, when Crow and Servo are dressed as ninjas and horse playing with "Snacktion" action snacks, at the end of the skit, Crow knocks Servo's head off accidentally, to which Servo freezes and Crow sheepishly states, "Uh... I broke him."
*** In another segment, Servo and Crow are tackling Mike as Secret Service Agents "for his protection". If his foot is exposed, they yell, "Foot!" and pound it back down. Servo's head inevitably pops off - to which Crow screams, "HEAD!" and both bots scream panicked, "HEAD! HEAD! HEAD!"
** In the KTMA days, Gypsy was portrayed as a {{Cloudcuckoolander}} prone to bizarre non-sequitors rather than the wise TeamMom she became soon afterward. But one aspect of this portrayal ended up sticking: Upon her being asked "What's two plus two?" she responded "Richard Basehart," which evolved into her being a huge fan of the obscure actor.
* TropeNamer: ''[=MST3K=]'' is the TropeNamer for following tropes:
** AndHisEyesOpen
** DullSurprise
** TheFreelanceShameSquad
** JustEatGilligan
** KeepCirculatingTheTapes
** KungFoley
** MikeNelsonDestroyerOfWorlds
** TheMountainsOfIllinois
** {{MST}}
** MST3KMantra [[InvokedTrope ]] (...repeat to yourself "It's just a [[{{Trope}} trope"]] / I should really just relax...)
** NextSundayAD
** NightmareFuel [[InvokedTrope ]]
** NightmareFuelStationAttendant [[InvokedTrope ]]
** PinocchioSyndrome
** RailingKill
** RobotRollCall
** TheyJustDidntCare [[InvokedTrope ]]
* WhatCouldHaveBeen:
** Before ComedyCentral canceled the show, they offered the crew a deal: reformat the show so that it would run in a thirty minute time slot and have Mike and the 'bots make fun of TV shows, not films.
** Gramercy Pictures had a choice between ''BarbWire'' and ''[=MST3K: The Movie=]'' to back with a full ad campaign and theater spread. They chose the former. ("[[http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/Barb_Wire_1996.aspx Even still]], [[http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/?view=main&yr=1996&wknd=16&sort=avg&order=DESC&p=.htm in its first weekend it had a higher per-theater average than even the number one movie in the country.]] So, just imagine the business it could have done [[InvisibleAdvertising if people had actually known it was out.]]")
** Once in a while, you can catch a glimpse of someone's mouth moving in the theater (this is most prominent with Crow) but no one says anything.[[note]]This is occasionally because the audio has been shifted in order to have better syncing; see the credits to ''Werewolf''.[[/note]] It's likely that they're saying jokes that were cut or perhaps censored. One such example can be found in their riff of ''[[Recap/MysteryScienceTheater3000S04E24ManosTheHandsOfFate Manos: The Hands of Fate]]'':
---> '''Bride:''' The woman is all we want!
---> '''Crow:''' ''[Mouth moves, but nothing comes out]''
** A confirmed example of this can be found by watching the rough cut of ''ItLivesByNight'', where about 3/4 of the way through the movie, just before an ad break, Bill Corbett (as Crow) says "[[PrecisionFStrike Fucking]] squeak." After they stop recording, it's remarked that they'll have to mute that one, but he still got a laugh out of the others.
** Joel revealed an interesting bit of trivia in [[http://www.salon.com/2012/08/15/mystery_science_theater_host_yelling_at_the_screen_makes_us_smarter/ this interview]], which has a dose of HilariousInHindsight.
-->"I was really naive and as far outside of show business as you could get. I grew up in the Midwest. The first time I ever knew of a guy making movies anywhere near me was Bill Rebane. He did ‘Giant Spider Invasion’ not too far from where I lived. I remember him being on TV in Green Bay doing P.R. They were in the process of shooting, and he was trying to recruit people to be in this movie. That was my first experience, and it made me feel glamorous that it was even happening in my state.”
** During the 20th anniversary Comic-Con reunion panel, the cast was asked if they ever found a movie that was ''too'' bad to use for the show. They mentioned that a few movies they reviewed for use were great for their concept until certain scenes popped up - like, for instance, a rape scene - but out of all these they said that ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_Bride Child Bride]]'' was the worst, with Kevin Murphy calling it "Appalachian kiddie porn".
** [[http://smellslikeinfinitesadness.com/an-interview-with-joel-hodgson-of-mystery-science-theater-3000/#sthash.TjngMXVL.dpuf Joel Hodgson mentions in this interview]] that, early on, he considered pitching the show to his friend Jerry Seinfeld for him to host. Seinfeld had to turn the offer down as he was in the midst of [[Series/{{Seinfeld}} working on his own show for NBC.]]
** Mike and the crew attempted to secure the rights to the infamous JohnTravolta and Lily Tomlin 1978 "romance" ''Moment by Moment'' but had said rights "[[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2007/08/22/DI2007082201850.html yanked from [them] at the last minute]]"
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