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The Guys Shot Up In Space
Played by: Joel HodgsonThe original "guy shot up in space" and the creator of the robots. Joel was an employee at Gizmonic Institute, both a janitor and inventor. As part of Dr. Forrester's experiment, he was launched into space aboard the Satellite of Love and is forced to watch horrible movies. Joel has a rather laid-back personality, and as their creator, often acts as a father figure to the Bots. Halfway through Season 5, Joel escapes from the SoL and is replaced by Mike. Joel comes back for one episode later on, where it turns out he settled down as the manager of a Hot Fish Shop in Osseo, Minnesota.
- The Ace: But only in the season 10 premiere, where he fixes the SOL in a few hours among other great things... poor Mike.
- Adorkable: Has his moments.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's usually laid-back and takes his captivity in stride, but if the Mads try to hurt his bots he will go full Papa Wolf on them.
- Characterization Marches On: Back in KTMA and season 1, Joel acted as a resentful creator to the Bots, instead of the Team Dad he was famous for.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: "I'm strange, which results in creativity!"
- Deadpan Snarker: Leans more towards Deadpan than Mike.
- Dissonant Serenity: You would think being kidnapped and stranded in space would have some effect on him.
- The Everyman: "There was a guy named Joel, not too different from you or me."
- Eyes Always Shut: The "sleepy eyes" act is a trait carried over from Joel's previous projects.
- Gadgeteer Genius: The Ridiculously Human Robots, as well as all of his other inventions.
- Genius Ditz: Not so much ditzy as he is aloof.
- Gray Eyes: When they open.
- Hidden Depths: This guy invented four robots capable of free will, love, dreaming, catching illnesses, and food allergies.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Possibly implied. Joel once said his parents once forced him to take a bath in the front yard.
- The Kirk (Original)
- Motherly Scientist: Often ends up disciplining/comforting the robots that he built.
- Nice Guy: He's almost impossibly friendly, and very hard to push.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While neither Joel nor Mike have any ability to control when the movies start or stop, it's Joel's fault. The Expository Theme Song of the earlier seasons notes that he used the parts that could have let him do so to construct the robots.
- Not So Stoic: When he does lose his cool, it's startling.
- During Attack of the The Eye Creatures, Joel ends up apologizing for the the rest of the the male sex, and later, actually loses his cool, berating one character:Joel: [angry] You know what? You are one sick mamma-jamma.
- And then his infamous rare outburst in Manos: The Hands of Fate, after twenty seconds go by with nothing of any appreciable importance happening on screen.Joel: ...DO SOMETHING!!! God!
- And shortly after admonishing the Bots for yelling at the endless rock climbing sequence from Lost Continent: "Who are you? Where are we? Can we get a FRAME OF REFERENCE, please?!"
- During Attack of the The Eye Creatures, Joel ends up apologizing for the the rest of the the male sex, and later, actually loses his cool, berating one character:
- Only Sane Man: Roughly.
- Put on a Bus: Or Put on an Escape Pod, to be precise, in the Mitchell episode.
- The Bus Came Back: He shows up to repair the SOL in the Soultaker episode.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: They only met once, but he's the Blue to Mike's Red. Which is the opposite of their jumpsuit colors.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Compared to Mike. While Joel did make the odd attempt to escape, he was resigned to his position, which is why he built the 'bots in the first place.
- The Stoic: Joel's more laid back than stoic, but he seldom gets upset. According to the KTMA Opening Theme lyrics, Joel's response to being shot into space and being forced to watch bad movies?Joel says, "When you got lemons, you make lemonade."
- Shout-Out: His last name is one of these to Will Robinson. Also to Robinson Crusoe, as he frequently mentions being marooned in space.
- Straight Man: To the Mads and the Bots, despite his own quirkiness.
- Sudden Name Change: In the KTMA season, Hodgson simply used his full real name for the character. The surname was changed to "Robinson" after the move to The Comedy Channel.
- Team Dad: Tends to treat the Bots more like his children or students than his creations, taking pride in their accomplishments, reeling them in when they go too far, and going to great lengths to perk them up when they're upset. The Bots, for all the grief they give him, seem to appreciate this.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: During his return appearance in the Soultaker episode , Mike and the Bots ask him to take them back to Earth with him. He refuses, muttering, "Yeah, except I really don't want to..." before covering that he actually enjoyed his years on the SOL, and they made him a man, and tells Mike and the Bots that he doesn't want them to miss another minute of it.
- Also in Fire Maidens of Outer Space, after the whole "Timmy" incident, he blames Crow despite being dismissive of this strange new being. Granted, it was Crow's fault, but still.
- Played for Laughs in a KTMA episode with Servo's diary entry, where Joel is portrayed smacking the Bots around and smoking a big cigar. Halfway through he says: "I'm not usually this cruel; it's just Servo's perception of things."
Played by: Michael J. NelsonThe second "guy shot up in space" after Joel escaped from the Satellite of Love halfway through Season 5. Mike Nelson is a lifelong temp-worker, bouncing from job to job. Only the coincidence of him being temped out to Deep 13 for their audit at the time of Joel's escape led to him being employed long-term by Dr. Forrester. He's described by Dr. Forrester as a "disgustingly mild-mannered dope". To the bots, he's seen as a big brother, college roommate type, or amicable coworker, depending on the situation.
- Alternate History: Inspired by a time-traveling Crow's warnings, in one timeline he devoted himself to his rock band, Sex Factory, instead of temping. They actually got successful enough to open for Motörhead, but Mike died due to head trauma from thrown hotel keys and his abusive Jerk Ass brother was sent into space instead.note Crow had to go back again to avert this.
- Ambiguously Gay: Or bi. In "Werewolf" he implies he dated a man named Steve who died (but is interrupted by the movie sign), and in "Laserblast" Crow pokes fun at him for thinking one of the actors is cute, among others. He once kissed a surly old truck farmer. (Who was a durned fine kisser.)
- Beware the Nice Ones: Mikey and the Llama comes to mind.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards the Bots...at times.
- Big Screwed-Up Family: His Jerkass brother Eddie is just the tip of the iceberg, not the least of which they have a tendency to marry lower primates (which causes Planet of the Apes.)
- Butt Monkey: Tom and Crow have openly admitted to destroying his most prized possessions just For the Lulz.
- Character Development: In a sense. Though not a tech guy, he eventually learns how to make repairs and mild alterations to the Bots.
- Deadpan Snarker: Leans more towards Snarker than Joel.
- Hypocritical Humor: Makes fun of Robert Z'Dar's Lantern Jaw of Justice in "Future War", despite being an example of the trope himself.
- The Kirk (Replacement)
- Kubrick Stare:
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: He has a rather hunky face.
- Limited Wardrobe: Apart from the jumpsuit, there's this.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The Trope Namer. He destroyed three planets in the eighth season alone.
- Name's the Same: As Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt fame. However, it's never referenced til Gorgo. It's odd because the Lloyd Bridges phrase "By this time my lungs were aching for air" was an oft-used riff on the show.
- Phrase Catcher: "Good one, Nelson!"
- Power Born of Madness: Mike's tendency to randomly assume the identities of other people ended up saving the crew's lives during the Season 7 finale, when he transformed into Captain Janeway and rescued the satellite from a black hole via a stream of Techno Babble. And again in Season 8, when turning into Adam Duritz scared away the aliens attacking the ship.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The one time he met Joel, he came across as the Red to Joel's Blue.
- Sanity Slippage: Many, many times. Mike isn't quite as coolheaded as Joel, whether it's thinking he's Carol Channing or Captain Janeway, climbing down a stepladder to try to escape the S.O.L.note , or trying to invoke a Joel-style escape while sitting in a water heater after seeing Final Justice (starring Joe Don Baker, of course). He also has elements of Going Postal, such as wearing a Kubrick Stare while quoting Full Metal Jacket or getting a Thousand-Yard Stare thinking about an ex co-worker he thought had it out for him.
- Shirtless Scene: He's done this a few times.Crow: "Ladies and... Gypsy! Michael Nelson 'is... Lord of the Dance!"
- Straight Man: To both the Mads and the Bots, in spite of his own oddness.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted, Mike was very different from Joel. Unlike his predecessor he actively tried to escape from the SOL, gave up on the traditional invention exchanges early on, and was generally more biting and harsh in his riffing style.
- Tap on the Head:
- "...so they conked him on the noggin and they shot him into space..."
- He also gets one when he thinks he's James Lipton, thinking Crow is Ray Liotta.
- This Loser Is You: "Just a regular joe they didn't like."
- Unfazed Everyman: He seems to be pretty cool with being stuck on a satellite forced to watch cheesy movies with robots that destroy his belongings all the time besides the occasional Sanity Slippage and escape attempt.
- Unlucky Everydude: At the hands of Tom and Crow.
- Waiting for a Break: Apparently a very talented and prolific stage actor, still had to resort to temp work. It also applies to how he joined the show in Real Life. Originally hired away from TGI Friday's to do "some typing," everyone was very surprised at his joke writing and musical skills, resulting in him soon becoming head writer and getting numerous cameos, and then being the natural choice to replace Joel.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Not so wholesome when he became Captain Janeway.
- Cute Machines: Relatively speaking.
- The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: How they can make over hundreds of pop culture per episode despite being robots who have never been to Earth before, we'll never know.
- Joel sometimes implies that he programmed the references they didn't get from the T.V. into their memories.
- Ping-Pong Naďveté: How much they know and understand about human life changes depending on what's funniest. At the very least they have a working knowledge of pop culture.
- Second Law My Ass: Applies to Crow and Tom Servo. Sometimes Gypsy as well. Even Cambot at one point.
- Robot Buddy: A very loose definition of "buddy".
- Ridiculously Human Robot: They all have distinct personalities, in addition to being capable of dreaming and free will.
- Tsundere: Show mixed traits towards Mike in the Sci-Fi Channel episodes, with Crow showing elements of a classic Type A.
- With Friends Like These...: Especially between Tom and Crow.
Crow T. Robot
Played by: Josh Weinstein (Invaders from the Deep only), Trace Beaulieu (KTMA through season 7, Great Gila Monster Sketch, Turkey Day 2014), Bill Corbett (seasons 8-10)TV's wise-cracking Crow is a gold-colored hominid. His most obvious features are his pronounced beak made out of a bowling pin, and a hockey mask he wears as a head crest of sorts. He tends to be the most immature of the trio, generally acting out the most or getting into various types of trouble, referred to as "an unathletic nerd" by Mike and Servo. He also fancies himself a bit of an amateur screenwriter, and a Running Gag on the program is him routinely pitching new scripts at the other two. He sits to Joel/Mike's right in the theater.
- Bi the Way: He wrote songs for his love of Kim Cattral and Estelle Winwood, but also has kinky dreams about Servo and fawns over Robert Redford.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: He's smarter than he appears, but gets bored easily and often doesn't bother to put in more than the minimum amount of effort on whatever he's doing. Says a lot that when taking an IQ test he failed to answer even one question because he fell asleep - and drooled on the test somehow.
- Butt Monkey: Particularly when Trace played him, he was the butt of quite a few jokes and suffered more than his share of Amusing Injuries.
- Catch Phrase: He wanted to adopt "You know you want me, baby," as his personal catchphrase, mostly to justify a large order of T-shirts, but it didn't stick.
- Deadpan Snarker: Arguably the biggest one on the show.
- Determinator: How does Crow deal with being a Butt Monkey? According to him, "persevere".
- Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: In "Racket Girls" he asks Mike for Tom Servo's hand in marriage. Yes, there is a wedding held. And yes, it is glorious. The wedding's never mentioned again after that episode, so it's probably safe to say that it held no legal standing and was just for shits and giggles.
- Heroic Comedic SociopathJoel: And what do you want for Christmas, Crow?Crow: I wanna decide who lives and who dies!
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Joel had a... weird relationship with him.Crow: Did I ever tell you about the time Joel had me dressed as Judy Garland and had me sing show tunes to him all night? I have a lot of pain.
- Kubrick Stare: Can pull off a very good one, due to the way his head is shaped.
- The Lancer: Causes the most problems out of all the bots.
- Large Ham: Especially when voiced by Trace Beulieu.
- Likes Older Women: His two crushes, Kim Catrall and Estelle Winwood, were both beyond his age level, whatever that is.
- The McCoy
- Meaningful Name: Depending on when you ask him, Hodgson named Crow in honor of a Native American college friend with the same surname, or was inspired by the Jim Carroll Band song of the same name.
- Morality Pet: He's good friends with Pearl Forrester, of all people, and she treats him better than the rest of the cast.
- Mysterious Past: Crow spent almost all of the 500 years in the Satellite of Love (being pure energy was boring). Even he can't remember what he did, but apparently a large chunk of it was spent eating Nut Goodies and at one point, he tried to conceive (and made a fertility idol of himself to try to help out.)
- The Nth Doctor: Bill Corbett was The Other Darrin until a joke that his voice changes "every seven years or so" and a throwaway line by Joel saying that he'd changed his "bowling pin" part, making him The Nth Doctor.
- Sanity Slippage: He's more likely than Servo to descend into madness - and just as easily to Mood Whiplash himself into normalcy. For example, when Crow suckles at his "Mother's" nipple, he shrieks a primal scream when Mike tries to pull him off her - but a few moments later, when Mike gently tells him "That's not your mother", he pauses, and says, "Oh!"... then quickly asks him, "Are you my mother?"
- Spell My Name with a "The": His middle name.
- Sphere Eyes
- Split Personality: In the Sci-Fi Channel episodes, Crow has an occasional tendency to think he's something or someone he's not. Examples include a bear (Jack Frost), Mary Tyler Moore (It Lives by Night), and a Bellerian (Space Mutiny). Very likely a result of Sanity Slippage after he'd been on the Satellite for 500 years.
- The Starscream: Mirror Universe Crow.
- Stylistic Suck: His forays into screenwriting, especially the infamous Earth Vs. Soup.
- Telescoping Robot: Crow's arms look disproportionately small when he's behind a counter. A full body shot reveals he's really just folded his arms up to fit on the counter.
- Transparent Closet: Has had at least one kinky dream about Tom Servo, and gotten giggly over the thought of touching Robert Redford.
- UNIX: Crow runs mainly on Unix, according to Monster a Go-Go.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tom Servo, Type 2.
Played by: Josh Weinstein (KTMA - season 1, Turkey Day 2014), Kevin Murphy (seasons 2-10), Frank Coniff (Great Gila Monster Sketch)Tom Servo is a red robot. His most obvious feature is the fact that his head is a gumball machine. He also has inoperable arms on springs, and travels by floating on his hover-skirt. Despite these shortcomings, he's the most cultured of the crew and has a lovely singing voice. His jokes tend to be of the more intellectual type. He sits to Joel/Mike's left in the theater.
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: He can rotate his body while his head stays in the same place.
- Berserk Button: HE'S NOT MERRITT STONE!
- Bi the Way: Usually a Casanova Wannabe, but he also married Crow in "Racket Girls" and fawned over Robert Redford.
- Casanova Wannabe: Mainly his KTMA-Season 1 persona.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: "Future War" reveals he sees everything as a Disney Acid Sequence. He doesn't seem troubled by it at all.
- Deadpan Snarker: As with the difference between Joel and Mike, Weinstein's Servo is more Deadpan, and Murphy's Servo is more Snarker.
- Distressed Dude: Has gotten into this role a couple of times.
- Eyeless Face: It's implied either the gumball dome or the red rim under it is his eyes.
- Fat Best Friend: Kevin Murphy has affectionately commented on Tom being "portly", and his entire design is a little rounded and squat to convey stoutness. It's even present when he dons clothing — his jutting keypad tends to accidentally give him a prominent middle.
- Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: With Crow in "Racket Girls". Tries to go on a date with Gypsy in "Swamp Diamonds."
- Fragile Flower: Takes a lot more for this to happen to him than most examples, but seems to have had a lot of nervous breakdowns throughout the series.
- Full-Name Basis: He was usually referred to as "Tom Servo" or "Servo". Only Joel regularly called him just "Tom".
- Genius Ditz: Not exactly the most lucid robot, but he managed to outscore the Observers in an intelligence test and casually bends reality to mess with Crow.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Constantly wearing dresses and wigs.
- Large Ham: Gets into this on occasions. Especially during his "MIGHTY VOICE!" days.
- Me's a Crowd: After he was cloned in The Human Duplicators, it became an occasional Running Gag for the rest of the show's run that there are a bunch of other Servos hanging around somewhere on the satellite. In the final episode he blows them all up.
- Motor Mouth: Made the longest riff on the show; an entire minute and a half during Manos. He also talked nonstop through an entire segment (and then some) during the "Moment of Silence" from Samson Vs. the Vampire Women.
- Mysterious Past: Tom apparently had a wild life of adventure during his time an energy being on the edge of the universe, which he refuses to talk about.
- The Napoleon: Mirror Universe Servo, but also Tom himself on occasion.
- Race Lift: A vocal example in the revival: his new voice is a black guy. Apparently that's what he'd secretly wanted.
- Reality Warper: During The Gunslinger, Tom Servo shows that he has such a complex understanding of reality that he's able to perform Offscreen Teleportation and warp time. He apparently uses it to scare Crow at night.
- Renamed the Same: When he changes his last name to Sirveaux, in the Hamlet episode. It's pronounced exactly the same, but he thinks he can tell when people aren't pronouncing it right.
- Rule of Funny: Though it's frequently stated that his arms are nonfunctional, he nonetheless will be able to grab objects if it leads to a punchline.
- Send in the Clones: There's about 517 of him running around the ship by the end.
- Small Name, Big Ego: In spades, and usually Break the Haughty follows in quick order.
- The Smart Guy: So much so that when the Observers gave the satellite crew IQ tests, he scored higher than Bill!Observer (aka Brain Guy), though he admits he isn't that smart - he just tests well.
- Spell My Name with an "S": At one point he changes his name to Htom Sirveaux, and corrects Mike when he doesn't pronounce it correctly (even though it's pronounced exactly the same.)Crow: Well, Htom, why don't you hlick me!
- The Spock: If, as Murphy puts it, "kind of weepy".
- Through the Eyes of Madness: At one point Pearl gives LSD to the robots and has Mike hook them up to a monitor to see what they're seeing. From Servo's point of view, Crow and Mike are gibbering monsters while his vision kaleidoscopes into a mad swirl of horrible colors and shapes. But he laughs it off and says that that's what he always sees.
- Transparent Closet: Not quite as flagrant as Crow, but he is curvy, gifted with better fashion sense, and the best singer on the ship.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Crow.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: If someone's going to get in a skirt as part of a skit, it'll probably be Servo. Lampshaded when Servo dresses as a Brownie. He angrily tells them that his hoverskirt doesn't give him many options when wearing costumes - or would you rather he wear his Flemish glass blower outfit?
- Your Head A-Splode: Even more than the other Bots.
Played by: Josh Weinstein (KTMA), Jim Mallon (seasons 1-8), Patrick Brantseg (seasons 8-10)Gypsy was a robot built by Joel to service the higher functions of the ship. As such, she doesn't (typically) go into the theater with everyone else. She's basically a snake form, with a long black tube as a body, and her head is a baby's car seat attached so she kinda looks like a vacuum cleaner with a flashlight that serves as her eye. She has a huge crush on Richard Basehart.
- Characterization Marches On: She was incredibly dim-witted - her personality was, after all, based on that of a turtle Joel Hodgson knew - until about midway through Season 2, when the crew realized that wasn't the best trait for the show's only female character to have. From there she developed her Women Are Wiser characterization.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: A running gag is that she is the smartest character by a wide margin, but most of her mind is taken up by actually running all the systems on the ship.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: See Smarter Than You Look.
- The Ditz: While she was almost completely unintelligible in the KTMA episodes, this became gradually downplayed as the series went on, until she was more or less the (admittedly not completely lucid) Only Sane Woman during the Sci-Fi seasons.
- I'm Your Biggest Fan: Toward Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea star Richard Basehart.
- Larynx Dissonance: Has never been voiced by a female.
- Mama Bear: Towards Crow and Tom Servo, most notably in "The Beatniks."
- Meaningful Name: Joel Hodgson named and designed her after his brother's pet turtle. Really.
- Only Sane Woman: Believe it or not, she's been this at times.
- Smarter Than You Look: Discussed; the reason for this is Gypsy has a hard time controlling the SOL and being able to interact with the others at the same time, but she eventually gets the hang of it.
- Team Mom: Especially to Tom and Crow.
- Sassy Black Woman: Parodied; during an experiment in season 6 that made the Bots more pretensious, Gypsy called Mike her "white male opresser." But it didn't stop there. In Season 10, Gypsy (who had Took a Level in Jerkass thanks to the ship going haywire) told Mike to "jump up my tube, white boy!"
- Self-Made Man: After the SOL's crash (at the end of the series) she ditched Mike and the other Bots and founded a multi-billion dollar company. Though since this was 1999 and near the peak of the dot-com bubble, when even TV Tropes might have been valued in the billions, it's sort of an open question whether her fortune lasted.
- Smurfette Principle: She's the only female robot on the Satellite Of Love.Gypsy: Well, I'm pretty sure I'm a woman.
- You No Take Candle: Only at first. She got over it after a few seasons.
Played by: Kevin Murphy (KTMA through season 5) and Micheal J. Nelson (season 5-10), although he is only heard during Robot Roll Call in the official seasons.Cambot serves as the camera on the Satellite of Love, projecting to the Mads in Deep 13. As such, he's never seen, never heard, and it's easy to forget he's even there, but he's obviously an essential member of the crew, without whom we wouldn't see all the wacky hijinx on the Satellite.
- Camera Abuse: Got attacked by Timmy, unplugged once by Joel, and had champagne spilled onto his sequencer in the middle of a music number.
- Evil All Along: In a Kickstarter update, Joel considered that, despite being featured in the Robot Rollcall, Cambot was probably aligned with the Mads, since it was integral to their experiment. The new design will be taking this into account,
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Kind of a given, since he's the one who has to film everything.
- In-Universe Camera: Invoked, as Joel built him specifically to be this.
- Last Name Basis: If "Bride of the Monster" is to be believed, his first name is Mort.
- Not So Stoic: See Tender Tears below.
- The Nth Doctor: Cambot went through four different bodies over the course of the show (five, if you count changing paint jobs).
- Phrase Catcher: "Cambot, give me Rocket Number Nine!" Except for one time when it was "Cambot, give me Rocket Number Eleven Minus Two!"
- Running Gag: Mike and Joel calling "Cambot, give me Rocket #9!" any time something is happening outside the ship. No matter what is being looked at, external visual is always from Rocket #9.
- Sdrawkcab Name: During Robot Roll Call his name is backwards because he's taping himself in a mirror.
- Silent Snarker: Made his only riff in 'Sidehackers', though makes a few jokes in the host segments here and there.
- Tender Tears: In the Danger!! Death Ray review the deaths of so many innocent cameras leaves him crying through the last host segment, blurring out the scene.
- The Voiceless: Except during the Robot Roll Calls.
Played by: Jahn Johnson/Alexandra Carr (seasons 1-5), Mary Jo Pehl (seasons 5-7) and Beth "Beez" McKeever (Seasons 8-10)Magic Voice is a female, disembodied voice who resides in the Satellite of Love, and whose main task is to announce when commercial sign is coming up and otherwise make the occasional comment on the action. It's never revealed exactly what she is, but seems to be robotic in nature, given how Joel was able to reprogram her along with the other 'Bots. The most common fan theory is that she's the ship's computer.
- A Day in the Limelight: A minor presence in the show who usually just chimed in with short comments and announced upcoming commercial sign, she did get a few skits and segments where she received more attention, most notably in the fifth-season episode "The Atomic Brain, where she feels lonely and wishes she could meet someone else like her but changes her mind after an encounter with the creepy voice-over guy from the episode's movie.
- She also counsels Tom Servo about making out in Attack of the the Eye Creatures.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She's one of the few characters to vanish from the show with no real explanation.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not to the extent of Joel/Mike and the Bots, but she gets a few good lines in from time to time.
- Out of Focus: While never a major presence in the show, she appeared less and less in later seasons, and in the Sci-Fi years only made the odd cameo before vanishing completely in season 10.
- The Voice: Literally; she is only a voice and lacks any sort of corporeal form.
The NanitesSomething Crow picked up in the 500 year time gap between season 7 and 8 at a space carnival, he only got two of them, but they reproduced like sea monkeys do, and there are now billions of them on the Satellite of Love. They're capable of almost anything, but are rather unwilling to do anything without a work order.
- The Bully: Mooki the Nanite is from the bad side of the Satellite, and Servo makes the misfortune of stepping on his turf when he tries to join the Nanites.
- Complexity Addiction: Their ideas for distractions include constructing micro-size battle fleets that pull people's pants down and synthesizing an android programmed to say: "Hey, look over there!"
- Explosive Breeder: Crow won two of them at a space carnival. 500 years later and they cover every surface of the ship.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: When the Observers cut off the So L's navigation systems, Mike asked them to take care of it. Cue Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The nanites won't do anything unless they have the paperwork in writing, even if the ship is seconds away from being destroyed.Nanite: Hey, man, I don't go to the john without a work order!
- Literal Genie: When asked for tall hair or the dry look, Mike was given mile high hair and a literal desert on his head.
- Weird Trade Union: Actually had a strike, which delayed the Satellite's repairs for a week, until nanite strike breakers came in and busted the strike.
- Affably Evil/Friendly Enemy: They've all had their fair share of chummy moments with their captives.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Refusal to go into the theater is met with either electrocution or the removal of the ship's oxygen.
- Failure Is the Only Option: None of the movies will ever break the SOLites' will. Although they have gotten close on a number of occasions.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Satellite Of Love crashing bringing an end to the experiments (and therefore the show) in Diabolik reduced Pearl to tears, with her makeup running and her hair in a mess.
- Dr. Forrester when Frank died, especially displayed in his song "Who Will I Kill?"
- Large Ham: Dr. Forrester and Pearl.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: TV's Frank to Dr. Erhardt; Pearl to Frank, and later Dr. Forrester; though to be fair while they filled similar roles their characters were all quite different.
Dr. Clayton Forrester
Played by: Trace BeaulieuDr. Forrester is the green-coated head scientist down in Deep 13 who oversees the experiment on the Satellite of Love. While he's evil with a capital E, he's also not particularly effective, given how after several years, he still has yet to find that perfect movie that will drive people insane. Oftentimes, the relationship between Dr. F and the folks on the Satellite tends to be strangely amicable.
- Adaptational Villainy: He's noticeably more sadistic in The Movie than he is in the series proper, going so far as actually cutting off Mike's air supply when he gives him lip.
- Affably Evil: Though a megalomaniacal Mad Scientist who tortures his captives with bad movies, abuses his assistant and takes pride in being Evil, he's got surprisingly many friendly moments.
- Bad Boss: Especially to Larry.
- Card-Carrying Villain: "Supervillain" is his actual job title.Dr. Forrester and Dr. Erhardt: What do you want from us? WE'RE EVIL!
- Characterization Marches On: Started out as a smug, stern, pompous, deeper-voiced jerk but eventually became a manic, mincing, Charles Nelson Reilly-ish maniac.
- Clark Kent Outfit: As can be seen in the San Francisco International episode, underneath the scrubs, Doctor Forrester is cut!
- Einstein Hair: From Season 1 onwards.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Deborah Susan
- Evil Sounds Deep: In KTMA, almost to the point of Nightmare Fuel.
- Evil Laugh: NAUGHTY NAUGHTY!!!
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: His Freudian Excuse includes a mother who doesn't seem to care about his existence, rejection from every girl in high school, several Noodle Incidents involving ice rinks, the shower incident, and a humiliating expulsion from the chess club.
- Insult Backfire: He gets all warm and fuzzy when he's accused of crimes against humanity (or robotity).Joel: That may be the most despicable thing I've ever heard of.
Dr. Forrester: [smugly] Thank you!
- Locked into Strangeness: According to his Back Story, he was struck by lightning, which gave him his Skunk Stripe.
- Mad Scientist: A textbook example.
- Nerd Glasses: The Cave Dwellers episode had them change from green to black with no explanation, and was never mentioned again.
- Beaulieu himself during a Q&A explained that he had accidentally left his only pair of green glasses in the pocket of his lab coat (they had 2 lab coats that they switched out each episode), and that coat was sent to the dry cleaners. By the time he realized his mistake, it was too late to get them back before filming of the episode was to commence, so he slapped on an old pair of Dr. Erhardt glasses so they wouldn't have to delay filming.
- Shout-Out: He's named after the hero of the 1953 film adaptation of The War of the Worlds, and Joel has commented that much of his later petty, fussy characterization was inspired by Dr. Fate from The Great Race (including his catch phrase of "push the button").
- Skunk Stripe: In his hair and mustache. Trace has hinted during a convention panel that it also appears in a third place (the location of which is for the reader to decide). Apparently got it after getting struck by lightning.
- "Stop Having Fun" Guys: During "Turkey Day '91", he's more concerned with world domination than Thanksgiving.
Dr. Laurence "Larry" Erhardt
Played by: Josh WeinsteinDr. F's first assistant, who didn't get much characterization at all, since he was only around for one season. He pretty much aped Dr. F's tendencies towards loving evil and played the part of the sniveling aide.
- Face on a Milk Carton: The last we see of him in Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 02 E 01 Rocketship XM.
- Freudian Excuse: Apparently used to work at a zoo before they gave him monkeys instead of students.
- Geek Physiques: Of the fat variety.
- The Igor: Turned into one over the course of the KTMA season; at first he was more clearly Dr. Forrester's partner and equal, but became more of a subservient toady over time.
- Laughing Mad: In the KTMA shows, not so much in the Comedy Channel shows, where he became more of a bungling assistant to Dr Forrester.
- Nerd Glasses: Just like Dr. Forrester, he sports an impressive pair.
- Mad Scientist: The main difference between TV's Frank and Dr. Erhardt is that Dr. Erhardt is a Mad Scientist in his own right.
- Phrase Catcher: "File this, Larry."
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Larry constantly sucks up to Dr. Forrester.
- Put on a Bus: And later implied to have been eaten by a giant spider.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In the KTMA episodes, especially his earlier appearances, he was a lot more unhinged and showed some sadistic tendencies. By the time the show moved to Comedy Central, he'd mellowed out a lot and was downright jovial and friendly — though never quite a Minion with an F in Evil.
Played by: Frank ConniffDr. Erhardt's replacement after Season 1, TV's Frank was, in the end, far more fleshed out than his predecessor. More laid back, goofy, and ineffectual than even Dr. F himself, Frank often found himself the butt of jokes, or just plain dead. He departed the show at the end of Season 6, where he was assumed into Second Banana Heaven.
- Affably Evil: Every once and while Frank will show that he's as evil as Clayton.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: When Torgo the White brings him to Second Banana Heaven. His season ten cameo reveals he got kicked out later.
- Attention-Deficit Disciple: "Hike Your Pants Up" and "Mike Ma-ma-Mike" are good examples.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:TV's Frank: WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!?!?! Oooh, McKenna's Gold is on!
- Big Eater: Reached his limit in the second Turkey Day marathon, when Dr. F forces him to eat fifteen entire turkeys.
- Bizarre Human Biology: He's survived multiple kinds of dismemberment (has replacement organs!), having his blood replaced with antifreeze (blood which is of a previously-unknown type, by the way), and apparently exists in a state of perpetual cardiac problems (his heart works so hard it can power an engine).
- Burger Fool: Dr. Forrester found him working at an Arby's. His first episode had him try and take Joel and the Bots' orders.
- Butt Monkey: At the hands of Dr. F.
- Death Is Cheap: Frank gets killed a lot.TV's Frank: Ooh, that's my old head! Just file that under "Frank's Old Head".
- The Ditz: Not as much as Bobo, but still.
- The Dog Bites Back: One episode had Frank impersonate Dr Forrester and borrow lots of money from an angry mob, which then pummeled the real Dr Forrester, leaving him in a body cast for the rest of the episode.
- Friendly Enemy: With Joel, Mike and the Bots.
- Mad Bomber: After watching several action movies featuring assassins, bomb plots, and explosions, the easily suggestible Frank becomes a cackling, scheming lunatic who plots to blow up Deep 13. (Of course, he's still Frank, so he doesn't bother tying Dr. F's ropes very tightly, or even keeping track of his hostages.)
- Minion with an F in Evil: The reason why so many escape attempts hinged on trying to convince Frank to hit the button that would return the satellite to earth. It almost worked on multiple occasions, Forrester stopping him each time.
- Phrase Catcher: "Push the button, Frank!"
- The Pigpen: Implied, as one short about hygiene was picked out by Doctor Forrester specifically so Frank could watch it.
- Psychopathic Manchild: The man-childishness was pretty consistent; the psychopathy waxed and waned, and its targeting was erratic- Frank could just as often be plotting Dr. Forrester's grisly demise during a friendly chat with Joel/Mike and the 'bots as the other way 'round.
- Put on a Bus: To Second Banana Heaven.
- They Killed Kenny: He died a lot.
- Too Dumb to Live: Literally, as he was killed multiple times.
- Transparent Closet: With Dr. Forrester. One sketch revolved entirely around them acting like a fussy old married couple when nobody's watching, and the guests at "Auntie McFrank's Tangleberry Inn" sheepishly ask just what he and Clay's relationship is after seeing Frank in a housedress and bonnet.
Played by: Mary Jo PehlDr. F's beloved mother, who showed up a few times in Season 6, but became Dr. F's foil in Season 7 when she moves back in. Starting Season 8, after Trace Beaulieu leaves the show, she becomes the head scientist showing the movies. The story is that after Clayton died (again, it's a bit complicated), she was put in cryogenic freezing, thawed by the future apes, and became the Lawgiver. Doesn't make much sense, but you know how it is.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Her actress is two years younger than the actor who played her adult son, and despite raising him In-Universe twice she still looks no more than middle aged. As usual, the mantra applies.
- Affably Evil: In some situations, usually as a riff on the stereotypical good-naturedness of Midwesterners.
- Black Widow: She actually threatens Bobo and Observer, "Sit down, or I'll marry you!"
- Bullying a Dragon: She's able to control nigh-omnipotent Observer through sheer force of will (and threat of violence.)
- Card-Carrying Villain: At least, her goal, as she desperately wants to join the Fraternal Order of Mad Scientists.
- Characterization Marches On: She appeared as an annoying, naggy, overbearing mother stereotype in the Deep 13 episodes, but morphed into a more bullying version of Dr. F when she took over as the main villain. Her first appearance also had her looking uncannily like her son (right down to a small, fuzzy mustache on her upper lip), something that was toned down in subsequent episodes.
- Catch Phrase: "It's called (title of movie) and it sucks on toast."
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Both the "sadistic mad scientist" and "clueless middle-manager" kind — Pearl's personal idea of fun is inflicting cruelty on her subordinates, but in Final Justice, she also forces Mike and the 'bots to endure the dull, forced levity of novelty glasses and "Wacky-Dress-Up Day", in the hopes that it'll liven up the workplace.note Pearl: (Completely flat monotone) Do-you-begin-to-see-how-creativity-can-lead-to-productivity?
Tom: Well... no, I'm just kinda depressed.
Crow: Yeah, mostly I feel sad, and... ache-y?
- The Gambling Addict: In Prince of Space, she states that her favorite hobby is playing slot machines. And in Hamlet, Mike ropes her into playing a Shell Game and ends up winning his choice of a movie. Of course, Pearl turns the situation back in her favor by sending him a crappy, black-and-white, dubbed version of Hamlet.
- Glad I Thought of It: Pearl's usual reaction to good advice by Observer and Bobo. Neither of them bother to correct her, probably because she'll probably hurt them.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: It's actually her fault the Satellite of Love finally went back to Earth in "Diabolik", since she both broke the joystick she was controlling it with, and messed with Brain Guy's powers so he couldn't intervene.
- Legacy Character: Especially once she moves into Castle Forrester in season 9.
- Mad Scientist: Spends most of Season 10 trying to get her license.
- My Beloved Smother: Her original characterization with regards to Clayton. She also literally smothered him to death off-screen between seasons 7 and 8, when she didn't get around to raising the reborn Dr. Forrester and he grew up to be the same maniac he was before.
- Never My Fault: The whole reason she took over as head Mad was because she blamed Mike and the Bots for Clayton's death after she smothered him to death with a pillow.
- Psychopathic Woman Child: She has many tempertantrums.
- Skunk Stripe: Apparently she was also struck by lightning.
- Tender Tears: In "Diabolik" when the Satellite of Love crew finally escaped her clutches.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Noted to have a fondness for chicken-in-a-biskit snack crackers several times, to the point that Brain Guy uses it as motivation to prevent the destruction of the universe. No more universe, no more chicken-in-a-biskit.
- Twitchy Eye: Has one driving her VW camper in the title sequence.
- Weirdness Magnet: Invoked directly by her in Hamlet, when she asks the viewer, "Is it me? Am I a magnet for these idiots?"
Played by: Kevin MurphyAn evolved gorilla from the year 2525, from a future where apes evolved from men?. Yes, it's a madhouse. He's heard it all. First appearing in the beginning of Season 8, he's a professor of anthropology, but soon becomes little more than The Ditz often foiling Pearl's machinations.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Twice; first when falling off the Widowmaker and onto a nearby planet, and again when he had to... "go."
- Characterization Marches On: While a bit dumb to begin with, Bobo started off as a more serious, Only Sane Man head scientist in Deep Ape, often scolding his subordinates for being silly & exasperated at the stuff going on around him. Upon leaving Deep Ape he immediately became a doofus...eventually becoming not much more that a talking family pet. See Only Sane Man & Took a Level in Dumbass. His introduction in Season 8 can be a bit jarring to those used to "Bobo The Big Idiot Sidekick".
- Not So Above It All: Though it's hinted he's a doofus in that while he insists he's intelligent, it doesn't take much prodding for him to wear a diaper like a domesticated chimp. Also, his idea of "research" is telling Peanut to play in a tire swing.
- The Ditz: Even moreso than Frank.
- Dung Fu: Bobo isn't above this, as Observer finds out to his horror.
- Extreme Omnivore: He is constantly either eating or looking for food, and on top of that, is occasionally shown to eat things that aren't food.Bobo: Well, you see, the fact of the matter is I've swallowed so darned many things over the years that there must be a key in there somewhere that'll work.
- Which leads to this...
- Bobo: [regurgitates a hairpin] Ah, a hairpin!
Observer: HE SWALLOWED A LADY! HE SWALLOWED A LADY!!!
Bobo: [indignant] I did not. I swallowed a wig.
- Insistent Terminology:Peanut: I'm Peanut!
Bobo: That's Doctor Peanut! [dope slap]
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: He may not be the Trope Namer, but Bobo shares just as much responsibility as Mike does in blowing up Earth. He did help repair the bomb that did it after all.
- Only Sane Man: Was this back in Deep Ape. The very second they left, Bobo shoots himself in the foot. Twice.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Has infrequent moments when he'll talk like this; even after he Took a Level in Dumbass he kept a very advanced vocabulary and often spoke in a "cultured" tone.
- Took a Level in Badass: When he remembers he's descended from the line of "Godo, Gobo, and Chim-chim!"
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Bobo wasn't exactly the brightest knife in the full deck before Earth blew up, but afterward he became a complete idiot.
Observer ("Brain Guy")
Played by: Bill CorbettA member of an allegedly advanced species, the Observers. He and his kind first appear in Season 8 to observe the experiment, but Mike ends up blowing up their planet, leaving only the one behind to hang around with Pearl and Bobo. Allegedly, his species is just the brain, which his "host body" carries around in a salad bowl, but this show being what it is, the concept is only tangentially ever alluded to, and you may as well assume the guy in pale face with the robe is "Brain Guy".
- Achilles' Heel: Turns out keeping your brain in a big, open salad bowl is kind of a crummy idea.
- Ambiguously Gay: Aside from the Transparent Closet, he tends to be a little effete.Observer: [on Fortinbras] He made me look butch.
- But Not Too White: His stark clown-white makeup was eventually toned down as the series progressed — he was in increasingly more scenes next to Bobo, and the crew found it hard to properly light the contrasting dark tones of the suit's fur while preserving detail on Bill's face.
- Butt Monkey: Even Bobo gets to mock him quite a bit.
- Ditzy Genius: Theoretically omnipotent and omniscient...unfortunately, he's a complete wimp and sad sack with no initiative.
- Hive Mind: According to Observer, his race is an interconnected neural net, which might explain the Power Creep Power Seep below.
- Insistent Terminology: Observer states he doesn't have a body. Except, you know, for the fact he actually does have one.Observer: [after being thrown onto a grenade to protect others] It's a good thing I don't have a body!
- Which leads to a weird situation in Space Mutiny when his body and brain being separated makes both a complete idiot with half their power.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: And looks surprisingly decent in a nurse's outfit.
- Pacifist: Subverted. His race doesn't believe in war. They kill only out of personal spite.
- The Omniscient: Claims to be this, but actions speak louder than words...
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Mostly. Very few people ever call him Observer.
- Only Sane Man: For instance, he's the only one who notices during Hobgoblins that Mike and the 'bots have replaced themselves with cardboard cutouts.
- Oxymoronic Being: The limitations of the supposedly all-knowing, all-powerful Observer species are made into a Running Gag of sorts — their brains are claimed to be "entirely self-sufficient" but still require host bodies that may or may not exist, said brains are kept in jars (where they have a functional range of only 50 yards) rather than inside their heads, and their infinite intelligence can be hoodwinked by crude trickery or intimidated by physical threats.
- Planet of Steves: All of his species are named "Observer", which leads to this when they reunite!Observer: [sees Mike-Observer] Observer! [sees Paul-Observer] Observer!
Mike-Observer: Oh, Observer...
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Apparently, spending time with Pearl has weakened his powers. When confronted by other Observers, Observer said he'd blight Mike with his powers - and ended up giving Mike a new tie.Observer: [puzzled at first, then...] AHA! No one wants a tie for a present! Can't you see what a terrible gift that is?
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Parodied. Once, Observer huffed at Pearl, "I'm not that omnipotent, Pearl!"
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Though to a lesser extent than Bobo. Possibly justified, as it was the Bill Corbett Observer who was found wanting by the other Observers and his brain placed in the Enrichment Chamber, which Bobo confused for a refrigerator and subsequently carved up his brain for sandwich meat.
- Transparent Closet: Inverted. Everyone but Observer are shocked by his Camp Gay behavior, such as dressing as a nurse or wearing drummer outfits. When he takes some condoms, he tells Pearl it's for his many ... lady friends.