In Hobgoblins there are a lot of riffs that the hero's name is Kevin. Then you realize writer and Tom Servo's actor is Kevin Murphy and that he's probably heard all of these jokes at some point. Also applicable to early portions of Outlaw when the protagonist's name (Cabot) is initially misheard as Kevin.
In the Joel-era theme song, it says that Joel made the 'bots using the parts of the ship that controlled when the movies begin or end. If you interpret that as being some sort of timer, it would explain where Crow and Servo got their comedic timing.
The last days of the Invention Exchange. When Mike is first stranded, he has one good idea of his own for an invention (the Gutter-Bumbershoot), but, not being an inventor by nature (and having no stake in the dispute that was the premise behind the Exchange to begin with), he starts faking it by presenting Joel's leftover and often half-finished ideas as his own. Eventually running out of those, Mike blatantly uses the Exchange as cover for an escape attempt, after which the Mads clue in and discontinue the ritual.
In the final moments of the last episode (Danger: Diabolik) it's mentioned briefly that Gypsy has become a wealthy business tycoon, running a corporation called ConGypsCo, which has managed to become a huge success in the short amount of time that Mike and the bots have been on Earth. Newer fans might see it as a silly joke that The Ditz has become so successful, but astute viewers will remember how it was established way back in the Joel era that the reason Gypsy acts so ditzy is that the majority of her processing power is spent keeping the Satellite of Love running. With the SOL crashed and no longer tying up her resources, Gypsy is likely the most intelligent being on planet Earth.
The final episode doesn't show the ultimate fate of Cambot, but remember that you can see inside Mike's home as he and the bots get ready to watch a movie. Cambot is the one filming that sequence!
The final episode also has Mike, Gypsy, Crow, and Servo saying that they love each other they think they're going to die. However, Servo doesn't say that he loves Crow. Except he did. Just not in that episode. And, in that episode, Crow said that he was only "sorta fond of" Servo.
In that same episode, the crew find some albino Sumerians living in the ship's basement. This makes a lot more sense when you remember Deep 13 had mole people (Gerry & Sylvia) back in seasons 2 and 3.
In episodes 805 to 807, there's no stinger, just the Observer smiling creepily at the viewer. It's their way of showing off just how powerful they are - they're Breaking the Fourth Wall. Note it stops after the Observers' world is destroyed.
Servo occasionally seems to slip into Wholesome Crossdresser territory, whether by renting a Brownie outfit or when he appears in a high-end silk strapless dress. But he was created with a hoverskirt, so of course he'd like women's clothing!
In one episode, Mike has to use a loaner Crow while the original is repaired. The loaner is sent to someone on I-95 on Earth when their Crow was destroyed which Mike seems genuinely confused by. But thanks to the episode Time Chasers, there is a Crow on Earth that was left behind for years.
One of the doors to and from the theater has a toilet seat on it. It's door number two.
In The Movie, the ship's robot arms are activated by a button marked "Manos", which makes sense for 2 reasons: one, "manos" is Spanish for "hands"; two, it ensures nobody would press it accidentally, since the SOL crew hated that movie with a burning passion. (It was arguably the show's most iconic episode, after all)
Why does the SOL have it's odd shape? Because anyone on it is boned.
The new "Return" episodes on Netflix still have commercial bump segments (and more elaborate ones than the original run of the show had) because Kinga is still laboring under a delusion that the show is airing on "regular" TV (despite Max's efforts to explain that it's on Netflix), and so she forces Max and the Skeleton Crew to make them.
In the Season 11 theme the lines "If you're wondering how he eats and breaths/and other science facts..." play over the new theater hallway sequence which features actual rooms in the SOL including a kitchen, sleeping quarters, a laundry room, some kind of science lab, and a garage. In other words this is how he eats and breathes. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
From a Doylist perspective, having Season 11 end with Jonah being Eaten Alive by a giant snake makes sense. If the Best Brains can secure the funding and rights to a twelfth season, then it'll be easy enough to write him out of that pickle while invoking the MST3K Mantra (there have been far more blatant examples of Deus ex Machina in the old series that did the same thing). If they can't secure the funding, then Jonah stays dead and his arc on the SOL his complete, albeit with an extremely hard gut-punch of an ending.
Gypsy being rigged from the ceiling not only improves her mobility, giving her more to do not only in the host segments, but in the theater, but was facilitated by having to build the SOL set to Jonah's impressive height. Jonah's 6'5" frame means that without her there is a lot of empty space at the top of the screen.
Crow and Tom, so far, have expressed disapproval to both times Jonah has built a new robot (even smashing one of them to pieces!). It may seem like jealousy, but remember the last time someone, who is not Joel, tried to build a robot (Mike in Season 6), it wanted to kill and destroy everyone! This may be partially the reason why Crow and Tom are leery of new robots being introduced.
Any callbacks that Mike made to episodes before he was on the satellite can be Hand Waved as him being shown those movies as part of his training in 'The Brain that Wouldn't Die'.
If we follow the movie's (Soultaker) rules, then the fact that Frank is now a soultaker means he killed someone at some point during his life...
According to him, he just annoyed everyone until they put him into a job where he worked alone a lot. That said, he did describe himself as evil on several occasions.
Frank has accidentally killed himself many times over. That fits the bare minimum of the logic required for this movie.
There's also the debate on YouTube about Frank saying he needs Joel's soul. Did Joel die during re-entry?
Joel will probably be fine, though, given Frank's general level of competence.
Following this train of logic, since the movie establishes only dead people can see other dead people, not only is Joel dead, but the entire rest of the cast. Including Tom and Crow, somehow.
Frank said that before when he was a ghost he'd appear to people and scare them looking like Carol Channing. Looks like the rules are different.
Sure, he did get bored at the edge of the Universe, but when you think of the fact that Crow has been on the SOL for 500 years by himself, and doesn't remember Mike when he comes back, you feel really bad for him, because the isolation really did drive him to madness.
What about the position Joel and Mike were put in, where they're kidnapped from their everyday life and put into Space where people try to drive them insane? Don't they ever get home sick and wonder when they would see their loved ones and how much time had passed? And Joel/Mike's loved ones must be worried sick when they just suddenly vanish.
In an episode involving time travel, Mike sends Crow back in time to just after he got sent into space, to tell his family that he's alright and that he'll be home as soon as he can. Crow forgets to tell them, and the family never really asks. That's right, Mike's family doesn't care if he's alive or dead.
Actually it's addressed in another segment when they make contact with a family on earth who the bots believe to be the family nelson, Mike says they're not his family because they're too emotional (even though the family barely say anything and even when speaking are monotone) so they might just be that way.
Also, an adult son not calling his parents isn't unknown.
It's actually somewhat disturbing, when you think about it, how rarely Joel & Mike - especially Joel - show signs of discomfort with their situation.
Mike expresses a little bit of this kind of depression in the Season 5 "Santa Claus" episode.
A serious version of this very situation was drawn, showing what a nightmare it actually would be if portrayed as a drama instead of as a comedy: here◊
There's a reason why Mike frequently starts thinking he's Carol Channing.
It's mentioned in one episode that Pearl forwards Mike's mail, which means he probably can hear from his family (including a grandmother he's apparently fond of). This is also how we learn that one of his relatives has married an ape, kicking off the Apocalypse that leads to the future destruction of humankind.
The only way Joel and Mike can fight back against their tormentors is to refuse to let it bother them. It's an uncomfortable meeting of circular logic and passive-aggressiveness.
Though the reason why Joel doesn't show discomfort might be because in the first episode it seems that quite some time since he was kidnapped, giving him plenty of time to get used to his position, unlike Mike, whom we saw from the start.
Joel is quite the free spirit, demonstrating a willingness to "roll with it" and try to find the best in whatever situation he's in; what else would lead him to tour with Man or Astroman and head up a Hot Fish Shop once he returned home? In fact, this may be why he refused to bring Mike back to Earth when he visited the So L- he could have sensed that Mike, having previously lived an aimless existence bouncing from one temp job to the next, needed the kind of support and fire-forged friendship that Joel himself had gained with his robot companions.
Since Mike and the bots are in fact Fire-Forged Friends, unlike the parental relationship they had with Joel, they're actually closer to him than their creator. When they finally do escape the SOL Crow and Tom move in with Mike rather than seeking out Joel.
One of the owners of the Satellite News website wrote once that he wonders what became of the 13 year old boy that wrote the fan letter read in Season 3's Fugitive Alien II, and ranted about hating school, despite not knowing how to write properly or spell.
People, at one point, paid to watch some of these movies. Without riffing. That, presumably, also applies in-universe, so who knows how many people paid to be unexpectedly subjected to films that almost drove Mike/Joel and the Bots insane.
For the 2017 reboot, the opening sequence is actually a simulation of Jonah's capture and being sent to the SOL. Which means at the beginning of each episode Jonah is forced to re-enact his own capture every single week. Sheesh, even Dr. Forrester and Pearl were never that cruel to Joel and Mike!