With nearly two hundred two-hour episodes (including the KTMA era) featuring some of the most ludicrously awful films ever made, Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a series packed with funny moments - and not just the unintentional ones in the films being riffed.
The Jet JaguarTheme Song.note For the curious, a rough translation of the lyrics: "You're a robot made by humans / But, Jet Jaguar, Jet Jaguar / You did it, Jet Jaguar / Go, go to protect peace / We are all surprised that the courage you show / Godzilla and Jet Jaguar punch, punch, punch! / (Punch, punch, punch!) / Don't cry / Let's do our best!"
He jock it made of steel Eats sushi from a pail Jet Jaguar? Jet Jaguar! He mother never really love him He crimefighting covers up a basic insecurity He dickey covers up an Adams apple the size of a Toyota He basically good-hearted but he'd like to smash that kid against a rock (Knock! Knock! Knock!) Who's there? His head looks like Jack Nicholson Don't smile like that, it will stay that way Yahmmmahhoaahoaaaugh! (after singing finishes)Don't touch my bags if you please, Mr. Customs Man.
The final fight between Godzilla and Jet Jaguar vs Megalon and Gigan, treated like a tag team Professional Wrestling match:
Tom: So what will Godzilla bring to this fight? Joel: He'll bring the legend that is Godzilla! Crow: Yep, he's the policeman: I don't always agree with his methods, but I respect him.
(Later, when Godzilla uproots a tree and starts clubbing Megalon with it:)
Crow: He's got a tree! He's got a tree!! This is not the Godzilla we know; he's fighting dirty! Servo(as Jet Jaguar): A tree? That is not like you. Joel(as Godzilla, as he tosses the tree aside): You're right, it isn't even the right club for this hole. Now let's win it our way!
Joel: This is what it all boils down to, a little game of life that we call "character". Crow: Yeah, even if Godzilla doesn't win this fight he's still aces in my book!
What happens when "the button" - the one Frank presses to end the show - gets broken? Here's a hint; it takes a full three minutes and nine seconds for the real credits to roll. Perhaps one of the funniest credit sequences in TV history.
Tom Servo's essay, "A Child's Christmas in Space."
"It's quiet in the cold of our own little orbit, starless and bible black. And as I look down on the big blue bean we would call home, I think it so near, yet... oh, I wish on that star, and I hope that in a little snow-covered house with a warm hearth and a loving family, maybe some kid is looking up tonight and wishing upon us. Oh, and how I hope sweet Santa will fly by tonight, because if he does I'm gonna reach right out and hug that big guy. Oh, for the sound of hooves against the steel hull of the ship. Oh, to see the rosy face of Santa in the portal offering me a Coke and a smile... of course, his face would be rosy, because it's a vacuum out there. I mean, Santa's heart would explode! But he wouldn't feel it because the capillaries in his brain would pop like little firecrackers due to the blood boiling away in his face like pudding in a copper! Oh, the humanity! And his jolly old belly would start bubbling like a roasted marshmallow, eyes bulging and popping out...And the reindeer — oh, the REINDEER!!! — keep floating like holiday floats and in turn exploding in a hail of blood and entrails! Prancer: BOOM! Dancer: BOOM!"
During the Super Freak Out bit, Gypsy knocks over the prop box used for the Super Freak Out kit. It results in revealing that the box is actually for a toy spider that's part of the He-Man toy line, with Joel and 'Bots reacting in terror to the spider.
Crow's line during one of the host segments is "I hate movies where the men just wear shorter skirts than the women." During one take, Trace instead says "I hate movies where the women wear shorter skirts than..." and as he trails off Kevin makes Tom say "I love movies like that!"
The ending: Joel and the Bots receive a "Banner-Gram," which results in Bovaro from the movie (played by John Banner) visiting the SOL. They find him so annoying that they send him to Deep 13, where he annoys Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank throughout the credits. Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the SoL crew.
The entire "They Just Didn't Care" sequence is hysterical, but the Mads' "rebuttal" from the film's director, Larry Buchanan (Mike Nelson in a torn, homemade "I'm With Stupid" T-shirt, backwards baseball cap, bad wig, and utterly vacant expression), is the icing on the cake:
Forrester: They did too care! In fact, we've got director Larry Buchanan here with us, don't we Frank. Frank: Yeah. Hey Larry, c'mere. C'mere. (pulls Larry over to the camera) Larry, tell them. Tell these people. Tell them how you took your dream, your vision, and through blood, sweat, and effort, you owned that dream, and turned it into a reality through year- well, days of hard work, determination, struggle, you took that cherished dream that you had, and you... (resigned) you don't really care, do you. (Larry smiles, nods, and points at Frank as if to say, "That's right!") Forrester:(sighs) Push the button, Frank... (Frank shrugs and pushes the button)
Even the tone of voice TV's Frank uses to announce the short is hilarious.
Frank: ...on Ice.
The episode starts on a high note with the Invention Exchange, which has an action figure theme. Dr. Forrester declares that if Joel's invention is judged superior, the SoL crew will get to watch Local Hero, but if the Mads' invention is declared superior, they will have to suffer through Monster A-Go Go. Frank is appointed judge and, naturally, makes no pretence of being impartial. The Mads' invention is nevertheless a classic - Johnny Longtorso, the action figure who is himself sold separately.
Forrester, Frank:(singing while marching in place) Johnny Longtorso, Johnny Longtorso, the man who comes in pieces! (whip noise) He's long!note Frank Coniff is visibly struggling to keep a straight face during this song - and, as revealed in outtakes from this episode, this was the closest he could manage to keeping it together.
Circus shorts tend to bring out the dark humor in the cast. In Here Comes the Circus, Joel chides the bots for it...
[Clowns are waving to kids in the stands] Crow: Now make way for the Ku Klux Klowns! Wooo... Tom: Yes, children of all ages are confronted by forces they can't begin to understand. Crow: "Sieg heil!" Tom: "Sieg heil, kids!" Joel:Hey, guys; c'mon, lighten up... [Later, during the elephant act...] Joel: An elephant snaps its tether and kills a coolie! [The bots gasp] Tom:Now who's getting dark? [Chuckles] I like it!
The episode hits the ground running with the opening sketch in which Tom and Crow are trying to get Crow's temperature down to absolute zero.
Joel: Hi everybody, welcome to the Satellite of Love, I'm Joel R- hey, wait a minute, what's with the Crow-in-the-box? Tom: Oh, we're bringing his temperature down to absolute zero! Seems like it might be kinda fun. Joel:(feels outside of box, then puts on industrial glove and hurries around the table to the box) Wait a minute, you can't do that, if you go to absolute zero there'll be no molecular motion, it'll start a chain reaction and kill us all! Tom: Yeah, that's kinda how it played out in our scenario- (realisation dawns) well, wait a minute, that's kind of stupid, isn't it!? Joel: Yeah, it's stupid, we gotta get him outta there! (reaches into box... only for Crow to fall apart as soon as Joel touches him) Tom: Oh, good one, Joel! Joel: Oops. Uh, we'll be right back, I... Tom: I'm not puttin' him back together, either! (leaves) Crow: I'm shattered! (after the break, Crow is sloppily put together with clamps, clothes pegs and glue) Joel: Okay, there ya go, good as new. Crow: Sure! If you ignore the massive structural damage and my complete lack of any re- resale value... Joel: Yeah, I was ignoring that. (Tom enters, his head filled with flowers) Tom:(dazed, speech slurred) Oh hi! Say, would you guys hurry up with that glue? It's really starting to affect me... (faints)
The show often made fun of the social attitudes at the times that the film du jour was made, but never with more shocking directness than during I Accuse My Parents, when the protagonist skates on a murder charge just because he had drunk parents: "Wow. Thank God I'm white!"
The clearing-the-land sequence from The Truck Farmer short. "Early tractor pulls, not that much fun... this is the freestyle competition!" "Aaaugh, it's Killdozer! Clint Walker, no!"
The Invention Exchange, with Crow and Tom imitating Dr. F and Frank, and vice-versa. The meta joke of Trace's two characters mocking each other is delicious. "I'm Dr. Clayton Forrester, and I've got my head stuck up m--"
The rather copious amounts of flesh on display in Outlaw [of Gor] inspire Mike and the Bots to pay homage to them in song. "It's an areological, auto-erotical, tubular boobular joy / Exposularegional, batchical-pouchular fun for girl and boy..."
The crew reading Jack Palance's diary while the movie was being filmed. In the last entry, Jack says he may have killed someone.
As the closing credits of the movie roll, Mike says that the movie probably aired on the USA network. This leads to them making up various original movies, complete with cast. Six of them star Jeff Conaway.
In the first act, The Mads have pretended to build a time machine. Dr. Forrester stops in Caveman Times, while TV's Frank visits Ancient Rome. In the last part, they do various dances, starting with a waltz, then moving to the charleston, a medley of 60s dances, and ending with the tango. Dr. Forrester accidentally drops Frank on the floor, then trying to act like nothing has happened, pushes the button.
There's a subplot about a couple going through a divorce and the effect it has on their teenage son, which, honestly, few viewers probably cared about. But when the same kid steals an Ercoupe and has to be talked through flying and landing safely, we're treated to some of the darkest, most deliciously hilarious riffs ever.
"Davey? All those people down there are getting divorced because of you!"
"When you killed me, I diiiiied!" "Are we in the Southern part of the Galaxy?" The funniest part is that Crow is asleep for the entire segment!
The opening segment has multiple sources of hilarity. The apes repairing the religious cult's "holy and everlasting Bomb", unaware all the while that they will be killed if it detonates (the heading "Bomb will detonate but people aren't dying" in the "Troubleshooting" section of the manual somehow does not tip them off); Mike inadvertently helping them render the bomb operational (to the Bots' horror); the Nanites building an entire control system in the SoL in a fraction of a second after tracking down a misplaced work order (when Mike asks why, if it could be built so quickly, they did not do the job weeks ago, the Nanite foreman scoffs, "Hey, I don't go to the john without a work order!"); and Mike dramatically pointing forward and declaring, "Engage," only for nothing to happen until Crow clears his throat and motions toward the throttle.
The hero, Ivan, in classic fairy tale style, distracts a bunch of mountain trolls or something trying to rob him, and throws their cudgels so high in the air they won't come down until winter. The trolls watch the cudgels fly away, and then look back down at Ivan, and we get, in a completely deadpan indignant voice,
The legendary scene in which Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds blows up a planet in the most inconceivable fashion: with a baking soda bomb. Mrs. Forrester asked Mike to send air support from the SOL. She got far, far, far more than she bargained for...
Mike: (pouring baking soda into a bomb casing) Sure, no problem; I used to make these babies in junior high school, out of vinegar and baking soda... Crow: I-is that too much baking soda, Mike, or— Mike: (ignoring Crow) ...and high school, now that I think of it. And college, too. Got...got expelled for that... Tom Servo: D-definitely too much baking soda, Mike. Crow: Just a little too much—(sees Mike pull out a much larger box of baking soda)Whoa... Mike: And for that temp job I worked on, too...(bitterly) until that one guy in receiving got me fired... Crow: Heh, Mike, Mike, honey...the baking soda— Mike: (again ignoring Crow) It was just a little prank, but he had to rat out on me, didn't he? Oh, well, I guess some people are just like that... Tom Servo: So! Bombs away, Mike! Crow: Okay, Mike! Bombs away! Mike: Oh! Right... (walks away with the bomb as Crow and Tom Servo cheer) Crow: Bombs away, Mike! Tom Servo: Bombs away! (to Crow) Hey, I heard you can make a bazooka out of PVC tubing and a used diaper. Crow: Is that so? (Mike reenters without the bomb) Mike: Alright... Crow: Okay, okay! Hee-hee... Mike: There you go, Mrs. Forrester, a little distraction... Crow: A little distraction! (KABOOOOOOOOM!!!) (The bots are knocked off the table) Crow: (gets back up) Okay...few things, Mike. First, well, you blew up another planet, obviously; what's that, three for you now? Tom Servo: Think so... Crow: Second, uh—-ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR STUPID, ROTTED SKULL, YOU DUMB MAN?!
Crow: Mike, I'm going to ask you a series of simple questions which even a cretin like you could answer "yes" or "no." Now, is there theater in Japan? Mike: Yes. Crow: Good. And do you have a particular favorite type of Japanese theater? Mike: Yes. Crow: Well, good. Now, we're gettin' somewhere. Mike, will you tell me the name of your favorite form of Japanese theater? Mike: Noh. Crow: Why not?! Mike: Why not what? Crow: Why won't you tell me your favorite Japanese theater?! Mike: I just did! Crow: Did what?! Mike: Told you my favorite form of Japanese theater! Crow: You did?! Mike: Yes. Crow: Well, will you tell me again?! Mike: Yes. Noh. Servo: Oh, c'mon!
The jokes involving the Enforcer chase and the movie's hero, David Ryder.
Commander Santa Claus: Don't blame yourself, son.
Crow: It's not your fault you're a chunk-head.
"That scene really makes me think... about how much better a root canal would be than this movie!"
Over the credits, Tom and Crow ridicule Mike about how very Eighties the movie is. "All because of your Eighties. Your precious Eighties." "Yeah, it wouldn't have stopped being the Seventies if it wasn't for you, pal.", resulting in all 3 getting in a fight.
The opening sketch has Mike trying to escape the Satellite of Love down a long ladder, with vague promises to Tom and Crow to bring them down as well that he likely has no plans to carry out. The Bots exact revenge by having Mike climb down into Castle Forrester, where Pearl, Bobo, and Observer are eating breakfast. The fact that Team Forrester barely even acknowledge Mike while forcing him to beat a hasty retreat makes the scene doubly funny.
Mike:(over radio to Bots) I am opening a hatch of some sort and am dropping the ladder in. (does so) I will enter the actual structure now, which appears to be a barn of some sort, or... no, it's an eatery. It is an eatery. I will approach one of the patrons and attempt to gather information on my where- (takes in the sight of the breakfasting Pearl, Bobo, and Observer) whereabouts... Pearl:(without looking up from the back of her box of Crunch Berries) Brain Guy. Observer:(without looking up from the back of his box of French Toast Crunch) Yeah. (psychokinetically summons a cannon and points it at Mike) Mike: Ahh! Okay, I'll get back up and watch my movie... ah, which is, uh, what again?... Pearl:(still reading the back of her cereal box)Werewolf. Mike:Werewolf, right. Uh... Brain Guy, you wouldn't want to beam me back up, would you? Observer:(still reading the back of his cereal box) No. Mike: No, didn't think so, just checking, I'll... get back up and watch my... (hastily climbs back up the ladder)
Hell, anything they said during the Pipper sequence. The man sounded like a real-life Yosemite Sam, goldang it!
"If it's any consolation, I hates that rabbit, too..."
Pipper's explanation of Ziox culture, with Servo's interjections.
Mike Pipper: Now, thousands of years ago... Tom Servo: Uh-huh? Mike Pipper: ... long before the Indians... Tom Servo: Yeah? Mike Pipper: ... this land was inhabited by the Ziox. Tom Servo: No, it wasn't. Mike Pipper: They were a highly intelligent race... Tom Servo: Nu-uh. Mike Pipper: ... far advanced in science, and architecture, and literature... Tom Servo: No, they weren't. Mike Pipper: ... they built a huge city... Tom Servo: No, they didn't.
All of the Larry Csonka jokes, but particularly this one, as the camera focuses on the framed photo of the character who looks like him:
Tom: MVP, Super Bowl VIII, for Miami.
(after Rowsdower escapes the villains and catches his breath) "Hold on, I'm having a series of elaborate heart attacks."
(after Rowsdower wakes up screaming from a nightmare) Mike: "I forgot the liquor store closes at 8:00!!!!!"
The Gumby short "Robot Rumpus" features some razor sharp riffing from Mike and his own robots. "It's my seventh day without food or water, have mercy!"
"That squares my breasts!"
"When did you start having these feeling that you were a Commissioner?"
In one host segment, Tom and Crow decide to play a prank on Mike by spraying Crow's head white, removing his eyes, and putting fake teeth in his mouth to make him look like a skull. Mike's OTT reaction is priceless: he screams non-stop while attacking Crow with a bag of chips, then a baseball bat, then a golf club (after taking a few moments to select the right club). A terrified Crow and Tom get through to him for just a moment to explain the joke, but when Crow demonstrates his scream with a half-hearted "Rahh," Mike begins screaming and attacking him again - and this time, he knocks off Tom's dome for good measure.
The host segment where Mike spoofs Critter's wimpy singing and guitar playing while Crow is in the dreamy image above trying to tell him about a fire on the SOL. And the best part? Mike is a far better singer than Critter is.
Joanie shrieks for everyone to "GET OUT!!" and Crow quickly tries to leave the theater in response.