The show's closing theme, also known as "Mighty Science Theater", is supposed to be epic to the point of parody, but considering that many fans mistake it for the "Love Theme" (which is the actual title of the opening song), it's clear that the drawn-out structure, soft brass, and heavenly synth evokes feelings of peace, warmth, and love as well.
The return of the stockings, although more comedy-oriented than last time, still shows that the Bots have grown to accept Mike as a member of the family, for all the pranks and jokes on his behalf the rest of the year.
The gift exchange was both hilarious and heartwarming, especially the "Joike" sweater Gypsy made for Mike.
The song "Merry Christmas If That's Okay," which has a few jokes in the number of syllables they try to cram into some of the lines, but is mostly just an earnest plea to share joy with your fellow man, no matter what anyone's religion is.
If there's one point we'd like to make With this festive holiday song It's that Christmas comes just once a year So for a few days, for crying out loud Can we all just get along?
Though the film reprises "Jingle Bells" to death, one such reprise is slow and solemn; Mike sings along with Tom adding tasteful (and beautiful) harmony while Crow manages to choke out through tears, "...I love Christmas."
The Christmas miracle. Mike's feeling down because he's stuck in space on Christmas Eve, when suddenly it starts snowing in orbit. Mike cheers up, and him and the Bots go out to play on the Satellite.
Mike joyously proclaiming that he and the bots are going to build a snow fort really drives it home.
Within the riffing of the movie in question, Tom admits that the Lupita character is "aggressively cute" as soon as she's introduced.
Doctor Forrester and TV's Frank were not on the best of terms for most of the episode, due to a Gift of the Magi Plot gone wrong. At the end of the film, Dr. F and Frank make up, as Santa and Pitch (a devil from the movie who tried to mess up Santa's deliveries) fight a battle for the fate of the holiday.
Dr. Forrester:[gleeful] Oh, Frank, think of it. A full-tilt battle between pure evil and Santa Claus in our own home!
Crow's joy at seeing everyone return to the Satellite of Love in the first Sci-Fi Channel episode, after 500 years of solitude.
Obviously the show plays for laughs 99.99% of the time, but it was pretty heartwarming to see Mike wipe away Cambot's tears and console him in Danger Death Ray. Cambot's upset that so many security cameras in the movie were destroyed; Mike assures Cambot that it's just a movie and that no real cameras were hurt.
As silly as the sketch was, it was rather sweet when Mike allowed Servo to "comfort rate" him at the beginning of Terror from the Year 5000. Especially if you figure "Surround me a little" is Servo's indirect way of asking for a hug.
In the same vein, when Servo broke down and cried "Oh daddy!" during the Manos: The Hands of Fate episode and Joel hugged him in the exact same way a parent might comfort a little kid. Awww...
Joel's last bit of defiance to the Mads in The Castle Of Fu Manchu, as he and the 'bots huddle together, all but reduced to snivelling wrecks by the terrible film (the closest they've ever been to breaking):
Joel: "You haven’t won, Dr. Forrester, you’ve lost. And I feel sorry for you. You’re nothing but a sad little man in a hole in the ground that can only feel empowered by hurting others. Well, we’ve won because we’ve survived, and we’ve survived because well, w-we’re Robinsons...roughly...and that’s what Robinsons do is survive."
Especially heartwarming because we see that the 'bots aren't just funny robot friends to Joel - he really considers them his kids, or at the very least adopted family.
In fact, it was just because the easiest way to get Tom in that seat was to have Josh/Kevin already sitting there for Joel/Mike to hand the puppet to. Still pretty sweet, though.
When TVs Frank dies and ascends to Second Banana Heaven, Doctor Forrester takes it roughly. Not only is he obviously concerned for Frank when he doesn't return, trying hard not to look cut-up when Mike and the bots tell his Frank isn't coming back (hell, his song Who Shall I Kill is a downright Tear Jerker) but what is really heartwarming is when he's talking to Frank's ghost and signs off with this:
I don't suppose you could... Push the button, Frank
Mike's first episode (The Brain That Wouldn't Die) has a host segment of him searching for a way off the ship like Joel found. The 'bots eventually reveal that they already knew there's nothing where he was looking, and Crow voices their abandonment issues in the wake of Joel's departure just like a little kid: "If you find a way off the ship, you'll go, and you'll leave us all alone up here, and...you'll be gone!" Mike then assures them he'll get them all off the ship if he ever finds a way. And then he actually lives up to that in the series finale.
To this troper, it's the bit in The Final Sacrifice when when the entire cast comes down with 'hocky hair'. There's something oddly comforting about the usually mean-spirited Pearl taking care of Bobo and showing him almost motherly affection. She also expresses concern for Mike and the bots, cementing this as one of her Pet the Dog moments.
There's a very sweet bit at the beginning of Time Chasers where Mike and Pearl just sit down for coffee and chat about Pearl's evil nature. She seems almost... apologetic about it, and Mike is just very calm, sweet, and understanding, like he was talking to a dear relative with a mental illness.
Pearl: He's a good kid.
Another funny and endearing touch is that Pearl has a baby monitor sitting next to her so that she can keep track of Bobo, who's asleep in the back of the van, without having to watch him constantly. At one point Bobo starts mumbling and whimpering in his sleep, and Pearl immediately shushes Mike in order to listen more carefully.
What makes this scene take the cake is when Crow floats over to Mike, complaining about Servo changing the t.v. channel, and then Mike holds him close and says he can stay with them, and he and Pearl say hi to each other, and then Crow stays absolutely quiet for half a minute. While Joel was the Bots father and Mike was more of the older brother, that segment was the one moment where it seemed the other way around. God I love this show.
In the same episode, Joel confidently telling Mike and the bots as he leaves that his years on the Satellite of Love were the happiest of his life.
In I Accuse My Parents, Joel has the Bots draw pictures of their idealized families. After we get some laughs from Crow and Tom's drawings that Freud would have a field day with, Gypsy's turns out to be the SOL crew all holding hands (with herself and the similarly handless Cambot on the ends).
In Rocketship X-M, in the first host segment before the Invention Exchange, Joel is doing dentistry on Crow, who has been complaining of toothache despite the obvious lack of teeth (just don't tell him that...). As Joel starts drilling, Crow holds out his hand in panic and Joel takes it and squeezes it like a parent does to a child...
In Invasion of the Neptune Men, Mike and the rest are suffering a Heroic BSOD from the film and are nearly going insane from it, when suddenly, an unlikely hero shows up on the bridge; Krankor from Prince of Space! Our heroes are so happy to see him that he pulls them out of their depression, and Servo is sad to see him leave!
Note that while Krankor is confused by Mike and the Bots' happiness at seeing him, he is genuinely touched by their friendliness to the point of crying Tears of Joy. Aww...
Mike even quickly hugs Krankor before he leaves.
Mike taking care of Servo like a doting dad when the latter contracts Roji Panty Complex.
A good number of the letters in general are Heartwarming Moments, from the ones from little kids—which almost always include an adorable drawing of the cast—to ones from adults, which tend to be about the show helping them through a difficult time or bonding with loved ones over a mutual love of it.
Hobgoblins has the best Mike moments in the series, because throughout, instead of the older brother figure he really is, he acts as the nurturing guardian of the robots; he calms them when they try to run away at the titles, and consoles poor, anguished Servo, who was reminded of the couch incident earlier in the episode when one appears in the movie.
While Crow's testimony at Mike's trial in Agent for H.A.R.M. is a CMOF, it's pretty sweet that he was willing to testify for Mike.
Crow: Is This Thing On? Hi! I'm Crow T. Robot and I'm here to tell you that Mike Nelson is innocent. Mike Nelson is 200 % [bleep]ing not guilty. And if you [bleep]s don't [bleep] find him innocent, then you can just [bleep]ing kiss my fat [bleep]ing [bleep]. And that [bleep]ing goes for your bull[bleep] court system, too! Mike, I'm so [bleep]ing sorry I couldn't [bleep]ing be there for this [bleep]ing [bleep]y really bogus trial, man. But let me [bleep] tell ya something, Nelson. If I was there, I'd [bleep]ing kick everyone's fat stupid [bleep]ing behinds and then cram it up their [bleep]ing [bleep]. Anyway, Mike, buddy, I hope this [bleep] helps. Take care, Mike.
In 12 to the Moon, Mike and the Bots meet Nuevena, "weird singing lady from the future," who seems attracted to Mike, and she offers to take him and his robot friends to her futuristic world, away from the SOL and the bad movies. They actually go so far as to start packing up, but by the third host segment, Nuevena has rebuilt Crow, Servo and Gypsy as kitchen appliances - she comes from that future that comes with a '50s mindset that robots are meant to be slaves to humans. A disgusted Mike quickly turns down the offer once realizes this, choosing the robots he's only known for a few months over a possible escape.
In Jack Frost, after the first segment had Bobo and Brain Guy arguing about each other, in the second after-movie segment (while Crow got turned into a bear), the two after an awkward silence finally talk about the one thing they have in common: their hatred of Pearl.
In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, writer Paul Chaplin (who you may remember as "Pitch" when he appeared in Deep 13 and the SOL) wrote a brief piece praising Beverly Garland not just as a person, but also for her tendency to play strong female characters in a time when that was pretty unusual. Special mention goes to her character in It Conquered the World.
Married to an idiot, she realizes it and takes matters into her own hands. She finds the Venusian pickle and delivers a dressing down that had to leave the poor creature more than a little abashed. Unfortunately she's then eaten, but she goes down shooting, probably praying she gets stuck in the bastard's throat and choke him. In certain respects it's a ridiculous scene. Yet she delivers her lecture with the strongest commitment you could ever hope for. In that moment she is a woman enraged at a pickle. I mean this. It shows such pride to perform like that, and to make sure your characters all have pride.
For Thanksgiving 2013, Shout Factory brought back the Turkey Day marathon as a livestream on their YouTube channel hosted by none other than Joel, who was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner in the host segments between episodes. Just seeing him again would qualify for this trope, but when he signed off to start dinner after the final episode, Crow and Servo showed up to join him at the table.
Moreover, Cambot—whose presence had been slowly marginalized over the course of the series—is the only character from the series to join Joel for this, and gets plenty of opertunity to do his usual "embodiment of the editor" shtick.
A real life one, as the notorious Joel vs. Mike flame war had a quite sweet addendum: Mike himself had no idea it had happened until years later, thanks to the rest of the crew teaming up to protect him from knowing all the trouble his casting had stirred up.
In one episode, Tom Servo is giving 'comfort ratings' and then later admits (after Crow calls it to his attention) that he had pulled them out of thin air. Then he offers to give Mike a comfort rating. The way Mike wraps his arms around Tom makes for a really sweet, heartwarming picture.
In Hamlet Mike says that Pearl forwards mail from Mike's family up to the SOL. For as bad a person Pearl is, she still lets Mike have contact with his family.
Rose Kennedy got wind that the show often made fun of the fact she was over 100. She stated that she found it funny she was so old, too.