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Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 03 E 21 Santa Claus Conquers The Martians
Film watched: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

This was the first Christmas Episode of the comedy series. It became a holiday staple on the Comedy Central cable channel in the years following its 1991 premiere, helping it become one of the series' most popular episodes and introduced the film to a new generation in the form of younger MSTies.

Some of the original cast of MST3K would later form Cinematic Titanic and took a second go at the film seventeen years later, this time the full length version. Mike Nelson's RiffTrax would later riff it on Dec. 5, 2013 in a live show.

The episode has examples of:

  • A God Am I: Crow's Christmas wish is to decide who lives and who dies.
  • Asia Takes Over The World: The subject manner of Crow's Essay on Santa.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas / Crowning Music of Awesome / Lyrical Dissonance / Notable Original Music
    • "Open up your heart and let the Patrick Swayze Christmas in / We'll gather at the Road House with our Next of Kin..."
      Joel: (beat) Okay, I think we need a time out. (drags Crow off to punish him)
      • On a sidenote, someone played this song for Patrick Swayze during a radio show a few years after the episode aired. He loved it.
  • Badass Santa: Throughout the episode, Joel and the 'Bots imply that Santa is carrying a gun while kidnapped by Martians and that he would be Killed In Action in Vietnam.
  • Crowning Moment of Funnyinvoked:
    Crow: I want to decide who lives and who dies.

    Kimar: Santa Claus, you're coming with us!
    Joel: You're comin' to town!
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe example: During a shot of the Martian ship in space, Servo riffs, "You know, if they cancel Battlestar Galactica, I'm gonna kill myself." Joel quickly puts up a hand to shut him up.note 
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Mrs. Claus gets excited over a news crew visiting the North Pole
    Tom Servo: When she thinks of the mass media, she touches herself.
    • It's a reference to the Divinyls popular song "I Touch Myself".
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Dr. Forrester and Frank, being evil, invert this horribly. Frank gets a watch band for Dr. Forrester, at the expense of stealing and selling the watch it's for. Forrester, in turn, has been secretly drawing blood from Frank and used money from the plasma to buy Frank Final Exit, a controversial book about assisted suicide.
    Frank: Oh, Henry!
  • Heroic BSOD: Tom Servo's "A Child's Christmas in Space" essay, which begins innocently but quickly becomes a rant about how Santa Claus and his reindeer would explode in outer space. Full monologue here.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Riffing the climactic "battle".
    Tom: Hilarity, guys. Not since the pie fight scene in The Great Race!
    Crow: Not since the mudslide scene in McLintock!!
    Joel: Not since the wagon race scene in The Hallelujah Trail!
    Crow: Not since the chess-playing scene in The Seventh Seal!
    Tom: Not since the orgy scene in
  • Hollywood Giftwrap: Dr Forrester's invention exchange.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: When the Martians shoot the elves.
    Joel: He stopped them short!
  • My New Gift Is Lame: "Weaponized" by the Mads in their invention, the Wish Squisher, which turns great gifts into this trope.
  • Running Gag: Pia Zadora and her Golden Globe, beginning with "Will you buy me a Golden Globe?"
    • In the Cinematic Titanic version, Joel quips that they thought Pia Zadora being in this was pretty funny, but now he can't remember why.
  • Shout-Out: When Mrs. Claus gets excited about being on television, Tom sings "Ed Sullivaaaaaaan!".
    • After Joel and the bots note how the Martian spaceship is apparently "a lot bigger on the inside", it's immediately followed up with "Oh, like the TARDIS!"
  • The Seventies: Joel's essay on the Christmas office party of that decade.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Everything in Tom's stocking consists of items that, since his arms don't work (something addressed at multiple times), he can't possibly use.

"Ha ha ha ha ha!"
Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 03 E 20 The UnearthlyRecap/Mystery Science Theater 3000 Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 03 E 22 Master Ninja
MLP: Friendship Is Magic S2 E13 'Hearth's Warming Eve"Recap/Christmas EpisodeMystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 21 Santa Claus

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