Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 04 E 21 Monster A Go Go
Films watched: Circus on Ice
(short) and Monster A-Go Go
"I recall this episode as being the first time we decided explicitly to write sketches having nothing to do with the movie. Really, we had no choice. (...A)ny topic that is about something (that is, any topic that exhibits "topicness") cannot, by definition, have anything to do with this movie."
Best Brains regards Monster A Go Go
as one of the worst movies they ever riffed on. It even gets an aside reference in their treatment of "Manos" The Hands of Fate
, implying that as bad as that movie was, this one may still be worse
.Circus on Ice
is a short about the 40th Annual Carnival of the Toronto Skating Club
This episode contains examples of:
- Author Appeal: Kevin Murphy's favorite film, Local Hero, is offered if Joel and the Bots win the action figure contest.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Most MSTies use the quote "There was no monster" when referencing this film. But actually, the narrator never says that! His actual phrasing is, "Suddenly there was no trail. There was no giant, no monster, no thing called Douglas to be followed. There was nothing in the tunnel but the puzzled men of courage who suddenly found themselves alone with shadows and darkness!" Writer Paul Chaplin even notes this in the episode guide book.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: This is one of the few episodes where none of the host segments has anything to do with the film. As the quote at the beginning of the page explains, the team chose to do this because having host segments related to the movie would be implying that the movie actually had a plot.
- Blatant Lies: At one point Joel denies having brought a soda into the theater, despite the fact that we heard him open the can and saw him drink from it.
- Fridge Brilliance: There was no soda. The soda was found, unopened and cold in the refrigerator.
- Fridge Logic: By saying that, you suggest this episode had a plot having anything to do with the movie. That suggests the very thing the writers say isn't true: that it had a plot.
- They said that they wrote sketches that had nothing to do with the movie; what Joel did in the theater was not part of a sketch.
- Call Back: Joel declares Servo "a happy king" while pretending to play a trumpet, a Shout-Out to Mr. B Natural.
- Corpsing: Frank during the "Johnny Longtorso" song. Mind you, if the Poopie! reel is any indication, this may have been the only take that was acceptable to air.
- Damned by Faint Praise: Joel tries to cheer the bots by asking them to point out something positive about the movie. Crow states that you couldn't hear the dialogue, while Servo points out nobody involved in this mess ever went on to work on anything else.note
- Emergency Broadcast: Parodied when it's revealed that there was no monster:
Servo: This has been a test. Had this been an actual movie, you would have been entertained.
- Establishing Character Moment: When Gypsy tells Crow she doesn't "get" him, Crow launches into a self-conscious series of questions as to why she doesn't "get" him, playing into all of his insecurity. Crow leaves in a huff. When Gypsy tells Tom she doesn't "get" him, Servo announces, "Nobody does! I'm the wind, baby!" and leaves humming.
- Fridge Logic: Invoked by Crow and Servo when they try to have Joel explain the lyrics of Rupert Holmes' song "Escape (The Piņa Colada Song)."
- When Joel tells them Holmes just wrote a song about a popular 1970's fad (personal ads), the 'bots pipe up about "Timothy", which was about cannibalism. When Joel replies that the song's Timothy was a duck, they go into full investigative mode.
- During the film:
Narrator: No doubt, this was the capsule Douglas rode in.
(Joel and the 'bots giggle loudly.)
Servo: Douglas was pear-shaped, very short, and stood the whole way.
- Gag Boobs: "Oh, they decided to go to Shakey's."
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: TV's Frank enthuses about Johnny Longtorso's "action batch" and his "sleek and sassy butt".
- Heroic BSOD: Both Crow and Tom Servo at the end, despite Joel's best efforts.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: In a scene featuring a man walking into a clearing with a briefcase.
Crow: Now THERE'S a man out standing in his field!
- Lyric Swap: Servo gets in a hysterical one during Circus on Ice.
These two girls, they make quite a pair
They both come from your worst nightmare
They will haunt your soul forever
And now, when you see pink, you're gonna think, "We're doomed!"
They are agents of Satan... (at this point, Joel stops Servo)
- Moral Event Horizon: Gypsy feels the Mads crossed this, screaming "Evil! YOU ARE EVIL! EVIIIIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!" - after they introduce Johnny Longtorso.
- Pollyanna: Crow fails to become this at the start.
- "Ride of the Valkyries"
- Running Gags
- During the "Circus on Ice" short, every time the narration says something along the lines of "The music is inspiring", one of the 'bots follows it with a crack like "On Broadway! But not here."
- Sanity Slippage: Crow's (and later Tom's) little song ("hum dee-dee-dee-dee, hoowah hoowah") might be an indication that the film has broken their minds.
- Shout-Out: When there's a shot from the monster's point of view, Crow mimics the "ki ki ki ma ma ma" motif from Friday the 13th films.
- Take That
Joel: Hey, wait; I think you have page 29 of the script on your shoe!
- The infamous ending prompted one of the few instances in the entirety of the show of one of the bots flat out booing the film. It only comes second to the infamous Downer Ending of "Manos" The Hands of Fate Debbie becoming one of the Master's wives, where the entire crew booed.
- One of the host segments is entirely devoted to bashing the kitsch song "Escape." It's clearly the result of one of the writers having thought these things for a while.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Everyone. During the opening credits, no less.
Joel: You know what, guys, I have a feeling that this is gonna be a tough one.
Crow: Now, it might not be too bad!
No, I think Joel's right; this one has 'stinkburger'
written all over it.
Joel: No, no, it's a feeling I have; my gut instinct's telling me this is gonna hurt real bad.
Crow: Joel, it's not healthy to have such a negative attitude right out of the gate.
Tom: It's just common sense, Crow; there's a feeling of incompetence already in the air here.
Joel: Yeah, we might as well face up to it.
- What Could Have Been: Servo sighs at seeing the title: "Aw, I thought this was going to be Munster Go Home!".
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Uttered verbatim by Crow when Forrester says TV Frank will be the "unbiased" judge of their action figure contest.