Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 12 Mitchell
Film watched: Mitchell
On October 23, 1993, the edited-for-television release of Mitchell
was featured as an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000
. The film was trimmed by several minutes to match MST3K's format, with the result that John Saxon's character, killed by Mitchell in a deleted scene, simply disappears from the action, leaving the circumstances of his death a mystery. Joel and the Bots even remark on this lapse: "Wasn't John Saxon in this movie?" Particularly mocked were Mitchell's alcoholism, slovenliness and uncouth behavior.
According to the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide
, actor Joe Don Baker was very angry at the MST3K treatment of Mitchell
, and threatened physical violence on any of the cast or crew should he ever meet them in person. This did not stop them from later featuring (and happily mocking) another of Baker's films, Final Justice
, and hurling even more vicious insults at Baker. Kevin Murphy, who played MST3K's robot commentator Tom Servo and was one of the show's head writers, later said that Baker likely meant it in a joking manner. Joel Hodgson however, said at one of his "Riffing Myself" stage shows that Joe Don Baker was approached by Shout! Factory
for an interview for their DVD release of the Mitchell
episode, and Baker explained that he disliked MST3K
for using his real name in their jokes, instead of his character name
, making the jokes seem more personal and direct.
This episode is notable for being the final regular episode to star series creator Joel Hodgson, as well as the introduction of his replacement Mike Nelson
(who had been the head writer since Season 2, and previously appeared on-screen as characters like Torgo
).Editors, please keep this article neutral on the Joel vs. Mike thing. We don't want this turning into a Flame War.
- Joel built a toothpick Monticello which Crow and Servo want to destroy. He tells the two Bots that they can destroy it, but they leave it alone, Servo saying it ruins the fun. It seems that the model is safe, but by Commercial Sign, Crow and Servo are at it.
- Joel shows off his Daktari stool. The Mads don't have an invention this time, but have a new temp employee, Mike Nelson, helping them with their audit by the Fraternal Order of Mad Science.
- Joel leads Crow and Servo hike off to the SOL's refuse trench for them to field strip and reassemble themselves. Gypsy stays behind on the bridge. She answers a transmission by the Mads, which the two plan to murder Mike, but Gypsy concludes that Joel is their target.
- Gypsy tells Joel about the impending murder and the plans to escape, but he reassures her that he's not going anywhere. She then tries to gain the help of Crow and Servo, though the two arrive on pogo sticks singing TV theme songs. Nevertheless, Gypsy soldiers on.
- Gypsy enlists Mike's help in her plan. He provides the location of an escape pod "Deus ex Machina", which is inside a box of hamdingers. Mike then initiates the escape sequence on the Deep 13 computer, after conquering the obstacle that was the command line interface.
- Gypsy initiates the escape sequence while Joel tries to read a letter. He soon drops down from the bridge to the pod. Transmitting from there, Joel tells the Bots that they learned much they could about Earth, and presents his remembrance plaque. After the Bots disagree with his choice of quote, Joel contacts them one last time, saying goodbyes. Back in Deep 13, the escape freaks the Mads out, but soon think of using Mike as a replacement.
- Accidental Misnaming: TV's Frank inexplicably calls Dr. Forrester "Steve" early on in the episode.
- In character. Frank is supposed to not quite be all there (in the same scene, he finds a box with his old head in it).
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The sudden disappearance of John Saxon's character halfway through the movie ("Say, wasn't John Saxon in this movie?"). He was killed off in a scene that was cut from the MST3k version.
- Bond One-Liner: "So long, chum!"
- Brain Bleach: Only the infamous Mitchell/Greta love scene can shock the MST3K crew, and only after they discover something on his nightstand...
Joel: Baby Oil?
All Three: AAAAHHHHHH!!!
(Tom Servo proceeds to gag)
Crow: My, my, my, MY GOD! NO!!!! (Servo and Crow proceed to cry)
- Catch Phrase: (Said during an action scene) "Mitchell!"
- Also any inaction scenes too...
- Chekhov's Gunman: Mike the temp, who's introduced helping with the Mads' audit and ends up being Joel's replacement when the latter escapes.
- Continuity Nod: "He's no Claude Akins, but what a butt!"
- This episode, being Joel's last, is loaded with them. "Watch out for snakes!" is used in the first five minutes and Deep 13 is cluttered with old invention exchanges (most noticeably the Cake and Shake and the life-sized Operation game).
- Servo refers to the film's interminable helicopter-and-boat chase as "the maritime equivalent of rock climbing".
- When Cummings and Benton first get on the boat, Joel and the bots worry that they're watching Catalina Caper again.
- Creator Provincialism: Hamdingers were canned ham patties made by a Wisconsin company during the 1970s and early 80s that apparently were only distributed in the Upper Midwest and Northeast. Since Google wasn't around in 1993 and most of the audience hadn't heard of Hamdingers, there was lengthy (and sometimes heated) discussion among MSTies trying to establish what exactly they were.
- Deus ex Machina: Literally the name of the escape pod that Joel uses to leave the Satellite of Love.
- Driven to Madness
Kid: My mother doesn't like you.
Mitchell: I don't like your mother.
Kid: Why not?
Mitchell: Why not?
Kid: No, why not?
Mitchell: No, why not?
Kid: Why are you repeating what I say?
Mitchell: Why are you repeating what I say?
Kid: I'm not!
Mitchell: Well, I'm not.
Kid: You are!
Mitchell: Buzz off!
Kid: What did you say?
Mitchell: What did you say?
Kid: Did you say something?
Mitchell: Did you say something?
- Driven to Suicide: Crow suggests that Mitchell should turn the gun on himself after killing so many people.
Crow: You know, itís about this time in any killing spree that you really ought to turn the gun on yourself.
Servo: Yes! Do it!
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe, Joel and the 'bots react badly to Deaney casually using the Mexican racial slur "wetback". To the film's credit, it's to show that Deaney's a racist slime.
- Edited for Syndication: At one point, the film's credits speed up at a moment, but returns to normal.
Joel: Hoyt, what happened?
- Evil Laugh: When Frank and Forrester decide to kidnap Mike. Mike joins in too, oblivious to what they're laughing about.
- Face Palm: Joel does one during the "Buzz off, kid" scene.
- Freak Out: The 'bots do not take Joel's departure well.
- "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In one host segment, Joel remarks about professional golfer Frank Urban "Fuzzy" Zoeller: "What a great guy!" A few years later there was a controversy when Fuzzy Zoeller made a racially insensitive joke about Tiger Woods.
- Inadvertent Entrance Cue: At the episode's end.
Forrester: Frank, can't you see we're ruined? What are we gonna do?
Frank: Well, we could send someone else into space.
Forrester: Who are we gonna find at this late date to send into space?!!
Mike: Could you guys sign my time card?
- Kuleshov Effect: Used to great effect as Gypsy is shown to read lips on Forrester and Franknote and suddenly come to realize the Mads are planning to kill someone.
- Jizzed in My Pants:
Mitchell: (after spilling beer on Greta) Sorry, the beer got a little excited.
Crow: (as Greta) That's okay. We can just cuddle.
- Mistaken for Murderer: Sort-of: An actual plot by the Mads to kill Mike is mistaken by Gypsy to be a plot to kill Joel.
- Which turns out to be a very happy accident, for both Joel (who gets to return to Earth) and Mike (whose life is spared, since the Mads now need him as a replacement).
- Oh, Crap: TV's Frank's reaction to Joel's escape from the SOL, including a Loud Gulp when Forrester shows up.
- Put in a Pod: Farewell, Joel Robinson.
- Reverse Psychology: Joel uses this to protect his toothpick model of Monticello from Tom and Crow. Then they smash and burn it anyway.
- Running Gag: Confusion at the Loads and Loads of Mafiosi in the film.
- References to Linda Evans' various ex-husbands (Yanni taking the worst of it)
- Mitchell constantly being hungry, drunk, slovenly, confused, or all of the above.
- After determining the unnamed burglar at the beginning looks like Johnny Mathis, Tom Servo sings several of his signature songs.
- Merlin Olsen gets a lot of cracks about his famous time as the FTD Florists spokesmen.
- Joe Don Baker's short-lived '70s series Eischied gets several cracks (though his most famous role in Walking Tall is strangely barely touched on).
- The show's running gag of bashing low-end appliance company Gold Star makes an appearance.
- Benton is a lousy butler.
- Servo "narrating" the movie's many wide aerial shots accompanied by uptempo horn music, as though they're scenes from a 3M industrial film.
- Shout-Out: Several.
- So Much for Stealth: As Mitchell is trying to covertly break into Deaney's house, Joel and the bots gleefully point out all the cars driving by (the producers obviously didn't block the nearby streets for the shoot).
Joel: (as a car drives by): Hey, Mitchell!
Tom: (as Mitchell): Go about your business.
Joel: (as another car drives by): Mitchell!
Tom: (as Mitchell): Shh!
- Spy Speak: As syndicate leaders Cummings and Gallano meet in a park.
Joel: The... spotted cuckoo bird is flying backwards?
Crow: It's a cold day for pontooning.
- Stealth Pun: Joel's last invention exchange. "It's a Daktari stool!" "What do you think, sirs?"
TV's Frank: Dak... tari... stool? Whatever.
- Stylistic Suck: The launching of the Deus ex Machina, and the "static" that interrupts Joel's final transmission on the hexfield viewscreen.
- Too Soon: In-Universe, Crow suggests raiding Joel's candy cache, but Servo states it's too soon after his departure.
- Viewer-Friendly Interface: Averted - Mike has to laboriously type into a DOS-style command line interface to give Gypsy access to the SOL's escape pod.
Mike: Let's see, uh... C... colon... backslash... c... uh, back... manual.exe. I hate these things.
- Wham Episode: Joel leaves. Duh. But, what is a bigger shock, this happens mid-season.
- Wham Line: "Say, Mike - what size jumpsuit do you wear?"
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Viewers of the MST cut may be wondering what happened to Deaney. He tried to run Mitchell down, but flipped his dune buggy and got himself 'sploded in a scene that was removed from the MST3K version. The opening credits are showing a portion of that scene, incidentally, where Mitchell smashes one mook's head with a rock before boosting his buggy. Deaney's death is mentioned on a radio newscast Mitchell is listening to while staking out Cummings. His disappearance is amusingly lampshaded by Joel during the movie's climax with him randomly commenting, "Wasn't John Saxon in this movie?"
- What the Hell, Hero?: The 'bots' reaction to the inscription of the plaque Joel left behind.
Servo: Joel leaves, and his last words are from a George Pal movie?!
- With Lyrics: When Mitchell is chased by Deaney,
Joel: Mitchell, Mitchell!
Servo: You're high on the sammich!
Servo: Heart's poundin'!
Servo: Vein's cloggin'
- You Can Panic Now:
Gypsy: You think they'll send us a new guy?
Oh sure, it's bound to happen. But until that happens... PANIC! AAAAAAAAAARGH!!!
"He's such a super dude, the American dream, like the guys on the movie screen."
—Joel's last line in the theater