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Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 21 Santa Claus

I saw mommy killing Santa Claus underneath the mistletoe last murder!

Dr. Forrester: Your movie today Mark is called Santa Claus. It's a thoughtful, well shot documentary about the Crimean War.
TV's Frank: It's a stupid Mexican kids' movie!

Film watched: Santa Claus 1959

In the words of the MST3K producers: "Just when we thought it couldn't get any more bizarre, it did." Its dramatic departure from established Santa Claus legend, combined with B-movie production standards and an awkward dub provide ample source for mockery. MST3K's send-up first aired on Christmas Eve 1993 as the show's second Christmas Episode (following Santa Claus Conquers the Martians two years earlier). The devil Pitch became a recurring character for a while, played by Paul Chaplin, who notably was one of the rare ones to even appear in the Sci-Fi Channel episodes. Plus, it's the true Trope Namer for Nightmare Fuel.

The Segments

Prologue
  • Mike and the Bots try their hand in caroling, but gets interrupted by spilled cocoa.

Segment 1
  • Mike treat the Bots' injuries. The Mads exchange gifts. Dr. Forrester gets a watch fob, but Frank gets a savings bond that matures in 2023. Back on the Satellite, Crow gets a Steve Alaimo album, Servo gets the 1991 Drug IV handbook, Mike gets a Joike sweater and Gypsy gets underwear.

Segment 2
  • Performing as Santa Klws, Mike, Crow and Servo play "The Warrior of Christmas". The Mads get psyched.

Segment 3
  • The Bots try to surprise Mike by showing him the Nelsons. It turns out to be a Nelson family in the Green Bay area.

Segment 4
  • Mike, Crow and Servo sing "Merry Christmas...If That's OK".

Segment 5
  • Mike says to the Bots how he misses the winter on Earth. Suddenly, it snows outside the Satellite, which leads Mike and the Bots to go outside and play. Back in Deep 13, Santa and Pitch duke it out. "Merry Christmas...If That's OK" plays in the credits.


The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation has examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: After Santa uses the toy cannon to shoot Pitch in the butt:
    Servo: This is funny. I don't care what anybody says.
  • An Asskicking Christmas / Badass Santa: In the last host segment with Kevin Murphy as Santa Claus (credited as "Krusher Kringle").
    Santa: I'm here to eat candy canes and kick ass, and I'm all out of candy canes!
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Crow makes a wise-crack during the movie about how the Comedy Central competitions are a waste of time.
    • Hypocritical Humor: MST3K had just run its Turkey Day Contest on Comedy Central.
    • During a scene of Santa pulling various things from his sack, Servo jokes that one of them is a CableACE award, and "worthless". MST3K got nominated for CableACE awards 8 times during its run, but never won one.
  • Call Back: When singing "Merry Christmas...If That's OK", Tom's head is replaced with a snow-globe... the same snow-globe he replaced it with in the Santa Claus Conquers the Martians episode.
    • And they make a quip about Gamera during the movie.
    • "Why don't they look?"
    • Gypsy's gift for Mike is a sweater that reads "Joike." She started knitting it for Joel, but changed it after he left.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: With his head shaved TV's Frank looks like a real-life adult Charlie Brown.
  • Christmas Songs: Mike and the Bots start singing Jingle Bells, before immediately going to the typical variation:
    "Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg..."
  • Cuteness Proximity: Lupita is so adorable even Mike and the bots find it pretty heartwarming.
    Tom: (Upon seeing Lupita for the first time) Awww.... She is aggressively cute.
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Santa's laughs already sounded like this, so the riffing plays it up even further.
    Crow: Santa's laughter mocks the poor!
    • Paul Chaplin is able to mimic Pitch's perfectly.
  • Equal-Opportunity Offender: Mike and the Bots mock every single culture that appears in the multicultural song at the beginning, including several cracks about the United States.
    Crow: Children from the USA are too spoiled and lazy to help Santa! There, that makes it better.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Merlin is one of Santa's helpers.
    Crow: I didn't know Santa and Merlin were buddies.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar
    Santa: (reading letter) Dear Santa Claus: Please bring me a little brother.
    Crow: (as Santa) O-ho-ho-ho! Can do, can do!
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Horribly subverted for TV's Frank; He buys a watchfob for Dr. Forrester and, unclear on the concept, shaves his head just for the heck of it.
    Dr. Forrester: Oh, you sold your hair to get me this beautiful watchfob.
    Frank: Sold my hair? No!
    • You'd expect Dr. Forrester to have sold his watch and get Frank a gift certificate to a hair salon, but instead he gives him a savings bond—in Forrester's name, no less—that will mature into $25...in thirty years. Poor Frank.
  • Godwin's Law: When the name Adolfo appears in the credits, the MST crew remark that "Ah, this is a fascist Santa!"
  • Hevy Mtal mlaut: Santa Klws
  • He Knows Too Much: As two kids are about to see Santa deliver some presents:
    Narrator: Look out, Santa! They'll see you!
    Crow: (as Santa) Ha ha! Well, that's the last thing they'll ever see!
  • Homemade Sweater From Hell: Gypsy makes Mike a sweater with "JOIKE" on it. She explains that she started knitting it back before Joel's escape earlier that season. Mike seems to actually like it, though.
  • I'm Going to Disney World
    Narrator: What are you going to do now Santa?
    Tom: I'm going to Disney World!
    Mike: All references to Disney World are the property of the Walt Disney Corporation.
  • Laughing Mad: Mike and the Bots' reaction to the Laughing Nightmare Reindeer.
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator calls out to the characters a couple of times, such as urging Lupita to resist Pitch's influence.
    Crow: Ah, the classic battle between evil and the narrator.
  • Let There Be Snow: This happens right at the end. In space.
  • Moral Dilemma: Underlined when Lupita is thinking of stealing a doll from a street vendor, looking between her mother and the vendor.
    Mike (as Lupita): I'm at a moral crossroads, Mummy!
  • My New Gift Is Lame: The gifts that Mike and the Bots give each other are pretty lame, but they genuinely love them anyway.
  • Never Say That Again: Mike's reaction to Pitch's strange frustrated mumbling.
    Mike: Don't you ever do that again!
  • Nightmare Fuelinvoked: The reaction to the animatronic Santa is the Trope Namer.
  • Notable Original Music: "Whispering Christmas Warrior"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Special Guest: Santa Claus and Pitch, at the end of the show.
    Dr. Forester: Oh Frank, think of it. A full tilt battle between pure evil and Santa Claus in our own home!
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The SOL crew identify Lupita as this. invoked
    Mike: She is aggressively cute.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: Pitch gets mocked for a lot. Crow sings, "The Devil is a wiener." Servo also belittles Pitch's goofy theme tune.
  • With Lyrics: Servo does this to Pitch's theme.
    "It's the Devil's theme, his goofy little song.
    Even though he's the embodiment of evil, he's still got a goofy song.
    In his tights he brings death, despair, destruction and disease.
    Now, let's all join him and a-laugh along."