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Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 21 Santa Claus
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 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: In one segement, 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..."
  • Evil Laugh:
    • Santa's laughs already sounded like this, so the riffing plays it up even further.
    • Paul Chaplin is able to mimic Pitch's perfectly.
  • 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 $ thirty years. Poor Frank.
  • 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: Mike and Crow do a quick re-enactment of a Hogan's Heroes bit when the children of Germany are shown.
  • 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."

Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 20 Radar Secret ServiceRecap/Mystery Science Theater 3000 Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 05 E 22 Teenage Crime Wave
Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 03 E 21 Santa Claus Conquers The MartiansRecap/Christmas EpisodePaperinik New Adventures S 1 E 16 The Darkest Night

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