Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 07 E 04 The Incredible Melting Man

"The Incredible Melting Man — he's Incredi-Meltable!"

Film watched: The Incredible Melting Man

The MST3K treatment provides the following tropes

  • All a Dream: Mike posits this after Melty kills the cops.
  • Angrish: Crow's rant in Humiliation Conga below.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Invoked by Servo during the elderly couple scene.
    Servo: Did someone switch reels on us?!
  • Call-Back:
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Crow's script, Earth vs. Soup, mentioned many times in preceding seasons, finally gets made! ...As a trailer.
    • During the "script confab", Pearl accidentally takes the script to Peter Graves at the University of Minnesota script from Beginning of the End.
  • Creator-Preferred Adaptation: invoked The director/writer of the film, William Sachs, LOVED the MST3K parody of it. The reason being, when he wrote the film, he wrote it as a parody of the sci-fi/horror genre. But sadly Executive Meddling happened, and the producers told him to "remove the funny stuff", resulting in a really disjointed film. MST3K in effect restored the "parody" elements of the film and made it funny the way the director originally intended.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Inverted.
    Ted Nelson: (to cops) Don't shoot! I'm Dr. Ted Nelson!
    Servo: BLAM! BLAM BLAM!
    Ted Nelson: I'm Dr. Ted Nelson!
    (Cops open fire, hitting Ted Nelson and killing him)
    Servo: (amused) Wasn't far off.
  • Executive Meddling: In-universe with Dr. F and Pearl's treatment of Crow's script; see Take That! below.
  • Fanservice: Forrester asks the focus group if they'd like to see Julia Ormond naked. Half the group raises their hands (the male half, natch.)
  • Forced Perspective: An oddly framed shot of the Melting Man walking through a forest with a branch in the foreground while Dr. Ted Nelson calls for him. The riff:
    Crow: (high-pitched) They shrunk me and trapped me on this huge log!
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Crow seems to have no idea about anything in baseball.
    Crow: (while Mike rushes Tom on the mound) ORDER IN THE COURT! ORDER IN THE COURT!
  • Humiliation Conga: Crow summarizes:
    Crow: Let's see: I come to you with a movie, you supposedly get me $30 million to make it, you take 29.5 million for yourself, I get a lousy $800, I don't get any credit, and my movie's released as a trailer?!
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: While Crow turns into a Prima Donna Director, his assistant, Servo (aka "Judy"), clearly knows more about what's going on and practically directs the film him (her?) self.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The focus group that previewed Earth vs. Soup.
    Pearl: Ninety percent of the audience didn't like the character Cruella de Vil. Even though she wasn't in this movie, we need to do something about that.
  • Leitmotif: The crew gives Ted a theme when he's tracking down Melty by the river: singing "Ted Nelson!" to the tune of the bombastic background music.
  • Looping Lines: invoked Referenced during the filming of Earth vs. Soup. Crow declares shooting over after recording one second of usable footage. When the others rightly point out that they didn't film any actual dialogue, Crow insists that they'll add the dialogue in post-production.
  • Monochrome Casting: Mary Jo Pehl pointed to the complete aversion of the trope in the film as one of its strong points.
    Mary Jo Pehl: ...I thought this movie was really progressive, ahead of its time really, for several reasons: It featured an African-American doctor before television tokenism really took hold; the nurse is a person of size who is also a health professional and is not simply in the movie to be the butt of fat jokes (except ours). Never mind that she freaks out at the first sign of pus — hey, big girls get upset and queasy too.... It also portrays elderly people having viable, amorous relationships. An unpleasant thought though it may be, the movie puts it out there.
  • Mood Whiplash: Mike's lyrics that he sings over the music when the kids go to play both lampshades and plays the trope straight at the same time.
    Mike: Oh, we're free, and it's fun, and we're innocent, and it'll be sad when we find the head!
  • Neutral Female
    Servo: Yeah, Ted's lucky to have married a pistol like her!
  • No Budget: invoked The budget for Earth vs. Soup is $30 million. But somehow, after the studio (and Pearl and Clayton Forrester) take their share, only $800 is left to actually make the movie. And then Crow blows most of that on a scarf.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In order to get Kevin Bacon as the studio requests, Crow has Mike wear a name tag that says "Kevin Bacon" on it.
  • Prima Donna Director: Crow briefly acts like one as he directs his film. He speaks with a posh fake British accent, and acts like an all-around Jerkass.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    Crow: (amused) So, how many monster movies end with a janitor scooping the monster into a garbage can?
  • Running Gag:
    • Reusing Ted's cry of "Hotchka!".
    • Speculating about the crackers that Ted's wife forgot to buy.
    • Adding "Ted Nelson" as lyrics to the movie's score.
  • Shout-Out:
    Servo: Das Blecch!note 
  • Spoof Aesop: During the credits the gang goes over what they learned, such as: Don't shout 'I'm Doctor Ted Nelson' to security guards. Or: cats can get their own milk out of the fridge.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In spite of his aspirations of being an artiste, Crow is completely incompetent as a director. He doesn't know the proper sequence of shooting, and ruins one take because he doesn't get off camera.
  • Take That!: The segments involving Crow's film are a not-so-subtle jab at the Executive Meddling that Gramercy Pictures inflicted on Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, and the Deep Hurting that Best Brains endured in the process. Mary Jo Pehl later called these host segments "therapeutic".note 
    Mary Jo Pehl: I remember at one point, while the studio shepherds in charge of MST3K: The Movie were in Minneapolis, it was during the height of the ubiquitous O.J. Simpson deal. The studio exec informed us over lunch that there was a big trial in Los Angeles with O.J. Simpson because he'd been accused of murdering his wife, and "had (we) heard anything about it out here?" It was like a hog-pile on our souls.
    • Specifically, Clayton Forrester's increasingly large bottles of water are a nod to the Gramercy executives' alleged tendency to carry little paper cups around with them everywhere.
      Dr. Forrester: (carrying a water cooler) Mother! I think I can get my whole head in here!
    • During The Incredible Melting Man:
    "It's still better than Mrs. Doubtfire."
  • Technology Marches On: invoked At one point, Crow yells, "There's your Windows 95!" when the melting man kills a character who resembles Bill Gates.
  • Values Dissonance: Invoked, as Servo reacts to Ted giving his pregnant wife barbiturates to get her to sleep.
    Servo: Ah, yes. Now her baby is enjoying the experience of goofballs.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Crow wraps production so quickly, Gypsy tells him, very annoyed, "I didn't get to say beans!"
  • With Lyrics:
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Crow's script, his pride and joy, finally gets green-lit. Then the film gets screwed over at every step of the process (granted, sometimes through Crow's own incompetence), and the film finally gets released as a trailer.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Mike utters this verbatim upon learning Crow's script for Earth vs. Soup got greenlit.

"Let's get the hell out of here!" [Man nods]