Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 08 E 04 The Deadly Mantis

Film watched: The Deadly Mantis

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation includes the following tropes:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Approaching the office where the protagonists are, the mantis looks through the window.
    Crow: It's a peeping mantis.
    • "I've got a mantis in my pantis."
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The bomb cultists' song.
    Cultists: Oh wonderful bomb! Oh glorious bomb! Oh wonderful glorious bomb!
  • Brick Joke: During the third host segment, after Mike keeps falling asleep at the wheel while driving the SOL, Tom demands to take the wheel, insisting he's an excellent driver. At the start of the next segment, when Mike and Crow walk in on Tom behind the wheel?
    Mike: Do you know how to drive?
  • Butterfly of Doom: The narration at the start of the film attempts to invoke this trope after Stock Footage of a volcano erupting is used to explain the Mantis' awakening. This does not go un-riffed:
    Narrator: For every action...
    Mike: ... there is a Jackson.
    Narrator: ...there is an equal, and opposite, reaction.
    Mike: (as the map on-screen pans north) We take you now to a coldwater flat in Brooklyn, where another volcano is erupting.
    Servo: (when map pans to the North Pole) Because of volcanic activity, a creature named Santa Claus crawled out of the ice!
  • Call Back: Ned the Nanite keeps calling Mike "Relson", a reference to the Running Gag in Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell.
    • One of the many deep-space radio stations the SOL picks up in "the Southern part of the galaxy" is FRANK, still broadcasting an all-country format despite the untimely rapture of its founder.
    • Mike riffs "O little town of... DEATH-lehem!" as the mantis approaches the base.
  • Call Forward: Turkey Volume Guessing Man enjoys the song about turkeys.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Crow, as usual:
    Mike: Oh my Lord, they're messing with a thermonuclear device!
    Crow: Yeah! They're supposed to be sending us the movie!
  • Continuity Nod: The jazzy refueling music from The Starfighters.
    • Apparently, Radio Frank is still in operation many centuries into the future.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: "I have a feeling this guy is familiar with dishonorable discharge."
  • Dirty Coward: One of the tribesmen abandoning another when the mantis attacks:
    Servo: Good luck!
  • Dress Code: In the opening host segment, Servo announces it's "Business Casual Day" on the SOL and berates Mike for his alleged violations of the (non-existent) dress code.
    "Let's review: No chaps without pants...Mike. Number two: No sheer camisoles...Mike. Number three: No toeless shoes or sandals or spike heels...Mike."
  • General Failure: "Sir, I just remembered you didn't tell us what your plan is or anything!"
  • I Am A Humanitarian: During a host segment, the SOL runs into a space creature. Bringing it aboard, it takes a liking to Crow and tries to eat him. In the last host segment, Crow reveals that he cooked it and served it as a meal in response.
  • Interspecies Romance: At the end of the episode, Mike and the Bots receive a letter from Peanut (Bobo's assistant). It's revealed he survived Earth's destruction - getting blasted into 2112 Wisconsin and meeting "a nice girl" - a Nelson woman.
    Crow: It's certainly a joyous day for any Nelson woman when she meets the ape of her dreams.note 
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Crow takes great delight in telling Mike and Servo just what the well-marbled, piquant meat they're eating is.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: In 2013, NBC declared that The Deadly Mantis was under their copyright due to apparently using one or more of their sets, making it considerably more difficult to find the episode online.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Gypsy when she pilots the SOL to outmaneuver Pearl.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Mike's reign of terror begins when he inadvertently helps Prof. Bobo and Dr. Peanut detonate a thermonuclear bomb.
    • "Good one, Nelson!"
    • To be fair, it's clear that the apes were going to blow themselves up anyway. Mike just hurried things along.
      • Apes that only existed because of Mike's family line having a thing for marrying sentient apes... so doesn't that mean that Mike destroyed earth twice in one episode?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: How Mike Nelson helps Bobo and Peanut detonate said bomb:
    Mike: (offhand) Well why not just use a pair of locking pliers and a spanner?
  • Not So Different / We Can Rule Together: Parodied.
    Crow: (as the mantis) We're very alike, you and I, Colonel. Join me. No? You care too much, don't you? (laughs)
  • Notable Original Music: The country music, which Mike and the bots (bar Crow) listen to, to try and stay awake while Mike is piloting the Satellite.
  • "Your Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated, crapheads."
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In the tunnel, Servo suggests the mantis tries to disguise itself as a highway worker but is given away by his giant ovipositor.
  • Running Gag: Mike and the Bots pointing out how stately the mantis looks when he's flying.
    • The crew actually having the mantis praying while it attacks.
      Crow: (as the mantis) O Blessed the Lord, of thee I sing - GET IT?! (attacks)
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Since space has no noise, Servo supplies the sound of cars driving. "Watch, I'll downshift now!"
    (Tom Servo hums)
    Crow: What's that?
    Servo: I'm idling.
  • Shout-Out: The bomb worshipers and the subsequent planetary destruction by said bomb is a clear reference to Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
  • Skewed Priorities: Crow's main concern about Bobo and Peanut helping the religious cult detonate the "holy and everlasting Bomb" is that they're doing that instead of providing the Satellite of Love with this week's movie.
  • Take That!:
    • "Hopefully John Madden was on that bus."
    • "Maybe the army shouldn't have recruited Keith Moon..."
    • "Still, that was sadder than Terms of Endearment."
    • The Army scrambles fighter jets to take down the Mantis:
      Army General: That'll put [the giant mantis] over Newark in a few minutes.
      Servo: Great! We can solve two problems at once!
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Mike's great-granddaughter looks like Mike in a blonde wig.