Recap: Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 08 E 14 Riding With Death

...and believe me, Death does not pony up for gas.

"That Abbey. She's some gal!"
Sam Casey

"I'm sending you the worst movie I know: it's called Riding with Death and it sucks on toast!"
Mrs. Forrester

Film watched: Riding With Death, a TV movie compiled from two episodes of the television series Gemini Man.

The Segments

Prologue
  • Mike regressed back to his days as a teppanyaki chief, leading him cutting like crazy. He soon chops Crow's hand off.

Segment 1
  • Mike and the Bots get a call from Pearl, who is on the front lines with Bobo fighting off enemy robots. Brain Guy is also there, but as a nurse for the two. Mike supports the battle with a baking soda rocket, causing the planet to explode. As punishment, Pearl sends out today's experiment.

Segment 2
  • Servo performs Funky 70s song about Mt. Vesuvius and Emperor Titus. After clarification from Mike and Crow, Servo performs a song about the 50s, back when Emperor Claudius died and the apostles were there.

Segment 3
  • Servo announces that he become a trucker, waxing poetic about the open road, while Mike voices his disgust about Servo's new legs and butt. He continues being a trucker in the theater.

Segment 4
  • Crow emerges as the newest superhero on the block, Turkey Volume Guessing Man, who estimates the volume of objects in turkeys. Mike then tries his hand in turkey volume guessing, leading to Crow breaking down over his identity, but recovers quickly.

Segment 5
  • Mike and the Bots halfheartedly roleplay as the cast of Riding with Death, complete with a cardboard Abbey. Back on the Windowmaker, Pearl gets awarded for her war victories.


The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of Riding With Death featured:

  • Always Someone Better: Mike turns out to be this towards Crow when it comes to the field of guessing how many turkeys it would take to fill a given space.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Observer, again. This time, he's dressed as a female nurse, while calling himself a Red Cross medic. (Of course, no field medic has ever been in a nurse's dress.)
    Pearl: Brain Guy, what the hell is your deal?
    Observer: My race is pacifist and does not believe in war. We only kill out of personal spite.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Pearl sends Mike "Riding with Death" as punishment for seemingly harming Bobo with his baking-soda bomb.
    Pearl: Aw, Nelson, look what you've done. This poor, noble ape is gonna croak and it's all your fault! I'm sending you the worst movie I know. It's called Riding with Death and it sucks on toast!
  • Billions of Buttons: The control panel for the fighter jet.
    Servo: All this and no tape deck?
  • Call Back: At one point Mike mocks Abby's screams of "SaaaaAAAAM!" by saying "VaaaaAAAAAAANCE!" like Dr. Langer in The Giant Spider Invasion - a movie they'd seen just four episodes previous.
    • Near the end of the third act, before Denby is arrested, Crow notes "hey look, a couple of VaaaaAAAAAAANS!"
    • Servo even gets in a "JeeeeeEEEEEEEEEeeeeed!", to which Crow moans, "Oh, here we go!"
  • Cowboy Bebop at His Computer: Spoofed; due to the "movie's" name, the guys start referring to the Tripolodine as "Death".invoked
  • Crazy Enough to Work: During the credits, Crow seems to consider the idea that the movie had an "Executive Story Consultant" unbelievable.
    Crow: An executive story consultant?!
    Servo: (as the consultant) Yes. I advise that you cast the most annoying cracker you can find and slam together two incomprehensible stories!
  • Double Entendre: Mike and the bots' commentary during the sequence when Buffalo Bill's truck is used to slow down Casey's out-of-control vehicle:
    Sam: Alrighty, I'm coming up on your mudflaps at 67.
    Crow: "Coming up on your mudflaps." People have such cute names for sex.
    Mike: Ma' well-oiled chassis is comin' up on yer backside, now.
    Servo: My rigid grill structure is bearin' down on yer unprotected cargo door.
    Crow: My oft-complimented Peterbilt is rhythmically nudging that sweet honey pot of yours?
    Mike and Servo: Crow!
    (...)
    Mike: Drained and satisfied, I'm tracin' lazy circles on yer' supercab now.
    Crow: You said I was bad...
    Mike: You inspired me.
    • Then:
    Crow: (singing) So I sing you to sleep, after the truckin'...
    Servo: Now they have to get married.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: The crew have fun with the WTH, Costuming Department?.
    • On Abby:
    Crow: Operation Cameltoe!
    • On Sam:
    Crow: The rare male cameltoe!
  • Homage: Crow shaking Mike and demanding, "What did you do with that planet, you silly stupid old man?! Someone's going to jail and it's not gonna be me!" was the crew's homage to Jimmy Stewart, who died during the shooting of the episode in 1997.
  • Literal-Minded: When asked to sing a song about The '70s, Tom Servo sings a 70s-style song about the events of 70-79 AD. He later tries to sing about The Fifties...as in, the events of 50-59 AD.
  • Martial Pacifist: The Observer discloses that his race doesn't believe in war and that they only kill out of "personal spite."
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The Trope Namer rides again. "What's that, three for you now?"
  • Overly Long Gag: Driscoll spends several minutes cleaning his glasses, which are filled entirely with over the top squeaking sounds and the occasional "Still dirty!"
  • Running Gag: Turkey jokes for Jive Turkey Sam Casey.
    • "Leave Robert Denby alone!" This one was actually carried over into other episodes whose featured movies starred William Sylvester (Gorgo and Devil Doll, in case you were wondering).
    • "You're so elusive!"
    • Dr. Hale's hilariously inept attempts to convince Sam that he's still in the cargo compartment but doesn't want to be disturbed.
      Servo: Don't come back here, I'm doing, eh heh, naked burpees!
      Mike: (when the truck explodes) Sam, I'm blown to several thousand bits, but I've gotta finish these patent papers!
    • Driscoll's filthy, filthy glasses.
    • The '70s references come fast and furious, especially Sam's being "mellow".
      "Her codename: Muskrat Suzie!"
    • Alan Oppenheimer's resemblance to Gavin MacLeod leads to a few Mary Tyler Moore references when Hale is onscreen.
      Mike (as Mary Richards, when Hale shoots at Sam): Oh, Murray...dear, sweet, homicidal Murray.
    • Referring to Cupcake by other pastry names.
      Crow: Bear Claw, no!
      Mike: Cupcake, get Twinkie the Kid and Fruit Pie the Magician!
      • Later:
        Crow: The day is yours Cupcake, we shall meet again!... Emperor Cupcake!
    • The idea that Sam is only accidentally turning invisible while checking his watch.
      Crow (as Sam): It's quarter to three now— (Sam turns invisible) D'oh!
    • Several times Abby whimpers "Sam" and Tom says, "You made the pants too long." (It's a reference to an early Barbra Streisand novelty song.)
  • Shown Their Work / Genius Bonus: Tom Servo's songs on "The '70s" and "The Fifties". He recounts events that happened from AD 50-79, including namechecking Saint Paul and the Emperor Titus, as well the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
  • Squick: Mike and the Bots express their displeasure when Sam and Buffalo Bill first meet.
    Sam: Well you know I'm ramming you back door buddy.
    Crow: Ewwww.
    Bill: Well you can keep the black barts off my mudflaps.
    'All: (disgusted noises)
  • Someone Else's Problem: Mike's initial response to Mrs. Forrester and Bobo fighting in a WWII-esque battle scene is an unenthusiastic "...and?"
  • Talkative Loon: Mike and the bots' impressions of Buffalo Bill, turning his super-enthusiastic Good Ol' Boy talk into gibberish.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: Servo seems to consider it a blessing when the disclaimer pops up in the credits.
    Mike: All characters depicted are...really stupid and disgusting.
    Servo: Any similarities to actual persons would be really sad.
  • Toilet Humor: Turns out it's not mustard gas - just Bobo after eating a jar of pickles.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Inspired by a multitude of references to turkeys in the film (okay, one or two), Crow takes up the mantle of Turkey Volume Guessing Man!, who is able to instinctively calculate how many turkeys could fit in a given space, i.e. express something's volume in units of turkey. Crow is very disappointed to learn that Mike shares this power. He then becomes excited at a superhero team of turkey guessers.
    Crow: Up, and whoooosh!
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Crow got pissed that Mike Nelson blew up his third planet.
    Crow: ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR STUPID, ROTTED SKULL, YOU DUMB MAN?!
  • You Look Familiar: The actor playing Robert Denby appeared in a previous MST3K film, Night of The Blood Beast.