Both Joel and Mike are subconcious reality-warpers.This was the real reason the Mads sent them into space- to get them away from the rest of the populace before too much harm could be done to those around them and then trying to break their spirit with showing after showing of bad movies. This explains how Joel could "create" a team of super-advanced Ridiculously Human Robots in no time at all, and why characters from the movies (Torgo, Krankor) appeared in the real world. In fact, Joel escaped by subconciously creating the Deus Ex Machina and riding back to earth. Mike was less experienced with his powers, so he could not try and do the same thing.
MST3K is in the Half-Life Universe.Gizmonic is a competitor to Black Mesa and Aperture Science, stealing the idea of mental warfare from Cave Johnson in 1978. Though Aperture and Black Mesa are well intentioned, Gizmonic decided to bask on the evil side.
Joel broadcasted the show to Earth to try and get help.Joel specifically engineered Cambot with the ability to interfere with television broadcasts, and everytime an experiment was about to begin Cambot automatically broadcasted the goings-on of the experiments to the public in an attempt to get rescued. The Mads discredited Joel's plea for help by claiming that the broadcast was really a fictional televion show, and Comedy Central simply added a theme song to the show to reassure their viewers that the program was 'normal'. Later, Mike attempted to outwit his captors by changing to the Sci-Fi, but Pearl stayed one step ahead of her captives and similarly lied that it was a fictional show.
Both Mr. B Natural and A Case of Spring Fever are paranoid delusions of the main character, seen from different perspectives.In Mr. B Natural, Buzz, a decently skilled trumpet-player, thoroughly confused socially and sexually, concocts an alternate history for his own life, creating a world that is entirely centered around school bands. In real life, he was introduced to the world of trumpeting by his school band leader, Mr. Bailey. Buzz found himself strangely attracted to him, but feels guilty about it, so he creates a new Mr. B who is actually a woman. At the same time, Mr. B represents Buzz himself — he's male physically and socially, but he feels like he is actually female. Again, feeling guilty about having such feelings, he externalizes them. This, of course, adds a cruel irony to the name B Natural. In A Case of Spring Fever, Gilbert is a 50- to 60-year-old middle manager at a large spring factory. He has created a multitude of hallucinations in an attempt to give his life meaning, including a wife, but none of them have managed to satify him. Finally, one day, while fixing the springs on his couch for the thousandth time, he snaps, realizing subconsciously that the only way he can make his life seem satisfying is if he can be forcibly made to genuinely enjoy the springs that he spends his entire day around. Once he crosses over, his imaginary wife disappears, no longer needed. The major difference between Mr. B and Spring Fever is that in the second half of Spring Fever, we see from outside the main character's point of view. He has created a world in his mind where springs are the most useful, beautiful, and glorious things in the world, but almost immediately after he creates this world, we are ejected from it, and watch as his friends, like us, consider him to be nothing but a lunatic.
Mr. B Natural is:A Cthulhu-esque abomination that would melt your mind if ever encountered in real life.
Vadinho was the real villain.So, this guy is strong enough to lift a car and is clearly the only one who has any idea of how to stop the Big Bad, but he somehow feels the need to find some ineffectual puss and give him a magic belt that will bestow him with less-impressive powers? And even though he knew the father of the one guy he needs to track down, he eschews any kind of rational searching for birth certificates of whatnot, instead opting to randomly throw people out windows, knowing that when — or if — he finds someone that doesn't die a horrible death from being thrown out a window, that's the guy he's looking for. And then once he finds the guy, gives him the belt, and trains him, he forces him to stay behind instead of letting him join him in fighting the Big Bad. Let's face it: the only reason Vadinho looked for Tony in the first place is because he wanted to get some jollies out of random murder. It was a complete accident that he even actually found Tony, and he only trained him because he knew that, weak and ineffectual as Tony was, his powers prevented him from being killed. The whole Kobras thing was all Vadinho's doing: a big ruse to get Tony to think that his job was done and he wouldn't need to use his powers for anything other than "making love in the air", so he would leave Vadinho alone. Of course, Tony wasn't supposed to show up at the big fight, and Kobras, Vadinho's BFF, wasn't supposed to die a horrible fiery death. When that complication arose, Vadinho could no longer get any joy out of random murder, and, his spirit crushed, he left on the space plane to mourn his friend (and possible lover) — and, eventually, find a new planet to kill people on, once he'd gotten over Kobras's death.
The Satellite of Love does not exist. Mike and/or Joel faked the whole thing from a TV studio on Earth.Some sort of connection (or at least geographic proximity) to A Prairie Home Companion is also suspected.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 was filmed in and around Lake Wobegon.
There is a logical explanation for everything that happens on the show.Any suggestion otherwise was made to throw off various Forresters.
All characters played by the same actor are the same character.
Mike Nelson is Mike Nelson.Just about ten years or so later. Considering that both MST3K and Twin Peaks are set in a hardly definable time, it's entirely possible.
Joel Robinson is a mental patient.Despite the theme song that paints him as an ordinary everyman, Joel Robinson is secretly criminally insane and undergoing rehabilitation through a more humane form of the Ludovico treatment. The "Satellite of Love" is how Joel envisions the ward in which he's confined. The "mad scientists" are mostly harmless, yet slightly twisted doctors seen through Joel's resentful perspective. Their invention exchanges are attempts to get Joel to do something constructive with his time. Joel's "robot friends" are purely imaginary, or possibly secondary, personalities, meaning that he talks to himself almost constantly. The frequent fourth wall-breaking is an acknowledgment of Joel's status as a person who is and should be watched closely; the "fan mail" is written by the doctors in an attempt to make their patient feel as though he has contact with other humans. Gypsy's finding the Deus ex Machina was Joel's triumphant breakout from the mental hospital. This hypothesis falls apart with the introduction of Mike...unless you consider that he could have been deemed similarly dangerous and was even more insane for imagining that his new doctors were an ape-man and an albino space alien. Unfortunately, he managed to take out the best of the doctors, and the others (including the new ones) were a little more reluctant to interact with him. This is why the invention exchanges were dropped a few episodes after Mike came on board.
All (Or at least some) movies watched by Joel and Mike are fictionalized versions of real-life events in their own universe.This would explain why characters such as Torgo, Mr. B, Pitch, Mothra, and Phantom of Krankor occasionally make appearances in the show. In cases where the movies take place in the future, the original writers were either psychic or encountered time travelers. This means that their universe is a Crapsack World, but that's confirmed in canon, so...
The ending theme is loosely written around Lou Reed's "Satellite of Love" lyrics.Okay, kind of a boring Epileptic Tree, but the Lou Reed lyrics look like unused lyrics for the ending theme. Now, "Satellite of Love" sounds absolutely nothing like MST3K's ending theme; nonetheless, see if you can hear these lines being delivered to the music's tempo (Joel and the 'bots did perform the Lou Reed song during a live riff):
Dr. Erhardt is TV's Frank.Remember, from Laserblast, when Pearl finds Frank's spare head? It's not fully shown, and it's dark-haired. That means that it could be Dr. Erhardt's head.
The Satellite of Love is actually a Helium-3 mining station on the dark side of the Moon.The movies are the only form of entertainment other than building a model town and discovering the truth.
The Nostalgia Critic is really Dr. Forrester.He's tall and skinny, with a goatee. He changes his name often, and the place where he posts his videos is very non-descript. He's Doctor Forrester. He's showing us these really horrible 80s/90s movies to find the one that drives us insane, and thus use it to rule the world. His comments are because, after seeing Joel/Mike and the Bots "riff" on movies, he decided to try it himself. And this "The Bum" guy? He's what happened to Dr. Erhardt.
The EVE units were engineered from Tom Servo.Think about it — small arms, hovering ability, round head, similar body shape. After landing on Earth, Tom Servo and Crow lived the rest of their lives until the garbage crisis, when Buy N' Large used Tom Servo's design to create an advanced vegetation probe for the cleanup operation... you know the rest.
Futurama and MST3K take place in the same universe.After landing on Earth, the Bots outlived Mike Nelson and began frequenting movie theaters, where they graudally picked up movie etiquette.
Disembaudio is Cambot.Cambot's been rebuilt multiple times, and it's notable that Disembaudio's most notable physical feature is his eyes. Crow and Servo don't need Cambot anymore now that they're Flash animations rather than physical robots. I can't be the only one who finds Disembaudio's occasional riffs reminiscent of Cambot's riff on Sidehackers. Relatedly...
It actually happened.The Mike Nelson we know today really was the Mike Nelson on the SOL, which is how Cambot can exist in real life as Disembaudio. Also, there were two Joels sent into space by Dr. F. The one we now know as Joel Hodgson was the first one to go up, in a much more primitive satellite, as a temporary test for the program. Later, he was replaced by Joel Robinson, another janitor at Gizmonic Institute who bore a striking resemblance to him and who also shared his aptitude for inventing useless comical things. Joel Robinson was last seen running a hot fish shop in Osseo.
Joel Robinson = Joel Hodgson.The previous WMG, except that there's only one Joel. He gets renamed for the same reason as the real-world one - because Hodgson is difficult to pronounce, and the experiment is specifically being broadcast to Comedy Channel. Joel was forced by the Mads to either change his name or read The Eye of Argon.
Magic Voice never returned from the Edge of the Universe.At the end of Laserblast, Mike, Crow, Gypsy, Servo, Cambot, and Magic Voice reach the end of the universe, and become beings of pure thought and energy. 500 years later, the SOL is finally pulled back into Earth orbit, forcing Mike, Gypsy, Servo, and Cambot to snap back into mortal existence; Crow had already returned earlier. But Magic Voice isn't mentioned, and the few times a computer voice is heard for the rest of the series, it sounds different, and lacks sentience. Because she never had a physical form to begin with, Magic Voice wasn't able to be pulled back into reality when the SOL returned to Earth, and probably didn't want to go back to being an on-board AI after having independence for the first time in her existence. She's still somewhere at the edge of the universe, living it up.
By the time the show starts, Joel (and by extension, Mike) have already become insane from the movies.The show's real purpose is to drive the audience insane by watching the same movies. Since Doctor Forrester didn't set a control properly, he's not certain which movie caused insanity, and needs to play them all out again.
The bad movies are powering the Satellite.Drs. Forrester and Erhardt have found some way to convert human (and robot) misery into energy and need to feed Joel/Mike a bad movie each week to keep the SOL going. That energy feeds air recyclers and hydroponic farms and such, and that's how they eat and breathe. The part of the dog-bone below the theater is the power converter, and it has to be in that shape to keep the living quarters separate from the theater for safety. Keeping Laserblast in the internal memory was a fail-safe in case communication with Deep 13 was lost, like a spare fuel tank.
It's just a show.We should really just relax.
IT'S NOT JUST A SHOW!THEREFORE YOU CAN PANIC NOW!
Joel wasn't told about the special parts to make the movie begin and end.As the theme song tells us, he used those components to make the robots, and the lack of control over the movie would of course be inconvenient since you would need to stop it if you needed the toilet or something similar. However Joel used those components to make the robots but didn't know what they were for. Either Dr. Forrester never intended to tell him or didn't get round to it until the robots had been made.
The bots (except Cambot) only exist in the minds of Joel, Mike, and Pearl.Yes, in The Movie, Dr. F refers to "Ah, Mike...robots..." Note how he says 'robots'. With disdain, almost as if he was lowering himself to indulge in a child's fantasy. That's not to say that the robots don't have FORMS; Joel could've easily built them from junk lying around, becoming the Wilsons to his Tom Hanks. Joel had gone insane from the movies, and imagined the Bots speaking to him. When Mike was sent up, he was, in fact, conked on the noggin. His imagining of the Bots is likely due to a head injury from said conking. Notice how no one else really refers to the robots besides the guest characters (obvious illusions on the part of Joel and Mike) and... Pearl. But, are you really shocked that she was nuts?
Joel Robinson is some kind of Idiot Savant.First Joel was a janitor. Then he was launched into space and proceeded to build a bunch turing-capable artifically intelligent robots to help him deal with the situation. Then he made it back home, and got a job at a Hot Fish Shop. Apparently, the notion of doing something with his remarkable talent in the field of roboticsnote never occurred to him. Presumably, this could be the result of some sort of bad-movie-induced psychosis, but if Joel was always this much of a Genius Ditz, it would go a long way to explain why the egotistical but incompetent Drs. Forrester and Earhart "didn't like him" to the point where they devised an elaborate scheme to destroy his mind.
Mike and the bots would go on to work at Joel's "Hot Fish Shop".After returning to Earth, Mike, Servo, Crow, and Gypsy move on, and decide to work with Joel at his fish shop.
Dr. Erhardt is a Time Lord.That explains how he was eaten by a giant spider in the 50's.
MST3K and Andromeda take place in the same universe, and Gypsy will become the prototype for Ship Avatars.
Bot building Order:The magic voice is the ship's computer, programmed by Joel as his first attempt in bot building. Gypsy came next, but he cannibalized much of the ship's computer parts to build her. She is built similarly to the magic voice (In some senses, a "twin"), but the magic voice was built on the communications systems, while Gypsy on the life support systems. During this, Joel recorded himself via a camera the Mads sent up. He reffered to it as Cambot, then built him off communcations parts left over from the magic voice. Armed with experience and some new knowledge of cheesy movies, he built Crow and Servo as the wisecracking bots.
The Mads shot Joel into space because they were jealous of him.The theme song shows that Joel was working as a lowly janitor at Gizmonic, but clearly he has a ton of engineering and mechanical talent. I mean, he built multiple sentient, free-roaming robots out of spare parts and what amounts to a VCR remote. Dr. Forrester and co. saw that their janitor was talented enough to put them all to shame and decided to get rid of him to save face. They needed a test subject for their world domination project, so rather than just offing Joel they figured they'd kill two birds with one stone and experiment on him in the isolation of space.
Gypsy's voice is Joel doing falsetto.Joel built and programmed Gypsy as a female but then realized that he needed her to talk. In order to give her voice program something to work off of, he had to supply it with samples. Rather than talk normally and have her sound like a man, he put on his best falsetto. Hence her "guy-imitating-a-woman"-like voice.
The Mads stole the SOL for their experiment.In the first episode of the Comedy Central series the Mads mention having to move down into the Deep 13 area, a place that is pretty much shunned and avoided by the rest of Gizmonic because of how dangerous it is. Odds are that the SOL was meant for some other project but they decided to commandeer it for their own experiment, shoving Joel inside. Because of this they now more or less live down there because they're afraid of being caught by the institute and fired or arrested. Later on the institute shut down and now they just run the place as an independent project. Joel transforming some of the movie control parts into bots probably annoyed them but at least meant that it would be harder for Joel to resist the experiments (so they thought). The invention exchanges also were a means for them to try to find something marketable they could use to either get extra funding or get back in the good graces of Gizmonic.
Future!Crow inspired Joel.In the episode "Time Chasers", after the first Crow travels back in time to stop Mike in 1985 from doing temp jobs, which would lead to him getting shot into space, but the new timeline led to Mike's death. The second Crow travels back in time to stop the first one from changing Mike's path, which resulted in the first Crow stuck in 1985 Wisconsin. Joel met Crow prior to the first episode, and inspired him to make the Crow of today. The future Crow gets killed off, thus preserving the loop.
Joel is actually an alien genius.After all, Joel was "not too different from you or me", right? Plus there are a few indications throughout the series and in some meta info that he wasn't entirely as normal as he'd like us to believe. Some examples of his being an alien: The fact he survived the nuclear apocalypse (which was what happens before "next Sunday AD" according to Jim Mallon) with his mind intact. One KTMA episode reveals he designed and built the very odd and nigh-indestructible Satellite of Love - along with the bots - by himself (which explains why his bosses "didn't like him"!). He also created his own spaceship afterwards despite being a manager at a fish fry store. Another KMTA episode has, if memory serves, Joel talking to "the people from Earth. Upon leaving the Satellite of Love, Joel mentions that he's taught "everything" he knows of humanity to the bots; given how the bots tend to behave, we have to wonder what, if anything, he was teaching them off-screen. The fact that, unlike Mike, Joel doesn't seem to mind being up in space all that much, doesn't really hold any grudge towards the Mads despite the conditions (most humans would try to at least escape like Mike did), and even says his time on the Satellite were among "the best in his life" and that it made him "a man". But maybe not just any man - a human. Its true that the song says we should just relax about things like eating or breathing, but that's because, as an alien, Joel doesn't need to eat or breathe. Hence why we should relax and not worry!
Joel had a "secret stash" aboard the Satellite of Love.Think about it, the guy was pretty mellow for being trapped against his will on a satellite orbiting Earth.
Joel died on his way back to Earth in Soultaker.Whatever he used to get up there was running low on oxygen or fuel or something vital to returning alive, and he knew it. That's why he wouldn't let the others go with him.
Magic Voice and Cambot are the same character.In the Fire Maiden episode, Timmy tried to kill Cambot with Magic Voice begging for mercy. The reason Magic Voice in not heard in the later seasons because she decided that Mike was enough for announcing commercial sign.
Joel is a space gypsy.Joel named one of his robots "Gypsy" and another "Tom Servo." "Servo" is the name of a Roma tribe. Coincidence? I think not!
The Mads act the way they do because of the terrible movies.Presumably, they have to watch them first to make sure they're terrible enough to send to the So L. This ended up driving them insane. The only reason the movies didn't do the same to Joel/Mike and the Bots is because of the riffing, which we've been shown Forrester and Frank can't do.
Joel Hodgson is Patton Oswalt's "angry magician."Patton says he started doing stand up in the late 80s, which was about the time Joel hit his peak with his stand-up magic routine just before starting MST3K. Patton has also professed to being a huge fan of the show and Joel and has opened for one or two showings of Cinematic Titanic. Also, given Joel's placid personality, he seems to be more the type to get revenge through the passive-aggressive manner that Oswalt describes.
Dr. Forrester secretly hates the bots.Well, naturally he hates everybody on the satellite, and his line in the movie "Ah, Mike...robots." has a lot of contempt in the word "robots". But remember what the Mike opening says: "He'll try to keep his sanity/With the help of his robot friends". Specifically, Forrester feels that the only reason his experiments haven't delivered results yet is because of the other life forms on the satellite for Joel/Mike to converse with, as if they'd been stuck up there with only people who constantly insulted them and bad movies for company, they would have snapped much easier. Thus, he hates how the bots have kept Joel/Mike (usually) happy and (generally) in good spirits, making it much harder to break them with the movies.
"Shot Him In His Face" is not a Mondegreen; Joel is actually dead.The lyric from the Joel opening theme song "his bosses didn't like him so they shot him into space" is often misheard by fans as "they shot him in his face." Well, turns out that wasn't a misheard lyric at all. Dr. Forrester really DID shoot Joel in the face. During his tenure on the show Joel is actually a soul in Purgatory. The Dr. Forrester of the show is actually a demon taking the form of the person Joel most feared in life, tormenting him as punishment for his sins. The bots are angels whose job is to keep his mind from falling apart from the torture. After watching Mitchell Joel had finally achieved absolution and was allowed to go on to Paradise. So what about Mike Nelson? He's also dead, by blunt force trauma to the head. Unlike Joel, Mike managed to escape from Purgatory on his own when the demon in charge was called away (this explains his ascendance at the edge of the universe). The original demon's superior, who took the form of Pearl Forrester, brought Mike back. Despite her best efforts however, Mike was eventually able to escape from her as well.