Characters found in Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The Guys Shot Up In Space
- Catch-Phrase: "Hi, everyone, welcome to the Satellite of Love." "We got movie sign!"
- Defiant Captive: Imprisoned and force-fed a diet of endless bad movies, but they'll riff their little hearts out until the bitter end.
- The Everyman: As the Love Theme says:
- "There was a guy named Joel/Jonah / Not too different from you or me."
- "They hired a temp by the name of Mike / Just a regular joe they didn't like."
- Primary-Color Champion: Red, blue, and yellow, respectively. Most of the time.
- Shout-Out Theme Naming: Each actor is The Danza, using their own real first name and the last name of a character or actor from another famous work of sci-fi:
- Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson) is named after the Robinson family from Lost in Space.
- Mike Nelson is a twofer, using his own real name (although the actor goes by Michael J.). The writers were making jokes about "Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt fame" (played by frequently riffed actor Lloyd Bridges) even before Mike (the actor) joined the show as a writer.
- Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) is named after Charlton Heston, star of genre classics Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man.
- Unlucky Everydude: Each one is The Everyman, held captive and subjected to horrible experiments.
- "But his bosses didn't like him so they shot him into spa-ace!"
- "So they conked him on the noggin and they shot him into spa-ace!"
- "And in her rocketship she hunts him all across the univer-rse!"
- "Just to torture all her captives on the Satellite of Lo-ove!"
- "That's when an evil woman trapped him on the dark side of the Moo-on!"
The original "guy shot up into space" and the creator of the robots. Joel was an employee at Gizmonic Institute, both a janitor and inventor. As part of Dr. Forrester's experiment, he was launched into space aboard the Satellite of Love and is forced to watch horrible movies. Joel has a rather laid-back personality, and as their creator, often acts as a father figure to the Bots. Halfway through Season 5, Joel escapes from the SoL and is replaced by Mike. Joel comes back for one episode later on, revealing that after his escape he settled down as the manager of a Hot Fish Shop in Osseo, Minnesota.
- The Ace: But only in the season 10 premiere, where he fixes the SOL in a few hours among other great things... poor Mike.
- Adorkable: Has his moments.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's usually laid-back and takes his captivity in stride, but if the Mads try to hurt his bots he will go full Papa Wolf on them.
- Berserk Button: Do not do an Anthony Newley impression around him.
- The originator of "What do you think, sirs?"
- "Thank you, won't you?"
- "Wha' habba?"
- "I'm weird, which results in creativity, you know."
- "It's fun when it's fun!"
- All of which found their way into the mouths of the 'bots and other hosts as the series went on.
- Characterization Marches On: Back in KTMA and season 1, Joel acted as a resentful creator to the Bots, instead of the Team Dad he was famous for.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: "I'm weird, which results in creativity!"
- Deadpan Snarker: Leans more towards Deadpan than Mike.
- Dissonant Serenity: You would think being kidnapped and stranded in space would have some effect on him.
- Eyes Always Shut: The "sleepy eyes" act is a trait carried over from Joel's previous projects.
- Gadgeteer Genius: The Ridiculously Human Robots, as well as all of his other inventions.
- Genius Ditz: Not so much ditzy as he is aloof.
- Gray Eyes: When they open.
- Hidden Depths: This guy invented four robots capable of free will, love, dreaming, catching illnesses, and food allergies.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Possibly implied. Joel once said his parents once forced him to take a bath in the front yard.
- The Kirk: The original, mediating between Crow's neurotic id and Tom's bombastic superego.
- The Mad Hatter: He's quite aware of how quirky he is, but he says it "results in creativity!"
- Mellow Fellow: Joel is pretty laid back and he seldom gets upset. According to the KTMA Opening Theme lyrics, Joel's response to being shot into space and being forced to watch bad movies?Joel says, "When you got lemons, you make lemonade."
- Motherly Scientist: Often ends up disciplining/comforting the robots that he built.
- Nice Guy: He's almost impossibly friendly, and very hard to push.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: While neither Joel, Mike, nor Jonah have any ability to control when the movies start or stop, it's Joel's fault. The Expository Theme Song of the earlier seasons notes that he used the parts that could have let him do so to construct the robots.
- Not So Stoic: When he does lose his cool, it's startling.
- During Attack of the The Eye Creatures, Joel ends up apologizing for the the rest of the the male sex, and later, actually loses his cool, berating one character:Joel: [angry] You know what? You are one sick mamma-jamma.
- And then his infamous rare outburst in Manos: The Hands of Fate, after twenty seconds go by with nothing of any appreciable importance happening on screen.Joel: ...DO SOMETHING!!! God!
- And shortly after admonishing the Bots for yelling at the endless rock climbing sequence from Lost Continent: "Who are you? Where are we? Can we get a FRAME OF REFERENCE, please?!"
- And in X Marks The Spot, Joel blows up at how lifeless Comissioner Magee is.Joel: ...without energy! Would you wake up?! C'mon!
- During Attack of the The Eye Creatures, Joel ends up apologizing for the the rest of the the male sex, and later, actually loses his cool, berating one character:
- Only Sane Man: Roughly.
- Put on a Bus: Or Put on an Escape Pod, to be precise, in the Mitchell episode.
- The Bus Came Back: He shows up to repair the SOL in the Soultaker episode.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: They only met once, but he's the Blue to Mike's Red. Which is the opposite of their jumpsuit colors.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: There was a host segment where Joel created two levers that could alter reality, including but not limited to changing the opinions of people, the position of the Satellite, the lights, and the situation people are in. It never shows up or is mentioned ever again, and Joel only ever uses it to screw around instead of using it to escape the Satellite or anything.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Compared to Mike. While Joel did make the odd attempt to escape, he was resigned to his position, which is why he built the 'bots in the first place.
- Shout-Out: His last name is one of these to Will Robinson. Also to Robinson Crusoe, as he frequently mentions being marooned in space.
- Straight Man: To the Mads and the Bots, despite his own quirkiness.
- Sudden Name Change: In the KTMA season, Hodgson simply used his full real name for the character. The surname was changed to "Robinson" after the move to The Comedy Channel.
- Team Dad: Tends to treat the Bots more like his children or students than his creations, taking pride in their accomplishments, reeling them in when they go too far, and going to great lengths to perk them up when they're upset. The Bots, for all the grief they give him, seem to appreciate this.
- The Stoner: Only subtextually, but given a nod when one of his invention exchange items appears to be basically a motorized bong. Otherwise this particular theory for why he's so gosh darn laid back and sleepy eyed all the time is only fanon.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: During his return appearance in the Soultaker episode , Mike and the Bots ask him to take them back to Earth with him. He refuses, muttering, "Yeah, except I really don't want to..." before covering that he actually enjoyed his years on the SOL, and they made him a man, and tells Mike and the Bots that he doesn't want them to miss another minute of it.
- Also in Fire Maidens of Outer Space, after the whole "Timmy" incident, he blames Crow despite being dismissive of this strange new being. Granted, it was Crow's fault, but still.
- Played for Laughs in a KTMA episode with Servo's diary entry, where Joel is portrayed smacking the Bots around and smoking a big cigar. Halfway through he says: "I'm not usually this cruel; it's just Servo's perception of things.
The second "guy shot up in space" after Joel escaped from the Satellite of Love halfway through Season 5. Mike Nelson is a lifelong temp-worker, bouncing from job to job. Only the coincidence of him being temped out to Deep 13 for their audit at the time of Joel's escape led to him being employed long-term by Dr. Forrester. He's described by Dr. Forrester as a "disgustingly mild-mannered dope". To the bots, he's seen as a big brother, college roommate type, or amicable coworker, depending on the situation.
- Alternate History: Inspired by a time-traveling Crow's warnings, in one timeline he devoted himself to his rock band, Sex Factory, instead of temping. They actually got successful enough to open for Motörhead, but Mike died due to head trauma from thrown hotel keys and his abusive Jerk Ass brother was sent into space instead.note Crow had to go back again to avert this.
- Ambiguously Gay: Or bi. In "Werewolf" he implies he dated a man named Steve who died (but is interrupted by the movie sign), and in "Laserblast" Crow pokes fun at him for thinking one of the actors is cute, among others. He once kissed a surly old truck farmer. (Who was a durned fine kisser.)
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Common with the entire Sci-Fi cast. Try not to think too hard about it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Mikey and the Llama comes to mind.
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards the Bots... at times.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: His Jerkass brother Eddie is just the tip of the iceberg, not the least of which they have a tendency to marry lower primates (which causes Planet of the Apes.) His dad, Elmer "Keg-drainer" Nelson is usually laid back, but can be quite the party animal, according to Crow.
- Blind Without Them: He actually wears contacts and is so blind, his flashbacks are blurry.
- Bookworm: Mike is quite the avid reader, and is often partway through a book in any given host segment, before the 'bots interrupt with their latest prank, scheme, or delusion.
- Butt-Monkey: Tom and Crow have openly admitted to destroying his most prized possessions just For the Lulz.
- "Hey, wait a minute..." or just "Heyyy..." after being insulted.
- "Would you take that off!" any time the 'bots wore their costumes from the host segments into the theater... usually after letting several riffs go by first. Not the quickest on the uptake, Mike.
- "Don't you ever say that again!" usually in response to a Shout-Out to one of the various comedians Mike found particularly unfunny.
- "Get him!"
- Character Development: In a sense. Though not a tech guy, he eventually learns how to make repairs and mild alterations to the Bots.
- Character Tic: More likely the real Mike Nelson's habit, but Mike often unconsciously touches the bots and other props when it's usually not appropriate to.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: He's more of an Everyman than Joel, a part time inventor. The bots tend to ignore or even outright bully him whereas they previously shared genuine camaraderie with Joel. He's also considerably more high-strung than the more relaxed and easygoing Joel. And he wears blue in contrast with Joel's red.
- Deadpan Snarker: Leans more towards Snarker than Joel.
- Hidden Depths: Crow and Servo called him an uncultured boob more than once, but he's an avid reader, would-be actor, and former teppanyaki chef.
- Hypocritical Humor: Makes fun of Robert Z'Dar's Lantern Jaw of Justice in "Future War", despite being an example of the trope himself.
- The Kirk: Replacing Joel. Rather than negotiating between the bots, however, Mike is more easily pushed around by them.
- The Klutz: He's got a pretty big clumsy streak and often screws things up for himself.
- Kubrick Stare:
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: He has a rather hunky face.
- Limited Wardrobe: Apart from the jumpsuit, there's the sailor suit he always wears while performing, whether it has anything to do with the production or not.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The Trope Namer. He destroyed three planets in the eighth season alone.Crow: Here comes Mike, destroyer of worlds!
Servo: Oh, god of fire and vengeance - stay away from me!
- Mr. Fanservice: Quite handsome in his youth in The '90s, also fairly fit and occasionally shirtless.
- Name's the Same: As Mike Nelson of Sea Hunt fame. However, it's never referenced til Gorgo. It's odd because the Lloyd Bridges phrase "By this time my lungs were aching for air" was an oft-used riff on the show.
- Napoleon Delusion: Mike's later tendency to "become" random celebrities — although it would occasionally save the ship.
- Nice Guy: A good-natured dope. Outside of the theater, at least.
- The Pig Pen: The man can't stay tidy. Give him a tie, and a few seconds later, it'll be covered in food stains. No wonder at one point, he and the 'bots are living in their own filth.
- Power Born of Madness: Mike's tendency to randomly assume the identities of other people ended up saving the crew's lives during the Season 7 finale, when he transformed into Captain Janeway and rescued the satellite from a black hole via a stream of Techno Babble. And again in Season 8, when turning into Adam Duritz scared away the aliens attacking the ship.
- Prison Escape Artist: Never really stops trying to escape from the Satellite of Lovenote . Subverted in that his background as a temp and out-of-work actor really didn't prepare him for it. But he keeps on trying, and, eventually escapes the Mads... twice! Albeit not during his own escape attempts and only through the Mads' own incompetence (and the pending cancellation of the show), but still.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The one time he met Joel, he came across as the Red to Joel's Blue.
- Sanity Slippage: Many, many times. Mike isn't quite as coolheaded as Joel, whether it's thinking he's Carol Channing or Captain Janeway, climbing down a stepladder to try to escape the S.O.L.note , or trying to invoke a Joel-style escape while sitting in a water heater after seeing Final Justice (starring Joe Don Baker, of course). He also has elements of Going Postal, such as wearing a Kubrick Stare while quoting Full Metal Jacket or getting a Thousand-Yard Stare thinking about an ex co-worker he thought had it out for him.
- Shirtless Scene: He's done this a few times.Crow: "Ladies and... Gypsy! Michael Nelson is... Lord of the Dance!"
- Self-Deprecation: Major Butt-Monkey Mike Nelson is named after and played by series head writer Michael J. Nelson.
- The Stoner: During Laser Blast the bots continuously compare him to the '70s stoner protagonist. He really doesn't deny the connection.
- Straight Man: To both the Mads and the Bots, in spite of his own oddness. Most of the time — Mike had a somewhat greater tendency to be the butt of various jokes.
- Stylistic Suck: Mike the character often sings off-key. Mike the actor sings quite well, however, as evidenced by the fact he sings the Opening Theme in its post-KTMA iterations. He also harmonizes on such songs as "Tubular Boobular Joy" and "Merry Christmas - If That's OK".
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted, Mike was very different from Joel. Unlike his predecessor he actively tried to escape from the SOL, gave up on the traditional invention exchanges early on, and was generally more biting and harsh in his riffing style.
- Tap on the Head:
- "...so they conked him on the noggin and they shot him into space..."
- He also gets one when he thinks he's James Lipton, thinking Crow is Ray Liotta.
- This Loser Is You: "Just a regular joe they didn't like."
- Trademark Favorite Food: Plain white rice.
- Unfazed Everyman: He seems to be pretty cool with being stuck on a satellite forced to watch cheesy movies with robots that destroy his belongings all the time besides the occasional Sanity Slippage and escape attempt.
- Waiting for a Break: Apparently a very talented and prolific stage actor, still had to resort to temp work. It also applies to how he joined the show in Real Life. Originally hired away from TGI Friday's to do "some typing," everyone was very surprised at his joke writing and musical skills, resulting in him soon becoming head writer and getting numerous cameos, and then being the natural choice to replace Joel.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Not so wholesome when he became Captain Janeway.
The third "guy shot up in space" and the first one of the revival. A former pilot for Gizmonic Institute where he was regarded as a Living Legend by the staff there. Initially seen by the bots as step-dad.
- The Ace: A "natural born Gizmocrat," as introduced by the Gizmonic Institute staff prior to his kidnapping. Left aboard the Satellite of Love for a few months and he's as big a Butt-Monkey as the bots ever had.
- Ace Pilot: Apparently one of the best space pilots the Gizmonic Insitute ever trained.
- Adorkable: Gets really excited about practical effects, loves making models and visual aids, loves tinkering, and doesn't shy away from silly costumes. Combine with his looks for one adorkable jumpsuit clad human.
- All Drummers Are Animals: Averted. Jonah plays a killer drum solo, but he's a friendly and polite guy who's also a genius inventor.
- Asteroid Miners: The prologue to the Reptilicus episode has him towing "the largest cache of precious meteors the world has ever known" back to Gizmonic Institute's Galactic Mining Strategies subsidiary before he's caught in Kinga's trap at Moon 13.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed: Not-so-subtly implied and Played for Laughs. During one of the host segments in the Starcrash episode, he mentions that if he were to wear a spacesuit, it "would need a little extra room in the groin-icological region." (Given the bots' reaction, he probably wasn't referring to his height...)
- Big Fun: Not really that fat, but kind of doughy. Kinga refers to him as, variously, a "big stack of flapjacks" and "that big sheetcake".
- The Big Guy: At a staggering 6'5" he is the tallest host so far, towering over Tom, Crow, and even making Gypsy look dainty by comparison. It kind of breaks the illusion that actually he's sitting down in a movie theater seat.
- Butt-Monkey: Joel was the Bots' father, Mike was their big brother, Jonah is the kid next door. He also has to re-live and re-enact his kidnapping every single episode since Kinga's "Liquid Television" tech can only stream and not record.
- Cool Starship: An unnamed yellow Backjack Class 3 space tug, as seen in the opening credits. Kinga took the keys so he can't escape.
- Cowboy Cop: The Gizmonic Institute staff also view him this way. (Which says something about how milquetoast they must be.) "I heard that he works outside the system, but he's effective!" It doesn't show on the Satellite — although his one season-long escape plan in The Gauntlet does actually succeed as far as sealing the Mads in their own vault, unlike the many and varied failed attempts of Mike's heyday.
- Deadpan Snarker: Like most of the cast, especially when in the theater. On the scale of deadpan vs. snark he falls somewhere between Joel and Mike (not nearly as deadpan as Joel, but a bit less biting with snark than Mike). He's willing to drop the snark to comment on when a film is genuinely doing something right.
- Ditzy Genius: He's a Gadgeteer Genius on par with Joel, but seems to be distracted easily. It was implied his Message in a Bottle severely underplayed his need to be rescued before veering off script completely to talk about his childhood. He's also pretty gullible, believing the bots yarn about a Carnival Magic expanded universe, identifying himself as an easy mark despite his issues with the space circus scam, and getting fooled by Kinga's distress signal in the first place.
- Gadgeteer Genius: He's a Joel-level tinkerer, making improvements to Gypsy and Tom, developing his "Percussion Drive" and frequently making models and visual aids.
- Gentle Giant: 6'5" and a Nice Guy.
- Guile Hero: Throughout The Gauntlet he covertly sabotages the experiment container so that it'll trap Kinga and Max in Moon 13's own theater, putting on a perfect act of being beaten down by the marathon right to the end so they walk right into it. Joel and Mike escaped their Mads through no plan of their own and left them still at large, but Jonah actually beat them.
- Nerd Glasses: With thick black frames.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He was tricked into landing at Kinga's base by a phony distress call, even unhesitatingly dumping his valuable cargo to answer it.
- Noodle Incident: How he survived being eaten by Mecha Reptilicus at the end of The Return. He repeatedly tries telling the amazing story of how he pulled off this feat, but the Bots, Kinga, and Max just don't care.
- Nice Guy: Jonah doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body and was captured expressly because he was trying to help someone else. He also makes it a point to draw attention to legitimately impressive practical effects used in the movies
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In The Beast of Hollow Mountain, when Tom's idea for a monster ending ends in a very terrible Driven to Suicide Downer Ending, Jonah begs for a Movie Sign. Joel, Mike nor Jonah (at that point) want a Movie Sign, but he was so put down by the ending he wanted one.
- Perma-Stubble: Crow demands to know why he doesn't shave.
- Pet the Dog: He's quick to point out the rare occasions that a movie actually does something impressive, no joke involved.
- The Pollyanna: Of all the hosts, Jonah is the most upbeat and most inclined to look on the bright side. If he's ever dejected or down, it never lasts for very long.
- Shout-Out: Much like Joel Robinson above, Jonah's last name is a reference to actor Charlton Heston, who is famous for starring in Planet of the Apes (1968).
- Rage Breaking Point: Don't do an Overly Long Gag and run it into the ground. Tom will attest to that when Jonah pulled off his dome and threw it away in Starcrash.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: He wears glasses and is an inventor.
- Space Trucker: Jonah's Backjack cargo tug is based on a Freightliner cab-over cargo truck (think G1 Optimus Prime).
- Super Gullible: has shades of it. He fell for a phony distress call, believes a rather ludicrous claim from the bots that there's a Carnival Magic Expanded Universe, identifies himself as an easy mark to PT Mindslap despite noticing how sketchy the whole deal is etc. Downplayed slightly if only because Max and the bots can sometimes be even more easily swayed.
- Team Dad: Seems to want to be this, trying to point out when someone is a bad role model or helping ease the bot's worries, but doesn't quite have enough respect from Crow and Tom to pull it off. Jonah Ray described his relationship to the bots as being more like the little brother of the kid next door who just really wants the other kids to like him. "You're not my real father, mister!"
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Invoked by Kinga when the idea for the Wedding Day episode Ratings Stunt occurs to her.
- Unfazed Everyman: For the most part he's pretty cool with playing along with Kinga's experiment sans the ocassional escape attempt and if anything seems to embrace the general craziness around him.
- You're Not My Father: Crow throws this at him verbatim. (In fairness to Jonah, Crow used to tell Joel this as well.)
- Cute Machines: Relatively speaking.
- Didn't Think This Through: Crow and Tom have a very bad habit of planning really bad ideas, realizing the risks involved and going ahead with it anyway.
- The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: How they can make over hundreds of pop culture per episode despite being robots who have never been to Earth before, we'll never know.
- Joel sometimes implies that he programmed the references they didn't get from the T.V. into their memories.
- Justified in the revival, as they'd last been seen living on Earth even if they ended up back on the Satellite of Love by means we really don't need to worry about, and probably picked up any newer pop culture references while living down here.
- Ping-Pong Naïveté: How much they know and understand about human life changes depending on what's funniest. At the very least they have a working knowledge of pop culture.
- "Second Law" My Ass!: Applies to Crow and Tom Servo. Sometimes Gypsy as well. Even Cambot at one point.
- Robot Buddy: A very loose definition of "buddy".
- Ridiculously Human Robot: They all have distinct personalities, in addition to being capable of dreaming and free will.
- Stylistic Suck: They look like they were put together with whatever could be found lying around. This is justified by their in-universe origin (they were built by Joel out of... whatever he could find lying around), and out-of-universe because it's a lampshade of the MST3K Mantra.
- Tsundere: Show mixed traits towards Mike in the Sci-Fi Channel episodes, with Crow showing elements of a classic Type A.
- With Friends Like These...: Especially between Tom and Crow.
Crow T. Robot
TV's wise-cracking Crow is a gold-colored hominid. His most obvious features are his pronounced beak made out of a bowling pin, and a hockey mask he wears as a head crest of sorts. He tends to be the most immature of the trio, generally acting out the most or getting into various types of trouble, referred to as "an unathletic nerd" by Mike and Servo. He also fancies himself a bit of an amateur screenwriter, and a Running Gag on the program is him routinely pitching new scripts at the other two. He sits to Joel/Mike/Jonah's right in the theater.
- Bi the Way: He wrote songs for his love of Kim Cattrall and Estelle Winwood, but also has kinky dreams about Servo and fawns over Robert Redford.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: He's smarter than he appears, but gets bored easily and often doesn't bother to put in more than the minimum amount of effort on whatever he's doing. Says a lot that when taking an IQ test he failed to answer even one question because he fell asleep - and drooled on the test somehow.
- Brutal Honesty: Crow in Hercules Against the Moon Men; he ends up breaking Gypsy's heart by mentioning that her beloved Richard Basehart was a replacement actor for another character in a movie's sequel, then flat out says that a drawing was terrible.
- Butt-Monkey: Particularly when Trace played him, he was the butt of quite a few jokes and suffered more than his share of Amusing Injuries.
- "You're getting into a whole weird area, here!"
- "You're ruining it for me!" This one gets passed around between him and Tom, but Crow seems to say it the most.
- "You're not my real father!" was often hurled at Joel, and at least once at Jonah.
- He wanted to adopt "You know you want me, baby," as his personal catchphrase, mostly to justify a large order of T-shirts, but it didn't stick.
- Season 11 gave him "He/She/They said 'area!'"
- Character Tics: Beaulieu Crow liked to hop up and down on the spot and pop his "lips" impatiently while being kept waiting. Corbett-era Crow had a way of sinking out of sight behind the desk whenever movie sign hits. Yount's Crow often gestures expansively with his newly-working arms.
- Cloudcuckoolander: His mind works in strange ways, even when not in the midst of a Sanity Slippage. It's not always easy to tell when his more wacked-out ideas are just him joking around and when he's being serious.
- Critical Research Failure: In-universe. Whenever Crow is called upon to do a research assignment on some historical figure, his results start out okay but soon go delightfully Off the Rails.
- Deadpan Snarker: The biggest one on a show full of nothing but.Robot Roll Call: What a wise-cracker!
- Determinator: How does Crow deal with being a Butt-Monkey? According to him, "persevere".
- Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: In "Racket Girls" he asks Mike for Tom Servo's hand in marriage. Yes, there is a wedding held. And yes, it is glorious. The wedding's never mentioned again after that episode, so it's probably safe to say that it held no legal standing and was just for shits and giggles.
- Chaotic Neutral: Pretty much everything they do is for shits and giggles.
- Heroic Comedic SociopathJoel: And what do you want for Christmas, Crow?
Crow: I wanna decide who lives and who dies!
Joel: Oh I don't know...
- Hidden Depths: Crow in The Return loves art- and art history-based riffs, making a fair few of them himself and saying as much out loud in At the Earth's Core.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Joel had a... weird relationship with him.Crow: Did I ever tell you about the time Joel had me dressed as Judy Garland and had me sing show tunes to him all night? I have a lot of pain.
- I Hate Past Me: During Time Chasers, Crow mutters during his time travel escapades that the Crow of 30 minutes ago is such a jerk.
- Kubrick Stare: Can pull off a very good one, due to the way his head is shaped.
- The Lancer: Causes the most problems out of all the bots.
- Large Ham: Especially when voiced by Trace Beaulieu. Bill Corbett's Crow was much more deadpan.
- Likes Older Women: His two crushes, Kim Catrall and Estelle Winwood, were both beyond his age level, whatever that is.
- The McCoy: Beaulieu Crow is a hyperactive nerd; Corbett Crow is a sarcastic loudmouth; so far Hampton Yount seems to fall somewhere in the middle, perhaps leaning somewhat more toward Crow's earlier, more naive characterization.
- Meaningful Name: Depending on when you ask him, Hodgson named Crow in honor of a Native American college friend with the same surname, or was inspired by the Jim Carroll Band song of the same name.
- Morality Pet: He's good friends with Pearl Forrester, of all people, and she treats him better than the rest of the cast.
- Mysterious Past: Crow spent almost all of the 500 years in the Satellite of Love (being pure energy was boring). Even he can't remember what he did, but apparently a large chunk of it was spent eating Nut Goodies and at one point, he tried to conceive (and made a fertility idol of himself to try to help out.)
- Napoleon Delusion: Not entirely unlike Mike, Corbett-era Mike had a recurring habit of thinking he simply was various creatures or characters from the movies, except with Crow it was usually just a costume and a flat insistence he was a Bellarian or a bear, with no real effort to change his other mannerisms.
- The Nth Doctor: Bill Corbett was The Other Darrin until a joke that his voice changes "every seven years or so" and a throwaway line by Joel saying that he'd changed his "bowling pin" part, making him The Nth Doctor.
- Sanity Slippage: He's more likely than Servo to descend into madness — and just as easily to Mood Whiplash himself into normalcy. For example, when Crow suckles at his "Mother's" nipple, he shrieks a primal scream when Mike tries to pull him off her - but a few moments later, when Mike gently tells him "That's not your mother", he pauses, and says, "Oh!"... then quickly asks him, "Are you my mother?"
- Spell My Name with a "The": His middle name.
- Sphere Eyes: Yellow ping-pong balls with diamond pupils.
- Split Personality: In the Sci-Fi Channel episodes, Crow has an occasional tendency to think he's something or someone he's not. Examples include a bear (Jack Frost), Mary Tyler Moore (It Lives by Night), and a Bellerian (Space Mutiny). Very likely a result of Sanity Slippage after he'd been on the Satellite for 500 years.
- The Starscream: Mirror Universe Crow.
- Stylistic Suck: His forays into screenwriting, especially the infamous Earth Vs. Soup.
- Telescoping Robot: Crow's arms look disproportionately small when he's behind a counter. A full body shot reveals he's really just folded his arms up to fit on the counter. This effect is much less prominent in the 2017 revival, where his arms are not only noticeably thicker, but much more animated.
- Transparent Closet: Has had at least one kinky dream about Tom Servo, and gotten giggly over the thought of touching Robert Redford.
- UNIX: Crow runs mainly on Unix, according to Monster a Go-Go.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Tom Servo, Type 2.
Tom Servo is a red robot. His most obvious feature is the fact that his head is a gumball machine. He also has inoperable arms on springs, and travels by floating on his hover-skirt. Despite these shortcomings, he's the most cultured of the crew and has a lovely singing voice. His jokes tend to be of the more intellectual type. He sits to Joel/Mike/Jonah's left in the theater, and is often (if not always) carried in.
- Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: He can rotate his body while his head stays in the same place.
- Berserk Button:
- Being called fat. Insult him any other way and he'll fire back with a quip of his own, argue the point, or even take it constructively, but being called fat, stout, or chubby leaves him spluttering in denial.
- HE'S NOT MERRITT STONE!
- Bi the Way: Usually a Casanova Wannabe, but he also married Crow in "Racket Girls" and fawned over Robert Redford.
- Casanova Wannabe: Mainly his KTMA-Season 1 persona.
- Character Tic: In the theater, you might notice Servo occasionally turning towards the others as he riffs, as if trying to gauge the others' reactions to his jokes.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: "Future War" reveals he sees everything as a Disney Acid Sequence. He doesn't seem troubled by it at all.
- Deadpan Snarker: As with the difference between Joel and Mike, Weinstein's Servo is more deadpan, and Murphy's Servo is more Snarker. Conniff and Vaughn also play him as being very deadpan.
- Distressed Dude: Has gotten into this role a couple of times.
- Eyeless Face: It's implied either the gumball dome or the red rim under it is his eyes.
- Fat Best Friend: Kevin Murphy has affectionately commented on Tom being "portly", and his entire design is a little rounded and squat to convey stoutness. It's even present when he dons clothing — his jutting keypad tends to accidentally give him a prominent middle.
- Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: With Crow in "Racket Girls". Tries to go on a date with Gypsy in "Swamp Diamonds."
- Full-Name Basis: He was usually referred to as "Tom Servo" or "Servo". Only Joel and Jonah regularly called him just "Tom".
- Genius Ditz: Not exactly the most lucid robot, but he managed to outscore the Observers in an intelligence test and casually bends reality to mess with Crow. His explanation for the test score was that he just tests well.
- Heroic BSoD: He has had a lot of nervous breakdowns throughout the series. Among his notable ones include Mitchell (where he screams in frustration when Mitchell argues with a kid), Wild World of Batwoman (where Ending Fatigue causes him to scream ENNNND! ENNNNNND!) and Invasion of the Neptune Men (where very inappropriate Recycled Footage caused Tom to just lose it.)
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Constantly wearing dresses and wigs.
- Large Ham: With his big, sonorous "MIGHTY VOICE!" and love of songs and yelling.
- Me's a Crowd: After he was cloned in The Human Duplicators, it became an occasional Running Gag for the rest of the show's run that there are a bunch of other Servos hanging around somewhere on the satellite. In the final episode he blows them all up.
- The gag gets revisited in Season 11's Reptilicus when Crow takes Tom's arm and regenerates a whole crowd of Servos out of it. Fridge Horror comes in as a close look at the scene reveals the Servo they end up with is not the one they started with.
- Motor Mouth: Made the longest riff on the show; an entire minute and a half during Manos. He also talked nonstop through an entire segment (and then some) during the "Moment of Silence" from Samson Vs. the Vampire Women.
- Mysterious Past: Tom apparently had a wild life of adventure during his time an energy being on the edge of the universe, which he refuses to talk about.
- The Napoleon: Mirror Universe Servo, but also Tom himself on occasion.
- Off with His Head!: In the Netflix revivals, Jonah has a habit of ripping off Tom's dome and tossing it aside whenever Tom crosses a line riff-wise.
- Race Lift: A vocal example in the revival: his new voice is a black guy. Apparently that's what he'd secretly wanted.
- Reality Warper: During The Gunslinger, Tom Servo shows that he has such a complex understanding of reality that he's able to perform Offscreen Teleportation and warp time. He apparently uses it to scare Crow at night.
- Renamed the Same: When he changes his last name to Sirveaux, in the Hamlet episode. It's pronounced exactly the same, but he thinks he can tell when people aren't pronouncing it right.
- Rule of Funny: Though it's frequently stated that his arms are nonfunctional, he nonetheless will be able to grab objects if it leads to a punchline.
- Send in the Clones: There's about 517 of him running around the ship by the end. Diabolik has him activating the self-destruct in them, despite not knowing if he's a clone or original.
- Small Name, Big Ego: In spades, and usually Break the Haughty follows in quick order.
- The Smart Guy: So much so that when the Observers gave the satellite crew IQ tests, he scored higher than Bill!Observer (aka Brain Guy), though he admits he isn't that smart — he just tests well.
- Spell My Name with an "S": At one point he changes his name to Htom Sirveaux, and corrects Mike when he doesn't pronounce it correctly (even though it's pronounced exactly the same.)Crow: Well, Htom, why don't you hlick me!
- The Spock: If, as Murphy puts it, "kind of weepy" — he tends to prefer more "highbrow" references and musical influences, and long-winded, scholarly arguments.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: The most likely of the crew to burst into spontaneous song.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Justified since he has thousands of replacements for himself. In Reptilicus he's melted down and replaced by a clone, who comes clean that he's not the original, but the others don't care.
- Through the Eyes of Madness: At one point Pearl gives LSD to the robots and has Mike hook them up to a monitor to see what they're seeing. From Servo's point of view, Crow and Mike are gibbering monsters while his vision kaleidoscopes into a mad swirl of horrible colors and shapes. But he laughs it off and says that that's what he always sees.
- Transparent Closet: Not quite as flagrant as Crow, but he is curvy, gifted with better fashion sense, and the best singer on the ship.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Crow.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: If someone's going to get in a skirt as part of a skit, it'll probably be Servo. Lampshaded when Servo dresses as a Brownie. He angrily tells them that his hoverskirt doesn't give him many options when wearing costumes - or would you rather he wear his Flemish glass blower outfit? Word of God is that the puppet's shape just happened to fit female costumes the best.
- Yes-Man: Becomes a rather meek one to Eddie in the Alternate Timeline during Time Chasers. Thankfully it's only temporary.
- Your Head A-Splode: Even more than the other Bots.
Gypsy was a robot built by Joel to service the higher functions of the ship. As such, she doesn't (typically) go into the theater with everyone else. She's basically a snake form, with a long black tube as a body, and her head is a baby's car seat attached so she kinda looks like a vacuum cleaner with a flashlight that serves as her eye. She has a huge crush on Richard Basehart.
- Ascended Extra: She gets a much expanded role in the 2017 revival, regularly showing up in the theater to deliver her own riffs. This is aided by a new puppet setup that descends from the ceiling, eliminating the weight problem that limited her use in the original show.
- Catch-Phrase: "Oh my stars!"
- Characterization Marches On: She was incredibly dim-witted — her personality was, after all, based on that of a turtle Joel Hodgson knew - until about midway through Season 2, when the crew realized that wasn't the best trait for the show's only female character to have. From there she developed her Women Are Wiser characterization.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: A running gag is that she is the smartest character by a wide margin, but most of her mind is taken up by actually running all the systems on the ship.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: See Smarter Than You Look.
- The Ditz: While she was almost completely unintelligible in the KTMA episodes, this became gradually downplayed as the series went on, until she was more or less the (admittedly not completely lucid) Only Sane Woman during the Sci-Fi seasons.
- Dumbass No More: As mentioned before, she was always intelligent (if somewhat overtaxed), but beginning in the revival, the SOL became tethered to the Moon, eliminating her need to monitor the life support and giving her enough processing power to make her the smartest of them all. She even chimes in with one joke per movie, something the old Gypsy failed terribly at.
- Hidden Depths: On several occassions, she has performed one-woman shows in which she sings and criticizes the patriarchy.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Grows into this after it's established that she runs the entire ship by herself, and has the thankless job of cleaning up after the boys. Mitchell has her get Joel safely back to Earth (even if it's based on a misunderstanding on her part), and in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of Diabolik she builds a multimillion dollar company by herself.
- I'm Your Biggest Fan: Toward Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea star Richard Basehart.
- Larynx Dissonance: Was voiced by male actors during the show's original run. This ironically makes it sound quite weird in its own right to hear her with a real woman's voice in the 2017 revival.
- Mama Bear: Towards Crow and Tom Servo, most notably in "The Beatniks."
- Meaningful Name: Joel Hodgson named and designed her after his brother's pet turtle. Really.
- Only Sane Woman: Believe it or not, she's been this at times.
- Smarter Than You Look: Discussed; the reason for this is Gypsy has a hard time controlling the SOL and being able to interact with the others at the same time, but she eventually gets the hang of it.
- Team Mom: Especially to Tom and Crow.
- Sassy Black Woman: Parodied; during an experiment in season 6 that made the Bots more pretentious, Gypsy called Mike her "white male opresser." But it didn't stop there. In Season 10, Gypsy (who had Took a Level in Jerkass thanks to the ship going haywire) told Mike to "jump up my tube, white boy!" Could be Fridge Logic if you consider her name being a sign that she's Romani.
- Self-Made Man: After the SOL's crash (at the end of the series) she ditched Mike and the other Bots and founded a multi-billion dollar company. Though since this was 1999 and near the peak of the dot-com bubble, when even TV Tropes might have been valued in the billions, it's sort of an open question whether her fortune lasted.
- Smurfette Principle: She's the only female robot on the Satellite Of Love.Gypsy: Well, I'm pretty sure I'm a woman.
- You No Take Candle: Only at first. She got over it after a few seasons.
Cambot serves as the camera on the Satellite of Love, projecting to the Mads in Deep 13. As such, he's never seen, never heard, and it's easy to forget he's even there, but he's obviously an essential member of the crew, without whom we wouldn't see all the wacky hijinx on the Satellite.
- Camera Abuse: Got attacked by Timmy, unplugged once by Joel, and had champagne spilled onto his sequencer in the middle of a music number.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The KTMA episodes had Cambot actually be a more humanoid robot with bug-eyes who filmed with a separate cameranote . Season 1 introduced his more familiar "autonomous camera" design.
- Evil All Along: In a Kickstarter update, Joel considered that, despite being featured in the Robot Rollcall, Cambot was probably aligned with the Mads, since it was integral to their experiment. The new design will be taking this into account.
- When looking at a fan's drawing of the old show, Jonah refers to the "floating orb" Cambot as "Old Cambot", suggesting that the one in the revival is not the same character.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: Kind of a given, since he's the one who has to film everything.
- In-Universe Camera: Invoked, as Joel built him specifically to be this.
- Last-Name Basis: If "Bride of the Monster" is to be believed, his first name is Mort.
- Not So Stoic: See Tender Tears below.
- The Nth Doctor: Cambot went through four different bodies over the course of the show (five, if you count changing paint jobs).
- Phrase-Catcher: "Cambot, give me Rocket Number Nine!" Except for one time when it was "Cambot, give me Rocket Number Eleven Minus Two!"
- Running Gag: Mike, Joel or Jonah calling "Cambot, give me Rocket #9!" any time something is happening outside the ship. No matter what is being looked at, external visual is always from Rocket #9.
- Sdrawkcab Name: During Robot Roll Call his name is backwards because he's taping himself in a mirror.
- Silent Snarker: Made his only riff in 'Sidehackers', though makes a few jokes in the host segments here and there.
- Spikes of Villainy: In noticeable contrast to his post-Season 5 design, where he was a friendly little sphere, the new evil Cambot is all harsh angles and points, looking like a cross between a "barndoor" stage light and a projector.
- Tender Tears: In the Danger!! Death Ray review the deaths of so many innocent cameras leaves him crying through the last host segment, blurring out the scene.
- The Voiceless: Except during the Robot Roll Calls.
Magic Voice is a female, disembodied voice who resides in the Satellite of Love, and whose main task is to announce when commercial sign is coming up and otherwise make the occasional comment on the action. It's never revealed exactly what she is, but seems to be robotic in nature, given how Joel was able to reprogram her along with the other 'Bots. The most common fan theory is that she's the ship's computer.
- A Day in the Limelight: A minor presence in the show who usually just chimed in with short comments and announced upcoming commercial sign, she did get a few skits and segments where she received more attention, most notably in the fifth-season episode "The Atomic Brain, where she feels lonely and wishes she could meet someone else like her but changes her mind after an encounter with the creepy voice-over guy from the episode's movie.
- She also counsels Tom Servo about making out in Attack of the the Eye Creatures.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: She's one of the few characters to vanish from the show with no real explanation.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not to the extent of Joel/Mike and the Bots, but she gets a few good lines in from time to time.
- Out of Focus: While never a major presence in the show, she appeared less and less in later seasons, and in the Sci-Fi years only made the odd cameo before vanishing completely in season 10.
- The Voice: Literally; she is only a voice and lacks any sort of corporeal form.
The NanitesSomething Crow picked up in the 500 year time gap between season 7 and 8 at a space carnival, he only got two of them, but they reproduced like sea monkeys do, and there are now billions of them on the Satellite of Love. They're capable of almost anything, but are rather unwilling to do anything without a work order.
- The Bully: Mookie the Nanite is from the bad side of the Satellite, and Servo makes the misfortune of stepping on his turf when he tries to join the Nanites.
- Complexity Addiction: Their ideas for distractions include constructing micro-size battle fleets that pull people's pants down and synthesizing an android programmed to say: "Hey, look over there!"Mike: Can't you just cut the tractor beam holding us here?
Nanite #1: (disappointed) Eh, a Number 5, sure.
Nanite #2: We never get to have any fun!
- Explosive Breeder: Crow won two of them at a space carnival. 500 years later and they cover every surface of the ship.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: When the Observers cut off the SoL's navigation systems, Mike asked them to take care of it. Cue Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: The nanites won't do anything unless they have the paperwork in writing, even if the ship is seconds away from being destroyed.Nanite: Hey, man, I don't go to the john without a work order!
- Literal Genie: When asked for tall hair or the dry look, Mike was given mile high hair and a literal desert on his head. To be fair, the latter occurred because Mike offended hairstylist nanite Shelley by criticizing the former 'do she gave him.
- Weird Trade Union: Actually had a strike, which delayed the Satellite's repairs for a week, until nanite strike breakers came in and busted the strike. It's not entirely clear who ultimately won; in their next appearance they were back on the job and had picked up a Not in My Contract attitude.
- Cousin Oliver: What Tom and Crow consider Waverly to be, leading them to tear the new robot to bits in his debut. He gets better, though.
- Once per Episode: Waverly enters and exits the theater via Gypsy in every Season 12 episode, occasionally making a riff at the movie.
- Unexplained Recovery: Despite Tom and Crow's initial hostility to him in Season 11, Waverly is alive again by Season 12 and more or less tolerated.
- In the 2017 Live Show, it's revealed that Tom actually reassembled him himself and became friends with him, much to Crow's fury.
- Captain Ersatz: Literally Rowlf the Dog from The Muppets as a green robot. Jonah says as much up-front.
- Cousin Oliver: Like M. Waverly, although Growler is quicker to get on Crow and Servo's good side.
- Nice Guy: Designed by Jonah to be "literally impossible not to get along with."
- The Piano Player: And keyboards, inflatable air-dancer organ — he is basically Rowlf the Dog as a green robot, after all. He ends up accompanying several of the second season's big musical numbers.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Refusal to go into the theater is met with either electrocution or the removal of the ship's oxygen.
- Coordinated Clothes: Kinga and Max switch into a few different labcoats in each episode — they usually start out in black, then change into all white versions at the end.
- Evil Wears Black: Dr. Erhardt, Frank, late-period Brain Guy, Kinga, Max, and the Skeleton Crew all wear black.
- Failure Is the Only Option: None of the movies will ever break the SOLites' will. Although they have gotten close on a number of occasions.
- Friendly Enemy: They've all had their fair share of chummy moments with their captives.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Satellite Of Love crashing bringing an end to the experiments (and therefore the show) in Diabolik reduced Pearl to tears, with her makeup running and her hair in a mess.
- Dr. Forrester when Frank died, especially displayed in his song "Who Will I Kill?"
- Large Ham: Dr. Forrester and Pearl.
- The Nicknamer: A mutual tendency between them and the SOLies to refer to each other, individually or as a group, by themed insulting/condescending/endearing nicknames.
- Secondary Color Nemesis: The Forresters favour green. Bobo's sport coat and Observer's cloak are purple. Kinga and Max's black labcoats have purple and green trimming, respectively.
- Signing-Off Catchphrase: "Push the button, Frank/Max."
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: TV's Frank to Dr. Erhardt; Pearl to Frank, and later Dr. Forrester; though to be fair while they filled similar roles their characters were all quite different.
Dr. Clayton Forrester
Dr. Forrester is the green-coated head scientist down in Deep 13 who oversees the experiment on the Satellite of Love. While he's evil with a capital E, he's also not particularly effective, given how after several years, he still has yet to find that perfect movie that will drive people insane. Oftentimes, the relationship between Dr. F and the folks on the Satellite tends to be strangely amicable.
- Adaptational Villainy: He's noticeably more sadistic in The Movie than he is in the series proper, going so far as actually cutting off Mike's air supply when he gives him lip. He lampshades this when he first appears, saying that he's "feeling particularly evil today". It also may have something to do with the movie being right after Frank left.
- Affably Evil: Though a megalomaniacal Mad Scientist who tortures his captives with bad movies, abuses his assistant and takes pride in being Evil, he's got surprisingly many friendly moments.
- Bad Boss: Especially to Larry.
- Bald of Evil: Just about — he has a very, high, narrow widow's peak at best.
- Berserk Button: As Mike found out in his first experiment, Dr. Forrester does not like being kept waiting.Dr. Forrester: Oh, Mr. Nelson. Mr. El Relaxo. That's nice. Maybe I'll...just...have...you...do your invention exchange first! First! DO YOU HEAR ME? FIRST!!
- Card-Carrying Villain: "Supervillain" is his actual job title.Dr. Forrester and Dr. Erhardt: What do you want from us? WE'RE EVIL!
- Characterization Marches On: Started out as a smug, stern, pompous, deeper-voiced jerk but eventually became a manic, mincing, Charles Nelson Reilly-ish maniac.
- Clark Kent Outfit: As can be seen in the San Francisco International episode, underneath the scrubs, Doctor Forrester is cut!
- Einstein Hair: In Season 1 and 2 he has a pony tail in the back, but his hair keeps getting higher and wilder as the show goes on.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Clayton Deborah Susan Forrester.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Evil Sounds Deep: In KTMA, almost to the point of Nightmare Fuel.
- Evil Laugh: NAUGHTY NAUGHTY NAUGHTY NAUGHTY!!! AHAHA!
- Fat and Skinny: The Skinny to Dr. Erhardt, Frank, and Pearl's respective Fat.
- Green and Mean: A sickly bright green labcoat, and green-framed plastic Nerd Glasses. Later turns out to be a family tradition.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: His Freudian Excuse includes a mother who doesn't seem to care about his existence, rejection from every girl in high school, several Noodle Incidents involving ice rinks, the shower incident, and a humiliating expulsion from the chess club.
- In-Universe Nickname: Clay, Dr. F., and, occasionally (and only by Frank, Steve.
- Insult Backfire: He gets all warm and fuzzy when he's accused of crimes against humanity (or robotity).Joel: That may be the most despicable thing I've ever heard of.
Dr. Forrester: [smugly] Thank you!
- Last Request: Dr. Erhardt and Kinga help fulfill his posthumous desire in Season 12: to have his ashes scattered through space to the song "Idiot Control Now".
- Locked into Strangeness: According to his Back Story, he was struck by lightning, which gave him his Skunk Stripe.
- Mad Scientist: A textbook example.
- Nerd Glasses: The Cave Dwellers episode had them change from green to black with no explanation, and was never mentioned again.
- Beaulieu himself during a Q&A explained that he had accidentally left his only pair of green glasses in the pocket of his lab coat (they had 2 lab coats that they switched out each episode), and that coat was sent to the dry cleaners. By the time he realized his mistake, it was too late to get them back before filming of the episode was to commence, so he slapped on an old pair of Dr. Erhardt glasses so they wouldn't have to delay filming.
- The Nicknamer: Grew into a penchant for referring to Joel and Frank by various pet names ("Be a trezh, Frank..."), even while actively threatening them.
- Opposites Attract: He somehow had a serious relationship with Kim Catrall, which unfortunately fell apart shortly after Kinga was born as she refused to convert to mad science.
- Shout-Out: He's named after the hero of the 1953 film adaptation of The War of the Worlds, and Joel has commented that much of his later petty, fussy characterization was inspired by Dr. Fate from The Great Race (including his Catch-Phrase of "Push the button").
- Skunk Stripe: In his hair and mustache. Trace has hinted during a convention panel that it also appears in a third place (the location of which is for the reader to decide). Apparently got it after getting struck by lightning.
- "Stop Having Fun" Guys: During "Turkey Day '91", he's more concerned with world domination than Thanksgiving.
Dr. Laurence "Larry" Erhardt
Dr. F's first assistant, who didn't get much characterization at all, since he was only around for one season. He pretty much aped Dr. F's tendencies towards loving evil and played the part of the sniveling aide.
- Bad is Good and Good is Bad: Thanking Joel and the bots for telling him and Dr. Forrester about how evil, disturbing, or otherwise despicable their latest product was.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Chipper and enthusiastic about doing Dr. Forrester's bidding.
- Before every movie: "Enjoy!"
- After being called evil, or being told their latest Invention Exchange was Sick and Wrong, he and Dr. Forrester would give a hearty "Thank you!" This was largely retired after Dr. Erhardt left the show, apart from a Call-Back where Frank and Forrester did the same thing — but, after a brief Aside Glance, seemed to decide it didn't feel right.
- Creepy High-Pitched Voice: He's evil, but it's more of a high, squeaky chipmunk voice than anything. Much like the deep voice Trace used for Dr. Forrester in early season, it helps downplay the fact that they're both Acting for Two. J. Elvis Weinstein uses his regular speaking voice upon his return.
- Einstein Hair: Sticks straight up.
- Evil Wears Black: Dresses entirely in black.
- Face on a Milk Carton: The last we see of him in the original Comedy Central run, in Rocketship X-M.
- Fat and Skinny: The Fat to Dr. Forrester's Skinny.
- Freudian Excuse: Apparently used to work at a zoo before they gave him monkeys instead of students.
- Geek Physiques: Of the fat variety.
- The Igor: Turned into one over the course of the KTMA season; at first he was more clearly Dr. Forrester's partner and equal, but became more of a subservient toady over time.
- Laughing Mad: In the KTMA shows, not so much in the Comedy Channel shows, where he became more of a bungling assistant to Dr Forrester.
- Nerd Glasses: Just like Dr. Forrester, he sports an impressive pair. His have black frames.
- Mad Scientist: The main difference between TV's Frank and Dr. Erhardt is that Dr. Erhardt is a Mad Scientist in his own right.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Since going missing, he's gone on a long voyage of self-discovery that apparently involved several heroic feats.
- Phrase-Catcher: "File this, Larry."
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Larry constantly sucks up to Dr. Forrester.
- Put on a Bus: After Season 1, and later implied to have been eaten by a giant spider. He returns after nearly three decades in Season 12.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: The goofy Wise Guy to early-season Dr. Forrester's dry, stoic Straight Man.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In the KTMA episodes, especially his earlier appearances, he was a lot more unhinged and showed some sadistic tendencies. By the time the show moved to Comedy Central, he'd mellowed out a lot and was downright jovial and friendly — though never quite a Minion with an F in Evil.
- By his reappearance in The Day Time Ended, he's become laid-back, smooth as butter, and downright jazzy, having traveled the galaxy in Clay's spaceship for two decades as part of an ongoing journey of self-awakening. Max comments he isn't nearly as "shrill" as he used to be.
Dr. Erhardt's replacement after Season 1, TV's Frank was, in the end, far more fleshed out than his predecessor. More laid back, goofy, and ineffectual than even Dr. F himself, Frank often found himself the butt of jokes, or just plain dead. He departed the show at the end of Season 6, where he was assumed into Second Banana Heaven.
- Abandoned Catch Phrase: When first introduced, he had a weird mouth sound that kind of came out as "Eeeukk-ghueeee!" Didn't last into his second season — but it was the last thing he said in Samson Vs. The Vampire Women.
- Accidental Misnaming: Occasionally calls Dr. Clayton Forrester "Steve" instead. No reason is given, and Dr. F. just seems confused when it happens — Frank does call Forrester Dr. F. or "Clay" most of the time.
- Affably Evil: The opposite of most of the Mads — most of the time Frank seems like a genuinely Nice Guy, at worst a Punch-Clock Villain. Then every once and while he'll show that he's just as evil as Forrester.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: When Torgo the White brings him to Second Banana Heaven. His season ten cameo reveals he got kicked out later.
- Attention-Deficit Disciple: "Hike Your Pants Up" and "Mike Ma-ma-Mike" are good examples.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:TV's Frank: WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!?!?! Oooh, McKenna's Gold is on!
- Big Eater: Frank's gluttony and resulting poor health are a Running Gag. He fills up on snacks and donuts, and when he and Forrester order Chinese food he eats everything but the mock duck. In one episode, Forrester distracts him from a bombing attempt with potato pancakes. Even he reached his limit in the second Turkey Day marathon, when Dr. F forces him to eat fifteen entire turkeys in a single sitting.
- Bizarre Human Biology: He's survived multiple kinds of dismemberment (has replacement organs!), being deep-fried like a potato pancake, having his blood replaced with antifreeze (blood which is of a previously-unknown type, by the way), and apparently exists in a state of perpetual cardiac problems (his heart works so hard it can power an engine).
- Burger Fool: Dr. Forrester found him working at an Arby's. His first episode had him try and take Joel and the Bots' orders like they were at the drive thru.
- Butt-Monkey: Endless beatings, maimings, and humiliations at the hands of Dr. F. Pretty much in the job description. Frank mostly takes it in stride, unless it would be funnier not to.
- Catch-Phrase: "Live to serve ya." "...Poopie!"
- Cloudcuckoolander: Like a kid with an overactive imagination, "whimsical" probably describes no MST3K character better than Frank, and the only explanation given for his most bizarre behavior is Rule of Funny, the occasional pained Aside Glance, and the MST3K Mantra.
- Death Is Cheap: Frank gets killed a lot.TV's Frank: Ooh, that's my old head! ...Just file that under "Frank's Old Head".
- The Ditz: Not as much as Bobo, but still. Frank is lazy, gullible, and can't take a hint or catch a clue.
- The Dog Bites Back: As badly as Dr. Forrester usually treats him, Frank turns the tables on a few occasions.
- In Red Zone Cuba. After borrowing "fifty large" (fifty thousand dollars) from the mob, Frank sends Dr. F out to speak to the mob enforcer at his doorstep. Dr. F gets pummeled so badly he spends the rest of the episode in a full-body cast, while Frank torments him further under the guise of motivating him to get back on his feet.
- Frank has cultivated an ongoing friendship with Dr. Forrester's mother. When she visits the lab, she ignores Dr. Forrester and spends all of her time catching up with Frank.
- Evil Wears Black: Like Dr. Erhardt, he dresses all in black. Rather than a long labcoat, however, Frank wears a double-breasted suit of the sort old-timey chauffeurs used to wear.
- Famous Last Words: "Watch me rock. Eeeyuk-ghuuuee!"
- Friendly Enemy: With Joel, Mike and the Bots.
- Fat and Skinny: The Fat to Dr. Forrester's Skinny after Dr. Erhardt left.
- Geek Physiques: A bit portly.
- Hairstyle Inertia: When reduced to a skeleton, he still has his "beautiful head of TV's Frank hair". Even when he shaves his head as part of a "Gift of the Magi" Plot gone wrong, he keeps his distinctive silver spit-curl.
- Mad Bomber: After watching several action movies featuring assassins, bomb plots, and explosions, the easily suggestible Frank becomes a cackling, scheming lunatic who plots to blow up Deep 13. (Of course, he's still Frank, so he doesn't bother tying Dr. F's ropes very tightly, or even keeping track of his hostages.)
- Medium Awareness: He's TV's lovable Frank! Although he doesn't seem to be any more or less aware of the fact that everything he does is being broadcast to the viewing public than anyone else. Try not to overthink it.
- Minion with an F in Evil: The reason why so many escape attempts hinged on trying to convince Frank to hit the button that would return the satellite to earth. It almost worked on multiple occasions, Forrester stopping him each time.
- Phrase-Catcher: "Push the button, Frank!"
- The Pigpen: Implied, as one short about hygiene was picked out by Doctor Forrester specifically so Frank could watch it.
- Prematurely Grey-Haired: Frank Conniff's own silvery locks.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Like a big, highly imaginative, easily suggestible child. The man-childishness was pretty consistent; the psychopathy waxed and waned, and its targeting was erratic — Frank could just as often be plotting Dr. Forrester's grisly demise during a friendly chat with Joel/Mike and the 'bots as the other way 'round.
- Put on a Bus: To Second Banana Heaven.
- Second Banana: One of the greats — so much so, in fact, that he is hand-selected by Torgo the White to ascend to a heaven meant specifically for the greatest second bananas of all time.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Dr. Erhardt, superficially. High hair, dressed all in black, The Igor to Dr. Forrester's Frankenstein... He quickly develops a doofy, Cloudcuckoolander charm of his own, however, and rather than the toadying fellow scientist, Frank is clearly established as purely an assistant from the start.
- They Killed Kenny Again: He dies a lot.
- Too Dumb to Live: Literally, as he was killed multiple times.
- Transparent Closet: With Dr. Forrester. One sketch revolved entirely around them acting like a fussy old married couple when nobody's watching, and the guests at "Auntie McFrank's Tangleberry Inn" sheepishly ask just what he and Clay's relationship is after seeing Frank in a housedress and bonnet.
Dr. F's beloved mother, who showed up a few times in Season 6, but became Dr. F's foil in Season 7 when she moves back in. Starting Season 8, after Trace Beaulieu leaves the show, she becomes the head scientist showing the movies. The story is that after Clayton died (again, it's a bit complicated), she was put in cryogenic freezing, thawed by the future apes, and became the Lawgiver. Doesn't make much sense, but you know how it is.
- Absurdly Youthful Mother: Her actress is two years younger than the actor who played her adult son, and despite raising him In-Universe twice she still looks no more than middle-aged. As usual, the mantra applies.
- Abusive Parents: She was never the best mother to Dr. Forrester — and as the 2017 revival reveals, she's a pretty bad grandmother to Kinga as well. Stuck with raising her granddaughter, she apparently tried abandoning Kinga several times, but Kinga "always came back."
- Adventurer Outfit: Of the Airwoman variety. While piloting the Widowmaker, she wears a flight jacket, bright green Scarf Of Asskicking, and Conspicuous Gloves. Interesting choice for a villain, but it makes sense given that the heroes of old pulp movies are in many ways the enemies of the Satellite of Love.
- Affably Evil: In some situations, usually as a riff on the stereotypical good-naturedness of Midwesterners.
- Bad Bad Acting: Intensely self-conscious under the scrutiny of the board certifier from Mad Science Committee, Pearl makes a stuttering, anxiety-ridden hash of the kind of card-carrying villainy she otherwise pulls off effortlessly. Likewise, she's completely unconvincing in her attempts to improve workplace efficiency. Even when Mike and the 'Bots buy into her most Blatant Lies and Schmuck Bait, it's usually only because they're holding the Idiot Ball.
- Badass Normal: During the Widowmaker years, she conquers the apes and cows an all powerful Observer, seemingly through sheer force of will and capacity for violence. She's a threat to the Satellite of Love — which survives meteors hits, various explosions, crashes, spatial anomalies, and a dolphin warbird — while taking potshots at it with a handgun... And she's survived at least two planets being destroyed while she was still on them.
- Black Widow: Has at least a few dead husbands to her name. She actually threatens Bobo and Observer this way: "Sit down, or I'll marry you!"
- Book Dumb: Consistently mispronounces words (like "ex-cape" and "anti-paste-o"), calls the ancient Romans "these Egyptian guys", can't be bothered to remember what the Observers are called (she calls them all "brain guys". Add to that, of course, she really does tend to get the better (more evil) result by simply Cutting the Knot and resorting to brute force.
- Brawn Hilda: She's a woman of heft who keeps a superstrong hyperevolved gorilla and an omnipotent alien intelligence at heel by smacking them around like Moe.
- Buffy Speak: Speaks in a rough Midwestern patois and uses a lot of schoolyard insults.
- Bullying a Dragon: She's able to control nigh-omnipotent Observer through sheer force of will (and threat of violence.)
- Card-Carrying Villain: At least, her goal, as she desperately wants to join the Fraternal Order of Mad Scientists.
- Catch-Phrase: "Here's the deal, Nelson..." Also "It's called (title of movie) and it sucks on toast," a few times.
- Characterization Marches On: She appeared as an annoying, naggy, overbearing, withholding mother stereotype in the Deep 13 episodes, but morphed into a more bullying version of Dr. F when she took over as the main villain. Her first appearance also had her looking uncannily like her son (right down to a small, fuzzy mustache on her upper lip), something that was toned down in subsequent episodes.
- Costume Evolution: Three major shifts, going from a frowsy Housewife to a two-fisted scarf-wearing villainous pulp adventurer to her Bond-villain uniform in Castle Forrester. She also wears a toga on a few occasions, first as ruler of the apes, and a different, drapier toga while stranded in Roman times.
- Conspicuous Gloves: Usually wears a pair of black gloves — handy when you've got a lot of driving, punching, or experimenting to do.
- Contralto of Danger: A low, harsh voice for a violent, sadistic supervillain.
- Cool Starship: Well, it's spaceworthy, at least: her ship is the Widowmaker, a rocket-powered Volkswagen microbus.
- Diabolical Mastermind: What she's trying to be when she sets up shop in Castle Forrester — she's basically a discount Doctor Doom.
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Sinister green catseye makeup.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Parodied. She swears to make the SOL crew's life hell in revenge for her son's death (even though she was the one who killed him.)
- Even Evil Has Standards: In the "Overdrawn at the Memory Bank" episode, she makes it clear that she thought very highly of Raúl Juliá (who had died a few years earlier) and meant no ill will towards him, even if he did star in that week's dose of concentrated suffering.Pearl: Today's film is Overdrawn at the Memory Bank, starring the late Raul Julia, a very wonderful actor. What was he doing in this piece of sh...surely very quality, quality programming.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Both the "sadistic mad scientist" and "clueless middle-manager" kind — Pearl's personal idea of fun is inflicting cruelty on her subordinates, but in Final Justice, she also forces Mike and the 'bots to endure the dull, forced levity of novelty glasses and "Wacky-Dress-Up Day", in the hopes that it'll liven up the workplace.note Pearl: (Completely flat monotone) Do-you-begin-to-see-how-creativity-can-lead-to-productivity?
Tom: Well... no, I'm just kinda depressed.
Crow: Yeah, mostly I feel sad, and... ache-y?
- The Gambling Addict: In Prince of Space, she states that her favorite hobby is playing slot machines. And in Hamlet, Mike ropes her into playing a Shell Game and ends up winning his choice of a movie. Of course, Pearl turns the situation back in her favor by sending him a crappy, black-and-white, dubbed version of Hamlet. This continues into season 11: she makes a cameo in Cry Wilderness and blows off visiting Kinga to save her spot at her favorite slot machine instead.
- Glad I Thought of It: Pearl's usual reaction to good advice by Observer and Bobo. Neither of them bother to correct her, probably because she'll probably hurt them.
- Got the Whole World in My Hand: The Forrester coat-of-arms is the current page image, and in the Evolving Credits of seasons 8 through 10, the "evil gal who wants to rule the world" is shown crushing a stress-ball globe of the earth in her hand.
- Green and Mean: The Forrester family colors.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: It's actually her fault the Satellite of Love finally went back to Earth in Diabolik, since she both broke the joystick she was controlling it with, and messed with Brain Guy's powers so he couldn't intervene.
- Housewife: Dresses like a '50s housewife in her earliest appearances — contrasted by her neglect and abuse of her son.
- In-Series Nickname: Mrs. F., about as often as Pearl. She occasionally refers to herself as Grandma Pearl, even before she was shown to have an actual granddaughter in the form of Kinga.
- It's All About Me: Pearl is very self-centered. For example, she complained that not enough people at Flavia's party are paying attention to her instead of the host or the guest of honor. Her Public Pearl TV show is called Pearl! Pearl! Pearl! Pearl! Pearl! Pearl!
- Legacy Character: Especially once she moves into Castle Forrester in season 9, where it turns out there's a whole lineage of evil female Forresters.
- Mad Scientist: Spends most of Season 10 trying to get her license.
- Malaproper: Frequently: "Ex-cape" for escape. "Viola" for voila. "Aymish" for Amish.
- My Beloved Smother: Her original characterization with regards to Clayton. She also literally smothered him to death off-screen between seasons 7 and 8, when she didn't get around to raising the reborn Dr. Forrester and he grew up to be the same maniac he was before.
- Never My Fault: The whole reason she took over as head Mad and carried on the SOL experiments was because she blamed Mike and the Bots for Clayton's death after she smothered him to death with a pillow.
- The Nicknamer: Unlike the Shout-Out Theme Naming deployed by her son and granddaughter, Pearl makes up any number of plays on Nelson: Nelstone, Nelsonetti, Smellson, Nel-bell... Brain Guy/Brainiac/Brainball/Paleface/Powder/Whitey is almost as likely to be on the receiving end.
- Pet the Dog: On one occassion, she drove three missing children home to their eldritch abomination parents. During the space-van trip, she gave the children snacks and was surprisingly patient with their antics.
- Psychopathic Woman Child: Her many temper tantrums.
- Putting on the Reich: Her Castle Forrester costume is a Bond villain-esque uniform tunic/labcoat. Bright green, of course.
- The Red Baron: The Lawgiver.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: "...you crapheads!" Word for word (she even says "Your reports" instead of rumors), and the death in question was a literal Earth-Shattering Kaboom.
- Scarf Of Asskicking: Part of her Adventurer Outfit while piloting the Widowmaker.
- Skunk Stripe: Apparently being struck by lightning also runs in the family.
- Supervillain Lair: When she comes home to Castle Forrester.
- Tender Tears: In "Diabolik" when the Satellite of Love crew finally escaped her clutches.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Noted to have a fondness for chicken-in-a-biskit snack crackers several times, to the point that Brain Guy uses it as motivation to prevent the destruction of the universe. No more universe, no more chicken-in-a-biskit.
- Twitchy Eye: Has one driving her VW camper in the title sequence.
- Vorpal Pillow: Killed her reborn son this way when he didn't turn out the way she wanted (and, it's implied, one or more of her ex-husbands).
- Walking Armory: "Who is it? I have guns! I have a lot of guns!" (Most of them revolvers.)
- Weirdness Magnet: Invoked directly by her in Hamlet, when she asks the viewer, "Is it me? Am I a magnet for these idiots?"
An evolved gorilla from the year 2525, from a future where apes evolved from men?. Yes, it's a madhouse. He's heard it all. First appearing in the beginning of Season 8, he's a professor of anthropology, but soon becomes little more than The Ditz often foiling Pearl's machinations.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: Twice; first when falling off the Widowmaker and onto a nearby planet, and again when he had to... "go."
- Butt-Monkey: Pun not intended. While Observer gets most of Pearl's verbal abuse, Bobo takes the lion's share of physical abuse, often being slapped, beaten, or knocked around.
- Catch-Phrase: Bordering on By the Power of Grayskull! — he is Bobo, son of Koko!
- Characterization Marches On: While a bit dumb to begin with, Bobo started off as a more serious, Only Sane Man head scientist in Deep Ape, scolding his subordinates for being silly, and completely exasperated at the stuff going on around him. Upon leaving Deep Ape he immediately became a doofus... eventually becoming not much more that a talking family pet. See Only Sane Man & Took a Level in Dumbass. His introduction in Season 8 can be a bit jarring to those used to "Bobo The Big Idiot Sidekick".
- Not So Above It All: Though it's hinted he's a doofus in that while he insists he's intelligent, it doesn't take much prodding for him to wear a diaper like a domesticated chimp. Also, his idea of "research" is telling Peanut to play in a tire swing.
- Costume Evolution: Goes from wearing his Doctor Zaius-inspired purple sport jacket to a padded yellow medieval henchman outfit in Castle Forrester.
- The Ditz: Even moreso than Frank. If Bobo can do something dumb, he will.
- Dung Fu: Bobo isn't above this, as Observer finds out to his horror. Whatever else he is, he's an ape.
- Extreme Omnivore: He is constantly either eating or looking for food, and on top of that, is occasionally shown to eat things that aren't food.Bobo: Well, you see, the fact of the matter is I've swallowed so darned many things over the years that there must be a key in there somewhere that'll work.
- Which leads to this...Bobo: [regurgitates a hairpin] Ah, a hairpin!
Observer: HE SWALLOWED A WOMAN! HE SWALLOWED A WOMAN!!!
Bobo: [indignant] I did not, Brain Guy! I swallowed a wig.
- Which leads to this...
- I Am X, Son of Y: He introduces himself as "Professor Bobo, son of Koko", a reference to a famous gorilla who learned sign language.
- The Igor: In Castle Forrester, he's usually the one throwing the switches and doing any heavy lifting or other menial labor that needs doing... and even then, when Pearl is trying to prove herself to the Fraternal Order of Mad Scientists, she gives the hunchback to Observer.
- Informed Species: He looks much more like a chimpanzee than a gorilla, despite repeatedly asserting that he is the latter. He also admits to having a red butt like a baboon.
- Insistent Terminology:Peanut: I'm Peanut!
Bobo: That's Doctor Peanut! [dope slap]
- Meaningful Name: Bobo is Spanish for "fool", which is presumably why it's popular for apes and monkeys in circuses. The character, however, is likely named after Bobo of the Seattle Woodland Park Zoo, who became famous following as one of the few publicly viewable gorillas in America in his day.
- Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: He may not be the Trope Namer, but Bobo shares just as much responsibility as Mike does in blowing up Earth. He did help repair the bomb that did it after all.
- Only Sane Man: Was this back in Deep Ape. The very second they left, Bobo shoots himself in the foot. Twice.
- The Rival: With Brain Guy, though mostly only when Pearl is away — otherwise the pecking order seems fairly clear-cut.
- Second Banana: Pun intended. Self-proclaimed, and established in Soultaker as taking on the same bootlick role as TV's Frank (and by extension Dr. Erhardt). Technically he shares the part with Brain Guy, though in practice the latter is slightly more trusted by Pearl.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Has infrequent moments when he'll talk like this; even after he Took a Level in Dumbass he kept a very advanced vocabulary and often spoke in a "cultured" tone.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Mashed rotten bananas (pronounced the British way, br-NAH-nas). Evolution aside, he's still an ape.
- Took a Level in Badass: When he remembers he's descended from the line of "Godo, Gobo, and Chim-chim!"
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Bobo wasn't exactly the brightest knife in the deck before future-Earth blew up, but afterwards he became a complete idiot.
Observer / "Brain Guy"
A member of an allegedly advanced species, the Observers. He and his kind first appear in Season 8 to observe the experiment, but Mike ends up blowing up their planet, leaving only the one behind to hang around with Pearl and Bobo. Allegedly, his species is just the brain, which his "host body" carries around in a salad bowl, but this show being what it is, the concept is only tangentially ever alluded to, and you may as well assume the guy in pale face with the robe is "Brain Guy".
- Achilles' Heel: Turns out carrying your brain around in a big, open salad bowl in front of you is kind of a crummy idea.
- Ambiguously Gay: Aside from the Transparent Closet, he tends to be a little effete.Observer: [on Fortinbras] He made me look butch.
- Butt-Monkey: Third among equals among the original three Observers, he has his brain confiscated and placed in the Enrichment Chamber when Servo scores higher than him on the Observers' intelligence test. Even Bobo gets one over on him on occasion — like slicing off pieces of said brain and eating them in a sandwich after mistaking the Enrichment Chamber for a mini-fridge.
- Costume Evolution: His stark clown-white makeup was eventually toned down as the series progressed — he was in increasingly more scenes next to Bobo, and the crew found it hard to properly light the contrasting dark tones of the suit's fur while preserving detail on Bill's face. In Castle Forrester, he keeps his purple hood and cloak but gives up his white nightgown and white gloves in favor of an all-black medieval tunic and black leather gloves. When the other Observers show up again, they're still wearing the white gowns.
- Ditzy Genius: Theoretically omnipotent and omniscient... unfortunately, he's a complete wimp and sad sack with no initiative.
- Evil Albino: He's referred to as "the albino" by various guest stars thanks to his chalk-white skin, but it's the natural coloration for all Observers.
- Evil Brit: Has a fey British accent.
- Expy: Seems to be modeled after the psychic mutants from Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Like all the Observers, his only name is... Observer. Subverted in that almost no one calls him anything other than "Brain Guy".
- Hive Mind: According to Observer, his race is an interconnected neural net, which might explain their Power Creep, Power Seep following the destruction of their planet.
- In the Hood: Almost never lets his hood down.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: And looks surprisingly decent in a nurse's outfit.
- Insistent Terminology: Observer states he doesn't have a body. Except, you know, for the fact he clearly does.Observer: [after being thrown onto a grenade to protect others] It's a good thing I don't have a body!
- Which leads to a weird situation in Space Mutiny when his body and brain being separated makes both a complete idiot with half their power.
- Last of Their Kind: He believes he's this after the destruction of the Observer planet. Later averted, however, when it turns out the two other Observers managed to reconstitute themselves, no thanks to him — and in The Return, it turns out that vast numbers of his brothers and sisters exist, when they're hired to act as seat-fillers at Kinga's stunt wedding. That being said, he deprived his brothers of their brains and banished them to a Wisconsin dairy town, and it's not clear if the other Observers have even the relatively weak powers Observer still had... but of course it's just a show.
- Nerd: Occasionally, like when he invites a bunch of friends over to watch Sliders in his room during Pearl's masquerade ball. Subverted in that at least he has friends, which is more than Pearl can say.
- Ominous Opera Cape: Wears a long purple cape with the hood up.
- The Omniscient: Claims to be this, but actions speak louder than words...
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Mostly he's just Brain Guy, or sometimes THE Brain Guy. Very few people ever call him Observer after Mike destroys his planet.
- Only Sane Man: Well, he is just a disembodied brain. In the Power Trio of him, Pearl, and Bobo, he's usually the only one to see the obvious flaws in their various schemes, and the the only one who sees through various paper-thin tricks and disguises — quite literally the case when Mike and the 'bots replace themselves with cardboard cutouts during Hobgoblins.
- Oxymoronic Being: The limitations of the supposedly all-knowing, all-powerful Observer species are made into a Running Gag of sorts — their brains are claimed to be "entirely self-sufficient" but still require host bodies that may or may not exist, said brains are kept in jars (where they have a functional range of only 50 yards) rather than inside their heads, and their infinite intelligence can be hoodwinked by crude trickery or intimidated by physical threats.
- Pacifist: Subverted. His race doesn't believe in war — they only kill out of personal spite.
- Planet of Steves: All of his species are named "Observer", which leads to the following when they reunite:Observer: [sees Mike-Observer] Observer! [sees Paul-Observer] Observer!
Mike-Observer: Oh, Observer...
- Power Creep, Power Seep: Apparently, spending time with Pearl has weakened his powers. When confronted by other Observers, Observer said he'd blight Mike with his powers - and ended up giving Mike a new tie.Observer: [puzzled at first, then...] AHA! No one wants a tie for a present! Can't you see what a terrible gift that is?
- Purple Is Powerful: Subverted. In theory he has godlike powers. In practice he's a cowardly nerd whose powers often don't work for one reason or another.
- Reality Warper: Able to bend time and space and create matter and life with his mind. Except when he can't.
- Revenge: He originally joined forces with Pearl to avenge the destruction of the Observer planet by Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds. This is quickly forgotten in favor of occasionally doing Pearl's bidding and, it seems, spending the rest of the time sitting around watching TV.
- Sufficiently Advanced Alien: Parodied. His vast reality-warping powers can do anything the plot demands, unless it would be funnier if they didn't. Observer huffs at Pearl, "I'm not that omnipotent, Pearl!"
- Took a Level in Dumbass: Though to a lesser extent than Bobo. Possibly justified, as it was the Bill Corbett Observer who was found wanting by the other Observers and his brain placed in the Enrichment Chamber, which Bobo confused for a refrigerator and subsequently carved up his brain for sandwich meat. Being separated from the Hive Mind Observers dampened his powers as well, as noted by Mike-Observer.
- Transparent Closet: Inverted. Everyone but Observer are shocked by his Camp Gay behavior, such as dressing as a nurse or wearing drummer outfits. When he takes some condoms, he tells Pearl it's for his many... lady friends.
Kinga Clayton Forrester
The daughter of Dr. Clayton Forrester. She's following the footsteps of her father and grandmother in sending the most terrible movies possible to Jonah and the Bots.
- Audience? What Audience?: Gets a little disturbed when Joel calls her a fictional character during a Kickstarter video.
- Bad Boss: She yells at Joel to get back to work, slaps her underlings if she doesn't think they're working fast enough, and is distinctly unconcerned about dangerous conditions and "supernatural manifestations" affecting her underlings in Moon 14.
- Card-Carrying Villain: She describes herself as a "third-generation supervillain".
- Catch-Phrase: "Enter the nightmare-fuelled world of [movie of the week]!" and variations thereof, most often followed by "Flush them the movie!"
- Commanding Coolness: It doesn't come up often, but her specific rank is Commander of Moon 13.
- Composite Character: In addition to taking traits from both Clayton and Pearl, her bio on mst3k.com describes her as "equal parts Cruella De Vil and Kim Jong-il", and Joel Hodgson first conceived her by taking the villain from The Super Inframan and pasting Lucille Ball's head on her.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Her stated goal is to become Queen of All Media and eventually sell the Mystery Science Theater 3000 brand to Disney for a billion dollars. This means continuing her father's experiments, i.e. torture, crimes against humanity, and so on.
- Daddy's Little Villain: Well, Grandma's Little Villain, at any rate. She really wants Pearl's approval, but has some problems getting it.
- Disappeared Dad: Presumably she became a Mad after the death of her father.
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Clayton, after her father.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- She's a Card-Carrying Villain, and willing to do business with Hitler — that is, Todd Hitler, a coffee brewer from San Francisco. But she draws the line at associating with Adolf Hitler or actual Nazis.
- Subverted in that unlike her papa, who punished Frank for stealing an Invention, she's more than happy to steal ideas for Inventions.
- Evil Redhead: Aspires to be this. She's got the red hair — the "evil" part is coming along.
- Failed a Spot Check: She really should have been more worried at Jonah building one more hole in the experiment container than they'd need.
- Faux Affably Evil: Felicia Day plays an evil version of her usual type, and veers between cloying, coquettish sweetness and shrieking, cartoonish evil at the drop of a hat, often in mid-sentence.
- Fiery Redhead: Easily provoked and violent when annoyed, and that's when she doesn't have a weapon to fire or monster to sic on the source of her annoyance.
- Green and Mean: Downplayed — she sometimes wears a green scarf under her labcoat, but it's a darker, warmer color than the glaring slime-green her father and grandmother favored.
- Greed: Her primary motivation for restarting her father's experiment is to make it popular and sell it to Disney for a billion dollars. She also frequently attempts to market other money-making endeavors and gain investors for her work, but these efforts never pan out.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: A joke in At the Earth's Core implies that she was raised by Pearl, who tried to abandon her multiple times. But Kinga just kept coming back.
- Hoist by Their Own Petard: She actually calls out the trope by name after getting trapped in the theater.
- Kick the Dog: Literally — apparently the sight of cute animals fills her with the desire to physically kick them across the room. She invented Punt Bunnies specifically to indulge this. Hey, they like it!
- Legacy Character: Third-generation supervillain — Kinga is proudly carrying on her father's and grandmother's legacy of trying to drive a guy in a jumpsuit insane with bad movies.
- Mad Libs Catch Phrase: "Prepare to enter the nightmare-fueled world of <movie title>!"
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Without a doubt the most physically attractive of the Forresters.
- Missing Mom: Her mother's identity and whereabouts were teased in Season 11, but left unrevealed until Season 12 when Dr. Erhardt reveals Kinga's mother to be Kim Cattrall.
- Power Hair: The high, tight bun of the career-minded executive woman.
- Psychopathic Womanchild: Maturity has never been a particularly prominent trait in the Forresters, but Kinga acts like an outright Spoiled Brat — she has to have everything her way or she'll throw a tantrum. She's also a major Bad Boss who is, as usual, keeping a man in space and subjecting him to horrible experiments on pain of death.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: A mild case, with Flintstones-style bone hairpins. She does use a lot of skulls in her branding, however, and her minions, the Boneheads, play the trope completely straight.
- Tiny Tyrannical Girl: Textbook. Thin-skinned and temperamental, quick to bark orders and throw punches, and played by the wispy Felicia Day.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Apparently bought the rights for the show from Joel.
- The Un-Favourite: Initially Pearl doesn't seem to like her much; she intentionally tries to avoid meeting up with Kinga. Pearl seems to warm up to her in the season eleven finale though.
- Villainous Crush: Initially, she has an online boyfriend, but he breaks things off when Kinga wants to see him in person. Then, she falls in love with Jonah Heston—or at least, falls in love with the huge ratings boost she'd get from marrying him.
- "Well Done, Daughter!" Gal: Kinga just wants to make her grandmother and dead father proud, but Pearl still hates kids and affection and is incapable of offering anything but backhanded compliments. Of course, Kinga already has an army and a far bigger lab than her father ever did, but she never seems to realize this. On the other hand, Dr. Forrester at least did his own research — it's implied Kinga steals a lot of her ideas in general, and shamelessly grabs credit from her underlings wherever she can.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Kinga treats the new season as if it's still on Comedy Central or the Sci-Fi Channel, attempting to pull off ratings stunts so she can make it a ratings hit and sell it to Disney. As Max continuously points out, they're on Netflix, which doesn't run on those sorts of ratings. Not that she listens.
- She grows out of it in Season 12, subjecting Jonah and the Bots to a marathon six-movie session and challenging viewers to binge watch the whole thing for the same experience.
"TV's Son of TV's Frank" / Max
The son of TV's Frank. Like his father, he assists Kinga in torturing Jonah and the Bots with low-grade movies, as well as button-pushing.
- Affably Evil: He mostly just follows orders and inherited the cheerful personality of his father. He does unleash a monster that attacks Jonah in the season 11 finale, but his primary motivation is to stop Jonah and Kinga's wedding.
- Ambiguously Evil: It's not made clear by the end if he's crestfallen that Kinga didn't react as he hoped, disappointed at how everything turned out, or genuinely remorseful that he might've accidentally killed Jonah.
- Butt-Monkey: Much like his father, he gets little to no respect from the Forrester in charge.
- Character Tics: The distinctive way Max lifts his whole arm and slaps his hand down on the button in each episode.
- Cuteness Proximity: Around the Punt Bunnies, the Lady of the Deep, and Kiog the bear cub, Max all but squees out loud.
- The Ditz: Again, much like his father. Though he seems to be a little more on the ball than Frank was; at least he's pretty good at spotting the obvious flaws in Kinga's plans. Not that she appreciates it.
- Exposition Fairy: He does the voiceovers during the ad bumpers, to give viewers info about Moon 13.
- Friendly Enemy: He gets along well with Jonah and the bots for the most part. Jonah also makes a point to call him by his preferred name.
- Generation Xerox: Has the same build as his dad, the same hair (complete with a curl in the front), the same taste in black, double-breasted chauffeur-style suits, the same good-natured dimwittedness...
- Ignored Enamored Underling: He's madly in love with Kinga. She treats him like some kind of furniture that occasionally talks.
- Insistent Terminology: He would like to be called TV's Son of TV's Frank. Kinga won't even give him that, and just tells everyone to call him by his real name, Max.
- Legacy Character: Carrying on the Second Banana legacy of his father.
- Missing Mom: We never find out who his mother is.
- Phrase-Catcher: Like his father before him, "Push the button, Max."
- Prematurely Grey-Haired: Runs in the family, apparently.
- Pet the Dog: He has a soft spot for animals, as shown by his reluctance to quite literally Kick the Dog even with the Punt Bunnies, who Kinga designed to like it.
- Second Banana: Bobo and Dr. Erhardt both bequeath this lofty title upon him — again, like his father before him.Dr. Erhardt: So does that make you a third banana, or a second banana twice removed?
- Shout-Out: The fact that his real name is Max is a reference to The Great Race, where Professor Fate's minion, also named Max, often received the order, "Push the button, Max!"
- Super Gullible: Pretty much the only reason he didn't give the keys to Jonah's ship to the spirit of "Red Crow" (clearly Jonah and the bots in a wooden cut-out)was because Kinga intervened.
- Villainous Crush: On Kinga Forrester.
- Yes-Man: While the previous Mads' assistants typically vacillated between helpful and unhelpful (Pearl often had to threaten or coerce Bobo and Observer into helping her out if it didn't involve torturing their shared enemy Mike, and TV's Frank's relationship with Dr. F was bizarrely codependent and mercurial), Max is easily the biggest suck-up since Dr. Erhardt. The only thing about his job that he seems to dislike, apart from Kinga's coldness and abuse, is that he's treated like a common grunt and discouraged from fun things like hyping the movies' badness or bantering with Jonah and the Bots.
The Mads' Other Minions
A clone of Pearl Forrester, graciously donated so the real Pearl wouldn't need to visit her granddaughter.
- Clone Degeneration: Implied. She moves very stiffly and she talks like a robot. Most of the time... In Season 12, she maintains a more consistent level of intelligence after taking a brain-enhancing drug designed by Kinga, though she stopped when she got smart enough to know that said drug was bad for her health.
- Dresses the Same: Wears a light blue version of Pearl's uniform costume from Castle Forrester. During the wedding, Pearl can't believe she wore "the same thing as that stupid clone."Synthia: I too aM feEling socIally indUced shame.
- EmPHAsis On The Wrong SylLAble: In Season 11, as a symptom of her Clone Degeneration, she's not at all convincing as a human, much less as a stand-in for Pearl.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: In Cry Wilderness, she acts like a normal person as soon as the original Pearl leaves, suggesting that she's just faking the Clone Degeneration... or else it's just Rule of Funny in action.
- Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: All the better to show she's a "sophisticated" work of sci-fi bioengineering.
- Separated-at-Birth Casting: Synthia came about because Rebecca Hanson looks a lot like a young Mary Jo Pehl. In fact, at least one online outlet reviewing the series' trailer (in which Synthia makes a split-second appearance) assumed it was Mary Jo Pehl.
- The Voiceless: In most Season 11 episodes, she just shows up in the background and doesn't say anything. Her role is expanded in Season 12 after her intelligence is upgraded by the Mads' smart-drug Algernon in Mac and Me, which lets her play a bigger role during the Dr. Erhardt subplot.
The guy in the hazmat suit who sends the movies up. He also manages the movie storage tanks in the even-lower basements of Moon 14.
- Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: He helps the show avoid them, pointing out what happened in important scenes that were cut for time.
- Catch-Phrase: "Movie in the hole!", and "This is Ardy, your maintenance man..."
- Costume Evolution: His suit gets some upgrades between seasons. It's not as baggy and formless in The Gauntlet.
- Creator Cameo: Which finally allows Hodgson to join his fellow Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumni who've played multiple characters throughout the series (he only played Joel Robinson during the series' original run).
- Faceless Goons: Wears a face-concealing hazmat suit at all times.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Gains one in the form of Bonesy, the Dog with the Gift of Speech, in Season 12.
- Shout-Out: Ardy's latter catchphrase (listed above), mundane function, lackadaisical demeanor, and facelessness are partially inspired by Carlton the Doorman, who also helped influence Joel's laid-back nature on the original show (and was briefly imitated by him in the Mitchell episode).
- Spell My Name with an "S": The end credits say his name is "Ardy", but the Season 11 episode subtitles give it as "R.D."
The Skeleton Crew / The Boneheads
Minions in black-and-white skeleton outfits who play the show's theme music, wrangle dinosaurs, and fulfill Kinga's other, unknown whims. The "Skeleton Crew" name applies primarily to the band; individual minions not performing musical duties are occasionally called Boneheads.
- Faceless Goons: They all wear the same skull face paint, and motorcycle helmets over it.
- Human Popsicle: Kinga keeps them in suspended animation between episodes. Allegedly, it's a really horrifying process.
- Shout-Out: They look just like the skeleton biker Mooks from the movie The Super Inframan.
- Skeletal Musician: Based on what we see on-screen, their main role seems to be performing the show's original music.
- Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Black-and-white skeleton outfits, including skull facepaint, life vests painted white, and black motorcycle helmets with big cartoon bones sticking out the top like horns.
- Super Soldier: They're the results of Kinga's failed attempt to genetically engineer atomic supermen.
Other Recurring Characters
The Host / Jack Perkins
Host of TV's Biography, on A&E, invited down to Deep 13 by Dr. Forrester and subsequently tied up, tortured, and genetically modified. He would later go on to host the opening and closing bumpers for The Mystery Science Theater Hour, and was a recurring guest at Deep 13's annual Turkey Day festivities.
- Abhorrent Admirer: A drunken Jack falls madly in love with Mr. B. Natural during the Turkey Day cut of Night of the Blood Beast, at one point declaring their engagement to each other. Mr. B. mostly just suffers through it.
- Made of Iron: None the worse for wear after being cattle-prodded, tortured, and experimented on by Frank and Dr. F. in Time of the Apes. He also survives Pearl's undercooked "special recipe" turkey, which kills all the other guests.
- Necktie Headband: Part of his drunken antics in Night of the Blood Beast.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Parodied — he's the "real" Jack Perkins, and he's subjected to torture and experimentation far beyond anything the Mads ever did to Joel or Mike.
- No Name Given: Never given a name and only ever credited as "The Host" on the Mystery Science Theater Hour, but very clearly the same character.
- Playing with Syringes: Courtesy of Dr. Forrester: "I've got a mad pash to give Jack Perkins the head of Vivian Vance." It doesn't appear to have taken, but he does live on to become one of the show's more enduring guest stars.
- Rambling Old Man Monologue: His signature trait: droning on about nonexistent guests and upcoming time slots, and waxing eloquent about what makes "good TV" and his love of the medium in general.
Central villain of Santa Claus, frequent dinner guest of the Forresters, doll merchant, and hoary mangoat of the netherworld.
- Beard of Evil: Has a big bushy goatee.
- Big Red Devil: Minus the "Big": he's a skinny, prancing, pantalooned imp in big red pantaloons.
- Deal with the Devil: Offers Crow a series of these in Devil Doll — collectible dolls and mystic powers, all for the low, low price of his immortal soul.
- The Devil Is a Loser: Played with. While something of an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain in Santa Claus, Dr. Forrester and Frank are positively thrilled to have him in Deep 13, and his later appearances, where he's more or less an infernal salesman, the joke is that Tom and Crow think he's a reasonable, average guy, while Mike acts like a pearl-clutching Moral Guardian.
- Horns of Villainy: As part of being a Big Red Devil.
- Insistent Terminology: A devil, not the Devil.
- Lean and Mean: A scrawny 98-pound weakling as the Prince of Darkness.
- Long Bus Trip: The only Comedy Central-era character to return after the move to Sci-Fi. It probably helps that you don't need to know which devil he is to recognize him as a devil.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Just an average guy doing a job, selling quality products.
- Unusual Ears: Big, pointy, and red.
- Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: As in the movie, Pitch's Arch-Enemy is Santa Claus. They get into a grudge match in Deep 13 in Pitch's first appearance.
The snide Roman noblewoman who serves as the Mads' captor, host, and then captor again after the wormhole deposits everyone in Roman times.
- Alpha Bitch: Strong shades of this, particularly as she and Pearl hurl catty insults back and forth.
- Arc Villain: Of Season 8's "Roman Times" arc.
- Catch-Phrase: The above [clap-clap] "Guards! Seize them!"
- Evil Gloating:Flavia: Oh Pearly-girly! I thought I'd come down and remind you that you die at dawn tomorrow... You die at dawn tomorrow!
Pearl: Your breath stinks.
Flavia: ...Really! Well, [enunciating/exhaling heavily] hhiI'll be back hhlater to hhremind you. Buh-bye!
- God Test: Subjects the Mads to several of these. They pass... barely... until Bobo (up until then fighting in the Coliseum as the amnesiac "Mad Goth") blows it for them.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: She and Pearl hate each other, and rapidly escalate from backhanded compliments to veiled threats.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Married to the stocky, bearded Callipygeas.
Flavia's easygoing husband.
- Big Eater: Suggests he and Braingaiius take a trip to the (literal) vomitorium to get ready for another round of feasting and merriment.
- Big Fun: On the portly side, but gave the guards the day off for the festival and is quick to join in on the gods' Pants Party.
- Meaningful Name: "Callipygian" is an adjective meaning "having shapely buttocks", from the Greek kalli- ("beautiful") + -pyg(e) ("rump").
- Punch-Clock Villain: Ostensibly the ruler of Rome (or close to it) at whatever point in history the Mads find themselves in, he mostly just does what Flavia tells him to.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Married to raven-haired, ancient Roman mean girl Flavia.
- Yes-Man: Quick to do the bidding of the gods and his wife.