A "MST" (or "MSTing") is a type of satire performed by adding humorous running commentary on top of another work. "Humor" here can range between tongue-in-cheek commentary to outright vitriol, depending on the original work's quality.
The term "MST" was derived from the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (often called "MST3K"), which did this to So Bad, It's Good B-movies, but was coined and popularized by fan fiction writers, who applied it to an MST3K-style treatment of other fanfics. MSTers often targeted So Bad, It's Good fics, though sometimes they chose genuinely good stories either as a personal challenge or just to have a laugh. And while MSTs weren't limited to fanfics (one of the earliest known text-based MSTs is of a Usenet group post), they did become—and still remain—the primary target.
In the conventional text-based MST, a MSTer quotes large chunks of the source material, then inserts their own snarky comments:
MSTer: Snarky comment or pop-culture reference!
Early examples of MSTings would utilize MST3K's cast as the required snark brigade; dedicated writers would include host segments and the Mads. Once the general stylistic conventions of fic-based MSTs were established, MSTers branched out by changing the characters commenting on the fic at hand: Sometimes they used characters from a fic's source material, sometimes they used random characters unrelated to the fic, and sometimes they used wholly original characters(often the author's forum persona and other members) while staying within some form of the MST3K formula. (Some fandoms refer to this as "sporking".)
Fanfic MSTers have a fairly elaborate Code of Honor that they follow before doing a MST, which boils down to the following rules:
- A MSTer must never make a MST just to spite another author - especially if you don't like them personally.
- A MSTer must first ask for MSTing permission from the original author. Fan fiction being subject to Sturgeon's Law like anything else, a lot of authors may consider their work an Old Shame - or realize there is No Such Thing as Bad Publicity. If they say yes, go ahead. If they say no, respect their decision. If they don't respond or can't be contacted, go ahead, but tread carefully.
- A MSTer must always credit the original author of the work being MSTied.
- A MSTer must try their best not to let their humor hit below the belt. Sturgeon's Law applies to MSTers just as much as it applies to the authors they target.
MSTers who didn't follow this unwritten code were often blacklisted by their respective fan communities. When enough writers failed to follow the code, a number of fanfic sites banned MSTs entirely rather than deal with further rousing of the rabble. Such bans - combined with the major MSTers of the form's late-'90s heyday moving on to other pursuits - led to a dearth of fic-based MSTings after the early 2000s.
When it comes to sex and violence (notably in regards to Lemons), MSTers don't have a hard "rule" about how to treat such content. Many MSTers avoid reprinting the more Squick-y content while keeping "tamer" content intact, while others leave everything in.
Outside of fan fiction, this trope is referred to as "riffing" (not to be confused with the musical term). Text riffs generally work in a similar fashion to fanfic MSTs or sporkings; audio or video riffs will have snarky commentary running over the original audio.
MSTers with their own pages:
- The Annotated Series: Video game adaptions and other crap, through YouTube annotations.
- The Autarch's Hades Riffs series: Public domain shorts, webvideos.
- Bad Creepypasta: Creepypastas and internet horror stories.
- The Black Pawn Movement MSTs various rant and complaint videos of Twilight fans. The spinoff DnA riffs much broader fare.
- CinemaSins has cited MST3k as an inspiration, and its episodes are essentially compressed riff sections with a bit of video editing folded in.
- CookP1's Season Reviews: centered around Formula One and IndyCar commentaries.
- Das Sporking: Fanfic and professionally published books, primarily.
- D-Pad + Chill: live riffing on cartoon series and movies by The D Pad.
- F/F/T3K15: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic fanfiction.
- Incognito Cinema Warriors XP: B-movies and shorts (with a Resident Evil/Zombie Apocalypse twist)
- Insane Clown Posse.
- The Isle of Rangoon: Mostly public domain shorts and trailers.
- Library Of The Damned: Fanfiction MSTs, done by a group of authors on Word Press.
- My Little HetaStuck MSTs: An MST series in which Twilight Sparkle, John Egbert, Italy and Harry Potter riff on bad fanfics together, usually with guests joining them and later with their own equivalents to the "Mads".
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: B-movies and public domain shorts; the Trope Namer; possibly the Trope Codifier.
- Mystery Science Theater F1: Formula One races and occasionally other types of motorsport.
- newLEGACYinc: Backyard wrestling and E-feds, done on their UMAD videos.
- Overanalyzing Creepypasta: Creepypastas.
- PewDiePie is very famous for this when it comes to video games.
- Peeking Through the Fourth Wall involves the Loud siblings reading fanfic about themselves.
- A Random MST is a series that targets particularly bad fanfiction and other stories. Some exceptions, such as stories that aren't particularly bad, are made, such as the two MSTs of both Pokémon: Attack of Mewtwo and its sequel.
- RiffTrax: Mostly blockbuster movies and public domain shorts initially, though B-movies have been added to the mix since.
- The Retributionists: Fanfiction, original fiction, art, and the occasional instruction manual from IKEA.
- Retsupurae: Let's Play videos. There are several groups:
- slowbeef and Diabetus are the original pair, and run the titular Retsupurae YouTube account. The pair eventually branched out to bad Flash games (typically of the horror variety) and longplays of bad or bizarre video games.
- Chip Cheezum and General Ironicus occasionally do some Retsupuraes on an alternate channel of theirs.
- TheStrawhatNO! briefly did some.
- Something Awful: Anything and everything on the Internet; it's all fair game, as long as it's, well, something awful.
- Svengoolie: A Horror Host whose humorously dubbed B-movie clips ("SvenSurround") are an acknowledged Trope Maker.
- That Guy with the Glasses:
- Lewis Lovhaug does this with comic books on Atop the Fourth Wall.
- Brad Jones riffs on old public domain shorts, and exploitation films as The Cinema Snob, and on obscure home videos in DVD-R Hell.
- Doug Walker: Old public domain shorts. Also has a review series, The Nostalgia Critic, in which MSTing is heavily involved.
- The Last Angry Geek: Old public domain shorts.
- The spinoff-of-a-spinoff-of-a-spinoff MPT3K involves MSTing done by alternative Fan Fic versions of a number of companions and related characters from Doctor Who and its expanded universe, as well as fan-created characters. It gets a bit complicated...
- Unskippable: Game intros and cutscenes.
- Utter Tripe Reviews: Bad fanfiction. Inspired by the below-mentioned AWBfA! commentaries.
- A Wild Badfic Appeared! Commentaries: Bad fanfiction. A series of web-video style MSTs starring a shapeshifting Mii and various video game characters.
- Video on Trial: Music videos.
- The Music Video Show is a Youtube version of this, doing one episode each week for a 25 episode season.
- The rarely updated Mst3kII series (six years between episode 10 and 11). Can be found here on Fanfiction.net. It follows a very classic format of MST, using the classic characters and short intro and ending skits.
Examples of MSTs targeting fan-fiction (divided by medium of original work):
- A Total Waste of 6 Min 35 Sec is a deliberately awful Anime Music Video that has pop-up dialogue making fun of itself.
- Card Captor Science Theater 3000, by CardCaptor Schlueter (aka Syaoran-kun). It mostly focuses on anime fanfics, with the riffers being Sakura, Syaoran, Tomoyo, and Kero, and Eriol and his guardians replacing the Mads. Features many running gags, a semi-coherent story, and tons of living plushies. One tip: stay away from the tea!
- Fullmetal Alchemist has Truth Revealed where all the characters who help take down the Homunculi get dumped in a room where alchemy doesn't work and told by a mysterious note that they are watching the future of how the country gets saved. This gets interesting due to where in the FMA timeline they got yanked from, and the fact that Scar is among the characters dropped in. It is highly implied to be Truth fault that this is happening, perhaps working with a future Hohenheim, from the way Ed reacts to the second note. It has unfortunately been deleted.
- The sadly now-deleted The Dramatic Readings of Professor Oak had a somewhat Nonindicative Name, as it was actually the characters from the Pokémon anime (and not just Professor Oak) riffing on various fanfics. Several of the fics mocked are technically well-written, but full of Canon Defilement or just character bashing.
- Elmer Studios, which has original characters riffing on bad anime fanfiction. (Please note that the site is a mirror, since Geocites collapsed.) Recently revived.
- While not done in classic fanfic MST format, the unimaginatively-named Review of Sailor Moon V by Horosha (NSFW) holds to the spirit of the trope by portraying the Sailor Senshi sitting around Hikawa Shrine one night reading copies of Troy "Silver" Stanton's fanfic series Sailor Moon V: The Dark Adventures of the Sailor Scouts. Unusually for this trope, the source material is actually really good, and the girls are rather impressed by Troy's work.
- On The Satellite of Revolution, the cast of Revolutionary Girl Utena gets snarky on horrible Utena fanfic. Also, Mikage as the mad professor is several kinds of great.
- Yuugiou Mystery Card Game Theatre has original characters tearing into stories for all four series of the franchise.
- The Bolt Chronicles: Happens in-universe in "The Cameo." Penny and her chem lab partner are described as mercilessly flaying a fictional piece of bad smut fanfic featuring the former TV star and her dog. They even reference Mystery Science Theater 3000 while doing so.
Penny [barely stifling a fit of giggles]: Good evening. Welcome one and all to another episode of Mystery Porn Theater 3000.
- Some of the better The Lord of the Rings MSTs were done by Al's Waiter.
- One particularly brave young man took on the infamous The Lord of the Rings fic Celebrían. Read it here. If you dare.
- Dumbledore's Army and the Year of Darkness has received several sporkings.
- Arguably the only safe way to enjoy The Eye of Argon.
- The Vampoife Dood Who Lifed starts out with the characters MSTing an awful fanfiction created by the author his/herself, then morphs into an actual story... though there's still quite a bit of snarking.
- The many Harry Potter fanfics in which the Marauders (or any other combination of characters!) somehow get hold of one or more of the canon books and read through it, making snarky comments in a Script Fic format.
- A MSTing For All Seasons is a website collecting the MSTing works of three separate authors, targeting everything from the infamous "Oscar" stories to a collection of UFO conspiracy theory postings. They may be some of the best examples out there.
- Specifically, prolific MSTer Megane 6.7, who's been riffing on fics for nearly a decade (including several MSTs done well after the zenith of the MiSTing community's output). Ever wonder who to thank/beat up for finding Oscar's fanfics? Go find Megane; he was the first person to riff "Artemis's Lover".
- The LiveJournal community badfic_quotes sporks multifandom fanfic and "professional" stories, with a particular love of poorly concieved summaries from The Pit (fanfiction.net), while weepingcock is the smutfic sporking equivalent, hunting down the worst descriptions of sex and body parts that will having you screaming for Brain Bleach. Particularly of note: the dark, dark world of Transformational Porn Fic.
- The Chongo Show has started a series called "What the Fanfic", a video MST with accompanied animated pictures to match what is being said. Most readings are blin and all comments are improvised.
- The Daily Insanity, made by Raetekusu. As of now, he only has Chapters 1-11 of My Immortal and a MST of an article comparing Stephenie Meyer to J.K. Rowling, but under planned MSTs, he has My Inner Life, a Sue-fic from Kingdom Hearts, and a couple of more recent fics he's found.
- Das Sporking has sporkings for sixty-four fandoms and counting, including both fanfiction and published works. It initially had a much smaller range of fandoms to be sporked when the only sporkers were Das Mervin and Mrs. Hyde (who of course could only spork for things they were familiar with or interested in), however the community eventually opened up to allow more sporkers, all of whom brought their own fandoms to the table.
- Everything What Is Crap, formerly "Shinji's Vault of Anime MSTings" or "SVAM", contains lots of MSTings of fics from anime, Western cartoons, and other forms of media. The site remains one of the largest MSTing repositories on the 'Net, but it went into archive mode in 2008 and no longer accepts new submissions.
- Fanfiction.net decided to ban fic MSTings at one point because they were "disrespectful" to authors. They have either changed their policy or stopped caring since then, as "MST3kII" is still going strong.
- Twitter account fanfiction_txt finds particularly bad lines from fanfiction of all media, and presents them without comment. Tumblr account fanfictionimg then periodically takes some of the cream of that crop and creates little comics out of it, lampooning just how absurd the lines are if taken at face value.
- supercomputer276 brings you the Game Over MST, starring his Game Over series characters riffing ideas that could have turned out great if only they had a decent writer, ranging from Happy Tree Friends to Klonoa.
- It Came From English 101! does this with the MSTer's own English essays, as well as fanfics.
- The Lardpirates' Heckles section, which covers particularly bad webcomics (mostly Gonterman) to especially offensive fan fiction of One Piece, Final Fantasy and Phantom Brave. More are sure to come!
- The blog Library of the Damned riffs on fanfics from a variety of fandoms, ranging from video games to children's TV shows.
- Bennett the Sage on That Guy with the Glasses does Masterpiece Fanfic Theatre where he brings "the very best of the very worst of fanfiction" by reading horrible, usually NSFW, fanfic aloud, while every now and then white text pops up over the video as a snide comment in an MST fashion.
- The MSTing Mine is an effort to archive every MST ever posted to the MST3K Usenet groups. This includes the earliest known MSTs, posted to said Usenet groups in 1993.
- There is the relatively new Pocket Dimension of Horrible Fanfiction, that covers such fics as My Inner Life, The Quest For The Holey Grail, and a couple of Kingdom Hearts fics in production or finished.
- The forum Refia is dedicated to writing up new and fresh MSTings of both recent and classic fanfics, mostly of The Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who canon.
- Retsuraed is described as "halfway between an MST and an Abridged Series". Besides the usual snarkyness, the people reading the fic often like to add additional "scenes" to it that poke fun at the blatant plot holes and Fridge Logic in the fics.
- So, What Colour Is Your Toothbrush?, handling everything from Detective Conan and Harry Potter to Warrior Cats and Axis Powers Hetalia.
- The Stephen Ratliff MSTing Archives include pretty much every Stephen Ratliff-based MSTing ever written. Also the MSTings of the infamous Peter Guerin Daria fanfics, such as The Misery Senshi Neo Zero Double Blitzkrieg Debacle.
- Topless Robot's Fan Fiction Friday Feature does this for fanfic. It moved to io9 with creator Rob Bricken, but similarly to the Fanfiction.net example did not last long due in part to the "disrespect" issue.
- WeHeartFanfics, an MST Youtube channel created by independent game developer Banov and some of his college friends.
- MSTings have also been done in webcomic form.
- The Polish blog Niezatapialna Armada Kolonasa Waazona focuses mostly on fanfiction (much of it for Harry Potter) and on Real-Person Fic (most of them about singers and boy-bands), though they've also reviewed published literature.
- The Satellite of Hate is an interesting inversion of the usual MST: Joel is an evil villain who is imprisoned on the Satellite of Hate, and he is forced to read well written fanfiction in an attempt to rehabilitate him.
- The Livejournal pages heartless_fics and snakesonasora are dedicated to the MSTing of Kingdom Hearts fics. The latter is named after a fanfiction in which Sora is eaten and vomited up by a snake version of Riku, and most of other fanfics are of a similar quality.
- A Youtuber named Margay77 is doing this to a Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair Troll Fic, Swimming in Terror. When Margay found out it was a troll, she continued, saying all of her criticisms were for "Mary Sue authors in general." The troll author herself has found the readings, and has promoted the videos in chapter 8.
- Originally rt_rocket, and still featuring riffs from when it was hosted there, Kurousu's Lair MSTs takes on fanfic from various videogame franchises, including Sonic the Hedgehog, EarthBound, and Kingdom Hearts. Riffers include canon characters, fan characters, and occasionally the people behind the MSTs themselves. Feel free to skip over any MSTs before Dragon Tails (with the exception of Lost Melodies, which is actually good). Updates rarely.
- A 14 hour long MST riff of Hv HMUGEN, an infamous fanfic created with the MUGEN fighting game engine courtesy of two MUGEN content creators can be found here. And that's just one of the arcs!
- What can basically be described as the My Immortal of Portal fanfics has an MST here, performed by GLaDOS and the other characters from the franchise.
- The Phoenix Wright Sporking Theater has the characters of Ace Attorney read and make fun of horrible fanfiction based on their franchise against their own will.
- Jake English's Mysterious Theater of Scientific Romance from the Year 3000 is an Homestuck-themed MST series featuring Jake, Karkat and Dave riffing on bad fanfic. Well, Dave and Karkat are riffing at least.
- Oh, and Pinkie Pie is there too.
- A number of webcomics MSTed themselves in the 2001 MST3Keen event. (Note that most, if not all, of the links on that page are defunct.)
- SPPf once had a sprite comic that was named, you guessed it, Mystery Comic Theatre.
- The Way of the Metagamer includes a Fake Crossover with Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which the comic MSTs itself.
- MSTs are the main attraction on the blog The Half-World.
- Project AFTER was a site dedicated to ridding the world of terrible fanfiction by MSTing it. However, instead of using a cast of characters, it was just the author of the MST commenting on the work. Its forum also included a section where fans could post their own MSTs. Sadly, the site and its forums are no more, but several old members migrated to the Anime Outsiders forums to continue MSTing.
- Wattpad invokes this by allowing users to comment on every paragraph of other users' writing, so you can click on the comment logo (a speech bubble with a number in it) at the side of a chunk of writing and read comments of people reacting in real time.
- Wisecrack are a group of people who analyse the philosophy, sociology, psychology and politics and beloved pop culture franchises and products.
- The End of Ends, from the creator of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic: Here are some for the videos, the fic and the sequel!
- A special version of the Jimmy Neutron movie called "Genius, Sheenius or Inbetweenius" had Jimmy, Carl and Sheen rifting the film in the exact way MST does.
- Lyoko Fan Fic Gems is a tumblr blog that MS Ts through the weirdest Code Lyoko fanficton, including the author's own.
- My Immortal gets riffed by ponies. Obscenites (except for misspells and "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU MOTHERFUKERS"), and the sex scenes are removed.
- The infamous MLPFIM Hate Fic/Fix Fic My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic has received plenty of them.
- One in particular was written by the people who also mocked Past Sins. Has its own page.
- A few have also cropped up on Project A.F.T.E.R's forums, where Mykan is a regular target of MSTs.
- Why, God, Why? have also taken a crack at it.
- A couple have also been posted on DeviantArt. As well as one that focuses specifically on Chapter 5 of the third series. Another one focuses on a rewrite of the chapter that introduces Titan's backstory.
- And here's another one.
- And the Rage Review of it on Fimfiction.Net.
- Theres also this video review.
- And Z-Squared's review.
- And this blog review.
- Mystery Fiction Theater N has riffed Faithful Hearts by legendary Suethor DisneyFan01.
- The Ponyriffs archive is a relatively new MST archive that collects various riffings of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics, including ones from Fan/fic/ Theater 3000 and the now-defunct Mystery Pinkie Pie Theater 3000. Visitors can also submit riffs of their own to the archive for safekeeping.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Past Sins is getting its original version riffed here. And just so everyone knows, the author himself granted permission to let the original version get riffed, and joined in.
- Infamous fanfic The Conversion Bureau now has an MST which has its own page.
- The group who riffed these fics also has it's own page now.
- The MSTing of the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers fanfic Under the Bridge is quite an unusual one. Not only is a very good and famous story MSTed, but one of the two writers of the MST is also the author of the story itself.
- Back in the day there was a well-regarded series called Mystery Puff/Ruff Theater 3000 by BoomerReborn (the current writer of Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi) which featured the Rowdyruff Boys and Powerpuff girls as riffers, but it was lost to the FFN purge.
- Parodied in this video, which has Discord and Chrysalis attempt to do a MST of the trailer to Snowdrop but eventually resulted in the two arguing with each other.
Examples of MSTs and riffs targeting other media:
- The DVD Commentary track for the anime Bakemonogatari consists of the characters MSTing their own show, with dialogue written by the original author.
- The cast commentary for The End of Evangelion trying desperately to fight off the incredibly bleak film by mocking it.
Hey wait, that last guy's still alive!
Oh, no, wait, yeah, that's all of them.
- Kyon of the Haruhi Suzumiya series provides an in-universe example when he spends most of The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina: Episode 00 making snarky comments.
- Endo and Kobayashi's Live Commentary on the Villainess has an in-universe one where the title characters provide a commentary on Kobayashi's favourite Otome Game as a means of practice for Broadcast Club they're in...until one of the character in the game hears them and starts reacting.
- Deadpool's text boxes have shifted from mere thought boxes to this role in the later years.
- For Mister Kitty Stupid Comics the format is:
> Panel from comic book
- The Bongo Comics Simpsons series had a B-story where Bart and his friends turn up for the latest in the Space Mutants franchise, only for the movie to put on an old Troy McClure film called Gladys the Groovy Mule. Bart and friends even cast distinctive silhouettes in the first row while they snark.
- The Marvel Comics UK reprint of the comic book adaptation of The Transformers episode "The Big Broadcast of 2006!" had a Simon Furman framing device in which the Quintessons denied it ever happened.
- The Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God DVD commentary is done by three actors portraying three iconic characters from D&D; Krusk, Lidda, and Jozan.
- The Ghostbusters (1984) DVD commentary even goes as far as adding silhouettes of the actors at the bottom of the screen.
- Hellzapoppin': The protagonists get a glimpse of the film they are about to star in themselves. They watch it and deliver sarcastic commentary. This is probably the earliest example of riffing on film.
- Brendan Fraser does this throughout his commentary track on The Mummy DVD.
- Robert Benchley in Road to Utopia interrupts the film a few times for Lampshade Hanging and sarcastic commentary.
- Theatre Mode, a Rooster Teeth production, is an ongoing series that directly follows the Mystery Science Theater 3000 formula, in which members of Achievement Hunter watch a bad film while superimposed in the bottom corner of the screen. Unlike Mystery Science Theater 3000, the riffs are completely improvised, the hosts can pause the movie if they want to hash out some strange aspect of the film, humorous graphics and chyrons are added in post-production, and there's plenty of adult content in the film and from the hosts.
- The intro and menus for This is Spın̈al Tap DVD feature the original actors, in their Spinal Tap personas, commenting on the credits.
- The Good Omens fic The Tadfield Secondary Players does this with the script for a 1992 Good Omens film adaptation that mercifully never saw the light of day, depicting it as a stageplay written by an immature preteen who only heard about the canon events secondhand and the three pairs of Crowleys and Aziraphales from the book, TV, and radio continuities as all being appalled by the script's massive plot changes and its Crowley being a complete Jerkass who hates Earth and constantly belittles Aziraphale.
- Another Older Than They Think example: The 1982 film It Came from Hollywood is a Clip Show drawn from odd and/or genre films of the 1930s-'70s, especially B-movies. The alternating hosts (Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, and Cheech and Chong) often humorously comment on the clips. The Cheech and Chong segments are actually set in a movie theater, and 22 of the excerpted films would later be tackled by Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Spiritual Successor RiffTrax has riffed on several of the others).
- Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate has one on ConjugalFelicity, which can also be found on ImpishIdea along with another one that appears to have ended prematurely.
- Older Than Radio: In Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, narrator Pip and several other crowd members riff on a particuarly bad performance of Hamlet. "The ghost appeared to have died with a bad cough which he carried with him to the tomb."
- John Nowak and Matt Plotecher's MSTing of Tom Swift's War Tank tears into the original series' hallmarks of Patriotic Fervor, Ethnic Scrappies, Canon Sues and the magnificent colossus of all-consuming stupidity that is Ned Newton. It has its own tropes page, here.
- Kippurbird has done sporkings of every book in the Inheritance Cycle, as well as shorter ones of various other books.
- Mark Twain:
- Fenimore Coopers Literary Offences is some sort of proto-MST.
- In Roughing It, Twain gives The Book of Mormon the same treatment after he is given a copy when he is travelling through Utah.
- He does a devastating critique of Christian Science which, along with taking apart its medical and religious principles, just plain mocks Mary Baker Eddy's writing in Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures.
- ImpishIdea, contains several sporkings including one for Maradonia Saga.
- The Maximum Ride series has several; such as one on Soulish Exhortations, one on ImpishIdea and one on Das Sporking.
- Jeff Vandermeer's novel Shriek: An Afterword features the story's protagonist snarkily commenting on the narrator's work.
- The Polish Speculative Fiction e-zine Fahrenheit has an occasional section named Zakużona Planeta (lit. "The Duzty Planet"), for sporking particularly bad submissions. It's a literature journal, so the comments focus mainly on explaining the flaws in writing, as opposed to simple mockery. They still tend to be hilarious, however.
- A proto-form of this kind of critique in Poland might be the writer Feliks Kres, who, in his magazine column "Galeria Złamanych Piór" ("Gallery of Broken Quills") once or twice published fragments of particularly bad reader-submitted stories, and commented on them this way. Kres quickly decided it was pointless, but many subsequent Polish sporkers cite him as an inspiration.
- In Community Abed and Troy apparently have a tradition of doing this to horrendous B-movies; Shirley, Pierce, and Señor Chang show up, too. (And yet Jeff, played by the one cast member who had guest starred on RiffTrax, does NOT show up.)
- Pierce attempts to compensate for his lack of ability at this by writing his jokes with a team of writers beforehand, like the actual Mystery Science Theater 3000 did after its first season.
- The DVD Commentary by the cast for Farscape often features the cast riffing on the action or dialog. Especially Ben Browder and Claudia Black. Their commentary together on the season one episode "Throne For A Loss" is particularly hilarious.
- Game Show Network's original series Faux Pause screened obscure, short-lived game shows, paused them at certain points, and riffed on them.
- FlirtyFroggy wrote a series of commentaries/reviews of Hornblower. Writing and characters are praised very often, but mocked mercilessly when it's deserved. As the author put it: "I mock because I care." It's very snarky, but also includes gushing about Archie Kennedy, because in the author's opinion, he's the cutest and coolest character on the show, and needless to say, this view is mirrored by many fans.
- The Glitterdome is an archive of MSTs for dozens of TV shows, done by taking screenshots and adding captions. It's mostly sci-fi and supernatural shows such as Buffy and Doctor Who.
- Hipsoda's Caption Crack is another captioning site, where cappers (as they call themselves) can choose from an assortment of shows, movies, commercials, etc. and even "fave" captions.
- Some of the DVD Commentary tracks for Mad Men feature the actors riffing on the episodes. It happens pretty much any time Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) and/or John Slattery (Roger Sterling) are on the commentary, and there are a few episodes where they're together.
- M*A*S*H did this a few times in its early years when home movies were being screened. Used to its funniest as Hawkeye, Trapper, Klinger, Radar and Henry were watching Frank's home movie of his wedding.
Hawkeye: [as movie first shows line of wedding guests] I've invited you all here today because I'm ready to name the murderer.
- In a case of MST being the regular narration, MTV Brazil used to broadcast Rockgol, a soccer tournament between musicians where the announcers were two comedians. Instead of doing a regular play-by-play, they frequently mocked the "athletes" (including giving them nicknames) or took detours discussing weird topics.
- The fivers over at FiveMinute.net have some elements of an MST combined with an Abridged Series. It's a bit complicated; read the examples at the works page.
- Comic SJ Perelman would often mock plays or entire novels. He even had a special prefix for the times he mocked a book he had read as a child; "Cloudland Revisited".
- In a speech before the Reichstag on April 28, 1939, Adolf Hitler went point-by-point through a series of demands addressed to him by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The German dictator paused after reading each item to give his snarky/sarcastic answer, prompting his rubber-stamp parliament to roar with laughter. That's right, MSTing is something Hitler did.
- The Distressed Watcher (formerly on That Guy with the Glasses, now known as The Amazing Atheist) had a series called Sour Note where he and his friend riffed on pop music videos.
- Canadian music channel MuchMusic has Video on Trial, a series which does it to music videos with a bunch of comedians.
- Although short-lived, Lynxara's Mystery Wrestling Theater 3000 was a fun series geared towards wrestling fans. Instead of using the Bots and the Mads, Lynxara used well-known WWE and WCW stars as the riffers with Vince McMahon and Dwayne Johnson serving as their captors. While it did riff wrestling-related fics, MWT3K's two longest (and most memorable) entries have nothing to do with wrestling: the horrific "Coming of Munihausen" (a crossover between Sailor Moon and Overfiend), and the even-worse(!) "A sorcerer, a demon, and Emeralds" (an incredibly dark Sonic the Hedgehog fanfic).
- William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream ends with a bumbling theatre troupe that plans to perform a version of "Pyramus and Thisbe" for Duke Theseus, his new wife Hippolyta the Queen of the Amazons, and some guests. The play is an extreme example of So Bad, It's Good; meanwhile, the royal couple and their guests mercilessly riff on it. (It should be mentioned that it wasn't taboo to talk during the play in Shakespeare's time; and also that "Pyramus and Thisbe" had been adapted for the stage several times, always poorly.)
- Given the precedence, authors MSTing Shakespeare fanfics often use Theseus and Hippolyta.
- In the Commedia dell'Arte, there was a character called the Capo or Capocomico, ostensibly a narrator, but in some shows he would join the action, complain to the audience, and sometimes even freeze the action and physically move the actors.
- Just a few years after the Shakespeare example, it was included in Francis Beaumont's The Knight Of The Burning Pestle in the form of a loud middle-class couple that's supposed to be part of the audience. They decide they have a better view of the show if they sit on stage, then get in an argument with the guy reading the prologue, and soon berate him into changing the play so it focuses on the middle class—which, remember, was a pretty new class at the time—and also into making up a new character and subplot so that their servant-boy can be in the show. They never do shut up, occasionally interrupting the action to complain.
- Broken Pixels was a series on 1UP.com where three guys would play bad video games for comedic value. Featured Seanbaby.
- Broken Pixels received a spiritual successor of sorts called Shame Night, a live Ustream show shown every Friday. Unfortunately, that's now gone as well, due to co-host Scott Sharkey being laid off under mysterious circumstances.
- Any given Let's Play might be this, depending on the player's opinion of the game and the overall tone of their LPs. Pokecapn and his crew (whether it's all four guys together or just any combination thereof) tend to choose games that are ripe for this sort of treatment, so naturally it's going to happen.
- Two notable examples are BrainScratch Commentaries and Hellfire Commentaries. Hellfirecomms mostly only has two or three commentators (Except in the recent Sonic comms, which have NTom, FTA, Skyler and SonicMovies) but Brainscratch can have anywhere between four to six due to having a main cast of four members.
- The LaFave Bros, who first gained prominence through their skits parodying The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, do this for the Oblivion game itself.
- Two Best Friends Play from theswitcher features two best friends playing games with their insult-exchanging commentary over it.
- They also did a "Two Best Friends Watch" with their friend Woolie of Metroid: Other M through the in-game Theater mode.
- In a curious case, the otherwise forgettable Off-World Interceptor had MST-style riffs over their own cutscenes. Presumably, they realized that they were deeply terrible and figured that was the only way to redeem them.
- The series of Playstation Underground demo disks from the 90s once got in the actual Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast to riff on some of the video features from other disks in the series.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 Presents "Detective" is an adaptation of the old, So Bad, It's Good text adventure Detective, with added humorous riffing by the Mystery Science Theater crew who comment on all the oddities and flaws of the game.
- In Homestuck, Dirk MSTs a Pony Pals book. As the story goes on, he starts going Off the Rails, blacking out and rewriting entire chapters, keeping only the chapter titles. According to Jane, it becomes "a tough, emotionally draining read. But it's cathartic, in all the worst ways possible."
- This MST has since been defictionalized by sonnetstuck, and even has its own page. A lot of times, it goes deep into a philosophical discussion of the very essence of literature and writing, including the author's all-powerfulness in their work, originality and even etymologies of various writing- and retelling-related terms.
- Tough The Gutters usually is content with criticizing the comics industry by the way of parody and satire, in this two parter they emulate the MST3K style, taking a shot at a controversial real life speech, with the creators playing the parts of the MST3K crew.
- The Annotated Series does this to many So Bad, It's Good videos, mostly targeting video game cartoons.
- The Comics Curmudgeon is basically this style of commentary with Newspaper Comics as the target. Though usually in the form of an unaltered comic strip, followed by comments, sometimes it splits the comic into multiple parts for the sake of comedic timing, posts a side-by-side comparison to another strip (usually when they feature the same joke), or the like.
- Feeding The Trolls does this with YouTube Trolls.
- Forgotten Weapons: Ian produced a video, titled "Slow Motion Malfunctions of Exotic Firearms" in which he commentates over Rare Guns malfunctioning in Slow Motion.
- Machinima Commentaries does this for machinima, although the MSTers are not assuming characters.
- The Annoying Orange gang does this with movie trailers (and the Five Nights at Freddy's 3 trailer, though that was probably because it was requested so much).
- The Whateley Universe has a story "Tales of the MCO", in which the students are watching the aforesaid anti-mutant show and MSTing it the whole time.
- The Kimbettes MSTed the first assembly of the Fall '06 term.
What do we do with witches?
We burn them! Sorry Nikki!
- The Kimbettes MSTed the first assembly of the Fall '06 term.
- The Muppet fansite Toughpigs has many articles where two or three of the site's writers will watch something Muppets-related and do humorous commentary on it.
- An old document named Doom Insanity, a collection of humorous e-mails and Usenet posts about Doom, contains also a MSTing of a (perhaps fictional) Usenet posting which claims that Doom is an evil game which opens you to demonic influence. The characters here are the Doom marine and two monsters from the game.
- The Family Guy episode "New Kidney in Town" has Peter, Quagmire, and Joe watching Charles in Charge on a TV at the Drunken Clam and riffing over the show's intro in this manner.
Quagmire: I heard the show's sweater budget was like $200,000.
- The 1988 Mighty Mouse episode "Mighty's Tone Poem" had the hero making four of his arch-foes watch his home movies of clips from first season episodes. As the film rolls, they make commentary on it:
Oil Can Harry: I'd walk out of this movie on an airplane!
Petey Pate: I've seen detergents that left a better film than this!
The Cow: If this were any more of a dog, it'd have fleas!
- The episode "Scrappy's Playhouse" has Scrappy going to a theater showing old Terrytoons and doing commentary. He's eventually thrown out talking too much.
- MSTF is an annual event at Botcon, a big Transformers convention, which involves giving the MST3K treatment to The Transformers: The Movie, and in later years various other episodes of Transformers.
- Mystery Brony Theater 4000 is four bronies riffing on My Little Pony G1 and G3.
- When the Powerpuff Girls were reluctantly forced by the Professor to watch an old silent film in an old revival theater, they began to spout wisecracks and make fun of of the movie. They even sit in the same position at the same silhouette angle of MST3K.
- The episode "Remembrences" of The Legend of Korra has members of the cast riffing on particularly disliked moments in their own show in a Clip Show format. The third act in particular goes off the rails and becomes an Abridged Series that's one funny moment after another.
- Beavis And Butthead had entire segments like this that riffed on music videos.