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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 02 E 04 Catalina Caper

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"So what's a Catalina Caper?" "It's one of those little balls you find when you're eating peeled shrimp."

Film watched: Catalina Caper

Catalina Caper holds the distinction of being the only comedy film riffed on the show. There's a good reason though, as explained below. It was also the first time the Brains would lose the rights to the movie being riffed, leading to it being left out of reruns.

Thankfully, it is available on Shout! Factory TV here.

The Segments:

  • Before they go to bed, Tom and Crow need to say their prayers. Naturally, they ask the powers that be to watch over other robots (yes, even Twiki).

Segment 1/Invention Exchange

  • The cast show their support for two kinds of warfare: the Mads' Tank Tops are quite lethal, despite being fun beachwear, while Joel's Tickle Bazooka is much safer and joy-producing.

Segment 2

  • Joel waxes disturbingly nostalgic for The '60s, despite having just been a kid at the time. He might be suppressing...

Segment 3

  • Tom serenades the audience with his devoted "Creepy Girl" number.

Segment 4

  • Frank hosts a Tupperware party. It manages to go south when Dr. Forrester gets his hands on a melon baller.

Segment 5

  • Crow and Tom admit to being completely unable to follow the movie's plot. Joel created a chart to help explain it. It fails to do so, so he reads a letter to improve the mood; the writer got married because of the show!


This MST3K presentation provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Joel's "tickle bazooka", which fires feathers.
  • Accidental Misnaming: During a host segment set in Deep 13, Dr. Forrester addresses TV's Frank as "Fred". When Frank corrects him, he dismissively replies, "Whatever."
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Eye Scream: Involves Dr. Forrester, TV's Frank, and a melon baller. Watch for Dr. F's salad at the end.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Crow's, "Hey, he's caught between a rock and a hard—" before Tom cuts him off.
    • And, in a Take That! at the casting habits of those days, Little Richard's cameo is greeted with, "The only black person to appear in this film!"
    • A shot of five bikini-clad beauties surrounding one of the actors prompts the Crow remark, "That must be what they mean by Five Easy Pieces." Both Joel and Tom scold him.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Joel reminiscing about the early 1960s turns into an unhinged rant of how his parents spanked him with a belt in front of company, made him take a bath in the front yard and gave him a shopping cart for his birthday.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During a musical number, we get a shot of the singing group sitting together, and the Bots start mocking them:
    Crow: Look at those stupid legs. They're stupid-lookin'. They're not real-lookin' at all.
    Tom: They look like puppets.
    Crow: Huh?
    Tom: (*clears throat nervously*)
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: The cartoon mermaid in the opening sequence.
    Joel: Nice measurements. 36-2-85.
  • Interspecies Romance: Servo seems to have fallen pretty hard for the "Creepy Girl." How hard? Hard enough to sing about it.
  • Jerkass: Lyle Waggoner and Tommy Kirk, according to Servo's "Creepy Girl" song.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: As part of his rant, Joel recalls how his parents forbade him from going to Woodstock, given how he was nine.
  • Notable Original Music: "My Creepy Girl"
    Servo: "C" is for that feeling of uncertainty for not quite knowing what ethnic group you're from. "R" is for the gifts you give me every time you smile. The first "E" is for—uh, well, I don't really know. But the second "E" is really a grammatical thing 'cause otherwise it would be "Crepy Girl," and where would that leave us? The "P" is definitely not for "platonic." And "Y?" Because I love you!
  • Oh God, with the Verbing!: Running Gag whenever Fingers is doing slapstick on-screen.
  • Redundant Parody: Catalina Caper is virtually the only straight-up comedy movie the show ever mocked. There's a reason for this: The Brains found it difficult to riff on a comedy.
  • Running Gag:
    • Riffing on the overbearing whiteness of the film and its cast. Little Richard using an all-white backup band inspires a few jokes by itself. ("Ike Turner with the Cowsills — they'd all be in casts.")
    • Numerous plays on the name "Lakopolous." ("He's so un-scropulous!")
    • Crow repeatedly attempts to use the line "By this time, my lungs were aching for air" (a Sea Hunt reference), only to be stopped by Joel.
  • Sincerity Mode: For as much as they joke about Little Richard being very clearly stoned while lip-syncing, Crow still makes a point to say "I like him!" and calls him "the only genuine talent in this film".note 
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the opening host segment Crow and Servo say their nightly prayers for a number of famous sci-fi robots, including Data and Lal, R2-D2, Galaxina, and yes, even Twiki.
    • During the animated credits sequence, Tom Servo reacts to an animated fish with "Sorry, Charlie! Only the best titles are kept..." in a reference to the Starkist Tuna mascot.
    • "You know how to whistle, don't ya?"
    • "My Creepy Girl" sounds a lot like "Tears on My Pillow".
    • When all the girls walk off the beach at once, Crow compares it to "A strange version of Lysistrata."
    • One of the aforementioned plays on Lakopolous' name is also a reference to "Ghetto Defendant" by The Clash: "Do the worm on Acropolis, slamdance cosmopolis".
    • Although it was in respect to the Playboy Bunnies, Tom asks Joel to "tell [them] about the rabbits".
    • As noted under Running Gag, Crow's blocked attempts to reference Sea Hunt.
  • Take That!: While saying their nightly prayers, Joel forces Crow and Servo to include Twiki, even though neither want to.
  • Visual Pun: The "tank" tops that the Mads showcased.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: In-Universe, Servo wonders what the "Creepy Girl's" accent is. For the record, Ulla Strömstedt is Swedish.


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