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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S03 E03: Pod People

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Isn't that Nia Peeples' brother?

"Your film today is called Pod People. It has nothing to do with pods, it has nothing to do with people, it has everything to do with hurting."
Dr. Forrester

Film watched: Pod People

Naturally, this trainwreck provided perfect fodder for a thorough riffing by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew. In particular, much fun was had at the expense of the fictional pop band's performance of "Burning Rubber Tires", whose unintelligible lyrics prompted Joel and the bots to misinterpret the chorus, "Hear the engines roar now", as "idiot control now", among others. In addition, the lead singer's after-song gesture of making the OK sign, smiling and saying, "It stinks" became a recurring in-joke. (The OK sign makes more sense in Spain, where the film was produced, because there, the gesture is similar to "the finger".)

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here.

The Segments:

  • The Bots start up the episode by performing their one bot shows, with Servo as the son of a poor Filipino merchant.

Segment 1

Segment 2

  • Joel and the Bots perform "Idiot Control Now". It stinks.

Segment 3

  • Crow gets introduced to the wide world of new age music with Joel's wall of synths. They perform as "Music From Some Guys in Space".

Segment 4

  • "Trumpy" does magic things on the bridge, while the Mads are understandably confused.

Segment 5

  • While packing for a future experiment, Joel sings about the "Clowns in the Sky". The Mads think it stinks.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation has examples of:

  • Actually Quite Catchy: According to Kevin Murphy in the MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, the producers of NPR's Music From the Hearts of Space series enjoyed the "Music From Some Guys in Space" host segment and even sent them a few CDs of new age music.
  • Alliterative Title: Since it shares the title with the movie.
  • Ash Face: Joel winds up with his face covered in soot when his guitar explodes. Crow and Tom Servo, on the other hand, are partially melted by the explosion. Fortunately, Joel pops some heads onto them just before they walk into the theater.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Joel's explosive new guitar chord from the invention exchange. Leaving aside the fact it destroys the instrument it's played on, it's so complicated that it takes two people to even play it. Joel has to use both hands to fret it, so asks Crow to strum the guitar for him.
  • Berserk Button: Joel will put up with a lot, but don't do an Anthony Newley impression around him.
    Joel: Tom Servo, if you don't stop doing your Anthony Newley, I'm gonna throw you against the wall.
  • Big Eater:
    Tommy: Now we can play.
    Crow: (as Trumpy) Like hell, more food!
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At one point, Servo directly apologizes to the audience for the film's convoluted plot. Considering the quality level of most of the movies on the show, this should tell you something.
    • After Servo mentions all of the places we've seen so far that don't link together at all, Crow puts it best...
      Crow: We're as confused as you are, folks.
  • Call-Back: To Cave Dwellers: "Dad?"
    • Crow calls Tommy "Kenny", only to be corrected by Joel.
  • Catchphrase: "I'm a virgin" and "It stinks!"
    • "Trumpy, you can do magic things!"
    • "Trumpy, you can do STUPID things!" (For some unknown reason, this phrase has garnered renewed popularity since 20 January 2017.)
  • Continuity Nod: Joel's old grey jumpsuit from the KTMA season makes an appearance on a clothing rack during the Mind Screw host segment.
  • Face on a Milk Carton:
    Joel: (as Tommy) Hey what gives? I'm on the milk carton.
  • Killer Rabbit: When the poacher starts smashing eggs, the crew speculate a giant chicken will be pissed.
    Servo: (menacingly over a POV shot) Buk, buk, buk, cluck, cluck!
  • Kneel, Push, Trip: The film opens with a scene of some unpleasant poachers. When one of them crouches down behind the leader, Joel gets excited and stands up so he can pretend to push the leader over.
  • Losing Horns: Mockingly imitated by Joel and the 'bots after Rick's "It stinks!"
  • Made of Explodium: Joel's invention exchange is a new guitar chord that, when played, makes the guitar explode in his hands.
  • Meanwhile, Back at the…: "Meanwhile, in yet another movie..."
  • Mind Screw: The third host segment. Judging by the Mads' reactions, it's even one in-universe.
  • Newhart Phonecall: At one point, Rick picks up the phone, and Joel incorrectly guesses that he's going to re-enact a Bob Newhart routine.
  • New Age Ambient: Parodied with Music From Some Guys in Space.
  • Not So Stoic: Joel gets annoyed when Servo does his impression of Anthony Newley.
  • Product Placement: Mocked when they see a Sprite sticker on the side of the house.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Exploited by the mads' invention, a karaoke machine that only plays public domain songs so they don't have to pay any royalties.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Exaggerated with Joel's invention exchange, a complicated new guitar chord that makes the guitar explode. He specifically says it's a dynamic new way for rockers to end their concerts.
  • Running Gag:
    • "Chief?" "McCloud?"
    • With a name like Smuckers...
    • Pepperidge Farm remembers...
    • The name "Trumpy" would continue to be invoked in the future as well.
    • Crow giving Trumpy a voice based on that of The Elephant Man. And thinking everything is potatoes.
    • Commenting on one of the poachers looking like a Renaissance festival reject. Huzzah!
    • "(X) on drums"
    • Servo, imitating the alcoholic Uncle Bill, keeps offering Rick a laundry list of drinks.
    • "And in yet ANOTHER film"...
    • Which film we're currently in (A, B, C or D for dumb)
  • Shave And A Haircut
  • Shoot the Money: In-Universe:
    Crow: Look, we rented the van, we're gonna film it!
  • Shout-Out:
    • Joel and Servo quote the song "Tommy Can You Hear Me?" at two different points when Tommy's mother is shouting for him. (Servo later misquotes "Go to the Mirror!", from the same Concept Album.)
    • Later, while Trumpy sends objects flying around Tommy's room:
    Servo: Somebody hit that kid on the head with a (singing) sledgehammer!
  • Shower Scene: One of the doomed backup singer/campers takes a shower (inexplicably while wearing a towel on her head) as Trumpy's mom runs amok. Joel and the 'bots lampshade her decision to bathe while in a horror movie:
    Joel: (singing, as Kathy): Hmmm-hmm-hmm-hmmm, I'm in the shower/Nothing will happen tooo meeeee!
    Crow: Doo-de-dooo-de-dooo, I'm naked and all alone in the shower and totally vulnerable and somebody could kill me, doo-de-doo-de-dooo...
    Servo: It's probably likely at this point in the film...
    Crow: My brain fell out, doo-de-doo-doo....
    • And then, when the inevitable happens....
    Sharon: Where's Kathy?!
    Servo: She's Zestfully dead.
  • Spoofed with Their Own Words: The second and fourth host segments both involve the crew reenacting scenes from the movie. The "Idiot Control Now" segment exaggerates the original's indecipherable lyrics into outright word salad, but faithfully recreates the absurd dialogue outside the song itself ("Good? He's the best!") Then the "Trumpy, you can do magic things!" skit basically plays the original completely straight.
  • Stylistic Suck: The fourth host segment, in mockery of the movie.
  • Take That!:
    • As the Mads are introducing their Public Domain karaoke machine:
    Dr. Forrester: Now, what happens when you go into your favorite karaoke bar, and you want to hear, "I Wanna Know What Love Is" by Foreigner?
    Frank: People vomit?
    • Joel and the 'bots mercilessly rib the "Sara" song that plays as the band drives to the mountains, calling it "white Reggae", attributing it to Morrissey, then deciding it's actually by Ringo Starr.
    Servo: Boy, you know, Ringo did some bad songs, but this is really embarrassing.
    Crow: (after the line "What should I do?") Retire!
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: "Clowns in the Sky".
    Joel: Y'know, guys, it always hurts to close it all up, strike the set, wipe off the greasepaint, napkin up the blood and entrails, and move on to another town.
    Crow: Uh-oh. I smell a song.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Crow!Trumpy has potatoes. He considers most living things potatoes.
  • That Was Not a Dream
    Tom: (as one of the girls waking up) Oh, what a nightmare! I dreamt that I was a crappy actress in a horrible... monster... film... Wait a minute...
  • Worst Aid: Lampshaded by Joel and the Bots.
    Rick: She isn't dead, is she?
    Brian: Don't think so, but she's in bad shape. Grab her legs.
    Crow: Yeah, move her spine around a lot!
    (The riffers make cracking noises.)
    Crow: Dope.
    • Tommy's mother isn't much better:
      Mother: A good night's rest, and she'll be right as rain!
      Joel: Yeah, that's what cures a crushed spine.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Idiot Control Now" consists of mondegreens of the film's "Burning Rubber Tires".
    Joel: With a pickle mind, we kick the nipple beer, steady as a goat, we're flying over trout..... note 
  • You're Not My Real Father: Said by Crow after Joel finishes "Clowns in the Sky".

Technician: Well?