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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S03 E05: Stranded in Space

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Oh, make it stop!

Film watched: The Stranger a.k.a. Stranded in Space

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here.

The Segments:

  • Joel has turned Tom and Crow into his own at-home shooting gallery. He also discusses the show's premise.

Segment 1/Invention Exchange

  • Both sides offer similar inventions riffing on the classic "Bang!" Flag Gun — Joel with a "Kaboom!" Uzi, "Sloink!" knife, and "Kachow!" dynamite, and Dr. Forrester with a "Slunk!" harpoon gun, "Klunk!"/"Whssh!" nunchuks, and "Boingee Banga Ka Bonga!" TNT plunger.

Segment 2

  • Crow and Tom argue about their Toppers TV trading cards, to which Joel derails the conversation with his "Kids in Court" series.

Segment 3

  • Crow has a nightmare and comes to a cookie-baking Tom for comfort. They then discuss their ideas about the torture chamber from the film, Ward E.

Segment 4

  • Joel is an evil Made-for-TV villain who orders his henchmen, Tom and Crow, to take care of the problems threatening his criminal empire — namely, a long series of Seventies TV detectives, cops, and other heroes. His use of euphemisms confuses his henchmen. Evil laughter galore.

Segment 5

  • Tom is the head executive at a TV studio, and Joel and Crow try to pitch the film to him as a pilot for a series. It fails miserably, but they read a letter, which Tom decrees has series potential, at least. Reminded of the similarities of mad science and show business, Dr. Forrester tries to promote Frank, but Frank won't be swayed from his second banana status.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of Stranded in Space contains examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The MST3K version, like Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Cave Dwellers, and Pod People before it, has credits with scenes from a completely unrelated movie, with the closing credits similarly redressed. The real opening credits take place with our hero's ship in space as a background, while the proper closing credits come up over a freeze frame of Stryker on the beach where he winds up at the end of the movie.
  • Bland-Name Product: Joel gives a name to the not-a-Plymouth Bettina is driving:
    Joel: Careful with the Plymouth — I mean, the Starduster — I mean the Terranova One!
  • Call-Back:
  • Deadly Euphemism: The fourth host segment features Joel using these in relation to a bunch of Seventies cops and private eyes. It takes a bit for Crow and Tom Servo to catch on.
  • Framing Device: The prologue is notable as probably the show's only real attempt at an In-Universe explanation for why we're able to watch Joel and the Bots in the theater until The Movie. In recapping the premise, Joel says that Mads are subjecting them to the movies, recording them while they watch them, then selling the video to a cable TV network. He also reveals that the Mads made the opening.
  • Genre Savvy: Crow, when watching the opening credits featuring footage from Prisoners of the Lost Universe:
    Crow: Hey, you know, I don't think we should get wrapped up in these credits, I'm sure they have nothing to do with the movie.
    (when credits end and the actual movie footage begins)
    Crow: Now, see, what did that have to do with the movie?
    Servo: Nothing.
  • Odd Name Out:
    Servo: Next week, on Mannix!
    Crow: Last week, on Cannon!
    Joel: Coming soon, on Hec Ramsey!
    Servo: Previously, on Baretta!
    Joel: Tonight, a Very Special Episode of T.J. Hooker!
    Crow: This week, on Masterpiece Theatre...
    Servo: This—
    Joel and Servo: Huh??
  • Running Gag: "It puts the lotion on its skin."
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the movie's opening credits:
      (an earthquake occurs, causing Dr. Hatmann from Prisoners of the Lost Universe to lose his balance and fall into the teleporter)
      Joel: I can't stop it, I don't know how it works! Goodbye folks!
      (Servo mimics a crowd yelling "Goodbye!")
    • Right after the credits:
      Joel: (as Stryker) You know, I just had the craziest dream. And You Were There, and you, Tim...
    • Due to the choppy framerate and pixelated look of the Prisoners of the Lost Universe footage in the movie's opening credits, Servo comments that they're seeing it through the eyes of Yul Brynner in Westworld.
    • The riffs on the music in the movie's replaced closing credits:
      Servo: Music by Kraftwerk.
      Joel: It sounds more like Super Mario music to me.
  • Written Sound Effect: Joel and the Mads' Invention Exchanges are variations of the "bang" flag gun, with each side trying to one-up the other, and the onomatopoeia becoming increasingly Don Martin-esque (which is lampshaded hypocritically by the Mads).
    Joel and the Bots (in unison): "Boingee Banga Ka Bonga"?