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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 03 E 15 Teenage Caveman

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Film watched: Teenage Caveman with shorts Aquatic Wizards and Catching Trouble

The Segments:

  • It's raining outside, trapping the SOL crew in boredom. Hungry Hungry Hippos and Mousetrap are out of the question, and books are lame, but poker could be appealing.

Segment 1/Invention Exchange

  • Joel and the 'Bots wrote a book, Rainy Day Epicacs, filled with delightful home remedies to induce vomiting. Frank demands to be allowed to present the invention, leading to a big fight between the Mads.

Segment 2

  • Ross Allen is clearly the villain of Catching Trouble, so the SOL crew go hunting for him. They succeed, and a swift hammering is Ross' reward, followed by a visit from a giant rattler.

Segment 3

  • Joel's attempts to teach the 'Bots the history of technology is interrupted by a power struggle between Dr. Forrester and Frank, which ends with a cattle prodding. The 'Bots slept through Joel's lesson.

Segment 4

  • Progressive thinking was a problem even in prehistoric times, as described by Joel.

Segment 5

  • Crow and Tom are the last survivors of a horrible movie-viewing brought on by Roger Corman. Crow got slime on the fan letter written by an L.A. stuntman. The Mads share a moment over coffee as they recover from their wounds.


Tropes for the host segments include:

  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: While teaching Gypsy how to play poker, Joel instructs her to "just tell 'em what you want to do". After thinking for a moment, Gypsy begins incessantly chanting, "Richard Basehart! Richard Basehart!"
  • Greaser Delinquents: For whatever reason, Frank starts acting like a mouthy teenage hood, prompting Dr. F to join in a screaming match with him when Frank pulls a switchblade.
    Frank: (In an eerily low and calm voice) I spent all night workin' on that bad boy. I'm doin' the invention exchange this week. (Motions with his head) Take the train.
    Dr. Forrester: I've just about had it, smart-boy.
    Frank: Oh, yeah?! (Whips out the knife and begins giggling madly) I'm gonna cut 'cha, man. I'm gonna cut 'cha, that's right.
    Dr. Forrester: Yeah?
    Frank: Cut 'cha bad, man.
    Dr. Forrester: You want a piece of me? You want a PIECE of me?!
    Frank: Yeah, I do!
    Dr. Forrester: C'MON!
    Frank: I'm gonna cut 'cha a second smile, Daddy-o!
    (They begin wheeling around)
    Dr. Forrester: I don't THINK so, Jackson! C'MON, sweet-cakes! BRING IT ON!!
    (The screen cuts away to Joel and the 'bots looking bemused and concerned)
    Servo: ...What in the Sam Scratch is goin' on down there?
    Joel: I don't know, but I don't like it. Not one bit.
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  • Shout-Out: The music that plays as Frank and Dr. Forrester grapple with the gun, scissors and mallets is a slightly re-arranged, softer synth-keyboard version of the battle ritual theme from "Amok Time".

Tropes for the Teenage Caveman part of this episode include:

  • Continuity Nod: Part of the movie's Stock Footage (specifically: the part with two, ahem, prehistoric creatures wrestling one another) is the same as that in Robot Monster, a first season episode Servo — who ironically was voiced by Josh Weinstein and not Kevin Murphy in the referenced episode — takes a moment to Lampshade this:
    Servo: Haven't we seen this? I know we've seen this before.
  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: Servo says this after the giant reptile fight ends.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: Crow makes a crack at this toward the main caveman character.
    Crow: This is why the dinosaurs died out. You bored them to death!
  • Running Gag: Joel and the 'bots keep singing the Bunny Hop as the cavemen go hopping through the jungle.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Take That!: Roger Corman's quick-and-cheap filmmaking methods are the target of several quips, including a suggestion that Robert Vaughn not eat the squirrel he's cooking so Corman can use it as the monster in his next film.

The MST3K treatment of Aquatic Wizards provides examples of:

  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim: Joked about.
    Joel: Miles from the dock and they can't swim, I love that trick!
  • Gender Is No Object: Water-skiing is shown to be enjoyed by both genders, albeit slightly segregated for instruction.
  • Male Gaze: Par for the course, considering the ubiquitous swim-clad women, with the narrator admonishing the viewer for (presumably) ogling the bare legs of multiple women presenting different types of water-skis.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The camera takes a few lingering shots of the rather well-toned physiques of Alfredo Mendoza and "Chad Slabbody".
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Humorously implied.
    Tom Servo: And the incentive to stay up is... crocodiles!
  • Take That!: The bots are eager to whip the piss out of the narrator after he refers to a Hispanic waterskier as a "Mexican jumping bean."
    Crow: This time, the white fascist narrator will make a racial slur!
    Tom: Hah, but what do I know? I'm only a fat hick announcer, mowing down pretzels and pinwheel cookies, and trying to come to grips with the tattered ends of a once promising life gone horribly wrong, God, God, why, why?!

The MST3K treatment of Catching Trouble provides examples of:

  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Joel and the Bots definitely think this is the case for Ross.
    Tom Servo: We leave you with this question: If you enjoyed "Catching Trouble" in any way, there's something wrong with you.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Many towards Ross.
  • The Bully: Ross is kinda one, but Crow carries it a little further.
    Crow: Throw him (bear cub) down a few times, Ross! What're you scared of him? C'mon, beat him up!
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Joel thinks the Seminole looks like Emo Phillips. Crow runs with it and does a killer impersonation of said comedian.
  • Egomaniac Hunter/Evil Poacher: How Joel and the 'bots view Ross, instead of the Great White Hunter he is supposed to be.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: A couple of times, the narrator refers to Ross as "my boyfriend".
    Joel: Look, he likes you as a friend but he's not your boyfriend, okay?
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    Crow: Joel, do they do this on Earth?
    Servo: Yeah, isn't this wrong?
  • Mama Bear: Sadly doesn't appear, but boy do the 'bots really want to see her enter the fray.
  • Noodle Incident: Why exactly the "giant rattler" hates Ross or what happened when the two of them went to camp is never explained.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: In the "Catching Ross" host segment, Joel puts a rubber snake into the same bag as the Ross figure.
    Joel (as Ross): No, not the snake! He hates me! We went to camp together!
  • Rooting for the Empireinvoked: The guys root for the wild cat and bear cubs when they try to escape. They root for the snakes to bite Ross, too.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Apocalypse Now.
      Narrator: Well, this is a different assignment, and a true depiction of actually filling an order [Ross] recently received.
      Joel: Kill Colonel Kurtz!
    • To A Night at the Opera: After the narrator lists the animals in Ross's order (one bobcat, two bearcubs, and three rattlesnakes), Crow adds "And two hard-boiled eggs! Make that three hard-boiled eggs!"
    • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
      Narrator: Here's the shed. (in reference to a snake's shed skin)
      Crow: Two Sheds?
  • Take That!: This short is followed with a host segment entitled "Catching Ross", wherein Joel brutally torments an action figure modeled after Ross while Tom mocks it. Fans complained when the short was put on a collection without "Catching Ross" included.
  • Vote Early, Vote Often:
    Narrator: Don't you know you're wanted in Chicago?
    Tom Servo: For voting twice?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Behind the jokes, there is a sense of great contempt towards the people who made the short in contrast to the show's usual ribbing, though this wouldn't be the only time (Invasion of the Neptune Men).


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