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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S03 E19: War of the Colossal Beast

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"Knew your father, I did!"note 

Film watched: War of the Colossal Beast with short Mr. B Natural

What makes Mr. B Natural notorious as the Worst MST3K Short Ever is that Mister B Natural, "the spirit of music", is played by a woman. An extremely perky woman. With a voice that could break glass. In a costume that makes absolutely no attempt to obscure her sex. All this makes the short... disturbing. Unless of course you like that sort of thing.

Notably, one of the rewards for backing RiffTrax's Kickstarter for the live riff of Starship Troopers was a new riff of the full 30-minute short, with new jokes and material.

This episode is available on Shout! Factory TV here.


The Segments:

  • Using a chart of typical Mex-American food terms (and some not-so-typical ones), Joel and the 'Bots come up with creative new meals.

Segment 1/Invention Exchange

  • Dr. Forrester knows breakfast is the most important meal, but not everyone wants to come over and eat it, so the Breakfast Bazooka will send it to the stragglers. Less healthfully, Joel's created the Between-Meal Mortar to shoot snack cakes over long distances.

Segment 2

  • Joel moderates a debate between Crow and Tom — Mr. B Natural: male or female?

Segment 3

  • Joel's salute to the big-headed man is interrupted by a return visit by Glen Manning to the SOL.

Segment 4

  • Joel is James Unguentine KTLA and makes several predictions about the future until the 'Bots come to wrangle him.

Segment 5

  • Joel is eating several kinds of bread while the 'Bots stress how bad the film was. A Colorado prisoner has written a fan letter, then Glen reads one. Dr. F gives Frank another, heavily-medicated dose of the Breakfast Bazooka.

The MST3K presentation of Mr. B Natural contains examples of:

  • Hartman Hips: Betty Luster, who plays Mr. B., unknowingly (or knowingly?) shows off her hips when laying down on her side at one point, provoking Joel's first comment under Ho Yayinvoked.
  • Ho Yay: Ho... er, Les Yay? No, Ho Yay, technically. Invoked:
    Joel: Mr. B, you're hot!
    Joel: (dreamily) Oh, Mr. B...
  • Loners Are Freaks: Shy, awkward Buzz is compared to John Hinckley, the attempted assassin of President Ronald Reagan:
    Servo: (as Buzz) Uh... I gotta go finish my letter to Jodie Foster.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: While Mr. B and Buzz are in his bedroom:
    Mr. B: I've been visiting with an eight-year-old friend of mine... (Crow gasps in horror)
    Servo: (while shuddering) Oh, God. No. No...
  • Monochrome Casting: Highlighted during the dance Buzz plays his trumpet at.
    Joel & the 'Bots: [singing] We're white, we're really, really white...
  • Satan: If you go with the Alternate Character Interpretationinvoked (see Fridge Horror in the Fridge tag), Mr. B. Natural. He does say he was in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve...
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Invoked, though the music involved is the high school band rather than actual rock 'n' roll.
    Mr. B Natural: And wait 'til you see the kicks you'll get out of it, Buzz. The glamour of a uniform! The thrill of traveling for a band competition!
    Servo: The all-night coke jags in cheap motels!
  • Running Gags: Stock Riffs:
    Mr. B: (narrating) Wondering what it takes to become part of the group... To really belong...
    All: (sinister whispering) Conform... CONFORM...
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Stinger: One of the few episodes where the stinger is from the short rather than the main movie, naturally.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: "Mr. B, you're hot!"
  • This Is Gonna Suck: After Mr. B prances away, Tom mutters "I've got a bad feeling..."
  • Viewers Are Geniuses:
    Crow: He played the devil's tritone.note 
  • With Lyrics
    • The marching band:
      All: Come on and buy some crap from us!/You know that you want to!/And the white race will salute you/As you prance and gad about!
    • And again, during the dance:
      All: White, we're white/We're really, really white/We're really, really, really, really whiiiiite...
  • You Can See That, Right?: Invoked during one of Mr. B's interjections:
    Mr. B: Doesn't matter much!?
    Servo: (as Buzz): Mom, Dad, tell me you heard that!
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
    Crow: Mr. Servo, you've GOT to be kidding me! Let's assume for the moment that Mr. B Natural IS a man. My heavens! What a confusing message to send to little kids! Already, there's the painful feeling of isolation, the horrible, scarring acne - and Mr. Servo here would have us place a cross-dressing man with a clarinet slap dab in their bedrooms! Why not men in Little Bo Peep costumes with stinky cigars explaining the facts of life to our unsuspecting daughters? I, for one—
    Joel: Mr. Servo, your rebuttal!
    Tom: Yes! Yes! Mr. Crow! I don't think we should stop there! Let's break down ALL the barriers. Hairy men in Spartan costumes holding bake sales on shady boulevards! Naked jock-strap wrestling! Big, wonderful(commercial sign!)

The MST3K presentation of War of the Colossal Beast contains examples of:

  • Insane Troll Logic: Servo declares that Glenn picking up a bus full of students on a field trip is an argument against school busing.
    Crow: What, if you bus your kids, they might get picked up by a giant?
    Servo: Well, you never know.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: During the invention exchange, Joel's demonstration of the Between-Meal Mortar goes awry when a "live" Twinkie bounces back towards him and the Bots. Joel tries diving on it, but the trio end up Covered in Gunge anyway when it goes off.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: "James Unguentine, KTLA" and his ludicrous predictions are a spoof of the similarly absurd (deliberately so) predictions of The Amazing Criswell, a close friend of the notorious Ed Wood himself. "KTLA Predicts!" is a direct reference to the "Criswell Predicts!" segment from Wood's magnum opus Plan 9 from Outer Space.
  • Place Worse Than Death: When Major Barret informs Joyce "There's no place in the civilized world for a creature that big," Servo quips "...So we're sending him to Cleveland."
  • Running Gag: Cast members in the Jeep are portrayed as singing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" with a Gabriel García Márquez twist:
    All: One Hundred Years of Solitude
    One hundred years of solitude
    Take one down, pass it around
    99 years of solitude
  • Sequel Hook: Toward the end Joel gets worried that the movie will have Glen just walk away, leading to another sequel. Luckily, things don't turn out that way.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Tom jokes that Paul Westerberg's name is listed in the credits as the film's editor.
    • Not only does the "KTLA predicts" sketch reference the Amazing Criswell, but Joel's ranting eventually devolves into references to Zagler and Evans' "In The Year 2525", then a disjointed monologue adapted from the text on Dr. Bronner's soap labels ("Dilute! Dilute! OK!"). The stuff about "Vaseline, oil, butter or cream" and "juicy lemon pulp" is a double entendre, since it comes from Bronner's instructions to use his soap as a birth control method.
  • Special Guest: Mike Nelson reprises the role of Lieutenant Colonel Glenn Manning to chat about the supposed behind-the-scenes politics that led to his being replaced by a different colossal man in the sequel to his movie.
  • Take That!: To John Steinbeck, since Swanson vaguely looks like him.
    Servo: (as Swanson, after the Mexican policeman confirms his name) No, actually, it's Steinbeck. I was up in Salinas pretending I was poor.
  • Technicolor Death:
    Crow: He got shocked back to Oz!