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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S04 E20: The Human Duplicators

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"Let's all play the Family Feud!"

Film watched: The Human Duplicators

The episode is available on Shout! Factory TV here.

The Segments:

  • Joel is taking suggestions from the Bots for new upgrades. Servo goes a bit overboard with his requests.

Segment 1/Invention Exchange

  • Joel's invention for the week is the Beanie-Chopper, which disappoints Crow and Servo when it doesn't send him through the roof. Dr. Forrester and Frank can't keep a straight face as they unveil their most ridiculous invention yet: the William Conrad Fridge Alert.

Segment 2

  • Joel and the Bots pause for some arts and crafts time as they make their own scale-model spaceships.

Segment 3

  • Servo has been a little busy duplicating himself. A little too busy...

Segment 4

  • The SOL gets another visit from Hugh Beaumont, who's lately been feeling stressed out over his life.

Segment 5

  • Crow and Servo commend Richard Kiel for his ability to embrace his android nature and share their own confidence in themselves to Joel. Back down in Deep 13, Dr. Forrester and Frank are still laughing over their useless invention... until William Conrad actually does raid their fridge!

The episode provides examples of the following tropes:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: When the robot Dornheimer tells Kolos the dangers of creating a machine with more wisdom than yourself, Joel sighs, "There's a lesson to be learned there", as Servo and Crow make veiled threats.
  • Anti-Climax: The bots express their disappointment that the Beanie Chopper didn't send Joel through the roof.
  • Berserk Button: Hugh Beaumont in the fourth host segment. When Crow asks him how Beaver is doing, he explodes into a lengthy rant about how nobody ever asks him how HE'S doing.
  • Call-Back:
  • Coming-Out Story: The bots are happy Richard Kiel came out of the closet... as a robot. Then:
    Servo: (after Crow faints trying to tell Joel) Joel, we're robots and we want the world to know.
  • Continuity Nod: Michael J. Nelson reprises his Hugh Beaumont character from the Lost Continent episode, and his job in that episode (member of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) is mentioned.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The final host segment. Servo and Crow come out to Joel as robots, and Joel tells them "it's more than a little obvious."
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Parodied. Forrester and Frank's giggling about the William Conrad Fridge Alert Crosses the Line Twice that it comes around to being funny.
    Frank: Who's gonna use this?! Maybe Quinn Martin, and he's dead!
  • Dude, Not Funny!: In-universe.
    Crow: Oh I get it! She's blind! That explains the decorating.
    Tom Servo: D'oh!
    • Then:
      Crow: You know, because two Wongs don't make a W—
      Joel & Servo: CROW!
      Crow: (sheepishly) I'm sorry, I'm sorry!
  • Hat of Flight: Joel's invention, the Beanie-Chopper, only looks like one of these, to the 'Bots' great disappointment.
    Crow: (dejectedly) I thought you were gonna go through the roof.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: The trio who appear a few minutes into Lisa's introduction.
  • Hey, That's My Line!: Uttered by Servo to one of his clones during the promo.
    Clone: Here, at Comedy Central!
    Servo: Warning you for the last time — that's my line!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Crow's spaceship is a model of the Satellite of Love - the actual model used for exterior shots. He dismisses it as cheap and plans to put lighter fluid on it and burning it to a crisp - which is what happens to the model a few years later in an episode. invoked
  • Hugh Mann: Invoked after Glenn is duplicated:
    Welles: "Where in blazes have you been? Haven't you ever heard of a telephone?"
    Crow: (robotic monotone) "Yes. I have heard of a telephone."
  • Joke and Receive: Crow tries to make an obvious joke in one riff. Alas, it's a tad too obvious.
    Secretary: Glen, did you hear me... well say something.
    Crow: "Something"!
    Glen [in movie]: Something.
    Crow: D'oh! Got riffed back on that one!
  • Laughing at Your Own Jokes: TV's Frank and Dr. Forrester can't help guffawing at the concept of a refrigerator alarm that only sounds when William Conrad is stealing the food (based on Conrad's ads hawking First Alert). Most of the segment they can't even explain the invention because they can't stop laughing in advance.
    TV's Frank: Who's going to need this? Maybe Quinn Martin – and he's dead!
    • Brick Joke: The final segment finds William Conrad himself setting off the alarm. The Mads are still laughing.
      Dr. Forrester: Frank! It's the big one - literally!
      TV's Frank: Don't worry, Dr. F. He won't get far.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the first break, Joel and the bots create model spaceships as an art project. The parts used for Joel's golden spaceship (a lacrosse mask, a bowling pin, food trays, and ping pong balls) look a tad familiar... Cue sudden realization, some coughing, and Commercial Sign.
    Gypsy: Wait a minute...
  • Me's a Crowd: Servo orders a whole bunch of copies of himself about midway through the film. They end up sticking around for the rest of the series for jokes requiring additional Servos.
  • Running Gag: Lots of Game Show-related jokes given the resemblance of the interior of Kolos' spaceship to the set of a TV game show.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: Invoked by Crow because the film's title card is mirrored at first.
    Crow: Eht Namuh Srotacilpud! [title flips around to become legible] ...Oh.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Hugh is really, really bitter since his appearance in Lost Continent.
    Hugh: (sexually frustrated) Think my wife greets me at the door in Saran Wrap and stiletto heels? No!
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The S.O.L. crew still think he's a nice guy after Hugh gives a nice farewell after his bitter, sexually frustrated rant.
  • Zerg Rush: Tom tries to order his clones to do this to Joel and Crow, but they ignore him. Then, after Joel takes Tom away, the copies do this to Crow anyway.