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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S06 E09: The Skydivers

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"It's sort of like Manos without the lucid plot."
TV's Frank

Original work: The Skydivers

Short: "Why Study Industrial Arts"

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here.

The Segments:

  • Tom Servo tries to put on a planetarium show for the crew. Crow's incessant heckling over a certain planet's name drives him off in tears.

Segment 1

  • Dr. Forrester challenges Mike to a swing-choir contest. Both the Mads and SOL crew put on incredible performances, but the Mads are also the judges and so it ends in their favor.

Segment 2

  • The 'Bots enroll in an Industrial Arts class. Servo is having trouble making a wallet due to his non-functioning armsnote , while Crow's callous disregard for proper safety procedures gets him cut in two. Vertically.

Segment 3

  • Crow has gotten himself caught in a "double jock-lock". He insists it's so he can learn to get out of it himself.

Segment 4

  • Crow has gotten a new car and is happily washing it. Servo then runs him down again... in an airplane!

Segment 5

  • Despite his string of misfortunes today, Crow continues to persevere as he and Servo hang over the bridge in tangled parachutes. Dr. F is toughening Frank up with an abusive game of Dodgeball.

The MST3K presentation contains:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Mike consoles Servo after Crow's Uranus Is Showing jokes, only to lose control of his drink when Crow says one more.
  • Artistic License – Space: A key part of the Stylistic Suck of Tom's planetarium sketch. "Mars, the brightest star in our galaxy..." It is probably a reference to the Japanese Kaiju films that the crew watched in the past whose localization kept referring to planets as stars.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Servo's astronomy presentation.
    Tom: We'll be traveling at about the speed of light, yes, well over 500 miles per hour!note 
  • Better than Sex: Crow uses this phrase to mock the movie's fixation with coffee, as well as the lack of chemistry between the two lead characters.
    Beth: I made some coffee.
    Crow: Coffee? Wow, that's better than sex!
  • Bottomless Fuel Tanks: The riffing averts this when Frank and Suzy flee from the police:
    Servo: (as Frank) Suzy, don't hit me, but...we need gas.
  • Brave Scot: The inexplicable Scotsman in full kilt is the only one at the party who has no trouble dancing with the beefy girl (see below).
    Servo: Ay, a Scotsman can handle any woman!
  • Brawn Hilda: Mike and the Bots give shades of this to the "beefy girl" at the party (who otherwise isn't ugly enough to actually fit the trope), who even picks up a guy and tosses him like a beanbag. Servo gives her a masculine, gruff voice while Mike calls her Tom Boerwinkle, a big ex-NBA player.
    Servo: This has turned into a John Waters movie!
  • Bully Magnet: Crow gives himself a Wedgie (a double jock lock) so that he can figure out how to get out of it because "...this is going to happen again."
  • Call-Back:
  • Chick Flick: Crow considers the film one of these at the end. He's not entirely wrong.
  • Cooking Duel: Mike & The Bots vs. Deep 13 in a Battle of the Bands/Dance-Off of Swing Choir medleys.
  • Corpsing: In-Universe, Crow gets Mike to laugh while drinking milk with yet another Uranus Is Showing joke.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the opening, Crow ruins Servo's planetarium show. In the third interval, Servo picks up a fighter plane, blasting Crow and his recently-acquired car. And that's the only misfortune Crow suffers we know for sure Servo caused.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The student's unsettling narration at the start of Why Study Industrial Arts about why he studies Industrial Arts. The riffing picks up on the subtext:
    Student: And you know, I like the feel of a board moving smoothly against a sharp saw.
    Mike: Then I thrust the nail into the soft, yielding wood...
    Student: I like the smell of fresh wood chips and sawdust...
    Tom: I put them in my underwear.
    Student: The bright glare of a welder...
    Crow: I like to sneak in and lay on the table saw.
    Tom: Yesss...
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Invoked. At the beginning of "Ha, So! Stratosphere Boogie," the Jimmy Bryant Band plays a stereotypical Asian tune and the drummer says, "Hah, so!" Crow is not amused.
    Crow: [dully annoyed] Okay, thank you, thank you very much, [sternly] THANK YOU.
  • Fanservice Extra: The "beefy girl" and the polka-dotted bikini dancer at the party. While the guys all riff on both of them (see Male Gaze for one), Crow in particular gets a little too into the beefy girl and nearly swoons out of his chair when she bends over a little during her dancing.
    Mike: [while a party goer is ogling the beefy girl, who is practically posing for the camera] She revolutionized the breast.
  • Hair Wings: They speculate that Beth's very rigidly-styled hair could double as a parachute.
    Mike: I predict in the climactic scene she jumps without a chute and her hair opens up.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Crow gets sawed in half during Industrial Arts class. Vertically, right down the middle. His two halves blame each other.
  • Informed Attractiveness:
    • Suzy is supposedly the sultry temptress of the parachuting camp, beautiful enough to drive men to murder. Mike instead speculates, "I bet she smells like Marlboros and Arpege and Juicy Fruit and body odor."
    • Beth.
      Frankie: You know, Beth... you get prettier every day.
      Servo: She must have written the dialogue!
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Poor Crow. In this episode alone, gets cut in half, puts himself in a double jock lock, gets strafed by Tom, and finally ends up tangled up in a parachute, all of which are played as Amusing Injuries. Crow tells Servo that "struggle" is the key to being a Determinator.
  • Lifetime Movie of the Week: Crow calls the film a "chick film" at the end. In a weird way, he's not wrong.
  • Male Gaze: As the black dancer's nice butt is wiggling back and forth right in front of the camera:
    Servo: Now this here is the butt of choice.
    Mike: Yeah, it won the Palme d’Butt at Cannes.
    Servo: Heh Heh. "Can."
  • Must Have Caffeine: Everyone in the experiment. Affairs are built and lives are destroyed around cups of coffee.
    Servo: Even the soundtrack is making coffee!
  • Nausea Fuel: Invoked.
    Mike: (nauseated) ...did Forrester's dance make anyone else physically ill?
    Crow: I LIKED IT!
  • Parachute in a Tree: Capping off all the day's misfortunes for Crow, he and Tom spend the last host segment tangled up in parachutes dangling above the bridge. Crow takes this as An Aesop about how to "persevere".
  • Porn Stash:
    Crow: [as industrial arts student] Rat-a-tat-tat... I keep Popular Mechanics under my mattress!
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Crow treats Beth's line of "Panic!" (to explain why Pete isn't pulling his cord) as this.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Servo notes that Suzy doesn't really stand to gain anything material from getting revenge on Harry, but she does it anyway.
    Servo: Now that Harry's dead, we get all the... What do we get?
  • Running Gag:
    • Beth and her awful hairdo. She saw her hair in the mirror and she panicked!
    • Don't forget Petey Plane, kids!
    • Various jokes about Eraserhead.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Servo cancels his planetarium show after Crow cracks enough Uranus Is Showing jokes at him.
  • Sex for Services: Lampshaded by Servo during the scene where Suzy... ahem, barters for acid. "[singing] Oooh, sex for sundries is fun! Sex for sundries is fun!"
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: When Suzy is "haggling" with the druggist, Servo puzzles over the soundtrack used. "What, are we in Old Tijuana all of a sudden?"
  • Spear Counterpart: Why Study Industrial Arts ↔ The Home Economics Story
  • Spraying Drink from Nose: Mike snorts milk out his nose after one of Crow's Uranus Is Showing jokes.
    Crow: Oooh! A noser!
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: An offscreen Tom, flying a patrol above the bridge, radioes back to base for permission to eliminate an unauthorized vehicle — Crow washing his car.
  • Stoners Are Funny: For reasons that even he can't explain afterward, Frank goes into a bizarre, smirking monologue about how Mike "Nel-stone" is constantly high.
  • Stylistic Suck: Segment 1 spoofs the amateurish, hammy high school swing choirs/glee clubs of a few of the cast members' youths. All of them, even Gypsy, have given better song and dance performances elsewhere in the series.
  • The Talk:
    Crow: This is the film the boys had to watch when the girls had to go to the gym and watch The Other Film.
  • Tampon Run: Gender inverted, outside the pharmacy:
    Servo!Suzy: Right, I have to get your jock itch cream.
  • That Russian Squat Dance: The dance itself isn't used, but Mike and the Bots lampshade the similarity of the music during Frankie and Suzy's boat ride to the music that typically accompanies the dance by punctuating it with the occasional, "Hey!"
  • Understatement: According to Servo's planetarium show, the speed of light is well over five hundred miles per hour.
  • Uranus Is Showing: Crow unleashes a barrage of "Uranus" jokes during Tom's planetarium show. Tom angrily pronounces it "Ouranos".
    Servo: First stop, the planet Mars!
    Crow: Take me to Uranus!
    Servo: Mars, the brightest star in our galaxy!
    Crow: Hey, let's probe Uranus!
    Servo: Patience, space traveler! We'll visit all of the planets.
    Crow: What, are you ashamed of Uranus?
    Servo: Crow! I'm trying to give a show, here.
    Crow: Excuse me, but I have questions about Uranus.
    Servo: Uh, you can save your questions for the appropriate...
    Crow: Uranus is big and gassy, isn't it?
    Servo: Shut up!
    Crow: Servo, we have to get to Uranus and wipe out the Klingons!
    Servo: Shut up, just shut up! [storms off the bridge, while Mike and Crow just laugh]
    • Later, Mike agrees with Servo that Uranus jokes are tired, only for Crow to crack one more, which results in Mike spurting milk out his nose.
      Crow: You know, Servo, I've seen satellite pictures of Uranus.
  • Wedgie: Knowing he is a nerdy Bully Magnet, Crow puts himself in a double jock lock (underwear pulled up over his arms and legs, binding them in place) so he can teach himself how to escape. How exactly he managed to do this on his own — and how he thinks it could happen to him again given that he doesn't wear clothes — goes unaddressed.