- Mike and the 'Bots are putting up wallpaper on the SOL bridge. Gypsy freaks out when she sees the new style.
- Dr. Forrester announces "Proposition Deep 13", his newest cinematic campaign to break Mike into submission. Mike puts up a brave argument, but his resistance is crushed when he learns that Coleman Francis is directing today's experiment.
- A gang of college kids interrupts the crew's quiet time with their loud partying. Crow tries to join the party until Servo scares them off by imitating a police siren.
- As Mike tries to read a book in peace, Crow repeatedly nags him. He REALLY wants to know if it's 11:30 yet.
- In order to curb the ongoing rise of bad movies, Crow creates the "Film Anti-Preservation Society" to help encourage their destruction and save future generations from the agony of having to watch such horrible rubbish.
- After Crow and Servo read a letter, Mike comes out and declares the crew's victory over Proposition Deep 13. Dr. Forrester is so demoralized by his loss that his only response is to repeatedly slap Frank while the credits roll.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of Money Talks! contains the following tropes:
- Artistic License History:
- Crow, as Benjamin Franklin, asks William "Can you have your slave press my suit?" In reality, Franklin was an abolitionist.
- The short itself has Franklin refer to the use of the word "tips" for gratuities as if it's a modern invention, when the first recorded instance of that usage was in 1706.
- Critical Research Failure: Invoked.Crow: [as William] [Benjamin Franklin] was the best President we ever had.
- Missing Mom: "Have you seen your mother lately?"
- Shout-Out:Crow: [during a cross-dissolve between William and the spinning coin] There's no place like a bank, there's no place like a bank...
- Standard '50s Father: Naturally, what with it being an educational short from 1951.
- Values Dissonance: Invoked.Crow: [as Benjamin Franklin] Could you have your slave press my suit?
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:Mike: [during the closing shot - a close-up of the half-dollar, with the words "The End" superimposed over it] Benjamin Franklin was tried in the Eighth Circuit Court on stalking charges; in a minute, the results of that trial.
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of Progress Island U.S.A contains the following tropes:
- Call-Back: "That nose wheel feels mushy."
- Crossing the Line Twice:
- "Fun times at Guantánamo!"
- Also counts as a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, given that MST3K went off the air long before Guantanamo Bay gained a new notoriety.
- "A rich culture and heritage..." "Which we bulldozed in order to build more skyscrapers."
- "Puerto Rico has been praised for the beauty of her landscape..." "And sacked and pillaged many many times."
- "Spinal injuries are popular on the island as well."
- Over the image of a Union Carbide facility, the narrator states that "Nearly two billion dollars has been invested in plants and facilities." Tom adds, "And millions poisoned!" This is in reference to the Bhopal disaster, in which a tank containing methyl isocyanate ruptured, killing thousands and injuring over half a million more.
- Dude, Not Funny!: In a subversion, Mike does take offense at Crow saying Ponce was the sight of many muggings. Meanwhile, Servo groans when Crow stated Judy Garland's death destroyed Puerto Rico's pharmaceutical industry.
- They conclude the short by stating "We would like to apologize to all the people of Puerto Rico we did not offend." In other words, we apologize only to those people who knew we were just kidding.
- "Fun times at Guantánamo!"
- Double Take: Mike has a verbal one in this exchange:Narrator: Building into the clean blue skies, the island is on the move.Mike: Hawaii?Crow: No, an island.Mike: Wha-?
- Ear Worm: The bots can't help but dance and hum along to the peppy The '70s music.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Occurs throughout the riffing.Narrator: An American democracy.Servo: ...would be really great.Narrator: A wealth of historic grandeur and beauty.Servo: ...does not exist here.Narrator: Modern hospitals.Servo: ...are not here.Narrator: Luxury hotels.Crow: ...are desperately needed.Narrator: Progress can be seen everywhere.Mike: ...in places other than this.
- Here We Go Again!: Since the short film opens and ends roughly the same way (with a fast-paced montage, followed by a narrator), Mike and the bots wonder why the short's starting over.
- Running Gag: Mike, Crow, and Tom shouting in unison whenever the Latin jazz/funk soundtrack reaches a final-sounding cadence."PUERTO RICO!"
"A CENTURY AGO!"note
- Take That!:
- Mike and the Bots make a Running Gag of contradicting the narrator's overly triumphalist rambling ("There's something for everyone..." "...like flights out!"), building up to the final joke:Narrator: The Spaniards called it "Puerto Rico".
Servo: Because they couldn't think of anything else.
Narrator: Today, we call it...
Crow: Cheap Labor Ville!
Narrator: "Progress Island, U.S.A.".
Servo: Because we have no regard for history, culture, or tradition.
- A subtler one when Crow chuckles, "Another fun friend!" when a Texaco sign is displayed.
- Mike and the Bots make a Running Gag of contradicting the narrator's overly triumphalist rambling ("There's something for everyone..." "...like flights out!"), building up to the final joke:
- With Lyrics: Tom Servo sings with the bouncy commercial-jingle music. "Strawberries, marshmallows, tinfoil and fudge and some dingle-balls hanging from trees..."
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of The Beast of Yucca Flats contains the following tropes:
- Big "WHAT?!": Crow's reaction to the narrator's "flying saucers" line.
- Continuity Nod:
- At one point the lawmen trying to solve the string of deaths decide they'll have to parachute into a remote area:Crow: Luckily, Coleman has plenty of skydiving footage lying around.
- In the "Film Anti-Preservation Society" segment, Crow cites The Skydivers and Red Zone Cuba alongside The Beast of Yucca Flats as awful films made during the past century. He lumps it in with the films Sylvester Stallone made, namedropping Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Oscar.
- At one point the lawmen trying to solve the string of deaths decide they'll have to parachute into a remote area:
- Everyone Has Standards: Mike hates the movie, but he thinks what Crow is proposing with the Film Anti-Preservation Society is morally wrong.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: As the sniper in the plane takes aim, the barrel of his rifle briefly points toward Mike and the 'bots. Oh, Crap! ensues.
- Genius Bonus: Mike quipping, "Hey Tor, got a match?" is a reference to the joke: "Got a match: my butt, your face."
- Have a Gay Old Time: Crow's "Film Anti-Preservation Society" takes the acronym FAPS. (At the time the episode was made, that term had not yet acquired its more common association.)
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Beast of Yucca Flats was Mike's warmup for The Brain That Wouldn't Die - and this time, it threatens to crack the SOL crew.
- Hulk Speak: Mike & the Bots give Tor Johnson this kind of speech when they riff as him.
- Ignored Epiphany: Mike interrupts Crow's "Film Anti-Preservation Society" commercial to ask if his intent is morally wrong. Crow takes a moment to ponder this, and agrees... before continuing the commercial.
- Incredibly Lame Pun:Servo: [as a character changes a tire] Ah! That must be the Yucca Flat! [both Mike and Crow groan]
- In-Joke: Crow constantly asking when it'll be lunch is a reference to Frank Conniff doing the exact same thing at the studio.
- Male Gaze: Defied.Servo: [annoyed] Okay, we get it. BREASTS!
- Reality Subtext: A scene that was removed from the television edit had bare breasts, which the crew probably saw.
- OOC Is Serious Business: The poor quality of this film and the others by Coleman Francis convinces Crow to start the "Film Anti-Preservation Society," in stark contrast to the typical MST3K philosophy of "Keep Circulating the Tapes."
- Overly Long Gag:
- Crow wants to know how soon to 11:30 it is.
- After Proposition Deep 13 is defeated:Forrester: Frank, I'm going to start slapping you now, and I may never stop.
Frank: Let the healing process begin.
[cue slapping sounds during the entire end credits]
- Police Are Useless: Mike's riffs on the cop insist he's irritated he has to go investigate a crime when he'd rather have breakfast.
- Running Gag:
- The trio constantly bring up the "flag on the moon" line and wonder just what it was supposed to mean.
- The deputy's search for crullers (see Police Are Useless).
- Sanity Slippage: Crow clearly goes through some form of this with his "Film Anti-Preservation Society" stunt, to the point where the segment concludes with Mike calmly leading him offscreen for a talk.
- Skyward Scream: "WHY CAN'T I GET A BAKED POTATO AFTER FIVE IN THIS TOWN?!"
- Society Marches On: The whole "Proposition Deep 13" theme during the episode was a reference to the Culture War speech during the GOP convention in 1992. The name itself is an echo of Proposition 13, a famous voter-led initiative in California in The '70s that capped property tax hikes.
- Crow is reading an issue of Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld.
- "Harcourt Fenton Mudd, you lazy thing-thing-thing...!"
- Take That!: "If we don't take action now, the entire filmography of Sylvester Stallone may be available for our children and our grandchildren to view."
- Terse Talker: Coleman Francis's narrator. Talks in sentence fragments. A source of bottomless mockery.Servo: [narrating] A thin plot. Endlessly restated.
- With Catlike Tread: "You know, for Tor, sneaking up and pursuit are not his forte."