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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S06 E23 "The Amazing Transparent Man"

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You people bring matches for Mikey?

"So, the leading causes of accidents are joy, sex, and old age?"
Mike Nelson on The Days of Our Years

Film watched: The Amazing Transparent Man with the short The Days of Our Years

The Days of Our Years and another short, Catching Trouble, are considered two of the more upsetting shorts ever shown on MST3K.

The Segments:


  • Tom has collected a specimen for his science project: Crowtus Robotus Horribilus, A.K.A Crow trapped in a giant bottle.

Segment 1

  • Crow is mounted to a wall with the rest of Tom’s preserved insects. Dr. Forrester and Frank have turned Deep 13 into a bed and breakfast, “Auntie McFrank’s Tangleberry Inn.” After serving their guests, Ted and Barb, a breakfast of cold lo mein, Mike and the Bots don some costumes in a display of “local color” that gets really creepy really quick.

Segment 2

  • Crow tries to remember the short’s lesson about “gentle pressure”, but forgets it when he startles a blowtorch wielding Tom.

Segment 3

  • Frank calls the guys to let them know that he’s finally been given a day off. He plans to see Squanto: A Warrior's Tale, having bought an expensive ticket from a scalper. Dr. F rains on his parade when he reveals the film left theaters weeks ago.

Segment 4

  • Mike shows off his new electric organ to Tom and Crow. When they aren’t interested and leave, Mike attempts to play The Six Wives Of Henry VIII.

Segment 5

  • Inspired by the film, Mike and the Bots choose whether they would rather have an invisible army or blow up a county in Texas, before reading an invisible letter. In Deep 13, Dr. F and “Auntie McFrank” are enjoying teatime, at least until Frank mourns once again for his ruined day off.


The MST3K presentation of The Amazing Transparent Man contains these tropes:

  • Ambiguously Gay:
    Ted: Clay... you and Auntie McFrank... are you...?
    Forrester: [stiffening] Partners? [Uneasily] Yes, we're... [Frank re-enters with "breakfast"] AH! Aha!
  • Acting for Two: invoked Kevin Murphy is one half of the couple patronizing the bed and Deep 13 (his wife is played by Mary Jo Pehl). He is appropriately squicked out by Servo's antics ("Don't you give Mikey no matches!!!")... which he happens to voice.
  • And Call Him "George"!: Mikey's response upon being told he can't have matches is to grab Crow by the neck and insistently stroke down hard on his fur, then finally begin throttling him. (It evidently was a little too stressful on the Crow puppet, as its eyes accidentally pop out when the crew dashes for the theater.)
  • Brick Joke: "'Gentle pressure', see?"
  • Disguised in Drag: "Auntie McFrank", bed-and-breakfast proprietress.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Squanto: A Warrior's Tale. The only reason it could have possibly been used, because the film itself is a drama that earned mostly positive reviews (save Roger Ebert).
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Mike as "Mikey".
    • Watch Mike closely: He never blinks in that single shot.
  • Running Gag: Jokes about guinea pigs and hamsters.
  • Shout-Out: Tom and Mike's characters in the "local color" segment are at least inspired by George and Lenny. And Llama!Crow... poor Llama!Crow.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: "Auntie McFrank". Notable in this is the only time Frank allowed himself to be in drag on the show; he'd refused previous attempts.

The counter-depressing MST3K version of The Days of Our Years provides the following tropes:

  • Black Comedy: Some of the riffs go into this territory like Mike's comment on the railroad worker's heart problems:
    Mike: Hey have a massive coronary on your own time.
  • Chocolate Baby: Implied when Charlie is told that the baby has been born.
    Crow: Charlie, does fur run in your family?
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mike misses the point of the Psalm at the start of the short, which is to pretty much enjoy your life while you have it. note 
  • Continuity Nod: As the minister dispassionately narrates Joe's reckless driving:
    Minister: The others? They were along for the ride, whether they liked it or not. Liked it? They hated it.
  • Death by Ambulance: Crow riffs on a speeding ambulance: "Ironically, the ambulance driver killed four people on the way there."
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: Crow casually ignores the warning of "gentle pressure" from the short and gets charcoaled by a startled Servo.
  • Eye Scream: Worth repeating, because it's the only time Mike and the bots are disturbed when watching the short.
    Mike: You don't have to HOLD it there!
  • Ignored Aesop: Mike reminds Crow to always use "gentle pressure" to not startle Servo, who just happens to be using a welding torch. Guess what happens?
  • Mind Screw: The minister at one point to Crow.
    Minister: Whenever I do (visit the cafe) I'm often reminded of things that happened to people who weren't even there (accidents).
    Crow: Oh sure, I - HUH?!
  • Repetitive Name:
    Minister: Yes, Joe was a pretty lucky guy. A good job as road electrical foreman, a wonderful girl who wanted nothing in the world more than to be Mrs. Joe.
    Mike: So his name is Joe Joe?
  • Retirony: Jokingly alluded to in the riffing:
    Minister: If (George) could only hold out until retirement time.
    Crow: It's at five o'clock today.
  • Shout-Out: Plan 9 from Outer Space gets a couple.
  • Sinister Minister: The Reverend, despite professing to love and care for all members of his flock, speaks with nothing but the utmost contempt for anyone who was killed horribly in an accident, blaming them for their own deaths. He also gets creepily involved in his congregation's lives while narrating; saying he was "flattered" to be part of someone else's fantasy really grosses out Mike and the bots. When an ambulance passes by, Mike comes to the not-unreasonable conclusion that the Reverend just killed someone.
  • Spoof Aesop:
    Servo: Reverend, I'm having a Crisis of Faith, what should I do?
    Crow: Get safety goggles, my son.
  • This Isn't Heaven: Alluded to during a dream sequence that films a couple making out through the flames of a fireplace.
    Tom: They're in Hell!
  • Toilet Humor: As a guy is loaded onto an ambulance, a worker wearing saggy and soiled (in all the wrong places) overalls stands directly in front of the camera to observe.
    Crow: I had a little accident too.


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