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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S08 E03: The Mole People

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Oh, these are the people who make that nice Mexican sauce.

Film watched: The Mole People

The episode is available on the MST3k YouTube channel here.

The Segments:

  • Crow has replaced his eyes with a new novelty pair that resemble glowing red orbs and play eerie sci-fi music, and declares himself an all-powerful Space Child, which Mike and Servo don't buy into. His "Commander" orders him to enslave the rest of the crew, but he soon gets into an argument with said commander.

Segment 1

  • After Mike removes Crow's eyes and finds out that they're cheap novelties, the apes call the SOL. Turns out, Deep Ape in in the midst of the 32nd Annual Lawgiver Daze celebration, a hastily declared holiday where Lawgiver Pearl has herself honored with a parade and all sorts of presents. Bobo thinks the whole thing is a waste of time, but he ends up feverently begging Pearl to kill him when she hears his grievances. The SOL crew is put in charge of the Lawgiver Daze bake sale, where Servo presents a platter of similar-but-differently named pastries. Crow, meanwhile, has baked a literal mile-high lemon meringue pie, having to stand on a ladder just to cut a slice of it, and falling a full mile when he stumbles.

Segment 2

  • Mike pretends to be Dr. Baxter, the "Gesture Professor" from the film's prologue, and contacts Crow and Servo from the Hexfield. He reappears on the ship, still trying to perform the bit, prompting Servo and Crow to get him to cut it out. Mike proceeds to throw a tantrum about how the 'Bots are allowed to act out their sketches all the time, and how frustrating it is to have his own sketches put down. The 'Bots understand what he's going through, thankfully.

Segment 3

  • Servo dolls himself up as a beatnik and breaks out his guitar to sing a ballad about his adventures throughout the universe over the past 500 years. The song itself is interrupted by his rambling exposition and his trying to get himself in tune, and when he finally starts playing, a string breaks and hits Mike in the eye, sending Tom hovering away crying.

Segment 4

  • Crow claims to have discovered evidence of an ancient civilization below the SOL's bridge. As Mike investigates, he finds that all of the "artifacts" Crow unearths are based on himself. When Mike points out the contradictions in his discoveries, Crow has a breakthrough that he's been by himself on the ship for 500 years, and he finally remembers who Mike is! He also realizes that he may have gone a little too crazy from all those years of solitude.

Segment 5

  • Even though Crow now has his memories back, he still insists that there's an ancient civilization living beneath the SOL. Sure enough, Mike checks to find a pair of whiny Sumerian priests hiding beneath the floorboards, which he easily dispatches with a flashlight. In Deep Ape, Pearl receives her Lawgiver Daze present: a hunky human slave named Howard. She initially doesn't see the point of him at first, but she amorously calls for him when she finally understands.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of The Mole People contains these tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: When the high priest Elinu (played by Alan Napier, who played Batman's butler Alfred on the sixties series) leads a religious ceremony in the temple within the enormous cave.
    Crow: No one is to tell Mr. Wayne about our little soiree.
  • Actor/Role Confusion: The characters played by John Agar and Hugh Beaumont (as usual in the latter's case) are referred to almost exclusively by the actors' names.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: After Lafarge gets killed.
    Crow: Is the first stage of grief pure, unbridled joy?
  • Bad Boss: The Mole People get whipped for no/any reason.
    Crow: "We have no idea what we're supposed to be doing! We pick up the dirt, you whip us! We put down the dirt, you whip us! C'mon!"
    Servo: "This is all about whipping us, isn't it?"
  • Big "SHUT UP!": They do this towards the end of the film.
  • Bluff the Impostor: Pearl does this to Bobo, asking him what he liked most about Lawgiver Daze. She catches him in a lie, when he claims he loved the non-existent cakewalk.
  • Buried Alive: When one of the expedition members is killed, the guys pretend this is what really happened to him.
  • Creator Provincialism: Is there anything as quintessentially Midwestern as a Harvest Days/Daze celebration/fair?
  • Designated Parents: Tom and Crow take on the role of mothering authority figure and overbearing friend to berate Mike over his unfunny (so they say) attempted Gesture Professor sketch.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Pearl at the end, when the apes gift her a human hunk for Lawgiver Daze. "What the heck am I supposed to do with a well-oiled, beefy, handsome, mute stud...oh. Oh, Howaaard~...!"
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: When it comes to Lawgiver Daze.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: Invoked. Played for Laughs, of course.
    Servo: Let this be a lesson to us all: never attempt to unearth ancient civilizations!
    Mike: Stick your head in the sand!
    Crow: Don't go chasing waterfalls!
  • Hate Sink: John Agar's character drives Mike and the bots up the wall. By the end of the film Crow is praying out loud for his death.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Overlapping with Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot when Adad the Marked One asks John Agar to take her with him back into the surface world:
    Servo: [as Agar] I’d like to, honey, but I’m a gay, married, impotent priest with a terminal illness and occasional herpes and also I’m a hologram on the run from the law.
  • The Load: Lafarge is called this verbatim by the crew, as the luckless sidekick to Agar and Beaumont's leads. At the end, they say both Etienne and Lafarge translate as "The Load" in French.
    Crow: Load Load.
  • Long List: Servo rattles off a list of various confections at high speed in the first host segment. He also has way more pastry names than physical pastries: he repeatedly gives different names for the same individual pastries as Mike points at them.
  • Missing Time: This is revealed to have happened to Crow, explaining (and ending) his amnesia about Mike and the others in Season 8. During one host segment, Mike points out that Crow had made all of the "ancient" artifacts he was digging up.
    Crow: But that would mean that I lived here by myself for 500 years...? Mike, it's you! And Servo! How are you guys? What was I doing here with myself?
    • At some point, Crow made a fertility doll of himself as a female because, apparently, he couldn't conceive.
  • Mr. Exposition: Know-it-all John Agar's (Bentley's) endless, long-winded explanations. Mike and the 'bots quickly tire of him.
    Crow: I treasure these brief moments when John Agar isn't talking. [...]
    Mike: No, don't ask him a question...!!
  • Mr. Fanservice: Looking good, Howard.
  • Mythology Gag: Subverted. The crew had checked out The Mole People years before, but never used it for an experiment. However, they did exclaim, "It's Mole People! These movies have crashed!" when outtakes from the film appeared as Stock Footage in The Wild World of Batwoman. The previous Mads had also employed a few as their rarely-seen camera crew/interns (played by the show's actual interns), Gerry and Sylvia.
  • "No. Just… No" Reaction: Mike tries to do a sketch where he dresses as a character from the film (the "gesture professor") and acts silly like the Bots always do, but they shut it down.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Servo tries to sing a ballad of his space hero exploits over the past five hundred years but can't get his guitar to stay in tune. Eventually he tears up and goes off in a huff. Typical Servo.
    Mike: Did you bring it up from the basement recently?
    Gypsy: Maybe the neck is warped. You should keep an orange peel in the case!
    Crow: Servo, you couldn't tune a kazoo!
  • Overly Long Gag: Crow climbing up to the top of his literally mile-high lemon meringue pie... and then falling.
  • Right Behind Me: Bobo grabs Professor Peanut and yells about how much he hates Lawgiver Daze just as Pearl comes up in a palanquin. "You haven't been enjoying my Daze at all!"
  • Running Gag:
    • Referring to bumbling sidekick Lafarge exclusively as "the load."
    • Mike's "Going down, down, down" and the Bots telling him to stop.
    • "...Pilgrim."
    • John Agar, as the resident Mr. Exposition and giver of the movie's Kirk Summations and Picard Speeches, just can't stop talking and talking.
    • Adad appears to be playing a banjo. Servo substitutes hillbilly music accordingly.
    • The albino guys being compared to elves, or Smurfs or other small races.
  • Shown Their Work: People have done the research and claim that the length of time it took Crow to fall one mile (18 seconds) was accurate.
  • Special Guest: Minnesota Vikings running back Robert Smith as a mute hunk that the apes give to Pearl as a present.
  • Take That!:
    • Mike suggests imagining Adam Sandler is being whipped instead of the Mole People when Crow is disturbed.
      Crow: Hmm, suddenly it's great now!
    • In the "Damned by Faint Praise" department, when the high priest condemns the protagonists to die in the Fire of Ishtar:
      Crow: Hey, that movie wasn't that bad!
    • One might surmise a lot of the negativity towards John Agar was because of his being a famously abusive and heavy-drinking husband of Shirley Temple.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Howard gives a look that just screams this, complete with a Loud Gulp, when Pearl has her aforementioned "Eureka!" Moment.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Mike snaps at the bots for shutting his lame gag down when he always went along with their lame gags.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Lawgiver Daze; you can practically hear the "Z" whenever Mary Jo Pehl says the name. The Z is confirmed in the celebratory banner on Pearl's float.