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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 08 E 04 The Deadly Mantis

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Film watched: The Deadly Mantis

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation includes the following tropes:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Servo ministers over an impromptu funeral for Pearl.
  • All Men Are Perverts: The entire Arctic base, especially one ensign whom Crow compares to Donny Most, suggesting the below A Date with Rosie Palms. "I've got a mantis in my pantis."
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Pearl crashes her own eulogy when she starts taking potshots at the SOL with a revolver.
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  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Pearl leans out the window of her van — you know, into space — as she shoots at the SOL. But it's just a show.invoked
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The bomb cultists' song.
    Cultists: Oh wonderful bomb! Oh glorious bomb! Oh wonderful glorious bomb!
  • Brick Joke: During the third host segment, after Mike keeps falling asleep at the wheel while driving the SOL, Tom demands to take the wheel, insisting he's an excellent driver. At the start of the next segment, when Mike and Crow walk in on Tom behind the wheel?
    Mike: Do you know how to drive?
  • Butterfly of Doom: The narration at the start of the film attempts to invoke this trope after Stock Footage of a volcano erupting is used to explain the Mantis' awakening. This does not go un-riffed:
    Narrator: For every action...
    Mike: ... there is a Jackson.
    Narrator: ...there is an equal, and opposite, reaction.
    Mike: (as the map on-screen pans north) We take you now to a coldwater flat in Brooklyn, where another volcano is erupting.
    Servo: (when map pans to the North Pole) Because of volcanic activity, a creature named Santa Claus crawled out of the ice!
  • Call-Back:
  • Call-Forward: The future Turkey Volume Guessing Man enjoys the song about turkeys.
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  • Cassandra Truth: Lampshaded
    Nedrick: They (the Army) found an old bone at the North Pole, and they want to know who it belongs to.
    Servo: Oh, and we've been invaded by Spain and mermaids are real.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Crow, as usual:
    Mike: Oh my Lord, they're messing with a thermonuclear device!
    Crow: Yeah! They're supposed to be sending us the movie!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Apparently, Radio Frank is still in operation many centuries into the future.
    • Gypsy saying "Alright, baby, out! Out-out-out-out!" when she takes the wheel from Mike is actually a reference to The Movie — it's exactly what Mike says to her in Segment 2 when he shoos her off the bridge and takes the helm (and breaks the Hubble).
  • Cool Starship: The newly liberated SOL is now one of these, to say nothing of Pearl's rocket-powered Volkswagen microbus, the Widowmaker.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: "I have a feeling this guy is familiar with dishonorable discharge."
  • Deep South: The radio stations the crew pick up makes Servo wonder if they're in the Southern portion of the Milky Way.
  • Dirty Coward: One of the tribesmen abandoning another when the mantis attacks:
    Servo: Good luck!
  • Dress Code: In the opening host segment, Servo announces it's "Business Casual Day" on the SOL and berates Mike for his alleged violations of the (non-existent) dress code.
    Servo: Let's review: no chaps without pants... Mike. Number two: no sheer camisoles... Mike. Number three: no toeless shoes or sandals or spike heels... Mike.
    • Called back, of all things, in Touch of Satan, where Mike, while climbing a ladder, can indeed be clearly seen wearing toeless sandals. Hey, they're comfortable.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Happens offscreen after Professor Bobo and Dr. Peanut help a Cult detonate a thermonuclear bomb.
  • General Failure: "Sir, I just remembered you didn't tell us what your plan is or anything!"
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Jackson tells Marge to pack up her toothbrush, Crow says (as her): "It's in the enlisted quarters."
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Mike can't outmaneuver Pearl to save their lives (literally), so Gypsy takes over and pilots them into hiding in a convenient Asteroid Thicket. She even gets to indulge in some action-movie banter with the villain:
    Pearl: Ha, Nelson, you big sissy! Making that oversized purple shop vac do your driving for ya. HA!
    Gypsy: [whiplash zoom-in close-up] Oh, yeah, sister? Well, you're going to be eating my space-dust!
    Pearl: Dream on. I'm switching to my 9-iron, dead girl. [reaches for another gun]
  • Interspecies Romance: At the end of the episode, Mike and the Bots receive a letter from Peanut (Bobo's assistant). It's revealed he survived Earth's destruction — getting blasted into 2112 Wisconsin and meeting "a nice girl" — a Nelson woman.
    Crow: It's certainly a joyous day for any Nelson woman when she meets the ape of her dreams.note 
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Crow takes great delight in telling Mike and Servo just what the well-marbled, piquant meat they're eating is: the space monster they ran over that ate most of Crow.
  • Joisey: The Army scrambles fighter jets to take down the Mantis:
    Army General: That'll put [the giant mantis] over Newark in a few minutes.
    Servo: Great! We can solve two problems at once!
  • Last Disrespects: The SOL try to say a few words for their fallen Worthy Adversary Pearl after the planet explodes, but quickly get derailed.
    Servo: [dressed as a priest] ...Well, you get our drift, Lord, now that Pearl has gone over to the other side — or rather been hurled violently over to the other side, really, because of Mike's bottomless stupidity...
    Mike: [petulantly] Why do you blame my bottomless stupidity for everything? It isn't alw— [sound of shots ricocheting] hey!
    Pearl: Your Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated, you crapheads!
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Gypsy when she pilots the SOL to safety from Pearl.
    Gypsy: [to Mike] Alright, baby, out! Out-out-out-out! [shoves Mike aside, takes the ship's helm with her mouth]
    Crow: Get it, Gyps!
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Mike's reign of terror begins when he inadvertently helps Prof. Bobo and Dr. Peanut detonate a thermonuclear bomb. While Mike later tries to protest that they'd have blown themselves up anyway, odds are that Pearl would have seen what Bobo and Peanut were doing and stopped them, if not for Mike happening to throw in a suggestion on how to activate the bomb.
  • Never My Fault: Servo blames Mike for hitting the space creature. Even though Servo was driving and Mike warned him about the creature. Mike agrees as both of them sob into each other's arms.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: How Mike Nelson helps Bobo and Peanut detonate said bomb:
    Mike: (offhand) Well why not just use a pair of locking pliers and a spanner?
  • Notable Original Music: The country music which Mike and the bots (bar Crow, who is falling asleep) listen to, to try and stay awake while Mike is piloting the Satellite.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Pearl, word for word, after crashing the SOL's impromptu funeral for her.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In the tunnel, Servo suggests the mantis tries to disguise itself as a highway worker but is given away by his giant ovipositor.
  • The Peeping Tom: Approaching the office where the protagonists are, the mantis looks through the window.
    Crow: It's a peeping mantis.
  • Running Gag:
    • Pointing out how stately the mantis looks when he's flying.
    • The crew actually having the mantis praying while it attacks.
      Crow: (as the mantis) O Blessed the Lord, of thee I sing — GET IT?! (attacks)
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: During a host segment, the SOL runs into a hulking, adorable (according to Servo and Mike) space creature. Bringing it aboard, it takes a liking to Crow — meaning it immediately starts eating him. By the time Mike pulls him out, he's a half-digested wreck.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Since space has no noise, Servo supplies the sound of cars driving during the host segments.
    Servo: Watch, I'll downshift now!
    (Tom Servo hums)
    Crow: What's that?
    Servo: I'm idling.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: Crow's main concern about Bobo and Peanut helping the religious cult detonate the "holy and everlasting Bomb" is that they're doing that instead of providing the Satellite of Love with this week's movie.
  • Stable Time Loop: Peanut is sent back in time by the bomb's explosion, where he marries into Mike's family, helping to cause the eventual Ape uprising... which eventually leads to Peanut's own birth and being sent back in time. Yeah, this is one of those occasions where the MST3K Mantra helps.
  • Stern Chase: So begins Pearl's pursuit of the SOL through time and space, as spoiled by the theme song from the first episode of the season.
  • Story Arc: Pearl's pursuit of the SOL finally kicks off in earnest with the destruction of the Ape Planet/future Earth, and will continue until episode one of the next season.
  • Take That!:
    • "Hopefully John Madden was on that bus."
    • "Maybe the army shouldn't have recruited Keith Moon..."
    • "Still, that was sadder than Terms of Endearment."
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Mike's great-granddaughter looks like Mike in a wig.
  • We Can Rule Together: Parodied.
    Crow: (as the mantis) We're very alike, you and I, Colonel. Join me. No? You care too much, don't you? (laughs)


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