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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S08 E15: Agent for H.A.R.M.

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"Oh, that stands for 'Huge Angular Red Marshmallows'."
"'Hirsute Astronauts Revile Massachusetts'."
"'Heuristic Analog Rental Meat'."

Film watched: Agent for H.A.R.M.

The Segments

  • Crow and Servo are getting EXTREME, by which we mean they're engaging in the mundane activities of philately and yoga while yelling about how EXTREME it is. They invite Mike to join in, but the only EXTREME thing he can think of is eating rice, prompting the crew to learn that some things are hard to make extreme.

Segment 1

  • As Mike's EXTREME RICE fails to take off with the 'Bots, he suddenly teleports off the SOL. Clad in a prisoner's garb and stuck to a ball and chain with his hands cuffed, Mike finds himself in a black-and-white interdimensional courtroom, where the Intergalactic Tribunal puts him on trial for all the planets he's blown up this season... as well as a failure to yield. Thanks to the Judge's lack of understanding sarcasm and his own lack of learning quickly, Mike accidentally chooses Bobo as his defense attorney and Pearl as his prosecutor, which doesn't bode well for his chances at all. To top it all off, the Judge sustains Pearl's opening request to make Mike watch another bad movie during the recesses, teleporting him inside the theater just as the film starts.

Segment 2

  • On the SOL, Crow and Servo bake a linzertorte to send to Mike while he's in prison, though the power saw Crow has "hidden" inside it might be a little too obvious. In the courtroom, Pearl makes her opening statement, using a variety of props to get her point across like a schoolyard bully. Channeling his inner Matlock, Bobo makes his own opening statement in an attempt to defend Mike, but it turns into incoherent rambling about food and the word "panties". Mike strangles the ape for his pathetic defence, making him even more guilty.

Segment 3

  • Back in the trial, Bobo has the 'Bots speaking for Mike's defense via video deposition. Servo treats his deposition like a star-studded telethon and is too busy listing guest stars to say anything about Mike. Crow's deposition in borderline incomprehensible because he's too busy cursing everybody out and prompting to many bleeps to sound. Gypsy's deposition has her bluntly declaring that Mike didn't do anything wrong, but Bobo throws it out after accusing Gypsy of hearsay.

Segment 4

  • Servo and Crow root through a law textbook for a legal precedent they can use to help Mike. The one Servo finds can unfortuantely only help Mike if he's a goose in Illinois. Back in court, Brain Guy is called to the stand to recount the events of Mike destroying his planet in dramatic fashion. Bobo manages to completely destroy his testimony over his encyclopedic knowledge of pies. Yes, pies.

Segment 5

  • Determining that Mike is doomed, the 'Bots hold a candelight vigil for him. As the trial continues, Ortega is brought to the stand for a cross-examination, but his intelligible speech limits his testimony. Bobo also calls a young Amish boy to the stand, and Pearl wastes his time up there so she can rant about the bad fudge she got at an Amish farm one time. In the midst of this chaos, the Judge declares his verdict: Mike is guilty of destroying all those planets, but since he's an amicable lug who clearly had no actual intention to destroy said planets, his original sentence of the death penalty is instead commuted to 800 hours of community service. He is sent back to the SOL to a joyous reaction from the 'Bots, who've filled the bridge with trash for him to clean up. He continues cleaning said trash over the credits.

The MST3K presentation of Agent for H.A.R.M. contains these tropes:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Done on purpose in Mike's trial. He is offered an assortment of possible defense attorneys to represent him, including Bobo the Gorilla. Mike asks why Bobo is on the list, which the Sarcasm-Blind judge takes to mean he's choosing Bobo. Only a few seconds later Mike is offered his choice of prosecutors, including Pearl Forrester, and again his immediate response is to sarcastically say he's choosing Pearl. Even Mike admits he doesn't learn quickly.
  • The Alcoholic: Adam's boss (mainly because he is played by Wendell Corey, whose alcoholism impacted his career and led to his death from cirrhosis).
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Judge: Michael J. Nelson, you are charged with crimes against man and nature.
    Mike: So that "failure to yield" finally went to bench warrant, huh? I knew I should've...
    Judge: No, but now that we know about that we'll add that to the charges.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Mike and the bots find it so amusing how Adam Chance growls "Drive!" to a mook, that they do an exaggerated version of that growl twice afterwards.
    Servo: (growling) DRIVE! While I do my grizzly bear impression!
    Mike: (in a deep-throated growl) Driiiiiiive.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Adam, visiting Stefanik's body in the morgue, ponders why Stefanik was unable to survive the spore attack:
    Adam: Maybe the low pressure of the flight here counteracted the antidote... maybe there is no antidote...
    Crow: Maybe you botched the case, Adam.
  • Callback: One short musical phrase reminds Mike and the bots of Torgo's theme song.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: One of the thugs is almost a dead ringer for Prince, and as a result the riffs fly fast and furious. (Especially since Prince was from Minnesota.)
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: Crow's testimony at Mike's trial.
    Crow: Is This Thing On? Hi! I'm Crow T. Robot and I'm here to tell you that Mike Nelson is innocent. Mike Nelson is 200 % [bleep]ing not guilty. And if you [bleep]s don't [bleep] find him innocent, then you can just [bleep]ing kiss my fat [bleep]ing [bleep]. And that [bleep]ing goes for your bull[bleep] court system, too! Mike, I'm so [bleep]ing sorry I couldn't [bleep]ing be there for this [bleep]ing [bleep]y really bogus trial, man. But let me [bleep] tell ya something, Nelson. If I was there, I'd [bleep]ing kick everyone's fat stupid [bleep]ing behinds and then cram it up their [bleep]ing [bleep]. Anyway, Mike, buddy, I hope this [bleep] helps. Take care, Mike.
  • Conviction by Contradiction: Bobo completely demolishes Observer's testimony during Mike's trial thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge of pies.
    • The full scene is funny on a different level for those who know a thing or two about apple pies. Observer's whole testimony is more or less a litany of pie-baking don'ts, and the point Bobo "catches" him on is the least offender of the bunch.
    • Meanwhile, Pearl attempts to do this to the Little Amish Boy, asking him if he buttoned up his pants or surfed the web. She fails.
  • Creepy Uncle: Crow jokes about this with Dr. Stefanik and Ava, who is pretending to be his niece.
    Dr. Stefanik: It's incredible how close the two of us have gotten since she came to stay with me.
    Crow: Ah, actually, it's illegal...
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The trial, with tons of Chiaroscuro.
  • French Jerk: After Dr, Stefanik's beret-wearing contact pulls a spore gun out and betrays the scientist at the border.
    Servo: "A traitorous Frenchman. Who would've thought?"
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    Mike: Oh, that stands for Huge Angular Red Marshmallows.
    Crow: Hirsute Astronauts Revile Massachusetts.
    Servo: Heuristic Analog Rental Meat!
    Mike: So "HARM" stands for "Hot And Ready, Ma'am".
    (For the record: According to the big board in Adam's boss' office, it means "Human Aetiologicalnote  Relations Machine.)
  • Hanging Judge: The judge claims that he is going to be impartial, just before he notes that Mike disgusts him "beyond measure", and at another point he outright calls Mike "the guilty one" even though he hasn't actually been convicted.
  • Humans Are Bastards: An alien tribunal puts Mike Nelson, the Destroyer of Worlds himself on trial. The judge says Mike's actions are typical of mankind. However...
    • Humanity on Trial: The judge chastises Mike as soon as he guesses that he's going through this trope.
      Mike: Oh, so it's one of those deals where I'm put on trial for all of humanity and their fate depends on my guilt or innocence?
      Judge: No! Why are you trying to blame everyone else? You're the guilty one, don't try to drag everyone else down with you!
  • Insane Troll Logic: Pearl demolishes the Little Amish Boy's credibility as a witness, on the grounds that...she got some bad fudge at an Amish farm once. Not that calling a Little Amish Boy as a character witness for Mike in his trial was all that logical to begin with, but...
    • Berserk Button: Pearl's accusation causes Bobo to vehemently defend Amish fudge as the finest in the world.
  • Jail Bake: Crow and Servo bake a linzertorte with a power saw sticking out of it for Mike. At least Gypsy is fooled.
  • Jizzed in My Pants: When Ava invites Adam for a swim, informing him that she left a pair of trunks in his room:
    Ava: Are you coming? Or do I swim alone?
    Crow: (as Adam) Yes, and yes..
  • Kangaroo Court: It's Mike's own fault, ironically, since out of all the people he chose to come to his trial, he stupidly chose Bobo as his attorney and Pearl as his prosecution. Though, to be fair, they were chosen only because the judge is a Literal Genie who's also Sarcasm-Blind (although, as Mike admits, he clearly doesn't learn very fast). And Tom and Crow are no help at all.
    • To be fair, Mike did request St. Therese of Lisieux as his prosecutor, but she was on a racketeering case for the Bronx D.A.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Trope Namer from The She-Creature. And to the point where Mike gets put on trial and sentenced to death for it. But since he's basically an amiable lug, it gets commuted to community service.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Crow and Servo partake in EXTREME YOGA and EXTREME PHILATELY! Mike tries to get into EXTREME RICE, but fails.
  • Nausea Fuel: Invoked. Near the end, a revulsed Mike says that the film can be used as an ipecac (which induces vomiting.)
  • No Budget: Invoked. Mike expresses disappointment that people wasted an entire weekend making this movie.
  • No Sympathy: When Mike gets put on trial, Tom and Crow show absolutely no concern for him and don't take the trial seriously at all, complete with Crow giving out abusive censored F-this and F-that to everyone instead of giving out a proper formal testimony.
  • One-Man Army: One soldier chasing the two escaping scientists across the Iron Curtain.
    Servo: In its final days, budget cuts reduced the Soviet´╗┐ army to one soldier.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Judge's voice changed accents and octaves in every segment.
  • Running Gag: Singing the James Bond theme everytime something doesn't happen. (For the record, that's thirteen times over the course of the movie.)
    Servo: He maintains an appliance. DA-DA-DA-DAAH!
    • Mike and the bots also have a field day with the one henchman who looks like Prince.
    • How the love interest supposedly looks like a baby.
    • Referencing the hero's cardigan sweaters.
    • Talking in a New England lockjaw whenever a preppy-looking henchman shows up.
      Servo (as Adam strangles the preppy henchman with a coat hanger): Pops, there's a man giving a squish-squash to the ol' wind tube!
    • Characters stopping midway through a conversation to walk across the room to stand closer together.
    • Adam's boss being an alcoholic because of his slurred speech.
  • Shout-Out: A lot, as is par for the course for MST3K. One notable shoutout is to The Three Stooges.
    Servo: I will Agent For Haaaaaaaaaaarm you!
  • Simple Country Lawyer: Bobo suddenly turns into Matlock for much of the trial, with some Peyton Place thrown in. (Whether or not he's a brilliant orator and legal counsel or the same old dumb, smelly ape in a white suit playing at being an expert has mostly to do with Rule of Funny — and his love of pies.)
    Bobo: You know, folks, we're gonna hear the word "panties" used a lot in this trial so let's get them giggles out now. Panties, panties, panties, panties, panties, panties. (long pause) Panties, panties, panties...note 
  • Take That!: When Ava points a spore gun at Adam.
    Adam: What is this, a going-away present?
    Ava: In a way—it's the least I can do. (hands him the gun) My uncle gave it to me for protection.
    Mike: "My uncle's Ted Nugent!"
  • Useless Protagonist: Adam which the guys lampshade at the end.
    Mike: So the only thing he did in this movie was call the Vienna Archery Association?
    Tom: That's it.