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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S08 E18: Devil Doll

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We had a good time this weekend, didn't we?

Film watched: Devil Doll

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here, and on Shout! Factory here.

The Segments:

  • Crow and Servo hold a Friday Night open-window dorm party, including a sound system hanging out the window. Mike learns that there's no music or booze because Servo only had the money for a window, but the SOL crew party on regardless.

Segment 1

  • In Rome, Pearl and Brain Guy are being paraded around Callipygeas' packed palace as part of a "Welcome Gods" party. To combat the overwhelming boredom, Pearl decides to turn the haughty formal gathering into a bitchin' toga party, but the guests are confused because they're already wearing togas. Brain Guy then suggest a pants party, which has much greater success. Back on the SOL, Mike finally gets his booze when it's shown that the Nanites have a microbrewery. Servo, meanwhile, has the window repacked for when the crew eventually return to the present. Unfortunatley, Crow gets way too deep into his "frat boy" persona and smashes the window while he drunkenly cries over some woman named Debbie.

Segment 2

  • Pitch appears aboard SOL to sell Crow on the perks of collecting literal Devil Dolls. A horrified Mike drives the devilish intruder away... but not before he's briefly tempted by the idea of Demi Moore collecting such dolls.

Segment 3

  • Servo and Crow have converted the SOL's bridge into an old fashioned British pub, complete with a tap and British cuisine. Mike tries to pour himself a hearty stout ale, but the ale turns out to be more stout than he expected, and he's forced to wait as it pours as slowly as possible.

Segment 4

  • Pitch comes back to the SOL to teach Crow about the film's concept of soul swapping, which he utilizes to transfer Servo's soul into a shoddy duplicate of his body. Mike gets fed up with Crow's Satanic ways and tells Pitch to scram, but while he's busy setting Crow straight, Servo transfers his soul into a toaster strudel, which he remains stuck inside for the rest of the episode.

Segment 5

  • Mike wakes up to find himself dressed as Hugo and locked in a cage, left at the mercy of Crow, dressed as Vorelli, and Servo (still a toaster strudel, but now with shapely legs) as his assistant. Back in Rome, Pearl and Brain Guy are brought to the Colosseum for Lesser God Day to see a gladiator do battle against the lions. Much to their surprise, the gladiator today is "The Mad Goth", who they recognize as Bobo!

The MST3K treatment of Devil Doll provides examples of:

  • Alcohol-Induced Stupidity: Because of getting too into his dorm fantasy, Crow gets drunk enough to think he has a girlfriend named Debbie, and that the only way to win her back is to punch a window.
  • Becoming the Mask: "DEBBIIIIIIEEEEEE!"
  • Behind the Black: During the party at Marianne's house, English (William Sylvester's character) sneaks backstage and inspects Hugo while Vorelli is seducing Marianne. After English leaves, the camera stays on Hugo in his cage for a minute, with no indications of passing time, before panning over to Vorelli, lying awake in his bed.
    Mike: (as Vorelli) Did I just see someone walk in and paw my puppet?!?
  • Big "WHAT?!": Crow tries to make a deal with Pitch for a devil dolls and later soul transference. In the end, he also dresses a sleeping Mike up like Hugo and constructs a cage around him, while he acts like Vorelli. When Mike questions these acts and tries to stop him, Crow has this reaction.
  • The Bus Came Back: The last time Pitch was on the show was during Turkey Day '95, and the presentation of Night of the Blood Beast.note 
  • Call-Back:
    • Pitch from Santa Claus (1959) reappears, trying to sell the Satellite of Love crew devil dolls, and eventually he teaches them how to perform the soul transference techniques from the movie.
    • Also, "Leave Robert Denby alone!"
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    Mike: Crow! How could you make a deal with the Devil?!
    Crow: At prices like these, how could I not?
  • Crowd Chant: As the audience applauds at the conclusion of Vorelli's show and the performers take a final bow.
    Mike and the 'bots: Hugo! Hugo! Hugo! BUTT LADY! BUTT LADY! BUTT LADY!
  • Deal with the Devil: Pitch returns to offer Crow the power of soul transference. After Mike talks him out of a deal for literal dolls.
  • Don't Explain the Joke:
    Tom: Hey, where did you get a beer?
    Mike: (drunk) Oh, the nanites have a microbrewery. (expectant pause)
    Tom: (unimpressed) Hunh.
    Mike: (drunk) You see, because they're microscopic —
    Tom: I get it!
  • Foreign Queasine: Tom Servo and Crow combine this with Lethal Chef in their British pub, complete with a traditional British stout beer so thick it comes out of the tap like brown toothpaste.
    • Crow offers Mike spotted dick and chip, as well as boiled mutton, blood pudding, and whipped mad cow.
  • Hope Spot: "Oh, please don't tell me, say it was a lamp!"
  • Hypocritical Humor: Presented without comment:
    Crow: Puppets. Hate 'em.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "Debbie... I punched a window in for you, baby. You gotta take me back, Debbie..."
  • Insistent Terminology: Pitch reminds Mike that he is a devil, not the Devil.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: After Hugo throws away Vorelli's chair during their fight, Crow takes a stab at what's going through his head as he walks over to throttle the man:
  • Lost in Character: Crow winds up becoming so attached to the fantasy of living in a dorm that he becomes an abusive drunk, and thinks he's in an estranged relationship with a girl named Debbie. And apparently, punching in Tom's window would win her back.
    • Crow almost drags Mike into his fantasy.
      Crow: I did it for Debbie. I need to drive over there.
      Mike: No! No, you stay right here. Give me your keys so—Oh what am I saying?
  • Machine Blood: Inverted: When Crow stumbles back onto the bridge after punching in the window, we see that he has a rag wrapped around his hand, covered in red blood, despite being a robot.
  • Male Gaze: "We now go live to Leer Cam!"
  • Medium Awareness: Parodied: At one point during the ending brawl, we (for some reason) cut to a picture of a man reclining on a chair, with an arm raised in acknowledgement. Crow decides to voice the picture:
    Crow: (as the pictured man) Don't ask me!
  • Oh, Crap!: During Hugo's attack on Vorelli, Mike remembers that he once gave his niece a devil doll.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe:
    Crow: (as Hugo threatens Vorelli with a knife) Look familiar, Mike?
    Servo: It may. Soon.
    Mike: (chuckles nervously)
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: A riff from Mike explains why a wooden dummy is able to fight a human male, Hugo has been doing push-ups in his cage.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Servo's Toaster Strudel form.
  • Running Gag:
    • Magda's partially exposed rear comes up every time she appears on screen after that portion of her outfit (or lack of?) is revealed.
    • The crew gets a lot of mileage out of Hugo wanting ham.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To A Charlie Brown Christmas:
      Hugo: I want some wine! Why shouldn't I have some wine?
      Mike: (woodenly, as little sister Sally) All I want is my fair share! All I want is what's coming to me!
    • Pitch is a devil, not the Devil.
    • When Pitch is kicked off the SOL, he gives Crow his card and asks him to "give me a call when Max von Sydow herenote  isn't around."
    • Doubling as Soundtrack Dissonance, right as a montage of events of the film start up as Vorelli is repeatedly slaming Hugo against the wallnote , Crow starts belting out "The Way We Were".
  • Skewed Priorities: According to Tom, right before punching it in, Crow took the time to carefully unpack their window.
  • Squick: In-Universe, Mike points out Vorelli's back fetish, causing him and the bots to react with disgusted groans.
  • Stylistic Suck: Tom's first experience with having his soul transferred results in him getting put into a cheaply-made recreation of his body, complete with poorly painted scrap metal, and shoddily taped plastic for the dome. Tellingly, him transferring his soul into a Toaster Strudel is a step up.
  • Understatement: Right in the middle of Vorelli and Hugo's brawl, Tom notes that "this is gonna make tonight's show pretty tense".
  • Unusual Dysphemism: Servo-as-Vorelli-after-fighting-Hugo explaining the condition of himself and his dressing room.
    Servo: I'm sweaty because I was choking a puppet. No! No!
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Inverted: During Vorelli and Hugo's climactic fight, Vorelli repeatedly tries to pin Hugo to the ground with a chair. The first time this happens, Mike-as-Hugo boasts how that won't work:
    Mike: (as Hugo) Ah ha! It's a wooden chair, and all finished wooden products are my brethren and they will protect me!
  • Wingding Eyes: Crow's pupils turn into Xs while getting deep into the persona of a drunken college student.