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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S08 E19: Invasion of the Neptune Men

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Look at that: it's Oliver Reed's liver encased in lucite.

Film watched: Invasion of the Neptune Men

"Oh, I know a song about stock footage. It goes like this: da-da-dadadaDA- EAT IT, MOVIE! TAKE THIS STUPID LITTLE COCKROACH OF A FILM, ROLL IT UP SOOOOO TIGHT, AND THEN RAM IT RIGHT UP YOUR—" [breaks down in sobs]

Noteworthy for standing among those elite films such as Manos and Monster a-Go Go that came close to breaking the cast of MST3K.

The episode is available in the Gizmoplex here.

The Segments:

  • Crow and Tom read an issue of National Geographic and learn about mites living in peoples' eyelashes. They grow disgusted with Mike for allowing such creatures to infest the places in between his eyes.

Segment 1

  • The 'Bots send the Nanites into Mike's eyelashes to wage war against Mike's eyelash mites, under the command of Ned the Nanite. It quickly becomes a microscopic massacre as the mites wipe the Nanites out, with Crow and Servo blaming Mike for allowing such a thing to happen. In Rome, Pearl and Brain Guy meet up with the amnesiac Bobo, the former growing disgusted at all the attention that he's getting as noted gladiator "The Mad Goth". While Flavia continues to be suspicious of Pearl's claim that she and Brain Guy are gods, her husband Callipgyeas grants Bobo a 40ft nude statue in his likeness as a present. The sight of said statue nearly makes Pearl and Brain Guy kill themselves right there, but Brain Guy manages to persuade Pearl into getting Bobo's memories back before he causes a time paradox, such as making it so Chicken in a Biskit is never invented.

Segment 2

Segment 3

  • Tom comes down with a severe case of Roji Panty Complex in the theater, and he has to be treated with applications of women's undergarments to his body. In the palace, Pearl and Brain Guy sneak up on the slumbering Bobo "disguised" as bushes, hoping to get him to stop acting like a god and escape Rome with them. The pair have no success in this endeavor, as Bobo thinks they're actual bushes and calls out for Flavia, who gleefully drives the "talking bushes" away after they're threatened with pruning.

Segment 4

  • The movie's gotten so atrocious that the SOL crew have become sobbing wrecks, actually considering suicide as an alternative to watching anymore of it. Fortunately, a surprise visit from Krankor encourages the crew to push on through to the last stretch, with both parties ending up cheered up and teary-eyed at the encounter.

Segment 5

  • Crow has set up a suggestion box and already gotten a start on filling it up, but Mike finds out that every one of Crow's "suggestions" are simply a means to rebuke and insult Japan, even the one meant for Luxembourg. In Rome, Bobo is chiseling autographs for his fans as Pearl and Brain Guy wait in line to see him. After hitting on Pearl and chiseling his room number, the infuriated scientist smashes Bobo over the head with one of his own stone tablets, letting the ape regain his memories. After being brought up to speed, Bobo openly laughs at how everybody's been thinking Pearl and Brain Guy are gods and that he's some kind of gladiator, resulting in Flavia instantly having the trio arrested.

The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation of Invasion of the Neptune Men has examples of:

  • Adolf Hitlarious: While in the unriffed film, it was just a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment, Mike and the Bots make the destruction of the "Hitler building" unintentionally hilarious.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Invoked for the main cast of children.
    Mike: These kids are, like, 10, so...
    Servo: Yeah, they're well out of college.
    Crow: Shouldn't they be at their jobs, then?
  • Berserk Button: Both on and off screen for the MST3K crew. On screen, the film was among those that came the closest to breaking the Satellite of Love crew, and sparked Servo's meltdown at the top. Off screen, as noted above, the production staff and cast was extremely disapproving of footage from a different Japanese film (World War III Breaks Out, if you're curious) that appeared for all the world to be genuine WW2 bombing footage being incorporated into what was essentially a sci-fi film, an attitude that was given free rein in the more-merciless-than-usual riffing.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Immediately following the Take That! involving Luxembourg. Which is actually just another against Japan.
    Mike: Crow! You-
    Crow: Hey hey, Mike: are you Luxembourg?
    Mike: No.
    Crow: Then SHUT UP!!
  • Big "WHAT?!": Mike and the Bots' reaction upon seeing the Hitler Building.
    Tom: They took out the Hitler Building! Where's everybody going to go to see Hitler memorabilia?!
    Crow: Oh, the Hitler Rides and Games, the Hitler salt and pepper shakers!
    Mike: That great restaurant, the Bunker... It's gone! You sons of a...!
    Crow: You blew it up!
    • Later:
      Crow: What's next? The Mussolini Mall?
      Tom: Followed by the Pinochet Petting Zoo.
  • Brain Bleach: Bobo's statue.
    Bobo: Heavens, I'm nude!
  • Butterfly of Doom: Observer convinces Pearl to go after Bobo because he may accidentally change history and prevent the invention of Chicken in a Biskit, Pearl's favorite snack. Doubles as a Call-Back as just three episodes earlier, Pearl convinced Observer to go after Bobo because he may accidentally change history and prevent the invention of slot machines, Pearl's favorite hobby, right before sending the SOL an old tokusatsu movie. Yet neither of them notice the coincidence.
  • Call-Back:
    Servo: [as the Neptune Men blow up the kids' car] Space Chief's off having a couple Sapporos with Jet Jaguar and Prince of Space.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Mike snarks "Yeah, right" when citizens are ordered "Do not panic!" by loudspeakers.
  • Cliffhanger: Perhaps the most prominent one of the season 8 story arc. Pearl and Observer are exposed as frauds by Bobo, and Flavia says, "Guards! Seize them!" Cue dramatic sting.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: In-Universe. One of Crow's suggestions for Japan is to stop being represented by "big-eyed, gun-toting, pre-pubescent blondes," which Mike refers to as "That Sailor Moon thing there." "Big-eyed" and "blonde" are the only accurate descriptions of the actual character. But it's all part of the episode's sustained Take That!.
  • Driven to Suicide: Pearl and Observer's reaction to Bobo's nude statue:
    (A long, sustained Gasp! from Observer and Pearl)
    Observer: Well, there you have it. It's time, I think.
    (summons a noose)
    Pearl: NO! BRAIN GUY, NO! NO! (grabs it from him) I'M using it!
    Observer: Oh no you're not!
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: The crew gets a lot of mileage from the Neptune Men disguising themselves by wearing heavy pancake makeup and lipstick.
    • Later:
      Servo: Corporal, I can see your panty-lines!
      Crow: (softly) Roji-Panty Complex!
    • And then:
      Mike: Sergeants Gladys and Peggy.
    • And then:
      Servo: Ready... Strut! Pout! Put it out!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: In-universe, Phantom of Krankor — while he didn't get much respect in the end segment for his own episode, Mike and the 'Bots welcome his return here with open arms, grateful for the levity he brings after enduring a truly mind-numbing experience without anything to cheer them up. Krankor is even a little touched by the sentiment.
  • The Faceless: Callipygeas is mostly off-screen during the statue unveiling, as Kevin Murphy has to be on-screen during the scene as Bobo.
  • Fake Shemp: Kevin Murphy had to play Bobo during the statue unveiling, so someone else played a mostly-offscreen Callipygeas (just his hand and arm) while Kevin Murphy's voice was dubbed in later.
  • Funny Background Event: Bobo as "the Mad Goth" is signing his autograph on a stone tablet and a chisel. That's funny enough, but even funnier is that since Bobo is illiterate, he's just making big "X"'s on the tablets, even when he supposedly is writing "Go easy on the lions!" or hitting on Pearl.
  • Heroic BSoD: Mike and the bots' reaction to the film.
    Crow: To be dead, to be nothing... to watch Neptune Men no more.
  • Historical In-Joke: One of Bobo's fans is a teen Julius Caesar.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    Crow and Servo: (as Space Chief and the Neptune Men, in unison) HA-HA-HA-HA-HA — Your costume is ridiculous!
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: The Neptune men's ship strafing run across the city has Mike say one of these:
    Mike: I never thought I'd say this, but this makes Independence Day look like a richly nuanced movie.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: When Mike leaves the theater due to being fed up with the movie, Crow leaves with the excuse that he has to go and repair the septic tanks. It could be assumed he was going to check on Mike because while the movie plays, there is no oxygen anywhere on the ship except in the theater.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Tom Servo desperately tries to convince himself that he's watching The Magnificent Ambersons, only to break down sobbing.
    Servo: I don't even like The Magnificent Ambersons!
  • Misblamed: The Stock Footage was not from World War II. Rather, it was from a 1960 Japanese film, World War III Breaks Out, a fictional account of nuclear war. The Hitler building is based on advertisements for the then-recent documentary Mein Kampf on it, though that still doesn't explain why the filmmakers thought to reproduce it as a model for their science fiction movie aimed at children.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: How Pearl and Brain Guy try to sneak up on Bobo. Flavia isn't fooled and does some pruning to shoo them off.
  • Mondegreen Gag: "Roji Panty Complex" for "Rojium and Tanium", two fictional elements named for two of the scientists in the film. Even the second time, when what they're saying is much more clear, Mike and the Bots react as if they said "Roji Panty" again.
  • Mythology Gag: A lot of riffs make references to Prince of Space.
  • Never My Fault: After giving Mike grief about having disgusting mites living in his eyelashes, Tom and Crow then berate Mike for sending the nanites in to take care of them, and then continue blaming him for the horrid condition of his eyelashes once the mites have been killed off.
  • No Name Given: Lampshaded by Servo in regards to the kids.
    Servo: Do any of these kids even have names?
    Mike: Well, they're all so distinct, I don't think they need names.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Mike tries to force this ending on the movie.
    Mike: They were never seen again and Japan came to an end. The End!
  • Race-Name Basis: In his guest appearance, Mike reintroduces the villain from the season's previous Japanese space movie as "the Phantom Dictator of Krankor from Prince of SpaceKrankor!" . This is actually wrong on two counts: in his movie, Krankor is the planet he comes from, which the guys seemed to know, but Phantom is actually his name, not just part of his title (he's Phantom, Dictator of Krankor).
  • Running Gag: "Where's my record?"note 
  • Sanity Slippage: You bet.
    • Servo gets it worst, flips out the most during the Japanese theater "Who's on First?" segment, reduced to spinning his head (while wearing a Kabuki mask) and making circus calliope noises, coming down with a bad case of Roji-Panty Complex, and freaking out as the crew languishes in the final third of Neptune Men.
    • The movie comes closer to breaking the SOL than almost any other, and Crow and Mike independently both decide they have to leave the theatre for several minutes. In Mike's case, this is in spite of the fact that it's been established that the Forresters drain all the oxygen out of the ship at movie sign, which Mike mutters about as he comes back in.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Around an hour, 19 minutes, and 49 seconds into the episode, it looks like Mike has reached his limit with the movie and just declares he's just going to leave the room. He does so with Crow following him, despite the fact that Crow warns against it because while the movie plays, there is no oxygen anywhere in the Satellite of Love apart from the theater. Mike finds this out the hard way and comes back into the theater a short while later.
  • Self-Deprecation: Another dig on Mike's rural Wisconsin upbringing:
    Crow: Say, Mike, was there a Hitler building where you grew up?
    Mike: Not, um... no, no.
    Crow: You sure?
    Mike: ...Yeah.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Starring Santa! Speed Racer! Shonen Knife! Sailor Moon!"
    • The opening bits concerning the Nanites battling Mike's eyelash mites is a shout out to The Vietnam War and movies about it (like Apocalypse Now and Platoon). The aftermath then parodies Ken Burns' The Civil War miniseries, complete with the documentary's music.
    • A couple of Lord of the Flies references:
      • The chubby-cheeked, glasses-wearing boy is described as "the Piggy of the group."
      • Bill's chant in one of the many, many scenes of the boys running: "Kill the pig! Drink its blood! — oh, wait, that's another story."
    • Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys is a play about washed-up Vaudeville writers. Who's on First? is one of the best-known classic vaudeville routines. Noh, as in noh theatre, is pronounced the same way as "no". Put them all together and you get the extended shout-out to Abbott and Costello that is Segment 2.
      Mike: Go ahead, but remember I like noh theatre more than I like kabuki!
      Crow: But I thought you didn't LIKE kabuki!
      Mike: [as Lou Costello] I DO!
      Crow and Tom: [sobbing with frustration]
    • When the Tokyo Tower is destroyed again, it's accompanied by a cry of "WKRPEEEEEEEEE....!"
  • Skewed Priorities: Pearl has little to no reaction to being told Bobo's adoration might change history and thereby destroy the universe, but she does get angry when informed that destroying the universe would also destroy Nabisco's Chicken In a Biskit.
    Pearl: Bobo is...messing...with my...favorite...snack...CRACKER?!
  • Soap Opera Disease: Servo comes down with Roji-Panty Complex from the movie and is bedridden for one host segment, while Mike has to administer four-packs of female undergarmentsnote . Crow then decides he has it too.
  • Special Guest: The Phantom Dictator of Krankor from Prince of Space shows up in one host segment. The movie is so soul-crushingly bad that Mike and the bots are actually glad to see him, and indeed, he saves them from finally going insane as they share a touching and heartfelt Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment (despite this being the second and last time Krankor ever appears).
    Servo: After a movie like this, to check in with a voice of sanity like Krankor — well, it's healing.
  • Squick: In-universe, the bots feel this way after seeing photos of eyelash mites in an issue of National Geographic. They then decide to have the Nanites kill-off Mike's eyelash mites. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Subliminal Seduction: Referenced; as the record in the jukebox begins to spin backwards, Crow chants conspiracy theories "Paul is a dead man — miss him, miss him!"]]
  • Suckiness Is Painful: One of the few times the riffers got close to being psychologically hurt.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Played with. The 'Bots ask Mike if there's a Hitler building where he grew up. Mike sort of has to think about it rather than giving a straight no, as a bit of his usual Self-Deprecation when it comes to rural Wisconsin.
  • Take That!:
    • Done for laughs with the "Suggestions for Japan" segment:
      Crow: "Dear Japan, stop making movies!"
      • Mike reads one of Crow's suggestions:
        Mike: "Japan, please reconsider cartoon gun-toting, big-eyed, prepubescent blondes as your national hero."
      • After getting yelled at for his Suggestion Box taking it out on all of Japan, Crow reveals a suggestion for another country:
        Crow: "Luxembourg: please get down on your bony European knees, and thank your lucky stars every day that you're not Japan!"
    • And, back in the theatre:
      Tom: [to crowd of fleeing Japanese] Run! Work! Run faster! Work harder! Abandon healthy diets! Drink a lot! Never speak to your children! DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THE WAR!
    • A subtler one as the Neptune Men Leader (voiced by Mike) accuses his underlings of stealing his record — a Loggins and Messina album.
    • Also:
      Tom: The MTV news thing is broken!
      Crow: Good.
  • Troll: At the end of the Who's on First? segment, Mike reveals he's doing it on purpose to mess with Tom and Crow. Presumably in revenge for their trolling him with the eyelash mite/nanite war ('The Battle of Forehead Ridge') earlier.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Mike and the bots are amused at the voices for a couple of the kids, who sound way too old for their age.
  • Who's on First?: The 'bots put on the classic kabuki play (not really) Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys. Mike likes noh theatre better. Hilarity Ensues.
    Crow: Ah, yes sir! And do you enjoy kabuki theatre?
    Mike: Uh, actually, I prefer noh theatre?
    Tom: Well then why did you raise your hand?
    Mike: Because I like noh theatre. Noh plays are my favorite!
    Tom: ...So you don't like any theater at all?
    Mike: [chuckling] No, let me explain.
    • Later, of all people —
      Gypsy: I get it, Mike.