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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 08 E 19 Invasion Of The Neptune Men

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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]

"Suffice it to say that the reprehensible nature of Invasion of the Neptune Men is embodied in the filmmaker's choice to use actual WWII file footage in what is ostensibly a children's film. To glibly summon the darkest shadows of our century because one has run out of models to blow up is to stoop to Schumacherian levels of banality. Though we as a rule cut only for time, we also cut for violent content, and we very clearly considered aerial bombardment footage of Japan to be of a violent nature. Nuff said. ...can you tell I hated this film?"
Kevin Murphy, voice and puppeteer of Tom Servo
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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 Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation has examples of:

  • 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.
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  • Big "SHUT UP!": Immediately following the Take That! involving Luxembourg. Which is actually just another Take That! 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. (You might remember that 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, but neither of them do.)
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: As Space Chief is waving at the kids with 3 fingers during the interminable dogfight sequence at the end, Crow says "Hey, read between the lines, kids."
  • 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.
  • 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. (Although that still doesn't explain the model building with an advert for the Japanese translation of Mein Kampf on it.)
  • Mondegreen: The "Roji Panty Complex", although whatever they're trying to say doesn't seem to make much more sense.
  • Mythology Gag: A lot of riffs make references to Prince of Space.
  • 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 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 DON'T!
      Crow and Tom: [sobbing with frustration]
  • 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 Aww, 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 "Paul is a dead man -- miss him, miss him!"
  • 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 Servo: 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.



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