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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S09 E01: The Projected Man

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Film watched: The Projected Man

This episode introduces Castle Forrester as a permanent home for Pearl and her minions (and as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Deep 13).

The Segments:

  • The Satellite of Love has finally come out of the wormhole that it's been trapped in last season. Despite everybody's doubts, Gypsy reports that they're now in orbit over Earth, as in THE modern-day Earth with no weird changes whatsoever.

Segment 1

  • Down on Earth, Pearl, Bobo, and Brain Guy have come across a spooky old castle in the mountains. Pearl realizes that they have been drawn to Castle Forrester, the ancestral home of her wicked clan. She has a movie sent to the SOL while she explores.

Segment 2

  • Crow and Servo claim to have created a projector that will send Mike's prized possessions "someplace else", but it doesn't seem to be doing anything but blowing said possessions up.

Segment 3

  • Mike calls up Prof. Lembach to see if he can convince him to stay instead of leaving. Pearl is studying her ancestors' history and their love of torturing victims with badly-made art and media.

Segment 4

  • Crow has obtained the power of the Touch of Death and zaps Mike with it. He remains out of it even when the movie resumes, and so Crow zaps him back to life.

Segment 5

  • Crow and Servo pitch experiments to Mike in hopes of getting a grant. Now fully devoted to continuing her family's legacy, Pearl swears that she will conquer the world... just as soon as Bobo lands from falling down the stairs.

Tropes from the MST3K episode include:

  • Actor Allusion: In-Universe, the guys recognize Bryant "The Great Vorelli" Haliday from Devil Doll and make a few jokes off his role in it. "You're an ugly, stupid little doctor."
    Servo: [as Steiner, as Vorelli] And bring some ham... I love it!
  • Battle Chant: Bobo and Observer do a Winkie-esque one of these as they march behind Pearl (in their new uniforms for the first time) as she reclaims Castle Forrester. The words? "Hum de de hee heehoowa, hoowa."
  • British Stuffiness: "Paul! Listen to me, think of all the things we used to discuss, in our dry and impersonal British way!"
  • British Teeth: Apparently the most colorful thing besides the throw pillows.
  • Advertisement:
  • Continuity Nod: The characters have a bit of fun with the fact that one character is named Mitchell.
  • Country Matters: Alluded to:
    Dr. Hill: (in British accent) You can't!
    Servo: What'd she call him?!
  • Double Entendre: The two male burglars and female burglar keep exchanging sexual euphemisms, grossing out Mike and the bots.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Everybody starts enjoying the movie when Sheila strips down to her underwear.
    Crow: I declare this movie suddenly great!
  • Face Palm: Pearl finishes the episode on one of these, fingertips to the forehead as if in great pain.
  • For the Evulz: The Bots claim they're transporting Mike's most treasured possessions someplace else with their homemade projector, but they're likely just burning them all up for a laugh.
    • Mike manages to realize this by the end, and then tricks the Bots into destroying something Servo loved.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Upon seeing that the director of photography is Stanley Pavey, B.S.C.:note 
    Crow: Stanley Pavey — Big, Stinky, Crappy Director of Photography!
  • It Runs in the Family: The ancient Forresters apparently trapped people in caves and sealed them in walls, forcing them to listen to bad sagas and look at terrible cave drawings.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Blanchard cuts Paul's funding and tells him to dismantle his equipment, a serious dick move considering Paul's demonstration was seemingly sabotaged. However, Mike and the bots agree with Blanchard around the time Paul tries to recklessly perform the experiment on himself.
    • Later, Crow amends this — Blanchard should have held a proper hearing first. In fact, he thinks that was the whole movie's Aesop.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: When the police are mystified by the inexplicable electrocution deaths of three crooks, Crow is quick to quip "Shocking, isn't it?" Mike, as usual, didn't appreciate the pun.
  • Captain Obvious: Invoked when the police shoot at Paul:
    Policeman: Hey, careful! Be sure to hit him!
    Tom Servo: Thanks, Lt.note  Obvious!
  • Near-Death Experience: Nothing "near" about it. Mike sees the light and briefly experiences cosmic oneness... but quickly sours on the whole thing once he realizes he's been brought back to life to keep watching this movie.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Pearl, Bobo, and Observer all get new clothes that are different colors but all have the same basic design (button-up shirts, black gloves, "F" insignia). Observer's is the most distinct, since it has a black torso and blue arms rather than just one color and includes his cloak.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Mike dies before commercial sign, so the 'bots drag his lifeless body to the theater and watch about two minutes worth of the movie with Mike slumped over in his seat, until Crow decides to see if his Touch of Death works both ways. It does.
  • Overly Long Gag: In the final host segment, Prof. Bobo falls down a flight of stairs, just offscreen. His crashes and cries of pain continue for the entire duration of the end credits.
  • Rock Theme Naming: Apparently, all female Forresters up to that point are named for gems and precious stones (this tradition was later broken with the introduction of Kinga in the Netflix shows).
  • Running Gag:
    • During the credits, Mike deliberately reads the names wrong, until Crow tells him to knock it off.
    • Several riffs based on the line, "Pretty you may be!"
    • Paul's flaming orange hair.
    • Trying to teleport a girl's knickers as part of an experiment.
    • "I want you."
      • "I do. I want her, Mike."
    • Prof. Lembach, and whether or not he's staying much longer. There's even a host segment dedicated to this. "Lembach is staying! Lembach is staying!"
      • And so Mike and the 'bots are naturally crushed when Lembach calls back to say he's just gonna take off instead.
    • Paul's "panic" supposedly excusing his murder of eleven people and a cat.
    • The overly loud, urgent ring of British phones.
  • Secret Legacy: While searching the castle, Pearl discovers that she and Clayton weren't the first Forresters trying to drive people mad:
    Pearl: Amethyst Forachenta Forrester trapped a man in a cave and pushed in bad paintings of the hunt.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Pearl plays standard stadium anthems on Castle Forrester's organ. She starts in on "Louie Louie" just before the movie starts.
      Servo: Louie Lou-AI?
      Crow: Oh mama!
      Mike: [movie sign lights start to flash] We gotta go!
      Servo: [singing] Yah yah yah yah yah!
    • "Are they suiting up for NASCAR?"
    • To the tune of "Walking in Memphis":
      Crow: Walking in Mayfair... Walking with my darby and my bumbershoot...
    • "Sometimes you're so cruel I think you must have some other motive." "Are you Kim Philby?" British Intelligence agent Harold "Kim" Philby was one of the most infamous, high-ranking Double Agents and defectors of the Cold War.
    • A shadow in the lab during one scene happens to look like someone playing a saxophone, leading to a quip about Charlie Parker.
  • Story Arc: With the Sci-Fi Channel loosening its initial restrictions, Best Brains were by and large glad to return to the looser continuity of previous seasons after spending much of Season 8 trying to find ways to crowbar story arcs into what was largely a sketch/variety show format. While it made for some funny material, it also made the show a lot more work to write and stage.
  • Take That!:
    • At the very beginning upon learning they're finally back in the present day, Mike and the Bots rejoice over being back on modern day Earth.
      Crow: Our own time? Cool! We can see Ethan Hawke movies again!
      [everyone cheers]
      Mike: ...No, wait. That's not a good thing. [realizing] That's bad.
    • Pearl assumes Brain Guy is making the spooky sounds in the castle: "Stop with the whispering and hissing! You sound like a Brian Eno record."
  • Touch of Death:
    • The title character develops an electrical version of this.
      Crow: Joybuzzer of death.
    • Crow develops this as well, after his and Servo's experiments. Mike thinks he's having another one of his 'episodes'. Crow is offended, but they make up and shake hands... at which point Mike is electrocuted and dies for several minutes (and a commercial break). Luckily, Crow is able to revive him by touching him again in the theater. Or not-so-luckily, given that they're still watching this movie.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Among her ancestor's other possessions, Pearl discovers thousand-year-old malt liquor labels and a recipe for "an antediluviannote  form of Chicken in a Biskit called 'Her Majesty's Fool's Hen Crackle-Bread'."
  • Unwanted Rescue: Mike is pretty upset about being brought Back from the Dead... at least once he realizes he's been brought back to watch this movie.
  • Vandalism Backfire: Crow and Tom Servo claim to have invented a "projector" (i.e. a teleporter) but it actually just burns everything they're "projecting". Crow and Servo insist on demonstrating the device with some of Mike's most prized possessions. Mike eventually catches on and offers up one of Servo's prized possessions (a signed picture of Shirley Jones) instead.