Follow TV Tropes


Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 09 E 03 Puma Man

Go To
Oh, Thep Umaman.

Film watched: Puma Man

"You know, I have almost no respect for pumas now. I now know that if I ever run into a puma, I can just push it the hell over."

The Segments:


Segment 1

  • Down in Castle Forrester, Pearl is hosting a ball to celebrate her moving there. Brain Guy's not participating as he's watching Sliders with some friends. Servo continues to wear his ballgown in the theater.

Segment 2

  • Inspired by the movie, Mike tries to get the dry look from the Nanites, asking for someone other than Shelly after his past experience with her. Shelly doesn't take it well.

Segment 3

  • Crow and Servo, dressed up like Vadinho, tell Mike that he is chosen by the gods to be the mighty champion of justice, Coatimundi Man! Unfortunately, Mike is distracted from his destiny by cold sesame noodles, which he shares with Gypsy.

Segment 4

  • Mike find the Bots with an Aztec mask and a replica of Roger Whittaker's head. Their plan is to use the folk singer for their own gain, but Mike comes up empty with ideas.

Segment 5

  • Crow leaves the Satellite, but arrives back shortly. Pearl's ball is unsuccessful as all of the people arriving were only interested in Brain Guy's party. Roger Whittaker soon arrives, to Pearl's relief, but he instead tries to sneak away, lured by the strains of Asia he can hear from the other room. Pearl then takes his guitar and beats him up.



  • Accidental Misnaming:
    Servo: Oh, Thep-Umaman.
  • Actor/Role Confusion: Mike and the bots insist on referring to Donald Pleasence's character as "Donald Pleasence."
  • Anal Probe: Vadinho's final fate, according to Mike.
  • Ass Pull: The bots, when convincing Mike of his role as Coatimundi Man, clearly haven't thought out his power suite: invoked
    Crow: can shoot....uh....magnetic...uh, laser....beams...from....from your nose! Yeah! Yeah!
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Towards the then-owner of the Sci-Fi Channel.
    Donald Pleasance: The men who control the whole destiny of the world is here.
    Crow: Barry Diller? Here?
  • Blackmail: The 'bots envision this being done to Tony by a fly.
  • Call-Back: When Mike is calling the Nanites for a hair appointment, he gets Shelly.
    Mike: No offence, but last time, you made my hair, like 70 miles high.
  • Chroma Key:
    Mike: He has the ability to rear-project major cities!
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Ortega is one of the guests who comes over to watch Sliders with Brain Guy.
    • Mike's Coatimundi Man hat is the same giant foam hat from the Cowboy Mike's Ric-O-Chet Bar-B-Q Sauce! sketch in The Starfighters. Crow even lampshades it when he wears it back into the theater:
      Crow: Bold, Mike.
    • Once again Bobo is singing songs by Asia.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    Mike: You will drop your pants to your ankles and walk through town saying 'I am a ninny!'
  • Creator Provincialism: Several of the brands mentioned during "Puma Man" (Snyder Drug, Red Owl) are regional chains local to Minnesota, where the show was produced.
  • Designated Hero: Discussed. invoked
    Crow: I'll go mess up, and you save me!
  • Dull Surprise:
    Crow: At all times, he has the look of a man who's been hit with a fish.
  • Evil Laugh: Crow and Servo, because they control Roger Whittaker.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Kobras dies in a flaming helicopter wreck.
    Crow: (singing) Burn an old man! Singe all his flesh off!
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Joked about when Puma Man manhandles Kobras and Mike riffs Kobras attempting to weasel out of being beaten up by claiming that he had a rough childhood.
  • Fridge Logic: invoked It occurs to Mike that pumas are not noted for their powers of flight.
  • Gag Haircut: Mike is given "the dry look" by hairdresser nanite Shelly, which turns his head into a literal desert with a tiny cactus on top. Crow suggests running a river over his head to turn it back to normal.
  • Gender Bender: Played for laughs when Vadinho shows Tony the childhood picture to prove that he is the Puma Man.
    Vadinho: You were only a boy at the time.
    Crow: Then you were a girl, and then you were a boy again.
  • Ho Yay: In-Universe between Tony and Vadinho.
    Crow (as Tony): Please get off, I'm feeling funny down there.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay:
    • Every time Kobras says "Puma Man" the British way ("Pyooma Man", as opposed to "Pooma Man"), Mike and the bots 'correct' him (Mike: "Oh, is that right, Dyonald?"); then when he says "human being", Servo says "That's 'hooman being'... oh, no, wait..."
    • One riff plays on this as well:
      Vadinho: I say put it on.
      Mike: And you say "pyoot it oon."
    • This was going on from the opening riff (with a dash of AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle thrown in) where the mashed-together title was read "pyoo-MAY-min."
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Vadinho's doesn't go unnoticed by the crew.
  • Mind-Control Device: Tom and Crow attempt to mimic the film's method of Brainwashing to make the perfect assassin by building a bust of... folk singer Roger Whittaker!
  • Never Say That Again: Mike tells Servo this after the latter makes a joke related to The Mask.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Roger Whittaker played by Kevin Murphy, although it's not a literal example of the trope, since poor Roger might have been harmed a little when Pearl beaned him with his own guitar.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: This exchange:
    Tony: But why does Kobras want the mask?
    Servo: So he can be ssssmokin'!
    Mike (firmly): that again.
  • One-Person Birthday Party: Pearl's "return to Castle Forrester" moving party is a complete non-starter, with only Bobo in attendance (and he leaves once the canapés run out). Observer's casual get-together to watch Sliders in his room, meanwhile, attracts over 70 people in an hour and turns into a raucous drunken sing-along.
  • Paranoia Fuel: In-Universe, as the 'bots warn Mike and the audience.
    Crow: Roger Whittaker could be on you at any moment.
    Servo: There he is! I'm kidding... this time.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Both Pearl and Servo sport Edwardian hoop dresses.
  • Porn Stache: One of the mooks sports a generous one, leading to this riff:
    Servo: Help! My mustache makes me fall sideways!
  • Power Perversion Potential: Tony and Jane decide to "boff in the air", making Mike moan, "They immediately defile the gifts the Gods gave them."
  • Rummage Sale Reject: Mike's Coatimundi Man costume quickly turns into this. Justified in that it was all a ploy by the bots to make him look silly.
  • Running Gag:
    • The heroic declaration of "Puma Man!" whenever Tony's being decidedly un-heroic. Also, the spoofing of Pleasence using the British pronunciation of "Puma". Much fun was also had at the expense of "Vadinho's" name sounding like a type of onionnote .
    • Culminating in the final scene at the Stonehenge-like monolith structure with Mike (as Tony) saying to Vadinho, "Hey, Vidalia would you mind just worshiping for us? I think we'll just get going...."
      Vadinho: Kneel.
      Crow: I told you, my name's Tony!
    • They even do a preview of the pronunciation gag before it's even established:
      Vadinho: I say put it on.
      Mike: And you say "pyoot it oon".
    • As usual, Mike and the 'bots make constant references to Pleasence's baldness.
      Kobras: Comb the area.
      Crow: Donald's only use for the word "comb", right there.
    • "I am a wood sprite! Tee Hee!"
    • Crow saying "Do the hustle!" any time Puma Man's very disco-esque action music would play.
    • "Look! It's a (insert unflattering comparison)! No wait, it's just Donald Pleasence."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: By the end of the movie, Crow's had enough and he's planning on quitting. He doesn't, but still...
  • Separated by a Common Language: When Tony and Vadinho walk by a river.
    Servo: Look, you call it corn, I call it maize. We'll never get along.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Brain Guy can't attend Pearl's ball because he's having people over to watch Sliders.
    • Why does Donald Pleasance want the mask? "So he can be ssssmokin'!"
    • At one point the bots sing the theme tune to The Greatest American Hero with altered lyrics.
      Crow: Believe it or not, this movie's still on/It should have ended two hours ago-oh-ohhh!
    • As Vadinho watches some extremely indecisive Mooks from behind a brick wall built to have a lot of holes in it: "You won't get my Amontillado!"
    • Crow calling Martin Gilbert Gottfried from Up All Night. (Gottfried had taken over for Rhonda Shear.)
    • Mike's Coatimundi Man outfit includes a Rhoda vest and a Doctor Who scarf.
  • Sidekick Ex Machina: "So the hero is this guy; I think it's time we faced that fact."
  • Special Effects Failure: Pointed out and riffed, of course. invoked
  • Take That, Scrappy!: In-Universe, after Vadinho punches out Tony.
    Servo: Yes! The Aztec speaks for all of us!
  • 10-Minute Retirement: In the final segment, Crow gets fed up with the movie and decides to "quit". He walks away... then barely gets off-screen before running back and asking if Mike is hiring.
  • Weak-Willed: The crew's opinion of Jane.
    Servo: I think controlling her will might involve Sloe Gin and a Trans-Am.
  • With Lyrics: Mike and the 'bots add their own lyrics to the jingle-istic "Puma Man Theme" ("Soundtrack by my little brother's Casio"):
    Crow: (singing) Puma Man, he flies like a moron...
    Servo: (singing) The fat-free yo-gurt that's not short on fla-vor!
    Mike: (singing) Dick's... Red Owl... selection and service...
    Servo: (singing) Sny-der Drug.. .we're busting up prices!
    Crow: (singing) When... you want... the fla-vor of ba-con in a dip!
    Crow: (singing) Burn an old man, singe all his flesh off!
    Crow: (singing) Now... they're going... to boff in the air...!
    • Crow declares "This is music to praise the gods with..." Ask and Servo shall provide:
      Servo: (singing) Glory to our Space Gods in the Highest! Gloria, in Excelsis Space Gods!
    • And then there's the 'love theme' version of the song at the end, which Servo quickly notices sounds a little like Lionel Richie and Diana Ross's duet "Endless Love":
      Servo: (singing) Thepyewmaymiiin... there's only you in my life...
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: With her ball a complete failure, Pearl asks for someone up there to give her a break "just this once." Enter Roger Whittaker (controlled by Servo)... Then after just a few minutes, Whittaker decides to join the action (the Sliders party with Observer, Bobo, and friends) in the back room. Pearl creams him with his guitar.
    Roger Whittaker: But Pearl, they're singing Asia songs in there!


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: