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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 11 E 01 Reptilicus

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(They all sing The Munsters theme.)

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Film watched: Reptilicus (the American version).

The Segments:

Prologue
  • Jonah Heston, a rising star of Gizmonic Institute, hears a distress call and flies to the dark side of the moon to answer. It's a trap: when he lands, Kinga Forrester immediately captures him and sends him up to the Satellite of Love.

Segment 1

  • It's two months later. The bots discuss the upgrades Jonah's given them. For his first invention exchange, Jonah invents a foldable bubble wand, the Bubble Fan. Kinga claims to have something better than an invention: true star power, in the form of a monster movie just packed with famous actors. It falls flat when Max points out that Danish comedian Dirch Passer is the only celebrity in Reptilicus.note 
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Segment 2

  • Tom Servo and Crow thought giant movie monsters only come from Japan. Jonah sets them straight with a rap song, "Every Country Has a Monster".

Segment 3

  • Inspired by the movie, Crow takes Tom Servo's arm and uses it to clone some more Servos. After a few generations, the clones start getting weird.

Segment 4

  • Jonah reads some letters from fans. One's from Ethan, who likes Crow the best for being sarcastic, and one from Jeff, whose drawing of two Satellites of Love is either math homework, or a dire warning.

Segment 5

  • Jonah sets up a model of Copenhagen, so Gypsy—dressed as Reptilicus—can smash it.


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The Mystery Science Theater 3000 presentation has examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The Max-narrated Eye Catch segments act as an Exposition Dump for the functioning of Moon 13, 14, and the Satellite of Love in-universe. You'd think they'd just relax, but with Joel back on the show, there are actual explanations to be had.
  • Ambiguous Clone Ending: Played for laughs. After Crow creates a gaggle of Tom Servo clones, he melts them all back down to scrap. Except the last Servo left is one of the clones, not the original. No one cares about this, and for the rest of the episode (and season) everyone treats him just like the original Servo.
    Servo: Jonah, there's been a mix-up. I'm not the original Servo.
    Jonah: That's fine. I think that if — [movie sign interrupts him] Oh, we've got movie sign!
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: "This is kind of unrealistic. If he were really working alone, his pants would be off."
  • Bavarian Fire Drill:
    Crow: (as Svend) I can't keep this up any longer! I don't know what I'm doing!
    Jonah: (as Svend) They just gave me a jumpsuit and a hat because I'm tall and I look like I know what I'm doing!
  • Big Budget Beefup: You get to see the results of the Kickstarter here, with Gypsy hanging from the ceiling, Crow's functioning arms, hands, and flat out tackling Jonah in theater, and Tom Servo flying. Not to mention the improvements in camera technology really shows off the Bots' sparkly metal flake finishes.
  • Broad Strokes: In a perfectly fitting case of the MST3K Mantra, the first episode of the revival makes absolutely no attempt to explain what Crow, Tom, Gypsy and Cambot are doing back in space helping a guy riff on bad movies, or how both Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank have fathered children we've never heard of.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Crow invents a Servo cloning machine offscreen, but quickly tires of it:
    Crow: Jonah, do I have to keep making Servos? I'm getting bored!
    Jonah: Crow, I never asked you to make them! I told you not to! Get rid of them!
  • Call-Back: Several.
    • "I'm squishy!"
    • Killer Shrews are named during the "Every country has a monster" song.
    • "That's Doctor Lady Doctor!"
    • "Wonderful wonderful Super Dragon."
    • This episode debuts a new Tom Servo puppet, with rigid arms that the puppeteers can actually control. During the clone skit, one of the clones has dangling Slinky arms, just like the older Servo puppet.
    • This episode also revisits the idea of countless expendable duplicate Servos as needed, because (behind the scenes) the Servo puppet was easy to make and having a few spares on hand meant they didn't have to worry about breaking them during the more Slapstick sketches.
  • Calvinball: As a Danish police officer is playing chess:
    Crow: Bingo! Yahtzee! King me! I really don't know how to play backgammon.
  • The Cameo: Wil Wheaton gives us some beautifully stilted exposition on our new lead. Erin Gray and Joel Hodgson also appear.
  • Cannot Convey Sarcasm:
    Servo: Hey, Ethan! I should be your favorite! I can be sarcastic. Check this out: Hey, Jonah, I love that jumpsuit.
    Jonah: Hey, thanks.
    Servo: You know, yellow looks great on you.
    Jonah: Well, thank you, Tom. That's very sincere.
  • Captain Obvious: As the Danish Admirals look over the ocean with binoculars:
    Jonah: The ocean is really watery today.
  • Character Development: Gypsy's come a long way from her "Hey, they're steam-cleaning the horses!" days. Starting with this episode, she now drops in on the theater at least twice an episode to drop off and pick up the container for the liquefied Kingachrome recording, usually getting in a pretty sly riff whenever she does.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Reverted as the Gizmonic Institute is back in all of its full glory including the return of the Invention Exchange.
  • Cloning Blues: Crow creates a new batch of Servos using one of his arms as a base. The first few are nearly identical to the original, but Clone Degeneration sets in as Southern Belle Servo and Evil Servo appear.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When they find Dr. Dalby's broken glasses in the lab wreckage:
    General Grayson: Dr. Dalby?
    Jonah: No, these are just glasses. Dr. Dalby was much taller.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: The bots start theorizing on how Reptilicus could have escaped:
    Crow: Maybe autism-filled vaccinations?
    Servo: Maybe chemtrails?
    Crow: Maybe mercury in our dental fillings?
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Captain Brandt: You'll have to fire point blank—at very close range!
    General Grayson: I know.
    Jonah: That's what point blank means.
  • Evil Twin:
    • One of Tom Servo's clones is Evil Servo. He doesn't want to be evil, but Crow decided he should be.
    • Crow and Tom Servo think Jeff's drawing of two SOL's is a warning—there's a second SOL out there somewhere, filled with evil versions of all of them.
  • Expendable Clone: After casually cloning Tom Servo several times, Crow just-as-casually melts them all back down to scrap. Thanks to their "Sheep Mode", even the clones don't particularly care.
    Crow: Servos! Sheep Mode!
    Servos: YES CREATOR. BAAA. BAAA.
    Crow: Time to get melted back into 3D print cable!
  • Eye Catch: This episode starts the trend of replacing the commercials with clips of TV's Son of TV's Frank explaining the various pieces of Mystery Science Theater 3000 lore.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The "Evil Servo" clone has an eyepatch, but since Tom Servo doesn't have eyes he just wears it over his bubble.
  • Forgot About His Powers: "If only [Reptilicus] had wings, he could fly away!"note 
  • Geographic Flexibility:
    Crow: How much Copenhagen is there left to destroy? It's the size of New Haven!
  • Great Way to Go:
    Jonah: Congo's Kongamato
    Is a mongo flying dino
    I know I don't wanna die
    But when I do, he'll be the guy
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Parodied. "Brigadier Military-Industrial Complex, this is Miss Doctor-Woman."
  • Hitler Cam: "Guys, please don't shoot me from below. I feel fat today."
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Jonah and the bots imply several times that Svend and General Grayson are dating. The movie gives them plenty of opportunities:
    [Svend walks behind Grayson]
    Servo: (as Grayson) Don't even try it. I'm in no mood today.
    ...
    Svend: Other people are stubborn. I'm firm.
    Jonah: Okay!
  • Hugh Mann: A riff on one of the writers' names. "Ib Melchior. Yes, that is my human name. Why?"
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: "Oh, I get it! The slime doesn't hurt anybody. It just transitions to a different scene."note 
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction:
    • Kinga dismisses Jonah's invention exchange (a bubble fan) as lame, then turns and tells Max to get her a copy of that design.
    • And there's the American International Pictures logo in the film itself:
    Servo: Nothing says "international" like a picture of the US Capitol Building.
  • Interspecies Romance: They crack several jokes about Peterson being in a relationship with the electric eel.
  • It Will Never Catch On: "Maybe I should pursue that dream of mine: selling ready-to-assemble furniture with a strong Scandinavian flair. Oh, who am I kidding? It will never work."
  • Leave the Camera Running: "Now, let's settle in for the eight-hour-long thawing sequence!"
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: In response to the film's use of Stock Footage from the Suez Crisis:
    Jonah: So let me get this straight... You're saying Reptilicus was responsible for blockading the Suez Canal?
  • Medium Blending: The interior shots of Gizmonic Institute in the cold open are a mix of live human actors and Gerry Anderson-style Supermarionation.
  • Mister Descriptor: Gypsy's first riff in the theater when Professor Martens sets his hat down:
    Gypsy: Now you're Mr. Filing Cabinet!
  • Money, Dear Boy: Kinga's exposition at the start of the episode reveals her grand plan (at the moment) to be rebuilding the brand to sell off to Disney for billions — could also count as Leaning on the Fourth Wall, depending on the viewer.
  • Monochrome Casting: "I think diversity back then was more about height, and shoe color."
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: When the professor rushes off to the beach where they're bombing Reptilicus, without anyone telling him: "My scientist sense is tingling! Professor away!"
  • National Stereotypes: "They're obviously dubbing in those screams. The Danes are too polite to scream."
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Jonah abandons his payload—the largest ever—to answer a distress call. For that he's shot up into the new SOL.
  • The Nth Doctor: In-Universe, Gypsy's new voice is explained as an upgrade by Jonah, who has found her old voice annoying and swapped it out for one with a Midwestern accent. Crow and Servo's new voices go unexplained.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: "Reptilicus returns in Reptilicus 2: 2 Fast 2 Danish."
  • Pair the Spares: Invoked in one riff with several major male characters standing with major female characters and Jonah asking, "Okay, is everybody paired up?"
  • P.O.V. Sequel:
    Jonah: Hitchcock's North by Northwest, from the plane's point of view. Just got funded on Kickstarter.
  • Rearrange the Song: "A distress call came in from him at half-past noon / That's when an evil woman trapped him on the dark side of the moo-oon!"
  • Redshirt Army:
    Servo: (as General Grayson) Everyone! Form a meat shield around me and Goldenboy, hurry!
  • Retirony: When the camera focuses on the severed head of a cow that Reptilicus killed, Jonah laments, "Cow had a month to go until retirement, too..."
  • Rhyming with Itself: Tom and Crow's first verse in "Every Country Has a Monster" rhymes "Luxembourg" with "Luxembourg" four times in a row.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: "They're gonna run out of ammo soon, and have to search the area for treasure chests and healing herbs and stuff."
  • Running Gag:
    • Svend has a problem with every single step of the plan to take down Reptilicus.
    • Connie Miller is tall: "I swear, she's getting taller in every scene!"
    • Stock riffs:
  • Russian Reversal:
    • "In Denmark, The Beatles chase you!"
    • "Alright, everybody, we'll cross that bridge when it comes to us. Boom!"
  • Scully Box: Several jokes about Grayson's height, particularly in comparison to his female co-stars. "...I'm not standing on an apple crate!"
  • Shocking Swerve:
    Crow: Turns out Reptilicus was a plane the whole time. Twist!
  • Shout-Out:
  • So Last Season: Kinga is pushing for a ratings grab. Max has to let her know that Netflix doesn't have traditional ratings.
  • Some Call Me "Tim": Kinga's second-in-command introduces himself as "TV's Son of TV's Frank". Kinga immediately afterwards says that his name is just "Max".
  • Special Effect Failure:
    Captain Brandt: It's...
    Crow: Much cheaper-looking than we could have possibly imagined!
    • Upon noticing how much worse the film of the monster looks than the rest of the movie:
    Crow: Reptilicus is destroying the film stock!
    Jonah: Either the print is in really bad shape, or it's raining tar.
    ...
    Crow: Oh, there's your problem. He's in a different movie! You're never gonna hit him.
    • When Reptilicus eats his first victim:
    Crow: Oh, now I'm in awe of this movie!
    Jonah: Now he's eating stop-motion cartoons! I gotta do something!
    • Eventually, Crow pretends to be the movie's FX artist and "explains" how a few scenes were created:
    Crow: In this shot, Reptilicus is on a turntable, and we pulled a model tank with a string. The effect is seamless. [...] The bobbing head was a flywheel mechanism, and the trees were sprigs of rosemary.
  • Spinning Paper: "Exposition Daily says..."
  • Statuesque Stunner: Svend comforts the frock dress-wearing Lise: "There, there. Don't cry, giant doll-lady-robot."
  • Stock Footage: "Nobody will notice if we use the same lightning shot, right?"
  • The Stoner: When they see Peterson playing with a microscope:
    Jonah: Is he building a tiny pipe bomb?
    Servo: I think he's building a different kind of pipe, if you know what I mean.
    Crow: (as Peterson, slurring) I like to get high and eat...
  • Summation Gathering: When the ladies walk into the war room:
    Servo: She's locking the door...
    Crow: No one leaves this room! One of you is a murderer.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That:
    Jonah: And don't worry. We know Crow's just joking.
    Crow: Suuure I am. Only joking.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: At the sight of a single jeep with four soldiers:
    Servo: I'm impressed! They rolled out the entire Danish Army.
  • Take That!:
    • Upon seeing Reptilicus's bright green, slimy spit: "Oh, so that's where Monster Energy comes from."
    • Svend is listening to headphones and cringing. "He's listening to Brian Eno."
    • "Well, we decimated that Costco. What next?" "I see a CVS and a Walgreens." "Good eye, soldier."
    • When they wonder where to find a drug powerful enough to knock out Reptilicus: "We could feed him Keith Richards!"
  • Take Our Word for It:
    • In a host segment:
    Crow: I'll just take this off-camera and drop this into a tank of water we definitely have sitting right off-camera. Ah, there it is. And it's big and real and full of liquid, trust me on that!
    • In the movie:
    General Grayson: Reptilicus was on the rampage. We never saw him...
    Servo: Wasn't in the budget!
    General Grayson: ...but we saw the the trail of death and destruction.
    Crow: And by trail of death and destruction, we mean one ship. But we shot it from a lot of different angles, you gotta give us that!
  • Technicolor Science: "Meanwhile, behind the scenes at the color pot laboratory..."
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Kinga's "Show Trap" plays a Mario Paint rendition of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 theme as it works. Jonah notices the song and thinks it sounds familiar.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: "In Denmark, gardening is done by shooting weeds with heavy artillery."
  • Throw It In!:
    • During the Electric Eel Skit, Jonah pretends to be the movie's director:
    Jonah: Cut! Brilliant, Peterson.
    Crow: Wait, he's still going!
    Jonah: Keep the camera rolling! Roll sound! I don't know what he's gonna do, but I don't wanna miss any of this gold!
    • During "Every Country Has a Monster" Jonah knocks over several of the monster models and looks directly at the camera with an Oh, Crap! expression. Fortunately this is exactly in the spirit of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
    • The Visual Gag in the theater where the barrel moves on its own was something the puppeteers came up with spontaneously. Joel liked it enough to keep it.
  • Time Skip: There's a two month gap between the events of the cold open and the first host segment.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Jonah has to explain through rap about how other countries have Kaiju, but Japan seems to be the one country with tons of them.
  • Unfortunate Names: "Poor Sidney Pink. He was blacklisted, obviously."
    Crow: Are you now, or have you ever been, a producer and director of Reptilicus?
  • Visual Gag:
    • Tom Servo touches General Grayson's hair, then says it feels like the General hasn't washed it in weeks.
    • When a factory appears in the background, Tom Servo hovers over it to recreate the cover of Pink Floyd's Animals.
    • Crow catches some of Reptilicus's slime in a barrel, so he and Tom can eat it later. Then the barrel tries to walk away on its own.
  • Watch It for the Meme: Lampshaded by Crow as the janitor is "gonna do the bit with the electric eel!"
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Kinga Forrester lures Jonah to Moon 13 by sending out a fake distress signal.



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