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Recap / Mystery Science Theater 3000 S 11 E 02 Cry Wilderness

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"Well, if you insist... WILDERNESS!"

Kinga Forrester: Now, your experiment today takes the majesty of the natural world, and just kinda jumps on it.
TV's Son of TV's Frank: Hope you like stock footage and incomplete Bigfoot costumes!

Film Watched: Cry Wilderness.

During Turkey Day '18, both Joel Hodgson and Jonah Ray expressed surprise at how popular Cry Wilderness was with the fandom. In particular, Joel had been expecting Carnival Magic to be the fan favorite.

The Segments:

  • Jonah and the bots are doing repairs on the SOL. Crow tries to catch falling tools with the net on his head.

Segment 1

  • Time for the invention exchange. Jonah invents a Thanksgiving musical tradition, by inserting a theremin into a roast turkey. Kinga "invents" the Carvel Ice Cream Cake Clock, rotating the Fudgie The Whale cake pan to make new designs, like Laundry Bag and Lamprey.note 

Segment 2

  • Tom Servo and Crow, dressed as cute little raccoons, make an adorable mess in the SOL bridge: spilling cereal everywhere, breaking glass, hitting a propane tank with a hammer, attacking a bee's nest...

Segment 3

  • Jonah starts making a spacesuit for himself. Tom Servo and Crow interrupt to ask why today's movie is so incoherent. By brainstorming, they come up with a plausible backstory behind the creation of Cry Wilderness.

Segment 4

  • "Grandma" Pearl Forrester, Bobo, and Brain Guy swing by Moon 13. They not-so-politely decline the offer to stay for lunch, but Pearl and Brain Guy give Kinga a bit of a pep talk, and Bobo welcomes Max into the Second Banana Club with some VR social grooming.

Segment 5

  • Crow (and Tom Servo) pretends to be the magical Native American ghost Red Crow, in a bid to trick Max into returning Jonah's spaceship keys.


Tropes used in this episode:

  • All Animals Are Domesticated: The film's maddeningly straight use of this trope gets lampshaded by Jonah and the bots (when they aren't encouraging the animals to maul the protagonists). For example, in the extended scene of Jim walking casually up to a wild bear and hugging it, while Paul and his dad laugh:
    Servo: Grizzly Man 2: The Power of Love...
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: All over the place — quite often, the heroes point their own rifle barrels directly at one another rather than engage in proper downward-carry procedures, and Paul has a tendency to startle his dad and Jim from behind while they're doing this. It leads to many, many "BANG!" jokes from the guys.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: As noted here, Kinga's liquid tech is amazing, but isn't that great at openings, so Jonah has to recreate the opening in every single episode. If he doesn't, Kinga shocks him with a cattle prod.
  • Bad Liar:
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Pearl makes up excuses not to have lunch with her granddaughter Kinga. Pearl and Observer both reassure Kinga that she's better off without a family.
    Observer: We Observers don't have families. So in a way, we're all one big family... in that, we don't speak to each other unless there's been a death or a lottery win.
  • Call-Back:
    • "Rowsdower?" "That's Zapp Rowsdower to you!"
    • "Oh, the interocitor's calling."
    • In one of the commercial signs, The Skeleton Crew plays Siderhackin'. In another, they perform a rendition of Creepy Girl.
    • This episode begins a stealth Running Gag of Kinga taking her invention exchange from a riff on the previous movie, before being exposed in The Land That Time Forgot.
    • The final host segment, where Jonah and the bots almost trick Max into giving them the keys to Jonah's spaceship, is an homage to the many times Joel or Mike almost tricked Frank into freeing them.
  • Cast the Expert / Write Who You Know: invoked Jonah and the bots spend a whole host segment speculating about how this movie came into existence. They conclude that it was instigated by the faculty of Paul's school in order to get rid of him, pitched to his wealthy father (the actor playing the mayor), and thrown together by recruiting whoever they could get their hands on to play thinly fictionalized versions of themselves.
  • Celebrity Resemblance: Morgan bears an uncanny resemblance to Sylvester Stallone, something that didn't go unnoticed by Jonah and the Bots.
    Crow: Oh, that's your problem right here. You got yourself a Stallone. Get outta here, Stallone!
    • Jonah suggests Helen is actually Ann Wilson from Heart.
  • Changing of the Guard: Pearl shows up to acknowledge Kinga carrying on the Forrester family tradition.
  • Christmas Miracle: "The tiger attack filled our gas tank! It's a Christmas miracle!"
  • Cold Opening: This episode establishes the new format for the series. It opens with a skit on the SOL (with Crow attempting to use his net to catch tools and failing) before the Title Sequence plays.
  • Comedic Sociopathy:
    Crow: (as Jim) Your father had a heart attack chasing you. You should've seen it. Classic!
  • Complexity Addiction: When Bigfoot warns Paul that his father is in danger:
    Crow: You know, there's so many simpler ways for your dad to get in touch with you.
  • Continuity Nod: Pearl, Bobo, and Observer drop by Moon 13 for one host segment. Kinga lampshades it afterward, noting how hard it is to reconcile this new season with the old ones, and that it would be so much easier to reboot the whole series.
  • Clone Degeneration: Synthia, the clone of Pearl Forrester, sounds and acts like a robot when she tries to hug Kinga.
  • Designated Hero: invoked The guys constantly point out how Paul does nothing but cause problems for everyone.
    Crow: So the kid was the real villain all along.
  • The Determinator: When Kinga Forrester is considering just giving up:
    Pearl: How dare you! Forresters never give up!
    Observer: Well, officially. Off the record, they never see anything through to completion! [laughs]
  • Deus ex Machina: When a truck runs out of fuel at just the right moment, Crow declares it a "Deus ex lack of machina."
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: When it's revealed, with absolutely no foreshadowing, that Paul's dad was hunting a tiger and not Bigfoot, Max notes in one of the bumpers that the movie was basically lying to us about being a monster movie.
    Crow: (as the tiger) I'm as surprised I'm in this movie as you are, folks.
  • Dissonant Laughter: The movie basically has an Everybody Laughs Ending at the end of the first act, when Paul (somehow) finds his dad in the middle of the woods. It becomes a Running Gag, especially with outmoded Native American sidekick Jim, "our crown prince of fun!" Segment 3 hypothesizes that they've all been diagnosed with the pseudobulbar effect[sic].note 
    Tom: ...The neurological disorder causing unprompted bouts of uncontrollable laughter! [everybody laughs]
  • Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: When an opossum shows up in a day scene:
    Crow: I'm nocturnal. I shouldn't be out here. I might be ill...
  • Downer Ending: Not intended by the film, but Jonah and the bots find the ending pretty depressing, especially the supposedly uplifting credits music.
    Jonah: Yeah, I thought my soul was thoroughly crushed by this movie, but now this music is squeezing out the last little bit.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    Servo: (as Will) This is how Kirk died! It can't be happening to me!
  • Dude, Not Funny!: When Paul tells Jim that he's just "a dumb Indian", all three react with a loud "Woah!"
  • Dysfunction Junction: Discussed by the Mads:
    Kinga: The movies aren't working fast enough. Jonah is still way too sane! People don't watch TV for sane! They want crackpot housewives! Drug-addled chefs! Unstable bachelorettes!
  • Eight Deadly Words: invoked
    Jonah: Now there's a cougar, and I have stopped caring what happens to Paul, completely.
  • Enfant Terrible: The scary thing is, they barely have to exaggerate to turn Paul into one.
    Crow: (as Paul) Dad, do you know what happened to the last man to cross me? I left him crawling in the lake with no eyeballs.
  • Exotic Entree:
    • As Morgan is eating:
    Servo: C'mon, save some Montauk Monster for the rest of us.
    • During the meal at Helen's:
    Servo: (as Will) Oh, I couldn't eat another bite of this endangered rhino. It's so rich and delicious!
  • Eye on a Stalk: Referenced in one scene where Will has a backpack with two lights mounted on it that resemble these.
    Jonah: (as Paul) I never noticed those tall eye stalks growing out of Dad's back. Usually, I'm pretty observant.
  • Fall Guy: Pearl says Forresters never give up; Observer says secretly they never see anything through. So then Bobo says...
    Bobo: So, they always keep a useful moron around to pin the blame on! [laughs]
    Observer: [smiles knowingly and points at Bobo]
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Because of Mr. Douglas's anti-fairy-tale stance, Jonah dubs the school "St. Dreamcrusher's Academy for Overimaginative Boys."
  • Feet-First Introduction:
    Servo: Wait a minute. Those are feet... attached to legs... that must mean... a person!
  • Foreshadowing: Jonah is making a red spacesuit and offhandedly mentions how he's always wanted to take a spacewalk, quietly setting up the mystery astronaut (in a red spacesuit) in the credits for the final episode of the season.
  • Going to the Store:
    Mr. Douglas: What did your father have to say about these meetings?
    Paul: I never told him.
    Mr. Douglas: Why not?
    Servo: [as Paul] He hasn't come back from buying cigarettes yet...
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Crow refers to Will and Jim as "a Park Ranger and his coworker-slash-soulmate-slash-outmoded Native American sidekick."
  • Hiding Your Heritage: The riffers speculate that Jim is actually German. People just assumed he's Native American, and he never bothered to correct them.
  • Hollywood Tactics: As the heroes are searching for the source of a gunshot:
    Crow: Into the brightly lit clearing where we have no cover!
  • Hong Kong Dub:
    Crow: Step aside, Paul. Let the poorly dubbed adults handle this.
    • And later:
      Red Hawk: Grownups don't believe in anything... but themselves.
      Crow: And dubbing.
  • Ice-Cream Koan:
    Servo: (pretending to be Red Hawk) To be strong as a hawk, one must be generous as a magpie. I've got a lot of magpie friends...
  • Idiot Ball: The Call-Back with Max nearly falling for a transparent ploy to set the SOLies free especially similar to his dad's first day on the job, fresh out of the Arby's where Dr. F found him, in Rocketship X-M, where Joel and the 'Bots nearly trick him into bringing them down from space for an eat-in order. On the one hand, Frank sounds dumber and clearly hasn't quite grasped the premise yet. On the other, Max is so caught up in his own Chosen One fantasy that he somehow fails to notice that "Red Crow" is clearly just a wooden standee that's way too big for what is obviously Crow, then Tom, ducking in and out of it in plain sight.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction:
    Crow: (as trucker) Like I said, I'm not high, but my dog is, and I am.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Will and Jim are trying to relocate displaced wildlife. They have a clear shot to tranquilize a displaced cougar—but they decide not to, and say they'll deal with the cougar later.
      Crow: Yeah, let's table this for now.
      Jonah: It's inconceivable that a cougar would move to a different location later, so we'll be fine.
    • Morgan shows Paul a photo of a Bigfoot sculpture.
      Jonah: I accept a photo of a chainsaw sculpture as scientific proof!
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Max tries to say, "Yeah, and we're good conversationalists, too!" but he stumbles over the pronunciation and has to start over several times.
  • Laughing Mad: Quite a few jokes are made about the heroes' tendency for unprovoked laughter. "HA HA HA animals are fun and funny!"
    Jonah: (as Jim) My therapist says I laugh when I'm uncomfortable.
  • Literalist Snarking:
    [The title, Cry Wilderness, appears.]
    Crow: Well, if you insist.
    Jonah, Servo, and Crow: WILDERNESS!
  • Magical Native American:
    • Surprisingly, Jim is a pretty normal guy who subverts the trope. One of the riffs suggests his family's German and he just never bothers to correct anyone.
    • But then the spirit of Red Hawk shows up, fitting this trope to a T. In the final host segment, Crow and Tom Servo take turns pretending to be Red Hawk to manipulate Max.
  • Mishmash Museum: Jonah describes the Mayor's... place... as the "Museum of Cars, Scarves, and Olive-less Martinis."
  • Misplaced Wildlife: When Red Hawk refers to all the animals as his friends:
    Crow: (as the eagle sitting next to Red Hawk) I'm not his friend. I'm not indigenous to the area. Call the police.
  • Missing Mom:
    Will: Mother [raccoon] came back for the rest of her family.
    Servo: (as Paul) Wait, mothers are supposed to come back?
  • Mythology Gag: Jonah and the Bots attempts to manipulate Max into giving up the keys to Jonah's spaceship, just like when Joel and the Bots attempted to escape by manipulating Frank way back in Rocketship X-M.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: The movie plays All Animals Are Domesticated maddeningly straight, with characters who are supposed to be wilderness experts and park rangers treating wild animals as pets: hugging bears, chasing bobcats, cuddling raccoon kits, and similar nonsense. Jonah and the bots counteract this by quipping about how the bear would realistically disembowel Jim, and those cute raccoons would claw Paul's face off and give him rabies, and so on.
    Crow: C'mere, you little disease vector.
    Jonah: (as tiger) Ohhhh, the wonderful thing about Tiggers is nothing. We're tigers. We maul things.
  • Non-Indicative Name: When "Visto International" appears in the opening credits, the riffers wonder if that's the name of the production company or the font used for the credits.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Some of the prop guns aren't terribly convincing.
    Servo: You stole that gun from the shooting gallery at the State Fair.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Jonah and the bots step out of the theater. The scene cuts to Moon 13, where Kinga and Max get visited by Pearl, Observer, and Bobo. We cut back to the SOL just as Jonah and the bots are stepping back into the theater:
    Servo: Man, that was weird. How long did we spend in that hallway?
  • Offscreen Teleportation: One screen transition has some characters suddenly running away from some shoreline even though they were on solid ground just before.
    Jonah: Did they just run across that lake?
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • "Did you hitchhike across country to meet me in the woods, again?"
    • "Oh, I'm gonna have to wing [Paul] to stop him. Won't be the first time. BANG!"
  • Painted Tunnel, Real Train: "I'm gonna be pissed if this tunnel turns out to be a painting by Wile E. Coyote."
  • Precious Puppy: Every woodland animal has an important lesson for Paul — except for the pack of huskies doubling as wolves, who just want to tell him they love him.
  • Product Placement:
    • Jonah and the bots whip out their own cans of Coca-Cola and celebrate the brand during the film's prominent Coca-Cola scenes.
    • They also suggest that Heinz ketchup paid the filmmakers... to use Hunt's ketchup.
    • During the montage of animal stock footage, a deer encourages Paul to buy insurance from the Hartford Fund.
  • Rage Breaking Point: By the end, Crow gets so angry that he yells at the movie several times. Jonah has to calm him down by making him breathe into a paper bag.
  • Random Events Plot: "Yeah, I guess they don't want to spend that much time on the actual plot when they could be doing so much more walking."
    Jonah: (as Morgan) Think this is another dead-end distraction from the lack of a cohesive plot?
    Servo: (as Paul) Could be!
    Jonah: Yeah, I get it. There's no consequences, no conflict. Just another random scene in the long series of random scenes! Thank you, movie! Thank you, life!
  • Rascally Raccoon: Besides the ones present in the movie, Crow and Servo dress up as raccoons and proceed to wreck the place.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Mocked when the 'Bots dress up as raccoons in Segment 2. (They're really more like Screwball Squirrels.)
    Crow: [knocking over a huge pile of lightbulbs] We are puckish woodland sprites!
    Tom: [hitting a beehive (and Jonah) with a baseball bat] I'm a plague carrier!
  • Running Gag:
    • Someone shouts "Bang!" whenever Paul startles someone with a gun. Which happens a lot.
    • Jim's apparently uncontrollable jovial laughter (and Jonah-Dad's in Segment 2).
    • Helen talking to her braid like it was a separate being.
  • Russian Reversal: During the cave-in at the abandoned mine: "In this mine, gold strikes you!"
  • Scenery Porn: In Jonah's words: "I'll give them this: They really found some truly breathtaking vistas and made them incredibly boring."
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam: Used to portray the tiger's POV, but the riffers speculate that the tiger (or the cameraman) is actually drunk.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Discussed by the Mads: invoked
    Max: Lots of shows don't get good until the fifth episode! So you spend your life watching, waiting to see why your friends love it so much. Sometimes it never happens!
  • Special Effect Failure: Invoked on several occasions:
    Jonah: Um, darts don't ricochet.
    • Quite a few jokes about Bigfoot's incomplete costume.
      Servo: Let's just assume it's Bigfoot, even though we can't see his face. They probably rented the suit for a week, but could only afford the mask for a day.
    • When Will gets caught in a cave-in, with less-than-convincing rocks:
      Crow: Hey! Dad's allergic to styrofoam! I gotta save him!
  • Stock Footage:
    Servo: Paul, at some point in your life, you may have to resort to YouTube to finish your film. That is okay.
  • The Stoic: Observer claims to be this.
    Observer: Oh, don't be sad, Kinga. Emotions are for lower lifeforms, like dogs and [points at Bobo] this guy.
  • Take That!:
  • Theremin: Jonah's invention exchange is a theremin cooked into a Thanksgiving turkey, so that it makes music as you carve it. The bots find this music a bit unsettling.
    Servo: Yeah, really reminds you you're cutting into a once-living thing.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Paul is distressingly short on self-preservation instincts.
    Servo: Great idea, kid. Hug him right at the butt of the loaded shotgun.
    Servo: Son, safety tip: crouch down low and hold position near a blind corner on a steep mountain highway.
    Crow: (as Paul) Adults, concerned for my safety? I've gotta get outta here!
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Netflix thumbnail for this episode spoils the return of Pearl, Bobo and Observer.
  • Trash of the Titans: The raccoons trash the kitchen, but as Jonah and the bots point out, that only happened because Will left all his food on the counter, in open containers.
    Servo: Don't laugh! You guys are pigs!
  • [Trope Name]:
    Synthia: [to Kinga] You're my favorite child-grandchild-coworker-mail-delivery-person.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Invoked.
    Morgan: (to Paul) Let's keep this a secret between you and me.
    Crow: It is never good when an adult says that to a kid.
  • Visible Boom Mic: Worse. In the scene where Jim wrestles the bear, one of the cameras creeps into the right side of the shot for a few seconds. Jonah and the bots can't help but comment on the absurdity of it:
    Jonah: Hey. Okay...
    Servo: Uh...
    Crow: The hell...?
  • What Are Records?:
    • Remember radio? Crow doesn't, despite he and Servo having had their own call-in show at one point.
      Crow: Hey Jonah, what's a radio?
      Jonah: It's like a podcast you can't control.
    • Remember encyclopedias? Remember Encarta? Neither do the bots, despite having ruthlessly mocked both (and preemptively predicted the rise of Wikipedia) in Space Mutiny.
      Crow: Ah yes, Wikipedia the print edition, at last.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • As noted by the guys, after Morgan is blinded by a hawk and stumbles away, he just sort of disappears. In fact, he disappears so quickly, the riffers speculate that Morgan fell into the lake and dissolved on contact with the water.
    • They also point out that Paul's father and Jim find a lot of displaced wildlife, which they decide to come back to later, but never do.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: Jonah and the bots imply that the movie's problem with the All Animals Are Domesticated trope stems from mistaking cute for nice.
    Servo: (as a raccoon) Humans are coming! Quick, look cute!
  • Wholesome Crossdresser:
    Servo: (as Mr. Douglas) I had to get out of my Dame Edna drag for this!
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: They call Jim's huge, green backpack the "Worst Ninja Turtle cosplay I've ever seen."
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside:
    Crow: Wouldn't it be cool if Paul found out that time outside flowed much more slowly, and everyone in the mine has long since died of old age?
  • You Don't Look Like You: The original Professor Bobo costume was auctioned off — the new makeup has a somewhat more realistic but much smaller mouth.
  • You Make Me Sic:
    Paul: Murderer. You and Jim are killing my father.
    Servo: (as Helen) Jim and I.


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