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Trivia / Mystery Science Theater 3000

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  • Accidentally Correct Writing: The "Johnny Long-Torso" invention exchange just before Monster a-Go Go, which featured an action figure that was sold in pieces to create more revenue. The episode was released in 1993, but anyone familiar with the modern-day video game industry (or the "Build a Figure" accessories meant to ensure that fans will buy every figure in the current assortment) will find the episode chillingly prophetic.
  • Acting for Two: There was always at least one actor overlapping between the mad scientists and the 'bots. It got even worse in the Sci-Fi Channel era, when both Tom and Crow's actors were also playing Pearl's assistants.
    • That was true in season one, as well.
    • Taken to absurd levels in The Atomic Brain when Trace Beaulieu's two characters imitate one another (neither impression is all that accurate but Crow does a better Dr. Forrester than vice versa).
    • The tradition is alive and well in Season 11, though this time it's Gypsy and Synthia.
  • Acting in the Dark:
    • None of the actors in the 2017 revival were told who Kinga's mother was.
    • In an interview with Matt McGuinness (the writer/producer who also plays the guy in the purple jumpsuit that randomly appears in Carnival Magic), he sounded just as confused about what will happen with the man in the purple jumpsuit as everyone else.
  • Adored by the Network: Though it would wind up getting Screwed by the Network later, the old Comedy Channel considered Mystery Science Theater 3000 its flagship show - when they merged with Ha! to become Comedy Central, they threatened to cancel the merger if Ha! insisted on getting rid of MST3K in spite of the Comedy Channel's anonymity and Ha!'s comparative success. MST3K also scored an unprecedented three-year contract, which was a big factor in producing the stellar third, fourth and fifth seasons.
    • The only reason the tenth season happened was because Rod Perth was a huge fan and signed off on it as his final act of business on the network.
    • Very much the case with Netflix, which even went to the trouble of making several short videos with Crow and Tom for its YouTube channel, including one where they pitch show ideas to the company's real life CCO! Then they took it even further by allowing the episodes to be used in the Turkey Day Marathons, making this one of the extremely few Netflix shows to ever appear outside the website.
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    • KTMA -nowadays a CW affiliate- loves reminding people that MST3K began on their network every time they get. Mind you, there's some obvious self-promotion and Retroactive Recognition going on, but still. They've also gone out of their way to interview cast and crew members of the show and revive old characters and skits they were involved with, like bringing back Kevin Murphy as Bob Bagadonuts for their new year's eve celebration special, The Melon Drop.
  • All-Star Cast: The Return (comparatively speaking, at least). While Jonah and the bots are relative unknowns, we have Wil Wheaton and Erin Grey in the intro to the first episode as random Gizmonic employees, and Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as the new Mads, and guest appearances by the likes of Neil Patrick Harris, Mark Hamill and Jerry Seinfeld.
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  • Ascended Fanon: The fans dubbed the apes' lab from Revenge of the Creature to The Deadly Mantis "Deep Ape" since it was the first Mads base after Deep 13. While its only on-screen name was "the lab", Best Brains refers to it as "Deep Ape" anyway.
  • Big Name Fan: Frank Zappa loved the show, and even called up the crew personally at one point to tell them it was "the funniest fucking thing on TV".
  • Channel Hop:
    • From one KTMA season to two on the Comedy Channel. The latter channel merged with Ha! to become CTV: The Comedy Network note  but due to a naming conflict with the Canadian channel CTV, it was renamed to Comedy Central, and MST3K made the transition—staying for Seasons 3-7. Afterwards, Sci-Fi picked the series up for three more seasons.
    • Also with their DVD releases. At first, they were handled by Rhino Records, then they switched to Shout! Factory, who eventually bought the show.
    • They've channel hopped again, with the season 11 revival airing as a Netflix Original. This is even worked into the plot of the show as Kinga has to be constantly reminded that unlike previous seasons, they're on Netflix, which doesn't use traditional ratings, and thus her plan to make the show a ratings giant and sell to Disney cannot work as conceived.
  • Colbert Bump: Honestly, would anyone have known anything about some of the films riffed? The biggest beneficiary is Manos: The Hands of Fate (a documentary, two sequels, some videogame adaptations), but Time Chasers, The Final Sacrifice, Hobgoblins and The Giant Spider Invasion all benefited from being on MST3K. It also led to new awareness of the oeuvre of Coleman Francis, turning him into a serious challenger for Ed Wood's "Worst Director Ever" crown. Even bigger beneficiaries are the short films featured on the show. Mr. B Natural and Hired! would have faded into obscurity if it weren't for this show.
  • Cowboy Be Bop At His Computer: The Sci-Fi Channel era loved to rag on Anime, less leaning and more laying on top of the All Anime Is Naughty Tentacles trope. One instance was in Invasion of the Neptune Men, where Crow's suggestion that Japan stop being represented by "big-eyed, gun-toting, pre-pubescent blondes" is added on by Mike as "like Sailor Moon there". The Netflix era, having came out nearly twenty years after the Sci-Fi era and with anime more mainstream, is a lot kinder.
  • Creative Differences:
    • Joel Hodgson famously left due to disagreements with Jim Mallon involving the direction the show should take in the future.
    • Josh Weinstein also left due to creative differences, specifically over whether riffs should be ad-libbed or scripted.
  • Creator Backlash: Weinstein has said in more recent interviews that, even though MST3K is the show that brings him the highest recognition in show business, he really did not enjoy his time on the show, nor has any particularly fond memories from it. Also, discussing why he left is a bit of a sore spot for him as it requires him to talk about bad experiences with Joel, Trace and Mallon; two of those three he's remained friends with. He once said that the two shows he's actually most proud to have been a part of are My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star and Freaks and Geeks. Though he did agree to make a brief return in Season 12.
    • He reflected a bit more on a Cinematic Titanic featurette: He thought saying punchlines in a void was unnatural and unsatisfying; he thought the live shows were really the best format for riffing, as there was instant audience feedback.
    • Trace Beaulieu was quite hurt at Joel saying he was "too old" to have a regular role on the relaunch, which resulted in him not making a planned return in Season 12 and forcing major changes to the season's story arc.
  • Creator Couple:
    • Mike Nelson is married to Bridget Jones (no, not that one) who was also a writer on the show and occasional actress, most famously playing Flavia during the Ancient Rome arc in season 8. Bonus points for when Mike had to, and could not, flirt with Flavia.
    • Rebecca Hanson, who plays Gypsy and Synthia in addition to being a show writer, is married to fellow writer Tim Ryder (who plays Bone Head #1, and played Tom Servo on the Watch Out for Snakes tour in place of Barron Vaughan, who was on paterninty leave).
    • Jonah Ray is married to Deanna Rooney, who plays Dr. Donna Saint Phibes and Bonehead #3
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Gypsy was voiced by several men during the show's original run. It wasn't until the 2017 relaunch that she started being voiced full-time by a woman.
  • The Danza
    • All three hosts share, at minimum, first names with their actors (Joel Hodgson plays Joel Robinsonnote , Michael J. Nelson plays Mike Nelson, and Jonah Ray plays Jonah Heston). The change in Joel's surname was due both to the creative team wanting a more recognizable last name for Joel and an intentional reference to Lost in Space; the same applies to Jonah's surname being changed to reference Charlton Heston.
    • Frank Conniff played TV's Frank.
  • Defictionalization: An invention exchange (By the Mads no less!) became a reality on Feb 1st 2014 when Crest announced it was going to bring out CHOCOLATE toothpaste! Hope Deep 13 gets a portion of the royalties.
  • Descended Creator: Headwriter Michael J. Nelson taking over the role as the host from mid-Season 5 (though he had previously appeared in small bit parts in several episodes by that point).
  • Directed by Cast Member: Most MST3K episodes, though this likely has to do with the show being produced in Minnesota, away from major show business cities, and the fact Jim Mallon was the voice of Gypsy for a large portion of the run. Even if you discount him; Kevin, Trace, Mike and Joel all directed numerous episodes as well.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Joel Robinson's sleepy demeanor comes from when Hodgson went without sleep for four nights leading up to the shoot of the KTMA pilot to ensure that it went smoothly. Hodgson was indeed very sleepy by that point. The characterization stuck.
  • Executive Meddling: Despite signing a show renewal contract saying that they would not re-air Season 1 of the series, Comedy Central did just that. They also reran the "special edition" version of episode 701 (Night of the Blood Beast) that aired as part of the 1995 "Turkey Day" marathon, prior to Season 7's official start.
    • When the show went on Sci-Fi, the network demanded that there be "story arcs". Kevin tried to explain that "there is no story arc in a puppet show!", but they didn't listen. The result is the stories of Bobo, Brain Guy, the camping planet and the Rome arc. Unfortunately, since Sci-Fi haphazardly would air 3-4 episodes then rerun them (often out of order none the less), this forced them to have to include recaps at the start of each episode to fill fans in. And then, to add injury to insult, Sci-Fi ordered them to cut the number of host segments in half!
    • Comedy Central's shoddy treatment of the show was one of the reasons Penn Jillette quit as their spokesman.
      • Joel, during his 2014 AMA said that black and white movies riffed during the early years were blue tinted as Comedy Central thought that people would not see the difference between the Shadowrama and the film.
    • Sci-Fi Channel (during Seasons 8-9) demanded that the show could only feature sci-fi, horror, or fantasy related movies, though the staff tended to find rather loose definitions of the concept in order to create variety. It wasn't until Season 10 that they were allowed to do drama films again (Girl in Gold Boots, Final Justice)...though in this case it was because the show was essentially going to get cancelled anyway and nobody at the network cared anymore.
      • In a more extreme case, Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. It was so botched that the cast ended up having to vent their anger in a seventh season episode where they had Crow's idea for a film be butchered in similar fashion.
    • In-Universe example: Mike, acting as a studio exec, completely altering Crow's TV series treatment of The Final Sacrifice. Now, the title is different, the show is set in America instead of Canada (possibly Pittsburgh; but they'll still shoot the film in Canada), the main character (now with a different gender and name) is living in an apartment with a bunch of other girls (thus completely changing the genre).
      Crow: ...but, Rowsdower...
      Mike: ...A big, hairy GIRL!
    • Netflix is mostly hands off with the show’s production, but they did push for a “marquee movie” that people might have heard of to be in the mix for Season 12 (which ended up being Mac and Me). Also while possibly not directly their suggestion, The Gauntlet’s concept came about in part because of Netflix’s quirky internal ratings system (the ability to finish a show quickly is weighted more than the number of people watching it).
  • Fan Community Nicknames: The show's viewers are known as "MSTies" (or, less frequently, "Misties").
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Kinga's wardrobe was supposed to be a lot more varied and extravagant, but Felicia Day's pregnancy meant she was stuck in her shapeless overcoat all season.
  • Hostility on the Set: It's incredibly minor, but it's rumored Joel and Mike have a very mild dislike for each other. The two have played it up to annoy fanboys before, and almost made a mock rivalry leading up to the first big reunion, but one declined to focus on their riff spin-off.
    • Josh Weinstein (the original voice of Servo), left the show due to there being a very ageist attitude amongst the writing team. Since Josh was still a teenager at the time he was routinely treated as "just a kid" who shouldn't be taken seriously, despite the fact he was one of the writers, performed two characters (the other being Larry), and wrote some of the music on the show. This was the main reason why he left the show after the first season on Comedy Central.
  • Inspiration for the Work: Hodgson said that part of the idea for the series came from the illustration for the song "I've Seen That Movie Too" (drawn by Mike Ross) in the liner notes from Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album, showing silhouettes of two people in a theater watching a movie. He also likened the show's setting to the idea of a pirate radio station broadcasting from space. He credits Silent Running as being perhaps the biggest direct influence on the show's concept. He wanted the feel of the show to appear homemade, and cited the example of a crude mountain prop used during the Saturday Night Live sketch "Night on Freak Mountain" that received a humorous reaction from the studio audience as the type of aesthetic he wanted for the show.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: They were the trope namers, after all. The creators have always had a permissive attitude towards fan trading of episodes that has continued into the file-sharing era. This is helpful as official copies of the episodes cycle in and out of print due to issues with rights to the films being riffed.
  • Marathon Running: On Thanksgiving Day, during the Comedy Central era; they called each one the "Turkey Day" marathon. Best Brains would produce special host segments and bumpers to tie the episodes together. One year they had Adam West hosting. The show premiered Thanksgiving 1988.
    • They were less than thrilled when it came around on them, and previously planned episode air dates were abruptly preempted by marathons of other Comedy Central shows. So much so that they cut a promo for their next episode where they talked openly about the possibility of being preempted yet again. (As an additional Take That!, the promo featured an appearance by CC's then-opaque and very intrusive network bug.)
  • McLeaned: Dr. Forrester was killed offscreen by his own mother in between Seasons 7 and 8, due to Beaulieu leaving the show.
  • Milestone Celebration: The Turkey Day marathons held for much of the Comedy Central years were, in essence, this, since the show premiered on Thanksgiving. Shout! Factory, the show's home-video distributor, revived the tradition with the help of Reddit, YouTube and Hodgson himself to promote the 25th anniversary DVD set. Season 11, episode 3, The Time Travellers, was the 200th episode. 2018 tripled down with this as Turkey Day 2018 marked the release of Season 12 and the start of the 30th Anniversary.
  • Missing Episode: There are two types.
    • The first is the kind where they can't clear the film rights for home video release, and are therefore legally missing. At any given time, about half the series falls under that header, but YouTube and file-sharing make it a non-issue.
    • The second is the kind that are really, legitimately missing, as in nobody has access to them even through more underhanded means. There are only three of these; the first three KTMA (local broadcast) episodes—understandably so, as the series had yet to find a fanbase (and thus no one recorded the episodes) and aired only in one market (driving down the number of potential tape holders). Executive producer Jim Mallon recently revealed he had copies of said episodes, which he had converted to digital media and put up clips on the show's official site. However, the rights for those three episodes' targets remain uncleared, and (due to the crew's low opinion of their KTMA work) are unlikely to see release any time soon, and are therefore still not accessible and therefore still missing.
    • In November 2016, the first two KTMA episodes were released, as part of a promotional package for the then-upcoming release of Season 11 (the first revival season).
    • And then there's the "lost short". There were, at one point, plans for an MST3K CD-ROM. As part of the bonuses on the disc, riffs of two shorts were filmed, Assignment Venezuela and What's It to You, the latter being a promotional piece for Mylar. When the CD-ROM was canceled, the shorts vanished. A work print of Assignment Venezuela was found and released on DVD alongside The Killer Shrews, but What's It to You has vanished entirely; not even the script is believed to exist.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Wade Williams, who owns the rights to a number of 1950s and 1960s sci-fi films featured on the show, admits that he never really liked MST3K because he doesn't get the humor. However, he appreciates the show for increasing the value of his library and continues to clear the rights to most of the episodes implementing this library. The notable exception, however, is Rocketship X-M, which is a beloved film of Williams and the sci-fi fandom, and they were incensed when it was riffed by Joel and the Bots. (Williams maintains that he licensed X-M to another company and they were the ones responsible for clearing the rights for inclusion on MST3K.)
  • Name's the Same:
    • No, the Josh Weinstein from this show is not the former writer for The Simpsons. This is why he goes by J. Elvis Weinstein now.
    • It's also not the same Kevin Murphy who wrote and produced Desperate Housewives.
    • No, the Bridget Jones who wrote on the show and played Mr. B Natural and Flavia is not that one. Averted with her most recent projects since she goes by her married name Bridget Nelson now.
  • Network to the Rescue: When the Comedy Channel picked up MST3K, it was a little-known, low-rating cable network which was losing viewers to the more popular HA! Network. HA! offered Comedy Channel a merger to boost profits for all involved, but saw the Channel's lineup as being of little value and wanted to scrap the lot of it. Comedy Channel, however, saw MST3K as their flagship series and refused to go through with the merger if it the show wasn't kept around. HA! relented, and not only picked the show up again but signed it for three, 26-episode seasons on the initial contract, and increased its per-episode budget so it wouldn't have to rely on public-domain films. A few years later, Comedy Central, the network formed out of the merger, suddenly had no love for the show that basically put it on the map and canceled it.
    • This is when Sci Fi Channel stepped in—fans ran a full-page ad in Variety begging someone to pick up the show, and so they did. Unfortunately, after two years of no ratings increase, the show was put on the chopping block once again. However, Sci-Fi's departing director of programming, Rod Perth, was a huge fan of the show and signed them for a tenth and final season as one of his final acts.
    • Season 11 came mostly pre-funded via the Kickstarter campign. With the renewal of the ‘’The Return’’, Netflix has stepped in to pay for season 12 (and presumably any other future seasons).
      • That may no longer be the case as Netflix declined to renew for season 13 in November 2019. Hodgson is reportedly shopping to other networks.
  • No Budget:
    • The Comedy Channel/Central episodes generally featured 5-6 actors (The Mads, Joel/Mike, Tom, Crow and sometimes Gypsy), three sets (The Mads' lab, the Satellite of Love and the theater) and a 20+ year old bomb of a movie that they got the license for cheap, assuming it wasn't public domain and acquired for free.
    • The KTMA episodes were even more apparent with this. The 5-6 actors sometimes had to work around their outside schedules, resulting in some cases of Absentee Actor (even Joel missed one episode), every one of the theatre segments were improvised, the Mads' set was blatantly the studio's editing room, and they only ever used one puppet for every character. This last one may not seem like a big deal, but it resulted in the film being visible through Servo's dome.
  • No Export for You: Technically this applies to the whole series (aside The Movie in some regions) due its nature, but due the Keep Circulating the Tapes mentality this isn't such big of a problem when it comes to the first 10 seasons of the show. Where it gets very unfortunate is with the season 11, since the series is only released on Netflix in English speaking regions. Due the fact that Netflix has been very aggressive against use of proxies and VPN's since 2016, this is very unfortunate, especially to those Kickstarter backers on lower donation tiers. However, Shout! Factory made sure to secure worldwide distribution rights for all season 11 episodes, so the season may still be made available to other countries.
  • Older than You Think: In Mike's first episode as host (The Brain That Wouldn't Die), the invention he presents is the Gutter-Bumber-Chute; an umbrella with gutters to keep washed off rain from getting you wet. As it turns out, Mike wasn't the first person to come up with this, as there exists a 1963 Daffy Duck comic book showing Daffy using this very same invention!
  • Old Shame: They requested that Comedy Central cease airing Season 1 episodes shortly before Season 4's premiere, although they still recycled some of the better material.
    • To quote the MST3K Colossal Episode Guide: "Q: Why have you requested Comedy Central not air the season 1 episodes? A: Because they weren't very good."
    • Also the KTMA episodes. As Hodgson explained in the "So Happy Together" retrospective (from Shout Factory's MST3K: Gamera DVD release):
    Joel: We don't count any of the KTMA's as "real" shows. I mean, granted, if people really love Mystery Science Theater and they feel they must go back and watch them, I think it's fine just to kind of learn about like, what it was like when we were starting out. But none of us feel really great about them, because we just weren't writing them. It was just the beginning of it. But along the way, we figured it out.
  • The Other Darrin: Tom's, Crow's and Gypsy's voice actors were all eventually replaced.
    • Lampshaded when Mike turns briefly into a "werecrow" and Crow tells him, "Your voice will change about every seven years."
      • Beginning in the season where his voice changes, Crow's line in the opening song changes to "I'm different!" in his new voice (the only thing different about him).
    • Also lampshaded in the first episode of the Sci-Fi era (and presumably when the voice-change happened) where Mike actually realizes that Crow's voice has changed and keeps on calling him up on that fact.
      • And again in Soultaker, when Joel comes back and immediately notices that Crow sounds different: "Oh, you changed your bowling pin!"
    • When Murphy replaced Weinstein as Servo's voice actor, it was explicitly explained as Joel tweaking Servo's voice box and personality.
      • Apparently, an irate fan sent them a large banner that read "I HATE TOM SERVO'S NEW VOICE!", which Kevin proudly hung in the Best Brains offices. Years later, Bill received a nearly identical note, which he interpreted as good-natured hazing from the fans.
      • Weinstein, at Cinematic Titanic live shows, will frequently introduce himself as "the Tom Servo you don't like as much".
    • Weinstein voiced Crow in the very first KTMA episode, Invaders from the Deep, one of the episodes released in late 2016 as a bonus episode for Kickstarter supporters. Tom doesn't appear at all, other than an offhand reference to "Beeper".
    • Magic Voice has changed performers more often than any of the others; in the first four seasons she was voiced by various female performers, most often Jahn Johnson and Alexandra Carr, before being played by Mary Jo Pehl in seasons 5 through 7, and then Beth "Beez" McKeever in the Sci-Fi seasons.
    • All three bots get new voice actors yet again in the revival (seasons 11–present). Gypsy is handwaved as having been tweaked by Jonah, but the changes to Crow's and Servo's voices are left unexplained.
  • Out of Holiday Episode: Since the show moved to Netflix for season 11, all the episodes of that season went live on April 14, 2017—including The Christmas That Almost Wasn't. Kinga even lampshades that Netflix programs are made for binge-watching, so hardly anyone is going to watch this episode near Christmas.
  • Out of Order: A common practice in the Sci-Fi era was to air a season's episodes seemingly at random, which wouldn't have made much impact in the old days — if not for the fact that they also kept demanding the show contain story arcs. The crew at Best Brains was eventually left so frustrated that they had to tag "Previously On..." bumpers on the broadcast versions just to keep things coherent.
    • Season 12 provides a rare Meta example, as it was produced with the intention of it being released before the MST3K Live 30th Anniversary Tour, which is why the last episode ended with Jonah and the Bots being loaded onto a spaceship, they were headed for Earth for the tour that had already happened.
  • Paying Their Dues: Hodgson revealed an interesting bit of his first acting in this interview, which has a dose of Hilarious in Hindsight.
    "I was really naive and as far outside of show business as you could get. I grew up in the Midwest. The first time I ever knew of a guy making movies anywhere near me was Bill Rebane. He did ‘Giant Spider Invasion’ not too far from where I lived. I remember him being on TV in Green Bay doing P.R. They were in the process of shooting, and he was trying to recruit people to be in this movie. That was my first experience, and it made me feel glamorous that it was even happening in my state.”
  • The Pete Best: Josh Weinstein. He was only 17 years old when the Comedy Channel picked up the show. The age gap between him and the other performers, as well as his objection to the less improvisational and more scripted new nature of the show after its transfer to cable, caused friction which led to his leaving the cast just as the show was beginning to take off nationally. Weinstein described his time on the show as being barely a step above being an unpaid intern as he felt his ideas for the show's direction were not being respected and dismissed out-of-hand because of his age. Even Hodgson, when asked why Weinstein left, dryly stated "He's 18 years old.".
  • Popularity Redo: When the show made the jump from local low-budget KTMA to the cable station Comedy Channel, they reused some host sketches in their first season and revisited movies from the KTMA era in their third.
  • Post-Script Season: The show ended its seventh season by resolving its entire premise, so the eighth season (on a new network) had to begin with a Reset Button, the shifting of the setting five hundred years into the future, and the introduction of a new antagonist. It survived for three more seasons, mostly because the plot of the series was never much more than a Framing Device for the slapstick and snark.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • From the original series, Bill Corbett.
    • Essentially everyone for season 11, especially Jonah Ray (as the new host) and Patton Oswalt (as TV's Son of TV's Frank).
      • Ray was a lifelong fan and has previously cosplayed Torgo, complete with pizza box. He often cites MST3K as his inspiration for wanting to get into comedy in the first place, and has repeatedly said it's his dream job, and that they're taking the host role from his cold, dead hands.
      • Felicia Day got cast because she approached Hodgson at a convention once to get a selfie with him to make her brother (also a lifelong MS Tie) jealous that she met Joel and he didn't. She once said that when she was 10, watching MST3K was the highlight of her week.
      • Patton Oswalt had been hosting promotional spots for MST during its original run, opened for Cinematic Titanic and hosted a few reunion show panels prior to being cast in the revival.
      • Rebecca Hanson, who plays Gypsy and Pearl's clone Synthia, used watch mass amounts of MST3K on recorded tapes, and her comedy was influenced by the show's. She first got on Hodgson's radar when she approached him, Beaulieu and Conniff at an autograph booth, and Hodgson told her he recognized her and the other performers with her from their Second City work.
  • Real-Life Relative: At the end of the Comedy Central finale, Beaulieu's father Jack made a brief cameo as an extremely-aged Dr. Forrester in a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • Additionally, Nelson's real-life wife, Bridget Jones (no, not that Bridget Jones) appeared several times, including as Mr. B Natural, Lisa Loeb, Nuveena, Flavia and Slicer the Nanite. She was also one of the actresses who portrayed Magic Voice before Mary Jo Pehl took over permanently. Bridget was also one of the show's writers, including a stint as a full-time member of the writing staff from season 4 onward.
    • Murphy's late cocker spaniel, Humphrey, played the "wolf" Pearl attempts to use in her experiment to create a werewolf. Humphrey also appeared as the dog everyone holds in their "About the Author" pictures in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide.
    • Day's brother is an extra in The Return. Fittingly, she got cast in the first place because she went out of her way to get a selfie with Joel at a con to make her brother jealous.
    • Rebecca Hanson, the voice of Gypsy, is married to Tim Ryder, who plays one of the boneheads.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Michael J. Nelson really stands out now during his bit parts during the Joel years, even more so than other writers like Paul Chaplin or Bridget Jones. The same can be said about Mary Jo Pehl to a lesser extent after joining Deep 13 in Season 7.
  • Role Reprise: During the revival's Kickstarter fundraising phase, Joel made it clear that, despite his wanting to recast the protagonists, any surviving members of the original series who wished to play their Mads for the new season would be welcomed with open arms. Mary Jo Pehl, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett took up his offer, reprising Pearl Forrester, Professor Bobo and The Observer respectively in several episodes. Josh Weinstein made a surprise appearance as Dr. Erhardt in Season 12.
  • Screwed by the Network: Three times.
    • In the case of Sci-Fi, Mike Nelson maintains that Bonnie Hammer, after taking charge at the network, said one of her priorities was, "I'm going to kill that #$%&@*! puppet show."
    • With Comedy Central it was a new president (Doug Herzog) cutting the show loose as part of a Younger and Hipper makeover for the network. Which would've been understandable except Herzog's handling of the cancellation was extremely tone deaf and he angered the Brains and the MSTies alike.
    • Netflix announced they were cancelling the show on November 27, 2019, the day before Thanksgiving (the show's traditional marathon day).
  • Throw It In!: The crew frequently left in the less serious bloopers — robots falling apart, the actors cracking up at each other's lines, et cetera — because they felt it added a certain something to the show.
    • One particular example would be a skit they did when Crow got fried by Servo's Death Ray. Crow's little fire on his head after being shot wasn't supposed to spread to his eyeballs, so his head burst into flame and he started screaming, giving a literal spin of the appropriate trope.
    Crow: ... Oh, my God. Well, I'll be in my trailer.
    • Ever wonder why Joel always sounds kind of dazed and lethargic? It's because the first episode was filmed after Hodgson had gone four days without sleep, having been running about making sure that filming would go off without a hitch. The result was basically his spaced-out persona from his stage act turned Up to Eleven.
    • During the short before Robot Monster, Servo's puppeteer sneezes loudly while in the theater and (inadvertently or intentionally) jerks the puppet. The cast treat it as though it was Servo who sneezed and keep going, with Crow telling him 'gesundheit' and Joel patting him on the shoulder and giving a confused "You're not supposed to do that."
    • Any time a bot gets damaged - even in takes that aren't used, Beaulieu and Murphy always remained in character. For example, when Crow and Servo are dressed as ninjas and horse playing with "Snacktion" action snacks, at the end of the skit, Crow knocks Servo's head off accidentally, to which Servo freezes and Crow sheepishly states, "Uh... I broke him."
    • In the first segment from Zombie Nightmare, Servo and Crow are tackling Mike as Secret Service Agents "for his protection", constantly thinking there's a gun somewhere ready to shoot Mike. When his foot is exposed, they yell, "Foot!" and pound it back down. Servo's head inevitably pops off - to which Crow screams, "HEAD!" and both bots scream in panic, before a cut to the bumper.
    • In the KTMA days, Gypsy was portrayed as a Cloudcuckoolander prone to bizarre non-sequitors rather than the wise Team Mom she became soon afterward. But one aspect of this portrayal ended up sticking: Upon her being asked "What's two plus two?" she responded "Richard Basehart," which evolved into her being a huge fan of the obscure actor.
    • Jonah's "Kaiju Rap (Every Country Has a Monster)" was all one take. Jonah didn't plan on having the wood figures haphazardly fall everywhere, but when it happened, Hodgson told the team to leave it in as it added a bit of the homemade charm from the original series (seeing as how that number was the Win the Crowd moment of season 11 for many it seems to have worked). You can actually see him give a brief Oh, Crap! expression directly to the camera before deciding to just keep going. And it almost never happened. The take before this they got through the song perfectly, but on the zoom in for Movie Sign the camera became misaligned and it couldn't be fixed in post.
    • According to a tweet from Jonah, the Hand Dryer Air Hockey invention exchange was scripted as ending with Servo presenting the urinal cake puck to a grossed-out Jonah. Instead, Servo takes offense to Jonah’s rejection and chases him offscreen to force him to take it out of his hands. The screams are priceless.
    • Partway through Master Ninja I, the back piece of Crow's head suddenly falls off in the middle of the film. Joel touches his head in surprise, and Crow mumbles "ouch...", but it's otherwise not acknowledged as the film then continues for twelve more minutes.
  • Trolling Creator:
    • When Hodgson was replaced by Nelson as the show's main character, online communities were abound with flame wars between two halves of the fandom arguing over which of them was better. Hodgson confessed in an interview he once intentionally added fuel to the fire by anonymously commenting in these forums that he thought Mike was better than his own character just to see people bitch about it.
    • It's widely suspected that the decision to renew the show after the initial revival season was made quite a while before the official announcement during the Turkey Day marathon, given the time involved in not only writing and shooting but the intensive process of selecting what films to feature, and they held off on announcing it just to do it during the annual tradition.
  • Trope Namer: MST3K is the Trope Namer for following tropes:
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Many episodes' riffs and host segments deal with pop culture around the time they originally aired (Mike Nelson is Lord of the Dance, Mystos, etc.) According to Murphy in some behind-the-scenes material, they tried their best to avoid this trope. The official YouTube channel now releases official annotated episodes of the show to help explain some of the more dated pop culture references. It helps that many references were obscure even at the time the show was airing, so now the "period" riffs just fall into the same category as, say, the Electra Woman and Dyna Girl reference in the Operation Double 007 episode.
    • For fans of Chris Farley, the MST3K guide and Overdrawn at the Memory Bank may be cruel (even if it's mostly criticizing the films than the man).
    • An especially bad one is the line "What do you think of Roseanne Barr singing the national anthem?" in First Spaceship on Venus. Not only did that incident quickly fade from most people's memories, but eventually it would look like extremely small potatoes next to some other controversies surrounding Barr.
    • Mike has said that the original series mostly avoided topical political jokes for this reason - that and the fact that the writers had a pretty diverse set of political views and wanted to avoid fights.
  • Urban Legends: It's speculated that there's at least one reference to Star Trek in every episode. Though, no one's really checked the legitimacy of this statement.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Before Comedy Central canceled the show, they offered the crew a deal: reformat the show so that it would run in a thirty minute time slot and have Mike and the 'bots make fun of TV shows, not films.
    • Gramercy Pictures had a choice between Barb Wire and MST3K: The Movie to back with a full ad campaign and theater spread. They chose the former. ("Even still, in its first weekend, it had a higher per-theater average than even the number one film in the country. So, just imagine the business it could have done if people had actually known it was out.")
    • Once in a while, you can catch a glimpse of someone's mouth moving in the theater (this is most prominent with Crow) but no one says anything.note  It's likely that they're saying jokes that were cut, flubbed or perhaps censored. One such example can be found in their riff of Manos: The Hands of Fate:
      Bride: The woman is all we want!
      Crow: [Mouth moves, but nothing comes out]
      • A confirmed example of this can be found by watching the rough cut of It Lives by Night, where about three-fourths of the way through the film, just before an ad break, Corbett (as Crow) says "Fucking squeak." After they stop recording, it's remarked that they'll have to mute that one, but he still got a laugh out of the others.
    • During the 20th anniversary Comic-Con reunion panel, the cast was asked if they ever found a film that was too bad to use for the show. They mentioned that a few they reviewed for use were great for their concept until certain scenes popped up - like, for instance, a rape scene - but out of all these they said that Child Bride was the worst, with Murphy calling it "Appalachian kiddie porn".
    • Hodgson mentions in this interview that, early on, he considered pitching the show to his friend Jerry Seinfeld for him to host. Seinfeld had to turn the offer down as he was in the midst of working on his own show for NBC. Seinfeld would later do a cameo in Season 11's Starcrash.
    • Mike and the crew attempted to secure the rights to the infamous John Travolta and Lily Tomlin 1978 "romance" Moment By Moment but had said rights "yanked from [them] at the last minute". Other films that had their rights pulled at the last minute included the Elvis Presley western Charro! and the Leonard Nimoy Pilot Movie Baffled!, about a race car driver who turns psychic Occult Detective after a car crash.
    • After Joel announced he was leaving, they actually auditioned outside talent to replace him, but, after he did well in a screen test, they decided that having Mike take over would make for a smoother transition.
    • Apparently, they considered doing the legendary Plan 9 from Outer Space, but decided not to because A) Criswell's narration would interrupt the riffing, and B) making fun of it was considered too easy and cliche, even back then. It later got the RiffTrax treatment.
    • Night of the Lepus was considered for a while (seeing as the jokes pretty much write themselves when giant killer bunny rabbits are involved) but its being from a major studio made the rights too troublesome to get. Though they still made a few references to it over the show's run, and it wound up on RiffTrax.
    • On the "Movie Sign With the Mads" podcast, Conniff revealed that, sometime between season 2 and 6, the crew had considered doing an episode on the failed 1978 Doctor Strange Pilot Movie, and apparently got well into the writing process for it before they were told that they couldn't use it due to licensing rights issues.
    • They tried to get the rights to A Case of Spring Fever for years before finally getting to riff it in the second-to-last episode. They even went so far as to make a host segment in Bride of the Monster directly based on it, knowing full well the audience would have no idea what they were referencing.
    • Other films that they screened but never ended up using, according to the ACEG: The Curse of the Doll People, Wild Guitar, Trog, The Terror of Tiny Town, Mesa of Lost Women, From Hell it Came, Over-sexed Rugsuckers from Mars and Starship Invasions (which later got the RiffTrax treatment).
      • In the move to Sci-Fi, they managed to acquire the rights to almost all of Rick Sloane's films, since he licensed them all out to several TV networks. They considered doing Vice Academy, Blood Theatre or The Visitants, but for various reasons decided not to do either three. After contacting Sloane himself to ask what he'd recommend, he brought up another little-known film he did: Hobgoblins.
    • In the Mike, By Joel DVD featurette, Hodgson revealed that his top pick for his replacement was actually Bridget Nelson, with the switch happening when Joel gets hit by a random beam from outer space that turns him into a woman. Understandably, no one else went for it.
    • A country-style remix of the MST3K Love Theme was to accompany Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. However, this was dropped. Though, most fans think the remix isn't even that good anyway. After being in limbo for years, it was used as the music for the menu screen on the film's Shout! Factory DVD release.
    • Beaulieu and Conniff at first agreed to appear in Season 12, but were unsatisfied with the script after not being able to be part of the writing process. Hence the somewhat awkward "Idiot Control Now" extended Call-Back which was clearly rerecorded without them.
  • The Wiki Rule: One at Wikia.
  • You Look Familiar: Nelson played several small roles in the host segments (and most notably played the recurring role of Torgo) before taking over as host.
    • Overlapping some with Creator Cameo in The Return Hodgson plays Ardy (the maintenance guy in the hazmat suit who sends the experiments up), Larry from The Time Travelers, and Santa Claus.


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