MST3K returns in a glorious Thanksgiving Marathon to remind us of better times and also terrible movies.
Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) has somehow survived being eaten by a robot monster at the end of the last season, but he is still stuck on-board the Satellite of Love with his robot friends Crow T. Robot (Hampton Yount), Tom Servo (Baron Vaughn), Gypsy (Rebecca Hanson), and Cambot. However, he is still the captive of Kinga Forrester (Felicia “You Make My” Day) and TV’s Son of TV’s Frank, Max (Patton “You Make My” Oswalt) who have prepared the most sadistic torture imaginable: Binge-watching 6 terrible films in “The Gauntlet.”
The films are: Mac and Me, Atlantic Rim, Lords of the Deep, The Day Time Ended, Killer Fish, and Ator, the Fighting Eagle. All of them are a special version of awful.
Many of you are aware that I love MST3K. At my brother’s wedding, my groomsman gift was a set of MST3K cufflinks. I’ve written papers on copyright law that referenced them on topics I picked just so I could mention Tom Servo in a legal essay. I was a backer in the kickstarter to revive the series and regret not giving more due to not having money. I considered robbing a series of consignment shops, but I believed that Joel and the Bots (or Mike) wouldn’t want me to commit crimes in order to get them back in space. I’m a fan, is the gist of this. One of my favorite things was always the Turkey Day marathons that would air either on Comedy Central or on local channels. After all, the first MST3K was aired on Thanksgiving, so nothing could be more appropriate. So, imagine how pleased I was when, on Thanksgiving, 30 days after the initial premiere, Netflix gave us an actual in-show marathon of glorious bad movies.
Look, it’s not like I can really spoil these episodes. The entire point of MST3K is listening to the comics riff on the movies. However, there are certain rules behind what film makes a great MST3K episode:
1) The movie should have some gimmick or recurring element that they can make into a running gag.
2) Some of the dialogue should sound like it was written by an English poet, Google translated into Arabic, Yahoo translated into Greek, translated by a sixth-grade student into Japanese, then translated by a drunk guy back into English.
3) The more fundamental technical flaws the movie has that it refuses to recognize, the better.
4) Logic within the movie should be thrown out the window into a pile of flaming hippos. Why hippos? Because origami octopus butternut squash.
All of these movies meet these criteria and then some. Mac and Me, in particular, has been a movie that has been requested for riffing ever since people first decided that they liked hearing three grown men make jokes about cinematic tragedies.
The key to this season is that it is meant to be binged. It’s shorter than any previous season except for the last episodes when Comedy Central ended the series and, even within the show, the Mads (Kinga and Max) are challenging Jonah and the Bots to try and sit through six bad movies in a row. Each of the episodes feeds directly into the next one, with the next film being “flushed” to the Satellite of Love at the end of the episode. If you do binge this one (and it takes like 9 hours to do that, so be prepared), it actually forms a solid narrative and has a number of surprising throwbacks to the entire history of the show and the fandom.
Take the time out of your life and watch this season. It’ll make you happy and help you forget about how horrible reality can be for most of a day.
If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.
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