The old MST3K movie, based on This Island Earth has been on cable lately. It stars the lovely Faith Domergue at her pointiest:
Anyway, the movie was made after MST3K had passed its prime, with Joel having left at the beginning of the previous season, and TV’s Frank leaving before the movie was shot. And the show had just been canceled off Comedy Central, and not yet picked up on Sci-Fi.
It doesn’t use the wonderfully concise expository theme song and Dr. Forrester looks horribly lonely all by himself without a minion to abuse. (Trace Beaulieu would leave at the end of the following season, I believe.) Tom Servo swears a few times and answers the vital question: Would the show be funnier if it didn’t have to adhere to TV language and content rules? (Answer: No.)
At the time, it seemed like a moderately good episode. Not great.
It holds up very well, however. The only really severely dated stuff is a reference to John Sununu. It features some classic lines, which will probably make you smile if you’ve ever seen it, and scratch your head if you haven’t:
Crow: Somebody sneezed on the credits!
Crow: The earth is exactly as we left it: With the USA in charge!
All: Normal view! Normal VIEW! NORMAL VIEW! NORMAL VIEEEEEWWW!!
Crow: Industry, Science and Technology!
Tom Servo: Big men sticking screw drivers into things, turning them and adjusting them.
Crow T. Robot: Build your very own Atom Storage Box!
Mike: Bringing you state-of-the-art in soft-serve technology!
Crow T. Robot: Removes lids off bottles and jars of all sizes – and it really, really works.
It’s also got solid sketches, with Crow trying to tunnel to earth, Mike crashing the satellite into the Hubble (“I’m fully rated for Microsoft Flight Simulator”) and the Interositer service call (“Are you in Europe? Do you need an adapter?”).
This sort of humor is often very dated, with a shelf life akin to buttermilk. But this one seems better over time.
That may be because the latest Cinematic Titanic shows were delayed by the writer’s strike. Nah, it’s still gold. I gotta be honest: When I first saw MST3K, I liked the riffs and thought the whole puppet show was sorta stupid. As time passed, though, I realized that, besides being funny, the sketches gave a greater sense of character to the proceedings.
I hope they can manage something like that with CT.