Let me paint a little picture for you. It’s an ancient time. “Blu Ray” was what people thought Gainsborough’s model was named. “YouTube” was a surfing slang term (as was every set of words put together nonsensically) and surfing was only done in the ocean, because webpages were few and all of them sucked – Geocities was in the future and would, ever so briefly, be considered an improvement. And there was this little underground movement, the surreptitious shuffling of bulky packages (leave it alone) that took place in
locker rooms (sheesh) chess club meeting rooms and the parking lot after work, the exchanges of ominous black boxes called, “VHS,” the currency of the MST3K fanatics.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 was one of the most creative shows ever to grace several different networks, with a simple yet compelling format: play absolutely shitty movies and tear the hell out of them – kind of like the annoying jerks in the theater, but targeted towards films that are only improved by the commentary. There was an explanation, of sorts, for this activity, which took place on the milkbonesque Satellite of Love, where a human captive and the two robots he’d built/inherited were forced to watch these terrible movies as some sort of experiment perpetrated by mad (or perhaps slightly irritable) scientists. The sets were obviously homemade and only slightly cheaper than those on the original Star Trek, and that was part of the charm. What we all watched for, though, was the biting commentary on cinematic schlock that had been mercifully ignored for ages.
All of that, naturally, was to introduce you to the concept if you haven’t already been exposed to it, and to hopefully spark some interest. Because if you have been exposed to it, especially if you’ve lamented its cancellation, I am here to help spread the word that it’s coming back – this time through crowd-funding, because fuck network decision-makers and the crayons they keep eating. While the campaign has already reached its initial goal as I write this, there’s an upper goal too, which would permit a full dozen new episodes to be created. Click here for the details. And as it always goes for Kickstarter backers, the more you contribute, the better it gets, as you become eligible for bonus materials in recognition of your generosity and discerning taste.
But there’s another reason that I’m posting: we are also seeing the return of Turkey Day, which is not just an unoriginal slang term for Thanksgiving, but an appropriate term for an MST3K marathon taking place at that same link Thursday, November 26th, starting at noon Eastern, 9 AM Pacific, or to get everyone on the same damn system, 5 PM UTC “Zulu.” These will be classic episodes, yet to be announced, but almost certainly a few gems in there.
I’ll be the first to admit, MST3K could be hit or miss, and everyone has their favorite hosts and/or seasons. Plus, it doesn’t strike everyone the same way. Some of the jokes were weak; some were remarkably sophisticated. And sometimes, it was nothing but merciless:
After the show was cancelled, many of the cast and crew split off to do much the same thing with virtually no budget, creating RiffTrax and Cinematic Titanic, as well as appearing at live shows. The fan base has been vast, and yet will hopefully get a bit vaster.
I can’t leave it at that. No doubt everyone has memories of those aged education films that we all had to watch in schools, and quite often, when the feature movie wasn’t going to prove long enough for the format, there was also a ‘short’ tacked on at the beginning, like so:
So, tune in (or, whatever) Thursday, pledge some support, and have fun!