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Episode guide: 320- The Unearthly (with shorts: ‘Posture Pals’ and ‘Appreciating Our Parents’)

Short 1: (1952) An elementary school teacher holds a posture contest in her class.
Short 2: (1950) A young boy realizes how much his parents do for him, and that he should help out around the house.
Movie: (1957) A mad scientist uses nefarious methods to acquire subjects for his bizarre experiments.

First shown: 12/14/91
Opening: The bots are making a “funny” submission for “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and Crow gets the worst of it
Invention exchange: Crow is gnarled, but he likes it. The Mads demonstrate their “hard pills to swallow,” while Joel shows off his everyday products named for celebrities
Host segment 1: Crow and Tom present: “Appreciating Gypsy”
Host segment 2: With the help of the Video Toaster, J&tB present the many faces of Tor Johnson
Host segment 3: Tom and Crow create a “Unearthly” board game, but Joel gets hung up on reading the instructions
End: J&tB enjoy using their “Dead End Kids patois,” Joel reads a letter using the lingo, and even that Mads get into it.
Stinger: “Time for go to bed!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (133 votes, average: 4.29 out of 5)

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• This is really a case where the shorts save the episode. Both shorts are fun and the riffing is great. But once the movie starts, things bog down. The guys make fun of Tor for a while, then they start kind of free associating (mixing in some state park jokes), then they fall back on the whole Dead End Kids patois thing. But the riffing never really takes off. Most of the segments are good, which helps drag the rating up a bit as well.
• Oh, the irony of an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” parody. Little did Trace suspect he would be drawing a paycheck from it in less than ten years.
• The Mads’ invention is my all-time favorite IE. Trace and Frank are brilliant. My main problem with Joel’s inventions are how how cheesy they look. None of the figures looks anything like the celebrity they’re supposed to be, and they all look like they were made out of cottage cheese.
References.
• Although there were episodes in the first season that had two episodes of “Radar Men from the Moon,” this is only the second time in the history of the series that we have had two shorts (the first was 315- TEENAGE CAVEMAN). They did it one more time in season six.
Incidentally, at a recent RiffTrax Live show, they riffed a short that supposedly was an updated version of “Appreciating Our Parents.”
• The Rhino version had alternate takes of the host segments. Always interesting to see which take they chose and which ended up on the cutting room floor.
• Dr. F says “Enjoy!” like Dr. Erhardt again.
• Short 1 was one of those instant classics that just struck a chord with the fans.
• During the first short, Joel says something odd: “That’s when the kids came up with a plan to blackmail Mrs. Reedy!” Where does that name come from? We know Joel knows the teacher’s name is Miss Martin, because he says it a few lines later. Is that a reference to something?
• Tom seems scandalized by Joel’s reference to VPL.
• Crow is still gnarled when they go into the theater, but during short 2 he says “I better go freshen up,” walks off, about three riffs go by without him, and then he returns good as new.
• During the segment 1, there’s a shot of the SOL bridge piled high with junk. Many of the items are past invention exchanges.
• At the end of segment 1, Gypsy breaks the button.
• In segment 2, the “artists renderings” make another appearance, only to be immediately rejected.
• In segment 2, Tom says “perfap…er…perhaps.” They keep going.
• Some techies may be amused by the appearance of an early version of the Video Toaster. It must have been fun ro use but, from a present-day perspective, it doesn’t seem that impressive. Maybe they were just not very good at it using it, but most of the images are pretty fuzzy and hard to make out.
• One other note about segment 2: the shot of Tor Johnson that is used over and over is at the very very end of the movie. Another example of them using a moment from the movie they are familiar with because they’ve seen it nine times, but that we aren’t because we’re still in the middle.
• Instant catchphrase: “Time for go to bed!”
• In segment 3 there’s a little Tom Servo figure among all the crap on the table. Where’d that come from?
• Tom and Crow are already there when Joel arrives back in the theater. Another example of Tom making it to the theater on his own.
• Cast and crew roundup: Editor Richard Currier also worked on “Night of the Blood Beast.” In front of the camera, Myron Healey was also in “The Incredible Melting Man.” Arthur Batanides was also in “The Leech Woman.” Harry Fleer was also in “Tormented.” John Carradine was also in “Red Zone Cuba” and Tor Johnson was also in “Bride of the Monster” and “The Beast of Yucca Flats.”
• CreditsWatch: Barb Oswald was prop assistant for her third and last time this season (was SHE responsible Joel’s invention exchange?). She’d be back for a couple of episodes in season four. Jef Maynard gets credit for “Paint Box Artistry” which I assume means he was able to figure out the Video Toaster better than anybody else.
• Fave riff from short 1: “She should just go home to bed.” Honorable mention: “Yes, very much so.”
• Fave riff from short 2: “Well, I isolated that nucleotide today…” “Honorable mention: “Dad pulls the lever at the big house.”
• Fave riff from the movie: “Stop fighting and give me some skin!”
Note: As we have done in the past, we will skip episode 321- SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS (next in the rotation) and do it in the holiday season.

102 Replies to “Episode guide: 320- The Unearthly (with shorts: ‘Posture Pals’ and ‘Appreciating Our Parents’)”

  1. Bruce Boxliker says:

    Good episode, with great shorts.

    I’m pretty sure the narrator of the Posture Pals short is also the narrator of the Rifftrax short ‘Good Health Practices’, though he seems to be even more excited talking about children using the toilet…

       1 likes

  2. mnenoch says:

    The two shorts in this one really make the episode great. The host segments are pretty good as well. I kind of didn’t want to watch this episode again (it’s been a long time) I had forgotten about the shorts and the only thing I could remember about the Unearthly was the ending. I generally don’t like dreary movies and I’m still not a big fan of Unearthly but I found it reasonably funny this time. We will see how I feel about that next round.

       1 likes

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