Support Us

Satellite News is not financially supported by Best Brains or any other entity. It is a labor of love, paid for out of our own pockets. If you value this site, we would be delighted if you showed it by making an occasional donation of any amount. Thanks.

Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

Social Media

Episode guide: 516- Alien from L.A.

Movie: (1987) An airheaded Valley Girl follows her explorer father to the center of the Earth.

First shown: 11/20/93
Opening: Boot camp at Fort Satellite O’ Love
Invention exchange: Dr. F demonstrates the vend-a-gut, M&tB have invented fridge udders (teats!)
Host segment 1: M&tB discuss that supermodel. What’s her name?
Host segment 2: M&tB sing: “My Wild Irish Ireland”
Host segment 3: M&tB introduce the “guess Kathy’s emotions” game
End: Nothing more to say about the movie, Mike reads a letter, in Deep 13, Frank still is dropping quarters
Stinger: “Yuck!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (188 votes, average: 4.37 out of 5)


• This is a wonderful episode. Great riffs, great segments and a real departure of a movie. Dull surprise!
• This episode is on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. XXVI.
• References.
• Speaking of “Mike won me over” moments (as we were last week), I had a good friend for whom Mike’s deranged “Hello, Joker!” greeting did the trick.
• Let me just say it: Teats! For several days after this episode, online MSTiedom was full of people saying “teats” just because they could.
• The desk on the bridge magically vanishes so they can do the “fridge tipping” gag.
• Mike does a little Joel-esque climbing around on the movie in the theater.
• This week’s non-spaghetti ball bumpers: pan across the lab to a beaker, pan down to the notebook, pan from globe to blackboard as roll of toilet paper flies by.
• I love the first segment, where the bots assume the personality of that out-of-it relative surely everybody has. Sounds just like my mother-in-law (God rest her soul). By the way, I think they were thinking of Paulina Porizkova.
• The bots are still wearing their outfits as they enter the theater after segment 2.
• Obscure reference not mentioned on the references page: Ballet Trockadero.
• I don’t really get why they keep saying Kathy has “big bones” Is it because she’s tall (Kathy’s 5’10”)? Usually “big bones” is a euphemism for “overweight,” which Kathy is not.
• The classic Dull Surprise sketch immediately launched a catchphrase.
• Mike reacts harshly to mention of “Captain Ron” and finds it necessary to lay down the law … justifiably, in my view.
• Callbacks: It’s Klandinctu! (Crash of the Moons) He’s the best! (Pod People). This to me is good TV. (Jack Perkins).
• Crow is very “helpful” (i.e. blathering inane factoids) quite a few times in the theater — causing Tom tell him to shut up repeatedly.
• As if there weren’t already enough classic bits in this episode, the “femmy movies” bit at the end is great fun. Nice way to distract from a long credit sequence, but several times they mention something called a “video store,” whatever that is.
• Cast and crew round up: Not a big one this week. Executive producer Avi Lerner also worked on “Outlaw.” Production designer Pamela Warner was an assistant art director on “Being from Another Planet.” In front of the camera, Russel Savadier is also in “Outlaw.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Trace Beaulieu. “My Wild Irish Ireland” written and arranged by: Kevin Murphy, Michael J. Nelson and David Sussman.
• Fave riff: “This whole room smells like my eyes!” Honorable mention: “Hey Count Chocula, clear the shot.”

149 Replies to “Episode guide: 516- Alien from L.A.”

  1. Brian T says:

    Another great one!

    “This door sounds brown”.


  2. Bookworm says:


    The director’s name? Liviu Ciulei.


  3. RCFagnan says:

    Great episode! My copy’s from ’96 and has M&TB intro the episode and cut to them at the first commercial promoting MST3K The Movie (love Mike confusing his own plight with “To Kill A Mockingbird”). I’ve got a sappy story to go along, but it really belongs with the guide entry for MST3KTM, so I’ll wait. As for this one, great host segments, outstanding riffing, and the best Invention Exchange of Mike’s tenure. Incidentally, my dad is from Somerset, WI. It’s near the Minnesota border. I agree with Paul Chaplin from the ACEG, why did the producers think people would buy a race of Australians underground? Don’t we already have one up here? Fave Riff (whilst reading of her father’s theories regarding Atlantis): Kathy: “Don’t laugh.” Servo: “No, Kathy, that’s a stage direction!” Also love the Atlanta references, native that I am.


  4. Omega says:

    RCFagnan #53

    It’ll be a while before we hit the movie…

    I have to agree that moments where Mike goes temporarily insane (i.e. Captain Janeway or “You people have matches for Mikey”) are absolute riots. Mike channeling Vincent D’Ofrio is a prime example from this episode.


  5. Meranalf says:

    I love how nonchalant Tom is about being disassembled.

    With the movie having so many parallells to The Wizard of Oz, I am surprised that there were only two references, but maybe the writers thought it would be just too easy to fill it with WoO jokes.
    The “Australian” questions a short person.
    Mike: “Do you represent the lollipop guild?”

    A squad of soldiers marches across the screen.
    M&TB: “O-E-O. O-o-o-o-o-h.”

    Favorite riff is the chick flick slam during the closing credits.


  6. Dave says:

    The song “My Wild Irish Ireland” does it for me!


  7. Rotten as British Teeth says:

    This was a good-to-great ep for me. The riffing and segments are pretty funny (“My Wild Irish Ireland” is one of my fav songs). Although the last few scenes of the movie’s riffing slows since its becoming obvious she’s gonna escape, the credit sequence with the battle of femmy movies is classic. I remember the first time watching this episode with my dad, almost every movie mentioned was one he liked, and I’d give him an extra amount of grief about it. (He took it very well, laughing right along with me while shaking his head in shame!)

    All in all, another great choice for those of us still with a Joel-less hangover.


  8. Omega says:

    Don’t forget the blooper on the Poopie Reel. I loved how Trace lost control of Crow’s eyes so that we wound up seeing the back, blank part of the ping-pong balls. The fact that Trace ad-libbed (I’m BLIND!!!) with Kevin joining in just showed how comfortable everyone was with their roles.


  9. OneNuttytanuki says:

    I’ve always wondered was Professor Galba (the beared scientist at the end of the movie, who seems to come out of no where in the MST3K cut) the inspiration for Kevin Murphy’s Professor Bobo?


  10. Spector says:

    Overall this one ranks among the very good. It has a great start and finish, the host segments are terrific, especially the Kathy Ireland board game where every answer is “Dull Surprise!” They get a lot of mileage riffing on the dumbness of Ireland both as an actress and her character in this one. “I’m appearing in a Golan-Globus picture. They’re paying me twenty dollars”. Unfortunately this drags a bit around the middle of the film which prevents it from being among their very best. Mike’s ease in going toe-to-toe with Crow over who watches the most femmy movies cinched it for me that he was fitting comfortably into the lead role.


  11. Uranium - 235 says:

    Some of my favorite riffs are from the beginning – the lightsaber noises, and when Tom says “Dear Miss Summmennummenummmmnnmm…”

    I also like how in the movie Kathy and the guy who kills Bela Lugosi round the same corner two or three times.

    During Segment 3, Crow again shakes himself to pieces with dull surprise.

    After Kathy finds her Dad and they’re talking while Gus finds an exit, what is Mike doing to Crow? He tickles his chin or something…

    But the most priceless bit is the movie slam during the credits… and speaking of the credits, apparently the ‘Vehicle Gremlin’ was ‘Troll Hartigan’. Wow, what a name.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to see this one yet (one of the very few Season 5 episodes I’ve missed) but thank God for youtube.

    Good luck. Copyright holders, being the Hitler Youth that they are, are aggressively protecting the heinous crime of improper use of their properties on Youtube, as it is clearly causing them countless monetary damages. Notably, a lot of MST stuff has disappeared because of the assholes at Viacom. As little taste as I have for piracy and such, I simply can’t bring myself to find downloading games and movies to be objectionable when copyright holders are being the soulless bastards they are by deleting someone’s video because there’s a radio playing Metallica in the background…


  12. Uranium - 235 says:

    Oh and I’ll add that this movie is a GREAT ‘starter episode’. The movie is bad in that it has a total cheese factor, not so much that it’s dull (though Kathy’s voice was really, really pushing it) with great riffing accompaniment.

    The hardest hurdle for any newbie to get over is the host segments. While riffing a movie is pretty straightforward it’s always ‘weird’ the first time a host segment starts (SciFi era host segments are doubly hard), since they don’t understand the characters, the relationships, or the humor. I’ve met some people who felt kinda childish watching a guy chastise a Tupperware puppet and I guess I can see why. The host segments in this one are also pretty good starters, as they really just ‘click’ (#3 especially).


  13. I had SUCH a hard time learning to ignore Kathy’s horrible voice, but once I got over that (around the third viewing), I was better able to enjoy the episode. The “Wild Irish Ireland” song cracked me up, the riffing was excellent, and Mike seems to have settled in nicely.

    The hardest hurdle for any newbie to get over is the host segments. While riffing a movie is pretty straightforward it’s always ‘weird’ the first time a host segment starts (SciFi era host segments are doubly hard), since they don’t understand the characters, the relationships, or the humor.

    I agree with this. The first time I began watching MST, I was drawn in by the riffing, but didn’t really “get” what was going on between movie segments, especially since I didn’t discover the show until well after Mike had joined. I’m sure glad the MST theme song explains it all! Once I heard that, I just adopted a “go with the flow” mentality.


  14. swh1939 says:

    I didn’t get Comedy Central in my home until after MST3K left its airwaves, reruns and all. I had been getting episodes taped for years before this and watched them later. I caught this on MTV, and as such this is the first episode that I saw broadcast in the comfort of my own home.


  15. mjg1964 says:

    Fave riff: “Mother Teresa, please hold. KATHY’s on line one!”


  16. Dan in WI says:

    Field stripping Tom Servo is a cute opening. Here again we have the Bots (Crow specifically) in charge and a befuddled Mike trying to fit in. Trace nails this sketch though Tom’s insubordinate tone adds greatly.

    The invention exchange this week again proves this segment had some life past Joel’s departure. The Vend-a-Gut is great. My only criticism here is that I don’t think it is evil enough for the Mads. It really would be convenient if you could just grab that organ you need and step right into pre-op. And for the second straight week, Frank absolutely nails the sell job for this invention.
    Say. Don’t you just hate it when you are suffering from some horrible ailment and the only thing that can cure you is an organ transplant?
    I hate that.
    And what’s worse you go to the hospital. You have to wait days, weeks, months sometimes even years to get that organ. That bugs the heck out of me.
    All this time we get great facial expressions out of Clayton. They even deal with the problems of faulty vending machines.
    The invention from Mike and the Bots is cool as well. There is the obvious excuse to use the word teats. But beyond that the Gateway computer company proved putting something in a Holstein decorated box will sell anything. Why not use that design to dispense multiple types of milk (and crushed ice)?
    Yes sir this episode has probably the best invention effort from all parties of the Mike era.

    Missed callback: There is that light flashing just before the opening credits. I think it has been long enough they could have gotten away with the “ABC Mystery Movie” riff.

    Who’s that Supermodel host segment: Not much to say about this other than it was just so ludicrous I had to laugh: Clara Peller.

    As annoying as Kathy’s voice is (and it is annoying) I have to say Australian Gus bugs me even more when he talks.

    At one point Mike riffs “I thought we were beyond Thunderdome.” It would be #706 when this pays off with the “Can’t we just get beyond Thunderdome?” payoff.

    I think its been mentioned before but it bears repeating. There are a few riffs where Kevin really channels the future Professor Bobo.

    The Guess the Emotion host segment is interesting. Mike starts off as oblivious. Then the light goes on, he catches on with the dull surprise and really runs with it. The way he suddenly switched gears begins to define his character.

    The slamfest during the loooooonnnnnnngggggg credit roll started strong but it petered out before the credits were finished. Those really were a lot of credits. Either way, as a manly man I can honestly say I didn’t know half the films there were referencing and I’m know worried about the Brains for knowing them all.
    Crow summed things up really well “You know watching this movie was like watching a really a bad movie.”

    Favorite Riffs:
    Kathy “So naturally I wanna know why [you’re breaking up with me]” Tom “It’s your helium addiction.”

    Kathy falls down an abyss. Crow: “She’s having a meeting with Wile E. Coyote down there.”

    Mike “now this is irresponsible. They are encouraging people to go out and drug Kathy Ireland.”

    Tom “So why is it the action sequences slow this movie down”


  17. robot rump! says:

    Love Dr. F’s line ‘I see you’ve decided to go psycho. Godspeed.” this movie might have been slightly less annoying if Kathy just wandered around in a swimsuit and used the dialogue cards like they used in the silent movies. it was nice to see Rush get some screen time. and this movie did give me hope that the old ‘Energizer’ guy that used to stomp around yelling ‘oy!’ didn’t drink away his profits and is lying in a ditch somewhere. he went to AtlANTeeya with the other Austraileeans.


  18. ServoTron3000 says:

    I could watch the “femmy movies” bit that ran with the credits over and over and still laugh.


  19. CJBeiting says:

    For those who may wonder about Kathy Ireland’s wonderful voice. . .

    My brother works as a technician at a TV station, and got to meet and spend some time with Kathy Ireland a few years ago when she paid a visit to the sation. He said she was really nice, and he quite enjoyed the visit. Having seen “Alien from LA”, though, I had to ask, “Yeah, but does she still have that *squeeky* voice?”

    He laughed when I asked and said, “No. It’s pretty clear that she’s been taking eloquition lessions since or something, since her voice is very focused and modulated.” But he did note that when she got excited, the training would slip a little and she would squeek a bit.


  20. Tim S. Turner says:

    “My puzzler hurts.”


  21. Sitting Duck says:

    @ #3: At the risk of sounding pedantic, the correct term is tetralogy.


  22. Dave says:

    The song did it for me!


  23. itsspideyman says:

    This is a good show, but her voice is pitched at the exact tone where I want to get out of my chair and go screaming down the street.


  24. itsspideyman says:

    # 63

    I agree. I became a Mistie during the SciFi years, and although some things I didn’t get, they were funny.

    Once I dug into the history (thank you Internet) it all came clear. And really funny!


  25. snowdog says:

    I can’t explain why, but for some reason, I really hate this film. It may well be Kathy’s voice which reminds me of getting ice stuck my teeth. Having said that, there are some great riffs and some funny host segments. Love the opening where Crow references several movies (Officer and a Gentleman, Full Metal Jacket), and Mike’s dancing/accordion playing later. The fem movie/book thing was funny, but after the first few rounds, I didn’t recognize the names, maybe because this was a long time ago… or maybe because I’m not a screaming nancy girlie man. Love how Tom was acting as a judge.

    Four Stars.


  26. lancecorbain says:

    Love this episode. Saw so many future-dystopia/Mad Max direct-to-video ripoffs in the 80’s/90’s that watching this was like sitting back into a comfy chair. Add a known face like Cathy Ireland and a goofy plot twist (center of the earth!), that’s just gravy.
    LOVE the song from the sketch. Wonder if Ms. Ireland’s ever heard it?


  27. Insect Man #47 says:

    Not to make anyone here jealous, but I went to High school with Kathy Ireland. Didn’t see much of her though, since she didn’t go near the detention room. Love this episode though.


  28. Fred Burroughs says:

    My copy is really grainy, so I don’t know whether a better copy would make Kathy’s voice sound better, or just more annoying. She’s actually very charming in the way she commits to the nerd character and then gives the same whiny delivery to almost every line. To me that makes this episode one of the hardest to get through. I do have to hand it to the filmmakers, though, it was quite ambitious and edgy/arty for an amalgam of 80s fantasy/dystopia/nerd makes good movies. there were a lot of them. And Kathy I. was good in Mom and Dad Save the World.

    Vend-a-gut is one of my favorite inventions for its great combination of usefulness, practicality, prohibitive expense, and potential for driving people insane in frustration. Yet again Frank is losing all his money to Dr. F, and being abused at the same time.


  29. Neptune Man says:

    I have to admit it, Kathy Ireland’s voice defeated me. I can’t stand her voice, and every time I try to watch the episode, I end turning it off at the middle. Her voice is horrible, grating, annoying, like a rusty chainsaw scratching a blackboard, a constant shrill, as if she was channeling the agony cries of the desperate souls that are forgotten in Hell. She had nice shoes, though.


  30. Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    Despite comments to the contrary, Kathy Ireland’s voice isn’t really that annoying for me, neither do i particularly think she’s that hot looking. She’s a non-entity; is something wrong with me?

    However, i can attest that midgets in Tammy-Faye Bakker makeup, Highlander rip-offs, and Australians, ANY Australian, even the one in this movie, were WAY COOL in the 80’s.


  31. Mitchell "Rowsdower" Beardsley says:

    Pretty lame episode all around. Taped it as it first aired, still stung by Joel’s departure and didn’t think much of it. Upon revisiting it, I find that I don’t really want to revisit it.

    Weak episode. One of those I tend to skip MUCH more often than not. The ‘I’m Owlstralian’ bit they beat to death and it wasn’t that funny to begin with!

    I did laugh for a second at “I’m shy” though.


  32. lancecorbain says:

    Also, I realize she wasn’t famous yet when this episode aired, but the creature that drugs Cathy and takes her to Deep Roy looks, to me, like Helena Bonham Carter. Cracks me the hell up.
    Also love all the Joel Grey references. They work too well.
    Re-watching it right now…man, this movie looks more like a Duran Duran video than the club scene in Warrior Of The Lost World.


  33. Kathy says:

    “Usually “big bones” is a euphemism for “overweight,” which Kathy is not”

    Skeletons vary in size. If you wrap one hand around the other wrist and your thumb and middle finger just meets – you’re big boned. It’s got nothing to do with your amount of body fat.

    Ireland isn’t overweight but she’s not the standard frail fashion model in body type you usually had to be to model.


  34. frankenforcer says:

    This is one of my least favorite episodes Kathy is just plain annoying and the movie is just disturbing visually. Ugh.


  35. Cheapskate Crow says:

    Didn’t have time to watch this again but I have good memories of it from back in the day. The glasses thing was a catch phrase around the office I worked at and the dull surprise bit was hilarious. This and Radar Secret Service I think were the best of Mike’s first half-season in charge.


  36. Max Keller says:

    “It’s your helium addiction.” One of my all time favorite riffs.

    As an aside, Mrs. Ireland has since gone on to be one of the top businesswomen around:

    “Since 1993, Ireland has served as CEO and Chief Designer[5] of her eponymous brand product marketing company, kathy ireland Worldwide, which she has grown into a “$1.4 billion empire””


  37. Cubby says:

    If you wrap one hand around the other wrist and your thumb and middle finger just meets – you’re big boned. It’s got nothing to do with your amount of body fat.
    That, or you have really stubby fingers like me.


  38. Manny Sanguillen says:

    I have a very hard time getting into this episode. The riffs are funny but not great, and the movie is just not my type. Everytime I consider putting this dvd in, I think of a better episode and watch it instead. I’ve maybe only seen this all the way through twice.


  39. Mac aka: afriendlychicken says:

    @ #66

    Actually, I find the vend-a-gut to be one of their most evil of inventions. Yes, it seems so helpful and pleasant. But wait! You must pay for the entire tens-of-thousands of dollars in quarters! The machine probably will not only just hold a few hundred dollars before you have to wait for the guy to pick up the change to make room for more, but by the time (days? weeks?) you’ll have enough to get your organ and have finally fully paid for it you’d probably be dead. Now, that’s evil. :laugh:


  40. pondoscp says:

    Was this the most recent flick MST had done at the time? I think that’s why it doesn’t quite gel for me. Riffing on the 80s while for all intents and purposes it still was the 80s just doesn’t do it for me. (1993 was the last gasp of 80s culture, thank God for grunge, but I digress) But I’ll finish watching this episode for what has to be my twentieth viewing. Now that an MGM deal has been secured (hopefully), maybe this one will see official release before too long. I kind of hope so, since I have a very crappy mpeg copy of it. Hmm, Kathy interview as a bonus feature?

    What makes me the most sad is when an episode comes up for weekly review, it’s not officially released yet, and it gets under 100 comments. :( Seek these episodes out, people! Don’t wait for Shout, you don’t know what you’re missing!


  41. Gorn Captain says:

    I wonder if Rifftrax will ever do the sequel? ;)


  42. Stefanie says:

    Y’know, if the movie was remade and the Atlantians did not have Australian accents and Kathy did not squeak, it would have been a much more successful film.


  43. Fred Burroughs says:

    Alien LA was one of the last to add to my collection, along with Robot Holocaust from season one. Is it me, or are all the parts of those movies interchangeable? All the smoky, crowded ‘underground’ scenes, except one has Kathy Ireland and one has Valeria. Since I watched them together, I easily get them confused. It’s like, as films, they’re not so good.


  44. snowdog says:

    Had a little time this morning, so I did the math. By the end of the ep, Frank had put $125,448.50 into the machine. If you could keep a pace of 1 quarter per second, (Frank is going MUCH slower by this point, but hear me out):

    $125,448.50 = 501,794 quarters which is
    501,794 seconds or 8,363.2 minutes which is
    139.3866 hours which is
    5.8 days

    I KNEW the movie seemed long!


  45. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Yet again it’s implied that Frank is the real money behind Deep 13 (explaining why Dr. Forrester didn’t last very long without him). Out of nowhere he’s got all those thousands and thousands of quarters…


  46. Jbagels says:

    Erin go braless is one of my favorite play on words in the show’s history.


  47. jbagels says:

    @80 Bombastic Biscuit: yes, there is something wrong with you or maybe you just weren’t 12 when she was at the height of her fame. I was a huge fan of Kathy and her Sports Illustrated appearances.


  48. littleaimishboy says:

    I just don’t see that “big boned” in any sense of the phrase is in any way shape or form a useful way of describing Cathy Ireland to people who are supposed to look out for her.


  49. GarrettCRW says:

    I was quite taken with Kathy Ireland as a teen, and this episode was a key factor in curing me of that, for which I am eternally thankful.

    As one of the episodes I distinctly remember watching on CC during the summer of ’95 during the daytime airings, I’m extremely pleased that the episode holds up.


  50. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    This is a really good episode, the first episode of the Mike era that I can say that about. What a dull surprise.

    The Invention Exchange is pretty decent, the Vend-a-Gut is a good Trace/Frank showcase, while the Fridge Udders is a good excuse to say “teats” a whole bunch of times.

    The Host Segments are all pretty good too, HS#1 has a Joel-era feel to it, just the rapid fire name dropping. I like the vaguely dirty Kathy Ireland song in HS#2, Mike does a good job singing it (I criticized his singing a couple weeks ago) and the “Guess Kathy’s Emotions” game is a single punchline skit that doesn’t overstay it’s welcome, and it gives us “dull surprise” as a underutilized catchphrase.

    I always thought that Dr. F making Frank lose track of his counting quarters in the Closing Segment was really mean. Sure, he’s a MAD scientist, but he doesn’t have to be a jerk about it…

    As for the movie, I find this sort of 80’s dreck very watchable, the weirdo supporting characters, the Aussie-hero, the vague plot, the even vaguer apocalyptic setting, the Kathy Ireland… Sure, her voice is squeaky, kinda annoying, doesn’t help that her character is kind of whiney…. but she is pretty cute (in both nerd glasses form and the hot body form at the end).


    movie: “oh yeah.”
    Crow: “I’m so high.”

    Servo: “Sad Max?” ——–a slight callback to Joel’s riff in #501 Warrior of the Lost World

    Mike: “Oh, I thought we were beyond Thunderdome..”

    Servo: “I’d slap this movie if I could.” —–works on two levels; you can’t slap a movie and Servo’s arms don’t work. :-))

    Crow: “Heckraiser: Part 2!”

    One of Mike’s better Season 5 episodes.

    4/5 xx


Comments are closed.