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Sampo & Erhardt

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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.

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Weekend Discussion Thread: ‘Comfort Food’ Episodes

Alert regular Brandon opines:

The other day I found myself thinking about what I call “comfort food” episodes of Mystery Science Theater. These are my go-to episodes when the chips are down. Bad day at work, personal crisis, whatever the situation. These episodes are my mental mac-and-cheese, the thing that can make me feel like the world isn’t coming apart.

Interestingly, they’re usually the least dynamic shows, from the Coleman Francis trilogy to “Incredibly Strange Creatures” to the string of Universal yawners that opened season eight. Selecting these episodes is almost instinctual for me. And they really do help lift my blues.

Comfort food episodes, won’t you? Thank you.

Then, as an afterthought, he sent a second email saying:

I completely forgot the shorts! Those things are a miracle cure for bad days.

For me, it’s “I Accuse My Parents.” Cheers me up every time.

What’s yours?

93 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: ‘Comfort Food’ Episodes”

  1. ‘Attack Of The The Eye Creatures’. So awful, so crappy, so icky. Cheers me right up.

       5 likes

  2. Dru'el the Chaotic -> says:

    Mine is Pod People. Trumpy can do stupid things!

    My wife’s is the Rifftrax live Birdemic. it’s Comfortably Numb.

       4 likes

  3. Dr. Erickson says:

    My most comforting short is “Young Man’s Fancy.” Never fails to make me feel… well, you know, all squishy.

       7 likes

  4. pondoscp says:

    For me it’s Catalina Caper all the way.

       7 likes

  5. Thomas K. Dye says:

    Oh, God, where do I start.

    “Zombie Nightmare,” oddly enough, reminds me of my youth, listening to hair metal and hanging out at ice cream shops. Yes, it was a regular thing to go to Baskin Robbins and get a shake and then get into the car and listen to Savatage. Granted, the people doing this in ZN are all creeps, but for some reason it still sends me back to better times. Okay, maybe I’m strange.

    “The Sword and the Dragon” is just a lot of fun, and my favorite of the Russian epics because it’s got the funniest riffing for me. Someone once said that the MST guys were off base when they said “this legend could have used some punching up” because it really does have everything in it. Total “happy place” episode for me.

    Getting really odd here.. “The Starfighters.” As a kid, my life was all deserts, Muzak-filled casinos and cheap panelling. It’s not a great thing to have as a childhood memory, but it does trigger that cozy “family feeling” when I watch it, despite all the chunkheaded air force pilots.

       7 likes

  6. DirtyTerry says:

    I guess the “firsts” are always pretty comforting. My first Joel was “Castle of Fu-Manchu” (Christopher Lee!) and my first Mike was “This Island Earth”.

       6 likes

  7. Mega Weapon says:

    Usually the raw goofiness of the Japanese stuff does it for me: Fugitive Alien I and II, all of the Gamera’s and Time of the Apes, Prince of Space (though Mighty Jack is just too slow). But I’m also a sucker for the ’50s rocket movies or exploration (Phantom Planet, Mole People, King Dinosaur), or anything with giant monsters really; those are the episodes I can always go back to.

    Of course there’s also Warrior of the Lost World, which is close to my heart.

       4 likes

  8. Thom Sirveaux says:

    i choose the Poopie collections, because it reminds me that sometimes things don’t go as plaaned, and that’s ok.

       3 likes

  9. Juice says:

    For comfort, practically any episode, so I won’t list my faves. However, for real down-home makes me laugh everytime cheers me up value…I’ll go with “A Case of Spring Fever”. Anything said in the voice of Coily…”I own your ass fat boy!!” And Crow asking, “How does Coily fit into God’s plan for us?” Hearing that, the universe makes sense again.

       5 likes

  10. Jay says:

    Boggy Creek II – How can a fellow not decompress from the disasters of the day in the company of Crenshaw, Tanya, and the Little Creature? A personal note: I have a branch of the family tree (and yes it does fork) that is native to Fouke, Arkansas. Some of them “starred” in the original Boggy Creek monster movie as gun toting locals (not really a stretch). Put me in a pair of overalls with one strap hanging and you’ll see what I mean, Cuz.
    A close second would be any episode featuring a movie I watched as a kid on “Project Terror: Where the Scientific and the Terrifying Emerge!” on Friday nights after The ten o’clock news. Bug eyed monsters and cheesy special effects, sure, but on a 17 inch black and white Zenith you couldn’t see the zippers in the costumes so what the heck!
    Ya know… I’m feeling better already just thinking about it. Thanks, Sampo! — Jay

       9 likes

  11. Coffee Guy says:

    “The Thing That Wouldn’t (or Couldn’t) Die” is one of my all-time favorites, just for all the Flavia jokes alone!
    “Mrs. Muir!!!”

       8 likes

  12. edward says:

    Shorts – Date with Your Family; Assignment Venezuela (Baggo en Carro!); Design for Dreaming
    Movies – Space Mutiny; Hobgoblins; Manos; Girl in Gold Boots

       7 likes

  13. Jer says:

    I work on the family dairy farm so Uncle Jim’s Dairy Farm and Last Clear Chance are great for some farm related humor. I sometimes enjoy telling people that we “dump this stuff in the creek and the government pay us for it.”

       7 likes

  14. Shaun says:

    Interesting to see a lot of the same episodes being mentioned. Mine’s Beginning of the End

       5 likes

  15. bchat says:

    Any of these five can brighten my darkest day:
    Manos, The Hands of Fate
    Mitchell!
    Prince Of Space
    Invasion of the Neptune Men
    Pumaman

       6 likes

  16. Paul says:

    My list includes the following:

    Alien from LA
    Moon Zero Two
    The Magic Sword
    Cave Dwellers

    Shorts:
    Mr B
    Junior Rodeo Daredevils
    A date with your Family
    Home Economics
    Why Study Industrial Arts

       3 likes

  17. Dickweed 1 says:

    For me it’s got to be “The Final Sacrifice”. As a lifelong Miami Dolphin fan all the Larry Csonka jokes kill me! I wore his jersey #39 in all the sports I played! And that’s all before we meet our “HERO” Rowsdower!!
    As for a short either “What to do on a Date”. “My God. Kay’s been missing since February”! Or “Last Clear Chance” Love it when the trooper goes off the rail at the end!!

       7 likes

  18. Blowie the Dolphin says:

    I’ll take Eegah, even though the shaving scene creeps me out.

       5 likes

  19. Droppo says:

    Master Ninja 1 & 2…..works every time.

    A geriatric Lee Van Cleef as a ninja? A mush-mouthed Tim Van Patten as a hearthrob sidekick?

    It doesn’t get any better. It is the height of comedy for me. And the riffing is so good. The sequence where Van Cleef is sharing his backstory with Max remains my favorite riffed moment of all-time:

    LVC: “I found myself with a ticket home and nowhere to go.”
    Crow: “Why didn’t you go home?” (the way he emphasizes “home” is perfection)
    LVC: “There was something about the tranquility…”
    Joel: “The tranquility of post-war Japan?”
    Servo: (laughs)

       7 likes

  20. Daniel says:

    Definitely the Coleman Francis trilogy. “Why did they call this area Flats? I mean, I get the Yucca part…”

    I guess it’s basic psychology: feel depressed, watch something that’s infinitely more depressing (so you somehow don’t feel quite as bad anymore… I dunno, it works). Eraserhead also occasionally fills that need for me.

    When I’m a little down but not-quite-depressed, I go for Fugitive Alien. Classic MST, never gets old.

       7 likes

  21. hellokittee says:

    So interesting, mine are also the less dynamic ones like Brandon says, “Tormented” is my #1 go to when I have what Holly Golightly called “the mean reds” (worse than the blues). I have no idea why, maybe because I still laugh my butt off when Tom Servo repeats “Tom Stewart killed me! Tom Stewart killed me!” which is more stupid than funny really. A close runner up would be “Skydivers”. So grey and depressing, but so weirdly comforting!

       3 likes

  22. Bob (NotThatBob) says:

    I’d have to say “Swamp Diamonds.” It reminds me of a really happy time in my life – I was living back in Massachusetts (I moved to LA 14 years ago) and had a great group of friends who’d collected eps on VHS and we’d get together and they had so many I’d not seen before. They shared 6 episodes on VHS with me that I carried around with me everywhere I lived since, but the “Swamp Diamonds” get-together was an especially good night and I always think of those people and that evening when I see it, and well there’s just no words to describe the warmth I feel inside – the place it takes me to – viewing this episode. It helps so much, on my worst days.

       14 likes

  23. Captain Zap_Harkness says:

    My top picks are Space Mutiny and probably Time Chasers. Also, anything from the Russo-Finnish series of films always makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Honorable mention to Puma Man and any Japanese movies they’ve picked on.(Prince of Space, ect.)

       6 likes

  24. JCC says:

    I’ll list 5 apiece. These are the episodes that I seem to go back to more and make me feel better when I’m down and out. There’s a country song in there somewhere…

    Joel:
    306, Time of the Apes
    316, Gamera Vs. Zigra
    322, Master Ninja Eye/II (There’s a cheat!)
    415, The Beatniks
    501, Warrior of the Lost World

    Mike:
    614, San Francisco International
    616, Racket Girls
    814, Riding With Death
    905, The Deadly Bees
    1004, Future War

    Ugh – winnowing episodes down to 5 each is difficult!

       7 likes

  25. Cherokee Jack says:

    Space Mutiny
    Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell
    Starfighters

    What to do on a date
    Are you ready for marriage
    Young man’s fancy

       5 likes

  26. jaybird3rd says:

    “Riding With Death” would have to be close to the top of my list, even though I saw it for the first time only recently. It reminds me of other TV shows from the same time period that I watched as a kid. Besides, after seeing “Riding With Death”, I find it comforting to think during hard times that Abby is watching over me from heaven through a TV screen with handles—sometimes smilingly, sometimes quizzically, but always with non-specific words of encouragement, such as “That’s the way to do it!” and “Go get ’em!” and “Give it the old college try!”

       9 likes

  27. Johnny's nonchalance says:

    Jay Walden:
    Gonna’ go out of the box here and say Cinematic Titanic’s “Alien Factor”. All the CT episodes are equally good but “Alien Factor” is phenomenal. Seriously, has there ever in history been a 2-door cop car!?!

    YES!

    I say a Don Dohler double feature is in order. Although I rate the Rifftrax version of Galaxy Invader co-equal with CT’s Alien Factor. The patriarch of the STD-ridden Joad family with the weak Iron Man costume is priceless. Those two together are like eating a 12 piece bucket of fried chicken, washed down by a 3 liter of generic fruit punch, followed by an entire ice cream cake from the land of Dairy Queen.

    I also find the riff of Carnival of Souls sates my greasy food craving. It probably has something to do with that greasy guy that stays at the boarding house who not only drinks really, he really drinks.

    Ahhh… time to unbutton my own trousers and let out my gut. Gluttony is a glut of cinematic junk food.

       3 likes

  28. The elusive Robert Denby says:

    1. Prince Of Space
    2. Riding With Death
    3. Boggy Creek II
    4. Space Mutiny
    5. Soultaker

    I leave 1,3,4 and 5 in my DVD player for easy access. I have “Riding With Death” in addition to some other non-DVD episodes on my PS3 for variety.

    Shorts-wise, you can’t go wrong with “A Case of Spring Fever” and “Hired parts 1 and 2.”

       4 likes

  29. MSTie says:

    If I could edit my earlier comment, I would, but since I can’t I’d like to thank all the other “comfort foodies” who’ve reminded me that Catalina Caper and Riding with Death are right up there in the mac ‘n’ cheese category of episodes for me.

       4 likes

  30. Rachel says:

    Good topic! I sometimes watch MST3K to help me sleep after a bad day (not because it’s boring, but because, like the topic says, it’s comforting). My go-to episodes are The Day The Earth Froze, Teenagers From Outer Space, Ring of Terror, Eegah, and Santa Claus.
    I also like Cinematic Titanic’s Doomsday Machine, The Alien Factor, and RiffTrax’s Planet of Dinosaurs.

       5 likes

  31. TurkeyVolumeGuessingGal says:

    At the end of a long day, I curl up with my can of Hormel chilli and watch “Horror of Party Beach” and get my SODIUM fix.

    :-D :-D :silly: :-D :-D :-D

       7 likes

  32. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy says:

    Operation Double 007.

    So many priceless riffs crammed into that gem. I never tire of them. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Joel’s gift for hammed up mimicry exceed that displayed in his “villain sketch.”

    ~I knowwwwwwwwwwww.~

    Oh, and I think this one line could talk a suicide jumper safely back from the ledge:

    ~The remaining monkey brains have been reduced to $1.99.~

    I’ve watched Operation Double 007 more times than I’ve viewed Star Trek’s The City On the Edge of Forever, and Beetlejuice. Combined.

    I get the blues a lot.

       3 likes

  33. unsung zero says:

    My comfort food eps include:

    The Coleman Francis trilogy
    The Unearthly
    The Atomic Brain
    Gunslinger
    I Accuse My Parents
    The Violent Years
    Bloodlust
    The Ring of Terror
    The Painted Hills
    The Dead Talk Back
    The Incredibly Strange Creatures

    Shorts
    Any and all of them (well, except for the Commando Cody/Radar Men ones)

       2 likes

  34. Jeez, there’s so many. I suppose I pick mine based on how bad my bout of depression is at the time, and just how fast I need some laffs.

    So, I’ll just pull ten off the top of my head:

    1. King Dinosaur. The short, X Marks The Spot, is a little jewel of a short, and gets me loosened up and giggling and ready for the comedic knockout punch. “Here, the effects of seventeen Rum & Diet Cokes are tested!”

    2. Gamera Vs. Guiron. This one absolutely never fails to beat back the demons for me. One of my all-timers, no matter what state I’m in. By the end of the movie, I often catch myself singing along with the Gamera Song. “Hello! Thank you!”

    3. Mighty Jack. Another sure-fire laff provoker, another go-to. I go with this one if I think I’ve been watching Gamera Vs. Guiron too much.

    4. Manhunt In Space, usually in a double feature with Crash Of The Moons. I just can’t get enough of these two. The riffing is solid and savage throughout, just the thing when it’s time for an all-out anti-depression assault. The sound reaming they give the General Hospital segments really helps soften it up, too.

    5. The Human Duplicators. Evidence suggests that certain medical strains of cannabis may be effective against depression, and when I’ve got a bit of bud around, nothing goes with it quite as well as Experiment 420. I also can’t stop cracking up along with Dr. F. and Frank as they try to introduce the William Conrad Fridge Alert. “I oughta kick your so-called butt!” -Crow T. Robot

    6. The Day The Earth Froze. Minute for minute, riff for riff, one of the most bad-assed depression-busting episodes they ever produced. The riffs come at me fast and furious, and every one’s a killer. One of those episodes where they don’t give me enough time to stop laughing at one joke before they hit me with the next one. “I’m not the pheasant plucker, I’m the pheasant plucker’s son; I’m only plucking pheasants ’til the pheasant plucker comes.” –Crow T. Robot

    7. I Accuse My Parents. Another one with a hysterical short — Joel’s riffing here is uncharacteristically savage — that softens up my depression for the knockout blow. A gift that keeps on giving. “And, I was the last one out of Saigon!”

    8. Colossus Vs. The Headhunters. What do I want with Prozac when I’ve got a joint, a tall glass of iced coffee, and a big ol’ slab of cheese steak? Damn, do they knock my lights out with this one. Why pay out the ass for therapy and overpriced corporate antidepressants when I can watch My Cheesesteak for free? “Hey, struck out with Queen Easy, huh?”

    9. The Skydivers. This sounds counterintuitive, I know; this is arguably one of the bleakest movies ever featured on MST3K… but it’s the bleakness that picks me up, because it’s such poorly-written, poorly-acted, poorly-edited bleakness that it breaks through into hilarity. The short certainly doesn’t hurt any, either. “I saw my hair in the mirror, and I panicked!” –Tom Servo

    10. The Brute Man. I’m deep in a pit; I need to get out, and get out fast. Time for the merciless one-two punch that is Experiment 702. Both the short Chicken Of Tomorrow and the main feature get me laughing so hard I’m begging for mercy. “Uh, honey? My face is as big as ever, and someone shot my sizzler off!” –Crow T. Robot

       4 likes

  35. Shaun:
    Interesting to see a lot of the same episodes being mentioned. Mine’s Beginning of the End

    Not on my top go-to list, but a great one. Was just watching that this afternoon. Some of their best mockery of Albert Glasser’s “pile of notes” composition style:

    “DUHN DUHN DUHN DUHN DUUUUHHHHNNNN DUUUUUHHHHNNNN!”

       2 likes

  36. Brendan O'Keeffe says:

    I’m a sucker for cheesy italian shlock, so love Escape 2000, Danger: Diabolik, and Devil Fish.

       4 likes

  37. JCC says:

    Mmm…”Cheesy Italian Shlock” – I love Olive Garden!

       3 likes

  38. Satoris says:

    “Horror of Party Beach”. What’s more fun than a day at the beach with the Del Aires? Plus, the monsters crack me up every time. Hot dogs anyone?

       7 likes

  39. Dan Cole says:

    I’d have to go with BOGGY CREEK II & FINAL SACRIFICE. And maybe throw in TOUCH OF SATAN just for “So long, Maverick driving clootie!”.
    Actually, just about any episode can pick up my spirits with the possible exception of THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU. The editing in that one makes me edgy & nervous so I want to go out & hurt things.
    RIP Sir Christopher nonetheless. It wasn’t his fault

       2 likes

  40. digital_trucker says:

    I’ll go with any of the Russo-Finnish movies. They’re all so well-made, beautiful, and interesting to look at (some of the highest production values in the MSTie-verse, really)…and of course what the dubbers did to ’em is hilarious.

    He’s NOT Sinbad!

       1 likes

  41. Ator In Flight says:

    I’ll have to go with Pod People. Those foggy woods comfort me and put me to sleep.

       2 likes

  42. Ray Dunakin says:

    My list of “comfort” episodes leans heavily towards the goofy-yet-not-completely-incompetent movies:

    The Day the Earth Froze — The movie is pure goofiness, the riffs are topnotch, I love all the “scandahoovian” bits and the constant reminder of the hero’s total failure.

    The Sword and the Dragon — Another goofy, yet well-made movie, with a plot that doesn’t drag and plenty of great riffs.

    The Final Sacrifice and Zombie Nightmare — Lots of laugh-out-loud riffs and Canadian gags, plus ZN has all those Batman/Tim Burton jokes.

    Prince of Space — mainly because of Krankor and his chicken men.

    Alien From L.A — “In Australia, my voice is as annoying as yours!”

    Time Chasers — Another movie that’s not painfully bad, with lots of classic riffs plus Crow trying to change Mike’s past.

    Boggy Creek II — For something that was undoubtably marketed as a horror movie, it’s actually very laid back and non-horrifying, as well as goofy.

    I’d also add in Mitchell and Hamlet. Both of those were episodes that I had a real hard time sitting through originally, yet over time they somehow became favorites. (Which might make a good topic of a future Weekend Discussion.)

       1 likes

  43. That ain't Dirk says:

    There are many, but all share some of these traits:

    good music,
    a good-looking man,
    a bizarre plot,
    spies,
    Russo-Finnish legends.

       0 likes

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