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Episode guide: 1108- The Loves of Hercules

Movie: (1960) Herc gets involved in palace intrigue in the nation of Ecalia.

Opening: J&tB are binge-watching “Wings”
Invention exchange: Tom Servo has the fried turkey dunk tank; the Mads have the Mexican jumping bean beanbag chair
Segment 1: Jonah, tied to a wall, endures People’s Throwing Court
Segment 2: J&tB discuss the political correctness of mythologies
Segment 3: A new robot, M. Waverly, invades J&tB girly Hercules party
Closing: Everybody is vocalizing
Stinger: Here boldly defeats the hydra
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (48 votes, average: 3.94 out of 5)

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• This one has to take any fan back to the heyday of the show, when Herc was a freqent guest. The blend of classic “sword and sandal” stuff with the whole Jayne Mansfield thing is an odd combination. Still the riffing adds up to another good-not-great outing.
• I have to say, I was struck by the choice of “Wings,” of all the TV shows in the TV show universe. I have, more than once, compared MST3k and it’s loyal following with what I have always assumed is a lack of same for “Wings.” Was I wrong? Is there a deeply devoted “Wings” fanbase out there?
• Love the “ooteeni” cries
• The big news, I guess, is the oh-so-brief appearance of M. Waverly, the first new robot in ages. I think I would have liked him. May he rest in peace. I spoke to Joel on the phone a while back, before this episode aired but after word had leaked out about him. He confessed a certain amusement at fans that quickly glommed on to M. Waverly. “Don’t get too attached,” he said with a chuckle.
• The catapult sketch doesn’t quote work. It’s hard to see what exactly the catapult is throwing.
• We get another state park joke, but this one is funnier.
• I like the phrase “incompetent people trying as hard as they can.” Could that be the perfect description of an MST3K movie?
• Movie observation: Some of the characters call Achilles “Achilles” and some call him “Aculo.” Huh?
• Cast and crew roundup: Giulio Donnini also appeared in “Danger: Diabolik,” “Antonio Gradoli” was also in “Operation Kid Brother,” Cesare Fantoni was also in “Hercules Unchained,” Gianni Loto was also in “Hercules Unchained,” “Lidia Alfonsi was also in “Hercules,” Carolyn de Fonseca dubbed the voice of Queen Samara in “Hercules Against the Moon Men,” America Santarelli was also in “Hercules and the Captive Women.”
Behind the camera: Sandro Continenza also wrote “Hercules and the Captive Women,” cCostume designer Maria Baroni also worked on “Hercules Unchained,” mMusical director Carlo Franci was the composer on “Hercules Against the Moon Men,” Claire Guibert, who dubbed Jayne Mansfield’s voice, also did dub work for Fay Spain on “Hercules and the Captive Women.”
• Callbacks: “Time for go to bed” (“The Unearthly), “Any fruit to declare?” (Warrior of the Lost World).
• Fave riff: “I saw it in the window and just had to have it.” Honorable mention: “Barricade by committee always ends like this,” “I’m gonna give you and your dungeon the worst Yelp review ever! I was barely flogged!” “Oh … you may not want to go in there yet.”

83 Replies to “Episode guide: 1108- The Loves of Hercules”

  1. I did like this one, although I have a soft spot in my heart for these sword and sandal films in general. While the riffing and general skits aren’t as good (adding that extra robot was particularly unnecessary) I think overall my love for these kinds of films makes this on par with “Avalanche” as my favorites of this season.

    7 out of 10.

       0 likes

  2. Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology says:

    The Herc returns!!!!

    Joel has often spoken of his fondness for the Italian sword & sandal films, and their often impressive production design. It’s not surprising, I suppose, that one made its way into Season 11, and it’s a welcome return to a genre that worked well during Joel’s time on the show. What IS surprising is the presence of Jane Mansfield and her hunky hubby playing the Herc. I was NOT expecting that. The end result is a personal Season 11 favorite of mine, complete with the all too brief and tragic appearance of Waverly, even though that bit actually upset me a bit. More on that later, though.

    Some thoughts:

    -As a Wings fan, I appreciate the opening. And wow, look at that old TV! Fun fact: Dan O’Shannon, the producer of Wings (along with Cheers, Frasier, and these days, Modern Family) is a big MSTie. He was even interviewed in “This is MST3K”.

    -Kinga has a nice “moment of irrational rage”, as Joel said back in November, in the invention segment. It’s pretty funny!

    -Nice Turkey Day callout from Tom during the invention exchange!

    -Hey, the Mad’s didn’t steal their invention this time! Max messes it up though. His reaction is priceless.

    -The “Speak!” “Arf!” running joke is pretty funny.

    -Tom’s Droopy-esque voice for the dopey statue faces is so hysterical. Exactly the voice I would have used if I were doing the riffing.

    -The Planet Fitness bit sounds like an experience a writer went through.

    -Classic Theater Bit: Tom admires Herc’s pecs and gets punched across the screen. Hilarious.

    -You have to admire the “breast joke” restraint. That could have been the whole episode.

    -Callbacks: “Time for go to bed.” (The
    Unearthly); “Any fruit to declare?” (Warrior of the Lost World)

    -Classic MST3K Bits: “Kalgan, take me away!”

    Star Wars References: A couple Jawa impressions; “Are we on Endor now?”; mention of Princess Leia and speederbikes

    -Segment 1 is an hysterical example of an element from the movie informing a nice bit of MST3K goofiness. It really feels like something the bots would have done to Mike back in the day.

    -Woah, huge slam on Thomas Kincaid outta nowhere!

    -Occulo-Rift! HA!

    -There are some long patches of non riffing in this one. The riffed sections are often less densely packed than in previous episodes. They are settling into a nice rhythm.

    -Patton’s second interstitial makes reference to the theater on the Satellite of Love having been called the “Mystery Science Theater” the whole time. Of course, Joel identified it as such (twice!) way back in the opening of Wild Rebels, but it’s not common knowledge among less hard core MSTies. It’s a nice little acknowledgement.

    -Nice Purple Rain bit with the oddly purple haired women. When did that change happen? They reference it again later when the purple water shows up.

    -Filatetti!

    -Jonah’s comment about how the smoke in the background of one scene would be CGI today. He’s right. This season is full of Jonah pointing out technical high points in the movies, such as the magic effects in The Time Travelers and the dangerous stunts in The Land That Time Forgot. I bet those came from Joel.

    -Oh boy, the hydra scene. So goofy, so ridiculous. The entire sequence is reminiscent of a similar scene in The Magic Sword, but that dragon battle was a cinematic masterpiece compared to this one. As is usual with monster centric scenes in MSTied movies, the riffing is particularly strong here. I particularly enjoyed Jonah’s reference to the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios. The similarities crossed my mind as I was watching the scene, so it was another instance of the riffers being in my head.

    -Crow stands up to help Hercules at one point, and when the Herc ignores his advice, Crow yells out “I fall over in disgust!” before disappearing behind the theater seats. He pops up a few seconds later in his usual seat. A clever (and very MST3K) way to trade puppets.

    -In Segment 2, Jonah is again working on his spacesuit. Crow and Tom are sitting in the same beanbag chairs they were sitting in back in The Beast of Hollow Mountain. Who wants to bet those two segments were filmed back to back? Also, Jonah is eating from a box of “Grown Man Bowl Cuts” cereal from Cry Wilderness. The bots seem to crave them like ram chips.

    -Wow, how were there no Wizard of Oz references during the tree scenes?!

    -“Give him the dip” is a Roger Rabbit reference. It’s not the first this season. Someone must be a fan.

    -Okay, so, Segment 3… I get why it’s supposed to be funny, and it’s certainly not unfunny, but to me, it was just a little too… disturbing. I know, I know, it’s just a show… but something about it left me feeling shocked and, honestly, a bit sad. I had REALLY been looking forward to Waverly’s appearance on the show. Having followed his development from maquette to prototype via the Kickstarter, and actually getting to meet him (and puppeteer Grant) at the 1101 screening in Chicago, I had grown quite attached to, and invested in, the little guy. So seeing him viscously ripped apart by a jealous Tom and Crow seriously rubbed me the wrong way. I’ve chilled regarding the segment after 4 or 5 viewings of the episode, but it still doesn’t sit quite right with me. Here’s to hoping that Waverly pulls a Kenny (South Park, not Gamera) and comes back next season.

    -While on the subject, I’ve actually grown so fond of Waverly that I’m currently working with a group of similarly obsessed… err, dedicated MSTies to research, identify, and obtain all the parts to build a replica. I have almost all the parts, but a few (like the belt buckle on his waist) have us stymied. If you know what it is, or want to join our quest to build your own Waverly, join us… join us… join us… here: http://www.botbuilders.info/index.php?topic=363.0

    -In Patton’s last interstitial, he says MST3K will end its broadcast day “in about 20 minutes”. I think he meant 10. Including credits, theres slightly over 13 minutes left in the episode when he says this. Oops?

    Hey, a cameo by Bigfoot! No Coke cans to be seen, though. And this isn’t the first time MST3K has invoked the name of Ron Perlman while referencing hulking, hairy creatures. Poor guy.

    -How the heck did they get away with singing a highly copyrighted Disney song in nearly its entirety?!?!

    -The screaming ending… I’ll admit, it’s odd. But it didn’t annoy me like it apparently has a lot of people. That said, it’s not super hysterical, either. It’s just kinda… weird. Even weirder, most of the screaming occurs OVER the music they are supposedly imitating. The end result almost comes off as a non sequitur, but I have to admit, Payton’s final gut wrenching scream kinda saved the bit for me.

    End Credit Music: Gossipy Greek Harp Music; To Earth; United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus Hymn; The Canada Song; Livin’ in Deep 13

    Favorite Riff: “I can’t quite tell from here, but she seems like someone I might want to grant clemency to…”

    Honorable Mentions: “Now how would she know THAT…”; “So, these two are married in real life and this is how they kiss?”

       13 likes

  3. Volcanosaurus Rex says:

    While this episode is another not-great one, it was paradoxically the first one where I really felt as comfortable with the new season as the previous ones. Maybe it was the movie’s similarity to all the other Hercules episodes, which were also good-but-not-great, in my opinion. In any case, though this is not one of the funniest eps, the show seems to be settling in well.

    Are Tom and Crow in the theater segments all digital? Though they do move when in their seats, they seem much less active– they don’t seem like puppets that are being held and moved around. I can’t tell if it’s just their updated design with multiple puppeteers, or if they’re animated silhouettes.

    Interesting riff that’s characteristic of the new, “younger” target audience: “Miley Cyrus’ dad?”

    Favorite riffs:

    Nobody likes Vogon poetry…

    [Jonah’s “nehnehnehnehneh” sound effect when Herc throws the axe]

    Hercules must be dead– he’s never shirtless!

       1 likes

  4. majorjoe23 says:

    Some stuff I gathered up:

    Births/deaths
    Director Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia, born July 8, 1894, died Jan. 3, 1998
    Writer Sandro Continenza, born July 13, 1920, died Nov. 21, 1996
    Writer Luciano Diroa, born Nov. 30, 1891, no death date listed
    Actress Jayne Mansfield, born April 19, 1933, died June 29, 1967
    Actor Mickey Hargitay, born Jan. 6, 1926, died Sept. 14, 2006
    Actor Massimo Serato, born May 31, 1916, died Dec. 22, 1989
    Actor Tina Gloriani, born Dec. 11, 1935
    Actor Rosella Como, born Jan. 29, 1937, died Dec. 20, 1986
    Actor Giulio Donnini, born Feb. 17, 1924
    Actor Arturo Bragaglia, born Jan. 7, 1893, died Jan. 21, 1962
    Actor Andrea Aureli, born March 5, 1923
    Actor Andrea Scotti, born Aug. 27, 1931
    Actor Moira Orfei, born Dec. 21, 1931, died Nov. 15, 2015
    Actor Rene Dary, born July 18, 1905, died Oct. 6, 1974
    Actor Olga Solbelli, born May 11, 1898, died Sept. 8, 1976
    Actor Antonio Gradoli, born March 19, 1917, no death date listed
    Actor Cesare Fantoni, born Feb. 1, 1905, died Jan. 15, 1963
    Actor Barbara Florian, born Sept. 9, 1931
    Actor Giovanna Gillette, born June 27, 1916, died April 21, 1992
    Actor Lidia Alfonsi, born April 28, 1928
    Actor Carolyn de Fonseca, born May 25, 1929, died May 2009, but no date listed.
    Actor Aldo Pedinotti, born March 30, 1940, died sometime in 2007
    Actor Gil Vidal, born Dec. 19, 1931
    Composer Carlos Innocenzi, born April 29, 1899, died March 24, 1962
    Musical director Carlo Franci, born July 18, 1927
    Costume designer Maria Baroni, born Aug. 11, 1916, died Feb. 9, 2007
    Costume Designer Dario Cecchi, born May 28, 1918, died Sept. 16, 1992

    Connections
    Writer Sandro Continenza also wrote Hercules and the Captive Women
    Actor Giulio Donnini also appeared in Danger: Diabolik
    Actor Antonio Gradoli was also in Operation Kid Brother
    Actor Cesare Fantoni was also in Hercules Unchained
    Actor Gianni Loto was also in Hercules Unchained
    Actor Lidia Alfonsi was also in Hercules
    Actor Carolyn de Fonseca dubbed the voice of Queen Samara in Hercules Against the Mole Men
    Actor America Santarelli was also in Hercules and the Captive Women
    Costume designer Maria Baroni also worked on Hercules Unchained
    Musical director Carlo Franci was the composer on Hercules Against the Moon Men
    Claire Guibert, who dubbed Jayne Mansfield’s voice, also did dub work for Fay Spain on Hercules and the Captive Women

    Other dates
    Aug. 19, 1960, The Loves of Hercules released in Italy.
    Dec. 23, 1960, The Loves of Hercules released in West Germany
    Dec. 28, 1960, The Loves of Hercules released in France
    Sept. 16, 1965, The Loves of Hercules released in Mexico
    June 27, 1975, The Loves of Hercules released in Finland
    June 13, 1987, The Loves of Hercules makes its TV premiere in East Germany
    Jan. 13, 1958, Jayne Mansfield married co-star Mickey Hargitay
    Aug. 26, 1964, Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay divorce

       3 likes

  5. majorjoe23 says:

    Hey, a cameo by Bigfoot!No Coke cans to be seen, though.And this isn’t the first time MST3K has invoked the name of Ron Perlman while referencing hulking, hairy creatures.Poor guy.

    Patton Oswalt got together with old Hellboy Ron Perlamn and new Hellboy David Harbour last week. The look of Perlman’s hair in the pic makes me think he would be a good TV’s Grandfather of TV’s Son of TV’s Frank:

    http://ew.com/movies/2017/06/06/hellboy-summit-ron-perlman-david-harbour-patton-oswalt/?xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter

    I remember when the leaked list of movie titles showed up on IMDB, this one was just listed as “Hercules.” Some speculated that it would be Lou Ferrigno’s 1983 Hercules film. I just want to point out that Shout Factory will be releasing that film and its sequel in August, so there’s always the possibility one or both could end up in a future season:

    https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/action-adventure/hercules

       1 likes

  6. gf120581 says:

    Well, here we are, back in the European sword and sorcery genre and this film certainly is one of the lamer efforts of an already disreputable bunch. This is one of my lesser episodes of the season; like all the Hercules movies they’ve done, there are long stretches where nothing happens except people standing around and talking and you can tell it was a strain to come up with things to riff on. But when this one clicks, oh boy, does it click. The Hydra scene alone is worth the entire movie and, of course, you get an all time great closing credit/final host segment gag with “SUSTAINED VOCALIZING!” And Waverly…poor, poor Waverly.

    Random observations:

    – This was the one film that the leaked movie list DIDN’T get right, listing instead the 1983 Lou Ferrigno “Hercules” from the director of “Starcrash.” Rest assured, that one should get on the show in the future.

    – Yes, “Law and Order” fans, those really are Olivia Benson’s parents on screen. This was the second of four films they did together.

    – Mickey Hargitay’s Herc may be the wimpiest Herc we’ve seen yet, which is ironic because, as a former Mr. Universe, he was arguably the strongest man in real life to ever play the role. The Eddie Vedder likeness and Tony Curtis drawl doesn’t help.

    – Herc REALLY rebounds quickly from losing his wife, doesn’t he?

    – The Hydra scene. Oh good Lord, the Hydra scene. Easily one of the top ten lamest monster effects in MST3K history. It looks like it was stolen from a ride at Fantasyland and, as the gang points out, Hargitay has to climb under the flailing limbs so the monster can attack him.

    – Much like all the Hercules movies, this seems less “inspired by Greek mythology” and more “inspired but whatever weed the writer was smoking that day.” I mean, the Bigfoot at the end literally comes out of nowhere. (Someone tell Paul from “Cry Wilderness” and quick! Maybe a Coke will tame him!)

    – The M. Waverly scene was…a little disturbing. Crow and Tom just commit straight up murder there. But it’s hard to argue against eliminating all potential Cousin Olivers.

    – Another great running gag with, “Speak!” “ARF!”

    – “Wings?” That would have been more topical if had been on during the original run. Someone on the writing staff must be a fan.

    Favorite riffs:

    “Hey, welcome…to Planet Fitness. My name’s Rick, I-I’m one of the trainers here and I’m in a unique position to offer you a ten dollar a month membership no commitment. That’s right, I said…n-no commitment.”

    “I’m sneaky pineapple-head. I was never here.”

    “It’s like they’re being attacked by a Mardi Gras float.”

    “Russ Meyer presents Ferdinand the Bull as you’ve never seen him!”

    “I must have fallen asleep in Greek mythology the day they talked about Sasquatch.”

    “Attacking from the side is too safe. I’ll go to the front, where the mouths are!”

    “If they’re righteous gods, I must succeed.”
    “So if I kill her, it’s not my fault.”

    “She’s laying eggs inside of him right now.”

    “Hey, guys, this is a sneak attack. Maybe cool it with the singing, guys.”

    “Worst Burning Man ever.”

       2 likes

  7. LOL @ complaining about “unnecessary robots”

       1 likes

  8. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Regarding the movie, Mickey Hargitay is no Steve Reeves. He’s not even Reg Park. Sorry, but Herc has to be bearded and do really super feats of strength. On the other hand, Jayne Mansfield, even with the dubbed voice, does a good job. You can tell she’s being really regal and damsel-in-distressian as Deianira and then she really goes into vamp mode as Hippolyta. As for the rest of the movie, it’s not very good. I agree that Herc recovers from his grief with astonishing speed. And the villain’s plot is way, way too unnecessarily complex. And then there’s the Hydra…

    As for the episode, they did a good job with the riffing, though I was surprised there wasn’t even one Ed Ames joke during the hatchet throwing. The host segments were OK, though I think this isn’t the last we’ve seen of M Waverly. And during the chorus at the end, Felicia sounds positively operatic.

    I do hope they get the Ferrigno version next season. That one’s a real trip.

       2 likes

  9. Yeti of Great Danger says:

    I thought this one was a middling episode of the season, good but not great. Once or twice the riffing itself preceded the action they were riffing, and I hate that. Hercules seemed to pick up heavy things just to pick them up, and I kept waiting for him to actually DO something with all that styrofoam-as-rocks. Favorite riff: “I must have fallen asleep in Greek mythology the day they talked about Sasquatch.”

       2 likes

  10. privateiron says:

    I love this episode. It’s one of my favorites this season.

    There’s something special about Hargitay for all us ICW fans, as he starred in two of the four full length movies they did. (He’s the police inspector/detective in “Lady Frankenstein” and the Crimson Executioner in “Bloody Pit of Horror.”) But man is he the dumbest and least well portrayed Hercules in any riffed sword and sandals flic yet. Up until now, Jayne Mansfield was just the star of a Siouxie song, “Kiss Them for Me.” I don’t think I had actually seen her act before. While she’s not wonderful, she is certainly way better than her husband.

       5 likes

  11. I was hoping that M. Waverly would at least be able to make it to the theater and throw a few riffs. If only so he could get undermined by Tom and Crow, become insecure and annoying, and eventually banished. In an “Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie” sort of way.

    As for the movie, I don’t think I’ve seen fighting that bad since Captain Kirk took on the Gorn.

       1 likes

  12. tibber says:

    In unrelated news, Adam West has died. And I just watched MST3K’s treatment of Zombie Nightmare last night. :(

    As for this episode, one of the weaker ones imo, mainly because the movie felt so edited as to be nearly incomprehensible, and I don’t necessarily look to these movies for tight plotting.

       1 likes

  13. Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology:

    -Oh boy, the hydra scene.So goofy, so ridiculous. … As is usual with monster centric scenes in MSTied movies, the riffing is particularly strong here.

    Oh, yeah, the riffing there was great! It reminded me of a conversation I once had with an actress who had worked with puppets in cheap monster movies. She said that the director always said something like, “Struggle. You’re fighting for your life. But DON’T BREAK THE PUPPET!” You break the puppet, you wreck the schedule. So all those riffs from the SOL crew are probably EXACTLY what the director told the actors at the real shoot.

       6 likes

  14. majorjoe23 says:

    I’d love to see a rebuild M. Waverly and Growler get to riff a segment in the theater. Maybe they can accompany Kinga and Max if they ever end up in the theater.

       0 likes

  15. A Jerk says:

    this was the most forgettable episode of the season. the only things i can think of were how mean the waverly bit was and how stupid the ending was. fortunately, the next couple of episodes are a huge improvement over these last three or four.

       2 likes

  16. Stoneman says:

    This movie needs a little Stablerone.

    Not a great episode, but definitely a good one. Some of my favorite riffs:

    “This is wrecking my Clash of Titans cosplay!”

    “Lady Gaga’s backup dancers?”

    “He’s gonna bounce right off you!”

    “Where did he go? Phila-tel-phia!”

    “AA-OO-GA! Lucy, I’m home…”

    “They’re storming the Shire!”

    I have found that I miss Kevin Murphy’s singing and musicality. I love when Tom Servo breaks into song, and Kevin is a really good singer. There certainly have been some excellent musical moments in Season 11, but I haven’t heard any individual effort that can top Kevin’s vocal abilities.

       6 likes

  17. majorjoe23:
    Some stuff I gathered up:

    Other dates
    Jan. 13, 1958, Jayne Mansfield married co-star Mickey Hargitay
    Aug. 26, 1964, Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay divorce

    Jan. 23, 1964, Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay celebrate the birth of their daughter, future actress Mariska Hargitay

       1 likes

  18. majorjoe23 says:

    Gold Any Ranger: Jan. 23, 1964, Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay celebrate the birth of their daughter, future actress Mariska Hargitay

    I thought about adding that in, but since they had three kids together (and Mansfield had 5 total), it seemed like it could be overkill.

       1 likes

  19. Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology:
    -As a Wings fan, I appreciate the opening.And wow, look at that old TV!Fun fact: Dan O’Shannon, the producer of Wings (along with Cheers, Frasier, and these days, Modern Family) is a big MSTie.He was even interviewed in “This is MST3K”.

    Think that was more a biting-the-hand-that-feeds-them Netflix in-joke, about Netflix (in its better days) getting a permanent Paramount donation of the entire runs of Cheers, Wings, Frasier, and all five Star Trek series. All but one of which have since aged well since the 80’s and 90’s. To go with all the existing binge-culture ref jokes that anything on Netflix must be consumed in mass quantities.
    (And even then, most people just remembered Wings as “The show that used to be on after Cheers.”)

    Wow, how were there no Wizard of Oz references during the tree scenes?!

    I grit my teeth waiting for the inevitable RT cult-callback Troll 2 reference (they turned them into trees, and now they’re going to turn him into one too, oh my GOOOODDD!!), and thought we didn’t because it might have been too obvious or brought down the level of riffing.

    But yes, when the tree grabs the Amazon queen at the end , a riff of “Whadda think yer doing? How’d you like someone to come along and shoot arrows into you?” was glaringly conspicuous by its absence. Maybe they thought that would have been too insulting easy as well.

    Honorable Mentions:“So, these two are married in real life and this is how they kiss?”

    Jn&tB seem to assume the audience is hip enough to know the “secret” backstory jokes of the movies (like the Rossano Brazzi jokes in the Christmas episode), and sounds like they wanted to do just ONE riff about “Jayne tries to dig up work for Mr. Mansfield”, so we’d know they know, and have that on the table and done with.
    Hadn’t seen a lot of Jayne before this movie, and she looked like she was trying to be unrecognizable and not steal screen time away from her lesser-known husband, ditching her blondes for character work as a brunette and redhead. Well, almost unrecognizable, for two obvious reasons. :)

    – This was the one film that the leaked movie list DIDN’T get right, listing instead the 1983 Lou Ferrigno “Hercules” from the director of “Starcrash.”Rest assured, that one should get on the show in the future

    I’m of the opinion that would have been a BETTER choice for the Obligatory S11 Herc. That one’s so goofy in its own Coizzi-esque way (including the stop-motion “robot” mythological beasts, hoping for a sort-of Clash of the Titans ’81 vibe, that go below and beyond the bad stop-motion of the Starcrash robots), it wouldn’t have been just rehashing Starcrash riffs.

    Also for the reason that:

    – Mickey Hargitay’s Herc may be the wimpiest Herc we’ve seen yet, which is ironic because, as a former Mr. Universe, he was arguably the strongest man in real life to ever play the role. The Eddie Vedder likeness and Tony Curtis drawl doesn’t help.

    YES. This is the reason the episode didn’t do it for my hopes as it should have, and probably why most last week felt the episode was just there, in between Land/Forgot and Yongary.
    The title gimmick is that Herc in this story has to be “a lover not a fighter”, and as we see from the Hydra battle….he’s no fighter.

    Like Kenneth says, Herc, like Steve Reeves and Lou Ferrigno, has to have those implausible poppin’-fresh-rolls pecs, that 70’s-GI Joe beard, that square-jaw delivery, and lift everything in sight before throwing it, to be cartoonishly heroic for Italian B-mythology. Steve and Lou were both perfect sports about going along with the 60’s-Italian gag of playing Heroes, and that’s what made the first two CC-era Herc pics (the original and Unchained) such goofy fun to riff on every time Reeves opened his badly-dubbed mouth.
    Mickey, OTOH, is sort of wimpy, greasy and unlikeable, or like Roberto Benigni with a year’s Gold’s Gym membership. I could believe Hargitay as that laughing Primo Carnera villain from Unchained, but not THE Herc.

    privateiron: .Up until now, Jayne Mansfield was just the star of a Siouxie song, “Kiss Them for Me.”I don’t think I had actually seen her act before.While she’s not wonderful, she is certainly way better than her husband.

    Yeah, just remembering Jayne in song for her auto accident is a bit tasteless, but I’d never actually seen much Mansfield in her Hollywood-blonde days before now.
    She was supposedly a smart business cookie offscreen (as we see from this movie), but knew how to play the image value of being stuck in even more sexist 50’s-blonde comedies than Marilyn Monroe complained about being put into. Maybe I should go back and rent “The Girl Can’t Help It”, as I’ve seen most of Marilyn’s by now.

       3 likes

  20. jay says:

    It was not until this movie that I learned they had bullet bras in the ancient world. Way to go, Archimedes!

       11 likes

  21. littleaimishboy says:

    … Hargitay … starred in … “Bloody Pit of Horror.”)…

    One of my favorite Rifftrax. (Rifftraxes?)

       4 likes

  22. Johnny Drama says:

    This was another fun, comfortable episode that reminded me of the CC days. I’m still confused by all the Eddie Vedder jokes, but I enjoyed them anyway (they thought Herc looked like Vedder? bit of a stretch…).
    I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Waverly.

       2 likes

  23. Gizsonic Screwdriver says:

    I’m a huge Wings fan so that was a real big surprise and I was thrilled. I love when they had to head to the Theater they yelled “David Schramm” as in scram.
    He of course played the part of Roy Biggins.

    As for the film it no way compares to the Steve Reeves films, think the really wanted to have a Hercules film in the season for the sake of it, but I can’t blame them for it. But that Mickey, good god Jayne didn’t marry him for his smarts. Talk about a boy toy.
    “Jayne!! I want Herc-ey movie!! Pleasseee?????”

    Side note, in Hollywood they were tearing apart Jane’s old house and I managed to snag some tiles of her famous heart shaped pool. If these things could talk. They would probably say “Mickey it just got warmer in here…”

       4 likes

  24. Sitting Duck says:

    The Loves of Hercules passes the Bechdel Test. Deianira and her handmaiden discuss the former’s unpleasant impending fate.

    Going in, I had heard a lot of negative buzz regarding this episode. Truthfully, I don’t get it. The only issues I encountered were that some of the cuts were really sloppy and the vocalizing at the end was annoying. I also would have been happier to have never seen Jonah in drag, but that’s personal taste.

    Dear Gawd, that accent for Herc’s dub voice. I couldn’t help but imagine him working at a fruit stand or a barbershop (or if you want to be really cliché, a pizza parlor).

    Some host segments in the new series are regarded as more like something from the Joel era, while others are more like those from the Mike era. However, People’s Throwing Court is easily the most Mike-like one yet.

    I get the impression that the person who designed the film’s hydra puppet got it mixed up with Cerberus, since it only has three heads instead of the traditional seven.

    I’m with Crow. Hydra scat is nasty, and they can produce a lot of it.

    I’m guessing the bleeding trees are from actual mythology and not something the screenwriter pulled out of his hinder, since they’re largely identical to the Wood of the Suicides from Dante’s Divine Comedy (which featured a lot of imagery from Greco-Roman mythology).

    Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology:
    Here’s to hoping that Waverly pulls a Kenny (South Park, not Gamera) and comes back next season.

    We can definitely do without a Gamera Kenny.

    Hey, a cameo by Bigfoot! No Coke cans to be seen, though. And this isn’t the first time MST3K has invoked the name of Ron Perlman while referencing hulking, hairy creatures. Poor guy.

    They’re probably alluding to his role on the late Eighties CBS drama Beauty and the Beast.

    How the heck did they get away with singing a highly copyrighted Disney song in nearly its entirety?!?!

    Guess the lawyers that handle Disney’s flagship properties aren’t as on the ball as the ones from the Lucasfilm division.

    Kenneth Morgan:
    Regarding the movie, Mickey Hargitay is no Steve Reeves.

    He’s not even George Reeves. He’s not even George of the Jungle. He’s not even Jungle Jim (anyone who wishes to continue this is welcome to).

       5 likes

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

    >>>Hey, a cameo by Bigfoot! No Coke cans to be seen, though. And this isn’t the first time MST3K has invoked the name of Ron Perlman while referencing hulking, hairy creatures. Poor guy.

    >>>>>>>They’re probably alluding to his role on the late Eighties CBS drama Beauty and the Beast.

    He also played the Sayer of the Law in the notorious The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), perhaps among other similar roles. So he has a niche. That’s better than having no niche and thus no quick and simple way for people to remember you.

    BTW, some reviews don’t seem very clear on just what that particular Dr. Moreau was trying to accomplish. Best guess, he was merging humans and animals in hope of creating a beast-person in which the “innocence” of animals would overwhelm the “brutality” of humans. I think.

    I only recently gained access to the relaunch, so here a few fundamental questions:

    Why are some of the Relaunch threads under RELAUNCH and others under EPISODE GUIDE with the CC and SFC versions? That’s kind of confusing.

    Do we have any idea what (if any) the parameters for the selected films are? Will we get the occasional odd bleak yet “conventional” drama like Teen-Age Crime Wave, The Girl from Lover’s Lane, or Red Zone Cuba? Any chance they’ll venture into genres that they’ve never or rarely tackled before — slashers/giallo, women in prison, poliziotteschi, spaghetti westerns — or are they sticking with what they and the fans know best?

    (Other genres that occurred to me are HARSH ones like cannibal films, rape-and-revenge, and nazisploitation, but I doubt they’d want to go that far beyond the average comfort zone.)

    (As I’ve mentioned before, I read about way more films, and kinds of films, than I watch.)

    There’s so much in life that’s meant for them. Or not. I have narrowed it down to those two possibilities.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Films_by_genre_by_country

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Exploitation_films

       2 likes

  26. Kenneth Morgan says:

    Yeah, just remembering Jayne in song for her auto accident is a bit tasteless, but I’d never actually seen much Mansfield in her Hollywood-blonde days before now.
    She was supposedly a smart business cookie offscreen (as we see from this movie), but knew how to play the image value of being stuck in even more sexist 50’s-blonde comedies than Marilyn Monroe complained about being put into.Maybe I should go back and rent “The Girl Can’t Help It”, as I’ve seen most of Marilyn’s by now.

    You could also try “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” and “Hangover”, an episode of “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour”. She’s teamed with Tony Randall in each of them. The former is a hilarious satire, the other is a disturbing suspense story, and she’s very good in both of them.

       1 likes

  27. privateiron says:

    EricJ: I thought the song was a reasonably sweet tribute in its own way. Not sure how one’s memory/experience can be “tasteless” in themselves. If I had a moderate amount of exposure to her work and only focused on the details of her death, that would be tasteless. As it is, I have seen more of her ex-husband in film than her.

       3 likes

  28. Droppo says:

    Loved this one. Felt very much like a classic MST3K episode. The riffing felt relaxed and I loved M. Waverly.

       1 likes

  29. Do we have any idea what (if any) the parameters for the selected films are? Will we get the occasional odd bleak yet “conventional” drama like Teen-Age Crime Wave, The Girl from Lover’s Lane, or Red Zone Cuba? Any chance they’ll venture into genres that they’ve never or rarely tackled before — slashers/giallo, women in prison, poliziotteschi, spaghetti westerns — or are they sticking with what they and the fans know best?

    Someone here brought it up before, but with the show being in widescreen now, that kind of puts the kibosh on black and white 50 sci-fi, since all of those movies were originally shot in 4×3. I’ve no doubt they’ll find more recent movies that are equally out there, and at least for casual fans, I think color is always easier.

       1 likes

  30. Sitting Duck says:

    ToolmasterJeff: Someone here brought it up before, but with the show being in widescreen now, that kind of puts the kibosh on black and white 50 sci-fi, since all of those movies were originally shot in 4×3.

    Not necessarily. Someone else mentioned in a previous discussion how Disney’s Blu Ray releases of their older 4*3 titles have curtains fill out the empty space on the digital TV screen. Something like that is also done in the Ballyhoo documentaries.

       0 likes

  31. Cornjob says:

    I thought the head bad guy looked like Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones.

    The stand of cursed human trees reminded me of the wood of suicides in Dante’s Inferno. It made me wonder which labor of Hercules involved going in to Catholic hell. Of course there were all kinds of allusions to Greek mythology in the Divine Comedy, so it kind of fits.

       1 likes

  32. This was the worst (best) of the Herakles films. I consider the original “Hercules” and follow up (unchained) far better than any of the S%S films. I guess because Bava light and camera angles really gave Reeves a god like aura in most shots.

    The Hydra scene was probably one of the funniest scenes in any S&S movie. Poor Jayne was pregnant during the filming of this film. Oh Mickey, Mickey (head down slowly shaking my head side to side). I agree he is not a Herk. it seemed that Mick’s dubber sounded Dutch to me at times? Perhaps it’s only me?

    I know this was supposed to be a Hydra but it looked very simuler to Lodac’s dragon, only lamer.

    J&tB and the Mads were great. They are synced well at this point I am very pleased with this episode. I am getting more comfortable with the very minor improvements. At this time thie show is fitting me like a pair of old sneakers (kicks).

       2 likes

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

    So, has anyone visited the Wikipedia links to see what kind of possibilities I’m referring to? A *theoretically* interesting discussion in itself.

    ToolmasterJeff: Someone here brought it up before, but with the show being in widescreen now, that kind of puts the kibosh on black and white 50 sci-fi, since all of those movies were originally shot in 4×3. I’ve no doubt they’ll find more recent movies that are equally out there, and at least for casual fans, I think color is always easier.

    Thanks but that doesn’t really answer my questions. ;-) But thanks.

    Certainly there are plenty of bleak “conventional” dramas in color, so if they decided to include that sort of thing (as they did in the CC years but almost never in the SFC years), the color/b&w issue would be no barrier.

    “Avalanche”, of course, isn’t SF/F/H (unless I’m misremembering) but it’s a disaster film, an entirely distinct genre from “conventional” drama.

       1 likes

  34. If it’s a bad movie it works. That’s what the show is about: riffing bad movies.

    And welcome to the Internet! Let’s welcome the ill-informed what the show is about.

       0 likes

  35. disqus_gLpQsNuFrk:
    If it’s a bad movie it works.That’s what the show is about: riffing bad movies.

    Well, technically, it’s about why they’re being riffed, which is what make the guys’ reactions funnier.
    Fortunately, Kinga and Max haven’t dropped the ball in that area, either.

       0 likes

  36. (ahemeditbutton)

    Sitting Duck: Not necessarily. Someone else mentioned in a previous discussion how Disney’s Blu Ray releases of their older 4*3 titles have curtains fill out the empty space on the digital TV screen. Something like that is also done in the Ballyhoo documentaries.

    Again, before Disney put “curtains” on Snow White and Pinocchio, the new Blu disk industry was LITERALLY terrified of putting 4:3 B/W movies on a 16:9 hi-def color disk. (Of course, it also had to do with the bad “burn-in” on those black bars for Plasma sets, which isn’t a problem today.)
    You would hear studio reps frantically trying to explain about the customers and how “no one would want” a square movie on a rectangular set, or what was the point of no color, or even whether hi-def would show all those brushstrokes in an old handpainted Disney movie–Maybe Blu just shouldn’t bother, and continue to let DVD handle those, and Disney should only release the computer-created Pixar movies on hi-def?

    The industry’s calmed down a bit since then with a little experience. Sort of like your second baby, after your first one.
    Hopefully, by S12, Joel (who was also worried about new fans and Kickstarting) will notice that the old square B/W episodes of MST3K: Classic have been happily running on Netflix, Hulu and PlutoTV all this time, and our sets haven’t blown up or burned-in yet.

       0 likes

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

    disqus_gLpQsNuFrk:
    If it’s a bad movie it works.That’s what the show is about: riffing bad movies.

    Well, that was true of the earlier incarnations, too, but as the links that I posted demonstrate, there are many film genres that those incarnations never ventured into.

    If they haven’t said anything about branching out into more genres, they’re probably not planning to do so, though. Oh well.

    Perhaps they’ll “revive” other “forgotten” directors, as they did Coleman Francis, but of course that’d be kind of impossible to guess about because if they’re “forgotten” directors, we won’t know about them either. ;-)

       2 likes

  38. fireballil says:

    Okay, I love the new season and I do appreciate it coming back, but I don’t understand why Waverly was only in ONE HOST SEGMENT OF ONE EPISODE when Joel made a big deal about a new robot coming aboard. I mean, he made Waverly the subject of a whole backer update, he was seen in at least one of the backer screenings, even hosted Crow and Tom’s little pre-premiere press conference. And he’s even on the stickers that backers at a certain level got. And he got beat up and is no more after one lousy appearance? I mean, what the actual heck is going on here?! If that’s all one huge joke, it seems so mean to me and totally against Joel’s character.

       5 likes

  39. Watching episode now. My real-time comments, and fav riffs:

    Comments:
    * Man, I haven’t seen “Wings” in years. I’m surprised MST3K would reference it. Nice Paul McCartney joke.

    * Missed Riff opportunity: One of the actors has the last name “Hargitay”, and not a single Law & Order: SVU reference.

    * Sorta dirty riff: “… Except Milk Duds!” (it’s only dirty if you’re a Whose Line fan, where “Milk Duds” can have a different meaning. :P

    * A Caddyshack reference is always ok in my book!

    * Servo’s complaint about Jenga reminds me of Crow whining about Rock, Paper, Scissors way back in Season 1’s “The Crawling Hand”.

    * Shouldn’t it have been Servo, not Crow complaining about a woman not wearing underwear? I mean, he’s the one with an underwear fetish.

    * Actual dirty riff: “He’s gonna bounce right off you!”

    * Uhhh Max, we were all aware the theater was called the Mystery Science Theater….

    * One of my complaints about Jonah was that he doesn’t really have a distinct personality apart from Joel or Mike. Initially he just came off as Joel 2.0 to me, but as of recent it seems they’ve tried to develop him into a “Know-Nothing-Know-It-All” character. It works.

    * Movie complaint: I know that “Zeus” and “Jupiter” are kind of the same thing, but…. the filmmakers know Jupiter is a ROMAN God, right, not a Greek God?

    * Did Crow say “Like my Sphinx”, or “Like my spanx”?

    * Sadly-still-relavent movie line: “Only a man may hold the reigns of government.”

    * Have not seen the other episodes yet, but I’m assuming we haven’t seen the last of Waverly.

    Fav. Riffs:
    * “It’s PETA! They found us!”

    * “And, tomorrow was my birthday, too!” (character dies)

    * “All these stairs. I should have brought my slinky.”

    * “Purple hair… purple hair…”

    * “And, Action! Don’t look at the camera! Cut!”

    * “Like being attacked by a Mardi Gras float.”

    * “Looks like McDonald’s Play Place has gone to crap.”

    * “TICKLE FIGHT!”

    * “Gary Busey!”

       2 likes

  40. Gizsonic Screwdriver says:

    Sitting Duck: Not necessarily. Someone else mentioned in a previous discussion how Disney’s Blu Ray releases of their older 4*3 titles have curtains fill out the empty space on the digital TV screen. Something like that is also done in the Ballyhoo documentaries.

    I don’t think Joel would go for that, he sounds very dead set in the new format.

       1 likes

  41. Gizsonic Screwdriver says:

    fireballil:
    Okay, I love the new season and I do appreciate it coming back, but I don’t understand why Waverly was only in ONE HOST SEGMENT OF ONE EPISODE when Joel made a big deal about a new robot coming aboard. I mean, he made Waverly the subject of a whole backer update, he was seen in at least one of the backer screenings, even hosted Crow and Tom’s little pre-premiere press conference. And he’s even on the stickers that backers at a certain level got. And he got beat up and is no more after one lousy appearance? I mean, what the actual heck is going on here?! If that’s all one huge joke, it seems so mean to me and totally against Joel’s character.

    Out of character for Joel? Yes, but also funny, like someone said its a Cousin Oliver thing. Look at it this way, I think there warming up to the Ralph the dog bot. And I’m sure Waverly can be rebuilt, stronger, faster, oh yes.

       0 likes

  42. fireballil says:

    Gizsonic Screwdriver: Out of character for Joel? Yes, but also funny, like someone said its a Cousin Oliver thing. Look at it this way, I think there warming up to the Ralph the dog bot. And I’m sure Waverly can be rebuilt, stronger, faster, oh yes.

    Waverly’s a Cousin Oliver? How do we know that the dog bot isn’t a Cousin Oliver? And I don’t think it is funny at all. I know it’s not a human, but still, not funny.

       0 likes

  43. Lisa H. says:

    Some of the characters call Achilles “Achilles” and some call him “Aculo.” Huh?

    I don’t know why not everyone is using the same name, but they might be saying “Achille”, the Italian form of Achilles.

       1 likes

  44. Joseph Klemm says:

    Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology:
    -In Patton’s last interstitial, he says MST3K will end its broadcast day “in about 20 minutes”. I think he meant 10.Including credits, there’s slightly over 13 minutes left in the episode when he says this.Oops?

    I think Patton’s comment makes more sense if this was like a regular TV show that included commercials.

       1 likes

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

    >>>How the heck did they get away with singing a highly copyrighted Disney song in nearly its entirety?!?!

    Oh, those wacky Italians. ;-) I’m sure that some Italian genre films have included even more egregious cases of “borrowing” material than that.

    That’s nothing compared to what Turkish filmmakers have gotten away with, though:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%BCnyay%C4%B1_Kurtaran_Adam

    Okay, does anyone NOT want some riffing team or another to tackle that one? Or has Rifftrax already done so? They’ve got such a large oeuvre that I’m not sure. I didn’t even need to look up how to spell that word, either.

       2 likes

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

    BTW,

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    So, has anyone visited the Wikipedia links to see what kind of possibilities I’m referring to? A *theoretically* interesting discussion in itself.

    Going once, going twice…ehh, I’m losing interest myself…

       1 likes

  47. docskippy says:

    With Mickey Hargitay’s line delivery and general mien, his take on Hercules kinda seems like if Tommy Wiseau took a crack at peplum.

    After typing that sentence, now I want to see Tommy Wiseau as Hercules.

       2 likes

  48. Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology says:

    docskippy:
    With Mickey Hargitay’s line delivery and general mien, his take on Hercules kinda seems like if Tommy Wiseau took a crack at peplum.

    After typing that sentence, now I want to see Tommy Wiseau as Hercules.

    You’re mad. Mad! MAD, I SAY! MAAAAAAAAD!!!!!!!!

    I like it.

    Oh great forces of the infinite universe, PLEASE make this happen.

       4 likes

  49. “Oh hi, Hydra.”

       3 likes

  50. Anthony says:

    It’s interesting how much people’s tastes in MST3K diverge. I found this the episode of Season 11 I liked the least (well, maybe not as much as the McClure movies), which puts me at odds with numerous people, including Erik Adams over at The AV Club, who lists this as his favorite of the season (so far) and listed Starcrash, my favorite of the season, as his least favorite. Takes all kinds!

    Hercules movie episodes have never been my favorite in the series, even the good ones like Moon Men (I enjoy the novelty of Gypsy in the theater for Captive Women, but once she leaves I lose interest quickly); this one isn’t as much fun as Moon Men is, although the scene where Hercules is “fighting” the Hydra (although it’s more along the lines of “stumbling around drunkenly while waving a fake sword like he’s trying to hail a taxi”) is good for some laughs. Glad to see some folks enjoying this one, though, but for me it would be the next episode before things hit an upswing again.

    Shoot, maybe I should give this one another chance. I’m remembering that Hydra scene now and it IS pretty funny.

       2 likes

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