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Episode guide: 612- The Starfighters

Movie: (1964) An air force pilot is eager to learn to fly the F-104 jet, and that means mid-air refueling.

First shown: 10/29/94
Opening: Crow tries to log onto the information super-highway
Intro: The Mads have cranial ports; but M&tB have Cowboy Mike’s barbecue sauce and it’s bold!
Host segment 1: While he and Tom reenact the refueling scene, Crow misses a call
Host segment 2: The bots “debrief” Mike
Host segment 3: The United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus performs
End: Crow finally logs onto the information super-highway, Mike reads a letter, the Mads are sharing their thoughts
Stinger: Lady elbows hubby
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (195 votes, average: 4.38 out of 5)


• This episode is especially near and dear to me. The movie is JUST. SO. BAD. The riffing is great, considering how little they had to work with, and the host segments are silly and endearing.
• This episode is included in The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 12
• Ah, 1994, the year that most people discovered the “online” world, and we began to hear a certain automotive metaphor. By the way, Al Gore didn’t invent the Internet, but he did coin the phrase “information superhighway.”
A personal story: In 1994 I was working for an electronics retailing trade magazine, and one of the big stories of that year was that some electronics retailers (anybody remember Circuit City?) were just starting to carry computers, though nobody (including my boss!) could really say why, exactly, a consumer would want one. And keep in mind that modems were often not standard equipment on many of the computers that were coming to market at that time. Having been online (mostly on Prodigy and AOL) for a couple of years at that point, I tried to explain that “going online” was going to be the killer app for these things. He had no idea what I was talking about and refused to let me do a story about it. He was fired a few months later.
• A quick whois lookup shows that one John Bresee in Park City, Utah, owns the domain No word if there is a “” address working.
• In the comments, several experts explained the “looking for uart at fx1050” prompt–essentially it’s saying that there’s a hardware/software conflict, probably involving the modem.
• I love how Crow starts dancing slightly to the hold music as he waits.
• That’s Kevin as the first tech support voice. The next voice is Jim, I think, then the live voice is Paul.
• “It’s bold!!” became an immediate catchphrase.
• I sometimes note especially “naughty” riffs, but it would be impossible to do for this episode. There are dozens during the refueling scenes. My favorite is: “I think he has whiskey jet.”
• Non-spaghetti ball bumpers: datebook, beaker, film canister.
• I once showed this episode to my brother, who was an Air Force pilot. He hated it.
• There was much discussion in online MSTie forums about Crow and Tom, ahem, “refueling.”
• There’s an extreme closeup on the phone at one point, and, based on the spray paint flecks on it, I assume it’s been laying around in the prop room.
• Notable theater moment: Mike and Servo get up and dance.
• Those bouncing bombs looked strange to me but several commenters explained that with low-level bombing you need time to get away and the bouncing is designed to give the pilot that.
• Art riff: “Christo’s latest installa-[boom]…well, good.”
• Random riff: Crow just blurts out: “I hope they blow up Blossom.” (Glad they didn’t.)
• Callbacks: “Shut up Iris.” (The Beatniks), “People seemed to laugh more then:”(Stranded in Space), “Eegah” and “Watch out for snakes!” (Eegah).
• Then-current reference: Tailhook. Honorable mention: “Marilu Henner is replacing Vicky!”
• The topic of corn de-tassling also got a lot of discussion in the forums.
• Segment 2 is great, and I know that many female fans of Mike enjoyed the notion of him being debriefed (tighty whitey alert!)
• Servo does something they rarely do on the show–he takes note of the reel change alert in the corner of the screen and comments on it.
• As if the previous great segments weren’t enough, in segment 3 we are treated to a performance by the United Servo Academy chorus. Kevin wrote both the music and lyrics and I assume spent hours overdubbing himself into four-part harmony. The commenters explained that Mike is imitating Bill McGlaughlin from the local classical music radio show “St. Paul Sunday.”
• Somebody once dissected the lyrics of the song, indicating where every line was stolen from. This has links to almost all them. By the way, if you’d like to hear/see a very nice live version of the song, check out this now-legendary moment from the first JoCo Cruise.
• One of the few Cheech and Chong references comes as Tom Servo imitates Sister Mary Elephant.
• As soon as the character on screen says “poopie suit,” that’s it. Off Tom and Crow go on a long string of scatology, and there’s no stopping them. Mike’s Joel-esque pleas for them to stop fall on deaf ears.
• The “Boogers” incident actually happened, according to the ACEG.
• There is no cast/crew roundup. Nobody involved in this movie worked on any other MSTed movie.
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. For interns David J. Belmont, Shannon McNeely and Peter Nicolai, this was the final episode they worked on.
• Fave riff: “You know, it’s all kind of dull until you remember how sharp those wings are.” Honorable mention: “Found him! He was under a pile of blankets in my room.”

159 comments to Episode guide: 612- The Starfighters

  • 1
    swh1939 says:

    Hands down, the best part of this superior episode is the host segment where Tom and Crow are re-fuleing. I always laugh out loud.


  • 2

    Sampo, I am 100% with you about the duller the movie the better the riffs.

    Maybe that alone explains why I don’t like Rifftrax doing modern films which, by and large, may be pretty awful but are seldom dull. Mike, Joel and the bots are never better then when we get cars backing up needlessly before driving away, endless mountain climbing, or the reuse of stock footage over and over and over again.

    (While I’m not a huge fan yet of Cinema Titanic I think the 10 minute section at the end of Doomsday machine when absolutely nothing happens and the characters stand stock still is the funniest and most Starfighters moment of any of the RT or CT offerings).


  • 3
    Wilford B. Wolf says:

    As former technical support, I know UART pretty well. In Windows machines, the UART settings have to deal with how the modem connects and interacts with your computer. Sometimes you have to fiddle with them to resolve timing conflicts.

    Yes, some bombs are designed to bounce first and then explode. They were used quite a bit in Viet Nam


  • 4
    MPSh says:

    This is one of my favorite eiposdes, though I concede that the movie is about the dullest they ever did. The riffs on the odd faces and the even odder facial expressions of the Air Force officers were particularly hilarious (e.g. [Colonel] “That’s good” [Servo]: “Yet I feel hollow”).

    I didn’t find the information superhighway segments particularly funny, but I _loved_ the BOLD barbequeue sauce segment. (“BOLD? Why, hell yes, it’s bold!!!!”). Mike calling the mads “hairdressing sissies” was a nice touch.

    Favorite riff: “Yeah, there sure are a lot of girls here” “That’s great, because I…” “SHUT UP!!!”


  • 5
    Kenotic says:

    They seemed to do a few “Please Land on/Blow up” People jokes. Yahoo Serious, Blossom, Bill Maher — and I’m not sure I disagree with any of those choices.

    IIRC, my taped copy has an ad for the instantly-forgotten TV Network “America’s Talking.” It was something of a TV talk network that eventually was canned and replaced with MSNBC.


  • 6
    Preston P says:

    I adore this one.

    My favorite riff is during a badly-lit close-up of one of the actresses, Tom shouts “FRANKENHOOKER!”

    So many other classic bits here too… the poopie suit, “I gave them my anti-communist speech”, the sharp wings, ‘the wife’… And this is a movie where there is literally no conflict, no peril, no drama, NOTHING HAPPENS AT ANY POINT DURING THIS FILM. Seeing these guys work with a film like this is a sight to behold, because they’re still able to make it funny.


  • 7

    I haven’t seen this episode yet, but I’m assuming the “bouncing bombs” are a continuation of a tactic started during WWII. The bouncing bomb used a timed fuse instead of a contact one, would dropped from very low level and if done right would bounce a few times before exploding. The timed fuse and the bounces would give the low flying plane that dropped the bomb time to get away from the explosion. This tactic was used on both land and water. The low level drop was I believe considered more accurate, even with the bounces, especially against smaller targets.

    And no, I have no military experience. Just a military history junkie. Alien


  • 8
    Travis says:

    I showed this episode to my Dad about a month ago, who was in the airforce at around the same time as the film. He said that the starfighter planes were a joke, and were called the widow-makers. Apparently those small wings really made it difficult to pull out of a stall.
    He also felt that the movie had to have been bank rolled by the air force as a way to sell that plane, but I never found anything to promote that.
    Also, did anyone notice during the poopie suit scene in the pool there were a few guys in inflatable floaties? I guess you don’t have to know how to swim to be in the Air Force, but it sure helps your dignity.
    Then again…they were in poopie suits, so I guess dignity went right out the window…


  • 9
    MattG says:

    This is my favorite episode of Season 6 because nothing happens in this movie. Yes, the duller the film, the better the riffs. Science fact! The host segments are great too, particularly the United Servo Academy Men’s Choir, plus the barbecue sauce skit was quoted endlessly among my friends and I back in high school (“But Clay, do you think it might be… bold?”) I could quote riffs all day, but I’ll control myself.

    “We’re gonna bomb ’em back to the Jazz Age!”

    (A plane flies overhead) “I can’t tell ya how happy that makes me.”

    “He’s broken the face barrier.”

    “He’s got a scorched face policy.”

    “Is your face ugly? Misshapen? Join the Air Force!”

    “It’s the new Air Force goofy bomb!”

    (“You took two minutes up there and that’s two minutes too long!”) “Should have been none minutes.”


  • 10
    thomas says:

    The way too brief Poopie Suit had me rolling on the floor. I wish they would have brought a longer version to a host segment. Same with the brief Mitchell song where he’s running away from that guy’s house.


  • 11
    PeterK says:

    UART stands for universal asynchronous receiver – transmitter, which is a chip that manages communications between the computer and peripheral devices like modems, printers and so forth. Hardware, in other words. In the old days it was set by DIP switches, where you had to set 8 or more little switches up or down. As for fx1050, I dunno though it might stand for an old Epson printer, in which case the error was that the computer couldn’t communicate with the printer, on a machine running CP/M or DOS.

    Whoa. I totally geeked even myself out. Poopie.

    Loved this episode. Watched it with my son who was only 7 at the time, and had some quick verbal dancing to do during the endless refueling sequence.


  • 12
    Castleton Snob says:

    I love this episode. A young Robert Dornan. I always laugh at how every male in the movie finds the plain looking woman with the bad hair, Mary I think her name is, so amazingly attractive. Also the coffee references, and the refueling double entendre’s are excellent.


  • 13
    rhr says:

    “So basically, according to themselves, the air force is a bunch of leather-faced, not-so-bright, heavy-drinking, dull-witted, speed freaks who poop in their pants and can’t make it with women, right?”


  • 14
    bartcow says:

    I love this one, but my wife hates it. She has a low threshold for movies that are TOO bad. I’ve tried explaining the “worse the movie, the better the episode” theory to her, but to no avail. Oh well.

    We have a good friend who grew up in Iowa, and she really appreciated the nasally “love interest” describing corn de-tassling.


  • 15
    Saint Rude says:

    Bob Dornan’s character’s father is (unintentionally) hilarious, too. The Liberace jokes are pretty appropriate.

    “Put Dad on the line!”

    And I laughed harder at the Crow/Tom refueling sequence than any other host segment. Ever.


  • 16
    Cubby says:

    As someone who grew up in Iowa, (Servo: Oh, so you’re stupid!) I must admit that my first job was as corn detassler. We never hyphenated it.
    (I later moved up to spraying beans – where you sat on a jury-rigged row of chairs in front of a tractor, armed with a spray-gun connected to a vat of herbicide and rode up and down the rows, spraying chemicals on the weeds. Only the weeds, as the herbicide was a broad-spectrum killer, or you’d kill the soybean plant. You did want to know this, right?)

    I always loved the dairy farmer response, “His name’s GEIN!” So enthusiastic.


  • 17
    underwoc says:

    I used to be an Air Force officer, but I was too blind to join the Fighter pilot club. I was sent to a bunker in Montana to watch nuclear missiles do nothing. I LOVE seeing those jet jockey snobs look stupid in this film. (On the other hand, I also love the scene in WarGames with the missileers – “Turn your key, Sir!”)


  • 18
    Kris says:

    Holy God, I love this episode. It’s just so filthy (Intentionally? Who knows?)and pointless and bizarre. I think I described it over on the Discussion Board as “plane porn.”

    “Is your face odd and misshapen? Join the Air Force!”

    Also, it needs to be said: Kevin’s performance during the United Servo Academy Choir of A Capella Robots or whatever the heck it’s called is just divine. One of my all-time favorite songs in the series.


  • 19
    Grumpy says:

    I love the fact that in this film the most exciting thing that happens is a rainstorm… which happens off-stage.

    They don’t even show us the freaking rainstorm. They telephone in the rain.


  • 20
    Grumpy says:

    Oh, and I only saw this episode for the first time when it came out on DVD. It was then that I finally figured out what the source of the music they would hum (from the refueling sequences). I had somehow thought it was Star Trek TOS stock incidental music they were humming.

    I now often find myself humming that music at inappropriate times.


  • 21
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Hell yes, it’s bold! I dig this one A LOT. It’s certainly an ugly piece of film, and it seems that they didn’t hold back in the riffing. They get pretty brutal at times, which just adds to my enjoyment.

    He’s broken the face barrier!”
    “Our mission: to put talc on that man’s butt!”
    “I love his sweaty butt.”
    “Your father and I are worried, son.”
    “Promise you’ll call, over.”


  • 22
    1 adam 12 says:

    I also saw this one for the first time on DVD, although it was already legendary among my circle of friends before I met them. Something about going to sleep during refueling, waking up to more refueling, nodding off, waking up to EVEN MORE REFUELING, and attempting to convince others that the movie was a Mobius strip, will do that.
    Fave riff: “So basically, according to themselves, the air force is a bunch of leather-faced, not-so-bright, heavy-drinking, dull-witted, speed freaks who poop in their pants and can’t make it with women, right?”

    (#13 rhr got it exactly right.)


  • 23
    Spector says:

    One of my all-time favorite episodes! I served in the Canadian Forces and spent four years on an air force base so this one had special meaning for me.

    Great host sequences. Loved Crow’s adventures with tech support, Cowboy Mike’s Own Original Red Hot Rico-cheeeeettttt (pow, pow, pow, ka-pwing!) BBQ Sauce, Crow and Servo “debriefing” Mike and of course the United Servo Men’s Academy hymn, which highlights Kevin Murphy’s amazing voice range.

    As for the movie, on its own this bad boy would be duller than dishwater, which just made it great fodder for Mike and the ‘Bots. So many great lines as many folks have already posted. Here’s a few more:

    “Bob Dornan? The Congressman? What, Rush Limbaugh wasn’t available?

    “Bob Dornan, Wild at Heart”.

    “This week on the American Sportsman, Clint Eastwood really goes after the elk in the MacKenzie Range”.

    “Not an ac-tor”.

    “But it’s poopie-suit day!”

    “You’re lookin’ mighty chipper. Somebody get re-fueled over the weekend?”

    I loved the riffing during the refueling sequences, which I consider among the best riffing sequences in the show’s history. Every one was a gem and the first time I watched this I nearly had a “poopie suit” as I was laughing that hard.

    And of course, the “poopie-suit” songs. Yes, it was childish but damn it was funny. Just goes to show the range of the Best Brains crew.

    A five star episode in my opinion.


  • 24

    Adding my love for “Yeah, there’s lots of girls around here…” “Well that’s great sir, because…” “SHUT UP!!!”

    Also, I love the long dull speech Bob Dornan gives his main squeeze about why he can’t “buzz” her house, and Crow’s riff on it “Well… it was just a joke, I didn’t really think you were gonna do it!”

    “Non-stop telephone action!”

    And man, did that fey congressman get irritating or what? Did he have ANYTHING to do besides call the general and ask about his kid? Shouldn’t he, you know, be actually WORKING?

    It’s also interesting hearing them mention “Nellis”. I grew up in Vegas and knew Nellis AFB quite well. And, like the girl from IOWA, I thought it seemed like a really effeminate name to call an air force base.


  • 25
    MikeH says:

    The most utterly pointless so full of nothing film I think that has ever been put to film, and THE funniest. Mike and the bots are in top form riffing on NOTHING and making it so damn funny. All the people are odd looking, except ol Bob Dornan. I am a bit surprised they didn’t make any political fun of him, but maybe all for the better, maybe cause he was the most normal of the looking. Everyone else from George Goober Lindsay, Frankenhooker, the big faced commander and Liberace. Plus rubber bombs, missles hitting white rectangles, giant jarts, hours of refueling over mountains, suggested plane crash in a non-existant thundestorm, possible landing gear failure, lots of snuggling, and best of all: POOPIE SUIT!! Along with the poopie suit song. This movie has it all.

    Tom: “yes the wife is gonna be happy to see the me”
    Crow: “we’re gonna have the sex!”


  • 26
    R. Totale says:

    “our job: spray talc on that man’s butt!”


  • 27
    Joseph Nebus says:

    I believe this movie is the unspeakably awful ripoff of X-15, starring Charles Bronson, Mary Tyler Moore, and the X-15 research spaceplane in a movie that has a roughly analogous plot in which really not a lot happens, but has some great spaceplane footage.

    This movie was, quite truly, the centerpiece of my friend John’s bachelor party. A year or so earlier he’d visited me in Singapore, and I had to work one day, and he spent it watching various MST3K episodes I had. (As it happens I hadn’t got around to watching this one yet.) He was so enraptured with the barbeque sauce sketch that he was quoting it endlessly for pretty much the rest of his life. Above all else he wanted Cowboy Mike shown to the guests of his bachelor party [1].

    Well, I was happy to bring it along and show it, although I was mystified that he talked about how it was fine to turn it off after the host sketches. What I didn’t realize was that he had fallen asleep swiftly and soundly after the movie started so he had never seen the episode before. Happily, he’s (among other things) an amateur pilot, as were several friends there too, and everybody was a MiSTie of some order so the experiment turned into a grand experience for everyone and a new cherished memory to go alongside the Poopie Suits.

    [1] Since everyone attending was a touch too mature for traditional bachelor party activities the night turned out mostly to be one of movie- or TV-show-watching. Particular highlights included MST3K, Danger Mouse (to the real delight of those who’d come from Commonwealth nations) and the mind-tripping 1914 silent His Majesty, The Scarecrow Of Oz which you have got to see because you won’t believe it.


  • 28
    Ben says:

    Probably has the most sexual references than any other episode I’ve seen. It’s a classic!


  • 29
    Dave says:

    The voice Mike Used to introduce the “United Servo’s Men Academy” skit, I believe he also used in Episode 913 “Quest of the Delta Knights” to introduce Servo singing yet again. Does anyone know who he is imitating?


  • 30

    I went to a spicy foods convention here in Albuquerque a couple weeks ago, which prominently featured various barbeque sauces. So pretty much all through it, I was stifling a laugh, thinking, “BOLD?!? HELL, YES, IT’S BOLD! IT’S SO BOLD, IT’S RATED UNSAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION!”


  • 31
    Meadows says:

    “Now available in new EXTRA BOOOOLLLLLDDD!!!”

    Probably my favorite, most-quoted Mike segment ever.

    And a great all-around episode.


  • 32
    jjb3k says:

    I introduced a friend to MST3K once, and it took a few episodes before he really got into the show, but once he saw this one and the Cowboy Mike’s Own Original Red Hot Ricochet Barbecue Sauce skit, he was hooked. He and I still frequently bellow “BOLD? Well, hell yes it’s bold!” at the top of our lungs for laughs. “How bold is it? Bold enough to bulldog yer tasebuds and hog-tie yer tongue!”

    This episode is one of those ones where there isn’t a single bad riff in the entire thing. I think the secret is that there’s just so much nothing in the movie that it let the Brains just fire away without having to follow any plot or character development. It’s the same reason why they always seem to knock it out of the park with long dance scenes (see “The Creeping Terror” for a prime example).

    The scene where Senator Wikowski calls Colonel Hunt is just a non-stop barrage of great riffs (“Sarah?”, “And his face springs into action!”, “My brother George…”, “They were in BTO?”, etc.). In fact, any scene with that guy in it is pure gold. “My dad died in the war, who was that?”

    For some reason, “Lt. Hebe”/”Lift Here” makes me laugh so hard I cry. Every damn time I see it.


  • 33
    Neil says:

    In my top five of episodes of all time!
    Perfect host segments.
    Perfectly bad movie to riff.
    But what makes me love this episode so much, I think, has too do with being a navy brat, and spending too much time growing up on base watching movies like “Starfighters” which I,m almost sure was produced by the military, just like alot of other movies I remember seeing starring guys with strangly shaped heads.


  • 34
    John Seavey says:

    It’s a great episode, no question, but I do have a part of me that wishes that the “poopie suit” scene had come at the beginning of the film instead of the end. Because while refueling is great, the poopie suit is one of those riffs you can build a film around. (Like “This is where the fish lives,” for example.)


  • 35
    The Professor says:

    I would like to add that out of all the movies ever done on MST3K, this one has my favorite music. I’m a real sucker for The Association and Ray Coniff (who, if i remember correctly, both get mentions in the riffing) so the music played during the refueling scenes is just golden to me. “Baaaa ba ba baaaaa. Baaaa ba ba baaaAAAAAH!”


  • 36
    M "C'MON, STEAKS, YOU WANT SOME?!" Sipher says:

    Mike’s face contorted with rage as he screams “BOLLLLLD?! WELL HELL YES IT’S BOLD!!!” remains one of my all-time favorite MST moments ever.

    This episode, for me, is a prime example of rock-solid riffing overcoming a movie that has little to go on. It helps a LOT that the filmmakers were apparently so damn convinced that all this was fascinating and exciting. I don’t get the impression they felt they were padding the film out at all, but stuffing in tons of action and suspense and whitebread sexiness. It’s almost endearing. Almost.

    The rigidity of the film is countered by the SOL crew’s far more relaxed approach… and the sheer level of dirty riffs doesn’t hurt. Trace does a disturbingly good bedspring imitation.


  • 37
    adoptadog says:

    Terrible, pointless movie – GREAT episode! Especially love Cowboy Mike’s Barbeque Sauce, and the United Servo Men’s Choir. My husband thought he’d use this to doze to one day, but ended up watching it & laughing a lot instead.

    “Kaboom, kaboom, yadadadadadadada…”


  • 38
    H says:

    This is a great episode, I think we all agree. I particularly love the internet jokes. We had had internet for a year or two then too. Movie is such a gold mine. Host segments hit all the right points and refueling is one of the all time greats. And the barbeque sauce sounds like something I’d be into.


  • 39
    Roman Martel says:

    Like a few others here I didn’t see this one till it came out on DVD. It quickly became one of our favorites.

    A lot of people are pointing out how nothing happens in the film (they even mention it in the Colossal Episode Guide), but seriously enough happens in the film to create seeds for jokes and I think that is the big difference bewteen this and “Monster A Go-go” which also has nothing in it, and somehow defeats Joel and the bots with it’s crushing emptiness.

    Here the refueling, the poopie suits, the strange faces, the bizarre dinner scene, the whitebread romance all provide the writing team plenty to work with. I think it also shows how good they got, that another movie about Nothing actually turned into one of the best episodes.

    And yes the host segments are just as classic. the BBQ suace sketch has now made it impossible for either me or my wife to pass any sauce in the supermarket without contorting our face and yelling It’s BOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLDDDDDDDDDD!
    I think we’ve scared a few fellow shoppers that way. LOL


  • 40
    Kitty Reed says:

    Dreadful dreadful movie. The true anti-movie.

    Great host segments and riffing. Love this one.


  • 41
    John M. Hanna says:

    This movie had so much nothing happening in it it could have been called “Andy Warhol’s Starfighters” (Warhol being famous for making films which are devoid of action).
    Thanks to this film I now know more about corn detassleing than I ever wanted to.
    Also, does the Air Force still use the term “poopy suit”?


  • 42
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    Professor – they also reference Sergio Mendes (Sergio Mendes and Refueling ’66?). Good stuff.


  • 43
    Grumpy says:

    BTW, I’d seen references to Poopie Suits for a long time on MST3k fora before seeing this episode. I’d always sort of assumed that a character has garbled a line and it sounds like “poopie suit” or that there was a suit that was the color of poopie or something of that kind. Never dawned on me that it would come from the movie itself and would be a suit for making poopie… Sheesh.


  • 44
    Professor Gunther says:

    “Is your face odd, misshapen? Join the Air Force.”

    Five stars all the way! Watching this “movie” is, of course, like staring into the void. And I’ve always loved how the music becomes all emotional toward the end–as if that will make us care! “Wow! Bob Dornan’s character is truly Shakespearean in its development. Wait a minute; that’s just the music.”

    The skits are outstanding!


  • 45
    This Guy says:

    I still think that in both instances, Mike is imitating Bill McGlaughlin from the classical music radio show St. Paul Sunday. The tone of voice is very similar, and it has the local connection.


  • 46
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    I still can’t understand why the USAF would presumably spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars developing an important piece of fighter pilot equipment, then give it the unbearably stupid name of POOPIE SUIT!

    Regarding the refueling scenes, check out the movie “Strategic Air Command” with Jimmy Stewart. It, too, has an air-to-air refueling scene that, I figure, “Starfighters” ripped off, even down to the same type of music. “Strategic Air Command” is a better movie, though; it has actual actors.

    My favorite riffs are after the downed pilot is “rescued”.
    MIKE: It was terrible! I had to eat a bug and drink my urine!
    SERVO: But you only had to wait ten minutes!


  • 47
    MikeK says:

    Another great one. Season Six really was a great season for MST3K.

    The Starfighters is an odd movie with an odd message. I know it doesn’t seem to be about anything, but there must some purpose to it.

    I think it is this: fighter jets > bombers.

    Outside of that it really has no point.

    The double Nintendos during the refueling scene are hilarious. The creepy re-enactment by Tom and Crow is funny as well. It’s still creepy though, like when Servo shoved himself down Gypsy’s throat during The Creeping Terror.


  • 48
    Snelg says:

    More bouncing bomb stuff than you probably care about:

    Wikipedia article

    The Dambusters, a British WWII squadron that made the bombs famous

    Beer commercial parodying the movie “The Dambusters”

    To be honest, I first learned about the bouncing bombs from that beer commercial Confused


  • 49
    Stickboy says:

    I want to join just about everyone else in saying that when I first saw this on DVD, having read about it in the Guide and wondering what a film wherein nothing happens would look like, this quickly–almost immediately–became one of my favorite episodes. I, too, love Mike’s facial expressions during the Barbecue skit. And Servo’s song is a classic.

    About Crow’s computer: remember when “multi-media” was the hot phrase of the day? Even then I knew all it really meant was it could have pictures and sound, but it showed up everywhere as a marketing gimmick. Just silly.

    The poopie suit song floors me every time.


  • 50
    Jacob says:

    This is yet another top notch epsiode. I (like most people) saw this when it first came out on DVD, and thought this was one of the funniest episodes I’ve ever seen. My favortie riff in this episode is when you see one of the starfighters flying just above ground and Crow says: “This is high enough for me, thank you very much.” I also like it when you first see the bouncing bomb and when it lands Crow says: “It landed on Pigpen”


  • 51
    Nicolletta says:

    Ah, yes, The Starfighters.

    SEE some of the most godawful performances by bad actors and non actors ever caught on film!

    MARVEL at the red-hot snuggling action!

    THRILL as the planes refuel. And refuel again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

    FEAST your eyes on the one and only POOPIE SUIT!

    Now I’m going to watch this over the weekend.


  • 52
    underwoc says:

    To Kenneth Morgan (#46): The poopie suit probably has some legitimate and unweildy name like “personal hygene garment, aeronautical” or something, but the guys who have to wear the damn things will always give them some sort of nickname, usually vulgar. The same way the inflatable life vests that pilots wore in WWII are known as “Mae Wests” or the chemical toilets on board some planes are called “Honey Pots.”


  • 53
    Cornjob says:

    I allways figured this movie to be more of a Air Force recruitment/propaganda piece than a “real” movie. It seems obvious that the film makers wanted to portray the Air Force in the most positive light possible, and someone decided that meant that the Air Force should be portrayed as having no problems (aside from a little cloudy weather and unsupportive parents). This decision deprived the movie of conflict, and for that matter, story. What’s left is essentially an hour and a half long infomercial for the Air Force that features, as Mike put it, “more nothing than any other movie”.

    This is definitely a case of an exceptionally abysmal movie making for an exceptionally good episode.


  • 54
    Brandon says:

    But, Sampo, even if your brother hates this episode, does he still like MST3K in general?


  • 55
    EvilRoy says:

    The “Bouncing Bombs” are napalm canisters, and yes that’s what they do.
    BTW, I was an AF Navigator, and I love this episode-think the movie’s lousy.


  • 56
    big61al says:

    Absolutely bottom of the barrel movie. My personal top 5 episode…Great riffing and greay host segments…..just a flat out gem of an effort. [Applause!] LOL


  • 57
    The Toblerone Effect says:

    This is one of the few Season Six episodes I can’t get into, and it’s exactly because of many of the reasons already named. Nothing happens in this…I can’t even call it a movie, its that nondescript. And for me, this was the rare case were the riffing didn’t quite match the painful boredom the film delivers. It was just okay.

    The host segments are the best thing about this episode. Between the BOLD!!!!! barbacue sauce bit, Crow’s quest to get onto the internet, and Servo’s choir, they are actually a welcome break from the dullness of the feature. A definite fall-asleep-to episode (those Ray Conniff-like singers alone are prone to lull me to sleep!)


  • 58
    crowschmo says:

    “There’s ALREADY too much flying in this movie!”

    Good ep. One of the most boring “movies” on the planet. I’d call it a still. That moves.

    Host segments and riffs were good. I watched this a couple of months ago, and tried to watch it again tonight for this, but I just couldn’t get through the whole thing again. It’s good, but there’s only so much one can take. I need more space from it than just a couple of months.

    Some more good lines I like:

    “Yeah, I see the Charleston was really big in the SIXTIES.” – Mike

    “This plane is INSATIABLE.” – Crow

    “And as the seasons change, the refueling continues.” – Mike

    “The refueling jet likes me! He thinks I’m cuuute!” – Crow

    “Yes, the desert environment is enhanced by bombing – left alone it is too placid.” – Crow (Long “a” on placid).

    “NOT an actor.” – Crow

    “Well, if we’re ever attacked by white rectangles, we got it under control.” – Servo

    “Here, the Airforce escorts Sununu to a golf game.” – Crow

    “Oh, you are SO the only girl around.” – Mike

    “Remember the world before this movie?” – Mike

    “You know, I read this screenplay – it was two pages.” – Mike

    “All right men – POOP!”- Crow

    “And to think, at the beginning of this film all these characters were strangers to us.” – Crow

    “Hoped they remembered to arrange where they would MEET in Europe.” – Crow

    Good all around, really. I just can’t sit through it again so soon. Smile


  • 59
    fireballil says:

    One of my all time favorites. Five stars. The one line I liked that I haven’t seen mentioned here is Mike saying, ‘We have a visual ID on numb-nuts.’ My review at can be found here.


  • 60
    MikeK says:

    I like the lyrics that they make up about the poopie suit.

    “Poopie suit! Getting relief filling your briefs in your poopies suit!”


  • 61
    losingmydignity says:

    I love this episode, do you hear it!? Love it! Love it!

    Great host segs, get riffing, great movie, great everything.

    The refueling stuff and poopie stuff is a howl, but naughtiness/scatiness of it often makes people over look just how great some of the “human” scenes are. The date, the debriefings, and one of my all time fav MST scenes: the prank phone call! Hilarious stuff for them to work with.

    I don’t think this was a recrutiment film as some have mentioned. It has long been a policy of the military to give full access (well probably almost full) to their various equipment, killing machines, poopie mobiles, etc. So I’m guessing someone in the air force really liked this script which was, I think, an attempt (misguided as bullet in the gun of David Hinckley) to humanize fighter pilots in a time of great anxiety, etc. Probably also the director had some connections.
    They probably realized they didn’t have enough “human interest” story when they had the film in the can (ahem ahem) and decided not to edit this one, ahem, tightly, and there you go…lots of footage of star@#+%&@.
    My theory anyway.



  • 62
    Miqel says:

    From the Original Movie Poster (see Wiki page)

    of men and planes
    who rocket to the very edge of OUTER SPACE …

    Officer: “did you know flying a plane is like making love?”
    Crow: (as the lieutenant) “Uh … You have to pay?”

    Brilliant episode – 5 stars all the way!
    #612 has some of the most memorable host segments EVER! The BOLD! sauce skit is pure genius and anyone who has had to sit on the line for tech-support can relate to Crow’s problems getting on the ‘information superhighway’. Brings back fond and frustrating memories of the early days of the web Wink

    Having worked in marketing I always attempt to find “something” in the utter “nothing” of this film – some justification for it’s existence. As a PR effort it’s pretty weak, it doesn’t really focus on any particular message(except lots of hot refueling action!). I guess there is positive spin in the sub-sub-non-plot where the congressman is trying to get favors for his son and the military is portrayed as acting independently of his pressure.

    Gotta love how the only element of tension (storm) in the story isn’t even shown. With all the stock footage in this film they couldn’t find any of storm clouds?

    (Lieutenant) “Alright – let’s get out there and crank-up”
    (Mike) “the Air-Force recommends CRANK”

    Although there may be ‘some flaws’ in this film, rest assured that the director, Will Zens, has a masters degree in film from USC! LOL!

    “Following service as a test pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force in the European Theatre of Operations, Major Zens obtained a Masters Degree in film from the University of Southern California.[1]” – Wiki


  • 63
    MSgt Sandra Regner says:

    So your AF pilot brother hated it! That’s odd because I had shown it to a bunch of F-16 Pilots from the 482nd at Homestead ARS Florida(in fact I had to make a copy for them) and everyone of them loved it! Obviously your brother didn’t “get it”! BTW, it’s one of my favorite episodes Razz


  • 64
    Zee says:

    This was an episode I initially didn’t ‘get’ and it took repeat viewings for it to really grow on me. The Cranial Port & United Servo Men’s Academy Choir sketches are classics (although the barbecue sauce, debriefing & refueling ones are standard season 6 phone-ins). However- My favorite moment is Crow waiting on hold. Crow’s every subtle frustrated gesture in this scene shows how proficient Trace Bealieu had become at working the puppet and demonstrates why he was one of THE best puppeteers working in the world a the time.


  • 65
    Dave says:

    Thanks ThisGuy! I love Crow’s reaction to not getting on the internet in the openening! It reminds me of Invasion USA where Crow gets protective about his “mother.” Brilliant!


  • 66
    Rozar Smacco says:

    for anyone who cares, Mike is imitating Bill McGlaughlin, host of St. Paul Sundays on public radio. Since we all know Mike is a big classical piano nut, it makes perfect sense for him to send up this particular host. Mclaughlin definitely has a “snotty” sounding delivery shall we say and Mike captures that perfectly.

    About the United Servo Men’s Chorus whatever from the host segment, I was in the University of Houston Men’s Chorus a while back and we sang some contemporary pieces which had some of the same tight harmonies and dissonances that Kevin M. wrote into his piece. They are difficult to execute well and Kevin was spot on(does he have perfect pitch? anyone?). Quite a nice effort harmonically, very satisfying. shall we say “Fantastic”


  • 67
    John D. says:

    Just drop a load inside your pants…
    As you’re flying over France…

    In your Poppie Suit!


  • 68
    John D. says:

    D’oh! “Poopie”, I meant! Poopie!



  • 69
    M "Sail On, Silver Bird" Sipher says:

    Rozar, I think you mean “fantastique“.


  • 70
    LZ says:

    Tom Servo’s hymn was one of my favorite MST3K songs ever. Can someone please enlighten me to the second song that the Servos sang leading into the commercial break? I’ve never been able to figure it out.


  • 71
    MikeK says:

    Rozar Samco, Post #66:

    That name sounds familiar. I think I’ve heard Bill McGlaughlin on the classical music station in Chicago. I think he has a syndicated program called Exploring Music or something like that. He certainly has a unique voice but I never connected his voice with the one that Mike Nelson did. That could very well be where he got the inspiration for his snooty, arts program host.


  • 72
    jon says:

    This is one of my top-5 favorite episodes. I wore out my VHS tape watching it so much, so I was really happy when they released it on DVD.


  • 73
    Leslie says:

    When watching this with a friend, she was ready to turn it off after just a few minutes of the glorious refueling scene, but I made her finish it. Now it’s a favorite of hers, too! I love it. The host segments are fantastic as well, Servo’s song being my favorite song they ever did. And the barbecue sauce…well, I can’t look at a bottle of barbecue sauce without going through that skit in my head now.


  • 74

    #70: “Mademoiselle from Armentiers.” I know this because William Frawley sings it at least twice on “I Love Lucy.”


  • 75
    Sampo says:

    Brandon and MSgt Sandra: My brother knew nothing about the show before I showed this to him, but he was visiting and I thought this ep would be a good choice. Yes, I think he didn’t quite “get it.” I think the topic was too close to home for him and I have a feeling he didn’t like the Air Force being ragged on so much. He did laugh a bit, but he seemed to really lose interest about halfway through.


  • 76
    Puma says:

    Wow, and here I thought I was the only person who loved this episode so much. Most of my friends think this one is just too slow and boring. Confused

    For the umpteenth time now: “BOLD?!? Well, HELL YES it’s BOLD!”


  • 77
    Joepcr423 says:

    I know that a UART was something used for external dial-up modems that were connected to the serial port, some internal modems also have their own UART.

    Mostly everything else said in that segment sounded mostly like a lot of technical babble to me anyway.


  • 78
    DON3k says:

    Yeah, the long and short of Crow’s issue was simply that his software was not configured for his hardware, or his hardware was conflicting with other hardware. Maybe his ISA Serial I/O card was not jumpered correctly. Also a possibility – his program was set for the incorrect IRQ or COM port configuration. So either the serial controller was dead, bad, conflicting, or could not be found on the port and interrupt which the software was using. The program could not read the RTS/CTS from the modem (Ready-To-Send / Care-To-Send). The 25-Pin serial port the PC came with would be on COM1, IRQ4, and would probably have a 16550 UART chip, which is a good high speed serial controller, with FIFO handling interrupts (First-In-First-Out) flow control, allowing 11,500 BPS over RS-232 serial. Basically, it’s chips behind the serial port on a PC, allowing a PC’s software to talk to an attached serial device, like a modem, or a null modem serial cable or adapter. And if his PC had an internal ISA modem added on, and it, too were jumpered at COM1, IRQ4, there’s a conflict between the PC’s I/O serial card, and the added modem. One would need to be changed to COM2, IRQ3 (unless there was already a COM2, then one would need to be completely disabled). Otherwise neither would work. So while you can dial-up at the blazing speed of, say, 9600 bits per second (baud), or today at 56k baud, you could direct transfer between two PC’s using a ‘laplink’ null-modem serial cable at 115200 bits per second! In the old days we would backup someone’s PC from an old machine to new, since USB drives and whatnot did not exist.


  • 79
    underwoc says:

    Wow! I just read through DON3k’s post and actually understood some of it (but now my head hurts…)


  • 80
    jade says:

    Damn…I actually didn’t like this episode. I’ve only watched it twice. Although the host segments were some of the best ones ever!

    And even though I didn’t like it that much, reading all the quotes from it on here makes me want to watch it again!


  • 81
    LZ says:

    #74: Many thanks!


  • 82
    ometiklan says:

    I worked on A farm for 2 summers as A young teen.
    We picked strawberrys greenbeans and yes…
    We even de-tasseled the sweetcorn A few weeks before picking.


  • 83
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    #82 – did you drone on and on about it on a first date? Alien


  • 84
    BigZilla says:

    “This plane has recently been sexed – it’s a boy”

    In high school this was my favorite episode for a while. Not quite that high now, but still way up there. The firing range scene is one of the funniest stretches of season 6.

    Also, the Servo academy men’s choir is – for me at least – one of the most wonderful pieces of music ever. Even though the lyrics are basically nonsense, Kevin’s voice is incredibly peaceful. I would buy a cd of him singing almost anything.

    Oh, and while I may not want to know, who/what is Frankenhooker?


  • 85
    Lee B. says:

    Ah, what a great episode. It’s one of my favorites but it has a bad reputation among the casual fans I’ve discussed it with, probably because (as Preston P said) NOTHING HAPPENS. I’m a plane buff, but there’s no way I’d even try to watch this movie un-riffed.

    More on the “poopie” suit: it’s officially called a “constant wear anti-exposure garment” or something like that. It’s a dry suit that’s worn under the regular flight suit to keep the pilot from dying of hypothermia if he has to bail out into a cold ocean. I’ve heard that it’s nicknamed a “poopie” suit because there’s a provision for urination but not for defecation, so pooping is the last thing you’d want to do while wearing one.


  • 86
    Zee says:

    Re: 84

    “Frankenhooker” (also referenced in 513) is Frank Henenlotter’s 1990 horror film about a hooker built from the scraps of other hookers (who exploded after smoking “Super-Crack”).


  • 87
    Cabbage Patch Elvis says:

    So I guess it’s really more of an “Oh, poopie!” suit?


  • 88
    DamonD says:

    A firm favourite, and really shows the quality of the writing in making such an utterly dull, repetitive film such good fun. No refuelling gag left uncovered!

    Everything is so dry and self-important and devoid of personality that the guys have a field day.

    (holds up model)
    “Now this is the Starfighter.”
    Tom – “Get in.”


  • 89
    bigdaddy320 says:

    This is one of those eps that takes me repeated viewing to appreciate. I have this bad habit of trying to pay to close attention to a movie on the first few viewings. So, needless to say, I tend to miss some of the riffing. But, it is truly a golden ep.

    Fav. Riff:
    Crow: “You seem chipper. Did somebody get refueled this weekend?”


  • 90
    Kilroy says:

    I love this episode so much. I wasn’t expecting much from it the first time I viewed it, but it’s definitely one my personal favorites now. My favorite host segment line is in this episode.

    Crow: There is no known antidote for Mike’s Extra Bold!

    Is it me, or does the senator (Carl Rogers) kind of look like Blofeld (as played by Charles Gray)?


  • 91
    gary! says:

    weird, decided to watch this on a lark last night, googled uart @ fx1050 and saw this just got posted. clearly i have psychic powers. Favourite riff; “Where you boys from?” “Russia.”


  • 92
    Snackula says:

    This movie has a special place for me, as it was first shown at the dawning of my MST addiction. That the film constantly mistakes action for story, washes over the audience with exposition, has cavernous gaps of nothing happening, and topped with horrible acting is the best kind of fodder for MST. The United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus is one of my all-time favorite MST segments. It was executed almost flawlessly.

    A favorite line: “Is your face odd and mis-shapen? Then join the Air Force”.


  • 93
    Meranalf says:

    For April Fool’s Day a couple years ago I wrote a positive mini review of this film.
    This is the heart wrenching story of a young Air Force fighter pilot who has to prove himself to his father who is both a congressman and a decorated Air Force pilot in his own right. This in and of itself would make for a wonderful film, but we are also treated to a glimpse into the daily lives of Air Force pilots and the rigorous training they have to endure to become the best of the best. As a added bonus, the footage of the pilots doing their maneuvers features actual Air Force jets in the performance of their duties; to the best of my knowledge no trickery with models is used.

    Even though the Brains long dispensed with the invention exchange, I’ve noticed that a lot of the first host segments work much like an invention exchange would. In The Starfighters we get Mike’s BOLD barbecue sauce and the Mads’ mind linking device. Nummy Muffin Coocol Butter and the matter transference device also feel like Deep 13’s half of an invention exchage. Anyone else notice this?


  • 94
    fireballil says:

    One note on the poopie suit riffs: Sampo makes it sound like Mike tried to stop it from the beginning, but Mike did join in to a point, then he tried to stop them.


  • 95
    Jeff says:


    Mike’s Morrissey impression in City Limits may be my favorite moment in the entire show.


  • 96
    jjb3k says:

    @ 93: There were a lot of things from Deep 13 in early Season 6 that felt like leftover invention exchanges (Nelson Cigarettes, the Deep 13 Voodoo Kit, NummyMuffinCoocolButter, etc.). I suspect that’s why they came up with the Umbilicus, so they could keep coming up with inventions but drop the exchange format and just have Dr. F use Mike and the bots as guinea pigs.


  • 97
    badger1970 says:

    This is the episode where by nephew always wants to see the singing robots. Impressive talent displayed by Kevin.

    One of the few movies where black and white may have made it more interesting. Episode great, movie awful (only War of the Colossal Beast was worse IMHO).


  • 98
    Brian Schlosser, Lurker says:

    Such a bounty of riffing joy:

    “Junior thought that he could be a swinger… siddown, Junior!”

    “Just lie back and think of England’s airspace”

    “Or more recently, Berlin” Mike, really faint: “Berlin??”

    Also, a line later partially reused in The Movie: “I’d like to thank me for flying Me Airways. Please check around my own seating area for any items I may have stowed there”

    “Congressman Wikowski” Crow: Bunny??

    The huge number of double entendres in the beginning is killer, one of the best segments in the show’s history. ALMOST as funny is later in the movie, Mike makes a great meta-joke by running down a checklist of jokes: “Premature ejaulation entendre? Check. Multiple partner allusions? Check.”


  • 99
    Klisch says:

    I haven’t seen this episode so I have no comment.


  • 100
    eric says:

    My favorite episode!

    I’ve watched it 30+ times.


  • 101
    bobhoncho says:

    I can’t watch the BBQ sauce bit without laughing hysterically. The whole “bold” concept has become part of my vocabulary. If I like something, it’s bold; if I don’t, it’s decidedly un-bold. That being said, this episode is one of the boldest to come out of BBI!


  • 102
    bobhoncho says:

    Also, now knowing what “Beautiful Music” is, I can’t watch this movie without announcing after every musical piece “Your dial is set on WWJ-FM 97.” God, I wish that station was still around!


  • 103
    bobhoncho says:

    Oh, if you guys are wondering what the heck I am talking about in #102, go to Once you get past the commercials, you’ll find that much of the music from this clip of FM 97 is very similar to that of this movie. Really, listen to it. You won’t be disappointed!


  • 104
    Uranium - 235 says:

    To me this is one of their best episodes. Given how little material they had to work with, it’s amazing that some of the best riffing to be found in the entire series is here.

    The refueling sequence was probably the second dirtiest moment I can recall (the first being “Tubular Boobular Joy”). And the film ended on a great high note with “Poopie Suit”.

    Of course, the movie is ‘special’ to me in that I’m an F-15 maintainer in Mountain Home AFB… a dusty, dry desert where boring leather-faced pilots cruise around and nothing ever happens. Amazing. This actually probably made the movie even more unbearably boring for me than most others – seeing jets fly around in formation and taking off is so old-hat it’s almost annoying. In-flight emergencies (IFE) are pretty common, for both landing gear, hydraulics, fuel leaks, etc. So any remote sense of tension that scene may have potentially had was completely lost on me.

    Someone asked the question earlier, and to my knowledge, no, there is no ‘Poopie Suit’ anymore. Our pilots have ‘Piddle Packs’ instead, I guess we’re supposed to have enough faith that they won’t crap their pants on a 9 hour flight. And of course high-altitude aircraft like the U-2 still requires the pilot to wear a space suit.


  • 105
    ZP_Mstus says:

    Of course, in case it wasn’t obvious, “uart” has a double-meaning within the context of MST3K – especially considering it’s none other than Art Crow himself who utters it! Alien


  • 106

    I was scanning something else about this on another blog. Interesting. Your perspective on it is diametrically opposed to what I read to begin with. I am still reflecting over the various points of view, but I’m inclined heavily toward yours. And irrespective, that’s what is so great about modern democracy and the marketplace of thoughts online.


  • 107
    Troy Thomas says:

    I agree with your Air Force brother, this one SUCKS! Bad riffing, even worse movie. The only thing I really liked about this episode was the host segments, especially “bold sauce,” “re-fueling,” and “the Servo chorus.”


  • 108

    Internet is a cosmos of information; this article stands out among the rest, because of its content. This post is very interesting and you will get required information as a compact package. The writer has described in a brief and comprehensive way all the important aspects about the subject.


  • 109
    hollyhox says:

    Sampo said: “Who is Mike imitating? I gather it’s a classical music announcer who is or was on the radio in the Twin Cities.”

    Dave said: “The voice Mike Used to introduce the “United Servo’s Men Academy” skit, I believe he also used in Episode 913 “Quest of the Delta Knights” to introduce Servo singing yet again. Does anyone know who he is imitating?”

    Mike was doing a damned fine imitation of Laurence Welk in the Starfighters segment. I rewatched Delta Knights just today, and he is doing a completely different imitation in that one. Someone with a Brooklyn-ish accent. I don’t know who, but I suspect it’s someone who appears on PBS.


  • 110
    bobhoncho says:

    FYI, the link I left for you guys in comment #103 will no longer work. The Detroit Radio Flashbacks site has been remodeled.


  • 111
    Risingsnow says:

    This is my first comment on the web regarding an MST3K episode.
    It took me a long time to become a fan of the series. I was laughably ignorant. My first contact came from Penn Gillette’s old Comedy Central teasers – “Coming up next, Play Misty For Me.” I couldn’t figure out what the heck Comedy Central was doing with such a boring old movie, or why they showed it so often! It wasn’t until the Sci-Fi Channel years that I actually figured it all out.

    I’ve been riffing on movies in the theater for almost 30 years and became an MST3K addict the first time I actually saw an episode. After kicking myself for missing out on so many years of the show, I started downloading episodes as fast as I could. I amassed a collection of about 60 episodes on CDR and still have a box full of the Rhino VHS tapes, but I had never watched This particular episode until I finally got around to getting the Rhino set that it’s a part of. This is the last of the box sets I’ve purchased because it also contains Parts:The Clonus Horror, my all time least favorite episode.

    My GOD, have I been missing out! Episode 612 is now officially my all-time favorite. I’ve already watched it twice and I’ll watch it again with my wife this evening. I can’t wait to see her reaction to the host bits – which are traditionally our least favorite parts of the episodes. The Servo choral sequence is pure brilliance and, as others have already commented, the vocal overdubs and subtle harmonies are extremely difficult to pull off and took far more effort than one might think.

    If you want to convert any of the heathen masses to MST3K this is the episode to use. But beware! You will no doubt be pestered for copies. I can’t see anyone watching this without wanting it for their own personal collection.


  • 112
    swh1939 says:

    Baaaa … ba ba baaaaaa … baaaaa … ba ba baaa-aaaah …



  • 113
    Sitting Duck says:

    The main problem I have with the film is its plotlessness. It meanders pointlessly and then just stops. I had a lot of trouble getting into this one and found the host segments to be more engaging.

    In contrast to this film, Girls und Panzer has shown that fiction focused on military hardware is more engaging when said hardware is being operated by cute girls instead of ugly guys.

    Favorite riffs:

    Just fly back and think of England’s airspace.

    Is your face odd, misshapen? Join the Air Force.

    Alright Dave, why don’t you get out of your wig and into your uniform.

    Touch my bird. Go ahead.

    It’s the new Air Force Goofy Bomb, from Wham-O.

    It landed on Pig Pen.

    He accidentally started siphoning from a Northwest flight.

    He’s not ugly enough to be in the Air Force.

    I’ll signal them with my deodorant.

    At ease, Lt. Loser.

    I’ll wait with your best friend Steve.


  • 114
    Dan in WI says:

    In the great Rhino tradition the menu screen of this DVD contains an error. It has Joel’s silhouette watching Tom fly the F104 even though this is a Mike episode.

    Just listen to those 18 year old computer specs.
    90 MHz Pentium
    32 meg RAM
    CD ROM only
    Soundblaster 16
    28k dial up modem
    Today that computer won’t hold a sneeze.

    It seems as though people like Cowboy Mike’s Ricochet BBQ sauce bit. It really is classic so add me to that list. Everyone and I mean everyone brought their A game for this one. Mike’s facial expressions really are great. Frank’s panting anticipation and longing are something else and Clay goes from optimistic to disappointed on a dime. Yup, I love this bit.

    This is a very solid episode. The host segments were fun and the riffing was very workmanlike.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Tom “Yeah the wife is going to be awful glad to see the me.”
    Crow “We’re going to have the sex.”

    A small flame is seen in the jet exhaust. Tom “well the pilot light works.”

    A bouncing bomb detonates:
    Crow “It landed on Pig Pen”
    Crow “Mrs. Lockhorn cooked dinner again.”

    Witkowski “Did you have fun tonight?” Tom “Did you Wang Chung tonight?”

    Tom “Did they ever consider this wasn’t riveting?”

    After the second phone gag of the film: Mike “Ah yes that provided much needed comic relief from all the gripping drama.”

    The millionth refueling scene starts off:
    Mike “I’m at a loss. We’ve done promiscuity entendre?”
    Tom “check”
    Crow “Cuddling in the afterglow?”
    Tom “check”
    Mike “ah, multiple partner illusions?”
    Tom “got it”
    Crow “Ah, premature ejaculation innuendo?”
    Tom “yup”
    Mike “gas station jokes”
    Tom “been there”
    Crow “impotence”
    Tom “oh yeah”
    Mike “one night stand stuff?”
    Tom “it’s all covered”
    Mike “Ah okay let’s just watch then.”
    Tom “well refueling a beautiful that’s nothing to make fun of”


  • 115
    Creeping-Death says:

    Love this episode, it is a favorite. 5/5. Almost everything is great in this episode. The host segments are all good and the riffing is spectacular.

    Crow: Ah, Christo’s latest installa—oh good.

    Mike [as Crashed Pilot]: Oh, it was pretty rough, man, I had to eat a lizard and drink my urine!
    Servo [as Rescuer]: You were only here for ten minutes!

    Servo: So basically, according to themselves, the Air Force is a bunch of leather-faced, not-so-bright, heavy drinking, dull-witted speed freaks who poop in their pants and can’t make it with women, right?

    Poopie suits

    The many, many innuendos when refueling.


  • 116
    robot rump! says:

    aahhh Starfighters…da-da da daaaah- da-dadadadaaaaaaaaaaahh
    i think we can all relate to Crow’s computer tech support woes.
    i think we all shared the euphoric joy of mid air refueling.
    and who can possibly forget flying over BTO in their poopie suit?
    da-da da daaaah- da-dadadadaaaaaaaaaaahh


  • 117
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #52: So, the best they could come up with was “poopie suit”? I thought profanity had a long and cherished history in the Armed Forces.

    First Skydivers and now this. Makes you wonder what it is about movies with airplanes.

    “Skydiver and Starfighter, They’re Cops!”
    Or not.


  • 118
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    Also, this is one of the relatively few Comedy Central episodes to consistently receive references during the Sci-Fi Channel era. The Baaaaa Da Da Daaaaa theme turned up a few times. I immediately recall it being used in “Deadly Mantis,” for one.


  • 119
    Doug says:

    This is one of my favorites, for one reason: THEY RAN OUT OF RIFFS! I love it when a movie is so bad that they just run out of material. There was a moment like that in Manos too if I recall.


  • 120
    Thomas K. Dye says:

    If you think about it, this is one heck of a Mary Sue story. Bob Dornan gets talked up as noble for not mentioning he’s a Congressman’s son. On his first flight up, his superior officer yammers on about how he “threw the book at it” and tried to “annihilate space.” (Not that we saw any of that…) Plus, he does the right thing in that oft-mentioned but offscreeen “storm” as opposed to the married guy, who “screwed up royally.” It’d be easy not to notice their building up of Dornan’s character, however, as all the characters come off as identical and boring, and even when things are supposedly happening, they don’t happen.

    The movie’s (slightly) special for me, as I grew up in Las Vegas in the seventies, and it was still very much like that at the time: all desert, wood panelling and plastic Muzak in the casinos. Thank God it’s an MST movie, though, and not something I’d actually have to visit ever again.


  • 121
    John W says:

    “That was a great scene.”


  • 122
    Trumpy's Dad says:

    I guess this proves the what is great to some does nothing for others. This is right behind Hamlet as a least favorite episode to me.


  • 123
    Paul Marr says:

    Don’t run with that wing(and sharpen those planes!!)
    And now for my weekend BBQ forecast
    Should have taken NONE minutes
    Shut up Iris!!

    Great riffs


  • 124
    Yipe Striper says:

    They nailed this movie with the riff. It’s decidedly bold.


  • 125
    Klisch says:

    Starfighters is the type of episode you watch once and that’s it. This “movie” was a terrible choice by MST. It’s a complete dud.


  • 126
    Of no account says:

    Horrible movie, but hilarious riffing! I’m always impressed with the United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus segment. The amount of work that must have gone into that is just amazing. Plus Kevin really does have a wonderful singing voice.


  • 127
    MattK says:

    “I once showed this episode to my brother, who was an Air Force pilot. He hated it.”

    Did he hate it because it was a crappy movie featuring the Air Force, or because the guys were taking the piss out of the Air Force? My father-in-law was Air Force, and I always wondered what he’d think of this episode.


  • 128
    Mitchell "Rowsdower" Beardsley says:

    I think Jim Mallon, on This is MST3K, or something else, said it best when he stated that the movies they riff need to have some semblance of a plot, so there’s a through line and something for the writers to comment on.

    Which is precisely why this, Skydivers, and the Coleman Francis movies make for ponderous, dull episodes. I remember watching this as it first aired and thinking they had actually run out of ‘real’ bad movies to do.

    If I ever watch all episodes in order again, I will pop it in. Otherwise I can’t think of a reason why I’d ever choose this episode over any other one to watch.

    Tom’s chorus was neat though.


  • 129
    David francis white says:

    I wish the starfighters would blow up blossom!! and joey lawrence and mark walberg and the back street boys!!!!


  • 130
    CTHimes says:

    This is my favorite episode. I find the movie itself oddly fascinating by how boring it really is. This is the perfect movie for the show, IMO.

    One simple riff that slays me every time:

    Senator Witkowski: Good morning, Colonel Hunt. You’re a hard man to find.
    Mike (as Colonel Hunt): Sarah?

    As Mike puts it, there’s so much “nothing” in this movie, and I think that forced them to come up with riffs for just about every line of dialogue. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for them to sit through this a half dozen times, just trying to come up with and tweak 700 jokes? In the end, though, I think they really succeeded. This one’s a true classic.


  • 131
    Droppo says:

    Only MST3K could introduce a film like The Starfighters to any sort of public consciousness. Yet another reason to love this show.

    Hilarious host segments, great riffing and one of the most boring “films” I’ve ever seen.

    Great episode.


  • 132
    MikeK says:

    As dull as this movie is, and as awful as Bob Dornan is, one could look at The Starfighters as an anti-nuclear weapons movie. It’s whole point is to show-off, and make a case for, the individual fighter jet and fighter jet pilot and conflict between the fighter pilot and father who’s got a hard-on for long range bombers and atomic weapons.


  • 133
    Brandon says:

    “Sergeant here is dressed in what’s known as a Poopie Suit.”


    “Now don’t ask me why they call it that.”

    People often mention the refueling segments, but the Poopie Suit sequence is actually the only moment I remember from this episode. For a boring, eventless film, the Poopie Suit thing does kinda come out of nowhere.

    Crow: “Alright, Men! Poop!”


  • 134
    Sitting Duck says:

    The format of the United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus would get reused in Quest of the Delta Knights, which also features a bunch of Servos singing with Mike imitating Bill McGlaughlin and the whole thing devolving into more raucous fare.


  • 135
    MikeK says:

    @133. I like that Poopie Suit scene because they all know why it’s called a “poopie suit”, but can’t say why because they’re in a movie.


  • 136
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:


    In my memory, this was a middle of the road episode. After re-watching it last night, I’ve changed my mind, this is a GREAT episode. Sure, the movie is dull as doornails, but the riffing is spot on, I liken this one to Monster A Go-Go, a movie so bad that the riffing gets great! (Unlike Castle of Fu Manchu, which is a boring movie and the riffing matches).

    The BBQ sauce opening is, of course, great. (“It’s decidedly UN-bold.”). I used to quote it all the time, and now that I’ve re-watched this, I’m going to start proclaiming all my sauces to be BOLD! The Host Segments are all solid too, particularly the Tom Servo Choir (nice harmonies, Kevin!).

    In regards to HS#1, the refueling skit,. . . . .um. . . . Crow puts his beak into, uh, Servo’s butt. Uh…….and when he does, um, Servo makes a noise. Like, a “pleasure” noise. I’m not being judgey. It’s just. . . . . . strange.

    The “poopie suit” segment of the movie is without a doubt, the best part. It’s so juvenile, but so hilarious. It comes at a time when I might start thinking about checking out of the episode, as it IS a rather boring movie, but those “poopie suit” jokes start coming and it leaves me rolling, keeps me going to the end of the episode.

    Also, I grew up in Southern Illinois, surounded by cornfields, so corn detasseling is something I am VERY familiar with. Never thought it would take up so much conversation in a movie though.

    Also also, way up there at #27, Joseph Nebus mentions that The Starfighters is a ripoff of a movie called X-15. Last night, after I finished watching Starfighters, I flipped over to the THIS! Channel and what movie just happened to be on?? Why, it was X-15, which I had not seen, and I watched about 30 minutes of it, and I was “hmm, this is weird. It’s kind of like Starfighters…” So I agree with Nebus; rip-OFF!


    Mike: “I’m sorry, that’s never happened to me..”
    Servo: “It’s okay, we can just snuggle…”

    Crow: “The refueling jet thinks I’m cuuuuuute!” —-Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer reference

    Crow: “In the SACK?!”

    Crow: “We’re going to have “the sex”.”

    Crow: “17 and a half scotches later…”

    Servo: “The new Air Force goofy bomb, from Whammo.”
    Mike: “Yeah, go ahead and laugh….they got a kitty in that bomb.”


    Servo: “Did they ever consider this WASN’T riveting?”

    Mike: “The Air Force recommends crank!”

    Mike: “Eegah.”

    and of course,


    In fact,
    I give The Starfighters
    4 out of 5 poopie suits!

    Poop Airplane Poop Airplane


  • 137
    MSTie says:

    I’m glad a lot of people like this one, but even the riffs couldn’t save it for me. Saw it once, and never again.


  • 138
    MikeK says:

    Between this and Last of the Wild Horses, it made two episodes in a row with poop jokes.


  • 139
    Depressing Aunt says:

    Tom: Class? Class? Shut up!!! (in a shrill female[?] teacher voice)

    I got much love for this episode. My favorite character? The dark-haired officer with the eyebrows who sometimes looks despondant, as if he’s about to cry. When I watch this I somehow imagine that these characters actually have lives (controlling dad, single gal living with parents, that guy who gets rescued by a helicopter and is probably called a sissy for it by his peers later that night, frustrated high ranking officer who couldn’t hit a single target during training). It’s a figment of my imagination that this film actually has a plot, though.


  • 140
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    I found this movie’s complete lack of action fascinating. Nothing remotely dangerous or even much of anything happens at all. I usually hate episodes where the movie is this lifeless but this time I found myself entranced by the complete absence of action. A lot of great riffing has already been summed up by others but this interaction in the intro sums up many conversations my wife and I have had when I buy more electronics stuff.

    Tom: “So you think that’ll make you happy huh?”
    Crow (very emphatically): “Yes!”

    It was a blast to the past seeing Servo’s choir as I used to work in a TV station doing the sign off shift where we would a tape with the national anthem that had lots of Air Force footage and looked very similar to the video background used in that host segment.


  • 141
    Don says:

    Why was the father so upset at his son?Thinking


  • 142
    big61al says:

    Absolutely a great episode. A top 5 favorite episode. IT’S BOLD!


  • 143
    Patrick says:

    If I could buy one piece of MST memorabilia, it would be the prop for Cowboy Mike’s Own Original Red Hot Ricochet Barbecue Sauce, now available in new Extra Bold!


  • 144
    Tim S. Turner says:

    Other than the refueling and the Servo chorus, this episode SUCKS. The movie is dull beyond the capacity for them to come up with enough decent riffs. Boring in the extreme. Ugh.


  • 145
    Dan in WI says:

    Don #141> Because the father was a bomber pilot and the son is a fighter jock. One thing I learned from reading Chuck Yeager’s autobiography is there is a very real rivalry/divide between the two. So the son ending up on the other side would be akin to Rush Limbaugh having a son who turned out to be an extreme liberal.


  • 146
    "Hotcha!" says:

    My favorite riff was the squeaking car springs when they’re out on the double date. This episode is just fine by me. Great riffing of a crappy film.


  • 147
    schippers says:

    #145 – Well, it doesn’t appear so much to be a “rivalry/divide” thing going on with Senator Dad. He seems to be obsessed about the safety record of the bomber service being so much better than that for the jet jockeys. This makes sense, since, well, Pilot Son is his son and he’s concerned about him crashing and dying or blowing up and dying or something else that involves dying.


  • 148
    schippers says:

    I am saddened and ashamed that I did not comment the last time this ep came up in the discussion rotation.

    Let me say:

    “Starfighters” is one of the most amazing movies ever made. It is an absolute perfect fit for this show.

    In the very best episodes of MST, there is always that one moment that crystallizes the wonder of an epically awful (but completely and 100% earnest) movie, and in this movie, for me, it’s the “corn detassling” line, specifically when the future senator (what’s his name? Paul Ryan?) repeats it back to Corn-Fed Iowa Chick in his completely flummoxed delivery.


    Once I got to that point in the movie the first time I watched it, I was in love, fully and unconditionally. And the rest of it does not disappoint. I am particularly fond of the 3rd-act “conflict” that you can very well fail to recognize as a conflict at all until it has pretty much resolved itself (I am, of course, referring to the way the three doofus pilots handle the storm – I guess we’re supposed to be impressed by how awesomely Paul Ryan handles the situation, and feel nothing but white hot scorn for the way the other guy ditches his plane and has to get bailed out by the chopper crew, but really, it’s hard to muster up anything more than a big shrug to this development. I mean, I don’t get all impressed when people successfully parallel park, nor do I express much more than mild derision for those who can’t quite get it right).

    What else is awesome about this movie? Everything! But just to mention one thing: all the phone booth conversations. Just…what the hell? I think they’re supposed to be…funny, maybe? Oh they are, but not in the way intended by the filmmakers.

    Let me say in closing: I love “Starfighters.” The finest hour (er, 90 minutes) of the 6th season. I mean, who couldn’t love the United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus?


  • 149
    schippers says:

    #136 – Servo appears to have, uh, pleasure receptors, uh, “down there.” Let us not forget his decompression experience in MST3K: TM.


  • 150
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    @149 — That Servo is a dirty bird…


  • 151
    Angie Schultz says:

    Why was the father so upset at his son?

    I read something a few months ago and thought, “Oh, that’s what all that folderol in Starfighters was about!” A bomber pilot is the boss of the plane, which includes several other men. A fighter pilot is only the boss of himself (unless he gets to be squadron leader). Businesses looked more favorably on former bomber pilots, rather than fighter pilots, for executive positions because they’d had executive experience already. So in Witkowski, Sr.’s mind it’s probably: obligatory military experience, business executive experience, stint in Congress…and, dare we say it?…the White House!


  • 152
    ASimPerson says:

    The funny thing about Senator Dad is that, as it turns out, the F-104 was actually kind of unsafe, even for a fighter jet capable of flying at Mach 2.


  • 153
    Fred Burroughs says:

    I caught this episode as part of a Turkey-day marathon; my tape had run out, and I abandoned the family to run down and check what was happening on the MST marathon. I turned on the TV and…refueling. I watched for a few minutes, profoundly confused. I had never seen more nothing on the screen; I thought, maybe MST has switched over to watching discarded B-roll from other movies…but no, that’s the actual movie. I tuned in later to see the poopie suits, a refreshing breath of freshingly fresh air.

    I, too, am still convinced this was bankrolled by the AF as a training/recruitment film. It is kind of amazing how deftly the editing was handled to avoid any tension or drama, even though several dangerous events happen in the movie. At the time, lite jazz was fun and a little edgy and worked great in some soundtracks (like the legendary Charlie Brown Christmas); not so much here, especially in hindsight, it not only seems horribly dated, but hugely inappropriate music for fighter jets and bombing runs. (Thanks to Top Gun, we now expect canned 80s metal music over our jets, thank you.) Am I wrong, or did M&TB sing the “baaaaa-bababaah” music over shots of jet planes in several episodes PRIOR to Starfighters being shown? Even in season 5? Or am I imagining that?

    The most disturbing scene has to be the double date with the greasy married couple in the convertible(“Wasn’t he caucasian?”), and the wayyyyy too close-ups of the pawing and groping and face mashing by Bob Dornan and his date. She was cute, but I cant eat after seeing them let loose in a Ford.


  • 154
    Strummergas says:

    This episode is “decidedly UN-bold”. A typical 2-parter in that I can’t make it through in just one sitting. The host segments are fantastic and the riffing is good for what they have to work with, but man, I can’t agree with all the positive reviews for this episode. I like when the movies suck, but I like it even better when they suck AND stuff actually happens. I doubt I’ll come back to this one unless I watch all the episodes in order again.


  • 155
    JohnnyRyde says:

    Count me in with the “loved it” crowd.

    The movie is so absolutely bizarre that I can’t help but love the episode. The biggest action is a rain storm… off-screen.

    They set up Bob Congressmanson as the good pilot who avoids the rain. They also set up married guy and the bad pilot who does the wrong thing. And then forget to do anything with that. There’s no punishment, reward, redemption. Nothing. Apart from the characters having the same names throughout the movie, not one scene has any impact on any scene that comes before it or after it. It’s just amazing.


  • 156
    KidFlash25 says:

    Definitely one of my all-timers.

    Showed a friend the Cowboy Mike’s bit just as we were walking into a Quaker Steak location a few weeks ago. It was perfect.


  • 157
    thedumpster says:

    Does anyone know the name of the song or the group who sings during the re-fueling sequence?


  • 158

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  • 159
    LD says:

    The turtle called Gamera is approaching the base. -Crow