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Weekend Discussion Thread: “If I Had Seen This One First…”

One of our alert regulars notes that, in a comment thread, pete_plums_drivers_license “had a good suggestion for a future WDT: ‘If I’d seen this MST3K episode the first time I tuned in, I probably never would have come back.'”

With the usual caveat that even the worst MST3K episodes are better than most of what is on TV, I would have to pick “Radar Secret Service,” the episode that puts me to sleep every time (despite the great short).

Your pick?

75 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: “If I Had Seen This One First…””

  1. The Great Crowdini
    Ignored
    says:

    The Hellcats

    Not a fan of starting out a series with a clip show. It makes me feel like I’m missing something, which takes away the overall enjoyment of the show for me.

    Only one invention for the exchange, that auto sign language device.

    The movie is boring. One for the sleep ASMR files!

    And everyone is sick. Ugh!
    I know they had a shortage of writers for this episode, but come on! It just comes off as lazy to a first time viewer.
    Thankfully the riffs are decent considering the awful movie.

    Thank goodness this wasn’t my first ep.

       0 likes

  2. bartcow
    Ignored
    says:

    Since this thread became (as I predicted to myself) a dour dissertation on the nature of comedy, how about this for a WDT: what’s an episode you disliked the first time, but eventually won you over to become a favorite? Someone earlier mentioned that Manos was a struggle the first couple of times, and I’d have to agree. But my answer would have to be Radar Secret Service(!). I can’t say it’s in my Top 10, but for years, all I had was a crap 79th generation VHS dub, and I thought the movie was an incomprehensible mess–which it is, but my problems stemmed mainly because I couldn’t understand anything that was said, and everybody looked like gray blobs. The DVD rectified that for me, and I’ve put it on a number of times since then, if only for a change of pace.

       2 likes

  3. Yeti of Great Danger
    Ignored
    says:

    bartcow:
    Since this thread became (as I predicted to myself) a dour dissertation on the nature of comedy, how about this for a WDT: what’s an episode you disliked the first time, but eventually won you over to become a favorite? Someone earlier mentioned that Manos was a struggle the first couple of times, and I’d have to agree. But my answer would have to be Radar Secret Service(!). I can’t say it’s in my Top 10, but for years, all I had was a crap 79th generation VHS dub, and I thought the movie was an incomprehensible mess–which it is, but my problems stemmed mainly because I couldn’t understand anything that was said, and everybody looked like gray blobs. The DVD rectified that for me, and I’ve put it on a number of times since then, if only for a change of pace.

    http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=26025 Lots of good “this episode eventually won me over” posts in this WDT from last year. Since then I’ve gained new appreciation for and chuckles from “The Killer Shrews” and “Bloodlust!”

       2 likes

  4. bartcow
    Ignored
    says:

    Yeti of Great Danger: http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=26025 Lots of good “this episode eventually won me over” posts in this WDT from last year.Since then I’ve gained new appreciation for and chuckles from “The Killer Shrews” and “Bloodlust!”

    Well, shoot. Coming up with new WDTs is hard! (Especially when your memory is garbage.)

       3 likes

  5. bartcow
    Ignored
    says:

    And good grief, I even cited Radar Secret Service in that thread, and said “gray blobs”. I really need more ginseng or something :)

       5 likes

  6. Chuck Thompson
    Ignored
    says:

    I remember watching MST3K on the Sci-Fi Channel as the new episodes would premiere. Those episodes from late Season 8 like Horror of Party Beach and Space Mutiny made me start loving the show. Then Projected Man was the big premiere for Season 9 and they nearly lost me because it was boring and the episode had this horrible echo effect over the riffs because of some technical problem. I was worried they were going to keep using it. I actually like a lot of comedy that people think is boring it’s just actively annoying stuff I don’t like. I kind of feel like the more boring episodes of MST3K (Stranded in Space, Radar Secret Service) kind of recede into the background most of the time more than they would make me dislike the show and not feel willing to give it another shot. And I love movies like Red Zone Cuba and “Manos” that a lot of people think are boring because the riffs just draw attention to so many weird decisions the filmmakers made.

       3 likes

  7. Dr. Batch
    Ignored
    says:

    The Rebel Set.

    Boring movie. Dull episode.

       1 likes

  8. Joseph Klemm
    Ignored
    says:

    The five that I’d put on the list:

    The Castle of Fu Manchu
    Teenage Crimewave
    High School Big Shot
    The She-Creature
    Invasion of the Neptune Men (even with some fun riffs and the greatness of the Hitler building bit, it is still a slouch to make it all the way through)

       2 likes

  9. Benjamin Wink
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    says:

    If I had seen most of the Japanese movies from Season 3 before any other episodes, I don’t think that I would have jumped on the bandwagon as quickly as I did.

    Yes, I know that is heresy in some circles, but the Gamera movies, the Fugitive Alien movies, and especially Time of the Apes didn’t really do it for me then and don’t do it for me to this day. I find them a smidge meh. And yet, I like Mighty Jack quite a bit from that same timeframe. And I heartily enjoy Prince of Space and Invasion of the Neptune Men from Season 8 so it is weird. Yeah, that’s what it is. Weird.

    So I guess I’m glad that I stumbled on Rocketship X-M when I did, because that made me a fan right away.

       4 likes

  10. Gravity
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    says:

    High School Big Shot. As someone who’s suffered on and off for years with that old devil depression, it was a damned tough slog. If that had been my first venture in the wacky world of MST, I would have have taken a hard pass on any more, thank you.

    But, manly man that I am, I gritted my teeth and toughed it it out, driven by the certainty that SURELY the show has to be better than this.

    It was; the next episode proved it. And lo, there was great rejoicing throughout the land.

       7 likes

  11. TorgosPizzaNJ
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    says:

    “Ring of Terror” is pretty weak. It seemed like more than half of the riffs & host segments were about the college freshmen being “too old” and the fat couple being too fat..it got “old” very fast.

       3 likes

  12. Ray Dunakin
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    says:

    I have an idea for a WDT: There were a lot of great impressions done on the show — for instance, Trace/Crow’s “killer Peck”; Mike doing
    Barney Fife, Bill’s mobbed-up Leo DaVinci, etc. So I’m thinking it might be worth discussing your favorite impressions — either in riffs or host segments.

       3 likes

  13. lpydmblb
    Ignored
    says:

    Funny thing about this theme is that it kind of happened to me in real life. Living in NE Philadelphia meant that I didn’t get Comedy Central until 1995. The only chance I had to see the show was during the ACE award showcases on other networks. The first one I saw was Cave Dwellers*, then, sometime later, Alien From L.A. Both of these are far down the list of episodes I choose to revisit. At the time I was consciously forcing myself to like it (I was watching this in a group setting), but I must admit, my faith was shaken.

    Then 1995 arrived, and eventually there came a day when I was home sick from work and first saw The Violent Years. And thus my faith was rewarded.

    *Funny thing is that I really like the MST3K and Rifftrax versions of Ator: The Fighting Eagle. But Cave Dwellers actively puts me to sleep filled with vaguely unpleasant dreams.

       2 likes

  14. Graboidz
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    Hamlet, still the only episode I’ve never made it all the way through.

       0 likes

  15. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    Gravity: But, manly man that I am, I gritted my teeth and toughed it it out, driven by the certainty that SURELY the show has to be better than this.

    And THAT has to sum up what the experience with a weaker episode would be for all of us here on Satellite News! “Boy, what an ugly movie! But . . . I kind of like what they’re doing to it. I’ll check out the next episode, and see what that’s like.”
    Upon further contemplation, I think the only thing that could have turned me off to MST3K the first time out would have been a segment of particularly bad movie followed by one of their weaker host segments. However, I can’t think of an actual episode that has that combination: my least-favorite host segments are all from episodes I particularly like (Hercules, Creeping Terror, etc.).

       0 likes

  16. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    Ray Dunakin:
    I have an idea for a WDT: There were a lot of great impressions done on the show — for instance, Trace/Crow’s “killer Peck”; Mike doing
    Barney Fife, Bill’s mobbed-up Leo DaVinci, etc. So I’m thinking it might be worth discussing your favorite impressions — either in riffs or host segments.

    I think you can just go ahead and give this award to Trace! Although Bill as Leo D is a classic.

       1 likes

  17. privateiron
    Ignored
    says:

    I was not going to post on this one because I thought it was just going to generate negativity. I will reiterate what others have said: some of the “irredeemable” episodes listed here are favorites of mine. So a lot of people are going to be defensive from the start and not just happy to chime in with their “favorite.” Plus it gave Eric a new chance to slag several SEASONS of the show.

    But since I’m here, I will mention that “Dead Talk Back” is in my Top 5. And that Project Moonbase should be nuked from orbit.

       1 likes

  18. CaptEoNinja83 .
    Ignored
    says:

    Putting aside the episodes I REALLY hate, “King Dinosaur” would be a TERRIBLE first MST episode to watch. The very first time I tried to watch it, I literally zoned out for almost the entire movie! My ADD tried to save my sanity. And the second time, I became aware of the horror that is Joey the Lemur!

       1 likes

  19. CaptEoNinja83 .
    Ignored
    says:

    mando3b: I think you can just go ahead and give this award to Trace! Although Bill as Leo D is a classic.

    When did Mike do Barney Fife? I thought it was always Trace.

    I vote for Trace’s excellent Paul Lynde impression as the most hilarious, although Bill’s Leo Da Queens is a personal favorite.

    My mom votes for Trace doing Sammy Davis JR.

    So Trace getting this award seven years in a row.

       0 likes

  20. SmudgyTheBootblack
    Ignored
    says:

    CaptEoNinja83 .: When did Mike do Barney Fife? I thought it was always Trace.

    I vote for Trace’s excellent Paul Lynde impression as the most hilarious, although Bill’s Leo Da Queens is a personal favorite.

    My mom votes for Trace doing Sammy Davis JR.

    So Trace getting this award seven years in a row.

    I’m pretty sure that’s Charles Nelson Reilly.

       0 likes

  21. Matt Tait
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve advocated on here before, in regards to any season, but particularly the first season, to watch though a season in order. There is a kind of tone continuity, thus I find that episodes that I enjoy less on their own become more enjoyable when watched with the other episodes that were made around the same time.

    But the ones that might have turned me away are the icky ones, like I don’t think I’d ever want to meet anyone involved in the movie, like I need a prescription for anti fungal after watching: Girl With the Gold Boots, Outlaw, Hobgoblins, Zombie Nightmare, TISCWSLABMUZ and Devil Doll (the only B&W one that made me need a shower after). The oily guy in Girl With the Gold Boots is the absolute most disgusting character in any MST3K movie. That being said I do like these episodes but they pair best with a Lassie the Painted Hills, Jack Frost, Santa Claus, or perhaps an I Accuse My Parents to restore ones faith in humanity and bad movies.

    The Undead and Hamlet are a bit rough as well.

       2 likes

  22. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    SmudgyTheBootblack: I’m pretty sure that’s Charles Nelson Reilly.

    “‘Hang on to your…’, BLANK, Charles Nelson Reilly!”
    “Nuh-huhh, I said ‘Bippy’!”
    – Warriors of the Lost World

    (…Oh, thank you, PlutoTV’s Buzzr channel, I never realized I would ever miss the original.) :)

    And if we are getting the WDT out of the way now, where does that leave all of Joel, Trace and Kevin’s assorted Bela Lugosis from “Creeping Terror” and “Bride of the Monster”?
    (“It’s a sinister day in the laboratory…” “They think I’m dead, ohh, the IRRR-ony!”)

    CaptEoNinja83 .:
    So Trace getting this award seven years in a row.

    Not counting Trace’s inexplicably occasional bursts of late-80’s Dennis Miller:
    Sinbad: “Happiness is here, in our own village!”
    Crow: “‘You had to sail the seven flippin’ seas to find that out, cha-cha??'”

       0 likes

  23. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    Matt Tait: But the ones that might have turned me away are the icky ones,

    You betcha! For me, the ones that forced me to take a hot shower afterwards are Zombie Nightmare, The Atomic Brain, Manos, The Brain/Head That Wouldn’t Die and Eegah. (And with the last-named, Crow and Servo used up all the hot water! D-oh!!) Ugly people doing ugly things, misogyny, and all the other things that make an MST-worthy experiment (bad writing, no plot, bad acting, etc.). For me, the most disgusting individual in any MST3K movie is the psychotic/sociopathic teenager who throws spaghetti at his mom in Zombie Nightmare–one of those repellent types whose violent death you applaud. (I actually felt cheated that they cut the scene in which the zombie skewers him with a softball bat.) All that being said, the Brains are at their best with this kind of film: they let fly with both barrels and give it what it deserves, and all these are among my favorite eps (as are the ones you named, except for Hobgoblins). The type I have a bigger problem with is the kind of boring dreck that just LIES there–Stranded in Space, for instance, or Radar Secret Service: the inertia inevitably affects M/J&the’bots, and they have to strain too hard to make any riffs at all, much less funny ones. Even here, though, the overall format still carries the day: as I said in the last WDT, my first MSTie experience was Kitten With a Whip, which is a mix of ugly and boring; hated the movie, laughed to the point of tears at their treatment of it, never go back to it now.
    Now, a third type that would have the potential to turn people off forever is the cynical rip-off with deceptively high production values that blatantly tries to cash in on a much better, popular film: Starcrash, Mac & Me, etc.–in other words, a lot of Season 11 & 12. I like the new cast and a lot of what they do, but these eps are really hard for me to get through, and I don’t know how I would’ve reacted if one of them were my first. Ahh, but thankfully, that’s something I will never have to worry about!

       1 likes

  24. Nahtmmm
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    says:

    I did see Earth vs. the Spider (or some other spidery episode?) first, it was the only one I succeeded in catching during the original run, and I regretfully turned the channel in hopes that I would catch a non-spider episode some other time.

       0 likes

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