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Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Weekend Discussion Thread: rough draft of the Season 12 episode guide: 1205- KILLER FISH

Movie: (1979) A treacherous gang of jewel thieves attempt to recover treasure from piranha infested waters.

Open: As Ardy and Synthia search for “Idiot Control Now” in the files, and Bonesy still wants to go walkies, Max and Kinga find themselves riffing the whole thing.
In the invention exchange, J&tB present Alchemy Glue. The Mads unveil the Time Travel Oven.
Segment 1: What fish is attacking the characters?
Segment 2: Jonah has a logic puzzle to figure out how the characters get to shore.
Close: As the Mads prepare to show the final film, Synthia has at last created the liquid version of “Idiot Control Now.”
Stinger: “That’s it. Laugh it up. It’s art.”

Thoughts:
• The Boneheads were Tim Ryder and Zack Thompson.
• Growler AND Waverly come in with Gypsy.
• This movie has the most big-name stars since SPAVE TRAVELERS.
• MWaverly and Growler join the fun for segment 1, and again as everybody sings “Below the Dam” (by Paul and Storm).
• A fish on a stick appears from the left.
• Growler offers blood sausage
• Joel obviously decided that the original monaural version of “Idiot Control Now” from 1991 would not be pleasing to modern ears, so he re-recorded it with modern equipment.
• Callbacks: Mention of “Avalanche.” Mention of “Reptilicus.” “Paul, your father is in great danger.” (Cry Wilderness.”) “It stinks!” (Pod People). Mention of “Yongary.”
• Fave riff: “I wonder how they spell “Nyehehheh” in the script.” Honorable mention: “I’m off to stock Hawaii with wolverines.”

49 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: rough draft of the Season 12 episode guide: 1205- KILLER FISH”

  1. nomad
    Ignored
    says:

    I think “Below the Dam” was pretty good, but kinda wish it had been a host segment instead of during the movie.

    As far as the new version of “Idiot Control Now”… I can see why Joel re-recorded it. I think the original was in mono, and I doubt they still had the original source files. So a new liquid HD stereo version had to be made.

       1 likes

  2. Sitting Duck
    Ignored
    says:

    Killer Fish passes the Bechdel Test. Ann asks Kate about their presence and she explains. If you think that shouldn’t count due to its tangential association with Diller, there’s also when Kate and Gabrielle exchange goodbyes at the airport.

    For the record, the Stones drummer no one can remember is Charlie Watts.

    Love the Crow-ranha puppet.

    In retrospect, the Snorks being a Smurfs knock-off is obvious. Funny thing, though. As a kid, I enjoyed the Snorks but hated the Smurfs. Not sure why.

    When your character in a movie about human-eating piranhas is a fat obnoxious guy with nasal voice, you may as well wear a sign that says “Doomed”.

    So they’ll be pop songs. Literally! At least if you’re from a region of the country that refers to sugary carbonated beverages as pop.

    Favorite riffs

    “I’ve seen everything.”
    And I mean everything. I actually see the future. It’s a terrible burden.

    I can’t tell which scene I like more: the high stakes heist in an exploding oil refinery or this backgammon game.

    Look both ways before crossing the dirt.

    Oh my goodness! The trauma from the blast caused him to lose all his chest hair.

    The hills are alive with the sound of disco!

    “We went to get the stones.”
    Mick, Keith, the drummer whose name no one can remember.

    I never realized how many Universal rides look like concrete bunkers in the jungle.

    “I’m a very lucky man.”
    I’m about to be a bachelor again.

    It’s one of those illegal Brazilian backgammon boats.

    “Whatever happened to beginner’s luck?”
    I’m pretty sure you use all that up your first time.

    A lot of good model railroad figures were lost this day.

    If they move Ollie to the other side, the whole thing would balance out.

    I’m going to say that it’s Diller in the trawler with the wrench.

    Curse this delicious honey barbecue flavored blood of mine!

    On the bright side, it stopped raining.

    This one’s for Ollie. I’m climbing the slight incline he never could.

    If the piranhas take that plane out, I’m buying us all churros.

    I don’t know, it just seems reckless to hand over explosives to the piranhas.

    I’m off to stock Hawaii with wolverines.

    Kids, this is what happens when you fall in during the Jungle Cruise at Universal Studios.

    “Right on time.”
    Except that two people are dead.

    That wedding party over there doesn’t want you moping in the background of their photos.

    You should know the last man who held this was murdered by fish.

    “Let’s have a look at those little nothings.”
    Those little nothings are between me and my dermatologist.

       4 likes

  3. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    This episode has the potential to be one of those some folks really love it and some folks really don’t episodes. For me it is the opposite of last weekend’s episode. It just lacks… “fun”?

       2 likes

  4. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    I know I watched this episode: I remember I kind of enjoyed it, the movie is quintessentially ’70s era cheese with actors I actually recognized, and I vaguely remember the plot. I know I’ll watch it a second time before I go back to Mac & Me, Lords of the Deep, and Atlantic Rim. Beyond that, though, it’s a blank, one of those things you just can’t recall when you’re trying to name everything in a particular category (like, say, Delaware when you’re trying to name all 50 states, or Riggs Stephenson when you want to list all the Cubs in the Hall of Fame). Another MST3K episode like this for me is High School Big Shot. Jay, though, definitely hit upon something in his comment: “love or hate” feels right, and I really don’t recall there being a lot of fun in this ep. (’70s-era bad movies really don’t have a lot of fun in them, do they? They’re ridiculous, sure, but there’s always an aura of turgid pseudo-seriousness about them. Great MST fodder, though, when handled correctly!)

       0 likes

  5. michaelkz
    Ignored
    says:

    Sitting Duck:
    Killer Fish passes the Bechdel Test. Ann asks Kate about their presence and she explains. If you think that shouldn’t count due to its tangential association with Diller, there’s also when Kate and Gabrielle exchange goodbyes at the airport.

    For the record, the Stones drummer no one can remember is Charlie Watts.

    Love the Crow-ranha puppet.

    In retrospect, the Snorks being a Smurfs knock-off is obvious. Funny thing, though. As a kid, I enjoyed the Snorks but hated the Smurfs. Not sure why.

    When your character in a movie about human-eating piranhas is a fat obnoxious guy with nasal voice, you may as well wear a sign that says “Doomed”.

    So they’ll be pop songs. Literally! At least if you’re from a region of the country that refers to sugary carbonated beverages as pop.

    Favorite riffs

    “I’ve seen everything.”
    And I mean everything. I actually see the future. It’s a terrible burden.

    I can’t tell which scene I like more: the high stakes heist in an exploding oil refinery or this backgammon game.

    Look both ways before crossing the dirt.

    Oh my goodness! The trauma from the blast caused him to lose all his chest hair.

    The hills are alive with the sound of disco!

    “We went to get the stones.”
    Mick, Keith, the drummer whose name no one can remember.

    I never realized how many Universal rides look like concrete bunkers in the jungle.

    “I’m a very lucky man.”
    I’m about to be a bachelor again.

    It’s one of those illegal Brazilian backgammon boats.

    “Whatever happened to beginner’s luck?”
    I’m pretty sure you use all that up your first time.

    A lot of good model railroad figures were lost this day.

    If they move Ollie to the other side, the whole thing would balance out.

    I’m going to say that it’s Diller in the trawler with the wrench.

    Curse this delicious honey barbecue flavored blood of mine!

    On the bright side, it stopped raining.

    This one’s for Ollie. I’m climbing the slight incline he never could.

    If the piranhas take that plane out, I’m buying us all churros.

    I don’t know, it just seems reckless to hand over explosives to the piranhas.

    I’m off to stock Hawaii with wolverines.

    Kids, this is what happens when you fall in during the Jungle Cruise at Universal Studios.

    “Right on time.”
    Except that two people are dead.

    That wedding party over there doesn’t want you moping in the background of their photos.

    You should know the last man who held this was murdered by fish.

    “Let’s have a look at those little nothings.”
    Those little nothings are between me and my dermatologist.

    Snorks is more akin to The Flintstones than the Smurfs in that it’s an undersea cartoon version of our world.

       0 likes

  6. privateiron
    Ignored
    says:

    I really like this episode and to prove the axiom about MST3K fans, I thought the two episodes before this lacked the indescribable “fun.” However, none of the gauntlet approached classic status for me. There were no bad episodes, while Season 11 had a few. But there were no great episodes like “Wild,” Wizards 2″ or “Avalanche.” So I am still on the fence about the new MST3K going forward.

    For me, it has not been as good as the best of Rifftrax or as good as the potential for something really new like ICW, if it had gotten a little money and marketing. It feels more like a homage, not its own living thing, than the actual homages.

       3 likes

  7. MonkeyPretzel
    Ignored
    says:

    “Joel obviously decided that the original monaural version of “Idiot Control Now” from 1991 would not be pleasing to modern ears, so he re-recorded it with modern equipment.”

    Huh. My thought was it was re-recorded because of Kevin’s, Trace’s, and especially Jim Mallon’s voices being on the original track, making it unsuitable.

       2 likes

  8. thequietman
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m bemused!

    Well, I enjoyed this episode almost as much as the previous one and ‘Mac & Me’, definitely far more than ‘Atlantic Rim’. It’s a cheesy, convoluted 70s movie with slumming actors and over-the-top (for the time) violence, what’s not to love? It even has a stealth host segment with ‘Below the Dam’ which I think could have only worked in the theater since it’s timed to the footage. All in all, I was afraid I wouldn’t like this one but I found myself pleasantly surprised.

    Fave riffs
    I don’t know they’re using pliers; his piercing blue eys can cut anything!

    (massive explosion)
    Now remember, this is a STEALTH mission!

    Storage Wars, the motion picture!

    Nothing turns a man on like implying he’s too weak to lift a book!

    She looks like every Barbie in a Goodwill toy bin.

    We now return to Hoarders: the Early Years!

    Ask if Beard Therapy is right for you.

    (Ringleader opens strongbox)
    What the heck, it’s just Starbucks receipts!

    God really knew what he was doing when he didn’t give human males antlers.

    “I’ve just located the tour boat…’
    And I’m gonna blow it up!

    Hi, I’m a gun. I’ll see you in the third act.

    They killed eight fish, only 900 to go.

       2 likes

  9. Colossus Prime
    Ignored
    says:

    This is one of those movies that’s kind of amazing because they try to throw in twists at the very end. The implication that Hemingway had been working for Majors the entire time makes absolutely zero sense. I mean, none of the plans anyone has make much sense either, but that one is so insane. It’s just such wonderful 70’s schlock.

       1 likes

  10. majorjoe23
    Ignored
    says:

    Killer Fish

    Births/deaths
    Director Antonio Margheriti, born Sept. 19, 1930, died Nov. 4, 2002
    Actor Lee Majors, born April 23, 1939
    Actor Karen Black, born July 1, 1939, died Aug. 8, 2013
    Actor Margaux Hemingway, born Feb. 16, 1954, died July 1, 1996
    Actor Marisa Benson, born Feb. 15, 1947
    Actor James Franciscus, born Jan. 31, 1934, died July 8, 1991
    Actor Roy Brocksmith, born Sept. 15, 1945, died Dec. 16, 2001
    Actor Dan Pastroini, born May 26, 1949
    Actor Anthony Steffen, born July 21, 1930, died June 4, 2004
    Actor Fabio Sabag, born Nov. 19, 1931, died Dec. 31, 2008
    Actor Jorge Cheques, born July 25, 1928, died March 11, 2011
    Actor Gary Collins, born April 30, 1938, died Oct. 13, 2012.
    Actor Sonia Oiticica, born Dec. 19, 1918, died Feb. 26, 2007
    Producer Alex Ponti, born Sept. 1, 1953
    Producer Turi Vasile, born March 22, 1922, died Sept. 1, 2009
    Composer Maurizio De Angelis, born Feb. 22, 1947

    MST3K connections:
    Lee Majors was also in the KTMA episode The Last Chase.
    James Franciscus was in City on Fire and Space Travelers.
    Gary Collins was also in Hanger 18.
    Editor Roberto Sterbini also edited Devil Fish under the name Bob Wheeler
    Second unit director Ignazio Dolce acted in Hercules and the Captive Women.
    Assistant director Joe Pollini (credited as Giuseppe Pollini) was the first assistant director on The Pumaman

    Dates:
    July 23, 1973, Lee Majors married Farrah Fawcett
    Feb. 16, 1982, Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett divorced
    Dec. 7, 1979, released in America
    June 30, 1979, released in Hong Kong
    Nov. 13, 1979, released in Philippines
    Dec. 21, 1979, released in South Korea
    Jan. 10, 1980, released in the Netherlands
    Feb. 17, 1980, released in Norway
    April 5, 1980, released in Colombia
    May 9, 1980, released in Denmark
    May 15, 1980, released in Mexico
    June 27, 1980, released in Finland
    Oct. 9, 1980, released in Portugal
    April 17, 1981, released in West Germany
    May 18, 1981, released in Turkey
    May 23, 1884, released in France

    Random things of note:
    Marisa Benson later played Ernest Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, in the 1988 mini-series Hemingway. Her co-star in Killer Fish, Margaux Hemmingway, was Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter.
    Actor Charles Guardino was in Meet Dave, which was written by MST3K’s Bill Corbett.

       6 likes

  11. majorjoe23
    Ignored
    says:

    MonkeyPretzel:
    “Joel obviously decided that the original monaural version of “Idiot Control Now” from 1991 would not be pleasing to modern ears, so he re-recorded it with modern equipment.”

    Huh. My thought was it was re-recorded because of Kevin’s, Trace’s, and especially Jim Mallon’s voices being on the original track, making it unsuitable.

    My guess is if they were only using segments of Joel singing they would have been fine.

       0 likes

  12. majorjoe23
    Ignored
    says:

    nomad:
    I think “Below the Dam” was pretty good, but kinda wish it had been a host segment instead of during the movie.

    As far as the new version of “Idiot Control Now”… I can see why Joel re-recorded it. I think the original was in mono, and I doubt they still had the original source files. So a new liquid HD stereo version had to be made.

    I do agree that full on songs in the theater feela little weird. They did it during last summer’s live show as well, the rules seem a little more lax there.

       3 likes

  13. MonkeyPretzel
    Ignored
    says:

    The fat jokes and the jokes about Margaux Hemingway’s lisp were a little too punching down for my taste. The whole season has a sort of frat-boy dudebro feel to it that’s the worst in this episode and Atlantic Rim. Plus by this point the nostalgia pandering is reaching unbearable levels.

       8 likes

  14. Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Ignored
    says:

    The movie is great, I think. More so than any other episode I wished they would just shut up and let me watch it. Every pause in the dialog has someone yammering into it. This doesn’t give us time to savor the good lines. Example

    Empty gun – It’s a metaphor (good riff)
    Can be a good as a loaded one – Unlike a baked potato (piling on)

    Half the riffs would be twice as funny.

       7 likes

  15. Kenneth Morgan
    Ignored
    says:

    I though the movie was OK. It was fairly well-made, and James Franciscus was cool as the villain. The problem was that the editing left me pretty confused (which is actually really easy to do). I think I might need to watch it unriffed in order to figure out all the double-, triple-, and quadruple-crosses. And the way those two goons handled that spear gun marks them down as two of the stupidest characters in the series’ history.

    I thought the riffing turned out OK, though I was surprised that Karen Black didn’t inspire a few “Airport ’75” jokes. And I would’ve liked one “Are you my mummy?” riff during the gas mask scenes. “Under the Dam” was a great song and production number, and the first host segment’s suggestions would make for a pretty good movie, I figure. And did the Alchemy Glue remind anyone else of the “Amazing Mystico” sketch from Python?

       1 likes

  16. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    jay:
    This episode has the potential to be one of those some folks really love it and some folks really don’t episodes.For me it is the opposite of last weekend’s episode.It just lacks… “fun”?

    This episode came off as the “At the Earth’s Core” of the season:
    SHOULD have been goofy made-for-riffing gold, but it was near the end of the season, fatigue was setting in, the movie wasn’t what they expected and Purchase Regret set in, so they fell back on safety nets of mindlessly flogged running-gag riffs and personal-complaint whines. (Margaux Hemingway blurs one line delivery, and all of a sudden she’s Mushmouth for the rest of the episode?)
    The guys clearly went in hoping it would either be A) cheesy Jaws ripoff, B) cheesy Italian heist-movie, or C) 70’s Lee Majors cheese-fest, and got D) None of the Above, while a group of actors were stranded on a sinking ship, literally and figuratively…Nobody seemed to be in a good mood. At least the host segment handled the “Sinking ship” plot sportingly.

    Sitting Duck:
    Favorite riffs
    I can’t tell which scene I like more: the high stakes heist in an exploding oil refinery or this backgammon game.

    “Oh, the backgammon game, definitely.”

    Kids, this is what happens when you fall in during the Jungle Cruise at Universal Studios. [sic]

    Instead of “Core”‘s obsession with Muppets jokes, this time we get a neurotic obsession with Universal theme-Park jokes (Patton’s?):
    When the two brothers are walking past the dam, we get “And then they went into the Waterworld Stunt Show for some reason”, and “He fell into the Jaws ride!”…In the SAME SCENE!
    Followed by Growler with the Tour bus when the dam flood hits (“And here’s the twister from the movie Twister!”)

    And the Thank-You-Bill’ing on the park-fan riffs goes SO far off the charts, it’s a cry for help: I know Joel wants Hampton’s Crow to be a linear continuation of Bill Corbett’s Crow, with the same frenetically-desperate voice and habit of beating jokes into the ground, but when we get the TYB of one riff becoming a five-riff paragraph, that’s when there’s trouble in the episode.
    As a character walks past ugly industrial buildings near the dam side, and we get the riff “Oh, must be the Jurassic ride at Universal”, that’s funny timing. When it becomes “I can’t believe it! There’s never not a line for the Finding Nemo submarine voyage! There must be a parade going on or something, or people got wise that it’s just some cartoons projected on a window! I’m going back to Universal!”…Ahem, yes, THANK you, Bill Hampton Baron, we’ve DONE the California-park-geek jokes!
    (There, now don’t say I never quoted anything from Rifftrax.) ;)

    Oh, and just like last week’s episode, you know what will happen every time Karen Black shouts for “Paul!” (“Your father is in great danger!”)

       4 likes

  17. littleaimishboy
    Ignored
    says:

    mando3b:
    I know I watched this episode: I remember I kind of enjoyed it, the movie is quintessentially ’70s era cheese with actors I actually recognized, and I vaguely remember the plot. I know I’ll watch it a second time before I go back to Mac & Me, Lords of the Deep, and Atlantic Rim. Beyond that, though, it’s a blank, one of those things you just can’t recall when you’re trying to name everything in a particular category (like, say, Delaware when you’re trying to name all 50 states, or Riggs Stephenson when you want to list all the Cubs in the Hall of Fame). Another MST3K episode like this for me is High School Big Shot. Jay, though, definitely hit upon something in his comment: “love or hate” feels right, and I really don’t recall there being a lot of fun in this ep. (’70s-era bad movies really don’t have a lot of fun in them, do they? They’re ridiculous, sure, but there’s always an aura of turgid pseudo-seriousness about them. Great MST fodder, though, when handled correctly!)

    Riggs Stephenson isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

       1 likes

  18. AlbuquerqueTurkey
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve posted this before, but my favorite part about this episode is seeing Houston Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini! As someone who grew up in Houston during the Oilers’ “Luv Ya Blue” days, it’s fun to see him in his very short-lived movie career. And no, Karen Black, Dan is not a fast healer, and when he is holding his injured arm and side, I can hear him thinking “I wish Earl Campbell would have picked up that blitzing linebacker!”

       6 likes

  19. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    littleaimishboy: Riggs Stephenson isn’t in the Hall of Fame.

    Gahh! You’re right! How could I have made that mistake?! I seem to be having a lot of these moments lately . . . A beautiful mind is a terrible thing to lose . . .

       0 likes

  20. Lawgiver
    Ignored
    says:

    majorjoe23:
    Killer Fish

    Births/deaths
    Director Antonio Margheriti, born Sept. 19, 1930, died Nov. 4, 2002
    Actor Lee Majors, born April 23, 1939
    Actor Karen Black, born July 1, 1939, died Aug. 8, 2013
    Actor Margaux Hemingway, born Feb. 16, 1954, died July 1, 1996
    Actor Marisa Benson, born Feb. 15, 1947
    Actor James Franciscus, born Jan. 31, 1934, died July 8, 1991
    Actor Roy Brocksmith, born Sept. 15, 1945, died Dec. 16, 2001
    Actor Dan Pastroini, born May 26, 1949
    Actor Anthony Steffen, born July 21, 1930, died June 4, 2004
    Actor Fabio Sabag, born Nov. 19, 1931, died Dec. 31, 2008
    Actor Jorge Cheques, born July 25, 1928, died March 11, 2011
    Actor Gary Collins, born April 30, 1938, died Oct. 13, 2012.
    Actor Sonia Oiticica, born Dec. 19, 1918, died Feb. 26, 2007
    Producer Alex Ponti, born Sept. 1, 1953
    Producer Turi Vasile, born March 22, 1922, died Sept. 1, 2009
    Composer Maurizio De Angelis, born Feb. 22, 1947

    MST3K connections:
    Lee Majors was also in the KTMA episode The Last Chase.
    James Franciscus was in City on Fire and Space Travelers.
    Gary Collins was also in Hanger 18.
    Editor Roberto Sterbini also edited Devil Fish under the name Bob Wheeler
    Second unit director Ignazio Dolce acted in Hercules and the Captive Women.
    Assistant director Joe Pollini (credited as Giuseppe Pollini) was the first assistant director on The Pumaman

    Dates:
    July 23, 1973, Lee Majors married Farrah Fawcett
    Feb. 16, 1982, Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett divorced
    Dec. 7, 1979, released in America
    June 30, 1979, released in Hong Kong
    Nov. 13, 1979, released in Philippines
    Dec. 21, 1979, released in South Korea
    Jan. 10, 1980, released in the Netherlands
    Feb. 17, 1980, released in Norway
    April 5, 1980, released in Colombia
    May 9, 1980, released in Denmark
    May 15, 1980, released in Mexico
    June 27, 1980, released in Finland
    Oct. 9, 1980, released in Portugal
    April 17, 1981, released in West Germany
    May 18, 1981, released in Turkey
    May 23, 1884, released in France

    Random things of note:
    Marisa Benson later played Ernest Hemingway’s second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, in the 1988 mini-series Hemingway. Her co-star in Killer Fish, Margaux Hemmingway, was Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter.
    Actor Charles Guardino was in Meet Dave, which was written by MST3K’s Bill Corbett.

    I don’t have anything to do with the maintenance of this site, but I give you props for your research.

       6 likes

  21. Lawgiver
    Ignored
    says:

    Endoplasmic Reticulum:
    The movie is great, I think. More so than any other episode I wished they would just shut up and let me watch it. Every pause in the dialog has someone yammering into it. This doesn’t give us time to savor the good lines.Example

    Empty gun – It’s a metaphor (good riff)
    Can be a good as a loaded one – Unlike a baked potato (piling on)

    Half the riffs would be twice as funny.

    It seems like they’ve taken the criticism of the early seasons – too much empty space – and have gone the opposite direction, trying to fill every moment with riffing. One of my main critiques of the reboot is the too-rapid pace of the riffing.

       1 likes

  22. Megalon
    Ignored
    says:

    This was an okay episode. The movie was good campy fun and the riffing was serviceable. But the whole Idiot Control thing fell completely flat for me. It was clearly directed at super-fans of the show, but all of us seemed to dislike it. I can only imagine what a new viewer would think, but if they’re anything like me (and I know I am), then they were probably just suffering through the host segments, waiting for the bad movie to resume.

    I used to think the Sci-Fi years had the worst host segments, but Season 12 is possibly a new low.

       7 likes

  23. Sampo
    Ignored
    says:

    Lawgiver: I don’t have anything to do with the maintenance of this site, but I give you props for your research.

    So do we!

       9 likes

  24. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    When I was a kid I remember my parents being reluctant to watch The 6 Million Dollar Man because Lee Majors couldn’t act. I was too young to notice or care. Turns out my parents were right. Lee pretty much has one expression. I think he was trying for a look of detached cool, but he looks more like he doesn’t understand what’s going on and is doing his best to keep anyone from noticing.

    Personally Charlie Watts is my favorite Rolling Stone. He’s in to Jazz and never wanted to be in a rock band, but he just fell in to the Stones thing and it became his job. So he’s a member of a legendary rock group and doesn’t really care. How cool is that. I remember watching Stones music videos in the 80’s, and while the rest of the band was posing and strutting and carrying on, Charlie was just there playing his drums with a look of detached amusement. A bit like the moment in Girl with the Gold Boots where the black drummers at the party saying, “Whatever white people”.

       2 likes

  25. Johnny Drama
    Ignored
    says:

    MonkeyPretzel:
    The fat jokes and the jokes about Margaux Hemingway’s lisp were a little too punching down for my taste. The whole season has a sort of frat-boy dudebro feel to it that’s the worst in this episode and Atlantic Rim. Plus by this point the nostalgia pandering is reaching unbearable levels.

    Pretty much right on the head, there. Margaux Hemingway has been out of the public eye for quite some time. They bring her back, only to rag on her voice. Ouch. At least Jonah in an interview I read said that they probably went too far, but they didn’t realize it, or something to that extent. MST3K has had a weird history with making jokes about voices. And just like those other movies, there was probably nothing much to riff on. Which leads to:

    The Original EricJ: SHOULD have been goofy made-for-riffing gold, but it was near the end of the season, fatigue was setting in, the movie wasn’t what they expected and Purchase Regret set in, so they fell back on safety nets of mindlessly flogged running-gag riffs and personal-complaint whines. (Margaux Hemingway blurs one line delivery, and all of a sudden she’s Mushmouth for the rest of the episode?)

    I enjoyed the movie for what it was, but yes, it may have been a little too good for MST3K.

    Megalon: This was an okay episode. The movie was good campy fun and the riffing was serviceable. But the whole Idiot Control thing fell completely flat for me. It was clearly directed at super-fans of the show, but all of us seemed to dislike it.

    In agreement here again, too. This was a totally fine, average episode overall of the series. No standouts in Season 12, for me anyway. I enjoyed most of this season, but I doubt it will be in any sort of regular rotation for me.
    And yes, the Idiot Control thing fell pretty flat for me, too. I enjoy little bits of it, the J Elvis and Synthia parts are the best, but it’s ultimately unnecessary pandering.

    So while some fans have had their fill and are leaving the fandom, it’s nice to see that some of our opinions are lining up again. You can alter the show as much as you want, but we’ll always have the 80s and 90s episodes. Those are perfect prisms of art, continually giving off new shades of light.

    The old episodes are like perfect pop songs. You can’t throw together a bunch of people, no matter how talented, and say “now, become The Beatles!”

    Which leads to next week’s conversation: MST3K shifts from riffing movies to riffing it’s fans. Hmm…….

       5 likes

  26. Johnny Drama
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    says:

    Johnny Drama: You can’t throw together a bunch of people, no matter how talented, and say “now, become The Beatles!”

    Now, having said that, I need to add that sometimes the formula works, sometimes it doesn’t. Saturday Night Live is the best example. Some casts just aren’t up to snuff with others. But sometimes, it gels. I’m in favor of the show continuing, if only to see the next incarnation that’s great. SNL 80 and SNL 86 are night and day, for instance.

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  27. mando3b
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    Johnny Drama: But sometimes, it gels. I’m in favor of the show continuing, if only to see the next incarnation that’s great.

    That perfectly sums up my general attitude to Netflix MST3K. Also your line about “now become the Beatles!”: the chemistry among the writers and performers in the CC and Sci-Fi seasons is what made the show work so well, and the new cast really doesn’t have that yet. But, sometimes it does indeed gel, as with The Day Time Ended and a few S11 eps.

       0 likes

  28. IR5
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    I’ll reflect on the episode, then, add to comments on future of show. Killer Fish has earned repeat viewings, I think there is enough to loathe about the finder of lost loves (sic) and the rest of the cast. The song works well- overall- pairs well with The Day that Time Ended. As far as the show goes- I have enjoyed Season 11 and 12 but often wonder after watching a season one last night if Joel should just put out a call to talent in the Twin Cities and build a new set/show from the bottom up where it all started.

       7 likes

  29. IR5
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    says:

    mst3kme:
    Robert Davey:

    I understand about the “Date in MSTory” issue. That’s why I left, too, although for me it had to do with another listing.

    I stick my toe in here occasionally when I have to, like with Frank’s recent health crisis.

    I’ll never outgrow Rifftrax or classic MST3K.

    I empathize with you about the orange man.

    Sometimes when I get sad or angry about the whole situation, I meditate.

    I hope you find what can help you during these awful, divisive times. If I had your email, perhaps I could have been of further assistance to you.

    I guess all I can offer is that I live in a city which had a lousy mayor for many years.

    Both political parties now despise him, albeit for different reasons.

    Maybe we’ll find some kind of unity someday.

    I wish you well, fellow MSTie. Good luck to you.

    As someone who abhors the aforementioned, many riffs (moon zero two; It Conquered the world; Wild Rebels; Operation Double 007) we’re directed his way.

       3 likes

  30. SteveWithAQ
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    says:

    IR5: As someone who abhors the aforementioned, many riffs (moon zero two; It Conquered the world; Wild Rebels; Operation Double 007) we’re directed his way.

    Yes. It’s important to remember that This Date in MSTory is not an endorsement of anyone in the list, but an accounting of the connections (good and bad) the show and its movies have had.

    While it’s tempting to expunge the unpalatable, bear in mind that those who do not remember MSTory are doomed to repeat it.

       13 likes

  31. SteveWithAQ
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    says:

    As for the episode, this one is the “Beast of Hollow Mountain” of season 12 for me: I know I watched it, and I can remember the host segments, but the only thing I remember of the theater segments is how bad the movie is.

    This is not unique to the reboot: “Red Zone Cuba”, “Kitten With a Whip”, and “Merlin’s Shop..” all fall into this category for me. (I know some of you love some of these – this is a personal taste thing, not an attempt at “objective” criticism.)

    For me, episodes like this are worth it for the better episodes (like “The Day Time Ended”.) I can even go back and watch these episodes sometimes and get some laughter from the riffs that I then fail to remember again.

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

    I rarely even read Date in MSTory. Everybody’s got their deal.

       2 likes

  33. mando3b
    Ignored
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    majorjoe23: I do agree that full on songs in the theater feela little weird. They did it during last summer’s live show as well, the rules seem a little more lax there.

    Oh, dear . . . I had completely forgotten about that. Now it all comes flooding back, and I recall I really didn’t like this at all. (Is this why this episode is a blank to me? Was I suppressing a particularly bad memory? Only my therapist would know for sure . . . ) Didn’t much like the whole “Idiot Control” stuff either. But–I remember reading an interview with Joel as Season 11 was unveiled in which he said he was going to deliberately encourage the younger writers & performers to reimagine MST3K in their own way and try things he would never dream of doing himself. Now, this is very admirable–an artist feeling comfortable enough in his own skin that he can sit back and watch others radically re-think his own creation–but it does create some weird moments for fans of the old show. (Me? I think it’s actually pretty cool, but that nonetheless some things are better left unchanged. Just sayin’ . . . )

    mando3b: the chemistry among the writers and performers in the CC and Sci-Fi seasons is what made the show work so well, and the new cast really doesn’t have that yet.

    Another point related to this is one that I don’t think has been brought up here yet: the classic MST had a small stable of ensemble performers from among the writers and other crew who regularly appeared as supporting players in the host segments. That added to the rough-hewn “home-made” feel of the original show, and also the comfort level they had with one another produced a kind of subtle chemistry that enhanced all the sketches. The reboot has a much larger regular cast (the Boneheads, the extra ‘bots, Synthia, the new doctor, etc.), plus out-of-left-field “special guests”, but they all haven’t quite gelled the same way yet.

    IR5: I have enjoyed Season 11 and 12 but often wonder after watching a season one last night if Joel should just put out a call to talent in the Twin Cities and build a new set/show from the bottom up where it all started.

    As a native Midwesterner, I agree! There is a Midwestern feel to the humor in the old show that I always loved. Sure, it made me nostalgic for my youth, but it also made MST funny in a different way than much of the comedy in contemporary TV and movies: it set the series apart. The reboot–much as I like a lot of it–feels more generically mainstream.

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  34. The Original EricJ
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    says:

    Johnny Drama:
    And yes, the Idiot Control thing fell pretty flat for me, too. I enjoy little bits of it, the J Elvis and Synthia parts are the best, but it’s ultimately unnecessary pandering.

    And flashing forward to next week’s big climactic invoking of Mr. B. Natural as the dramatic apotheosis of the series–
    Big talk, for a producer who openly claims he’s never had the urge to sit down and WATCH Pod People or War of the Colossal Beast.

    While Joel went in with some urge to “fix” the style of the riffing back from the SciFi/RT style, and bring it back to the series he first pitched in Minnesota, it’s also become artificial for him now. The performers are near the end of their runs (although we hear Frank’s getting well soon! :) ), and now that he got rights custody of his baby back again, he’s more conscious of SELLING it than of producing it.
    We groan when RiffTrax goes on one more live tour of Manos, Space Mutiny or Giant Spider Invasion as a fairground-band gig to cement their SciFi-kid base, how is that any different from Joel leading us in choruses of Idiot Control Now without really actively participating in it?
    For thirty years (well, five anyway, plus the Rhino/Shout DVD years), the product has sold itself, but adopt M&tB’s strategy of selling us T-shirts, songs and inscrutable catchphrases as a product, and the product will lose its own soul just as quickly.

       4 likes

  35. mst3kme
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    says:

    SteveWithAQ:

    I replied to Robert Davey out of compassion and to wish him good luck. He sounded very upset.

    That’s all.

    I’m anti-censorship.

    I like most of you here.

    I come and leave in peace.

    SteveWithAQ: Yes. It’s important to remember that This Date in MSTory is not an endorsement of anyone in the list, but an accounting of the connections (good and bad) the show and its movies have had.

    While it’s tempting to expunge the unpalatable, bear in mind that those who do not remember MSTory are doomed to repeat it.

       1 likes

  36. mst3kme
    Ignored
    says:

    Touches:

    I guess so.

    And Eric J. has his rants.

    Meanwhile, Frank’s brother posted this health update today on his Twitter.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Michaelconniff/status/1140003520336338944

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    I rarely even read Date in MSTory. Everybody’s got their deal.

       1 likes

  37. michaelkz
    Ignored
    says:

    IR5: As someone who abhors the aforementioned, many riffs (moon zero two; It Conquered the world; Wild Rebels; Operation Double 007) we’re directed his way.

    At the very least you can take comfort in knowing that the riffs were from a time when he was a nobody rich guy who mostly graced the cover tabloids.

       3 likes

  38. Johnny Drama
    Ignored
    says:

    privateiron:
    I really like this episode and to prove the axiom about MST3K fans, I thought the two episodes before this lacked the indescribable “fun.”However, none of the gauntlet approached classic status for me.There were no bad episodes, while Season 11 had a few.But there were no great episodes like “Wild,” Wizards 2? or “Avalanche.”So I am still on the fence about the new MST3K going forward.

    For me, it has not been as good as the best of Rifftrax or as good as the potential for something really new like ICW, if it had gotten a little money and marketing.It feels more like a homage, not its own living thing, than the actual homages.

    Speaking of ICW, they were told to cease and desist, right? I get the impression that things are winding down. Merchandise licensing is running out, and apparently not being renewed. Several MST based podcasts and Facebook groups have not survived the reboot.
    But there are still the old timers. Personally, I’m looking forward to going back to the “night watchman” era. I was quiet and pleasant.
    If the experiment of seasons 11 and 12 have taught me anything, it’s that I have a much better appreciation of the Sci-Fi era. And I didn’t think that was possible!
    Thankfully, they can’t alter the old episodes…… Wait a minute, that’s just what Netflix did! They chopped the bumpers out, really weird. Yeah that’s the word for it, weird. Whatever, though, I’ll stick with my Shout! Sets!

       6 likes

  39. Benjamin Wink
    Ignored
    says:

    Johnny Drama: Speaking of ICW, they were told to cease and desist, right? I get the impression that things are winding down. Merchandise licensing is running out, and apparently not being renewed. Several MST based podcasts and Facebook groups have not survived the reboot.
    But there are still the old timers. Personally, I’m looking forward to going back to the “night watchman” era. I was quiet and pleasant.
    If the experiment of seasons 11 and 12 have taught me anything, it’s that I have a much better appreciation of the Sci-Fi era. And I didn’t think that was possible!
    Thankfully, they can’t alter the old episodes…… Wait a minute, that’s just what Netflix did! They chopped the bumpers out, really weird. Yeah that’s the word for it, weird. Whatever, though, I’ll stick with my Shout! Sets!

    I have to agree with you. Even this latest tour announcement seems rather ho hum. Even Jonah isn’t going out on this one. Aside from Joel, who is actually touring from the reboot? Perhaps needing a better angle to promote the tour, Joel decided to make the selling point for this new tour that this was his last one as host. But that’s reckless speculation on my part.

    I don’t think the momentum from the Kickstarter could have been maintained and a lot of the buzz has certainly died off. Look at this site. A brand new weekend discussion for a brand new episode gets under 40 replies after an entire weekend goes by. Yet the older episodes would do that number easily, if not more, when they were lined up to be rewatched.

    I gave these seasons a try and it just didn’t gel for me personally. I can appreciate what was done, but perhaps for me, it was overdone and overproduced. I look at what a Rifftrax live show looks like or remember Cinematic Titanic releases or tours or going to see The Mads live (by the way, get well, Frank! We’d love to see you out there soon!), and I don’t think the reboot needed this level of production value. Compared to seeing The Mads live, hell, someone even bought Trace and Frank a beer as they sat up front in the theater and riffed like there was no tomorrow. It was low scale, but hilarious. They focused on the writing and let the movie present itself. I wish this reboot would have had that kind of time to breathe a bit.

    I might sound like the grumpy old fart on this, but I thought I’d be more invested in this reboot. But I’m not. I don’t wish it ill will and hopefully there was a growth of the fan base. This just wasn’t MST for me. It was a brief shining moment when MST was originally on and that run ended 20 years ago now. I’ll still give love to the MSTers at Rifftrax and The Mads. I really dig ICWXP and am thankful for them filling a riffing void.

    And I’ll still have the Rhino and Shout sets awaiting a rewatch anytime I want to dive back into a time when I was truly giddy and excited to set my VCR in the hopes of getting a brand new episode that I didn’t have before. Halcyon times indeed.

       11 likes

  40. Dan in WI
    Ignored
    says:

    This episode picks up right where the last one left off. The search for Idiot Control Now. Frankly it should have been entirely predictable what would happen when you have a liquid-based movie medium and a dog that has to pee… I fear for the last wishes of Dr. Clayton Forrester.
    The jewel of the invention exchange was the throw away Max comment as he points out there is little call to ever glue two gorillas together.
    I do have a serious question here. How does an Italian/French/Brazilian coproduction get filmed in English?
    I do think the second host segment was the stronger of the two. It gave me flashbacks to those middle school logic problems that I was never very good at. It was interesting how they mixed this in with Apollo 13. And it closed out with a nice piece of foreshadowing on the demise of Ollie.
    Jonah really had a good explanation for why the thieves were all double crossing each other. It really is the ultimate show of respect.
    The player Synthia created for “Idiot Control Now” really was ingenious. What will she come up with for video playback?
    This episode started out good but not great with workman like riffing. But when the third act hit the episode really took off and finished quite strong.

    Favorite Riffs:
    Crow in response to the 70’s soundtrack. “The hills are alive with the sound of disco.”
    Ollie falls prey to the piranha. Crow “Hey Kool-aide!” Crow a few moments later “But on the bright side, it stopped raining.” Finally, Growler “Who wants Kool-aide? Did you guys do that one already?”
    Search plane pilot. “Ok, drop.” Jonah “Is what I’m going to say when I want you to release the raft. Wait, did you drop it?”
    A piranha grabs on Lee Majors. Crow “Five seconds! A piranha man riding record!”
    Paul threatens everyone with a gun and his other hand behind is back. Kate “What are you doing?” Crow “Guess how many fingers and I’ll tell you.”
    Paul seems confused by the paddles and rubber raft. Crow “Damn it this engine won’t turn over.”
    Lasky lays on the deck after his battle with the piranhas. Crow “Hey, did I lose any blood?”
    Crow at the airport “You’d think more people would put themselves through x-ray bag scanners to see if they come out the other end with superpowers.”

       2 likes

  41. michaelkz
    Ignored
    says:

    I think this season overall was better than the previous one. Some of the cast spending more time together on the live tour helped, in my opinion. These new seasons could never be as good as the original ones. This is just a gig for all involved save Joel. It’s not their living and their personal work. From KTMA to the Sci-Fi era, MST3K was made by people who worked together and were committed to the series. Netflix MST3K could never be that.

       5 likes

  42. privateiron
    Ignored
    says:

    Johnny Drama: I don’t want to speak for Rikk and his peeps. If I understand correctly, they got a weird combination of simultaneous encouragement and “cease and desist.” It would probably be better to go to Agonywolfmedia (or a fan site specific to them) and read/watch what they have to say about the situation.

       2 likes

  43. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    michaelkz: This is just a gig for all involved save Joel. It’s not their living and their personal work. From KTMA to the Sci-Fi era, MST3K was made by people who worked together and were committed to the series. Netflix MST3K could never be that.

    Very well said. “Fun little side project” doesn’t always give you the same results as “This is what we do for a living”.

       10 likes

  44. Johnny Drama
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    says:

    Endoplasmic Reticulum:
    The movie is great, I think. More so than any other episode I wished they would just shut up and let me watch it. Every pause in the dialog has someone yammering into it. This doesn’t give us time to savor the good lines.Example

    Empty gun – It’s a metaphor (good riff)
    Can be a good as a loaded one – Unlike a baked potato (piling on)

    Half the riffs would be twice as funny.

    You have pointed out what I think the greatest problem with Season 11 and 12 riffing. Once they scaled back the amount of riffs after fan back lash in Season 11, it becomes obvious what the real issue is in Season 12.

    Say what you will about the various seasons of the original MST3k and Rifftrax. Which ever incarnation of original differs. Whether you like what riffs they make or not. They follow a very simple format. And it is all the same format. And that is one simple, unwritten, unspoken rule:
    It’s gotta be a riff. Whether funny, referential, cleaver or just plain bad, it’s gotta be a riff.
    The new MST3K suffers from spots where they are just talking over the movie. If you went back and cut out all those moments, and were left with just the actual riffs, it would be a lot funnier. It’s unfortunate they don’t have time to gel. This season’s episodes needed the seasoned pros (your choice) to riff them. Giving the new crew movies like this and Mac And Me are equivalent of the old crew watching Manos in Season 1. Well, maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea. And the new crew does a serviceable job. But I never say this: All six of this season’s movies could benefit from a re-riff. Not that Season 12 is in any way bad, not at all. It’s average.

       7 likes

  45. Stump Beefknob
    Ignored
    says:

    As I go through my MST3K collection, watching 1 episode weekly from the Joel/Mike era, I occasionally wonder what I am missing having never seen the new crew in action. For decades, I have considered Patton Oswalt a talent-less hack that ruined many good comedies with his complete lack of acting ability, and I stand by that opinion to this day. Am I missing out on greatness here? I am tempted to try one on for size, what would you recommend?

       2 likes

  46. Megalon
    Ignored
    says:

    Stump Beefknob:
    As I go through my MST3K collection, watching 1 episode weekly from the Joel/Mike era, I occasionally wonder what I am missing having never seen the new crew in action. (…) Am I missing out on greatness here?

    You’re missing a show that some people like and some people don’t. The only way to know which camp you belong to is to give it a try. The consesus, however, seems to be that the new show isn’t as good as the old one.

    Stump BeefknobI am tempted to try one on for size, what would you recommend?

    Someone over at ForrestCrow created a ranking based on user reviews. The top four episodes are Avalanche, Cry Wilderness, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom, and Mac and Me, in that order. I would watch at least two of those before making up your mind, though.

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  47. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    Megalon: You’re missing a show that some people like and some people don’t. The only way to know which camp you belong to is to give it a try. The consesus, however, seems to be that the new show isn’t as good as the old one.
    Someone over at ForrestCrow created a ranking based on user reviews. The top four episodes are Avalanche, Cry Wilderness, Wizards of the Lost Kingdom, and Mac and Me, in that order. I would watch at least two of those before making up your mind, though.

    And Carnival Magic, if you want the New Manos 2.0 “Unwatchable” experience of the two seasons.

       2 likes

  48. Cornjob
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    says:

    Although the Jaws films are an obvious “inspiration” for Killer Fish. The movie Piranha is a more direct steal, even down to the dam. But Piranha (a movie I’m a fan of) was an acknowledged rip off of Jaws, so we’re in copy of a copy territory like with Lords of the Deep.

    A little side note. Real Piranha are formidable, but are not nearly the threat that movie Piranha are. People swim in bodies of water with Piranha in them. Attacks on humans are relatively rare and very rarely fatal. The fish that creep me out the most are those Candiru things that lodge themselves in your junk

       1 likes

  49. Danzilla "Cornjob" McLargeHuge, Student of Kaijuology
    Ignored
    says:

    The Gauntlet reaches is penultimate episode, and whaddya know… it’s another hoot! The reception to this episode has been interesting among MSTies; from what I’ve seen, fans have either praised this one as the best of the season, or have been lukewarm about it at best. For my money, while it’s not my favorite episode of Season 12, it’s certainly pretty funny. Killer Fish as a movie has about the same level of “made for TV” charm as flicks like Codename: Diamond Head or San Francisco International from Season 6, despite (as far as I know) not being a TV movie. Maybe it’s the star studded cast that gives me those vibes. I half expected Tab Hunter to meander across the set at certain points, but alas, no Tab. These kinds of films work great on the show, and in my opinion, this one does too! Add in some great host segments, a fun “in-theater” song, and a continuing buildup to the finale, and this one is an all around winner.

    Some thoughts:

    -The cold open of this episode is an interesting one. The concept of Synthia’s Video Diary is introduced, and we get more of Bonesy still needing to go walkies. We also see the live action debut of the Bubbulator, the device first introduced in the MST3K comic that places the characters in public domain comic books. Also, as the search for “Idiot Control Now” continues, Kinga and Max riff a bit of Synthia and Ardy’s efforts, foreshadowing their fate in the next episode. Also, there’s an opening theme button?

    -I really dug the Alchemy Glue invention. Also, did anyone else half expect Max’s turkey to emerge holding a little knife?

    -So, is this movie a ripoff of a ripoff? It’s got a Jaws vibe, but so did the movie Piranha. That movie, however, was a direct parody. Maybe someone decided that a serious, straight faced, Piranha-related Jaws ripoff needed to exist. Who knows.

    -The props and costumes in Segment 1 are outstanding, with the highlight being Crow’s wiggly fish body. I love how no attempt was made to hide the puppeteering rod. Tom’s octopus arms are also a hoot!

    -Lots of theme park references in this episode. Like LOTS. Growler even shows up in a Universal tour bus at one point.

    -“Below the Dam” is another interesting and entertaining “in-theater” song. The couple we’ve gotten this season seem like an attempt to make up for the missing third host segments, and will likely remain fixtures of the show going forward (provided there is a Season 13, of course).

    -Segment 2 feels like it came right out of Season 11, right down to the brevity and wood burned props. It’s a hoot, though! Plus, it plays on my eternal love for the film Apollo 13. The “make this fit into this using nothing but that” scene is my favorite part of the movie, and it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who remembers it fondly.

    -How many double crosses occur at the end of this movie?!

    -Now onto the ending and the apparent controversy surrounding the “remastered” liquid version of “Idiot Control Now”. Just why, when a version already existed, did Joel feel the need to re-record it? Was the original version not considered good enough quality? Was there a problem using a version with vocals from Trace, Kevin, and Jim? Who the heck knows. It didn’t really bother me, but it was a bit distracting to hear an obviously new version blaring out of Rebecca’s mouth. In the end, it’s a curiosity that should probably be filed away under “it’s just a show”, but I’d still like to know the reason(s). Maybe an enterprising MSTie will ask Joel about it at the live show this year.

    -Callbacks: “Bang!” and “Paul, your father is in great danger!” (Cry Wilderness); Shoutouts to Avalanche, Reptilicus and Yongary; “It stinks!” (Pod People).

    -Favorite Riff: “Curse this final form!” Honorable Mentions: “Lathering. Rinsing. Repeating…”; “You should know the last man who held this was eaten by fish.”

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