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Episode Guide: 403- City Limits

Movie: (1984) In a bleak future, teen biker gangs and a sinister corporation battle for control of an abandoned city.

First shown: 6/20/92
Opening: Crow and Tom get Joel to say “ping-pong balls.” Joel soon wishes he hadn’t
Invention exchange: J&tB present Mr. meat & potato head, while the Mads demonstrate pop star Tupperware, featuring Morrissey
Host segment 1: Crow sings: “Oh, Kim Cattrall!”
Host segment 2: J&tB list some of the Fantastic 85
Host segment 3: J&tB keep listing superheroes
End: J&tB try to play the City Limits trivia game, Joel reads letters, the Mads have had enough of Morrissey
Stinger: Tiny radio controlled death from on high
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (168 votes, average: 3.82 out of 5)


• I’m not a big fan of this one. It has its moments (every MST3K episode does) but J&TB seem to be fending this one off, rather than tearing it up. The plot’s confusing and most of the action is a little hard to see. The host segments are just sort of so-so. It’s just sort of a middling episode. Part of the problem is I don’t get why I am supposed to root for the biker kids. An apparently hopeful and rebuilding government has contracted with Kim Cattrall and Robbie Benson to restore basic services. That’s evil why, again?
• It’s at about this point in the show’s run that the “Turn down your lights (where applicable)” message at the beginning of each episode, was replaced by a title card featuring a still from the movie and a gruff voice (usually that of editor Tim Scott) saying “Mystery Science Theater 3000, show [show number here]; reel one.” But my copy, taped off TV, doesn’t have that. Can anybody confirm that it did? I know the next episode does.
• The ping-pong ball bit comes from the old “Captain Kangaroo” show. Unfortunately, like so many daily kids shows of that era, most of “Captain Kangaroo” was not recorded and very little of it survives. But a running gag on the show was that the puppet characters would try to trick the captain into saying the words “ping-pong balls,” at which point a veritable cloudburst of the little guys would pour down from the heavens onto the Captain. You had to be there…and you had to be 6.
• Callbacks: Frank’s is humming “I sing whenever I sing” from Giant Gila Monster; Crow’s “help me!” is a callback from a well-remembered “Rocket Attack USA.” “Hi, I’m Max Keller.” (Master Ninja) “…After the Robot Holocaust.” “My own FLESH I don’t love better!” (Sidehackers) “I’m a Grimalt warrior!” (Viking Women), “I feel like a happy king!” (Mr. B Natural).
• Mike is just hilarious as Morrissey, who, by the way, I had never heard of when I first saw this episode back in ’92.
• The opening of the movie says that it takes place “15 years from now.” The movie was made in 1985, so “15 years from now” was 2000. Thankfully the world in 2000 looked very little like the one this movie predicts. (By the way, it’s been more than 15 years since this episode debuted.)
• Early on, there is a very clever solution to the appearance of some brief female nudity when Joel inexplicably feels the urge to stand up and open an umbrella.
• Joel mentions a place that sounds like “mays-a-may” Wisconsin. Where’s that?
• Kim Cattrall tells the story that one evening she had just checked into a hotel and she turned on the TV and by pure chance host segment 1 was running on Comedy Central. She says she was completely baffled as to why a golden puppet was repeatedly singing her name.
• There’s a mention of “Far Side Gallery,” a book I also owned. That shot does look like the cover, a little.
• Somewhat obscure riff: “I’m still here, Happer, you crap hound!”
• More obscure riff: “But all I have is an alcove!”
• For a full list of the Fantastic 185, visit Ward E.
• A rare moment: Tom does something they almost never do—he quietly explains a riff (after quoting Lady Macbeth). Wonder why they felt that riff, among all the others, needed explaining.
• Several times the movie shows flashbacks of moments we’ve never seen. I assume this was stuff cut by either Film Ventures International or BBI.
• Movie observation: I do love how all the characters get gussied up to beat the band before making their big assault.
• Dated reference: a mention of the shortlived-and-now-forgotten James Earl Jones series “Gabriel’s Fire.”
• Watch the handoff from Joel to Kevin following after segment 3. You can see Kevin moving around.
• There’s another reference to Apple’s System 7, along with observation “we gotta get Windows for this thing.” In 1992 that was pretty obscure jargon.
• Tom still has ping pong balls in his head in a couple of segments.
• Great throwaway line by Crow: “Daddy needs a new pair o’ hydraulic talons!”
• During her appearance at the second convention, Kim’s recollections about making this movie included always filming at night in a dangerous part of L.A., and suffering with the ever-present stench from a nearby dogfood factory.
• Cast and crew roundup: One of the minor characters in this movie (the guy J&TB keep calling “Michelle Shocked”) is played by a fellow named Dean Devlin. He also appeared in the movies “My Bodyguard” and “The Wild Life” before going on to become a big Hollywood producer, bringing us such mindless, noisy blockbusters as “Independence Day” and “Godzilla.” Premiere magazine ranked Devlin and ID4 director Roland Emmerich No. 44 on 1997’s Power List of the 100 Most Influential People in the Hollywood Industry. Score composer Mitchell Froom has produced recordings for such acts as Los Lobos, Del Fuegos, Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Richard Thompson, and his then-wife (1995-98), Suzanne Vega. He was one of the founders of The Latin Playboys. He also composed the theme from the TV show “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.” Sound mixer: Mark Ulano also worked on “Being from Another Planet.”
• CreditsWatch: Host segments directed by Jim Mallon. Production person Ellen “Ellie” McDonough joins the show. She’ll be there through season six. This is one of three episodes this season where Andrea DuCane did hair and makeup. Clayton James did most of them. Occasional prop assistant Barb Oswald, who did work back in season three as well, gets a new title this week: “Toolmaster Jr.” Brendan Glynn finishes up a three-episode stint as intern. Additional Writer: John Carney.
• Fave riff: “I’m getting beaten up by the cast of ‘Pirates of Penzance!'”

115 comments to Episode Guide: 403- City Limits

  • 1
    Amy says:

    Mays-a-may is probably actually Mazomanie which is famous for its secluded nude beach.


  • 2
    Kenotic says:

    Yup, it’s in Wisconsin and I know they’ve referenced it other times as well.

    Is this the episode where Joel shows off his new umbrella, obscuring a nude scene in the movie?


  • 3
    Brandon says:

    Haha! The story about Kim Catrall discovering MST3K makes me laugh. One can only wonder if she thought, the hotel had planned that.


  • 4
    GersonK says:

    – The “Look at me Smithers, I’m Davey Crockett” riff is of course a near direct quote from the then recent Simpsons’ second Treehouse of Horror.

    – Tom has his super disturbing pinkish (unpainted?) hands in this one.

    – There are a few references to Smiths songs sprinkled through the host segments, like Dr. F’s classic “Meat is murder, Frank” and Frank’s “Come here, Suedehead”.


  • 5
    Randy says:

    Captain Kangaroo….Bunny Rabbit….Mr Moose…Mr. Greenjeans…
    OH YEAH…I was there, and i was 6 !!


  • 6
    Tim S. Turner says:

    I always disliked this episode. Other than the whole Kim Cattrall looking totally hot thing, this is one of my least favorite eps, up there with “Hamlet”.


  • 7
    Crow13 says:

    I don’t know why, but I actually enjoyed this episode. For me, it’s sort of in between… it’s not a great show, but neither is it a really bad show. One thing I did notice: throughout this movie, Crow keeps on mentioning the NBC Mystery Movie opening a lot, and Joel becomes mad at him for doing it. This “foreshadows” the opening of the next episode, in which Joel gives Crow and Tom shocks to make them stop referencing this. I think the references are in other shows, but this one has the most.


  • 8
    Mr.Shemp says:

    I coulda sworn that I read somewhere that the voice announcing the episode name and number at the beginning was Frank C. Have I been living a lie????


  • 9
    skenderberg says:

    I liked this episode, but I didn’t love it. The movie was silly enough to be funny but not cohesive enough to be entertaining.

    Favorite Riff: Crow as James Earl Jones at the end: “This is F.U.N.” which wouldn’t have been funny if he hadn’t been booming out “This is C.N.N.” every few minutes for most of the preceeding film.

    Favorite Host Segment Moment: Mike as Morrissey, sniffing Dr. F’s shoulder.

    Also, this is one of two episodes where someone from Best Brains covers up explicit nudity. In Episode 911 Devil Fish, a digitally added MST3K logo briefly flashes across the screen to protect us from an uobstructed view of Pee-Dah’s wang.

    My full review of the episode is here.


  • 10
    skenderberg says:

    Sorry, I screwed up the html. My full review is here.


  • 11
    Bob says:

    This is one of those episodes I got to like better and better with more viewings even though I didn’t like it much to start with. Like a lot of other dull films done on the show, or even some of the just terrible (e.g., Manos) or disgusting (e.g., Sidehackers) films done on the show, watching it the first time involved too much watching of the actual movie and not enough just rolling with the jokes. After I’d seen this a few times and could thereafter more or less tune out the movie and focus nearly 100% on the jokes I found that it is full of good laughs from Joel and the ‘Bots.

    One of my favorite jokes is by the Mads at the beginning, when they state that the film “features James Earl Jones at a low-point in his career and Kim Cattrall at a high-point in hers”. That one always makes me laugh as does Robbie Benson being killed by a motorcycle and desk combo and the jokes that follow that less-than-exciting climax to the film.


  • 12
    EpcotServo says:

    “Did I mention that I cried?”

    I don’t get the hate for this one, as this is actully one of my all-time favorite episodes! (Still wanting to find that City Limits 32oz subway promotional glass! heh heh!) I love all the little “red guys” saying hi to the “yellow guys”(AKA Gordon’s Fishermen!) riffs they do towards the end of the film.

    The end credits song at the end ALWAYS cracks me up!

    Tom Servo (singing to credits rap): I wish I could view seven samurai, but all the films I see want to make me die!

    Blech! Blech! Blech!
    (“even the band is throwing up…”)

    Favorite bit: “In the film City Limits, Crow, What was the name of the film?”


  • 13
    Bob says:

    Yeah, this episode is like fine cheese, it gets better with age. After a few viewings, when you know what’s coming in the film and start really focusing on the jokes it turns out this episode is loaded with MST3K joke goodness. It’s an overlooked, hilarious little gem of an episode.


  • 14
    Larry Ham says:

    Just goes to show you one of the grestest things about MST3K. One man’s crummy episode is another man’s top five episode. City Limits is one of my favorites. I’ve watched it so many times, even my wife has most of the “Fantastic 185″ memorized!


  • 15

    Wow, three episodes in a row that I never even saw.


  • 16
    Rod says:

    This one isn’t one of my favorites. It has it’s moments.

    Kind of ironic when they said that this movie had “Kim Cattrall at the peak of her career” when she would revive her career a few years later with Sex & The City.

    Loved Crow’s Kim Cattrall song & Mike as Morrissey. I was in college when this episode first aired and I knew people who loved the Morrissey “I’m really sad. Let me tell you how sad I am” genre of music


  • 17
    Seth Anders says:

    Little did he know…

    Frank later worked with Robbie Benson on “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”. Benson played Sabrina’s father and even directed a couple of episodes. I wonder if his performance in this film ever came up? Something tells me Frank would have brought it up at least once.


  • 18
    Meranalf says:

    Callback: Frank kicks off the invention exchange sequence by singing “I sing when I sing…” while pounding on something offscreen, a reference to the previous episode The Giant Gila Monster.

    Another callback: Joel (I think) mentions the geometric nucleus from Cave Dwellers at about 1:18:50. Also, Sidehackers, Mighty Jack, and Pod People all get mentions in the credits rap.

    Even with the presence of James Earl “Voice of Darth Vader” Jones, J&TB were remarkably restrained in regards to Star Wars references. I counted only one: “Luke, I am your father.”


  • 19
    JLH says:

    The appearance of a slate card on this episode is pretty rare, actually. I can only recall ever seeing it once, a repeat on a mini-marathon in late September 1993. The first airing and the majority of airings don’t have a card, nor do they have the lights.

    “Bite me! Buh-buh-buh-bite me!”


  • 20
    Joel Kazoo says:

    I didn’t know so many people disliked this episode! I wouldn’t call it my favorite, but it’s better than a lot of the other fare they’ve offered (Stranded in Space, Radar Secret Service, Danger!! Death Ray!!, War of the Collossal Beast (the short in that one, like I even need to say its name, was the BEST short they ever did, tho!), Swamp Diamonds (another one saved by the short), Code Name: Diamondhead, San Francisco International, Lassie: The Painted Hills, Gunslinger (why’d they choose *that* one for VHS release? Answer: Cheap Rights. And I’ll concede Bev G.’s hot), Bloodlust!, Lost Continent, Last of the Wild Horses (which would’ve been TOTALLY forgotten if not for the “evil Mike” subplot. Also liked the part when they first get in the theater with evil Servo, and he’s all “Unhand me, you…HEY! A cowboy movie!”, and becomes his old self in the theater), The Dead Talk Back, and those are just off the top of my head.) I like a bad film, but I LOATHE a boring one, which was what most of the ones I mentioned were. City Limits is a lot of things, but it’s NOT boring!


  • 21
    Shadi says:

    I too rather like City Limits as well! One of my favourite parts:

    Crow: How come Kim gets such a boring wardrobe?
    Joel: Because Kim’s so boring?
    Crow: NO!!

    I found it amusing the way Joel flinched to Crow’s response. Smile


  • 22
    Sean74 says:

    Sorry guys, it looks like I’m in a minority on this one. City Limits is one of my least fav of the entire series. I watched it again three days ago, knowing it would be next to be reviewed, and I realized why I never watch it repeatedly. It has nothing to do with J&TB’s commentary, it’s just the movie is next to impossible to follow! I do focus on what they’re saying about the movie, but it would be nice to have a small clue as to what’s going on!! The highlights for me have all already been mentioned: the opening with the Capt. Kangeroo/ping pong balls, Mike’s impression of Morrissey (“he hurt me with that remark….did I mention that I cried?”), the several references to the NBC Sunday Night Mystery Movie, and Joel’s convienently timed umbrella trick to cover up a woman’s naughty bits in a water tower. (Why would Joel have an umbrella? Does it rain in the SOL?) The rest was pretty standard fare. Kim Cattrall is gorgeous, but not in this movie; there are certain scenes where it’s hard to tell if she’s a nerdy female or an effeminate male. I know it’s supposed to be post-apocalyptic, but common! Rae Dawn Chong looked half-way desirable, even with those laughable costumes. I wonder what Kim Cattrall would think of Crow losing his adoration of her to Estelle Winwood of “The Magic Sword”. Opps! I’m jumping ahead again……. Smile Let me put it this way: when a movie’s most exciting scene involves a flying MODEL air plane blowing up a watchtower, you are watching a boring movie!


  • 23
    happy says:

    Whether its a good episode or bad episode if Rhino put it on DVD we would probably be ok with it. I wouldn’t complain Smile
    City Limits not their best, I think the movie was heavily edited which made it a little harder to follow. There were a lot of scenes at the end credits that we didnt see during the movie.
    Still the movie is MST material, & its a good episode,but there are plenty of better shows from Season 4 and in general.


  • 24
    Sean74 says:

    You have a good point, happy; unless we’ve seen the actual, unMSTied version of a movie, we really don’t know how much and what was edited out. And you’re right, I’d still get the volume with this episode on it as a means of keeping up with my collection. This feels more like a season one episode rather than a season four episode.


  • 25
    Sean says:

    This is (as far as I know) the only episode where there’s a decent reason for why you can’t see through Tom’s head in the theater: it’s full of ping-pong balls!


  • 26
    Jack Saltzberg says:

    Re:your most obscure riff.This is from the movie A Thousand Clowns which starred Jason Robards. He tells his nephew to go to his room, and the nephew replies, I don’t have a room I have an alcove. so Robards tells him to go to his alcove


  • 27
    Smog Monster says:

    2 shots of brief nudity? I would have passed…


  • 28
    M "About To Have An Unpopular Opinion" Sipher says:

    I gotta agree with Sampo. This one isn’t firing for me. I’ve re-watched a fair few older MSTs lately via, well, you know… and really, seasons 3 and the first half of 4 probably have -for me- the show’s largest concentration of “ehn, it was alright I guess” episodes. I mean, the shorts are uniformly fun, because they never seemed to avoid going dark there. And every episode does have a few real zingers. But overall, I dunno. It’s a period that feels off. The latter half of Season 4 picks up, though, with more solid episodes, which more or less continues through 5 and on (until you could tell the crushing weight of impending cancellation on Sci-Fi was affecting their general cheeriness level during 10).

    Maybe it’s the delivery. I can’t help but notice that there’s a period where MST felt overly-scripted. I like it when the riffers chuckle at each other’s jokes in a clearly “I just honestly found this funny” manner, rather than the over-sold “d’oh!” at a bad pun… I mean, that’s what real people would do. They seem to start loosening up roughly halfway through 4. Mike absolutely losing it at the Crotchety Old Shopkeeper in “The Brute Man” is hilarious, something I have a hard time imaging they scripted, and it’s something I can’t see happening in mid-CC-era MST.

    Maybe it’s the volume of impregnable, interminable Japanese movies in 3, followed by the similarly-paced Hercules movies of 4. They just don’t do it for me.


  • 29
    kelly lingo says:

    LOL I love you all


  • 30
    John H. says:

    I have to agree with the others, I like much of this episode. The umbrella is one of Joel’s most memorable sight gags, and the sheer joy the guys attack the Fantastic 185 with is wonderful. “Professor Hitler and his Automatic Knee Machine!” “The Awesome Power of Absorbine Sr.!” “It’s Really Deep Man, he’s really deep, man!” “Larry King!”/”By himself?”/”He’d have a really good guest!”


  • 31
    GizmonicTemp says:

    This episode had 703 riffs over 3992 1:06:32 for an average of 10.566 RPMs. That’s a ranking of #14 all-time.


  • 32
    Bobo "BuckDat" Briggs says:

    Watching this episode again right now with headphones, and this is one of those episodes where Joel’s microphone picks up a bit TOO much in the theater. There’s several episodes I remember that you can hear lots of breathing in but this one might just have the most. Listen to it on headphones sometime. You can hear Joel breathing in and out throughout the movie. I may just have been Joel’s nose or sinuses that day though. Like the couple episodes where it’s very obvious Kevin has a cold.


  • 33
    Omega says:

    Isn’t “I’m still here, Happer” from the movie Local Hero? I guess that was why it’s listed as somewhat obscure. Local Hero was one of my favorite movies but it seemed like few people have seen it.


  • 34
    Spector says:

    An ok episode, not bad but not great. There are some good scenes, especially Joel’s clever use of an umbrella to cover up the nudity of the water tower swim scene, and I love the mocking “This is CNN”…every time James Earl Jones appears on the screen, and of course Crow’s memorable love ode to Kim Cattrall. Still, I find that at times this one drags despite the best efforts of Joel and the ‘Bots. Maybe because over half the scenes take place at night or the insipid dialogue. Like I said, has its moments but not one I’d rank among my favorites.


  • 35
    Ali says:

    Joel put it best when he sang during the credits: “… but this stupid movie was the biggest piece of sh-“, before crow interrupts (in perfect Shaft-ness): “Hey, shut your mouth!”


  • 36

    I’ve really been enjoying reading all these MST reviews! This movie was an absolute drag, but the riffing, the host segments, and Crow’s love affair with Ms. Cattrall made it worth watching. Loved the umbrella solution to the nude scene. LOL


  • 37

    make hip hop beat…

    Here is a list of Hip Hop artists, songs and CD’ s with a message. Thanks to itunes, napster, youtube, etc. Many of these songs are still available. Please add your favorites….


  • 38
    Bobbled Dopple says:

    Other note, along with Catalina Caper, I believe this was another episode Comedy Central lost the rights to and removed from circulation making it a bit of a hot commodity during the “Keep Circulating the Tapes” days.


  • 39
    rockyjones says:

    This one took a while to grow on me. The movie takes multiple viewings for all of the random chunks of the plot to come together. Not exactly the most constantly hilarious riffing they’ve done, but not bad, either…although I never fail to totally crack up when, just before the final “big rumble”, Whitey climbs into the guard tower with an odd-looking hat on his head, and Crow yells out: “Look, Smithers!….I’m Davy Crockett!”


  • 40
    rockyjones says:

    oops….on second thought, I think it was Whitey who was killed earlier on in the movie…can’t remember the name of the other guy. You know who I mean….it’s the crazy “pussy nibbles” dude….



  • 41
    Loran Alan Davis says:

    Wow. Just watched this. Good riffing, but the plot is impossible to follow.


  • 42
    Lyon says:

    Ah Kim Catrall… I remember reading somewhere on here that the first time she is ever mentioned in MSTory is a few episodes prior to this but in fact her name appears in the mock slow-mo credits sequence of Cave Dwellers.


  • 43
    Dan in WI says:

    Add me to the list of people who love the Captain Kangaroo ping pong ball bit. I was young on the last days of that show and remember it fondly.

    I also love coming back from the ping ball bit how Tom somehow ends up with Crow’s eye and he sings “I’ve got Crow T Robot eyes.” Of course that was set up perfectly by a blind Crow calling back to Rocket Attack USA: “help me.”

    Wait a second here. How can Clayton refer to the 80’s as a shameful decade? That was the decade where I came of age. I have nothing but fond memories.

    Parts of the “Oh, Kim Cattrall” song borrows its melody heavily from the Sandy Frank Song.

    In the second host segment Joel makes a comment about putting comic books in plastic bags to protect them and Tom fires back that they won’t because they have lives. Okay that one strikes a little close to home. I’m a collector myself and it is a hobby I enjoy. You would think there is a lot of crossover between comic collectors and MiSTies. Besides it would be 19 short years later they would be signing autographs in Powers Comics in Green Bay WI prior to a Cinematic Titanic Show.

    They are missing a hero for the Fantastic 85/185: Turkey Volume Guessing Man.

    The NBC Sunday Mystery Movie riff seems to have become season four’s “by this time my lungs were aching for air.”

    In summary, this truly was the most incomprehensible movie since Humanoid Woman. I gave up quickly trying to follow the plot early on and just went with the riffing.

    Favorite Riffs:
    There is some sort of map on the wall: Crow “Hey look in the back. It’s the audience interest curve.”

    Joel “Hey that’s not Old Milwaukee, that’s Colt 45.” Crow “The beer that made Detroit famous.”

    All in a very slow drone “Born to be willlld.”

    Crow as James Earl Jones “From now on call me Loren Green”

    Tom “Oh these desk jobs will just kill you.”


  • 44
    Comfort-Rated Baloney says:

    I’ll have to second Sampo – the Stygian lighting / print, the unsympathetic, vaguely repellent protagonists, the incomprehensible plot premise all make this highly problematic. Perhaps the presence of Bill Corbett would have enabled the Brains to open up a Tupperware container of whupass (in the form of extremely petty and mean personal comments about personal appearance, etc) on everyone in this piece of celluloid who deserved it.

    The “Yoda / Yogi / Yoyo” sketch reminds me somewhat of a similar segment in MIGHTY JACK in which the bots are unable to remember any details of the film.


  • 45
    Absorbine_Sr says:

    This will always be a fave of mine as I was able to pluck my I interwebs nickname from it. I’ve used it for years but only a handfull of people have known where it comes from.


  • 46
    ck says:

    I agree that I don’t get why the government’s policies in this movie
    are supposed to be so evil.

    And off topic, any chance Episode 201, Rocketship X-M will be on dvd?
    Mainly because I assume it’s the first episode with TV’s Frank.


  • 47
    Bombastic Biscuit Boy says:

    Sampo, I couldn’t disagree more…this ep is completely dark and completely unintelligible (or offers dialogue such as “We can’t eat cat food!” “Why not?” “We ain’t cats!“), but I love it! You’ve got great riffing, some of the best host segments of the season (the Fantastic 185, Kim Cattrall song), and James Earl Jones (on a break from doing August Wilson plays!) For some reason it reminds me of Robot Holocaust in that the bad print actually makes the film funnier.

    Does anyone else think this movie looks like a Prince video…without Prince?

    I also heard that Kim had her publicist send Trace flowers after seeing the show…does anyone know if that’s true?

    (JEJ shoots off his shotgun)
    Crow: “Oh! Austin City Limits!”


  • 48
    briizilla says:

    I can’t go higher than 3 stars for this one. The movie is so dull and the plot is nonsensical, the characters are all unlikable. I’ve only made it through this sucker once or twice and last night wasn’t one of those times…


  • 49
    Sitting Duck says:

    During the water tower skinny dipping scene, there’s a brief moment where Joel’s positioning is a bit off and the gal gives us a full moon. Not that I was going out of my way looking for it. Eek!


  • 50
    Sitting Duck says:

    Another thought. If Sampo ever has a Unvillainous Villains Weekend Discussion, City Limits would probably be one of the more frequently mentioned titles (as would Overdrawn at the Memory Bank).


  • 51
    dsman71 says:

    I wasnt into this ep too much , I mean its okay..but not a highlight of the 4th season…I remember Joel having a hair cut with his longer bangs gone and his head looking like he had hair breakage, it looks like there is a crack in his in his silhouette – I used to have this on VHS with the Tozai brand, it was a crappy print and wound up getting a VHS from Skyroniter I think
    Im surprised its not on a box set but its not a very popular episode, so maybe its in the *if we run out of good episodes* pile or something.
    At least next week we get *really old teenagers from outer space*
    Joels Hair
    Joels knees
    hair breakage
    old teenagers
    therapy from outer space please


  • 52
    jjb3k says:

    This episode created an extremely awkward moment for me. I was going through all my MST3K episodes in order, and my mom (who still can’t understand what I see in this show) happened to join me for this one, as did a friend of hers who’d never seen the show before. I told them both that MST3K is the funniest TV show I’ve ever seen, and they were in for a treat. Unfortunately, it was my first time watching this episode too, and after 20 minutes in the theater with middling-to-average riffing and a confusing movie so dark you can’t even see the shadowrama half the time, up comes this host segment with Crow just standing there singing “Kim Cattrall, Kim Cattrall, Kim Cattrall” over and over again. I looked sheepishly at my bewildered mom and her equally bewildered friend and said “Uh, they’re usually funnier than this…”

    Lesson learned: if you’re going to try and hook a newcomer to the show, make sure you use an episode that you know is good.


  • 53
    Stressfactor says:

    Okay, admittedly, the copy of this I saw was not ‘first generation’ but was the sound mix off to anyone else? In addition to the film being too dark to see the sound was so low that nine times out of ten I couldn’t *hear* what anyone was saying but the riffers? I could hear Joel’s jumpsuit rustling every time he moved and someone — I don’t know if it was Trace, Joel, or Kevin — was breathing heavily through his nose and that came through on the sound pretty loud. It was actually kind of annoying.

    Aside from that…

    For this film, I think the problem the teenage biker gang had was not so much that the government wanted to restore services it was that, apparently, the private contractor the government hired to do the job were going to take the people living in the city and *force* them to do the labor.

    This still, of course, makes no sense as, to the best of my knowledge, it still takes a certain amount of technical skill to repair electrical cables and conduits and such and the people we saw living in the city were…. well…. idiots. I mean, if you wanted to restore services like electricity and water wouldn’t it make more sense to round up some people who either still remembered how to do that kind of work or who had been trained elsewhere (after all, if there’s a government somewhere then that implies that civilization has been re-established somewhere and presumably they’ve already got people who they’ve trained how to do this work) and then bring them to the city to do the job? Things would go much more quickly and smoothly…. But I guess if they did something so logical they wouldn’t have had a plot.

    My favorite moment was, after one of the times Joel complained about Crow doing an “NBC Mystery Movie” joke Crow replied “You programmed us….. Weiner.” You can hear Joel chuckle softly in response.

    Second favorite is Crow in his James Earl Jones voice doing “This is F-U-N.”

    Oh, and Sampo? I don’t think all the flashback scenes were cut… I think it was just another matter of poor filmmaking. The filmmakers created the flashback scenes to try to show the audience that the dead biker in question really did mean something to Mick — that there were all these “happy” memories. Of course, since we’d never seen these “happy” moments before and because the guy was already *dead* it really didn’t do anything to give his death emotional weight.

    I also think that this one isn’t so bad as it’s painted on the riffing. I think the guys were pretty inspired at the beginning and then at the end it’s just the middle where things bog down a bit and that’s because the middle of the film just doesn’t really give them much to work with. Stuff stops happening and we’re left with characters who spend a lot of time sitting around.


  • 54
    Stressfactor says:

    Also, I will admit, the host segments aren’t the best. The naming off of “original” superheroes gets boring after a while.

    Oh, and Sampo, that reminds me — you missed a callback. When Joel and the bots are coming back into the theatre after, IIRC the second host segment they’re still naming off superheroes and Joel says “Servo-Crow-ation Boy” — a reference back to season 1’s “The Mad Monster” where Joel switched Servo and Crow’s heads and called them Servo-Crow-ation.


  • 55
    Matthew Shine says:

    Now this… Well, anything was going to pale in comparison of Giant Gila Monster but…really?

    The movie drags the episode down for me. I like Robot Holocaust which has the same basic plot but the movie is SO DULL AND SO BORING AND NOTHING HAPPENS. Robot Holocaust had the sock puppet worms, the C3P0 knockoff, VALERIA, avocado dad, the She Zone, etc.
    It seems like this movie really had nothing to make fun of other than the skullmasks, James Earl Jones and the “Bleh! Bleh! Bleh!” rap.

    Speaking of James Earl Jones, my mom met him at a party once. Apparently, he’s a really nice guy.


    But I still love the Fantastic 85, the City Limits board game (“Now, Crow. In City Limits, what was the name of the movie?” and Crow’s little “HELP ME!”.


  • 56
    JBagels says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the only MST movie to have a rap song in it. Being 1984, rap was really taking off at the time, and if you back and look at a lot of 80s movies, rap songs over the credits was very popular.


  • 57
    JBagels says:

    I like this episode more than most people, as it again features an 80s movie which I’ve said before was always a welcome treat. I also liked the comic book stuff being the huge comic fan I was at the time, although I think the second superhero segment was unnecesary.


  • 58
    Fred Burroughs says:

    This is one of my fave’s, maybe because this is when I started taping episodes myself, and as a result, I’ve seen City Limits roughly 400 times. All the host segs are great, esp. the Fantastic 185. And a roommate from college just a year or so before was a BIG Morrisey fan, and droned that whiney depressing music all year; as a result, I got some of those jokes.

    The team that made this movie (Don Opper, Dean Devlin, etc) also made “Android” with Klaus Kinski ; and later became the Roland/Toby Emmerich team that made crappy later big budget movies like “Godzilla.” really they should have stopped after Android. CL is perfect MST fodder: goofy costumes, dated apocalypse cliches, some recognizable actors in firmly B-movie fare; jumbled, juvenile plot. All around a win-win.

    I’ve seen Norbert Weisser in a few things since then, and Tony Plana (Ugly Betty’s dad) was great in ‘3 Amigos.” But whenevr I see any of these actors, I think of City Limits, and have a hearty chuckle.


  • 59
    JBagels says:

    I actually like the Smiths but Morrisey can be very annoying.


  • 60
    This Guy says:

    Okay, whence comes “But all I have is an alcove”? For some reason, I had a flash of a sitcom of the era in which a character had to live in an alcove, but no idea what sitcom, whether that was the reference, or if that even ever happened.


  • 61
    Jbagels says:

    I should probably type my thoughts in one big comment rather than a bunch of comments through out the day when I’m bored at work but anyway, I thought the Joel umbrella thing was funny (it’s rare to see props in the theater after season 1) but the 9 year old boy me was very disappointed. This was pre Internet for the most part.


  • 62
    Insect Man #47 says:

    I obviously love this episode (Insect Man #47 is the comic book the Clippers gave to Ray as barter to allow the “contest” with Lee). It points out to me, again, what a diverse community us Misties really are. Some of the favorite ep’s of others, I really don’t care for that much. Some of my favorites, others don’t like. This one makes me laugh every time, and I’m not really sure why. And Sampo, the flashbacks in the middle of the movie are just sharing with the audience the memories Mick had of Whitey and himself growing up, after Whitey’s murder by Bolo. And I agree, it takes several dozen viewings of this flick to understand the plot.


  • 63
    Insect Man #47 says:

    #58 – You’re right – Norbert Weisser is an accomplished actor. He was in “Midnight Express”, and was a crazed Nazi in “Schindler’s List”, among others.


  • 64
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    This one grows on you like a fungus, but a good edible fungus. I didn’t care for it much till I’d seen it a few times, then found I really enjoyed the jokes once I’d gotten more understanding of what’s going on in the lackluster film. The comic book based civilization and stupid youth rituals in the film provide good fodder for jokes and the fact that there are a few name actors in the film opens a door to humor not usually possible with the no-name cast so prevalent in MSTed films.

    I remember Kim Catrall telling that story at the second Convention-Con about how she discovered the show. It was an amusingly told tale whether or not it’s accurate. She was very nice to meet in the autograph line too my wife took my picture with her and I took my wife’s picture with Russel Johnson who was brilliantly funny.

    I love the joke at the beginning about the film featuring “James Earl Jones at a low point in his career and Kim Catrall at a high point in hers”. Ouch! Of course, this was before Catrall got Sex And The City and she had kind of fallen off the Hollywood radar a bit after some of the mediocre movies she’d been in around that time.

    Frank singing “I sing whenever I sing” makes me smile every time. So does the “death by desk” in the movie and the jokes made at that scene. I’ll give the filmmakers credit for a little originality, I definitely didn’t see that one coming.

    It’s always great when a film has geek elements within it that will surely call up jokes about things that are surely popular with a good sized segment of the MST3K fan base. The comic book elements of this movie provided endless jokes that were well within the realm of interest for many fans I’m sure. Really funny stuff, even for more casual superhero fans.

    The movie is pretty dull and uninteresting at times, demanding some serious effort to pay attention to it to see what’s going on, but I found it worthwhile in the end because it made the jokes seem all the funnier after that. This must have been a tough one for repeated viewings in the MST3K writing room. A good solid episode all around even if not on the favorites list.


  • 65
    Mitchell Rowsdower Beardsley says:

    This is a middle episode for me. Funny but not one of the very best. I think that continued for a couple more episodes, until Killer Shrews which was great.

    and let me just say, I think Rae Dawn Chong is way hotter in this than Kim Cattrall. Yes, I said it.


  • 66
    Mr. B(ob) says:

    By the time of the second MST3K Convention-Con Independence Day was already a huge hit and of course, Stargate a couple years before that. Dean Devlin co-wrote both of those films, clearly doing better financially with that than he did as an actor in films like City Limits a decade earlier. Someone asked Kim Catrall about working with Dean Devlin at the Q&A session at the Convention-Con and she made a comment to the effect that he’d gone on to do alright for himself in spite of his limited success as an actor.


  • 67
    schippers says:

    #46 – Don’t count on Rocketship X-M being commercially available in its MSTed form anytime soon. It’s owned by Wade Davis, who is noted for being pretty protective of of 50s sci-fi properties.

    At least you can get a copy of Rocketship X-M on DVD through Image. It’s a good movie to watch even without J&tB riffing away at it.


  • 68
    schippers says:

    #58 – I believe before they hit it big (eh) w/ the likes of ID4 and Godzilla, team Emmerich (maybe not Devlin at that point) made “Making Contact,” a film about a possessed doll. I haven’t seen it myself, although I have long meant to.


  • 69
    Rich says:

    No sir, Mr. schippers ! “Making Contact” is awful. You have been warned.


  • 70
    Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Like others, this one has grown on me, but it has grown from a “I don’t like it” to an “it’s an okay episode.” As mentioned above, CITY LIMITS is just an unintelligible movie, maybe the most so since MIGHTY JACK, and its murky lighting really hampers the proceedings. Plus, all the characters are stupid. The riffing is pretty good, they keep a brisk pace. I for one really dislike all the James Earl Jones “This is CNN” riffs; they just get annoying. Also annoying is Host Segment #1, Crow singing “Kim Cattrall” over and over, and then a lame “scene” from Mannequin..? Ugh. Not funny.

    But you know, I did like HS#2 and the way it leads into HS#3. The comic book theme hits home for me, it’s all so enjoyably goofy. I particularly like “Lumber Man.” Also I loved the Mads’ ‘Tupperware to Lock in Pop Star Freshness’ Invention Exchange, as I HATE Morrissey and Mike does a killer impersonation. “Is it wrong to not always be glad? Did I mention I cried?” That’s what all Morrissey/The Smiths songs sound like to me…

    So overall, I have to give this one a 3/5,
    that’s the limit, man.


    TVs Frank: “I sing whenever I sing whenever I sing..”

    Joel: “15 years from now is really depressing.”

    Crow: “Hi, I’m Max Keller.”

    The umbrella gag at the beginning has special meaning to me: I caught this episode once on CC back in the day, circa 1996, and either I didn’t record it (the shame!) or I lost the tape it was recorded on (double shame!!) but for years I had this vivid memory of a movie they did where Joel uses an umbrella to cover up some nudity, but could not remember which film it was. Flashforward to 2009 and some serious downloading from DAPcentral and low and behold, CITY LIMITS was seen and I had my answer. (Too bad the episode didn’t live up to expectations)

    Servo: “After the Robot Holocaust..”

    movie: “Looks like you’re over the line.”
    Joel: “Yeah, one toke.

    movie: “We win, we do what we want with him.”
    Joel: “Starting with the nasty.”

    Joel: “I feel like a happy king.”

    arthouse film reference,
    Servo: “I am curious yellow.”

    Crow: “Hey it’s the NBC Mystery Movie!”
    Servo: (whistles theme)
    Joel: “Would you guys stop!” ——I love this running gag.

    Speaking of running gags, this episode has two “Jim Henson’s — Babies” riffs, which I guess aren’t very popular for some, but I’ve always dug ’em. Is this the first instance of this riff, or did it appear in an earlier episode?

    Joel: “Jim Henson’s Rae Dawn Chong Babies.”

    Crow: “Jim Henson’s Flying Leatherneck Babies.”

    Servo: “Windy last night. Cows stuck to the barn.”

    On the way out of the theater into HS#3, Crow says “Super Sim Cattrall,” and Joel replies, “SIM Cattrall?” I think Trace flubbed his line there….

    Joel: “I’m a prince, I’m a Grimault warrior!”

    Crow: “Even the band is vomiting.”

    Yup, me too.


  • 71
    Seneca says:

    I never saw a really good print of this episode, and the movie itself looks like direct to video crap, and I’ve shunned movies of that sort since I was in high school (1980s). I’m the target audience for this movie and I hate it. ‘Nuff said.


  • 72
    Seneca says:

    I never saw a really good print of this episode, and the movie itself looks like direct to video crap, and I’ve shunned movies of that sort since I was in high school (1980s). I’m the target audience for this movie and I hate it. ‘Nuff said.


  • 73
    Sampo says:

    #60 This Guy: “But I only have an alcove” is from the play and movie “A Thousand Clowns.” A very funny movie I highly recommend.


  • 74
    Tom Carberry says:

    The 1984 post-apocalyptic episode #403, in the words of Dr. Clayton Forrester, “comes from that shameful decade known as the eighties. It’s a film called “City Limits” and it stars James Earl Jones at the low point in his career and Kim Cattrall at a high point. It also has Robbie Benson and Rae Dawn Chong doing things they’re not happy with either.”

    For such a bad movie, it’s “actors” and “actresses” seem to have overcome this on their resumes and have actually gone on to make their marks in the industry. Who would have thought Dean Devlin (for better or worse) would have such a career as a producer (Stargate, Independence Day, Godzilla). John Stockwell (probably best remembered as the high school jock with the broken leg in “Christine”) has had a nice career as an actor, director, producer and writer. Rae Dawn Chong is still busy, although I don’t recall seeing her in anything since 1985’s “Commando” with Arnold S. Even Tony Plana, John Diehl, and Danny De La Paz worked after this. In an ironic twist the “guest star” Robbie Benson’s career augered in leaving a scorch mark—although he does seem to be doing some voice work.

    Favorite lines:

    Someone’s been digging in the remnant pile big time.
    [of Darrell Larson] Hey, I found Ed Begley Jr., can I keep him?
    Oh come on, this is so offensive on so many levels.
    [Kim looking at Robbie Benson] What’s it like being a has-been?
    Bullet Proof Vespas—in color.
    [During the closing credits soundtrack] Even the band is vomiting.


  • 75
    Dan in WI says:

    Watchout #70> This might be the first Jim Henson’s ________ Babies. That was pretty much an early season four thing and I don’t recall any in 401 or 402.

    Tom Carberry #74> The last I remember of Rae Dawn Chong was an episode of Highlander in the mid 90’s. But if you look at IMBD she seems to have had plenty of work. Just nothing I recognize personally.


  • 76
    Mrs. Dick Courrier says:

    Don’t remember much about this one, been so long since I’ve seen it. I remember the whole Mannequin skit, since I loved that movie of course. And I remember Morrisey, although I like many others had no idea who he was at the time.

    Never did find out who he was until years later. A girl from Rural Virginia with no internet didn’t have many resources.

    Thank I’ll go online and try to find it.

    Just read on IMDB that Dean Devlin produced Stargate. That makes him alright in my book


  • 77
    pondoscp says:

    I LOVE THIS EPISODE. It’s easily one of the best ever, right up there with Daddy-O, It Conquered The World, and the Master Ninjas.

    Lots of dislike for this episode abounds. That’s Sampo’s Theorum for you. I can watch this one over and over again. It’s great.

    And yes, it did have a title card in the beginning. I saw the card over on the ForrestCrow boards a while back.


  • 78
    cambottalks says:

    Anybody else think the line “It’s Really Deep Man; he’s really deep, man!” sounds A LOT like it could be something from Firesign Theatre.


  • 79
    Jbagels says:

    To quote the late, great Peter Falk “just one more thing”. My family knew Captain Kangaroo somehow and my baby cousin threw up on him at some family function. The opening segment was very funny to my father.


  • 80
    Cornjob says:

    Is it me or is Joel’s umbrella that covers the nudity an early version of the Breast Blimp later seen in CT?

    This is another episode I shared with my idiot best friend and roommate in the early 90’s. In fact season 4 was current then. “This is CNN/FUN” became another of our running jokes.

    I once drew a picture of a Bee flying along and singing, “I sting whenever I sting whenever I sting…”

    It is ironic watching all the jokes about Kim Cattral being a nobody in light of her later success. It’s nice she’s been such a good sport.

    BTW, comic books, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels are all slightly different things. But I doubt most of you care, and those of you who do already know, and it would give even me a headache to try and explain, and I love comic books (no I don’t bag them or but them in climate controlled vaults)

    This is FUN


  • 81
    JeremyR says:

    #65 Does that even need to be said? It’s obvious that Rae Dawn Chong is hotter…


  • 82
    Blast Hardcheese says:

    OK, here’s my question: Who saw this when it came out in 1985? I was going to a lot of movies back then, but I don’t for the life of me remember this one. I remembered Rae Dawn from “Quest For Fire” (about the only thing I remember about QFF), and I remember being aware of Kim Cattrall before “Sex and the City” (because she kept turning up in low-budget Canadian tax write-offs, and, well, one remembers a face like hers…yeah, face, that’s right…)–but did this movie register on anyone’s radar? I’m not even sure it played in Ottawa, where I was living in ’85.

    OK–enough about that. This one is an OK episode, but everyone is so forgettable, and there’s not much of a plot, that it took a couple of viewings before I could even figure out what was happening. Even James Earl Jones, who normally raises the level of any movie just by his sheer presence, is reduced to almost nothing here. Plus, I have an aversion to badly-lit night scenes, especially when thy occupy more than half of the movie (that being said, “Blade Runner” is almost entirely dark, and the early video transfers were almost unwatchable because of this. Thank heaven for DVD).

    The host segments (Crow’s “Kim Cattrall” caterwaul being the exception) saved this episode–especially the hero names, the City Limits board game (and the cruel joke about the massive promo campaign for this film–hence my question), and Mike’s Morrisey, which is as spot-on a parody of a self-absorbed 80s counterculture figure as you’re likely to get (Ian Curtis, Robert Smith–you get the idea).


  • 83
    lancecorbain says:

    This is F-U-N, heh, heh, heh. Best riff of the whole thing.


  • 84
    Cornjob says:

    This episode also features one of my all time favorite riffs, “Well, that could have gone better.” I think this often when reading newspapers or history books. From World War 2 to Transformers 2, the comment fits.


  • 85
    Stressfactor says:

    I forgot to mention, I also liked Joel’s pot-shot at himself with the riff:

    “Darn prop comics; gotta bring their stuff everywhere.”

    And another little callback missed — Servo mentions the Geometric Nucleous from “Cave Dwellers”

    Oh and anyone else catch that —

    Joel: “Sounds like U2 is playing on the roof.”

    Nice mash-up of U2 and the Beatles. The Beatles infamously played an impromptu concert on the roof of Apple Studios which was broken up by police as the crowds gathered below were causing a traffic hazard.


  • 86
    Jbagels says:

    @stressfactor, U2 is actually famous for playing on roofs. They did so in the Streets have no name video and they performed on the roof of a liquor store once in LA. They still play rooftops today.


  • 87
    Stressfactor says:

    @ Jbagels…

    Huh. Didn’t know that one. Wonder if they were inspired by the Beatles doing so?

    Either way… “They still haven’t found what they’re looking for”.


  • 88
    JBagels says:

    I’m sure they were. The Beatles influenced everyone in Rock music.


  • 89
    Blast Hardcheese says:


    I’m not sure how impromptu the Apple Rooftop concert was. If you listen to the Get Back tapes, there are seemingly endless discussions (mostly from Paul) about The Beatles playing some kind of live gig–everything from the Roundhouse to a cruise ship. Paul really wanted the Fabs to play live again, and no one else was really interested, so as a compromise they staged the concert on the roof, mostly as a good windup to the film (“Let It Be,” which was one long segment of Paul urging a very bored-looking John to consider getting back on stage and doing it live again). The police came in because they got angry calls from surrounding businesses–Savile Row, where Apple used to be, just happens to be the street where the most exclusive tailor’s shops in London were and still are. Dunno what they thought when the Hell’s Angels showed up in December of 68, but it can’t have been positive. The concert was just the last straw. There are also shots in the film of Mal Evans trying to keep the cops from going upstairs and hauling everyone off to jail–they’d get John and Yoko a few months later anyway.


  • 90
    Blast Hardcheese says:

    Sorry, that should read “Let It Be” *has* one long segment…. The film was one long segment of four guys figuring out how much they dislike each other, coupled with moments of discovering how cool Billy Preston is.


  • 91
    Stressfactor says:

    I have to say that I’ve never delved too deeply into the Beatles later years. I know enough that I don’t blame Yoko for the breakup as a lot of people did and still do but honestly, by then the music was interesting but even listening to it you can hear the competing directions… and I’m sure the harder drugs didn’t help the guys’ moods any.


  • 92
    Stressfactor says:

    Oh, and getting back on topic — what really makes the “ping pong ball” gag work is Joel’s reaction — taking it all in stride as if this is nothing terribly surprising.


  • 93
    EricJ says:

    @ 92 – Like they say, “You had to be there…and you had to be 6.”
    I was, and it was a perfect metal-tipped uniquely Joel-style Psychic Lawn Dart. Smile
    (I’d found some 60’s and 70’s Kangaroo on YouTube, including the bit with the Feuerfest Polka, but I still can’t find any evidence of that vacation episode in Curacao.)

    @ 58 – The team that made this movie (Don Opper, Dean Devlin, etc) also made “Android” with Klaus Kinski ; and later became the Roland/Toby Emmerich team that made crappy later big budget movies like “Godzilla.” really they should have stopped after Android.

    In between was Don Opper appearing in the original Critters series. (Before they put Leo DiCaprio in it.) I’d seen Aaron Lipstadt’s “Android” in an arthouse theater when it opened, but didn’t know it had spawned Dean Devlin…Thought Lipstadt had pretty much dropped off the face of the earth after this one.
    (And I can see why–I remember seeing this movie floating around B-movie markets for years without a trace, but the episode itself causes just as much Mighty Jack amnesia. At least we know what Robby Benson was doing in the “lost” 80’s years before Beauty & the Beast.)


  • 94
    schippers says:

    #69 – But, you know, funny awful, or Dane Cook awful?


  • 95
    schippers says:

    #82 – Blast, did you see DEFCON-4 when it played in theaters? Given that it’s Canucksploitation, I imagine it was showing at least somewhere or other up north. I’m just curious; the question has almost zero relevance to the current discussion thread.


  • 96
    Richard says:

    This episode is actually in my Top 10 favorite list. I’ve loved it since I first saw it.


  • 97
    Blast Hardcheese says:

    @ 95: Didn’t see it, but I do remember it–although that may be because it has been shown on CBC-TV as one of their “summer movie” offerings–gotta love those Canadian Content regulations (which don’t exist for cinemas–so DEFCON-4 did play in the theatres, but only for about a week or so).


  • 98
    mst3ktemple says:

    So does anyone have a screen grab of the slate for this episode? I love to see it. I also don’t have slates for 406 or 517. I think 519 was the last. The last I have any way.


  • 99
    Cornjob says:

    I’ve got a soft spot for DefCon 4. Nice to know I’m not the only one who’s seen it. I think it had the bad guy who liked to gag his prisoners with duck tape and tin foil. Maybe they all had a potato stuck in their mouths.


  • 100
    Creepygirl says:

    This is only a “meh” episode for me. It is also the first time I’ve seen it in close to five years. That simple fact actually made the episode almost breand new to me. I found it entertaining but not great.

    IMO a solid middle-of-the-road experiment. 3 stars


  • 101
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    I would rate this as a middle of the road mediocre episode and agree with #11 Bob about the best line being the “James Earl Jones at a low point in his career and Kim Catrall at a high point in hers.” I love Crow’s song about Kim too but the movie is just not very interesting. My MST watching friend and I still adapt this joke any time a good actor appears in a bad film or vice versa. I say 3 stars.


  • 102
    stef says:

    To Sampo, the flashbacks were supposed to reference stuff that happened before the film events like Stressfactor says.

    This film is bad, but there are several things I think are kinda neat about it.

    I love the Pingpong balls opening “Wow, those have been up there for months!”


  • 103
    MiqelDotCom says:

    Funny, for me Crow’s “Kim Cattrall” song was hilarious on original airing (and still) even though until recently I had absolutely no idea who she was. For me the funny part is Crow’s obsession, and the gem of how he delivers the line “Kim -i liked your dress at the ace awards- Caaaaatrallllllll”
    I like it more than the comic book sketch.

    Anyhow the movie was not too interesting the first few times, but once I got accustomed to the confusing plot and focused on the riffing it grew on me.

    J&TB really are in a sweet spot here where the riffs are sharp, well paced but still relaxed and natural feeling.


  • 104
    Jason says:

    Why the government is “bad”:

    Think of it in Native American or libertarian terms. The first effort by the government reeks of colonialism. They come in and try to take over the city out from its inhabitants. They say they’re bettering thee city, but they’re really just pulling a power grab. By the end of the movie, the kids have control of their city back (along with Kim Catrall, the sole idealist), and they get help from the government to better themselves while still maintaining local rule.

    Of course, logically speaking, the government probably didn’t change its mind after the small skirmish, and will be coming down with stronger reinforcements next week… but whatever, it’s a bad movie.


  • 105
    schippers says:

    Plug for DEFCON 4 – it’s coming out on a DVD double bill with Hell Comes to Frogtown on December 13, I believe. The battle for the future of the world has begun!


  • 106
    Richard the Lion-footed says:

    This is the first episode I saw that featured a “new” movie that I had seen on HBO a few years before.
    Until then, MST3K featured old, B-level movies I had seen on TV for years. The type independent stations showed late Saturday Nights and rainy Sunday afternoons. I think “Catalina Caper” was the newest movie I had seen until this one. It sort of legitimized the show for me. They were going to take on all movies, not just the easy “older” ones.
    From then on it was a small treat to see them go after films I had seen on HBO or Showtime
    Just recently (Delta Nights, Soul Taker, Even Merlin’s Shop).


  • 107
    Richard the Lion-footed says:

    That was suppose to be Delta “Knights.”


  • 108
    Sitting Duck says:

    @106: Even before City Limits, MST3K wasn’t adverse to featuring more recent fare. Robot Holocaust, Cave Dwellers, Pod People, and both Master Ninjas were all products of the Eighties.


  • 109
    Dan in WI says:

    #106 Richard> “The type independent stations showed late Saturday Nights and rainy Sunday afternoons.”

    So TV stations show a different type of movie on non-rainy Sunday afternoons?


  • 110
    Cubby says:

    @109: Who knows? No one ever tuned them in on non-rainy Sunday afternoons. People would be outside doing things!

    People used to laugh more then ….


  • 111
    Cornjob says:

    Here’s a little shout out to Insect Man #47. This is your episode, like Gamera vs. Guiron is mine


  • 112
    Cornjob says:

    After viewing DefCon 4 my Father described it as being like the Road Warrior without the road, and without the warrior.


  • 113
    dad1153 says:

    I know I’ve seen “City Limits” on “MST3K” before because I distinctly recall watching Joel’s umbrella gag on TV (tough to forget the visual of the prop and the faint outlines of what said prop was covering Cool), but never downloaded it on DAP or recorded it on home video. That means that last time I saw it must have been back in ’96 on its last Comedy Central airings. So, 15 years into the future in 2011 (hazzah! Wink), I finally got to watch “City Limits” again and I neither like it or hate it very much. As someone else mentioned before, future viewings of this experiment can only improve because this ‘new’ first time out its the deadly middle of the movie (from about 20 min. in until 20 min. before its over) that bogs down the experience. Unlike similar apocalypse-set futuristic movies like “Warriors of the Lost World” or “Escape 2000″ it’s obvious the filmmakers behind “CL” didn’t have enough money to stage or properly shoot over-the-stop stunts and shootouts that at least keep those Italian productions moving. You have an OK ending and a great closing (killer toy planes and Robby Benson crushed to death by a bike while sitting on his desk? Boss!) but in-between are just endless variations of the same thing: “Warriors” rejects riding around in bikes on badly (and barely) lit streets pretending to engage in a struggle with ‘the man’ (i.e. the Halliburton equivalent of ‘the future’) or, worse, people sitting around saying/doing nothing. I know James Earl Jones is in “City Limits” because I heard his voice saying ‘It’s F.U.N.’ (or was that Crow-as-J.E.Jones’ voice? Drool ) but director Aaron Lipstadt never shoots a close-up of Jones saying/doing anything important, just playing with his car’s cassette deck and controlling deadly RC planes. What a waste of a great actor, but of course the same could be said about “Gabriel’s Fire.” (ZING! Quiet ) Stockwell is OK as the doesn’t-do-anything-heroic hero Lee (carryover good vibes from “Christine” I guess) but pretty much everyone else (including nerdy-looking-on-purpose Kim Cattrall) either phones it in or is just trying too hard.

    The riffing is OK (‘It’s the Leno gang’) but, other than the nearly-run-into-the-ground NBC Mystery Movie jokes (which pays off at the start of #404) and ‘This is CNN’ gags, not very memorable outside of pointing out who the actors are (particularly Kim, duh!) and wondering why they’re there. Forrester’s J.E.Jones-Kim Cattrall career contrast remark pretty much says it all, but then Joel & the bots proceed to make endless variations of the same ‘what is such and such doing in this movie?’ Love that, after the first ambush where Kim escapes with the now-disbanded rebels and they’re hiding in an empty building, a white van drives by with the sound of a siren which cues Servo to do a very faint but clearly-audible instrumental version of the ‘Inspector Gadget’ theme song ROTFL. ‘The Fantastic 85/185′ sounded like a promising host segment gag but, as the show kept going, the names they kept coming with got lamer and lamer (‘Servo-Croatian Man?’). Compared with the names for Ryder on “Space Mutiny” (which kept getting funnier and funnier) either they didn’t give the names too much thought or the writing wasn’t as polished back then as it became with more seasons on the show. And what can I say about Mike’s Morrissey take? Long before the Sci-Fi seasons where Mike could just turn into someone at will in moments of extreme stress he was already doing these amazing transformations as either a visitor/guest in Deep 13 (Torgo) or the SOL (Glenn from “Amazing Colossal Man”).

    THREE STARS (out of five) for “City Limits,” but after two or three more viewings it could easily become a 3 1/2 star episode for me. FAVORITE RIFF: ‘It’s after the apocalypse, nobody’s hiring.’


  • 114

    Amazing collections of business card.Every card is designed perfectly with the combination of colors,theme and creativity all are perfect and best,thanks for sharing the great stuff.


  • 115
    JoelsSpiritIsHigh says:

    At around 10:51, does anyone have any idea what the saxophone heavy music is, during which Crow yells out GOLLLDFINGERRR

    I have looked everywhere, but I can find no track list or soundtrack for this movie anywhere. I found from the credits that John Lurie and Mitchell Froch did the music, but I can not find it anywhere.

    Thanks if anyone knows what the song is called or even which of the two composers did it thanks