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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives


Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 813- Jack Frost

Movie: (1966) A Russian version of the Cinderella story includes a mushroom sprite, a bear-headed hero and house with legs.

First shown: 7/12/97
Opening: Mike Nelson IS Lord of the Dance!
Intro: Mike mediates a squabble between Bobo and Brain Guy
Host segment 1: Crow hires a Russian expert
Host segment 2: Crow’s a bear, while Bobo and Brain Guy find common ground
Host segment 3: Crow hires another Russian expert–or someone like him
End: Tom fails in his attempt to be cute; Bobo and Brain Guy discuss ape movies, but Pearl returns to settle the matter
Stinger: “Bring on my fiancee!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (273 votes, average: 4.64 out of 5)

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• For the longest time, there was the “Russo-Finnish troika” of “Day the Earth Froze,” “Sinbad” and “Sword and the Dragon.” The Sci-Fi era needed one too, I guess, so now it’s a quartet, and wow, is this one ever out there. It’s not directed by Aleksandr Ptushko, as they other ones were, but it definitely has that weird vibe that gives them plenty of riffing fodder, and they do a great job with it. Some of the host segments are great, others don’t do much for me.
• Check out Mary Jo’s take on this episode here.
• This episode was included on Shout!Factory’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol. XVIII.
• To start things off, we get one of the host segment highlights of the season as Mike parodies human peacock Michael Flatley, especially his deeply self-satisfied, nose-breathing smirk.
• Mike almost puts one over on Brain Guy, who is almost sucked into the theater, but not quite.
• Obscure reference: Hildegard von Bingen. Even I needed to look that one up. The next time somebody tries to tell you all MST3K does is fart jokes, remind them of THIS.
• The segment where Crow becomes a bear is another gem, a great example of Bill’s slightly demented Crow, very different from Trace’s Crow but very funny. Grr!
• Crow is still a bear when he returns to the theater.
• That’s Patrick as Yakov Smirnoff; and that’s Paul as Earl Torgeson. Both the “Crow hires an expert” segments didn’t do much for me. Yakov’s standup act wasn’t quite as lame as they make it out to be, and the second bit just sort of wanders off without a real payoff.
• In the comments, a number of readers have noted that by about eight episodes in, Bobo’s character had totally, well, devolved. When we first met him at the beginning of the season, he was a sophisticated gentleman and scientist. Slowly but surely the writers changed him into the happy-go-lucky, termite-eating dimwit who so exasperates Brain Guy and Pearl. Not really a criticism. Just an observation.
• Dalesim: As thug smells his hand, Mike: “Hm. I thought I was Dale!”
• Cast roundup: Georgiy Millyar and Valentin Bryleyev were both in “The Day the Earth Froze.” That’s it.
• CreditsWatch: Kevin again gets the “Produced & Directed” credit. Following this episode, Grip Mike Parker takes two episodes off. And this was the last episode interns Tamara Melloy and Randy Smith worked on.
• Fave line: “Apparently there’s no Finnish word for ‘subtle.’ ” Honorable mention: “I thought Jerry Garcia was Father Mushroom.”

164 Replies to “Episode guide: 813- Jack Frost”

  1. For the longest time, there was the “Russo-Finnish troika” of “Day the Earth Froze,” “Sinbad” and “Sword and the Dragon.”
    It’s not directed by Aleksandr Ptushko, as they other ones were, but it definitely has that weird vibe

    Fave line: “Apparently there’s no Finnish word for ‘subtle.’ ”

    And apparently no Russian one, either.
    (Couldn’t they EVER get them straight, like the “Swedish” Sword & the Dragon?)

    Hint, guys: When we have babushkas, Baba Yaga, and jingling all the way in a one-horse open troika, it’s NOT FINNISH.
    And it’s not Sinbad, either.

       1 likes

  2. Johnny Drama says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFxo1SfF7Zg
    here’s the classic promo.

    Eh, this episode’s ok. Nothing to write home about. Next week’s the gold standard before the whole season starts to go rapidly downhill.

       1 likes

  3. A 4 star classic despite extended use of Bobo and the lack of Pearl. I am noticing that the scifi era host segments feel more hit and miss than any other era. Not that other eras didn’t have good and bad host segments but they felt very polarized in the scifi episodes. Mike Nelson is Lord of the Dance is great and Pearl’s threatening Mike to his face at the end is awesome but the rest leaves me cold.

    On the other hand this movie and the riffing are comedy gold. The movie is strangely watchable as well. This is an episode that I would love to see a remaster with a better quality print to make those colors pop.

       1 likes

  4. The segment where Crow becomes a bear is another gem, a great example of Bill’s slightly demented Crow, very different from Trace’s Crow but very funny. Grr!

    So, Sampo, I’m guessing this is another bit of early naivety left over from the first drafting of the page?:
    “Look, Bill’s Crow is dressing up as the character, like he does in Phantom Planet! I hope he does more segments with the concept, all the way into Season 9!” ;)

    In the comments, a number of readers have noted that by about eight episodes in, Bobo’s character had totally, well, devolved. When we first met him at the beginning of the season, he was a sophisticated gentleman and scientist. Slowly but surely the writers changed him into the happy-go-lucky, termite-eating dimwit who so exasperates Brain Guy and Pearl. Not really a criticism. Just an observation.

    As Kevin takes over directing more of the later episodes, I think that was more his own impression that he could comically dogpile on Bobo’s character and emphasize “frustrating idiot” more effectively by playing an anthropomorphized animal-person with more of the animal’s own idiotic habits. (Eg, if the Wolfman started drinking from the toilet and humping the couch, yuk yuk.) You can find the gag in just about any CGI comedy that ever had wisecracking critters, although Zootopia was at least a little cleverer about it.
    Also, much like the way Homer Simpson slowly evolved from “Every kids’ dumb dad, especially Bart’s” to the brain-dead paper-target of American Mainstream Idiocy whenever Matt Groening got upset about something–Bobo’s change is definitely a product of Kevin’s own more cathartic “angry” approach to the show’s parody, particularly as it was meant to start out as a parody on specific overpraised iconic 70’s science-fiction movies, and therefore “deserving” it, unquote.

    And yes, it started out wandering off the point and getting more performer self-indulgent, and then just turned into nails on chalkboard by S10 & S11…Yeesh!

       1 likes

  5. jay says:

    The Original EricJ: So, Sampo, I’m guessing this is another bit of early naivety left over from the first drafting of the page?:

    Attacking the host knowing he is too professional to respond in kind is pretty low stuff. What’s next? “Nanny nanny poo-poo”, etc.?

       18 likes

  6. jay: Attacking the host knowing he is too professional to respond in kind is pretty low stuff.What’s next?“Nanny nanny poo-poo”, etc.?

    No, that was in response to the previous weeks’ “Gee, M&tB really show great restraint from beating old-role jokes about the actors!” with Giant Spider Invasion’s comments followed by “Errr…..okay, guess they do” a week later in Parts’s.

    Er, yeah, Sampo, think we’ll be seeing a FEW more instances of “crazy” Bill-Crow dressing up as the character, to the point that they meta-satirize the trope in Phantom Planet’s segment:
    (“Look, guys, I’m a Solarite now, it’s an incisively satirical host-seg premise!”
    “Uh, yeah, whatever, that’s really nice, Crow, (ignore)…”)

    The Original EricJ:As Kevin takes over directing more of the later episodes, I think that was more his own impression that he could comically dogpile on Bobo’s character and emphasize “frustrating idiot” more effectively by playing an anthropomorphized animal-person with more of the animal’s own idiotic habits.(Eg, if the Wolfman started drinking from the toilet and humping the couch, yuk yuk.)
    Bobo’s change is definitely a product of Kevin’s own more cathartic “angry” approach to the show’s parody, particularly as it was meant to start out as a parody on specific overpraised iconic 70’s science-fiction movies, and therefore “deserving” it, unquote.

    Probably a more appropriate example would be the running string of “Fling crap!” jokes every time the Ape army or general shows up in “Time of the Apes”.
    That one was a little funnier, since it was poking fun at how seriously the Japanese version was taking itself, or how it believed it was trying to be the 70’s movie–

    Whereas, with the SciFi years, the guys thought they had to parody Great Famous Sci-Fi Icons for the network, and had to snarkily bite the hand that fed them.
    By the time they no longer had to do Season 8 running-arc segments, the Because Classic Sci-Fi jokes were basically reduced to nerd-bashing episode-specific jokes about Trek:TOS refs (look, AV-geeks, they mentioned Nomad and Finnegan, and Mike dresses up as Captain Janeway, too!), and with no real role left to play, Kevin’s interpretation of the ape-makeup character was having too much fun with “Watch me play an idiot, ook-ook!”

       1 likes

  7. Mr. Krasker says:

    The Original EricJ: “Watch me play an idiot, ook-ook!”

       12 likes

  8. Sitting Duck says:

    Watch-out-for-Snakes:
    Brain Guy alllllllmost watches the movie, but not quite.I’m sure his riffing would’ve been grand.

    But if they had left Brain Guy in the theater for the first segment, who would work the Crow puppet?

    The Original EricJ: (Couldn’t they EVER get them straight, like the “Swedish” Sword & the Dragon?)

    To be fair, you’re having trouble keeping them straight as well. :P The Day the Earth Froze was the one they identified as Swedish. The Sword and the Dragon merely had the A Joke By Ingmar Bergman host segment.

       5 likes

  9. littleaimishboy says:

    Sitting Duck: . the A Joke By Ingmar Bergman host segment.

    Typical sellout pandering to Ingmar Bergman fanboys …

       7 likes

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

    The Original EricJ:

    Hint, guys:When we have babushkas…it’s NOT FINNISH.
    And it’s not Sinbad, either.

    No, it’s Party Beach.

       7 likes

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

    littleaimishboy: Typical sellout pandering to Ingmar Bergman fanboys …

    I’m not sure when I thought Ingmar Bergman had died but until checking his Wikipedia page, I wouldn’t have thought it had been so relatively recent, a little more than ten years ago today. Huh.

    Here he is in what looks kind of like a scene from The Deadly Mantis but of course isn’t.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingmar_Bergman#/media/File:Ingmar_Bergman_Smultronstallet.jpg

       1 likes

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

    dafs:
    Can you put my entrails back in, Mike?

    Yet again Tom is in Destroy-Crow mode. I asked it before and I’ll ask it again; When Is It Crow’s Turn?!

       1 likes

  13. littleaimishboy says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: Yet again Tom is in Destroy-Crow mode. I asked it before and I’ll ask it again; When Is It Crow’s Turn?!

    “… say, is that peppercorn ranch?”

       1 likes

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

    Separate note: Presumably it’s Father Mushroom and GRANDfather Frost because cold existed before mushrooms did.

       1 likes

Comments are closed.