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!”
• 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 pulls one over on Brian Guy, who is almost sucked into the theater, but not quite.
• On my copy, which I’m pretty sure is from the first showing, Sci-Fi Channel is again using the door sequence as a background for a commercial logo–in this case, for Corona beer.
• Speaking of annoying commercials: my tape also has two “Magic the Gathering” commercials. No offense meant to Magic players, but did they really think TV commercials were going to lure more players to the game?
• The other thing my tape contains is an actual promo for the episode! Ah, the halcyon days when Sci-Fi actually promoted the show…
• 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.”