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Episode guide: 903- The Pumaman

Movie: (1980) After discovering that he has inherited super powers, a mild-mannered young professor must do battle with a villain using a mind-control device.

First shown: 4/4/98
Opening: Tom has short man’s disease
Intro: Tom is better; Pearl’s ball is somewhat under-attended, while Observer has Ortega and some buddies over
Host segment 1: Mike offends Shelli the Nanite, so his dry look does not come out well
Host segment 2: Mike has been chosen to be Coatimundi Man
Host segment 3: Crow and Tom capture the mind of Roger Whitaker
End: Crow resigns briefly; while a guest finally arrives at Pearl’s party
Stinger: Puma Man is defenestrated
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (374 votes, average: 4.70 out of 5)


• This is a beloved episode, so beloved that the last time we did a poll of fans to find out which episode they wanted to see released on DVD, this one was at the top of the list. Me, I’d call this one good, not great. The movie is incredibly stupid and reasonably watchable and the riffing is top-notch, but the host segments range from only mildly funny to not.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Vol XXIX.”
• Paul’s take is here.
• A lot of people assumed this movie was somehow a ripoff of the TV show “Greatest American Hero.” After all, the story line is remarkably similar and the flying sequences are practically identical. But the TV show hit the air waves a year after this movie came out. Call it parallel development.
• Watch Pearl’s beauty mark. It moves around quite a bit.
• The intro segment marks the first instance of segments that mention how Observer has begun to develop a, um, personal life outside Pearl’s orbit. In this case, instead of buying into the whole “ball” thing Pearl has going on, he simply begs off because a gang of pals is over to watch “Sliders” (remember “Sliders”?). That’s Beez and Patrick as the pals, and of course Paul as Ortega.
• When Servo hits the theater for the first time, he still has his wig on.
• Of course that’s once again Mary Jo as Shelli, the spiteful hairdessing nanite in segment 1.
• Following segment 2, Mike still has coatimundi hat on, prompting Servo to make a little host segment callback: He quietly says “Bold, Mike” (a reference to the famous barbecue sauce sketch in which he wore the same hat, or one very like it).
• Cast and crew roundup: scriptwriter Massimo De Rita was assistant executive director on “Hercules.”
In front of the camera, Donald Pleasence was also in “Warrior of the Lost World,” Miguel Angel Fuentes was also in “Deathstalker III.” Benito Stefanelli was also in “Secret Agent Super Dragon” and Guido Lollobrigida was also “Operation Double 007.”
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Mike. Intern Scott Bowman begins a six-episode stint.
• Fave riff: “It’s S&M day at the Field Museum.” Honorable mention: “Donald’s only use of the word ‘comb’.”

201 Replies to “Episode guide: 903- The Pumaman”

  1. Lawgiver says:

    This one is in my top five (of which there are actually about ten or eleven). For me, the unintentionally silly movies provide the best riffing opportunities.


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