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Episode guide: MST3K’s Little Gold Statue Preview Special

Original air date: March 22, 1995.
I was going to write a synopsis, but the MST3K Wikia has a terrific one, so I am going to steal it.

Synopsis
Act One: Hosts Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot welcome viewers over cocktails to the special and state its purpose: for the Bots to tell you your opinions on the upcoming Oscars, even though they haven’t seen any of the movies. They decide to use the promo tapes that the studios give away instead.
First, the Bots pick the Best Make-Up award, showing a clip from “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” and an interview with an “uncooperative” Kenneth Branagh. They then pick “Four Weddings and a Funeral” for Best Picture and show a confusing clip. Mike (who won’t be back later as Ed Asner) drops in to fill in the Bots on the clip’s topic. Their Best Actress is revealed as Miranda Richardson from “Tom & Viv;” this clip leads to discussions of bass fishing and river movies. Best Director is based on looks, which means the winner is…Robert Redford of “Quiz Show”!
Act Two: The Bots stuff themselves with hors d’oevurs and take another shot at Best Picture, this time choosing “Forrest Gump;” the “box of chocolates” line gets Servo a little overexcited. Next is Best Costume; the Bots are impressed by “Queen Margot” but are then wowed by “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and throw their vote behind it instead. They discuss a few random films before sending things over to Gypsy in the field. Unfortunately for them, she’s actually in her room alone making Pop-Tarts. Best Song has clips from “The Lion King” and “Junior.”
Act Three: The entrees have arrived, and so have more clips from “Quiz Show” and Robert Redford, this time for Best Picture. Best Original Screenplay has bits from “Red” and “Heavenly Creatures,” followed by another look at Best Actress, in this case Winona Ryder from “Little Women.” This leads to a discussion about Civil War myths before segueing into Jessica Lange in “Blue Sky.” This leads the Bots to decide it is the Year of the Mental Lady!
Act Four: Over dessert, Ed Asner finally drops by, and it is not Mike, right? Best Picture focuses on “Hoop Dreams” this time around, although the Bots are dismayed by the clip’s abrupt ending. Best Actor is finally discussed, mentioning John Travolta and after a bitter rant from Servo leads to another Best Picture feature for “Pulp Fiction.” The Bots then thank the viewers for watching (although “Ed Asner” is slightly dismayed at his limited role in the whole affair) before gorging themselves on the last of their sweets.
Oh, and the Bots forgot to mention “The Shawshank Redemption.” The end.

Some thoughts:
• It’s amazing this special got made at all. The final episode of season six — the one in which Frank departs — was only days away when this special debuted, and things were pretty testy between BBI and CC by that juncture. But somehow it happened. The concept isn’t fully formed here, but you can definitely see the germs of a good idea.
• I love when Crow has a “slicked back” net, indicating a formal occasion.
• There’s no riffing of clips here, as we would get in the two Oscar specials during the Sci-Fi years, though there is some narration.
• The melody for “Let me be Frank about Frank” plays in background at several points.
• I noticed this time that there’s different “food” on the desk for each segment.
• Kevin and Trace are incredibly tight here. You can tell they’re thinking each other’s thoughts.
• Clips featured “Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Tom & Viv,” “Forest Gump,” “Queen Margot,” “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” “The Lion King (actually a clip from the “Love Tonight” music video), “Junior,” “Quiz Show,” “Red,” “Heavenly Creatures,” “Little Women,” “Blue Sky,” “Hoop Dreams,” and “Pulp Fiction.”
• Interviews: Kenneth Branagh, Tony Fucile (animator for “The Lion King”) and John Travolta.
• Other clips: a brief clip of Robert Zemeckis, another of Quentin Tarantino and two long clips of the scrumptious Robert Redford directing “Quiz Show.”
• Best line: “Life is like a crap sandwich! The more bread ya got, the less CRAP YA GOTTA TAKE!”

38 comments to Episode guide: MST3K’s Little Gold Statue Preview Special

  • 1
    Graboidz says:

    Hmmmm…”…the scrumptious Robert Redford”….was that really the adjective you were going for there Sampo?

       1 likes

  • 2
    Graboidz says:

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that……

       1 likes

  • 3
    Colossus Prime says:

    Out of sheer coincidence I watched this just last Friday. Weird. I never really noticed that they don’t riff over the movie clips just between them.

    It’s a great premise and I wish we would’ve gotten more than the 3 SciFi era ones, but those were great and I can’t wait to get to them.

       0 likes

  • 4
    H says:

    Hey, didn’t they do an awards special during the Joel years (I think Season 4)? I seem to remember one but can’t find it anywhere.

    Anyway, they did a good job with this one, especially Mike as Ed Asner.

       0 likes

  • 5
    Sampo says:

    Graboidz: Just following Crow’s lead on that.

       2 likes

  • 6
    RPG says:

    I love that blooper they included in the Poopie! tape when Crow gets all lopsided. “I’m drunk.”

       0 likes

  • 7
    Gary Bowden says:

    Very funny special and I hope it’s included on one of the future volumes from Shout.

       2 likes

  • 8
    Droppo says:

    Love the ending bit about Shawshank…

       0 likes

  • 9
    Captain Cab says:

    Finally got to see this late last year, not as good as the sci-fi Oscar specials but still just as fun. The one part that stands out the most which didn’t even need any riffing or follow up comment was Disney animator Tom Fucile’s extremely bizarre words of um, praise and awe of Elton John, comparing him to “an impressive beast sitting next to you” or some such weirdness. Also, love the bots’ quick (and I assume genuine) shout out at the very end for the Shawshank Redemption. haha Grin

       0 likes

  • 10
    smallerdemon says:

    I just came across this during one of my recent VHS captures. In fact, it immediately precedes Samson Vs The Vampire Women on the tape. Smile

    Weren’t there two of these specials?

       0 likes

  • 11
    JCC says:

    “extremely bizarre words of um, praise and awe of Elton John, comparing him to “an impressive beast sitting next to you” or some such weirdness.”

    ============================================================
    I think you’re being sarcastic but I’m pretty sure Mr. Fucile was talking about viewing actual lions so as to animate them properly later, the Brains edited it to seem like he was talking about Sir Elton.

       0 likes

  • 12
    WeatherServo9 says:

    This shows so well the immensely stark contrast between the mentality of the Brains and the mentality of Hollywood. Hollywood is self-aggrandizement run amuck, and even the sorts of entertainment ‘news’ shows that this is not so gently mocking wallow in their completely non-ironic self-absorption.

    MST3K, on the other hand, was just a clever little puppet show put on by people who clearly loved what they did, and who clearly loved and respected their audience.

    To this day I do not understand why people like watching award shows – the Oscars, Grammys, Tonys, Emmys, etc. – or why entertainment awards shows are considered entertainment themselves. Every industry gives out awards (plumbers, dentists and insurance agents even get awards), but they’re not shown on TV nor does anyone outside of the respective industries have any interest in them. And rightly so.

    And I’d rather watch a low-budget puppet show that was cancelled a decade ago than sit through Sex and the City V, Avatar III, or Transformers XI. Thank Zeus for the internet and for the eventual end to corporate Hollywood’s hegemony over entertainment.

       2 likes

  • 13
    Captain Cab says:

    “I think you’re being sarcastic but I’m pretty sure Mr. Fucile was talking about viewing actual lions so as to animate them properly later, the Brains edited it to seem like he was talking about Sir Elton.”

    Unfortunately, no I was not being sarcastic. Razz I do now see that comment was yes, most likely taken out of context on purpose by the Brains. Still very funny though.

       2 likes

  • 14
    BeefStumpKnob says:

    WeatherServo9, I couldn’t agree more!

       0 likes

  • 15
    BIG61AL says:

    This would make great extra on a future set #7 – Gary Bowden. The clips of the movies should be a breeze to a release for since they were given away to anyone who asked. What I really want to see released is the live shows. Surely the rights to those can be obtained since they got them for the showing. Please please please…I swear I won’t complain about the bad sound or camera work. oh please please. Yeah that sounds desperate but if it works who cares…what do you say Jim? How about it?

       1 likes

  • 16
    Spector says:

    Still a wickedly funny parody of the Academy Awards.

       0 likes

  • 17
    starman15317 says:

    I just saw this a couple of weeks ago since I bought a bootleg DVD with this and the other specials. This one is classic!

       0 likes

  • 18
    Katana says:

    Oh hey, I uploaded these! That’s funny to see…

    I will say this: this special is cute, and the more times I watch it, the more I can appreciate it. But being the tadpole that I am and seeing this one after the specials done on Sci-Fi, it’s pretty weak in comparison. Like I said though, I like it more with each viewing, so I can hardly dismiss it.

    (And so long as I’m here, I hereby submit my future apologies in the possibility that the reviews for the specials done on Sci-Fi will also use the videos I uploaded. I believe the second chunk of the Robots Choice Awards is unviewable due to Titanic, and the first part of the 2nd Summer Blockbuster Review had a clip of X-Files: The Movie removed because, no matter how often I tried, YouTube snapped them down for copyright. *breathes* Okay.)

       1 likes

  • 19
    Richard the Lion Footed says:

    This was a good start to the idea of looking at current “great” films and knock them down a notch. This would be done better later in the other “gold statue” specials.

    I love the fact that they say what all these specials imply. “You need opinions so use ours!!”

       0 likes

  • 20
    JLH says:

    There were no other specials prior to this concerning awards: you may be confusing it with the SOLties in episode 505.

       1 likes

  • 21
    norgavue says:

    Yup mike nelson “is” ed asner.

       0 likes

  • 22
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I only remember one Oscar special during the Sci-Fi era, “The Academy of Robot’s Choice Award Preview Special”. I know they did two “Summer Blockbuster Review” specials, though. Did I miss something?

    Anyway, this is a funny special, even if they don’t riff on the clips. And Servo’s rant about “Forrest Gump” is interesting in the light of Kevin’s comments about the movie in “A Year at the Movies”.

       0 likes

  • 23
    Rich says:

    I have the one from ’98 on VHS. I thought I was special! I didn’t know there were so many. Sheesh.

       0 likes

  • 24
    Mac says:

    I lost my tape of this years ago, and I’m glad it’s been posted… FOR NOW.

    That was a heck of a year to do an awards special. Still bizarre that “Gump” won, except, you know, Hollywood.

       0 likes

  • 25
    Matt D. says:

    Great special, and I had never watched it all the way through, so thank you for discussing it, Mr. Sampo. Can’t wait to watch the “This is MST3K” show as I haven’t ever seen that one either.

       0 likes

  • 26
    Warren says:

    This is the first time I’ve ever seen it-too bad it took so long, though when this aired I didn’t even know about the show.

       0 likes

  • 27
    Son of Bobo says:

    A great parody of Hollywood nonsense. I love how they chose Mike to be Ed Asner rather than some fashionable celeb. This was a great writing job with Trace and Kevin going all out.

       0 likes

  • 28
    Brandon says:

    It occurred to me how Trace and Kevin did their dialogue here, as opposed to the outtake where Crow gets “drunk”. In the outtake Trace and Kevin are delivering their lines more calmly it seems, while here, they’re talking more enthusiastically like you would expect hosts to do on a show like this. I wonder if it was an idea that they came up with after the outtake, or if Kevin and Trace just weren’t in it yet before Crow’s net went lopsided.

       0 likes

  • 29
    Travis H says:

    Wow! This was SOO hilarious! I only remember seeing brief clips of it back in the day on Comedy Central, it was great to finally see the whole thing. Some really funny jokes in there. Pity it’ll never get officially released!

       0 likes

  • 30
    rcfagnan says:

    “The night the stars salute themselves!” As true now as it was then.

       2 likes

  • 31
    Dan in WI says:

    Okay so there is no riffing during the clips. I didn’t really miss it. What makes up for it is just the tight well timed presentation given by Trace and Kevin. They really were firing on all cylinders and this had that rare mix of both witty and funny.

    It was a wonderful idea to include Ed Asner. He might not have been all that current even in 1995 but that man has stories to tell!

    Favorite Lines:
    Quiz Show featured actors acting, a plot and an outcome.

    This is one of those important films. Which means it’s boring and you see it in a theater filled with people with BO and you pretend you get it.

       1 likes

  • 32
    Clint says:

    Seeing the videotape of the movie “Nell” really sets the time period for this.

       2 likes

  • 33
    pondoscp says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the birth of RiffTrax.

    What an odd little special this is. I watched it again last night, and I kept waiting for the movie to start! It felt like a 22 minute host segment. Fun, quick, and odd.

       2 likes

  • 34
    Eric in NJ says:

    Loved it- still watch it from time to time. Comic big shots at their finest!

       0 likes

  • 35

    Yeah, this is a weird little special. From the looks of it, I’m sure it was incredible cheap to produce, as there is (seemingly) really just not that much to this one. Using EPK (Electronic Press Kit) clips and trailer footage must really have kept the cost down. The hand-drawn category cards that drop down behind Crow and Servo are a nice, simple touch as well.

    Crow “slicked back hair” look is very classy. I always liked that about him.

    This aired back in 1995, which was about the same time I was getting serious about my movie watching and started to develop my cinematic tastes, what I liked and what I didn’t. I was 15 years old and I remember watching a lot of the movies mentioned (Quiz Show, Four Weddings, Frankenstein, Maverick) and some of them I even still like quite a bit (Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption, Heavenly Creatures), but some of these movie I had forgotten about or had never seen, like Queen Margot, Red, Tom and Viv, and The Paper.

    Watching Crow and Servo talk about modern movies was a really novel concept at the time and I remember wishing that they would’ve riffed on the movie clips. Turns out that would have to wait until the next specials…

    Funny lines:

    after finding out what Andy MacDowell was talking about,
    Crow: “Why would you want to do it more than once?”

    Crow: “The numptious, scrumptious, yumdidliumptious Robert Redford!”

    Servo perfectly sums up what Forest Gump really is, a “crap sandwich.” I mean seriously, that movie is just stacks of bread to go along with its crap filling.

    I like that Crow and Servo keep having little asides to talk about older movies. My favorite is when they both gush about Honeysuckle Rose and Ladyhawke.

    after the Junior clip,
    Servo makes throw up sounds.
    Crow: “That’s really mature, Servo.”
    Servo: “Well, she said ‘spotting’.”

    Crow (about Robert Redford): “You just want to nuzzle him and for a brief second maybe just touch the back of his left kneeeeeeeee!”

    Both Crow and Servo: “We salute you, mental women of Hollywood!”


    If there was a ratings thingy I would give it a 3/5
    Film Film Film

       1 likes

  • 36
    slowermo says:

    I only saw this once when it first aired but I still remember part of the summary for Pulp Fiction being “…men invading other men, fun for the whole family. Bring Grandma!”

       0 likes

  • 37
    BebopKate says:

    I’m thrilled to bits you liked the synopsis I wrote. Wow, that was oh so long ago…

       1 likes

  • 38
    JCC says:

    Is this the one with Helena “Bonzo” Bonham Carter? That is such a simple, silly, great riff!

       0 likes