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Episode guide: The Second Annual Mystery Science Theater 3000 Summer Blockbuster Review

Original air date: Sept. 4, 1998.

Once again I will steal the wikia’s synopsis:

Introduction: Mike and Tom are chilling on the SOL bridge when Crow dashes up: the crew must save the world by informing the citizens of the United States about their obligated summer movie duties. Mike and Tom really aren’t that enthusiastic, but nonetheless join in on the “End of the Summer” theme song. They then riff on clips from “X-Files: Fight the Future” and “Ever After.”
Act One: The crew next checks out footage from “Halloween: H20” (or as Mike calls it, “HalloweenWater”) and “The Truman Show.”
Act Two: The gang proceeds to be very confused by the independent film “Pi,” and then makes fun of “Saving Private Ryan” and its animated rip-off, “Small Soldiers.” Crow then notes that the SOL crew wanted to show clips from a certain film but can’t due to legal reasons. What follows is Crow’s version, Goshzilla, which is arguably better than the real film anyway.
Act Three: Mike and the Bots, for the finale, review clips from “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon.” As the credits roll, Servo notes the small chance that an actual comet will ever hit the Earth, unaware that one is on a direct collision course with the SOL.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)

I added a ratings thingy.

• This is the last special they did for Sci-Fi Channel. Behind the scenes, the relationship with SciFi Channel was falling apart, but there’s very little evidence of it here.
• The set is a little fancier than the last specials, i.e. more red velvet.
• This arrived as Season 9 was coming to an end, a few days after 912- THE SCREAMING SKULL debuted and a couple of weeks before the season finale, 913- QUEST OF THE DELTA KNIGHTS.
• Crow notes that movies based on television shows “is a ridiculous notion.” Ahem.
• It’s amusing that the studio wouldn’t let them use “Godzilla” clips back then, but RiffTrax will soon be riffing the whole thing.
• Last time around I called this show “a little lame.” That seems harsh this time around. I’d upgrade that to “good not great.” Some of the riffing is hilarious, some other riffing is only so-so.
• “We’ll be right back after this Kahlua commercial” was a reference to the endless commercials for the tasty booze product that were running during the show about this time.
• Fave riff: “I can’t have gluten in my underpants.”

NEXT WEEK: We start it all again, starting with the KTMA pilot: The Green Slime.

54 comments to Episode guide: The Second Annual Mystery Science Theater 3000 Summer Blockbuster Review

  • 1
    Colossus Prime says:

    To this day me and all my friends reference, “Halloween Water,” at least once a year.


  • 2
    Brandon says:

    “Uh, there was a door at the back of the box…”

    “Commando Elite, commit suicide!”

    “An affectionate cat. This IS Science-Fiction.”

    I nominate Small Soldiers for the next Rifftrax, if it hasn’t been done already!


  • 3
    Charlie G says:

    Too bad about the X-Files, that had my favorite riff.

    “This grass has been laid recently” “Unlike me”


  • 4
    fireballil says:

    X-Files had my favorite riff, but a different one:

    ‘You boys live around here?’ ‘No, we’re from Madrid!’


  • 5
    rcfagnan says:

    If only they HAD managed to get Fraudzilla and skewered it with all the bile in their arsenal, it would have been cathartic.


  • 6
    Wampa Joe says:

    Yeah, the X-Files was home to all of my favorite riffs, so of course that’s the one that gets attacked by the YouTube gods.

    And I just came in to repeat the “grass has been laid” line. Beaten to the punch.


  • 7
    H says:

    I like this one but it’s a shame they didn’t get Pearl and the gang in on this like last time.


  • 8
    Clouseau says:

    I never really liked the first one, but this second one I’ve always found far funnier. All the mucking around with Pearl and everyone else I thought was a bit distracting, I just liked the film segments. This had less of the behind the scenes footage which I felt wasn’t terribly interesting the first time around either.


  • 9
    MPSh says:

    “Remember that meat loaf we had the other day?”


  • 10
    starman15317 says:

    This is another great one! It has some of my favorites in it.

    -Halloween Water. Need I say more?

    -They really hate Pi, don’t they? “As an independent movie, I knew it would be bad, but…” “That’s why you’ve gotta stick with your big budget, board certified, huge studio movies”

    -Saving Private Benjamin

    -“Not only were people supposed to see it, they were supposed to like it!”

    -“You boys live around here?” “No, we’re from Madrid!”

    Come to think of it, this is a really good one!


  • 11
    Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    Morgan Freeman: What do you know about E.L.E.?
    Crow: I know Jeff Lynne is brilliant…oh wait, that’s not…

    also, “Pi = P.U.”

    But no, overall, this special is not that funny. I guess it says something about me that I saw none of these films in theaters that summer: I had better things to do.

    BTW, eventually Bill Corbett & Mary Jo Pehl did riff the first X-Files movie, which I recommend to everyone. It’s a “RiffTrax Presents” title.


  • 12
    Mela says:

    I was working in a movie theater when this aired. Thanks to it, we all nicknamed the biggest movie of the summer “Halloween Water”. It made the unending crowds tolerable.


  • 13
    M "G******a" Sipher says:

    “De Pimp Act” had me on the floor, and continues to amuse the everloving hell out of me. Crow is so EARNEST as he describes the movie he just made up.


  • 14
    Rich says:

    Mike looks good in his yellow shirt.


  • 15
    Vicki says:

    I love MST3K, but I just didn’t really like the blockbuster reviews or the Oscar show. I don’t why, just didn’t do it for me.


  • 16
    tamerlane says:

    Their brief attempt at riffing “Pi” shows why MST3K and Rifftrax have avoided art house flicks, despite the fact that many of them could be made quite funny if approached correctly. They’re just not cheesy and trashy in the same vein as “Halloween Water”, and that’s where the Brains seem most comfortable.


  • 17
    tamerlane says:

    And by approaching them correctly I mean the way they riffed “Red Zone Cuba”, which is something like a really demented art house effort.


  • 18
    KJB says:

    Too bad the X-Files movie isn’t here:

    “Look at all the FBI’s bowling trophies.”

    Skinner: “Blame has to be assigned somewhere.”
    Mike: “And Richard Jewell is out of town.”

    “It’s Three-Kids-On-Bikes Man!”


  • 19
    MiqelDotCom says:

    I never saw these … great stuff! Definitely like the seeds of what became Rifftrax!


  • 20
    fantagor says:

    If the X-File clip were left intact, Chris Carter would have been compelled to write another maudlin, confusing, overstuffed X-Files movie in response.

    Thank heavens that catastrophe was avoided!



  • 21
    Matt D. says:

    Oh #11 Finnias “Critter” Jones, if you still haven’t seen The Truman Show or Pi or even Armageddon by now, then I think you really should find time to see them.

    As for the special, I echo the sentiments of most of you. Good stuff, but not as good as the first one. I do like the “Halloween H1” comment and of course the Gluten line.


  • 22
    Dan in WI says:

    I really hate to say it but this special seems to have reached a formulaic level. It was predictable and not all that great. I also missed the lack of any guest appearances. If the first summer blockbuster special was too busy this one was way too sparse. There has to be a happy medium out there.

    What is the big deal with Godzilla? Aren’t the brief clips used in specials like these usually some sort of freely available press kit? Is this some sort of riff? Obviously this predates the infamous Rhino Volume 10 so it can’t be a riff on that. I guess the two Godzilla episodes of MST are among the first they lost the rights to rebroadcast as re-runs but that doesn’t seem exactly riff worthy. I think I’m missing something here.

    I don’t have any favorite riffs but enjoyed these summations.

    The intro to saving Private Ryan “not only were people supposed to see it, they were supposed to like it” again vocalizes the way these things are sometimes shoved down our throats.

    “So if you enjoy animation that gives you the creeps then Small Soldiers are for you.”


  • 23
    Joel Lillo says:

    I hadn’t seen this since it first aired and I must say that I really enjoyed it.

    As a Lutheran minister, I loved the riff from “Ever After”…

    Queen Lady: “No matter how bad things get, they can always get worse.”

    Crow (I think): “The first Lutheran.”


  • 24
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    Haven’t watched this one in so long I forgot it existed. Same as all the other specials. I’m sure I’ve got them on a hard drive somewhere.

    As for the “Godzilla” thing, they’ll finally get their shot at that travesty soon enough. I’m sad to say I actually saw it in theaters on opening night. But now I’ve helped support the Rifftrax, so I can…. see it again…. AAAAAARRRGGHHH!!

    Oh well, at least it’ll be entertaining this time.


  • 25
    Sitting Duck says:

    So no Youtube video?


  • 26
    Patrick says:

    So, I get the logic for looping back around to the start (Green Slime), but what precludes having a separate “thread” of posts devoted to Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax (and even Film Crew, books, etc.) release timelines? Personally, I’d like to see more opinions about those categories, particularly Rifftrax, which now has hundreds of releases. Maybe do MST3K releases every Thursday, and a CT/Rifftrax release on Monday? Why not?


  • 27
    Ryan says:

    Yeah, I thought the plan was for you to get to the Film Crew, then Cinematic Titanic, and then Rifftrax riffs next.

    I always thought the idea with the Goshzilla thing was just to parody the studio legal clampdowns, not that they couldn’t actually get footage. And it allowed them to do something more goofy with the “reinactment” than regular riffing, giving more variety to the special.


  • 28
    Goshzilla says:

    I’m sure I’m in a minority here, but I would totally drink a pumpkin-flavored soft drink.

    My buddy and I started calling it Halloweenwater even before this aired. Not that the Brains weren’t cleverer than a couple high schoolers; it’s just, how can you look at “Halloween H20” and not think water?


  • 29
    Smirkboy says:

    Speaking of Ghidorah, I love the irony of Sci-Fi preventing MST3K using Godzilla in the Blockbuster review. The weekend Godzilla premiered in the theaters, Mike and the Bots were on CBS Saturday Morning Show promoting the movie. They were quizzing the host about older Godzilla films. I was able to tape the last half of the segment.

    Did anyone else see that?


  • 30
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    I also vote to do some Cinematic Titanic and Rifftrax releases next. I don’t have this special and I gather it’s been taken off youtube so I have no comment about the actual topic here.


  • 31
    little winged potatoes says:

    I also raise a cup of wassail and cheer for Rifftrax/CT threads here!


  • 32
    Sampo says:

    Sitting Duck–Sorry, the YouTube video for this one (which, you may recall, was missing the “X-Files” footage) seems to have been taken down and I couldn’t find another one.
    Patrick and Ryan–I’m glad you asked.

    I floated an idea like that a couple of years ago, and I guess you remember that I did, but you don’t remember the reaction from the commenters. They were overwhelmingly opposed to the idea. I was urged not to break out of our MST3K wheelhouse, not to allow mission creep, etc. I think that advice was wise, and I took it to heart. I discussed the matter with Erhardt (always my most dependable sounding board on matters related to this site) and he agreed with the commenters.

    So I’m not going to do that. We do have very basic episode listings for the Film Crew, RiffTrax and CT, but I leave it to somebody else to assemble a full-fledged episode guide for them.

    And, I have to admit, the moment I set aside the idea, it felt as if a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. When I am honest with myself, I have to admit that I really don’t think I would be able to keep up that pace.

    This next time through the ep guide will be a fine-tuning exercise, a standardizing exercise. The goal will be to tighten up the writing and to really make the whole thing consistent. I’m going to count on all of you to help me with it, because you guys (and lllllladies) see things my eye goes right by. It really needs doing, and I wish it wasn’t going to take me four years, but unless my life radically changes, I don’t see any way around it.

    So, off we go.


  • 33
    Kenneth Morgan says:

    I can understand the idea of keeping the focus on the original show. It’d be too easy to go off on tangents and forget the original purpose of the site.

    As for the Blockbuster Review, I wish RT would start these up again. And I wonder if they’ll reference this one when they get to riff on GINO in July.


  • 34
    Lisa says:

    @ #28 Goshzilla, there are occasional pumpkin-flavored soft drinks. Jones Soda sometimes issues a Thanksgiving holiday pack that includes a pumpkin pie flavor (I do not recommend the accompanying Brussels sprout or turkey & gravy sodas, however). A brand called Lester’s Fixins also has a pumpkin pie soda (among other odd flavors). At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando (and presumably in Hollywood when it opens) you can get “Pumpkin Juice”, which is not literally pumpkin juice (as wizards presumably are drinking in the books) but kind of like a pumpkiny-flavored, spiced apple cider.

    I could also recommend you some hard pumpkin ciders, but you said soft, so.


  • 35
    jaybird3rd says:

    I agree, best to keep it focused on MST3K. “Scope creep” is exactly the danger with branching out to Cinematic Titanic, Film Crew, Rifftrax, and all the other creative projects the MST3K alumni have been involved in. Rifftrax in particular has been so busy of late that covering their previous output AND keeping up with their new stuff would be a full-time effort in itself.

    I for one am very much looking forward to revisiting the KTMA shows. I just finished reviewing them all for the 25th anniversary, starting last Thanksgiving, and I’ve been making notes along the way.


  • 36
    pondoscp says:

    For your 1998 Godzilla/MST3K fix:
    I enjoyed this special much more than the last one. It was breezy and fun. I work at what you might call a video store, and I sell more copies of Deep Impact than Armageddon! I guess we know which movie won out in the end. And I’ve been on a Jamie Lee Curtis kick this week, so popping this special in and rediscovering Halloween Water was a bizarre coincidence.


  • 37
    Tarantulas says:

    Can the link be changed to my original video? I mean… I shot it (and whatnot). :\


  • 38
    ern2150 says:

    Sampo – what about MST Hour sketch synopses for the relevant episodes?


  • 39
    syferdet says:

    Once more around the episode guide? I like the idea.
    I look forward to these posts on Thursdays.


  • 40
    BeefStumpKnob says:

    I have to agree Sampo, and thanks for all you do!


  • 41
    Cornjob says:

    I just watched Pi and liked it.


  • 42
    Cornjob says:

    Of course I also like Rammstein.


  • 43
    Cheapskate Crow says:

    Cornjob, I like both of those too.


  • 44
    Patrick says:

    Fair enough, Sampo. I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask, but the people have spoken. Instead of an episode guide, how about a once-a-month open thread to discuss favorite MST3K-related projects?


  • 45
    Tarantulas says:

    Thanks for fixing the link!


  • 46

    This special has a much more casual feel to it. I mean, Mike and the Bots are even dressed casually. No tuxes. Just summer clothes. Like Dan in WI up at #22 said, this one feels sparse and a little formulaic. Still, with that said, there are some laughs here, the first of which comes for me when Mike whines, “But, our canned cocktails!.”


    Mulder mumbles,
    Servo: “What? Speak up!”

    -from EVER AFTER:

    movie: “No matter how bad things get, they can always get worse.”
    Crow: “The first Lutheran.”

    movie: “It gives us great pleasure…”
    Servo: “To cover ourselves in whip-cream.”

    Mike: “I sneezed in my cocaine.”


    movie: “Michael!”
    Crow: “You left the seat up again!”

    -from PI:

    Servo: “Oh boy, hunker down. They couldn’t afford color.”


    Servo: “Hey is that Hitler over there?”


    Crow: “It’s a lesbian doll.”

    Mike: “An affectionate cat? This IS science-fiction.”

    -from ARMAGEDDON:

    Mike: “I can’t have gluten in my underpants.” — ROTFL

    their jokes about “GOSHZILLA” are pretty funny, especially in light of their forthcoming Live Riff of that crappy, crappy movie.
    As for why they couldn’t show clips from Godzilla ’98 (and even had the name of the movie *bleeped* out), I don’t really recall, but wasn’t there a media blackout period for that movie? I do remember that they tried to keep the look of Godzilla a secret, but it was spoiled by a toy line.
    Was Godzilla ’98 even screened for critics prior to its release? Maybe by the point that this special was recorded, the movie studio was withholding their material from a TV show that would openly mock it? I’m not really sure. Anybody out there got any definitive answers as to why they couldn’t show clips of Godzilla ’98 on this?

    This special is only so-so,
    I give it 2 out of 5 bottle of Halloween Water.


  • 47
    Triple_sSs says:

    What about the other miscellanea like the MST3K Scrapbook & The Last Dance: Raw? Would like to see you guys go though those kind of things again before heading back to the start.


  • 48
    asdf says:

    yeah, some of the other raw eps floating around too, like Sinbad


  • 49
    Dr. Frankenkeister says:

    I guess I would be in that minority that would love to hear what other MSTies think about the CT, Rifftrax, Film Crew, etc commentaries and projects, but I will go along with the flow. After all, I cannot imagine that the majority of MST fans have completely dismissed these projects sight unseen and have their blinders so they can solely focus on a show that has not aired a new episode since the last century, but I digress.

    I do have a new request with the starting over from KTMA on but could the comments from the past two times around be cut out and/or archived somewhere else? I usually just try to plow through to get to the most recent comments from the current month and year anyway. I just figure that whoever posted a random comment in 2009 isn’t rereading the entire list again as most of the names of posters have changed from the past years.


  • 50
    Cornjob says:

    I like seeing the old comments.


  • 51
    jaybird3rd says:

    Me, too. I’ve learned some interesting things while reading over the old comments.


  • 52
    Cornjob says:

    Of course, I also like Pi and Rammstein.


  • 53
    JohnnyRyde says:

    I’m glad you’re starting over from the beginning of MST3k. I probably won’t participate until the CC season begins, but I’ll be active then. This episode guide posting always lets me have an excuse to watch an episode I would ordinarily skip by and I’ve rediscovered some classics that way.


  • 54
    bad wolf says:

    Sorry to spam the boards, Sampo, but since you won’t be expanding to cover their recent work, i’ll try hosting a blog this summer to discuss some Film Crew/Rifftrax/Cinematic Titanic shows, in an Episode guide-like format.

    Patrick, Ryan, little winged potatoes, Cheapskate crow, Dr Frankenkeister and anyone else interested please stop by!