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Sampo & Erhardt

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

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Episode guide: K12- Fugitive Alien

Movie: (1978 original TV show episodes; 1986 compilation movie) Alien marauder Ken becomes a fugitive from his home planet, then joins the Earth spaceship Bacchus 3 to fight against his former masters. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Rita is sent with a deadly mission.

First shown: 2/5/89
Opening: Dr. E. calls Dr. F., who is attending a mad scientists’ convention in Las Vegas
Host segment 1: Servo and Gypsy have disassembled Crow
Host segment 2: Ever notice how you never see certain celebrities in the same room together? Joel and Servo discuss
Host segment 3: Joel hosts a robot dance competition
End: Joel announces the formation of the fan club
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (113 votes, average: 4.04 out of 5)


• The third-season riffing of this movie is one of the most seminal episodes in the series, so I guessed that this version was going to really pale in comparison, and it does. Plus, Trace is AWOL again, making it an even weaker incarnation. But if you take it on its own merits and don’t compare it, you can definitely see them getting stronger and more comfortable in the format.
• The Mad Scientist Convention would come up again in season one.
• Once again Servo sits in Crow’s seat (as he did in episode K06- GAMERA VS. GAOS) – Josh probably preferred not to have to crawl so far during the exits and entrances. Although he does not appear in the episode, Trace is still listed as a writer, puppeteer and “mad scientist” in the credits.
• The second half of this “movie,” Fugitive Alien 2, was done in episode K03, of which no fan copy exists.
• The opening is really pretty funny; Josh is channeling Bob Newhart. Meanwhile Joel is disturbingly distraught. “I MISS MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY! GET ME DOWN!” Acting!
• Servo cracks Joel up with his “Strawberry Fields” parody. Despite the lack of Crow, Tom Servo really takes up the slack in the theater. It feels like he has many more riffs than Joel, but the two of them seem very in sync.
• One thing about this version: We get to see a lot of footage that was cut from the season three version.
• I wonder if that’s Kevin running Gypsy in the segments where Servo is there.
• It was a fairly typical February night in Minneapolis the night this show aired: a balmy 1 degree at 7 p.m.
• So many riffs from the third-season version are ingrained in me. Every time Ken says “Rita!” I reflexively say “Meter maid!”; every time anybody says “Rocky!” I reflexively say “Again?”): but it’s especially true of the score, and the lyrics that the Brains wrote for that music. I defy you to sit through this version and NOT burst out with o/` “He tried to kill me with a forklift…” o/`
• Josh genuinely amuses Joel up with his dance competition comments during segment 3.
• I’ve been meaning to mention this for several episodes: “Heavy on the 30-weight,” which Joel says to Cambot in several episodes, is a Firesign Theatre reference.
• Joel seems a little distracted during the closing.
• Fave riff: “Don’t you have, like, a Highlights Magazine I could wait with?” Honorable mention: o/` …and no refrigerator to stick on to. o/`

46 Replies to “Episode guide: K12- Fugitive Alien”

  1. Dan in WI says:

    The season three Fugitive Alien episodes were among my very favorites of all time. So I certainly had some curiosity going into this one.

    I loved the opening bit where Joel comments that you know something sucks when you try to cover it up with two cool words in the name like Fugitive Alien. Then Servo responds you mean like Mystery Science. What can I say? I’m a bit Bob Uecker fan so I always like a good piece of self-depricating humor.

    Then there’s Joel’s Fugitive Alien theme song. Let’s just say I’m glad it went a complete and total rewrite for the season three medley in Fugitive Alien II. This version wasn’t so good.

    How about that temperature? 1°!

    Favorite Riff:
    Servo: Japanese polka party with Lawrence Welkasaki


  2. Graboidz says:

    Oooff! This is one tough cookie to sit through. I have a tough time sitting through the Season 3 version of this one, and while I generally enjoy the KTMA eps, this one is just painful.

    Has Trace ever explained his multiple absences from the KTMA eps? Was he working another gig or devoting more time to his “daytime” job?


  3. Creepygirl says:

    I too enjoyed this version a lot more than I thought. I also really love the Season 3 episode VERY MUCH! :grin: I actually believe this longer version of the movie helps the story become a little more clear.

    A lot of “classic TV” references. Off the top of my head they mention or quote lines from GET SMART, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND, THE BANANNA SPLITS, THE MONKEES, THE BRADY BUNCH, THE FLINTSTONES (there’s a groovy little town called Bedrock…thitch twitch) and many many more.

    Josh really shined and seemed to have had the lion’s share of riffs and inprov’s. I can now see a bit why he may of felt a little tied down by the ridged scripting of Season 1.

    Overall a very good KTMA and well worth seeking out.


  4. dad1153 says:

    Having never seen the Season 3 “Fugitive Alien” episodes (I know, I know! :roll: ) I can judge this KTMA-era episode on its own merits. Fully aware there’s an even better-riffed version out there I found myself enjoying this warm-up experiment. Even without Trace you can feel Joel and especially J. Elvis stepping up their game to compensate. While the host segments are somewhat forgettable (except for the ‘YMCA’ dance-off between Joel and the bots… I mean, what the heck was that?) Joel and Servo are practically running over each other in their zeal to talk back at “Fugitive Alien.” The ‘gravel pit’ jokes had me laughing and even the riffs that land with thuds (the whole ‘___ing’ exchange) have the charm of them trying to not let the absence of Trace/Crow slow them down. Unlike the past couple of taking-themselves-seriously movies “FA” is both goofy (content and dubbing) and fast-paced but, because its a “Star Wars/Star Trek” wannabe (Joe is supposed to be a Japanese Capt. Kirk, right?), it feels less goofy than Sandy Frank’s man-in-rubber-suit imports. I mean, this sucker moves lightning-fast! In less than an hour Ken has gone from killer soldier to alien on the run from his space race to being part of Captain Joe’s crew; shoot, by the movie’s end (why did they riff the sequel as their third KTMA experiment? :|) I really was wondering whether Ken shot Rita accidentally or for real because he wanted back with Joe’s crew/ship. And, though dated and obvious (the use of mirrors/split-screen to make it seem there were more space ships), the TV SFX of the space scenes had me grinning from ear to ear. I grew up in a third-world country where they showed American, Japanese and European shows (mostly USA shows); TV shows like the old “Capt. Ultra” kid’s space show were part of my daily viewing diet. “Fugitive Alien” took me back to what it was like to see Japanese men in space talking a foreign language (Spanish in my case) and you being young and naive-enough to buy it. Capt. Joe even looks like the father of Ken/Mark in the old “Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets” cartoon.

    THREE STARS (in the KTMA scale) for both the KTMA episode and the actual “Fugitive Alien” movie (what we see of it, which I’m told is a lot more than what we get in Season 3). Favorite riff: (after a cross-cutting staredown between Joe and Ken) I’m sorry!; you have to see it to understand! ;-)


  5. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    Dr. Erhardt: “I won’t hold it against you, as long as he doesn’t hold it against you.”

    Problems with this episode:
    1. no Trace/Crow
    2. poor video quality
    3. crappy movie
    4. redone much better in Season 3

    Despite these issues, I actually enjoy this one, at least the first half: it’s action packed, has lots of cool model work, and moves at a quick pace. Drunken Captain Joe is a delight.

    “We don’t deserve half the things we get …[laughs maniacally]…You’re stuck here.”

    The second half is more of a slog, with its tedious political negotiations, prison break, gravel pit, and Ken’s doomed reunion with Rita.

    Joel and Servo make mention of the SOL’s mysterious “Spiral On Down” and more “mango juice and exotic oils” being rubbed on Servo, this time by a hula dancer. Josh’s tag “She asked about you” gets a chuckle from Joel. The host segments are pretty slight, but the riffing is steady, though often covering movie dialogue. 2.5 stars.

    And what’s with the blonde wigs worn (under the helmets) by the Star-Wolf/Valna Raiders?


  6. pablum says:

    One of my favorite episodes. At least the season 3 version anyway. And no, I can’t watch any older or non-riffed version of this movie without thinking of the spectacular season 3 riffs.

    As for this version… I’ve seen it, but I can’t remember a thing from it. Glad they reused it. Also odd that they showed Fugitive Alien II long before this one in KTMA.


  7. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    I sat through both versions of this film, back to back, and would not suggest this to anyone. I re-watched the Season 3 version first, then, with memory refreshed, watched the Year Zero version.

    We are so lucky that Joel and everyone had the chance to develop this show into what we have come to know and love. Joel was incredibly lucky to find an outlet for his creativity and a boss who let him create. These early attempts at a show are painful to watch and almost any other program director would have pulled the plug long before this.

    Several things I noticed as odd right off the bat. Why did they show Star Force: Fugitive Alien 2 first?
    Did they think it was a better film and did not think the show would last this long?

    Why explain where Dr. Forester was but not get around to Crow until the first Host Segment? If they had not brought it up earlier then they could have gotten away with this, but as soon as they hit the theater Joel asks about Crow and Tom goes on about it. This made it more annoying than an important plot point.

    I understand that Josh was more interested in improv, and he is somewhat good at it. However, it does not work as well as we want to believe it does. Not everyone is Robin Williams and not every situation lends itself to 90 minutes of “off the cuff” remarks. Also, while Joel is talented, he does not appear to be as quick with improves as Josh. Several cues were missed and when that happens the thud is louder than the movie volume.

    That was the case several times here. For example, ten minutes into the movie, Tom remarks that “leg cramps get me down that way too.” Then there is a long pause. No one, at that time, thought to remark that Tom does not have any legs. That would have been a funny follow up.

    The “improv” also leads to set ups that wait to long for the payoffs. Early in the film Joel remarks, “Who does your hair.” After a long pause he replies, “Warner Brothers.” The pause is so long that the original comment could be forgotten.

    One thing that is different in the Zero Year is that Joel makes a number of the “off color” remarks. In the later years it would be the bots who made the comments, and Joel would reign them in. Here, for example, it is Joel who asks how often the expression “Easy Tammy” was used on the ship. (9:10)

    One thing that always fascinated me about the early episodes is the references that Josh (J. Elvis Weinstein) made. He is only 18 at the time this was made (1989) yet all his T.V. show references are more in line with Joel and Trace. Jackie Mason, Milton Berle, Get Smart, I Dream of Jennie, Flintstones. I know these were in syndication, but they were all way to early for Josh to have a boyhood connection with. Why are there no 1970s T.V. show references, or 80s? His formative years were in THAT decade, yet he makes no references to them. Even all his musical parodies were Beatles or before.

    Just an observation.

    Old references today’s adults would not get include (18:00) “He looks like the Phantom of the Paradise,”
    “Major Mat Mason . . .Jeff Storm, and the best one at the hour mark, Tom’s imitation of a Suzuki. That was actually the best part of the movie.

    I also notice that there are not as many “Star Trek” references in these early shows as there would be later. This episode in particular lent itself to a lot of those. Maybe they were the work of later writers or Trace.

    The only line, or idea, I caught in both versions of the film was the “watermelon helmet” comments. Other than that, they were both fresh.

    Two things I am surprised that were not mentioned were the music, which to me sounded like Ennio Morricone and Italian westerns, and the fact that “Ken’s girlfriend looks an awful lot like Crystal Bernard. I know “Wings” was not on yet, but “It’s a Living” had been on for a decade by now. Josh’s decade at that.

    The host segments were week, but over all not a bad Year Zero episode. While the improv did not always go smoothly, Joel and Josh put on a good show even without Trace. They were real troopers and kept the energy high. I am sure it was not easy.

    It is interesting that in MY copy of the show, the announcer over the closing credits says that the Sunday Night movie up next will be, “The Philadelphia Experiment.” After watching one bad movie, settle yourselves in for another.

    Only this time, you were on your own. ;-) ;-)


  8. Sampo says:

    Finnias: Joel mentions the “spiral on down” a number of times over the years. It is, I believe, the chute by which Joel travels from the bridge to the Mystery Science Theater. In a CC episode, it is implied that the hatch-like portal in the back right of the bridge set is the entrance to the spiral on down and there is at least one episode in which we see him jump into it. I should have been tracking mentions of it up to now!


  9. WeatherServo9 says:

    The temperature may have been 1°, but what was the tenperature?

    I”ve been re-watching these KTMA-era eps along with (I presume) many of you, and they’ve kind of been making me pine for the days of local UHF TV stations producing local, independent programming. That business model is almost non-existent anymore, and I think it’s a real shame.

    The little town I grew up in had a local UHF channel probably a lot like KTMA. There was one dude who was half of the on-air talent (the other half was a Ghoul-type bad movie host). And so he would do an entire half-hour of news (and sports and weather) by himself every day. And he did the color commentary for the broadcasts of the high school football games. And then he did the commentary for the local parades. Pretty much any local thing that was broadcast, he was there. And all in all, he wasn’t very good. I’m sure he was a nice guy and everything, but he wasn’t very dynamic or articulate. However, there was kind of an understanding of that when you watched him, because you knew he probably wasn’t getting paid very much and he seemed to always be working. So you cut him and the station some slack and just let it be what it was.

    With those kinds of stations, there was always an understanding between station and viewer that what you were going to see – the bad movie host shows, the local news and sportscasts, the commercials – was going to be extremely low-budget. But you also knew that it was a local effort starring and employing local people, so you kind of rooted for it while being aware of its limitations. Remind you of any TV show you know?

    So in these KTMA-era eps you see these local people using probably run-down, cheap equipment at a local UHF station, who worked long, odd hours and got paid almost nothing. And yet, I suspect that, had MST3K started on the Comedy Channel and not at KTMA, it wouldn’t have been the same show. Right up to the end of its run it still had quite a bit of local flavor to it, and I think that’s ultimately why it stood apart from everything else on TV.


  10. Hot off the presses is Lazlow the MST Guy episode 9, KTMA 12…


  11. Brandon says:

    Sampo- the hatch that leads to the Spiral-On-Down later became an airlock in 706-Laserblast.


  12. Creepygirl says:

    @ 7 Lion with foot in mouth:

    Stop asking people why they know references that you knew but thought a young person would not.

    If Josh said something along the lines of “Go away Nick! Malorey dosen’t like you. She is in love with Skippy Handleman.” It would not as been as funny…because it was very much still in the public norm. The funny is rare and obscure. Please stop asking why people know what they know. I’m the same age as Josh, I’m (9-6-69)- and I knew all that and more.

    P.S. I began listing to the Beatles around 9 years old and have never stopped.


  13. Yipe Striper says:

    One of my favorites!
    You’re stuck here!

    Shut up!… Sorry.

    Everybody stick some grapes in between their teeth and cheeks, fast!


  14. MiqelDotCom says:

    yeesh .. this was hard to sit through!
    I definitely found myself singing “He tried to kill him with a forklift” and other riffs from the season 3 version.
    The absence of Trace leads to a lot of looong pauses.

    But they do pay homage to their missing friend by going on a lengthy tangent where no matter what the on-screen character says, Josh & Joel say “Sounds Painful” – maybe ribbing Trace for always saying that anytime “evacuation” is mentioned.

    2 stars on the KTMA scale


  15. MiqelDotCom says:

    This links skips straight to the “sounds painful” riffs I mentioned in the last post –;t=8m52s


  16. Dan in WI says:

    #9> Don’t know the tenperature. That was in Fugutive Alien 2 and K03 is one of the lost episodes. We may never know that answer to that question.


  17. mataglap says:

    This episode suffers from Trace’s absence, the riffing just seems to work better with three people, even if Trace’s contributions at this point weren’t that inspired. Joel genuinely seems to find Josh funny, laughing out loud several times both in the theater and the host segments. Maybe because the temperature was 1?

    Only problem with watching Fugitive Alien is now I won’t be able to get that forklift song out of my head for the next month. I suspect a remastered, subtitled version of the original episodes wouldn’t be that bad.


  18. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Hey Creepygirl

    If you don’t like the post then don’t read it.

    I ask because I am curious about the making of the show and dynamic of the group.
    MST3K is know for its quirky and obscure jokes and references. How many people get them?
    Why is an 18 year old only making references to the previous generation’s nostalgia?
    Did Patrillo make him wear his Union suite?

    “I want to know” (obscure reference of that era)


  19. Creepygirl says:

    @ Lion Hey, I like ya.

    I’m from the mid-west and we watched a lot of TV during cold days.

    Just like Best Brains.


  20. Alex says:

    I saw a little bit of this episode. Didn’t really feel like watching the whole thing, since Crow wasn’t in it. It’s too bad Trace was gone, because having Crow in the episode would’ve really added some spice.

    Ironically, it seemed like Joel still remembered his “holding onto the tail wing” joke from this episode when the Brains re-did this film in season 3. XD


  21. Alex says:

    By the way Lazlo, how come you deleted some of your Mst3k episode reviews? :/


  22. Alex says:

    Oh, nevermind. I didn’t realize that they weren’t listed under the episode scroll list. I was able to find them on your video section of your channel. What a relief. :mrgreen:


  23. trickymutha says:

    @ WeatherServo9- I work for a small NBC/CW affiliate locally. It’s pretty amazing going back into the Newsroom, checking out the green screen and imagining what could be done. Everything now is $$$. The folks at the top would rather take infomercials than even show B movies overnight, without riffing. Hell, I even think I could get some sponsors for them too. The good thing is we have the discs and digital archives of MST from the KTMA days and beyond.


  24. Here’s the LogBook entry:

    @ Richard the Lion-Footed :“I re-watched the Season 3 version first, then, with memory refreshed, watched the Year Zero version.”

    See, that was your mistake, right there. You should have watched the KTMA one first, *then* the National version. Doing it your way, you handicapped K12, forcing it to try to live up to the more polished 310. I remember years ago watching Airplane II before I has seen Airplane. Once I saw the superior product, I could see its obvious superiority, but I was still able to enjoy the lesser one because I wasn’t biased against it.

    Anyway, this one is good, but not as strong as the previous two episodes. The lack of Trace is felt all around and I’m glad they never allowed the sort of (probably necessary) absences that pockmark the KTMA season.


  25. EricJ says:

    I”ve been re-watching these KTMA-era eps along with (I presume) many of you, and they’ve kind of been making me pine for the days of local UHF TV stations producing local, independent programming. That business model is almost non-existent anymore, and I think it’s a real shame.
    With those kinds of stations, there was always an understanding between station and viewer that what you were going to see – the bad movie host shows, the local news and sportscasts, the commercials – was going to be extremely low-budget. But you also knew that it was a local effort starring and employing local people, so you kind of rooted for it while being aware of its limitations. Remind you of any TV show you know?

    Joel Hodgson (during his “retirement” days) is interviewed briefly in the documentary “American Scary”, about the glory days of the Local-Station Saturday-Night Ghoul Host.
    We don’t see clips of the KTMA’s, he just offers a few brief analysis-bites, but it’s easy to see how KTMA’s MST3K started out as just a local station’s Saturday-afternoon excuse to get rid of the movie package. (Ah, the days when stations owned their own cheap old movies… :( )

    Me, I remember Comedy Channel’s S1&2 airing on Saturdays right before USA Network’s Commander USA, and there was the last of the great local-station hosts. (And wow, could CT dig into a few of the weird-@$$ titles that USA Network used to own before they went corporate… :shock: )


  26. Finnias 'Critter' Jones says:

    Sampo @ #8: re. Spiral on down
    Thanks for that explanation. It was mentioned once previous to this episode, but I didn’t note which one. This and the “Load Pan Bay” are features of the SOL that were named but not really explained at the time. In fact I once Googled “load pan” and got a bunch of links to wholesale bakery suppliers. Whenever Joel offers to clean the ‘Bots “load pans” it comes off as a kind of kinky treat for them.

    Richard @ #18:
    “If you don’t like the post then don’t read it.”
    One of the dumbest, most counter-intuitive comments I’ve ever read on an internet thread. We all like you and know you’re better than that. Your first post (#7) was thoughtful and detailed. Don’t give in to the dark side…

    And I agree with Fry @ #24: don’t ever watch the Season 3 version before the KTMA version. Disappointment is sure to follow.


  27. JeremyR says:

    It’s funny, when I first saw this (the season 3 version) it kept reminding me of something I read.

    And sure enough, the TV show it was spliced from was an adaption of Edmond Hamilton’s Starwolf novels.

    Knowing the plot from that, it made a lot more sense. Not much sense, overall. But more sense. I really would love to see the non-spliced series (in English, or at least subs). They aren’t my favorite novels, but they are fairly good.


  28. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    When they assembled Fugitive Alien (two cool words that sound cool together!) from the TV show, did they just cut in random bits or what, I can’t make heads or tails of this thing.  It moves at a lightning pace, though, I’ll give it that.

    No Trace!  Again!!  For such a handicap, this is better than the last Joel/Servo outing.  I’ve complained about the lack of chemistry between Joel and Josh Servo in previous posts, but in this one I actually think they are making progress and are fairly successful.  Josh cracks Joel up a couple times.  They still stumble and jump on each others lines in the theater, though, which I would imagine would be a little awkward.

    Overall, a pretty ok episode.  In general, I would say the quality of the episodes have been on a steady incline.  I’m enjoying this discovery of the shows formative years.

    Fave riffs:

    Joel gets some drug humor in there:
    When the Captain dude is drinking booze on the spaceship, saying it was the last time he was gonna drink, Joel says, “What about mescaline?”, which he then follows up with, “Luke Skywalker likes peyote.” 

    Later in the movie, when Ken is running around the gravel pit, Joel riffs, “He runs like a dope fiend,” then Ken yelps or screams or somethin’ and Joel says, “feeling good, eh?”

    Joel comments that the big black helmets that those dudes wear “looks like Phantom of the Paradise, that Paul Williams movie.”. It’s funny, ’cause I was thinking the same thing.  I love Phantom of the Paradise (1974).  It’s one of my favorite Brian DePalma movies.  Paul Williams plays the villian, Swan, and he wrote all the music, which, of course, rules.  The wildly eccentric character actor,Wlliam Finley plays the Phantom and the lovely Jennifer Harper is the female lead.  (Fun fact: it’s this movie that got Harper the lead role in Dario Argento’s Suspiria).  The movie is basically a rock-and-roll musical retelling of the Phantom of the Opera story.  While it is not for everyone, I think it is the bees knees and the cats pajamas.  Anyone else agree??

    An early (and rare) good line from Gypsy:  
    After Crow’s whereabouts are discovered in Host Segment #1, she claps, “I just hope we can find his spine”.    

    Mango juice?


  29. TheDON3k says:

    My favorite riff was from Josh, in response to the suggestion that Ken and the injured man, whom Ken says is ‘bad off, and isn’t going to make it’, walk 60 miles in 5 hours to meet the Bacchus 3:

    5 hours, 60 miles… Sounds right…..


  30. Brandon says:

    Oh btw I have a question.

    In segment 2 they wonder about Michael jackson and Diana Ross being possibly the same person.

    Was this episode made before or after the time Jackson said he’d like to look like Diana Ross?


  31. Chief?McCloud! says:

    @25 :smile: Ditto all the way.

    BTW, “American Scary” is a great documentary [available from Cinema Libre]. It was cool to see Joel comments on the initial ideas for MST3K, as well as props from others like John Bloom [Joe Bob Briggs], Chris Gore [Film Threat], Bob Burns, etc. to MST3K’s place in the evolution of “hosted” television.


  32. casterberus says:

    Watch-out-for-Snakes @ #28:

    Yes, I agree. I adore “Phantom of the Paradise”!



  33. Brandon says:

    We’ll remember you foreeeeeever Eddie, through the sacrifice you made, we can’t believe the price you paid….


  34. JeremyR says:

    Phantom of the Paradise is great. The ending scene of it is one of my all time favorites. So chaotic.

    Paul Williams guest starred on an episode of The Hardy Boys in the 70s, and he sang some of his (Swan) songs in it, including “The Hell Of It” which seemed like an odd fit for the show.


  35. forklift_facelift says:

    Lion-Footed, I can’t speak for Josh, but I was born in 1975 and the references that you refer to seem totally natural to me. I think you’re underestimating the power of syndication — shows like The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, The Flintstones, Get Smart, I Dream of Jeanie, etc. were on five times a week (or more), but the new shows only ran once a week, so… you can do the math. If you logged a lot of time with the TV in the late ’70s/early ’80s, those shows got burned into your brain pretty thoroughly… particularly if you didn’t have cable and were limited to the six or seven channels on the VHF/UHF bands.

    Also (and feel free to turn on the BS filter here) it seems that everyone in that general “Generation X” (sorry) age group grew up in a world dominated by the Boomers and their pop culture, and as a result ended up internalizing that point of view to some extent. I guess Josh could have referenced more contemporary shows like The Wonder Years, thirtysomething, or Family Ties… but all of those “new” shows were just Boomer nostalgia fests anyway, so why not go right to the source? Even shows like Married With Children or Roseanne were largely defined by how they were _different_ from Boomer fare like Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, etc.

    (Please feel free to filter that entire second paragraph as “theoretical rambling Internet crap”… the first paragraph is the more practical and down-to-earth explanation.)


  36. MiqelDotCom says:

    I totally agree about the effect of syndication. I was born in 1971 and my early TV diet consisted of a lot of older shows in syndication, many of them going back to the 1950’s.
    Examples include ‘The Ghost and Mrs. Muir’, ‘My Three Sons’, ‘Lost In Space’, ‘Leave it to Beaver’, ‘The Little Rascals’, ‘Rocky & Bullwinkle’, ‘Hazel’, ‘I Love Lucy’, ‘Gunsmoke’, ‘Dobie Gillis’ & ‘The Twilight Zone’ – and there are riffs referencing all of these on MST3K.


  37. Watch-out-for-Snakes says:

    Glad to know there’s some fans of Phantom of the Paradise out there.  All of you are aces in my book.  

    As for the syndication effect in discussion, let me toss this in:
    I was born in 1980 and grew up way out in the middle of nowhere with only 4 channels (the big 3 & PBS; it was upped to 5 when they added that upstart station FOX) and antenna TV, the kind where you turned a dial on this little box thing inside your house and outside the TV antenna would *whirrrrrr* into position for reception of the channel you chose.  Anyway, growing up in the 80’s, I saw tons of shows that were not of my era.  Happy Days, Green Acres, MASH, I dream of Jeannie, Flinstones, Jetsons, old Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, Bewitched, Lassie, Beverly Hillbillies (Jedddd!!!!!!), The Andy Griffith Show, Mr. Ed, Taxi, etc etc., and all that was mixed with my steady intake of 80’s shows like Family Ties, Growing Pains, The A-Team, Knightrider, Miami Vice, Perfect Strangers, Facts of Life, Diff’rent Strokes, Webster, Alf, Mamas Family, Who’s the Boss?, Head of the Class, etc etc.  If there is such a thing, I think I got a pretty well rounded TV-diet.  Before I was 10, I was aware that TV existed before I did, and whether a show was new or old didn’t really matter to me.  I just wanted to be entertained.  

    So, no.  I don’t think it’s odd of 18 year old J. Elvis Weinstein back in 1989 to make so many references to stuff that predates his exisistence.  It seems natural to me.        


  38. monoceros4 says:

    “(Please feel free to filter that entire second paragraph as “theoretical rambling Internet crap”…”

    I tried that filter but there was nothing left afterward.


  39. Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    forklift_facelift @35,

    In my infinite wisdom and superior reasoning skills I must admit that your observations never occurred to me.

    I went through the first run of a lot of the shows that MST3K refers to in their riffs. I also saw them in re-runs later. The power they had, being seen daily for several TV generations, would give us all a collective consciousness I had not thought of.

    Josh, having grown up with the shows, on every day, would naturally be more comfortable with them then, say, “BJ and the Bear,” or a host of early 1980s shows he may not have seen in years (lack of syndication of “Automan” or “Manamal”)

    As for your second observation, I have to agree with you on that as well. Baby Boomers, thanks to their birth era, and the technology of their time, dominated the media long past the usual demographic age. Not until now, with new technologies making new entertainment choices, has a generation had this ability. For good or bad, Boomers rules the second half of the 20th century.

    Good job and the first sold theory to answer my question.
    And thanks for the answer instead of a sharp comment on why we should not even THINK about such things.


  40. pondoscp says:

    This one is pretty funny. It is hard to watch this one without thinking of all the classic season 3 riffs.
    You’re stuck here!
    And it’s bizarre to have only Joel and Josh, worth checking out just for that.


  41. Cornjob says:

    So if the planet of the blue people (no not the avatar planet) in this TV sho… I mean movie, didn’t get minerals from the Arabian planet they were going to deploy a weapon that could potentially destroy the universe. Was Dick Cheney behind this?

    If my wife ever sews an atom bomb onto my jacket sleeves I sure hope she bothers to tell me. I might just be a little bit more gentle with the way I slung my jacket over a chair back.


  42. Bruce Boxliker says:

    I read the Starwolf novels a few years ago, and they were pretty good. Far better than this cut-up movie(s). Can’t say whether the unedited TV series was any good, though there are DVD’s available in Japan (only $220 US for the whole series! ….yeah, Japanese DVD prices are ridiculously high).

    This episode was surprisingly good, considering the lack of Trace & my memories of the season 3 version.


  43. asdf says:

    If you’re evil there’s the first five or six episodes in raw Japanese floating around on various video stream sites.

    The series seems to be a decent enough space adventure tv show. What I’ve seen doesn’t get any closer to the books than the Fugitive Alien dub. There are the elements that are present in the dub compilations, but he’s still not named Chane or anything.


  44. Sitting Duck says:

    In the Schlock Mercenary webcomic, the officers have antimatter grenades disguised as epaulets. I’ve always wondered if Howard Tayler got that idea from here.


  45. jaybird3rd says:

    This is a fun KTMA experiment. There isn’t much to say about the movie that hasn’t already been said, either here or in the Season 3 version, but this KTMA treatment of it has its own charm, even if it’s missing the jokes and snatches of song that became so famous in Season 3.

    A lot of that charm is due to Josh Weinstein, who is awesome (in case I haven’t said it already), and who did so much to establish the kind of energy and humor that worked so well with Joel’s concept for the show. That’s especially evident in K12: even with Trace gone, the theater segments are still lively and talky, and the host segments are lots of fun as well, thanks in large part to Josh’s contributions. I love the sight of Joel un-self-consciously belting out that goofy “Fugitive Alien song” in the beginning, complete with air guitar, and I even like the silly dance competition (which probably used that sample of “Y.M.C.A.” without permission, just because they could get away with it).

    The movie is perfect fodder for MST3K, especially during the KTMA days: a goofy Japanese ripoff of Star Wars, cut to ribbons by Sandy Frank, but with enough action to keep it from getting boring. It’s the kind of movie that does a lot of the heavy lifting for J&TB, making it fun to watch even without the support of scripted riffs. Nevertheless, they manage to get some good lines in: I like Josh’s freewheeling “Strawberry Fields” parody, and my favorite is what was probably the first reference to the Yul Brynner anti-smoking commercial (“please … don’t smoke … now that I’m dead …”), which appeared again in the Season 3 version.

    Seeing this first half of the “Fugitive Alien” saga just makes me wish even more that K03 was available to us. The “Fugitive Alien” films are mind-boggling enough when viewed in order, but “Star Force” must have been completely incomprehensible on its own, and I’d love to know what J&TB made of it way back then. Except for one brief line from Joel when Captain Joe and Rocky are first shown (“Those two look dangerously familiar …”), they really don’t let on in this episode that they’ve already seen the second half.

    The synopsis for #310 (the Season 3 version of this movie) says that: “The first time they sing ‘This is the chase, Rocky and Ken,’ they do so before the movie reveals that it was Rocky driving the forklift.” In K12, the riff just before the forklift song is missing, and without it to cover the dialog, I noticed that Ken actually does identify Rocky as the driver as soon as he sees him retreating behind the train. Of course, all he can see at that point are his feet, so I’m not sure how he could have known it was Rocky, but still …


  46. jaybird3rd says:

    @#41: The “bomb hidden in someone’s clothing” idea also appears in Mighty Jack. Maybe that idea sounds cool to the kids that these shows were written for, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Ken or Harold Atari on laundry day. Imagine what would happen if one of their explosive-laced uniforms ended up in the dryer!


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