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Sampo & Erhardt

Sci-Fi Archives

Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

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

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Episode guide: 202- The Side Hackers

Movie: (1969) A mild-mannered mechanic/pioneer in a new motorcycle “sport” runs afoul of a violent, megalomaniacal stunt rider and his scheming girlfriend.

First shown: 9/29/90
Opening: Joel’s been busy giving the bots a bath
Invention exchange: Joel introduces Gretchen the living slinky; Dr. F. has a slinky train body
Host segment 1: J&tB sing “Sidehackin’.”
Host segment 2: J&tB provide terminology for the sport of sidehacking
Host segment 3: J&tB have Rommel hats; JC and Gooch visit on the Hexfield
End: Joel croons: “Only Love Pads the Film,” letters, Frank “will” push the button.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (164 votes, average: 4.09 out of 5)


• In the past, this has never been a favorite. I know some folks love the biker movies, but they mostly leave me pretty cold. Still, in more recent viewings I liked it a bit better than I did in the past. Maybe it was because I completely followed the plot of the movie (such as it was). Maybe it was the nice clean print on the Rhino disk that helped make everything a little easier to follow. The songs are fun and the segments are entertaining so, overall, it’s somewhere between fair and good.
• This episode is included in Rhino’s “Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 3.”
• Joel’s jumpsuit is still teal.
• Gypsy has an eyelash.
• Boys with brothers (and any sisters who had to use the same bathroom) will get the “we were havin’ sword fights” line. Ew.
• Apparently a mole person has taken over the camera work in Deep 13: Hence the confused camera work when we go to Deep 13 during the invention exchange. But we can also see two mole people on screen. So are there more than two mole people?
• The Rhino release comes with alternate takes and outtakes. Perhaps most interesting are the many, many takes for the invention exchange segment in Deep 13, where the back end of the slinky train prop seems to have given them no end of problems.
• A very astute observation in the credits: In these early season two episodes, Dr. F. is, for some reason, performing the invention exchange experiments on himself. That would change.
• Crow’s arm works in the opening.
• Movie observation: It is implied that J.C. is some sort of motorcycle stunt performer, mostly because he wears a bespangled, Evel Knievel-esque outfit in one scene. But we never see him do anything (other than fall off a sidehack several times in Rommel’s back yard). I haven’t seen the full movie, and maybe it was cut, but a scene of Rommel watching JC do his stunt act might have established the premise — and his megalomaniacal character — a little better.
• Cambot makes a rare movie riff: a sarcastic ESPN-like readout.
• Up to this point, except for the “Clay and Lar’s Flesh Barn” jingle and Josh humming tunes occasionally, there really hadn’t been a lot of music on the show. That would change with this episode, which features not one but two songs. “Sidehackin’,” in segment 1, is a classic and completely original.
• Before segment 2, Tom Servo attempts a little play-by-play of the sidehacking, only to be frustrated by the fact that the sport is so new that it doesn’t have any terminology yet. Then, sure enough, in segment 2 (another densely written — almost overwritten — segment that’s more clever than funny, fairly typical of season two), what do we get but terminology for sidehacking. You can pretty much see the genesis of the segment in the earlier riff. This sort of thing would happen in future eps, but they usually weren’t as obvious about it.
• In a story that has been repeated by the cast many times (including in the ACEG), this was the episode where BBI learned to watch the whole movie before agreeing to riff it. Up to this point, apparently, they’d watched a little at the beginning of any movie they were considering, maybe skimmed a bit through the rest of the movie and made a decision. When they did that with this movie, they missed a brutal and graphic scene in which J.C. and his gang beat Rommel to a pulp and rape and murder his girlfriend, Rita (if you are morbidly curious, a link to the scene is in the comments). They tried to back out of doing the movie, but were told it was too late. So they cut the scene and did their best to write around it. (J&tB leave the theater to do segment 2 just before the mayhem begins, and when they return to the theater, the movie picks up as a bloodied Rommel wakes up from his beating.) During the morose montage of Rommel wandering the countryside mourning, Crow fills the audience in by saying: “For those of you playing along at home, Rita is dead.”
• Callbacks: “There was nothing left after the…Robot Holocaust.” As Lloyd Bridges: “Now that you’re dead I can tell you about a thousand wonderful hours…” (Rocketship XM). “No drumming…not allowed.” (Crawling Hand). “Hikeeba!” (Women of the Prehistoric Planet).
• The first time J.C. explodes, he lashes out at the black guy, and, we can assume, uses a slur. We can’t actually hear it, but based on the reaction of J&tb, we can guess. Later the bad guys, joking around, use a gay slur that we CAN make out. So, we really hate these guys, is what I’m saying.
• You may be wondering: What in the world does “Five the Hard Way” (the original title of the movie) mean? Turns out they called it that in order to cash in on the Jack Nicholson movie “Five Easy Pieces,” released earlier the same year.
• We get more choruses of “The Weiner Man,” and “The Happy Wanderer.”
• The movie has a few hamfisted attempts at analogies to the Christ story, with Cooch in the Judas role betraying Rommel at the behest of J.C. (J.C.! Get it??) It’s dumb.
• Catchphrases that came from this episode include: “That was number 5!” “He hit big Jake!” and the “It’s pretty good!-It’s not half bad!” interplay in the garage. And, although Hagen never actually says it, the line “Chili peppers burn my gut,” in a Ross Hagen-like growl, would be heard many times after this.
• The Hexfield has had a slight reworking. The window shade has been mounted on the bottom of the opening and it has some sort of mechanism to raise it at the end of the bit.
• When Joel sings his second song of the episode, I found it interesting that they made no attempt to rewrite the insipid lyrics sung in the movie, except for changing “…only love, only love.” to “…only love pads the film.” (Joel also sings it a bit in the theater.) Also, I wonder if we are treated to ALL THREE verses of this dopey song because they had to fill the time created when they had to cut the movie.
• That, of course, is not a real keyboard Joel is “playing” in the final segment, and the real keyboard work, as always, is being done off-camera by Mike.
• Gypsy, wearing tambourines for earrings, joins Joel, Crow and Tom for the final number and steals the show, cracking Joel up with her contribution to the song.
• Stinger suggestion: “NUM-BER EIGHT!”
• Cast and crew roundup: Scriptwriter Tony Houston also performed in “The Hellcats” and wrote “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” Score composer Jerry Styner also worked on “Mitchell.” In front of the camera: We’ll meet Ross Hagen was also in “The Hellcats.” Gus Trikonis appeared in “The Hellcats.” Warren Hammack appears in “The Hellcats” and “Attack of the the Eye Creatures.” We previously encountered Michael Pataki in “Superdome” and we’ll meet him again in “IT Lives by Night.” Richard Merrifield, Eric Lidberg and Tony Lorea were all also in “The Hellcats.”
• CreditsWatch: Dr. F is still a “special guest villian” (misspelled). Mole person Jerry is played by intern Nathan Molstead and mole person Sylvia is played by intern Amy Kane. J.C. was Mike, “Gooch” was Frank (the character in the movie’s actual name is Cooch but Pataki seems to call him “Gooch” several times in the movie, hence the confusion.) Host segments directed (last episode it said “produced”) by Jim Mallon. Toolmaster Jef Maynard is listed twice.
• Favorite riff: “Even these oil fields seem to remind me of her. Can’t put my finger on it…” Honorable mention: “You taste good too, but you’re lips … are … drugged!”

137 Replies to “Episode guide: 202- The Side Hackers”

  1. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    5 stars ( easy )

    Whatever class this movie has, it comes from Michael Pataki. He really brings quite a bit. He is acting while everyone else is just sort of standing around talking. Note his little bits of balletic shtick when he is a passenger on the side hack in the pasture..

    I like the themed invention exchanges, and both were pretty neat.

    During the Invention exchange, please note that Joel’s right forearm is 4 FEET LONG !!! AAAAAAGH !!

    ( What…. we can’t misty the misties ? )

    Host segments were fine I guess, but they paled in comparison to the movie and riffing, All they had to do was not screw them up and they didn’t.

    Of the 2 musical interludes Love Pads the Film was the better song and the better bit, but the Sidehack song is not without it’s charms.

    By hurting others, our love grows.

    I love every single one of the Magnificent SOB I read your book riffs. They could have used a couple more.

    Tessier Goils. ( which I assume was their attempt at a deliberately poor quality pun used to comic effect, which worked for me ).

    Not sure why, but I would pair this with Final Sacrifice. The violence, the vengeance, the quest, the personalities. They fit will together.


  2. Spector says:

    I’m with Sampo on this one. I’ve watched Sidehackers several times but it just leaves me cold, though I will say the other biker films they did were funnier. I’ve always said that they’ve fallen flat whenever they’ve tried to riff on dark material, and this one gets dark about mid-way through. Even Mike Nelson said they found this one disturbing and afterwards did a more thorough screening of the films they would select to riff. Mercifully they cut the rape and murder scene, but just the implication of it hung over this like a pall. For me you could tell the Brains were struggling after that point in the movie to make this one worthwhile. Not that they didn’t have some funny riffs, and I really enjoyed the host segments – loved the one where they did their own commentary over the sidehacking bike race scenes, and to this day I will still occasionally catch myself humming “Sidehackin’ is the thing to do….Ah, side-hackin’ Crow”.. – but overall I’m not a fan of this one. Two stars out of five.


  3. Bookworm says:

    For catchphrases–what about “Chili peppers burn my gut?” That gets used as a riff in quite a few future MST3K episodes.

    I’ve also never been a fan of the biker trilogy–the movies themselves are no fun at all, which definitely reduces my enjoyment.

    In this movie, Ross Hagen plays Rommel. In ‘Hellcats,’ he’s Monty (well, Monte). Both were WWII generals. I’ve always found that odd.


  4. Joseph Nebus says:

    I had thought Tom Servo’s riff about “the sport being so new we don’t have the terminology for it yet” and then going into a sketch about creating terminology was deliberately obvious. That is, they were emphasizing this point on which the sketch would be built so that the audience would remember when the sketch started that this was their premise.

    This may sound like a lack of faith in the audience, but after all, there are a lot of riffs and the thought of building the sketch around something mentioned a half-hour earlier may have left them wanting to be sure they buttressed the premise as heavily as possible. It turns out to be pretty easy to get the audience to buy a premise based on an offhand comment or exceedingly minor point (cf: Turkey Volume Guessing Man) but they couldn’t know that until they saw how the show played.

    After all, at least in the MST3K version, there really isn’t much sidehacking, so they got only one or two sketches to play off the problem of describing the action when you don’t know what the flow of the game was.

    So whatever happened to the California Sidehacking Association or whoever it was they were thanking for all the sidehacking in the credits?


  5. Dan in WI says:

    That was a bit of a nasty comment in the opening segment. Joel had to clean the load pan bay because the bots were sword fighting?!?!

    I love Clay’s explanation of his slinky invention. “It’s much too complicated. It would take a scientist to explain it and I’m simply too mad.” I also love the follow up on always stealing Joel’s inventions.

    I also love the Mads set up for this movie as they explain just how bad it is. That bit is well sold. The problem is they are so right. I’ve been dreading this week’s experiment. I just watched it this past Turkey Day when I recreated the very first Turkey Day Marathon movie by movie. I never liked the “greasy biker” genre to begin with and this film is especially dark. As a result no amount of riffing does much to save this films for me. I just have too much negative bias going in. I don’t think it helps that this is the infamous “we should have watched the whole film before selecting it” movie as noted in the ACEG.

    Favorite Riffs:
    During opening credits Joel says “Postage stamp theater presents…”

    Crow during credits “So that’s how Ross Hagen got in this film. He slept with the producer” who is also Ross Hagen.

    JC says “How did I know she was going to die?” Tom says “Because you killed her.”


  6. BigZilla says:

    Sidehacking is in fact, thing to do.


  7. bad wolf says:

    My first MST3K! As is usually the case that means it is one of my favorites. I had heard about the show before so i recognized it when it finally became available on my cable service. It did not disappoint!

    My favorite moment is Cambot’s “ESPN-like readout.” Since i had not seen the show i assumed that was a frequent gag. So for the next couple of years i waited in vain for another Cambot-based joke. Was there ever another use of technical FX in the show? It always seemed like a decent option that never got another play.


  8. Tork_110 says:

    I actually thought the ESPN thing was real until Joel pointed out. Which is funny because I first watched the episode on the Rhino VHS tape.

    The movie really should have ended Ben-Hur style, only with sidehacks.


  9. swh1939 says:

    I don’t know that I can be completely objective about this episode. It was one of the first episodes that I taped (way back in late ’91) and as a result it got a heavy rotation, resulting in a certain fondness. I was still “learning” the show, so I will be forever grateful for helpful comments like “For those of you playing along at home, Rita is dead.” Also, I recognized many of the cast from other TV and movies so there was a certain familiarity with everyone. Having the song “Sidehackin'” at that point in the movie really helps pick things up, and the tone of “Love Pads the Film” is perfect as a show ender. The guys certainly had a good feel for music right out of the gate. Again, I probably like this episode far more than I should.


  10. bartcow says:

    As someone who thinks the sports pages are written in Esperanto, I found the sidehacking terminology bit endlessly entertaining. It was the first host segment that made me realize that they can be just as important as the riffing.


  11. Mr. B(ob) says:

    The first time my wife and I saw this episode we didn’t think it was very funny, then on repeat viewing discovered it’s full of good jokes. The problem was the movie. The first time we watched it we paid attention to the movie since we hadn’t seen it before and the movie is dreadful and sits on your head and crushes it. After we knew what to expect from the film and paid attention to the MST3K jokes on later viewings we realized they had done a great job with it in spite of the horrible film about even more horrible people. And that still is a problem for me till this day. I love the jokes during this one and the host segments are terrific, but the movie is just so bad. As was pointed out during the film, “what happened to all the fun side-hacking” stuff that was going on early in the film? It goes from being a goofy movie about a fringe cycling sport to the brutal, disgusting revenge flick. That said, Michael Pataki is good as always, though he’s wasted on this garbage movie.

    @ #3: “In this movie, Ross Hagen plays Rommel. In ‘Hellcats,’ he’s Monty (well, Monte). Both were WWII generals. I’ve always found that odd.”
    They are not just WWII generals, they are the two generals that squared off against each other directly in North Africa. I guess the makers of these films at least read history books. I wish they knew more about writing good screenplays.

    I actually love the other two biker film episodes, Hellcats and Wild Rebels. They are goofy fun and nowhere near as explicitly horrible at Sidehackers. Not to say that bad things don’t happen in those films, but they are done in such a silly and implausible manner that it adds to the fun rather than spoiling it. I watch those two on DVD fairly often, Sidehackers not so much.

    I do really like the way MST3K often took some throw-away insignificant line from one of the movies they did and turned it into an iconic catch-phrase and there is no better example of that than “chili peppers burn my gut” from Sidehackers. The first time you watch this episode you likely won’t even catch that line when it’s spoken in the film, it is of little significance, yet MST3K would use that as a catch-phrase in later episodes for years to come. In fact, there’s a host segment in one of the Rocky Jones episodes where Crow and Servo repeat nearly all the dialogue from the scene that leads up to and includes the line about chili peppers. Amazing, weird, fun and funny.


  12. klisch says:

    I’ve only seen this episode once and afterward I felt like I needed to take a shower. To me it wasn’t enjoyable, the charactors were so unappealing that I didn’t care about the movie at all.


  13. Sharktopus says:

    Tessier goils. I just got that, hours later. Quite a stretch…

    “Whatever class this movie has, it comes from Michael Pataki. He really brings quite a bit. He is acting while everyone else is just sort of standing around talking.” -I’m not a medium…

    Class? Oookay. Pataki’s performance is the chief reason I feel like I not only need to shower after watching Sidehackers, but wipe down the TV, too. (Plus, he called the Enterprise a garbage scow. Dem’s fightin’ woids.)

    Man, I hate these grimy biker movies, but at least Sidehackers has a plot to follow, soul-blackening though it might be. (And some particularly nice music for a biker exploitation flick.) I feel almost ashamed to admit to liking Ross Hagen. He’s sort of a gravel-voiced poor man’s Steve McQueen, and comes off pretty well in his big mourning montage. Where was that range when he did Hellcats? I guess he picked up some acting tips doing Daktari inbetween.

    I’m with Sampo on this experiment’s quality. Watching Sidehackers for the first time in years – I don’t think I ever actually played the DVD from Volume 3 before last night – I must admit I found more entertaining than I’d remembered. The sketches are pretty strong for early season 2, and the first big foray into original songs is a homerun. If only the movie weren’t so blech. A solid 3 stars.

    During the “Let’s havee the crazy druggy bikers over for dinner” scene (What the hell was Rommel thinking?), there’s a riff that’s clearly dubbed in after the fact – after they reference International Coffees a rather disembodied voice says “orange cappuccino” but I can’t figure out whose voice it is. Or why they bothered – it’s not particularly funny, unless I’m missing something. Any thoughts?


  14. Fingal says:

    This movie currently serves as a coaster.

    I saw it once, and the implied/cut rape scene bothered me so much that i vowed never to watch it again.


  15. David J says:

    I saw the full movie when it was included in a box set of old B-rate movies, about half of which had been mystied. If you really want to know about the controversial scene; after J.C. comes in and beats Rommel up, it cuts to Rommel waking up from unconsciousness and finding a dead Rita tied up, hanging by her arms. She’s wearing a shirt, but you can see just enough of her hip to imply that she doesn’t have any pants on. He runs out the door and runs and runs. He finally reaches his friend’s house and tries to tell him what happened. He sees the guy’s kid’s wrestling, becomes speechless, and flashes back to some very blurry shots of J.C. and his gang on top of Rita. So vaguely shot and poorly done that I’m not sure it qualifies as “extremely brutal”(there was a much worse scene in the full version of Final Justice). But you still can’t riff on a scene with someone being raped and murdered.


  16. Ang says:

    This is my least fave of the biker films (Wild Rebels is my fave) but it does have some funny bits. I love both the songs and the last time I watched it, a couple weeks ago, the bit with Mike and Frank in the viewscreen had me laughing so hard I was out of breath. It’s great how sometimes you watch an episode and something in it will really tickle your funny bone even though before it only made you slightly chuckle. It’s like a wonderful gift that just keeps on giving.


  17. Brandon says:

    Sampo, if you, or anyone at all are so morbidly curious about the cut scene, it’s on youtube:
    Part 5 is also a continuation of it. **shudders**

    Anyway, here’s my review.

    202- Sidehackers

    Plot: Sidehacking. One gang gets snubbed by a mechanic and his girlfriend. So the leader kills the girl, and the mechanic plots revenge. Very little Sidehacking going on.

    Host Segments:
    Opening: The Bots have been bathed.
    Invention Exchange: Joel’s pet slinky, and Dr. F’s slinky body.
    Segment 1: Joel performs a song about Sidehacking
    Segment 2: J&TB do their own sports commentary on the sidehacking race sequence from the film.
    Segment 3: J&TB discuss Rommel. All the Bots can think about is how he killed Rita, when suddenly JC (Mike Nelson) appears in the Hexfield.
    Ending: Joel sings, “Only Love Pads the Film.” Then, Joel reads a letter.

    Memorable Riffs:
    Rommel: “Sure I swing.”
    Crow: “Both ways?”

    Servo: “And this is my country estate. I also keep a trailer home in the city.”

    Servo: “Wait, that’s for the drug test! No!”

    Rommel: “You ever read the Bible?”
    Crow: “No, but I saw the movie.”

    Rommel (referring to Rita): “How did I know she was gonna die?”
    Servo: “Uh, because you killed her.”

    Servo: “Hey, look! He’s sportin’ a woody!”

    Servo: “Oh, don’t grab his gun. No guns.”

    Fav. Riff:
    (JC at the beach thinking about now-deceased Rita)
    Crow: “We used to come here and club seals together.”

    -WHY are Crow and Tom so excited about watching the movie? What, does Joel have them set on masochist mode today?

    -This is the only time on the show where Cambot does his own “riff” of some sort, where he does an ESPN mock-up chart.

    -When I watch segment 2 I can’t help but wonder if maybe the Brains went overboard with the riffs during the Sidehacker race, and they decided to write segment 2 to include those riffs.

    -In the ACEG book, Mike mentions that they didn’t watch the whole film when previewing it. When it came time to write the riffs, all the writers were caught off-guard by a graphic rape scene between Rommel’s gang and JC’s girlfriend Rita. The scene was cut, and from that point onward, when previewing a film they would watch the film from start to finish.

    -This is the 2nd time that Crow has mentioned that a ship is approaching the SOL, and Joel thinks he’s making a joke. Was this a planned running gag that the Brains thought of, that eventually was abandoned?

    Best segment: The Sidehacking song!
    Worst segment: Segment 2 is monotonous, and seems to drag on forever.

    Overall: Kind of a letdown compared to the previous episode, but still a good episode. I’d call it average.
    Rating: ***1/2


  18. Johnny Ryde says:

    In anticipation of today’s discussion, last night I watched this episode for the first time in years. I was surprised at how many catch-phrases come from this episode that I missed. A lot of them seem to be lines of dialog that are half-obscured by riffs.

    To me, this is more of an average MST3k episode — not bad, but not one that I usually seek out.

    My favorite riff is that “I’m gonna put my arm around her… ‘n’ kiss her ‘n’ stuff” sequence.

    Can anyone figure out why Rommel insists on his gang having no guns in the final battle? He obviously intents to kill JC, so why the nod to non-violence?


  19. Johnny Ryde says:

    “He sees the guy’s kid’s wrestling, becomes speechless, and flashes back[…]” #15, @David J

    Ah, thanks, that explains one of the stranger scenes. In the MST3k version, he runs into the house and then immediately runs back out. I always wondered what was going on there…


  20. Sampo says:

    Thanks for the link, Brandon….I think…

    The actual rape flashbacks are in this portion: Extremely icky (and probably NSFW) and I can see why the Brains were appalled at what they’d gotten themselves into. But it’s only about three minutes of the movie total.

    Thanks to Bookworm for the reminder about “chili peppers burn my gut.”


  21. The film itself is a tale of two movies: the first half is all free-spirited 60’s fun, then it turns abruptly dark after the excised rape/murder scene. The conclusion is bleak and violent. This tonal shift makes it hard for the riffers to keep up the funny during the latter half of the episode, but the final host segment song “Only Love Pads The Film” (based on the romantic theme we heard earlier in the film) brings it to a satisfying close. As in later shows like Girl In Lovers Lane, Joel and the Bots inject some genuine pathos into what is mainly known as a silly comedy program, giving voice to the audiences’ dismay at the horrible things that happened to lovable characters.

    The Sidehackers greatest strength comes from the actors. Diane McBain (a TV veteran who I vaguely recognized from the 60’s Batman show) is instantly crush-worthy. I bought The Mini-Skirt Mob, another biker flick from this era (that also features Hagen) but it’s a snooze. Her own life story contains some tragedy, but she seems to have soldiered on bravely after being raped in real life.

    Michael Pataki is outstanding as ankh-wearing, charismatic biker cult-leader J.C. One could argue he is a Charles Manson analogue with all his rebellious, pseudo-mystical jibber-jabber. Actual couple Ross Hagen (Hellcats) and Claire Polan (as J.C.’s gal Paisley) are also good, believably tough in their respective roles.

    • Joel: Then I gotta clean up the load pan bay…
    Crow: Uh, Servo messed it up.
    Servo: No, no. It was both of us, we were having sword fights.
    (the first “load pan bay” mention in awhile.)

    Also, Joel does not eat a grape at commercial sign.

    • Joel: Come on, we only live for your achievements, please!
    (a call forward to Boggy Creek “We have attached ours egos to you!” )

    • Servo (as Rita drinks from a glass): Wait, that’s for the drug test, no – oh darn.

    • Luke: You like those chili peppers that Lois gets?
    Rommel: Yeah yeah, but they burn my gut. (this line will be called-back to many times in the future)

    • Paisley: Maybe I’d like a change?
    Servo: Maybe she’s got a saggy diaper that leaks?

    • Servo (as Paisley): Then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “I love you.”
    (lyric from “Somethin’ Stupid” – Nancy Sinatra’s creepy duet with father Frank.)

    • Joel: All done in there? (curious as to why the Playboy centerfold pinups in the restroom weren’t censored. Not that I’m complaining…)

    • Crow: Deese (slang for “decent,” to be heard often now that Mike is head writer)

    • Servo: …the now famous “Yank me, crank me.” (A Ted Nugent song. I also want to note that this sports terminology skit is one of the more Firesign Theatre-style routines MST ever did.)

    • Servo: I will kill him! (Sting’s infamous line from Dune)

    • Painter: She’s gone–
    Servo: Oh I, oh I – I’d pay the devil to replace her. (Hall & Oates)

    4 stars. Maybe it’s really only a 3, but I’m fond of this one for it’s intangibles: the groovy 60’s setting (like Girl in Gold Boots, showing the seedy underbelly of that mythical time, and Hollywood’s cynicism towards the burgeoning counter-culture), some memorable performances, and the good host segments. Plus, being an early Rhino box set release (Volume 3) I watched it many times before delving deeper into the “unreleased” shows, so for me at least, it was a gateway Joel episode.


  22. Sharktopus says:

    Interesting, Finnias. I had a feeling there was something going on behind the scenes between Ross and Paisley. They just weren’t good enough actors to explain the spark that’s present there.

    I don’t recall ever hearing “deese” on MST, but then again, I’ve never heard ANYONE say it. Must be a midwestern thing. I’ll have to keep my ears open…

    I love Joel repeatedly almost losing it over Gypsy’s singing. Did it take anyone else a while to figure out where they tambourine was coming from? I wonder if they really make tambourine ear-rings. Seems like that would get annoying real quick, but then again, discomfort doesn’t often seem to be a concern with women’s clothing.

    Wouldn’t Jim have made a better Gooch to Mike’s (disturbingly authentic) JC? Slick back his hair and give him a beard, and Frank isn’t even close. He’s always Frank.


  23. The Toblerone Effect says:

    This was the first time I’d seen these scenes uncut, and I completely understand why MST edited the flashback scenes out. It also clarifies why Rommel ran in and out of his buddy’s house in a matter of seconds on the episode. As far as the biker trilogy of movies they did for S2, I think this rates in the middle, better riffing than “Hell Cats” but not as funny as “Wild Rebels”. The segments are decent and I enjoyed both songs they performed. All said, it’s a good episode.


  24. Sharktopus says:

    Ah. Watching the cut footage I now see where that musical sting they used in segment 3 originated.

    In the ’60s was there no way to make an emergency call from a payphone without paying? Y’know: “Operator, my fiancee’s just been murdered – could you please connect me with the police? … No, I don’t have a quarter. Please, I need medical attention. … Calling card? WHY WON’T YOU HELP ME?!”


  25. Mr. B(ob) says:

    I’m still undecided as to whether or not I’m going to watch the cut scenes at the link provided.

    I do so love the host segments in this episode. Both of the songs are great and really funny and the Mike and Frank bit as J.C. and Gooch on the hexfield always slays me and I still often find myself answering questions with, “I will, I will get it, I will” and the like as a call-back to that bit.


  26. Laura says:

    Okay, can someone PLEASE explain to me what the heck they meant with the whole “sword-fighting” deal? I’ve rewatched this episode many times over the years and I still don’t know what the heck they’re talking about. Is it because I’m a girl? I swear I can handle the explanation.


  27. Mr. B(ob) says:

    @ “What in the world does “Five the Hard Way” (the original title of the movie) mean? Daddy-O has the answer: They called it that in order to cash in on the Jack Nicholson movie “Five Easy Pieces,” released earlier the same year.”

    If you listen closely while watching this episode, “Five The Hard Way” is also used in the lyrics in the eponymous theme song for the film.


  28. Sampo says:

    Laura: Picture two little boys, brothers most likely, both takin’ a pee at the same time. The temptation to “fence” with the streams is going to be impossible to resist. Tends to make a mess. It’s a boy thing.

    Sharktopus: I thought the same thing about the musical sting. I don’t think it was used anywhere except in the scene that was cut.


  29. Sharktopus says:

    B(ob), there’s nothing particularly worthy of brain bleach in the cut rape scenes. In fact, the interspliced flashbacks are a rather uncharacteristic attempt at artsy for a trashy biker flick. I wouldn’t want to try to riff it, though.

    I guess the “sword fighting” comment cements the assumption that “load pan” is a scatological gag, huh?


  30. Shenny says:

    This used to be one of my favorite eps until a fellow MSTie showed me that youtube link years ago. Since then I haven’t been able to watch it without thinking of that scene and becoming very uncomfortable.


  31. Cheapskate Crow says:

    I think this one was the ickiest movie they ever did, and knowing about the cut scene definitely dimmed my desire to watch this one again. I soldiered on though and agree with everyone else that the riffing diminishes about halfway through after the cut scene, although Joel and the Bots soldiered on well. This was by far the worst of the biker movies but I think it could have been OK if there was a lot more sidehacking and a lot less ickiness.


  32. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    Wow not only am I a petite, but I guess I am pretty much standing alone on this one, at least so far. I don’t understand all the negativity. Some if it appears to derive from the rape / murder scene, but that’s not part of THIS movie and is not part of my experience of this ep. Of course we are all free to bring whatever they want into the theater.

    Observation: I don’t really consider this a biker film because most of the charcters’ interaction with motorcycles are on a professional basis. We don’t see much of people riding motorcycles except for the sidehacking. Rommel has a car, JC’s posse has a truck. I just re-watched it this week and I don’t recall much ‘personal’ motorcycling at all. I will have to rewatch with this in mind.

    And I recall “dece” being common enough here in the northeast.


  33. Cubby says:

    I really love the first half of this movie. The second half, not so much, but it’s still got a lot of funny. This was one of the early ones I saw (we got CC around the time it became CC), and a lot of the lines resonated with my friends.

    “Uhhh, this is going to be hard to watch.”

    Crow, “Hey, Joel? What are these people doing now that cigarette ads are illegal?” Joel, “I dunno, maybe they’re working on PM Magazine?” (I think PM Magazine was a dated reference even then)

    “That refrigerator has been *everywhere*!”

    JC, “We’ve got an exhibition in San Francisco…” Joel, “So you won’t be needing those clothes.”

    “I gotta take the refrigerator to the airport.”

    Cooch, “Less talk! More move!” Joel, “What’s the director doing here?”

    “JC is wanted by the FBI, he should be considered armed and … stupid.”


  34. Sharktopus says:

    Even without the “rape scene” – which I only just watched a few minutes ago – I already felt like JC had raped my eyes and mind. This movie makes my soul feel dirty, much like Hellcats and Wild Rebels, so that’s enough for me to classify it as a biker flick.

    Anyway, why does JC have a loyal posse who follow him around? He’s clearly a psycho. And what, did he safe Gooch’s life once or something? Why so loyal? Also, I finally figured who Gooch reminds me of – Jonny Quest’s father. Or Conan O’Brien now that he has a beard. Just picture Gooch with red hair. (And not Frank – the tall, thin, real Gooch.)


  35. Dark Grandma of Death says:

    INaMIaP (#1 &#32), I actually agree with much of your assessment of this movie. I, too, like Pataki, even in this role, and I laughed at all the “Magnificent SOB” riffs, especially in Crow’s Patton voice. I don’t even mind Ross Hagen.

    But I STILL don’t care much for this episode. No amount of riffing or decent host segments can save it for me. It’s just too dark and ugly in that special way that lots of 1960s movies seem to have. And while the rape/murder scene isn’t shown in the ep, it’s what drives the rest of the plot and hangs very heavily over everything. That, and the nihilistic ending, make it all too dark for me to take much pleasure in some well-placed jokes.


  36. I'm not a medium, I'm a petite says:

    And for what it’s worth I always thought of JC as standing for Julius Caeser, since, along with Rommel, that gave us two Generals battling it out.


  37. clonus says:

    This is apparently what “sidehacking” is, and it’s still done today:

    BTW, do NOT google “sidehacking” and look at the Urban Dictionary link.


  38. big61al says:

    “sword-fighting” … more like pocket knife fighting! HA ;)


  39. Loran Alan Davis says:

    It should be noted that Ross Hagen is still acting these days. Sadly, his wife, Claire Polen (Paisly) died of cancer a few years ago.

    I give the Brains a lot of credit for what they were able to get out of this dismal film. Think of it as the complete opposite to Catalina Caper where they try to make fun of a comedy.


  40. swh1939 says:

    Oh, um … ok. Yeah. Sword fighting. Never having been involved in a “sword fight” I imagined something a little different. *ahem* Sword fight. Mm hmm. *sigh* *whistles* What the hell is Checher??


  41. soundandvision says:

    “Uhhhh, this is gonna be hard to watch.”


  42. Johnny Ryde says:

    The first time I saw this, I didn’t realize that anything major was cut. I assumed that the director made a deliberate decision to convey Rita’s death by showing a montage of Rommel walking sadly alone. I sort of thought that was a neat, subtle touch until I learned why the episode was structured the way it was…


  43. M "I Will Do It. I Will. I Will Get Him. I Will. I Will Do It. I WILL Do It. I Will" Sipher says:

    I’m a big fan of segment 2’s play-by-play, but then again, I like long-running non-sequitor oddities like that, right up there with the SPACOM! skit and the Klack commercial. For me, it’s the highlight of the episode (and I have to agree with #10 Bartcow… what they’ve got there can’t be all that much doofier than nominal sports terminology).

    The rest of the episode? Well… yeah. It’s fun up til the rape and murder and the total tonal shift, and that kneecaps the whole thing. I’m not disturbed by the existence of the rape and murder in and of itself; hell, a rape and murder can really “energize” a movie… but it’s not something you can just toss in willy-nilly. It’s misplaced here. Like they realized they were going nowhere and just tossed it in to find some kind of plot direction. We really don’t get to see a lot of J.C.’s unhingedness (if that is a word) before, him just going a bit nuts at being rejected (and why? Are we supposed to believe he’s some huge celebrity who always gets stuff he wants?), then… wham. This movie full of silly bits and some admittedly fun character interaction suddenly hits the grimdark. And this early in their riffing careers, they can’t really adjust to handle it, and the riffing kinda suffers because of it.

    I offer in contrast “The Girl in Lovers’ Lane”, which takes a similar turn for the dark. I’d put it to you that the murder, while still heavy-handed, was decently set up (we all knew Jessie (Jessie?, J.C.? DUN-DUN DUNNNNNN!!!) was going to be trouble, and he got progressively more threatening as the movie went on) and actually relevant to Big Stupid’s character development; his bullheaded independence and moronic lonerism made him not realize what he had til he lost it forever. And to Danny’s; coming to Big’s rescue for once and facing his fear (embodied by Jessie). Good lord, I think I just gave this movie more thought than the writers did. And, most importantly, the riffing didn’t suffer. Quality gags abound! Maybe the Brains were more jaded then. Dunno. But it’s an interesting contrast.

    Hm. That’s something to consider… comparing experiments with similar themes… like “I Accuse My Parents” and “The Violent Years” both having the central message about how parental neglect means trouble for the kids… and the completely different yet both amazingly boneheaded ways of presenting said message.


  44. Sean says:

    Has it ever been mentioned that Season 2 Gypsy has eyelashes on her flashlight eye?


  45. Cody Himes says:

    I think this episode is an improvement over 201. The movie, for one, is a bit more lively (as depressing as it is). Speaking of the movie, I watched this episode on Youtube and I was startled that the plot didn’t take off until part 6/10!! Anyway, here’s some observations I wrote down when I watched it last night:

    *I liked the Who’s On First? bit that J&TB did early in the picture. They do the same “THIRD BASE!!” line in a few other episodes and as a fan of A&C, I always get a kick out of that riff (and Trace’s impression of Lou that pops up time to time).

    *Crow’s Dean Martin is pretty good, too.

    *I liked all the jokes about Rommel being a magnificent S.O.B. and his book. I don’t think they overdid it.

    *The Sidehackin’ song is pretty good. The music is pretty dull (sorry Mike!) but the lyrics are funny. The blooper in the Poopie tape is a classic, too. “Hully hully hully hully hully hully hoooool”

    *”There’s a ladder in the way!!” -Crow (I think. I forgot to credit a lot of these riffs!)

    *”I need to take the fridge to the airport – you need anything?” – Tom?

    *”That jelly donut got away from him.” – Not sure…

    *NERO: I found a couple of boys. They’re willing to ride with us, but there’s one problem.
    TOM: One of them’s 6 years old, the other’s 11.

    *Segment 3 was a good send up of the film, I thought. Mike was great as J.C.


  46. M "Hully Hully HOOON! HNN!!" Sipher says:

    #45 Cody Himes: “The blooper in the Poopie tape is a classic, too. “Hully hully hully hully hully hully hoooool”

    That’s one of my favorites too, not so much for the way Joel continues on after the initial blunder (thoguh his goofus voice is great), but because of the way EVERYONE ELSE DOES TOO. Nobody breaks character! The bots are still playing and posing away. Cambot is still moving from character to character as if everything was normal. It’s wonderful.


  47. Fred Burroughs says:

    I never thought this movie was so dark. You have some stupidity in Rommel being so chummy with the bikers, but his plotting his revenge is just goofy to me, not really scary, since one of it makes much sense. You’re selling your tools to hire thugs for a few bucks … who are willing to die for you? then when you track down the killer, you ‘can’t’ use guns; why not? JC elaborately plots to lure Rommel into a trap, then just sits in a shack with his posse; and Cooch/Gooch tells him exactly where he is…why? Big Jake kills the first guy he sees (again why aren’t they using guns?) but even he dies instantly , so why get him involved at all? So so dumb.

    It’s worth it for Pataki’s embarrassing overacting; it worked though, he is genuinely creepy. Poor guy is typecast (see It Lives At Night) I didn’t believe it was the same guy til I watched it again. I will always remember him as the originator of The Malacci Crunch from Happy Days. Come to think of it, there he played a psychotic celebrity of the demolition derby circuit, pretty similar; maybe Tom Bosley was a fan of Sidehackers.

    Funny episode though.


  48. Lisa says:

    This was one of my earliest episodes and I still love it.


  49. frankenforcer says:

    this si the episode where I started seeing flashes of what was to come in host segments and in the riffing. I don’t know what it was, I like the biker films there so deliciously dirty looking, all three of them. They’re grimy, gritty (I believe they rubbed real grit into the lens before they filmed any scenes),and just depressing (exept Hellcats).

    Why I love this one and get the feeling of the evolution of the Brains in how they would handle the show in the future I don’t know but I think it has to do with the music. It seemed to bring the show together as something that was missing and not realising it until they started singing. “SideHackin'” and “Only Love Pads the Film” are classics even with Joel’s pitchy voice (which somehow made it all the more awesome).


  50. Laura says:

    Thanks Sampo. I really had no idea what the reference was. I really don’t want to know why little boys would do that, and I hope I never know.

    For “Sidehackers”, “Sidehackin'” is my most favorite MST3K song ever!! Joel is great and I love the lyrics. :-D


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