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Episode guide: 303- Pod People

Movie: (1984) When some alien eggs hatch, it spells trouble for a pair of poachers, a vacationing singer and his entourage and an isolated family.

First shown: 6/15/91
Opening: J&tB are having an arts chautauqua
Invention exchange: After a brief scene from “An Officer and a Gentlemen,” Joel demonstrates his monster chord; while the Mads have invented a public domain karaoke machine
Host segment 1: J&tB record “Idiot Control Now” and it stinks!
Host segment 2: J&tB present New Age music from Some Guys in Space
Host segment 3: “You are magic, aren’t you, Trumpy?”
End: J&tB sing, “A Clown in the Sky”
Stinger: “It stinks!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (205 votes, average: 4.64 out of 5)

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• People adore this episode. In the ACEG it’s described as a “fan favorite.” But I gotta say this is number-one in my list of “sleeping pill” episodes. Don’t get me wrong: the riffing is great and the host segments are ALL winners (which is a rarity). But the movie just puts me to sleep. Maybe it’s all the fog and new agey music. I did make it through this viewing without dozing off, but I was getting pretty drowsy by the end.
• This movie was originally released in Spain as “Los Nuevos Extraterrestres.” For the American video release it was called “The Unearthling,” but you might also have seen it titled “Extra-Terrestrial Visitors,” “Tales Of Trumpy” or “The Return Of E.T.”
References.
• This episode was included in Rhino’s “The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 2.”
• Kevin croaks out the word “merchant” in the opening bit–they keep going.
• The blowed-up bots are the handywork of newly arrived Toolmaster Jef.
• Dr. F mentions the once-trendy clothing retail chain Chess King. They would be gone in four years.
• Frank addresses Jerry the Mole Person but we never see him.
• Despite the fact that the bots have just been badly blowed up, the regular bots walk into the theater a moment later. Joel covers by mumbling “Good thing we got those re-…um…those new heads on…”
• FVI used clips from a movie called “Galaxy Invader” for the titles. That movie would later be riffed by RiffTrax.
• The last time we had an episode with two songs was 202- THE SIDE HACKERS. We wouldn’t get another one until episode 521- SANTA CLAUS.
• Callback: “Puma? Puma!” (Ring of Terror)
• That’s makeup lady (and occasional writer) Faye Berkholder as the recording studio assistant in Deep 13, her one and only appearance on the show. A lot of people thought it was Bridget for a long time.
• Kevin sort of coughs/clears his throat at one point in the theater. They keep going.
• During the wall of keyboards sketch, Crow has a bit of sammich on his beak. Another nice touch from Jef. Also–Why is Joel staring down at the floor while he’s talking? Is he reading his lines?
• A lot of people had no idea about the origin of that voice Crow does when he does Trumpy. “He’s like a poh-tay-toe!” He’s doing a vague impression of The Elephant Man from the movie of the same name.
• Also, a lot people had no idea who McCloud was. Dennis Weaver, we hardly knew ye.
• That said, they ran the “Chief? McCloud!” bit right into the ground. A running gag is one thing, but sheesh.
• Vaguely dirty riff: “That trunk could come in handy for hard to reach places!”
• Goof: When Joel says “Trumpy, you can do STUPID things!” in the theater, he’s referencing a line by the little kid, Tommy, who says: “Trumpy, you can do magic things!” Unfortunately Joel does that riff about 10 minutes BEFORE the Tommy says the original line. Another example of what happens when you watch a movie five or six times in a week. You can lose track of when stuff happens.
• The house in this movie is MUCH bigger on the inside than it looks like on the outside. It appears to have three or four guest bedrooms and endless hallways (and a door to the outside in the bathroom off one of the bedrooms, though which evil Trumpy escapes after killing the girl in the shower). Is it a TARDIS house?
• Cast and crew roundup: The only person credited for this movie that has a credit in any other MSTed movie is, once again, scoremeister Karl Michael Demer, who was Film Ventures International’s go-to credits music guy.
• CreditsWatch: Unbelievable: After two episodes where it didn’t appear, “Special Guest Villians” (misspelled) returns. Starting with this episode and continuing through most of the season: “Host Segments Directed by Jim Mallon.” And an important first in this episode: “Toolmaster: Jef Maynard.” Mike and Kevin get the credit for “A Clown in the Sky.” Trace gets a solo Art Direction credit (no Joel, for the only time during his tenure at the show). A new credit appears: “Post Production Coordination.” It’s Alex (already listed as “Production Manager”) and Jann (already listed as “Production Coordinator”). Sheesh. Another new credit: “Prop Assistant.” This week it’s one Barb Oswald, who will get the gig in two more eps this season.
• Fave riff: “Hi! We’re the cast from ‘Straw Dogs’.” Honorable mention: “Hear that? Sounds like Norm Abrams being killed by a giant chicken.”

230 comments to Episode guide: 303- Pod People

  • 201
    Cornjob says:

    Re: “I want to know what love is”: It Stinks.

       1 likes

  • 202
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    The movie was a French/Spanish production, so why was the “virgin” shirt in English?

    Something theoretically, moderately interesting about “Pieces” is that FORTY YEARS passed between the killer’s traumatic childhood moment and his contemporary (well, 1982) killing spree. Some pots really take a long time to boil, I guess.

    Although “Pieces” is a slasher film, its victim roster apparently (I’ve only read about it, I haven’t seen it) lacks a pre-existing group dynamic and is thus immune to classification by “Cabin” archetypes.

       0 likes

  • 203
    Cornjob says:

    Does anyone have any idea what the Big Dipper jewels on the victims’ forehead meant. Did the alien’s home world have a Big Dipper constellation too?

       1 likes

  • 204
    thequietman says:

    I’m guessing that would be the case, since when I watched the episode this time around I noticed in the shot of Tommy’s star chart (Servo: What, she’s from Rand McNally?) the Big Dipper is surprisingly prominent.

    What still can’t figure out is how evil Trumpy is actually killing his victims. He just waddles up, whacks the person with that plastic hand/claw thing, and down they go.

       1 likes

  • 205
    Sitting Duck says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    The movie was a French/Spanish production, so why was the “virgin” shirt in English?

    Probably because it appears to take place in America (the picture of Reagan in the ranger cabin implies this).

       1 likes

  • 206
    Cornjob says:

    “Now we can kill game in peace and quiet”.

    Great line. Was someone trying to be ironic? It’s not often that you get the words “peace”, “quiet”, and “kill” in the same sentence. I’m put in mind of an old Monty Python sketch that began with Graham Chapman saying, “I like animals. And that’s why I like to kill them.” in that perfect military deadpan he did so well.

       0 likes

  • 207
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    #205

    Oh, so France and Spain will make a movie like this, a cross between “E.T.” and the works of Don “Galaxy Invader” Dohler, they just don’t want it to take place in THEIR countries. I see. Hmmmph.

    (Is that how you spell a Marge Simpson “Hmmmph”? Is there a consensus on that?)

       0 likes

  • 208
    Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    thequietman:
    I’m guessing that would be the case, since when I watched the episode this time around I noticed in the shot of Tommy’s star chart (Servo: What, she’s from Rand McNally?) the Big Dipper is surprisingly prominent.

    I’ve noticed that too. They still don’t resolve why that has any meaning, though.

       1 likes

  • 209
    Ator In Flight says:

    I forgot one of my favorite parts is when Frank rolls his eyes at the mention of Foghat. Here is the link to the Pod People soundtrack so now you can hear the full version of Hear The Engines Roll. You’re welcome.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWd-FtaTN1Y

       1 likes

  • 210
    EricJ says:

    Ator In Flight:
    Here is the link to the Pod People soundtrack so now you can hear the full version of Hear The Engines Roll. You’re welcome.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWd-FtaTN1Y

    Hate to admit, I’d always sort of liked parts of the Cheesy Homemade Horror Synth soundtrack, although he’s no John Carpenter/Alan Howarth.
    Shame we can’t have isolated tracks, so we can get the cuddly Vangelis-esque Boy & His Hellbeast love theme (0:00-3:00), without the Archies songs.
    (The You Can Do Stupid Things track seems to be missing, as it was probably library anyway.)

       1 likes

  • 211
    CJBeiting says:

    Does anybody have the full lyrics to Joel’s version of the “Idiot Control” song?

       0 likes

  • 212
    Cornjob says:

    The toy robot that alarms Trumpy has a cameo in The Kentucky Fried Movie

       0 likes

  • 213
    Sitting Duck says:

    CJBeiting:
    Does anybody have the full lyrics to Joel’s version of the “Idiot Control” song?

    Right here.

    http://www.mst3kinfo.com/ward_e/Song303a.html

       0 likes

  • 214
    Into The Void says:

    Hands down my all-time favorite episode.

       0 likes

  • 215
    Captain Cab says:

    I also forgot to say that a few months ago I watched about the first 30 min of the Spanish version of the actual movie and was it originally done in Spanish or was it Italian? Because I’m not exaggerating when I say that the English version dub, cheesy as it is, sounds 100X more natural and much better than listening to the Spanish language track which is one of the most awful, earsplittingly badly done dubs I have ever listened to. Both the male and female voices sound really unnatural and don’t match and Timmy sounds like a screechy, bad voice actor from a really crummy anime dub from the 80s/90s. Was it a case of them losing the track like Manos? And ditto on the whole subplot with “big dipper” markings left on the victims’ foreheads and also never understood the point of the scene with foreboding music when Trumpy sneaks out of the closet to use Timmy’s telescope and then sees a constellation or galaxy that seems to be “signaling” him. Guess either they ran out of budget or the director and screenwriter were both too lazy to follow through on those points? Also ditto on how cheap and lame it is that Anti-Trumpy is able to insta-kill all of his victims either with a sloppy jab to the stomach (or elbow to the face as in Burt the poacher’s case) or simply by throwing them.

       0 likes

  • 216
    Bruce Boxliker says:

    Late to the party this week, I was busy flying over trout.

    Like a few others, I like this episode a lot, but it’s not one of my favorites (at least not in the top 20). It is pretty sleepy, what with the new-age soundtrack and all.
    I’m pretty sure Dark Trumpy (Darth Trumpy?) kills because the first Human he/she/it meets kills it’s siblings(?) and tries to capture & hurt it, too. That might color your opinions of the entire Human race, so he/she/it decides to kill all Humans around the area. The exact mechanics of those killings? Not a clue.

    @162 – Sitting Duck – The white-haired poacher’s resemblance to Llorne Greene gets commented on. So it seems odd that they don’t also remark on Brian’s resemblance to Dirk Benedict.

    I think a certain later episode clues us in that NO ONE at BBI had ever seen the original Battlestar Galactica. Probably not A-Team, either. The Llorne Greene connection was probably from Bonanza.

    Hey, carbon scoring on my droid!

       0 likes

  • 217
    70's run on car says:

    the kitten’s ” This can’t be good” is perfect. topic; lines that fit animals expressions, My vote is for
    Leech Woman monkey, “Why I never”.

       1 likes

  • 218
    Blonde Russian Spy says:

    Thom Sirveaux:
    What’s with the “I’m a virgin” t-shirt? Was that a fad at the time?

    The t-shirt I remember seeing had “I’m a Virgin” in big letters at the top, and underneath in smaller letters it said “This is an old t-shirt.”

       0 likes

  • 219
    unsung zero says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves:
    #205

    Oh, so France and Spain will make a movie like this, a cross between “E.T.” and the works of Don “Galaxy Invader” Dohler, they just don’t want it to take place in THEIR countries. I see. Hmmmph.

    (Is that how you spell a Marge Simpson “Hmmmph”? Is there a consensus on that?)

    I always thought of Marge making an annoyed or angry sigh, and spelled as “Hrrmmm…”

       0 likes

  • 220
    Sitting Duck says:

    @ #216: If you’re referring to Space Mutiny there, it could just be that Trace and/or Frank were the ones familiar with Battlestar Galactica. Though upon reflection, noting the guy’s resemblance to Andy Travis of WKRP was more intuitive, seeing as how the scene was in a recording studio.

       0 likes

  • 221
    Rob says:

    I remember, back before Youtube in the early 2000s, looking through a bin of VHS tapes at a drugstore and finding this. Back then, with the show off the air, that was one of the few ways to find episodes that you hadn’t seen. The best lines were Trumpy’s lines about potatoes.

       0 likes

  • 222
    schippers says:

    #202 – WHY haven’t you seen Pieces?

    Anyway, the victims in the movie are almost all (basically) anonymous college girls. The film doesn’t give them the luxury of even perfunctory characterization.

    We do know they like smoking pot and f______g on a waterbed, though.

       0 likes

  • 223
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    I read about way more movies than I watch. It’s less time-consuming.

       0 likes

  • 224
    Cornjob says:

    The Grandad in Lost Boys didn’t need to watch TV because he read TV guide.

       0 likes

  • 225
    touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    And if I didn’t read about movies, I probably wouldn’t know anything at all about “Pieces.” I don’t know where I first read about it but I know that I’ve never watched it so I must have only learned of its existence BY reading about it so, y’know, Q.E.D. OSLT. Wink

       0 likes

  • 226
    Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    • Also, a lot people had no idea who McCloud was. Dennis Weaver, we hardly knew ye.

    Really?

    Given the average age of the viewing audience at this time I would have thought McCloud would be as well known as Mork & Mindy. It was probably the logiest running of the NBC Mystery Movies, starting, I believe, back when it was “Phase Four.” (Now how it THAT for a vague reference !!! ) CBS reran it thought the 70s after 11:30 pm before they got into the late night talk show biz and A&E ran it as part of their morning mystery theater. (Along with McMillan & Wife and Bancek)

       1 likes

  • 227
    Captain Cab says:

    ^^^^

    Speaking of McCloud, I was finally able to watch it for the first time a few months ago thanks to MeTV and their “Late Night Mystery” lineup. Actually pretty solid show, it’s inherently cheesy but it’s great fun. I also didn’t even know about McMillan & Wife (which in my opinion is cheesier and than McCloud and downright awkward and hammy sometimes with how the characters act) and Banacek’s existence until MeTV which are also in the same basic semi-rotation with Columbo. All I knew of Banacek was the occasional riff they would throw on it but had no idea it was a George Peppard show.

       3 likes

  • 228
    Richard the Lion-Footed says:

    Netflix has McMillan & Wife as part of their streaming lineup.
    They also have Colombo but Bananek is only available by disk and it is the edited “Hallmark Channel” editions not the original full show.

       0 likes

  • 229
    PanTang says:

    I don’t even like coffee

    SORRY ABOUT MY FACE

       0 likes

  • 230
    mnenoch says:

    The second Joel episode I ever saw. It too was one of the early releases on tape that I saw in 1997. The songs are great in this episode and I love the ending scene. The movie is a big of a yawner for me but the riffing still holds up. It certainly is odd that they were making a horror movie and then interjected a bit of E.T. into it. Not in my top 20 list but this is still a great episode. Some of my favorite lines come from this episode.

       0 likes