11 January 2008

Like The Phone Call From A Long Lost Friend

My best buddy called me on the phone from his apartment three doors down and I could hear him gasping for air and laughing at the same time.

“Man, you gotta come see this.”


“Just... just come on over.”

I trotted to his place, barged in and saw him on his pizza-stained bachelor sofa, wiping tears from his eyes as he pointed at some strange image on his television: a 1960s-era Japanese monster movie was playing, and at the base of the screen were silhouetted a trio of heads, like we were in a movie theater behind these guys. As I listened in, I heard three horrendously smart-assed guys just shredding the movie, mocking and insulting the schlockfest in a manner disturbingly similar to the way I and best friend had done for years when we were bored and armed only with basic cable and a seemingly endless supply of cheap beer, halllmarks of our existence in those hazy bachelor days of the late 1980s.

And thus began my love for Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K for us hip kids).

Joel Hodgson and his robot pals on the Satellite of Love immediately became a Saturday night tradition for a few years after. Even when Joel was replaced by Mike we stayed true, and in time grew to love Mike just as much as Joel (I refuse to choose between the two, though I understand and respect that for many Mysties this is as divisive as Coke v Pepsi).

But like all good things, this too ended. Comedy Central aired the episodes for most of the late 90s, but by the turn of the century the show had slipped in the ratings and the show bounced around various timeslots and then right off the air. Sure, we had some old VHS tapes we watched and rewatched til the magneticnous (sorry to get all scientific on you kids) had been watched clean off the tapes.

And thus MST faded from my life except as a memory.

Until now.

Bouncing around the internet, I stumbled across a ref to a new project I’d not heard of:

When I clicked on the link, I found myself watching a grainy old horror movie as a crew of silhouetted characters just shredding the movie, mocking and insulting the schlockfest in a manner disturbingly familiar way.

And I smiled.

It turns out that most all of the original MST crew — Joel, Josh “Tom Servo” Weinstein”, Trace “Crow” Beaulieu, Mary Jo “Pearl” pehl, and even “TV’s Frank” Conniff — have reunited to pick up the MST cause and skewer an entire new crop of crappy movies. Thanks to the internet, instead of grainy worn out VHS taps, these new episodes will be streamed online, available for download, and available for direct purchase on DVD as standalone episodes.

And there most surely is joy in Mudville tonight.


japhy99 said...

Fantastic! Always loved MST -- my daughter and I would watch and heckle along with the crew. Thanks for the tip.

Unknown said...

We actually were there when they sold off the props from the show. Filled up a pickup truck with mementos. Jim Mallon signed a poster for me.

Good to see them back.

aggiebrett said...

Ah yes... the Minneapolis Mafia...

Figures. ;-)


Emily Blake said...

This is the best news ever. EVER.

Tavis said...

I have to admit my fondness for Joel-- but it's all good. Now, let's all sing the theme to Sidehackin'!

Shawna said...

oh. Should I have told you that my sister had coffee with TV's Frank on New Year's Day.

We're planning a bowling outing with our new BFF.

And we were sooo on the Cinematic Titanic bandwagon ages ago. Cartoon Dump with Joel and Frank at the Steve Allen, once a month, matey.