10 November 2006

MST3K (504)

504 - Secret Agent Super Dragon - I don't know what it is about dubbed movies in MST3K, but I find them universally impossible to follow. I had no idea what the plot of this flick was for a very long time. I finally pieced together that it had something to do with drugging people to take over the world, even if that doesn't make too much sense.

The funniest part of this episode, to me, came from the movie and not the riffing. Fremont, Michigan? Home of the Gerber baby food plant? What the hell? What, did the dubbing guys throw a dart at a US map or something? Super Dragon's fellow agent crashed into a river on Canyon Road in Fremont. Either he was driving a King Midget and fell into a ditch, or the topography of Northern Michigan has changed significantly since 1966. And, a bunch of college kids were the test subjects of the Synchron-2 drug? Maybe that would explain why there's no college at all in the town today? I should tell my in-laws about this. I bet they had no idea they live only few miles from the "Super Dragon College Massacre of 1966."

No mention of the XT-5000? Aw, how could Crow and Servo forget their first son? In this episode, they give life to Minksy, the super-annoying but colorful robot ("I am the atomic-powered robot. Please give my best wishes to everybody."). He is soon callously murdered by Grandfather Joel in an apparent "accident." I can only assume the same fate befell poor XT-5000, as we haven't heard from this gentle being who spoke only in foam since 211. Why, Joel, why?

This set of host segments is more my style. We start out with some great acting from Frank in the invention exchange as he fails as a stand-up comedian even with a computerized audience. Following that is Minsky, a song with Joel getting full-on goofy again, another in the "Crow's Scripts" series and some fatherly advice from Joel to the bots about why spies use puns after murder. A nice, well-rounded selection. I note, with interest, that Gypsy does not appear at all in the host segments... and Joel appears to be in a better mood than he has been lately. Hmm.

The end of this episode marks the exact halfway point in the series. From K01 to 504, there are 99 episodes and from 505 to 1013 there are 98 episodes and 1 movie. With only 8 more to go, Joel just barely got more episodes in than Mike, though Mike appeared in all 6 of the specials.

This episode is also the last for which I will be watching The Mystery Science Theater Hour segments. This is the last episode for which fan copies of the segments are available, anyway. I couldn't recommend watching these things to any but the nuttiest of MST3K fans. There's not a lot to them. Each half of an episode gets a very brief intro and outro by Mike dressed in his Jack Perkins outfit. They're not particularly funny, though Mike does an excellent job -- as always -- in this role. In fact, the only parts of these that I really liked were the credits. Instead of fading to black, the credits scroll over a dimmed MSTH set. It's always fun to watch what the silhouette of Mike/Jack will do. For some reason, it's hilarious when he pretends to trip over the set and a bunch of stage hands have to run out and help him up.

"Delicious fruit flavor burst right through his skull." (7/10)

film d. Giorgio Ferroni [as Calvin J. Padget] (1966)
mst d. Trace Beaulieu (7 Aug 1993)