Sunday, August 31, 2014

20 Questions (plus 1) with Beez McKeever

     It was in the midst of a dark week that I was given a ray of light - a light in the form of an email which restored the smile on my face (and led to this interview).  I think Beez probably has that effect on a lot of people. Even In our brief correspondence I found Beez to be warm, intelligent and giving. Her answers to my questions were thoughtful, honest and in depth. You'll find no cheap "yes" or "No" answers here folks.

     Briefly: As most fans know, Beez is Beth, but nicknamed Beez by her family after the Mrs. Beasley doll seen in the TV hit, "Family Affair."

     She joined the Best Brain staff during season 7 and worked as a Prop Assistant. By Season 8 she became the "Prop Diva" and joined with Patrick Brantseg to create some of MST's most memorable props and costumes (a few of which we'll speak of in the following)

Beez: OH MY! I've written you a short novella here. You asked- and I answered- in a way that is perhaps exhaustive so pour yourself a cuppa and pull up a chair. We're gonna be here awhile damn it! :D

Mighty Jack:  We haven't heard very much news since 2003, when you married and moved to the UK. Could you update us on what your up to these days? (work, how you're enjoying married life and England)

Beez: I was actually in Wales which is neighbors to, and worlds away, from England. The Welsh were conquered by the English 722 years ago but there's still a slightly spiky feeling between the two of them. This came as quite a surprise to me. But anyhoo, yeah, I'm stalling. I might as well let the cat out of the bag - things didn't end up working out in the UK.

     Walt Disney had it easy. He got to write cute love stories that ended nicely BECAUSE HE WROTE THEM BY HIMSELF!!! :D When you co-write a story with another person you kind of lose control of it. I wanted a predictable Disney vehicle but as fate would have it- I got something a bit more M. Night Shyamalan. It was sort of strange, unfortunate, and costly but at least my ex and I have remained on good terms. Given that he hasn't left me for "The Sexiest Woman Alive" or something equally unbearable the best relationship ending tag line I can throw out for ya is "The library called. They want their book back." It is a saddening but not overly dramatic outcome.

MJ Pauses to offer condolences

MJ: Any difficulties/surprises/adjustments you've discovered while living in the UK?

Beez: Living in the UK was surprisingly different. Without getting too Yakov Smirnoff on you, the Brits say things and do things a just a liiittle bit differently over there. The scariest thing was getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road but I did manage that. The trickiest thing was getting used to the language.

     Imagine this: You hop in the lorry and head down the dual carriage way to the Farmer's Arms or any other "arms" of your choice. You're greeted at the door with "Sooorry luv we're chock a block this aftanooon. Next time give us a tinkle befo hand and Bob's your uncle."?!!???!!!! It was like that. I was confused for quite some time.

     It was hard getting used to the UK sense of humor as well because they're not perky people. They don't have chummy "Friends" like comedy. They like to watch saltier characters that often put their feet in their mouths. I cringed a lot to start and then I really grew to love it. I LOVE "Little Britain". The original UK "The Office" is brilliant and Paul Whitehouse of "The Fast Show" and "Help" is SO funny. "Room 101" hosted by Paul Merton didn't have the cringe factor so that show didn't take even a moment to adjust to. Merton is a stunningly quick wit. I'm also a great admirer of Eddie Izzard's work- a very funny, smart man.

     A final note on Wales: The Welsh people are wonderful, warm people and their country side is absolutely breath taking. Those two elements made adjusting easier.

MJ: I see the "Darkstar" game will finally be released by the end of this year. How did you get involved with this project and what part do you play? Did you do any costuming or prop work on "Darkstar"?

Beez: Trace was contacted about it first and he got me into it. At first I was just assigned crew duties but I asked if I could have a part. Jeff (J. Allen Williams), the director and creator of Dark Star obliged and I thank him for that. I play Paige Palmer, a space pilot on a daunting mission. Initially I was in charge of wardrobe for the game but it was sort of difficult, given the way it was created, for me to be very hands on about a lot of it. I was in Minnesota or Wales and most of it was shot in Missouri so it just wasn't practical to do so. I'm excited to see how it all turns out. Dark Star has been YEARS in the making. I have high hopes for it.

MJ: I spotted this letter you wrote to the editor in the City Pages (dated 2001) concerning Prince. Letters to the Editor. Are you a big time Prince fan? What other kinds of music do you listen too?

Beez: I'm a big fan of Prince's older music but as that letter reveals I'm not as in touch with his newer stuff. I like a lot of different bands: Radio Head, Cold Play, Bebel Gilberto, Beck, Macy Grey, and Mike Doughty just to name a few.

MJ: Melding music and MST: Have you heard the CD Patrick Brantseg played drums on. If so, was he good? (Note to MSTies, Patricks brother is guitar God Steve Brantseg, who performed with Patrick in the noted Minneapolis band, 'Black Spot')

Beez: I haven't seen Patrick play but I would like to. I heard about a couple of gigs that he had done after MST but I was in Wales at the time and couldn't catch the shows. I'm bummed about that.

MJ: Were you a fan of MST3K before joining the staff?

Beez:  I was a fan of the show. The Turkey Day Marathon was an annual treat at our house. Not to sound dopey or gushy but it was a show that the whole family could enjoy together. For many years I worked as a waitress and MST was also a late night wind down for me. I'd come home from work and because the movies were sort of plotless I could pick the show up at any point and get some great laughs out of it.

MJ: While you've been on screen several times, it was your role as Steffi the sitter that struck a major chord with fans. Did that overwhelming positive response surprise you? (You were great by the way. I split a seam from laughing so hard)

Beez: **blushes** Thank you! :) I was very surprised at the response and highly flattered. The sweetest and greatest compliment that I have EVER received was from a woman who had seen the Touch of Satan episode. She had had the worst day ever. It was the anniversary of her son's death. She had recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease and there was something else that was SO sad about her day. She wrote into us saying that that show brightened that horrible day for her. I take great pride in that achievement. If I've done nothing else- I've contributed to that. I work on commercials for the most part these days so I rarely get a chance to take such an active role in making people laugh. I miss that.

MJ: How fun was it to play Steffi (you got to swat Kevin. lol), was that your favorite role?

Beez: It was a HOOT playing Steffi! And yes it was my favorite role. Kevin and Bill were both very helpful to me. Everyone was very supportive. I was nervous about it all, for sure, but they put me at ease.

MJ: You also played the sparkly Terror in "Terror From the Year 5000". It looks like a lot of work went into that costume, plus there was the makeup. Was that a difficult role to prepare for and perform?

Beez: That costume was quite the project, each gold little do-dad ya see on there was hand sewn, but it was a labor of love so that part was fine. The make-up was lovely wasn't it? :D I enjoyed that part of it. Boris Karloff I was not but it was fun to play something of a monster. The most difficult part of that role was the voice. That Terror woman had the craziest voice!! Try as I might to duplicate it I came out sounding like Bobcat Goldthwait. I hope that was alright for the folks at home.

MJ: Did you enjoy the onscreen work as much as the offscreen duties as Prop Diva? Were you nervous the first time you had to appear on screen?

Beez: I wasn't so nervous the first time because my back was to the camera and I only had two lines- easy peasy.

MJ: In your Prop Diva duties. What costumes or props are you the most proud of?

Beez That's a tough one. I really liked the Tickle me Carlo Lombardy doll and chair. Costume wise I think my toga for Kevin in Roman world worked well, a surprisingly great look for him. I liked a lot of the puppet costumes but Crow as Droppy the Water Droplet stands out the most in my mind.

MJ: Who created the Mike robot puppet in "Prince of Space"? And do you remember if Mike enjoyed or had any difficulties with his first shot at being a puppeteer?

Beez It was a co-production. Patrick made the puppet and I made the costume for it. I can't remember Mike having too hard a time with it. It was a pretty basic starter puppet, no eye controls or anything, and Mike is mystifyingly coordinated. Have you seen him juggle?

MJ: Watching the raw footage from "Diabolik", it seems you were involved in many phases of the show. Aside from the costumes etc. You are shown helping tear tiles off the SOL and spreading the smoke. It looked hectic. What was it like being the 'prop diva'?

Beez: Danger Diabolik was the last show so that wasn't like other shows. That was a sad day for all of us. Being the Prop Diva was amazing. It was crazy. At times it was tiring but it was undoubtedly FUN. My face would HURT some days from laughing so hard. It was a "no shit" kind of production. We didn't have a lot of cooks in the kitchen throwing out stupid subjective ideas about tweaking this or farting around with that. I didn't have to track down unnecessary things on someone's crazy whim as I often have to now. Patrick and I were given a script. We made a prop and costume list. We had a meeting with the director about his vision for it all then they'd let us fly without holding us on a string. IT WAS HEAVEN!! I appreciate it now more than ever.

MJ: With all you did on the show. Did you ever write or improvise a line during the skits. Or contribute a riff?

Beez: I like to think that I inspired Kevin to go off on his brief MAY-O- NAISE! bit while making the brain sandwich in – I forget what episode. They also kept one quip I made for Diabolik. It was some comment about the lead guy's rubber suit but I forget how that went exactly.

MJ: Any interesting or funny anecdote you could share about the show?

Beez: Let's call this story "Innocence Lost". Do you remember Pearl Forrester's space van? Well, it was officially named "The Widow Maker" but unofficially we called it something else. Inspired by our curiosity in Wesley Willis' music we had named it after one of his most compelling tunes "Spank Wagon". It was not uncommon to hear its catchy chorus "Spaaaank Wag-on, Spaaaaaank Wag-on" being sung around the studio.

     We Brainers were hip to the fact that "Spank Wagon" was the name of a band but we were oblivious to the dark, true meaning of that name. When one of our edgy young interns let us in on it's creepy origin I remember the response being sort of a saucer eyed, Little Rascals-esque, **GULP!** **HARD BLINK** "YA MEAN THEY HAVE A NAME FER THAT?!?!" :D We were gob smacked and horrified so we came up with the more life affirming moniker "The Widow Maker".

     If you don't know what a Spank Wagon is I'm not going to tell you, just keep repeating to yourself "We live in a beautiful world. We live in a beautiful world- with kit-tens and pup-piiies, sun beams and flow-eers..." :D

MJ: Not to pick favorites, but was there a particular member of the Best Brains who made you laugh the most?

Beez: I absolutely could not choose one. There's a reason that show stayed on the air for that long. They are all FUNNY with a capitol F but they aren't just funny- they're SMART and that made me love them even more.

MJ: Have you kept in contact with any of the Brains or seen/heard any of their post MST work?

Beez: From time to time I'll get an e-mail from Patrick or Mary Jo. It's tough because we're all moving in different directions. The good news is, after years of waiting for it, I'm working with Mike, Bill, and Kevin again on one of their Film Crew projects. They'll be doing the commentary track for a few Rhino DVD's and I have the pleasure of being an art director's assistant on the project. We'll be shooting that soon.

MJ: Who was the one who started calling you "The Deadly Beez" and did you like the nickname?

Beez: Brad Keely was nice enough to give me that nickname but in reality it was just a little extra for the folks at home who paid close attention to the credits. It would have been weird if the peeps would have really used it around the studio. "Good morning Deadly Beez, did ya catch Sliders last night?" **shudders** Weird. No, it wasn't like that, for the most part I was called Beez because that's nickname enough really.

MJ: I have to ask the eternal question: What is your favorite episode?

Beez: Oooooh that's another tough one. I'd say Joel era: Mitchell and Mike era: Werewolf. Tough call – It could change if you ask me on another day.

MJ: Finally, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions. That was more than generous and made this old MSTies day. In closing, what did the experience of working on the show, the fan response, mean to you?

Beez:  Working on Mystery Science Theatre was a treat and I aspire to find an experience that is equally as fun and creatively rewarding. The fan response was incredibly kind. Without fan support the puppet show would have died at season seven and my experiences with the show would have ended after a few blissful months. I'm VERY grateful for the love and support that was shown. THANK YOU!!!!!! :)

and the 21st question? I asked Beez for the month and day of her birth, So we could wish her a happy birthday on our website calendar? Her reply....

Beez: I was born on December 2nd in the year 1900 and something

The MST3K Top 100

9 Silver Episodes to round it out to 100
100 Phantom Planet (9)
99 Mighty Jack (3)
98 Future War (10)
97 Screaming Skull (9)
96 Last of the Wild Horses (6)
95 Fire Maidens of Outer Space (4)
94 Giant Spider Invasion (8)
93 Brute Man (7)
92 Viking Women & the Sea Serpent (3)
91 Hercules and the Captive Women (4) 

Gold Episodes
90 Brain that Wouldn't Die (5) 
89 Rocketship X-M (2) 
88 Squirm (10)
87 Crash of Moons (4)
86 Time of the Apes (3) 
85 Secret Agent Super Dragon (5) 
84 Untamed Youth (1) 
83 Gamera vs Gaos (3) 
82 King Dinosaur (2) 
81 Dead Talk Back (6) 
80 Outlaw (5) 
79 Invasion of the Neptune Men (8) 
78 The Incredible Melting Man (7) 
77 Merlin's Shop (10)
76 Radar Secret Service (5)
75 Atomic Brain (5) 
74 Gamera vs. Zigra (3) 
73 Leech Woman (8)
72 Colossus and the Head Hunters (6) 
71 Attack of the Giant Leeches (4) 
70 Parts: The Clonus Horror (8) 
69 Magic Sword (4) 
68 Skydivers (6) 
67 Escape 2000 (7) 
66 Hercules (5)
65 Soultaker (10) 
64 Gunslinger (5) 
63 San Francisco International (6)
62 Gorgo (9) 
61 Teenage Crime Wave (5) 
60 Daddy-O (3) 
59 Project Moonbase (1) 
58 Gamera (3) 
57 Day the Earth Froze (4) 
56 Bride of the Monster (4) 
55 The Rebel Set (4) 
54 Godzilla vs the Sea Monster (2) 
53 Master Ninja II (3) 
52 Wild Rebels (2) 
51 Ring of Terror (2) 

Platinum Episodes
50 Devil Doll (8)
49 Space Mutiny (8) 
48 Terror From The Year 5000 (8) 
47 Zombie Nightmare (6) 
46 Teen-Age Strangler (5) 
45 The Sinister Urge (6) 
44 The Amazing Colossal Man (3) 
43 12 to the Moon (5) 
42 Time Chasers (8) 
41 Village of the Giants (5) 
40 Sword and the Dragon (6) 
39 The Violent Years (6)
38 Puma Man (9) 
37 Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell (7) 
36 This Island Earth (The Movie) 
35 Operation Double 007 (5) 
34 The Starfighters (6)
33 Gamera vs. Guiron (3)
32 Horror of Party Beach (8)
31 War of the Colossal Beast (3)
30 The Beginning of the End (5) 
29 Track of the Moonbeast (10) 
28 The Thing That Couldn’t Die (8)
27 The Human Duplicators (4)

Best in Show
26 Mitchell (5) 
25 Cave Dwellers (3)
24 Girl in Gold Boots (10) 
23 I Was A Teenage Werewolf (8) 
22 Werewolf (9)
21 Samson vs. the Vampire Women (6)
20 Agent for h.a.r.m. (8) 
19 Girl In Lovers Lane (5)
18 Boggy Creek II (10)
17 Manos: The Hands of Fate (4)
16 Touch of Satan (9)
15 High School Big Shot (6)
14 Monster A-Go Go (4)
13 Riding With Death (8)
12 Deadly Mantis (8)
11 Girls Town (6)
10 Pod People (3)
9 Eegah (5)
8 The Painted Hills (5)
7 The Magic Voyage of Sinbad (5)
6 Final Sacrifice (9)
5 Night of the Blood Beast (7)
4 I Accuse My Parents (5)
3 Beast of Yucca Flats (6)
2 Santa Claus (5)
1 Jack Frost (8)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

MST3Ks Top 51 (and more)

Genius, That’s what MST3K is, pure genius. Sure there will be some repetition, but with over 600 jokes per eps you got to allow for overlapping and running gags. At its core, few shows are as sharp or as consistently funny as Mystery Science Theater 3000.

This list was the result of the great re-grading project I began years ago. Unfortunately my laptop crashed and took most of my notes with it. Recently I decided to revisit the project, watching shows back to back to compare – adjust grades/awards here and there and in the process, came up with a new list of favorites. I know we wont all agree on this subject, but I hope you enjoy the read.

#1. Jack Frost
Season 8 * Host: Mike - I love the weird, imaginative movie, and while the skits are merely okay, the meat and potatoes -the theater riffing- is spot on. For me, there is nothing as smart and beautifully written and drop dead hilariously funny as the riffing in Frost. 
Favorite Riff: “Peter must be walking around denying everyone this morning” - Kevin. This exemplifies the episode perfectly. A fart joke can be a gas, but this joke, drawn from the Bible (Jesus tells Peter that before the cock crows 3 times, he will deny knowing him) goes above and beyond what you hear in most comedies these days. It took some thought and intelligence to come up with that line.
Favorite Skit: Bobo and Brain Guy argue about who's in charge. Fleshes out the characters and their relationship. For all his great power, Observer is flawed and stuck with menial tasks like giving Bobo tick baths.

#2: Santa Claus
Season 5 * Host: Mike - The movies opening sequence is drawn out but the riffing is razor sharp, like shooting ducks in a row. And the rest of the episode follows suit. Beautifully absurd film is matched with spirited observational quips (Love the riffs on the sleepy kid and the little girl arguing with the devil over a doll).
Favorite Riff: "Now this is good old nightmare fuel" - Crow. This is used again in "Strange Creatures", but I wish they hadn't recycled the riff as it is a pitch perfect, matter of fact truism that sums up the movie in total. I’d have liked it to have stayed unique to this episode.
Favorite Skit: The guys sing an all inclusive Christmas song. Trying not to offend anyone is funny as hell.

#3: Beast of Yucca Flats
Season 6 * Host: Mike - Dull, nothing film is met with hysterical riffs that keep it afloat. The ep opens with 2 solid shorts: Money Talks and Progress Island USA and then moves onto the feature which is pelted with one hilarious mocking dart after another. The movie provides much to laugh at (the dialog, acting and the paper thin script). Mike sums the whole thing up well when he quipped, *"Shoot the film first, ask questions later."
Favorite Riff: "That was my darkest vision yet" – Crow. From the Money Talks short. I find it such a delightfully pointed contrast to what the film was trying to say, as opposed to how it turned out. It does seem like the kid must have gotten into the shrooms.
Favorite Skit: Anti-Film preservation. Crow goes against the grain and attempts to erase the Coleman Francis filmography from history.

#4: I Accuse My Parents
Season 5 * Host: Joel -The short is okay but the feature is amazing. I can't improve on what I wrote in my review... Stupidity, as you might have guessed, is Jimmy's main character trait. That and the lying and the 'House of Booze' he lives in, must have made the group at 'Best Brains' beam at all the riffing possibilities. So it's no surprise that Joel and the bots go with the flow of the film. Riffing each character and situation with synchronized perfection. The host segments continue this thread. Blending charm and humor in the reenactment of a musical number, or with the drawings of their dream families. All of it showcases MST at its best.
Favorite Riff: "Mom, Dad! I won the 'Get the crap kicked out of me' contest!" - Joel as Jimmy - Joel's delivery sells this one as poor Jimmy tries desperately to win his parents attention and approval.
Favorite Skit: The SOL crew re-enact the musical number. What a charming piece.

#5: Night of the Blood Beast
Season 7 * Host: Mike - The guys have a lot of silly fun with this. If you unclench your logic bone, I imagine you will too. The mulitiple Steves and dumb blonde jokes. Knocks on the simplistic representation of NASA. This is a riot and opens with the superb, surreal short, "Once Upon A Honeymoon". Which is my all time fav.
Favorite Riff: "No more questions. More boobies" - Crow as dead Steve - It's low brow but contrasts the 50s film mentality and fits the scene to a T.
Favorite Skit: There are 2 versions, both are great. I got a kick on Crow's diatribe on babies. It's not PC but what a riot!

#6: Final Sacrifice
Season 9 * Host: Mike - Wonderfully riffable film is loaded with quality quips. While there is variety in the comedy, the simple repetitive stuff is just as fun (I love the way they do Troy's clipped, high pitched voice when he says, "Rowsdower!"). A special episode for me - family kept dropping by the house, were drawn into what I was watching and soon my tiny living room was filled with people and the sound of their raucous laughter.
Favorite Riff: There are so many but how about the Queen/Rowsdower theme? "You got mud on your face, you big disgrace, shoving those sandwiches into your face" "Singing we will, we will Rowsdower!" - Crow/All
Favorite Skit: The Canada song is a mean spirited joy.

#7: Magic Voyage of Sinbad
Season 5 * Host: Joel - This episode had to grow on me and once it did, it quickly became a favorite. Sharp comedy clicks when it focuses on observational humor derived from the films inherent strangeness. Such as a wrestling bear, which in the hands of J&TB's becomes a Dan Haggerty intervention. Or in the wisecracks inspired by a silly underwater musical scene with a henpecked Neptune and some sorry looking Muppets.
Favorite Riff: "Welcome to manic-depressiville!" - Crow
Favorite Skit: The invention exchange. Especially Chinderwear with Frank scratching an itch. LMAO! The SOL crew offer a rat pack Chess Set

#8: The Painted Hills
Season 5 * Host: Joel - Opens with a decent short "Body Care and Grooming". The film is riffed brillaintly and relentlessly. The montage scene is one of their best moments. They just groove onto this film so expertly. The Shep voices are a kick, the bits with the Indians are pointed, wise and hilarious.
Favorite Riff: "Thanks for the treaty mister!" - Joel. Spoken as a person races off on horseback. What a clever kick in the teeth!
Favorite Skit: Crow's twisted essay on Rutherford B. Hayes is one of my all time favorite host segments.

#9: Eegah
Season 5 * Host: Joel - This episode leapfrogs over Pod People and Girls Town to take the ninth position. I was doubled over while watching it and as I wrote in my review.... Crisp and clever riffing makes this one worth viewing despite Eegah's tongue or Junior's music. Highlights include the lines..."Stop saying Wee!"; "He's wearing corrective shoes with black socks." and the mystery voice which warns, "Watch out for snakes" Lots of laughs with riff and host segments
Favorite Riff: "Hi Roxy!"- "Sorry about my face." - Tom/Joel as Arch Hall Jr.
Favorite Skit: Tom and Crow attempt to turn Joel into Arch hall Jr. Really cute and illustrates the playful bond between Joel and his robot pals.

#10: Pod People
Season 3 * Host: Joel - I've over-watched this episode, but it will always hold a special place in my heart. Arguably the first truly great episode. The movie is a chore but the riffing is a steady, smart, observational delight. The potato scene is hilarious.
Favorite Riff: "Hey, what gives, I'm on the milk carton." - Joel as Tommy
Favorite Skit: Many goodies within, I'll go with the guys doing the "Trumpy does magic things" scene. The look on the Mad's faces was priceless

#11: Girls Town
Season 6 * Host: Mike - Great flick that’s packed with riffable situations and a colorful cast. The first half is very strong but it’s overall funny right to the end. The scenes between Sarafina and Paul Anka's character are classic.
Favorite Riff: "Raunchy slob, you just described my dream girl!" - Crow. There are so many goodies though.
Favorite Skit: Hmm, most of these are rather m'eh. The intro and opening segments are okay, the Power Steve's were cute.

#12: Deadly Mantis
Season 8 * Host: Mike – Many fans feel season 8 didn’t catch fire until its 2nd half. I don’t share that opinion, as there are many within the first 11 that I love; and atop them all is Mantis. I watched this back to back with Mitchell and was surprised to find that while I enjoyed Mitch, I was in stitches over the giant bug movie. Lots of big laughs for me, the biggest being provided by the riffing on Professor Gunther
Favorite Riff: "But I gotta mantis in my pantis" - Crow as Joe. I’m not sure if this really gave me the biggest laughs, but it is the one that is most identified with this episode and it captures the cute and silly spirit of the show.
Favorite Skit: This is a weak group, Mmm, the country radio skit, I guess.

#13: Riding With Death
Season 8 * Host: Mike – This episode enters the top 20 for the first time. I’d always liked this one but it has gotten even better over the years. The strength of the experiment lies in the brains ability to get into a groove with each character, and between Mellow Sam and Jim Stafford’s over the top hick there’s a ton of huge laughs to be had.
Favorite Riff: “I may have to investigate the professors bag" - Crow as Sam. Any riff that taps into Sam’s mellowness is golden.
Favorite Skit: M&TB try to understand the movie using a cardboard Abby.

#14: Monster A Go Go
Season 4 * Host: Joel - Bad bad movie, awesome awesome riffing. Season 4 finally makes this list. I think this is steadier than Manos.
Favorite Riff: “Douglas was pear-shaped, very short, and stood the whole way." – Servo. This is a movie that’s just begging to be mocked and this riff sums up the style of teasing humor that’s heard throughout.
Favorite Skit: The end when Joel tries to cheer up the bots, if for nothing else than for the way Trace’s Crow laughs when Joel gets him name wrong.

#15: High School Big Shot
Season 6 * Host: Mike – When I watched this again it seemed I never stopped laughing. The short worked better for me this time around, and the work on the dark main feature is a blast. I enjoyed myself so much I have no choice but to boost the award.
Favorite Riff: The line about a Norman Rockwell moment was inspired.
Favorite Skit: Hmm, close one between specialty breads and Tom and Crow trying to get into Gypsy’s diary.

#16: Touch of Satan
Season 9 * Host: Mike – Brilliant work from the writing staff. The timing, delivery and tone of the jokes are perfect,
Favorite Riff: “What is it Papa?" - "It's people saying "Burn the witch"! Do you have any deductive powers at all!" - Melissa/Crow. This is classic Bill Corbett, mad as hell but phrased smartly (He could have just called her stupid ect, but the way the line is written adds wit to the anger)
Favorite Skit: Anything with Steffi

#17: "Manos" The Hands of Fate
Season 4 * Host: Joel – Classic episode, the first sequence with Torgo and the family is some of the funniest stuff ever done on the show.
Favorite Riff: “It's like having Joe Cocker as your bellhop." – Servo. Just one of many wonderful Torgo related quips.
Favorite Skit: Torgo delivers a pizza. A memorable character, he’ll become a welcome staple of the show.

#18: Boggy Creek II
Season 10 * Host: Mike – I watched this back to back with Gold Boots and while I originally had this ranked behind that classic. I found that I laughed harder and more often during this one. I think the colorful characters provide a lot of inspiration. And as a former Southerner; I loved the Waffle House song. This then becomes season 10s first entry on the list.
Favorite Riff: ”A razorback hat lacks the quiet dignity of a cheese wedge” – Mike. This is just a beautifully written riff. It would be easy to just point out that the hat looked stupid, it takes an artist to phrase it in such a clever way.
Favorite Skit: The flashback sequence – As things get fuzzier the laughter gets stronger.

#19: Girl in Lovers Lane
Season 5 * Host: Joel – I was in stitches with this ep. The variety of the quips, the sharpness of the lines. They could hit on a running gag (Danny’s hero worship of Big Stupid/Carrie’s so very) but also mix it up with brilliant esoteric quips ("I’m Xenon, play me" –&- "Why is she singing the theme to the Six Million Dollar Man?") There’s the observational as well as silly nonsense ("I'm not saying it isn’t funny, what are you gonna give kids poop?”) I find this episode hilarious from start to finish.
Favorite Riff: "Once again Bix saves Danny from a heterosexual experience" – Joel. This is just one of many great jokes that zero in on Bix and Danny
Favorite Skit: A toughie because I love both the baseball event skit and Crow does a great Jack Elam in that bit. So call it a tie.

#20: Agent For h.a.r.m.
Season 8 * Host: Mike – Another that has improved with age. Dry dry spy flick with its judo range and goo. The riffing sparkles throughout and the scene where Adam cops a feel is hilarious.
Favorite Riff: "Dear medical examiner. Put my friend in the best pail money can buy. Well, looks like I'm running out of room. Best wishes, Adam "Harm" Chance" - Crow
Favorite Skit: Top drawer host segments with Crow’s profanity laced defense of Mike the funniest.

#21: Samson vs the Vampire Women
Season 6 * Host: Mike – This is just a flat out fun episode. The riffing is very good but the movie itself… wow. Normally I try to focus on the quality of the jokes but this flick makes it all extra special.
Favorite Riff: "I dedicate this song to Thorazine." – Mike. I love how that line taps into the scene so perfectly. I also dig the old guy who’d ask people to stay then promptly tell them to get out.
Favorite Skit: Clayton sings "Whom Shall I Kill". The skits are more sentimental than flat out funny, but I enjoyed them.

#22: Werewolf
Season 9 * Host: Mike – There are so many wonderful riff targets here: Including the hard to understand actors, their hair and a driving wolf man
Favorite Riff: "Paul..." - "I enjoyed your letter to Philippians" - Natalie/Mike... but there are too many to chose from, they even riff on a mural and make it funny.
Favorite Skit: Hmm, not the best, maybe Mike’s escape attempt?

#23: I Was A Teenage Werewolf
Season 8 * Host: Mike – Though it doesn't seem to be a fan favorite, I find the riffing is some of the smartest work they've ever done. The riffs glide expertly into the essence of the story and characters. The first night it aired I remember thinking, "Dang these guys are sharp!"
Favorite Riff: "Animals are also afraid of Vacuum cleaners, so should we bring a bunch of those?" - Crow
Favorite Skit: As was sometimes the case with season 8, these weren't stellar. But Crow getting excited about going out to a restaurant for an omelet was cute

#24: Girl in Gold Boots
Season 10 * Host: Mike – Seedy flick about a dancer is on the receiving end of some cute quips. Everything from "Eat" to bikers with drunk butts is noted. Extra fun for Folk music buffs as Crow sings "Hey Little Bird" (Buffy Sainte-Marie) and Mike indulges in a little song of his own.
Favorite Riff: "Come on I just teleported here, it's impressive" - Crow as Buzz. The riff has to be heard in context with the scene, it's a great example of the teasing wit.
Favorite Skit: Mirroring a scene in the movie, Mike keeps singing a sweet folk song, despite Crows interruptions.

#25: Cave Dwellers
Season 3 * Host: Joel - Nice evenly paced and balanced work, the first to receive a "Best in Show" award. I know many point to Zilla vs Megs as the first “great” MST3K episode, but I don’t think that one holds a candle to this. The riffing is tighter and offers many a timeless line, such as….
Favorite Riff: “Hey it's speedy delivery guy and does he have a package!" - Joel on Ator
Favorite Skit: Pointing out continuity errors in the movie

#26: Mitchell
Season 5 * Host: Joel – Joel's final show is one of MSTs most heralded episodes. The humor zeroes in on Joe Don slobbishness, they are pretty relentless. They supplement these barbs with pop culture references as well.
Favorite Riff: "But I'm not a salesman, I'm the chubby blue line!" - Servo as Mitchell (the Mitchell theme is a riot too)
Favorite Skit: Not my favorites, I’ll go with the experiment (Daktari Stool)

#27: The Human Duplicators
Season 4 * Host: Joel – The humor is one note but that note is pitch perfect. They could do Richard Kiel voices while reading the phone book and I’d still howl with laughter. Also, the angry Beaumont material is a delight. As with Samson, I really enjoy watching the cheesy movie as it adds to my enjoyment,
Favorite Riff: “Suppose you tell me how a man whose been dead for several hours, can drive a car up a mountain road, get out and jump over a cliff?" - " He's Jesus?" - Hugh/Crow – Boy I sure love the Jesus riffs don’t I? This clever quip ranks as one of my all time favs.
Favorite Skit: All are a joy but if I have to pick one, Hugh Beaumont returns! Joel’s Beenie copter cracks me up as well. That deadpan delivery would do Buster Keaton proud.

#28: The Thing That Couldn't Die
Season 8 * Host: Mike – As with Werewolf, this is a movie that’s begging to be riffed. There is a plethora of colorful characters, each with their own distinct personality quirks, and an evil head looking for its body. It culminates with one of the lamest endings I’ve ever seen. Tom doing the "Jessica" song over and over in one scene was drop dead hilarious, I’ve always laughed when they do things like that (ala Star Force’s Rocky/again bit)
Favorite Riff: "Wouldn’t it be funny if she found Devine?"- Crow as Jessica is walking around with her divining rod (Mike responds with a quick "Uh, no"). This is just one of many great Jessica related riffs.
Favorite Skit: An observer observes the SOL crew

#29: Track of the Moonbeast
Season 10 * Host: Mike – Oh wow, moon rocks! The material sometimes goes blue, but it's still so funny. With characters like Johnny Longbone, er bow, you can't go wrong. There are a lot of 'adding to the dialog' style jokes here and it's all such a gas. I feel this was MST3Ks last great episode.
Favorite Riff: "I know what you're thinking." - "I'm boring and my slide show eats." - Longbow/Servo
Favorite Skit: The band who sang California Lady is wickedly on target. It really captures the spirit of those VH-1 documentaries.

#30: Beginning of the End
Season 5 * Host: Mike – Bert I Gordon’s giant bug flick is a lot of fun and the guys are in a silly mood, throwing out innuendo and adding a few witty references (Brian Eno) as well.
Favorite Riff: "I'm hiding from a lion, it's got these women scared stiff" – Servo. A funny line in context with the scene, it exemplifies the goofy nature of the material
Favorite Skit: The Peter Graves screenplay is memorable but I like the Mads being caught playing house

#31: War of the Colossal Beast
Season 3 * Host: Joel – Goofy jibes mark this experiment. There are a lot of cheap jokes, about poop or whatnot that are funny never the less. But if that doesn't appeal, they add spice by tossing in some literary, film and music references as well. This irreverent work-over surpasses the original on the funny-meter. Also includes the shock and terror of Mr. B Natural as a bonus.
Favorite Riff: "It's like really hard Sir, you try it" - Joel as Soldiers. This is spoken as soldiers try to keep Glen in check. The humor comes from Joel voice and delivery.
Favorite Skit: A weak bunch, they all run about the same 'fair' humor level.

#32: Horror of Party Beach
Season 8 * Host: Mike – Party Beach is a cheese-fest that opens itself up to ridicule quite nicely. Our merry jesters pepper the picture with pop culture references and are on top of every oddball situation, plot hole and colorful character - quipping each with smarts and silliness.
Favorite Riff: "What do you want to hear?" - "How about, Mmmm.." - "Bop!" - Del Aire/Elaine/Crow – I know it’s a simple ‘listen and respond’ style riff, but It never fails to make me laugh hard.
Favorite Skit: The skits are fair and have a few good laughs tossed in there. The ‘music of the Gods’ bit is cute but Mike's bathing suit dance is the best.

#33: Gamera vs. Guiron
Season 3 * Host: Joel – A delightfully absurd movie. Jokes directed at the characters offer the biggest laughs - from little sister; her traffic obsessed brother and of course, Corn Job. The Richard Burton quips and impressions are a kick, though I’ve heard they go over the head of younger fans (which is okay. I like that MST aims high and that not everyone will get everything. Keeps things fresh when watching these things years down the line).
Favorite Riff: "I'll show her, I'm gonna grow up to break up the Beatles!" - Crow as little girl. Sums up the fun character based humor.
Favorite Skit: Michael Feinstein stops by Deep 13 and sings the Gamera theme.

#34: The Starfighters
Season 6 * Host: Mike – The gray, repetitive, whole lotta nuthin’ movie must have been a challenge. That the MST gang were able to squeeze out any laughs, let alone make this as drop dead hilarious as they do, is a testament to their impressive comedic talents. The poopie suit scene had me doubled over with laughter.
Favorite Riff: "Did you know flying a plane is like making love." - Uh, you have to pay?" - Colonel Hunt/Crow
Favorite Skit: So many classic ones to chose from: The Servo chorus, the BBQ sauce bit and Crow surfing the information super highway! I’ll give the slight edge to the Bold BBQ sauce.

#35: Operation Double 007
Season 5 * Host: Joel – A fun bright flick, featuring cast members from the 007 franchise. The riffs follow suit, though Neil Connery takes a few shots, the material is generally light-hearted fun
Favorite Riff: I laugh like mad at their additions to the movies theme song,
Favorite Skit: I’ve always enjoyed it when they would imitate a scene from the movie and Joel acting like the villain never fails to cheer me up.

#36: This Island Earth
Movie * Host: Mike – Riffing for the masses. While there are esoteric quips, and they throw out the word 'hit-hole' this is generally a newbie friendly experiment. The wisecracks go down smooth and easy and the movie isn’t a chore to sit through.
Favorite Riff: "Until we find out what happened, all three of us are blind." - "I'll go poke Webb's eyes out." - Cal/Crow as Joe
Favorite Skit: Dr. Forester spanking himself with a clipboard is pretty funny.

#37: Deathstalker
Season 7 * Host: Mike – The humor takes on a darker tone as the gang sneer at the smug hero and the overacting villain and smack ‘em silly. The potato people add a quirky element to the festivities. This would make a nice double header with “Cave Dwellers”
Favorite Riff: "Quick! Jam a potato in the wound!" - Servo
Favorite Skit: Mike visits Tom and Crow’s Ren-Fest.

#38: Puma Man
Season 9 * Host: Mike – Though I felt the laughs slowed down at the end, it’s got a killer first half and the goofy superhero costume, manner of flight, Donald Pleasence and an Aztec mentor/Priest keep things interesting.
Favorite Riff: "You know, I have almost no respect for pumas now. I now know that if I ever run into a puma I can just push it the hell over." - Crow
Favorite Skit: Mike’s dry-look haircut.

#39: The Violent Years
Season 6 * Host: Mike – Girl gang flick was penned by Ed wood and aside from that long-winded Judge it was a kick to watch. Perceptive bon mots and cute additions to the dialog are the episodes strengths. It also features a pretty funny short about a squishy girl (Young Man’s Fancy).
Favorite Riff: "Dr. Forrester has sent us a TRULY great movie" – Crow. This is one of many funny quips spoken during the scenes where the gals take a guy out in the woods and have their way with him.
Favorite Skit: The theme songs. I howl at Tom's dramatic number - that is soooo Servo.

#40: Sword and the Dragon
Season 6 * Host: Mike – Another Russian gem, the opening sequences are about as funny as anything done on the show. While the funny does take a dip in the middle sections, the episode finishes up strong and the movie is a trip. Ilya Muromets is my hero!
Favorite Riff: Crow’s line about Ilya's body consisting only of a torso always cracks me up.
Favorite Skit: The Bergman sketch is spot on, while the Mads on a date offer many laughs and an insight into what geeks these 2 were. lol

#41: Village of the Giants
Season 5 * Host: Mike – Nice mixture of riffs, from the intellegent to the naughty as well as several cute references. Nice music too on this, our final Bert I. Gordon flick.
Favorite Riff: "What sins could a duck commit in a single lifetime?" - Crow as a Giant Duck. What a classic callback to another wonderful Bert I flick, the Amazing Colossal Man
Favorite Skit: Frank is fired and replaced by Torgo. These are all enjoyable.

#42: Time Chasers
Season 8 * Host: Mike – Sarcasm is used with impunity on Chasers - a low budget time travel flick that earns laughs from skydiving grandma's, women's wear and pointy chins. This is one of those ‘mood’ episodes. Unlike a Santa or Yucca Flats, which are always killer no matter where or when I watch it, I have to be in the right state of mind for TC. When I am, it strikes my funny bone hard and that's why I've kept its grade high.
Favorite Riff: "So in the future kids become gay agents?" – Crow. This snarky quip always earns a laugh and is the kind of smart aleck-style humor you can expect to hear on this experiment.
Favorite Skit: These are pretty good, Crow goes to Mike’s past and surly brother Eddie ends up on the SOL.

#43: 12 to the Moon
Season 5 * Host: Mike – There are a few dead zones, but once they land on the moon, the comedy is out of this world. Both brainy and cheeky. The invisible face shields, kitties and "Me-ite!" are a few of the highlights.
Favorite Riff: "Now I'm activating my wings and I'll fly" – Crow's response to the absurd invisible face shield.
Favorite Skit: The Neuvena bits are a hoot.

 #44: The Amazing Colossal Man
Season 3 * Host: Joel – The movie is a personal fav and the quips are irreverent and quick-witted, just the way I like ‘em. Joke delivery is lively - Once more, Joel is especially good in that regard, as his vocal inflection makes even a throw away line, golden. And when the ep shows signs of slowing down, we get those moments with the giant needle and it bounces right back.
Favorite Riff: Silly and apropos to the scene is the side splitting line… “Glenn I need you to drop your sarong and turn around!” - Joel, which is spoken as scientists approach the Colossal man with a giant needle.
Favorite Skit: I Like Mike as Glenn, but Joel pretending to be the giant, sitting in a tiny room, gave me a fit of the giggles. His understated performance and bright vocalizations are a hoot.

#45: The Sinister Urge
Season 6 * Host: Mike – Ed Wood's look at the smut industry is one of those that inspire great character driven riffs. The subject matter also provides much amusement. Includes a good short, “Keeping Clean and Neat”.
Favorite Riff: "Do you have a daughter Mr. Romaine?" - "Would she be interested in the smut picture racket?" - Carson/Crow. Ahh Trace’s sweet delivery makes it all the better.
Favorite Skit: Not my favorite group, but Trace's performance during the potato cake bit, his body language and expression, was a hoot.

#46: Teen-Age Strangler
Season 5 * Host: Mike – The episode opens with a stellar short (Is This Love?), which gets the ball rolling nicely what with its Romulan woman and uproarious end credits ("Know your ointments"). The grade Z feature has some charm and is buoyed by the character of Mikey, every time he was on screen the quality of the riffing spiked. Another high spot was the song "Yipe Stripes".
Favorite Riff: Anything concerning Mikey, the guy was such an easy target. I think Crow's simple "What are you?" -when Betty finds the geeky kid standing in her house- delivered the biggest laugh.
Favorite Skit: This was a good bunch, with the Frank-N-Forcer and Mike's spot on impression of Mikey as standouts.

#47: Zombie Nightmare
Season 6 * Host: Mike – A more modern film and not one I’d normally take to, but the humor is solid and its got Adam West in it!
Favorite Riff: “He (Thor) just did everything in this film... he's just like a Michael Landon" - "Oh so you mean he's a bed wetter?" - Servo/Crow
Favorite Skit: The Voodoo bit with the Mads and M&TBs getting even is childish and silly but boy does it makes me laugh like a goon

#48: Terror From the Year 5000
Season 8 * Host: Mike – M&TB create a lot of fun out of making fun of the cast. I really enjoyed the opening bits with our hero -the sharp haired Sgt. Carter look a like- and his dim bulb secretary with her "restrained rage" issues. The riffing that accompanied those two had me rolling in the aisles. The rest of the episode is a hoot as well (what with that perverted 'Jimmy Carter' handyman to toy with)
Favorite Riff: "Brought to you by the Onan Family Foundation" – Crow. I've always liked the way these guys would turn a phrase. They even manage to elevate a common masturbation joke
Favorite Skit: Crow goes back in time and dates one of Mike's old girlfriends.

#49: Space Mutiny
Season 8 * Host: Mike – Though many fans rank this higher, the silliness and repetitive nature of the quips don't resonate as sharply with me. Still, It is funny - mirroring riffs from "12 to the Moon" and taking swipes at the broad characters. The movie so ridiculous you can't help but laugh at it apart from the riffing.
Favorite Riff: Anything that taps into the idiocy, such as… "I think it's very nice of you to give that dead woman another chance." - Crow as 'Sting'
Favorite Skit: Mike tripping over safety railings makes me laugh. I’m often entertained by those gags where they repeat a word or an act, and it interrupts and/or irritates another character.

#50: Devil Doll
Season 8 * Host: Mike – Originally I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer ugliness of this movie (Vorelli's a real sleazeball). But there are some great lines -Aunt Bea Airlines, a reference to C.S. Lewis' 'Screwtape' and lots of swipes at the British- and the first time we see Vorelli's act, I was out of breath from laughing so hard.
Favorite Riff: "You'll never win, you'll always lose" - "You're Harold Stassen" - Vorelli/Crow. This is the kind of smart reference I've always looked forward to and loved from this show (Stassen ran for President 9 times, and never even garnered the Republican nomination)
Favorite Skit: Crow is an evil ventriloquist and Mike is his dummy

#51: Ring of Terror
Season 2 * Host: Joel – The jokes primarily circle around one major topic, the age of the students. Despite the heavy reliance on this target, these jokes are fresh and funny start to finish. This -with Wild Rebels- is my favorite episode from season 2. I love Joel's smooth easy delivery. And the chemistry between he, Crow and Servo is tight as a drum. 'Course there are other kinds of jokes (I dig the ones about "They"). The "Phantom Creeps" short is shown at the end.
Favorite Riff: "You taste just like They!" - Joel as Betty. This classic running gag is especially funny here.
Favorite Skit: So many goodies to chose from – Frank’s Chauffeur song is a jewel, but I'll give the edge to Mr. Hoover’s autopsy. Both of these skits have fun with the short/movie shown.

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