Sunday, August 17, 2014

424 - "Manos" The Hands of Fate

With Short: Hired! Part 2

First Broadcast - 10 am Saturday, Jan 30th 1993
#17 in Mighty Jack's Top 100
Excellence Level: Best in Show
Movie Pain: High - Arguably, the worst movie ever made
Riffing: I laughed so hard I wet 'em!
Skits: Chuckle-Fest


Director, producer, screenwriter and actor, Harold P. Warren's quintessentially bad epic -about a family vacation gone horribly wrong- is painful to watch even when the MST gang is at their best. Not for the faint of heart, or newbies to the show (get some seasoning in before tackling this one).
     
Thunder thighed Torgo quickly becomes a classic character, a host segment regular unforgettably portrayed by Mike Nelson. And the short, Hired! Part II, highlights some of the best work the gang has ever done. All combined, Manos will go on to be considered by many as the best of the series. But why? There are jokes that miss their mark and most of the skits are not all that wonderful. I can name around 15 episodes which make me laugh harder. Yet...
     
There is a moment of pure coalescence that occurs within this episode. A perfect collision between bad art and great comedy. It comes when we first meet Torgo -a film moment both surreal and delightfully awful- Joel and the Bots, in near slack jawed awe, hurl their quips as if they had been sent manna from heaven. Riffs which compare Torgo to Joe Cocker, leads to a parody of that "Mint on the Pillow" found in better hotels and revels on the profound cheapness of the sets as the child finds comfort by "rolling in the filth" of a stained couched. Here we find perfection nestled within so much imperfection. This is MST at its height, the epitome of all that it aspires too.
     
Manos becomes legend for what it represents in the MST universe, it's the baddest of the bad. Hal Warren and his ilk made movie fertilizer and from it sprung comic genius.


Host Segments 
Intro: The bots think Joel is brilliant. Invention: Frank and Forrester present the Chocolate Bunny Guillotine. J&TB demonstrate the Cartooner. Segment 1: A blue screen vacation. Segment 2: What makes a monster. Segment 3: Joel is the Master. Dr. F apologizes. End: The bots wrestle and Torgo delivers a pizza. Stinger: An upset girl who just wants to be left alone.

MST Hour Segments 
Part 1: Perkins stands near some colorful vials and considers the stench of Torgo. Later, Jack ponders poor hospitality and as the credits run, he rolls the giant reel of film from the set piece. Part 2: The host quotes from Cabaret and gives his overview of the first half of the movie. In the final segment, Perkins expresses upset over movie dad's poor planning techniques. During the credits, something falls from the above and knocks the host down. A crew member picks up the fallen equipment, but leaves Jack laying there.

Notable Riffs
Hired! Riffs
* "I remember one of the first things that Harry drilled into me..." "was Harry!" - Crow as the Boss
* "Wah, flying elves are back!" - Joel
* "We're going to have leadership the way my old man told me. You, put a handkerchief on your head! You, swat at imaginary elves! You, rock on the porch all night!" - Joel as Boss
* "First, hire good men" - "Make sure their clean" - Boss/Joel
* "Fourth." - "Live at home till your 40"- Boss/Joel
* "Good night, stay pink soft and oily." - Crow

Manos Riffs
* "Why don't we sing a song to pass the time." - "Lets sing something from Pearl Jam."- Mom/Servo as Lil' Girl
* "Been hittin' the Thighmaster, Torgo?"
* "NO! Now their going back the other way!" - "Let's just pretend we're watching 'Trip to Bountiful" - Crow/Joel
* "Could you hold that one card up? What's it say? Oh, yeah -- 'Arf!'" - Crow as the dog
* "cUt it OuT yoU feM!" - Crow as Torgo, as the Master waves a stick in his face.
* "Every frame of this movie looks like someones last known photograph." - Joel
* "Manos was filmed on location in a vacant lot." - Joel
* "He's got Earl Campbell thighs!" - Crow on Torgo
* "Ambiguity is scary." - Joel as the wife
* "It's like having Joe Cocker as your bellhop." - Servo
* "See, your feeling better already." - "Rolling in filth will do that for you." - Mike/Joel
* "Wants me? What kind of talk is that" - "Why, it's oily, sleazy talk." - Wife/Crow
* "When Carney's flrt." - Servo 
* "I LeFt a piEce of cHeWed uP GuM on yoUr pilLoW" - Crow as Torgo
* "Uh, the dog is sharp again mommy... see" - Crow as Lil' Girl
* "His only crime was being born delicious!" - Crow
* "Kids worship the darnedest things!" - Joel
* "Tonight: Manos gets caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse..." - Servo 
* "Great, Torgo's giving him a snuggy" - Joel
* "You know, this is the alternate ending to "Beaches" - Joel as women wrestle
* "If you persist in this foolishness..." - "I'll take your credit cards!" - The Master/Servo
* "Torgo, you're missing the fight! Put your dress on and get in there" - Servo

Riff Explained 
"Is this Jeffrey Zaslow?" - Servo
Riff is said when the cop stops the family's car and tells them "If you're running late, leave early". Zaslow was an advice columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.

"...I'm walking on air"
To discover the source of this riff, read the "High School Big Shot" review.

Stuff and Nonsense 
The Master (Tom Neyman) and the little girl (Debbie) are in real life, father and daughter. Tom was also the films set designer and painted that portrait of the Master. His wife created the robe he wore. To read up on what's what with the Neyman's, check out this article "Growing up Manos"



Was part of Essentials, from


And a 2 disc special edition from




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