Wednesday, November 21, 2012

MST3K Season One, Episode Eight: The Slime People!

This time around, the experiment features "The Slime People," a 1963 film directed by Robert Hutton, written by Blair Robertson and Joseph F. Robertson, and starring Robert Hutton, Les Tremayne, and Robert Burton, along with Susan Hart, William Boyce, Judee Morton, and John Close. Robert Hutton had also been in They Came From Beyond Space, while Les Tremayne was in The War of the Worlds, was the narrator on Forbidden Planet, countdown announcer in From the Earth to the Moon, also in The Angry Red Planet, and provided voices for King Kong Vs. Godzilla, Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol, Goldfinger, The Phantom Tollbooth, The Cricket in Times Square, and many other cartoons. Oh, and he also played Mentor on Shazam! Susan Hart can also be seen in The Ghost in The Invisible Bikini, the Dr. Goldfoot movies, and City in the Sea (aka War-Gods of the Deep).
As with all episodes at this point in the series, the show opens up on the Satellite of Love, this time Joel and the Bots are all in red bathrobes (the past two episodes, it's just been Joel). Joel and Tom are apparently not morning people, as evidenced by their grogginess, but Crow is ready and rarin' to go, way too perky! But then it's commercial sign, and Joel introduces himself and sets up the basic premise of the show (for those who didn't get it from the theme song).

After the commercial, Joel's playing Three-Card Monte with the Bots when the Mads call for the invention exchange. Joe's invention is a pair of glasses for people studying to become cartoon characters... so when, say, a beautiful woman walks by, you can squeeze the bulb and make the eyes on the glasses bulge out! The Mads aren't that impressed, really, probably because they've invented cotton candy that screams when you eat it (as they demonstrate). Joel thinks that the Mads are toying with "God's blueprint," to which the Mads say, "Thank you!" And then they introduce the movie, but first, another chapter of Commando Cody... and it's movie sign!

During the Cody chapter, the gags made are based on the usual "We didn't see that happen in the last episode!", MasterCard, wading pools, Krakatoa East of Java, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," "Surfin' USA," there's a lengthy series of gags based on food (after describing someone as being hit in "the bread basket," they go on to "kidney and beans" and more), jokes about Cody tweaking his nipples to launch his rocketpack (they've done this in previous chapters, too), lots of silly dialogue added to what the characters are saying but without specific pop culture references, traffic reports, needing to use the bathroom in a hurry (yeah, often you have to watch this to understand why a joke was made), The In-Laws, and Joe Montana.

slimepeople_lcAnd then, it's right into The Slime People, with joke topics including I Dream of Jeannie, dialogue added to the Slime People's emergence from the Earth, Joel and the bots dance to the theme song, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart (you remember them from my Monkees posts, right?), The Bionic Woman, Airport '77, Sky King, Los Angeles air, surf slang, LAX, Joel interacts a lot with the movie stuff (like looking over a fence), Mr. Goodwrench, Chico and the Man, Watts, Senor Wences, and then it's time for a break!

Back in the control room, Joel and the bots are dressed in English court style, as they're trying Commando Cody (portrayed by the doll from the last episode). Crow says Cody is guilty of many things, including breaking the laws of physics and more. As the trial goes on, Crow argues that Cody is imaginary, and Tom says Cody is real, and then we delve into Miracle on 34th Street territory, with mail for Cody proving he's real! Then Tom goes into Kramer Vs. Kramer courtroom stuff!

slimepeople_posterBack at the movie, joke topics include Walmart, Tums, Joel keeps cleaning one character's glasses, Chilly Willy, PEZ, Jimmy Walker, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Elvis, critics, real estate agents, Fabian, The Honeymooners, Tom Waits, Hi-C, another Honeymooners reference, Michael J. Pollard, Bobcat Golthwait, Police Academy, the Nielson ratings, Ernie Kovacs, Kleenex, Pink Floyd, Elvis again, Pink Floyd again, the Berlin Wall, Elvis a third time, Jerry Lee Lewis, Life cereal commercials, Happy Days, Larry "Bud" Melman, 99 Bottles of Beer, Hugh Hefner, and then it's time for a break!

In the control room, Crow is asking why the movie was made, because it was, in Crow's words, "Obviously conjured up over lunch." Tom points out some of the plotholes in the movie, as does Crow, but while this is going on, Joel takes the dome off Tom's head and puts it back on. Joel then offers his opinion on why it's a good thing the movie was made, and Tom suggests that it's the gullibility of humans that allows movies like this to exist. Crow suggests he could create a movie about a giant applesauce monster, and Joel says if he can get someone convinced it would make a good movie, it could be made. Tom suggests his own movie idea, about a man stranded on a deserted island who makes mechanical friends out of parts of his boat, and they sit around and watch reruns of bad TV shows, but Joel asks what they'd eat -- Tom says it doesn't matter, relax, it's just a show. Joel asks why they'd be watching the shows, and Crow suggests two evil commodores send the shows to them. Joel says it's way too illogical, and wouldn't fly. The bots go off to think of more ideas. Joel starts to get all philosophical, but then it's movie sign again!

slimepeople_still1In the theater, the joke topics include Them!, Shriners, the Smokey Mountains, On Top of Old Smokey, The Fantastic Four, Arte Johnson, Apocalypse Now, fishing, contact lenses, music videos, American Sportsman, mimes, Joel tries to wave away the fog that's omnipresent during this sequence (Joel even comments that he bets this movie is action-packed under all the fog), kindergarten, crawdads and how to cook them, Crow jokes about a rope being used by the characters on screen being the plot line, field trips, fast food, Scooby-Doo, Tijuana, George Romero films, Oklahoma!, Commando Cody (yes, they referenced the serial during the movie), Old Milwaukee Beer, Time Magazine's Man of the Year... and then it's break time!

Once more in the control room (and there was a pretty long stretch of movie between when Joel and the bots walked out and the doors started closing between the theater and the control room), there's fog and smoke everywhere, and Joel's wondering what it's all about... apparently, the bots are behind it, trying to convince Joel that the Slime People are responsible for it! Joel's not scared, of course. They go on to make fun of the look of the Slime People in the movie, and Crow wonders about why the Slime People could create a wall of solid fog, but the best weapon they have is a spear, but Joel points out it's just a movie.  Joel goes off to check on Gypsy, and the bots talk about what else they could fill the control room up with (mostly food, like deli sandwiches) when it's movie sign again!

slimepeople_still2For the final segment of the movie, the joke topics include Pla-Doh Fun Factories, a whole mess of meat puns (the characters go to a butcher shop in the movie, and Joel and the bots riff on this, "Francis Bacon, 3 pounds for $1! Lancelot Links, a dozen for a dollar!" and so on),  there's a lot of mock dialogue added, Tom corrects a character who refers to "setting ducks," Tom wonders why the characters are carrying guns that have been shown to have no effect on the Slime People, the Bataan Death March, Joel wonders if they just cleaned off the camera lens if the ever-present fog would go away, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, wrestling announcing, The Three Stooges, The Happy Wanderer, Teddy Ruxspin, Richard III, Jello, and more!

So, back at the control room one last time, Joe's wearing and apron and brandishing a rolling pin, and telling Crow about his mom's home cooking, which leads to Crow almost telling a dirty limerick, but the Joel starts doing a cooking show with Crow, but when Joe's about to reveal what he made earlier, it turns out Gypsy's eaten it. Gypsy's apologetic, but it's time to read letters. Sara McCall is the writer of the first letter read, then it's time to show the address for the fan club, and then it's back to the Mads!, who still have the screaming cotton candy, and they press the button.

So, the jokes were a little slow during the Cody chapter, but definitely picked up during the movie itself! So far as the movie itself goes, at least the Slime People appeared immediately in the movie, but then it got slow and dull quickly. One running gag made during the movie is Joel and the bots all chorusing "Shut up!" after someone's said something onscreen that's rather obnoxious. This would be a recurring joke as the series progressed.  Overall, it feels like the gags did end up coming at a slower pace as the movie went on, but that may be because as I was doing this, I kept getting interrupted, and it took me a few days at about 10 minutes a pop to finish going through the last half of the episode!

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