Appreciating all that makes America special

TV Show: Mystery Science Theater 3000

MST3K was a brilliantly written show. But it couldn't be too hard to parody movies with titles like The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. Uploaded by hulu.com.

This show had a plot, but no one cared except its creators. We just wanted to see the awful flicks (these weren’t good enough to be “B-movies”) and hear the wonderfully snarky comments made by Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgdson) and later Mike Nelson (Michael Nelson) and the robots Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot.

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But seriously, it couldn’t have been too hard to make fun of movies with titles like these: Santa Claus Conquers the MartiansMonster A Go-GoManos: The Hands of Fate … and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies. The genius of MST3K, though, is the “riff,” the speed and sometimes obscure references that sometimes went over your head, but sometimes stopped you with their brilliance.

Mystery Science Theater 3000 began on Minneapolis TV station KTMA in 1988, with its first 21 episodes running there. It was picked up by Comedy Central the following year, and ran for seven seasons there. Its final three years of life were on the Sci Fi Channel. While the show never won an Emmy, it went one better and captured a Peabody Award. In recognizing MST3K, the Peabody folks wrote, “With references to everything from Proust to Gilligan’s Island, Mystery Science Theater 3000 fuses superb, clever writing with wonderfully terrible B-grade movies.”

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