Friday, January 27, 2012

MST3K: Episode 205 - Rocket Attack U.S.A.

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes, beginning with the beginning. More about that can be found here and here.

Episode 205: Rocket Attack U.S.A.

First aired: The Comedy Channel on 27 October 1990

Tom Servo gets a haircut.
This is another episode that's never been made available commercially. Unless you saw it when it aired on The Comedy Channel or Comedy Central, or obtain a fan copy of a recording of one of those broadcasts, you're out of luck.

My recording seems to be from 1992. During the closing credits, the Penn Gillette voice-over mentions the debut of The A List, which, I believe, was in 1992. The Comedy Central logo is the one from 1991-1993.

The color is slightly washed-out, but the audio is okay. The washed-out look makes the poor quality of both the short and the movie even more noticeable.

The Mads' invention: Table Water Polo
The Mads' Tank Tops and Joel's Mirth Mortar both appear in the opening theme, as does another scene from this episode.

Tom Servo gets a haircut. That skinny hed doesn't look good at all. I want the bubble back! Paul Chaplin, writing in The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, says the change was intended to be a temporary change from the start. Other sources say that the Comedy Channel suits has received complaints that Servo's head was blocking the movie and the change was to fix that. For what it's worth, Chaplin wasn't on staff during Season Two; he joined the writing staff in Season Three.

I love the Mads' Invention Exchange Table Water Polo. I'd play that! And the final segment was fun. But the first two Host Segments seem to go on and on. And on. And on.

"Fresh, delicious, tree-ripened girl!"
During the third Host Segment, Joel says his character's last name for the first time. The credits have listed "Joel Robinson" as the character's name since Season Two began, but this is the first mentioning of the name during the show.

He gives his name to a visitor to the Satellite of Love, a Russian comedian stranded in space with two robots. Mike Nelson plays the guy trapped in space. This means that Mike has appeared in four of five Season Two episode so far.

During the segment, the Hexfield Viewer finally gets a working opening. The window shade is gone, and the lens-opening makes it's debut. The first time the lens-opening happens is used in the show's opening theme, beginning with this episode.

Flying into Russia
Another "Hai Kiba!" (or is it "Hi Keeba?") reference. No pratfall, but a quickly grabbing of one character by another.

We get the return of "Oh, I'd hate to shoot a butt like that!" That's the first time since Josh left. In fact, the last time, I think, was in a Commando Cody short.

There are some scenes where Joel & the Bots do the 2001 chorus, and it took me a minute to get it. At first, I thought it was just a ghostly wailing, and I looked for a ghostly character. Then, I figured it was simply referring to the dark setting. Then, it hit me: the monolith! I felt so stupid.

The plot of the movie? American agents fly a small plane into the Soviet Union after Sputnik orbits the earth. They want to find if the Soviet Union learned all they needed to know to defeat the United States. They did. And, after an overthrow of the Soviet government by even more evil communists, they do. The left-leaning political leanings of Joel, in particular, are evident by the skits.

Overall, though, a good episode, but not a great episode.

Oh, and something new began with this episode. It features the first stinger: the blind man saying, "Help me."

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