Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MST3K: Episode 514 - Teen-Age Strangler

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 514: Teen-Age Strangler

First aired: Comedy Central on 7 November 1993
Availability: Amazon (Volume 10/out of print), Amazon (Volume 10.2/out of print), Rhino (Volume 10/out of print), Rhino (Volume 10.2/out of print), Best Brains (Volume 10.2), MST3KVideos.com Fan Copy

"So is it a teenager who strangles, or someone who strangles teenagers?"
Now that the whole "Mike is the new guy" is behind us -- the theme that ran through Episode 513: The Brain That Wouldn't Die -- we get a regular episode. Of course, Mike is still trying to escape -- he calls his grandmother in the Prologue -- which shows a major difference between him and Joel, but they're not making quite as big a deal about Mike being new.

Mike also gets his first short film, Is This Love?, and it's loads of fun. It has the Romulan-looking roommate who looks more like the parents of a college student than a college student -- one source puts the actress as being 37 -- and lots of hilarious riffing.

Romulans need love, too.
It's a cautionary tale, warning of the dangers of rushing into marriage. It actually makes some good points, but the casting is all goofy, what with the actors that are way too old for their parts. But, like I said, M&tB get in some good riffs.

The movie? It's a fun one. Well, there is the whole plot of teenagers getting strangled and such, but other than that...

Someone is strangling teenagers when they're not dancing on the counters in the local diner, and a witness points to a gang that Jimmy belongs to, and the police suspect Jimmy, who keeps not having alibis because he's always off with his girlfriend, but won't tell anyone because he doesn't want to get his girlfriend in trouble, because her parents don't like her hanging around with Jimmy, but it turns out that the school janitor is killing all the teenagers because he used to be a teacher or something, but gets caught so it all ends well, except for the dead people. The end.

The show does make a change beginning with this episode. The bumpers contain scenes from Dr. Forrester's notes on the experiment in Deep 13. There are calendar entries, notes on test tubes, all kinds of things.
One of the new bumpers."This must be the start of the counter culture."
When the show began, the bumpers were simply the "spaghetti ball" logo. Later, various scenes from outside Gizmonic Institute were added to the mix. But, with Joel's departure, all references to Gizmonic Institute were removed (Joel wanted it that way), and that meant new bumpers.

The show hasn't missed a beat following Joel's departure. Not to say I don't miss him, but Mike was a good choice to replace him.

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