Monday, May 21, 2012

MST3K: Episode 518 - The Atomic Brain

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

Episode 518: The Atomic Brain

First aired: Comedy Central on 4 December 1993
Availability: iTunes, Amazon (Volume 3/out of print), Amazon (Shout solo DVD), Rhino (Volume 3/out of print), Shout (Solo DVD),
Best Brains

It's a Monstrosity!
I've settled in with Mike in the center seat now. It's almost like the MST3K I remember.

Keep in mind that although when I first saw MST3K, Joel was the host, it wasn't until Mike was the host that I watched it regularly. It wasn't that I didn't like it when Joel was there. It's that the opportunity to watch it regularly didn't happen until Mike was there.

Although I was more familiar with Mike, this project of watching all of the shows has allowed me to see all of Joel's episodes. And, though it took a little getting used to at first, part of that wasn't just seeing Joel instead of Mike, it was seeing the program develop from the beginning. The first year was different. Not just because of the Dr. Erhardt character, but because the crew was still refining the show.

Mike tosses Servo.
I got to really like the Dr. Erhardt character, and was disappointed that he left. Sure, I knew it was coming, but still, I really grew to like what J. Elvis (nee Josh) Weinstein did with both Dr. Erhardt and Tom Servo.

However, when Frank joined the cast, it wasn't long before I got used to Kevin Murphy as Tom Servo and Frank Conniff as TV's Frank. That's not to say I didn't miss Weinstein. I did. And do. But that doesn't take away from what Murphy and Conniff did with their characters.

She's a cat!
It's taking a little longer with Joel and Mike. Though I was more familiar with Mike, watching things from the start have made me see it from a different perspective. MST3K was truly Joel's show. But, six episodes into the Mike regime, I'm getting used to The Talented Mr. Nelson. And that's from someone who was more used to Mike originally. I wonder how long it took those who watched all this unfold in the 1990s to make the adjustment. From what I have read, some never did.

However, I'm confortable with Mike in the role. And, it's not just my familiarity with him as host from before I began this project. It's that Mike was with the show for 4½ years before he became host. He was a writer from the time the show went national on The Comedy Channel, and played many guest characters from Season Two on. He wasn't a new guy that was brought in. He was a behind-the-scene guy that moved to the forefront. The transition from Joel to Mike was complete by the time this episode aired. Or so it seems to me.

This movie's an okay film. It was released under the name Monstronsity. Somewhere along the way, it became The Atomic Brain, and that's the name of the film shows to M&tB.

Old Lady March inspects the merchandise.
Old Lady March has grown tired of looking like Miss Persimmon from Mary Poppins so she hired herself a mad scientist to put her brain into a younger woman's body, so they get a bunch of women from foreign countries with accents so bad nobody would miss them if they disappeared, and experiment on them, giving them cat brains and such so they can determine if Old Lady March's brain will make the trip successfully, but the scientist double-crosses the old woman and wants to take the hottest chick for himself and puts the old woman mind intp a cat, but the cat traps the scientist in his machine and the hot chick escapes, but not before abandoning one of the other women who helped her escape. The end.

The movie is okay, for an MST3K-quality film. The episode is good, but not great. Host Segments are overall okay. Crow as Hank Kimball as Richard Kimball is really funny.

Magic Voice gets her own segment, having a chat with the film's narrator. It doesn't go well.
The Bots are the Mads!The Mads are the Bots!
The Invention Exchange deteriorates further still, but they do have fun with it. Mike has Crow and Servo dressing as Dr. Forrester and Frank. The Mads retaliate by dressing up as Crow and Servo.

Mike demonstrates chin puppetry. The Bots aren't amused. Mike isn't either, and tosses Servo to his seat when they re-enter the theater.
Well, what about it?School-bored teens address the school board.
There's a short film. It's called What About Juvenile Delinquency. It's about juvenile delinquency.

A good episode. Movie is bad, but nearly watchable. Short is, well, it's what it is. The segments are good and fun.

I do have a complaint, though.

My iTunes version doesn't have the chapter markers in the right place. Instead, they're every 10 minutes. I prefer that the markers be at spots like the Host Segments, or the beginning of a movie segment or a commercial bumper.

What to do about that? Well, I have the DVD (as well as both VHS releases). More than one DVD, actually. I have the out-of-print Volume 3 set set as well as the solo DVD re-release. With the iTunes having the chapter markers in the wrong place, I'll eventually rip the DVD to iTunes, so next time I watch it, it'll be easier for me to navigate.

And, I will watch it again.

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