Recently I have re-discovered an old favorite TV show of mine.
Actually, let me rephrase it….I re-discovered an old favorite show of mine about 2 years ago, and I pretty much watch it on a loop when I am at work.
As you can see from the picture, it is a show from the not too distant future, next Sunday AD.
Yes, my friend, is it Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3K.
I first watched this show back in 1992 when it was pretty much the only ‘big’ show on a new network called Comedy Central. The folks at Comedy Central would play this show all day because…well….they only had a handful of shows like Short Attention Span Theater and other stand-up clip shows. In fact it is the only reason why a 2 hour show like MST3K would be aired nationally; Comedy Central needed to fill air time.
It is sort of a funny concept; so original yet so basic: make fun of a bad movie. It is something we all have done, but what these guys did on MST3K was much more: they built an entire world. And yes, the jokes were waaaaay funnier than what you or I can do.
And the show became a hit….sort of. Cult hit I guess. It is a show not for everyone, but it is a show for the right person. Essentially what I mean by this is if you are as big of a nerd and pop culture sponge like me, you will enjoy the ‘so bad its good’ movie they are watching, get most of the references they hurl out continuously, and embrace the little world they created inside the Satellite of Love.
I know this sounds weird, but it feels like Joel (or Mike) and the Bots become your friends over this time. I mean when you watch as many as I have, you have spent A LOT of time suffering with them through awful films. But also it feels like a shared experience; they are sort of talking to you as you both are watching something. It is not simply a show where they are performing out some sort of situation that only they are apart of, like a sitcom does. They are bringing you into their world by chatting about this experience (eg: watching this lame movie) you both are having at that moment. It has a sense of intimacy most shows cannot capture.
Also the personalities are just fun. They really are not mean spirited (credit their Midwest comedy sensibilities for that) and you just want to be there live riffing with them.
So now we are in 2022, and I am now watching it the same way I watched it 30 years ago. And guess what? It aged better than Dick Clark. I still laugh at all the same references, quips, and fun nonsense they toss out. Yeah, I know I have seen these things multiple times and granted, I can’t pay attention to every word they say every episode, but I don’t need to or want to.
It is comfort TV, and in a time where we need all the comfort we can get, I cannot thank Joel/Mike, the Bots, Dr. Clayton, and TV’s Frank enough.