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September 20, 2012 5:20 PM   Subscribe

The Random-MST3K-O-Matic mst3k.me shows you random Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes on YouTube. /random gets you a random episode, /joel gets you a random Joel episode, and /mike gets you a random Mike episode. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk (102 comments total) 124 users marked this as a favorite

 
It stinks!

(just kidding, this is awesome)

As someone who has literally watched at least part of an MST3K episode or a Rifftrax movie every single night for the past (nearly) 21 years, the hard part is often deciding which one to watch. Best to let fate decide for me!

Love the fact that there is a Joel/Mike preference available. Might not be a bad idea to further categorize by Comedy Central vs. Sci Fi era, or even "with or without T.V.'s Frank"
posted by ShutterBun at 5:26 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the presence of TV's Frank is a signifier of quality.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:34 PM on September 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh, this is awesome!
posted by sarcasticah at 5:37 PM on September 20, 2012


I actually didn't know they're all on YouTube, so now this 80 GB folder looks a little silly.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:39 PM on September 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Thanks for linking to this.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:40 PM on September 20, 2012


I actually didn't know they're all on YouTube, so now this 80 GB folder looks a little silly.

Seriously. I was overjoyed to find a cache of 68 episodes on Amazon Prime this week. And seeing that YouTube can stream through the Xbox...
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:42 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Keep randomly circulating the tapes!
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on September 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Maybe this is one for AskMe, but here goes...

I didn't have cable TV all through the 90s and as a result I have never seen a single episode of this show, heck I've never even seen a one second of it, despite being in pretty much the prime demographic from what I can tell.

All I know is it's a couple of robots yelling at a screen or something and it's probably right up my alley.

Where should I start? Can you sell me in 30 minutes?
posted by bondcliff at 5:51 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


You have no idea what you just asked.


But the one I like to use to introduce peoe is The Deadly Bees. Pure 60s hammer horror camp.
posted by The Whelk at 5:53 PM on September 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Yeah Deadly Bees is a good start because the movie they're watching isn't nearly as... abysmally unwatchable as some of the other stuff.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:55 PM on September 20, 2012


I'm gonna start you off on the good stuff, because I think you can handle it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:57 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd try the documentary shorts, A Date With Your Family has always stood out to me, both for the documentary itself (obscenely conservative 50's era paternalism) and lots of good riffs from the boys. Surprised to find it's a Mike episode, in my memory it's a Joel.
posted by skewed at 5:57 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I like to recommend Pod People, though it's got a different vibe than a lot of the rest of the shows. Or Space Mutiny.
posted by mskyle at 5:58 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Leech Woman is what hooked me.
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on September 20, 2012


Gamera.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:00 PM on September 20, 2012


Oh, yeah, A Date With Your Family is a fantastic short.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:02 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, shorts are a good starting point. I also love Cheating and Mr. B Natural, or the one about shop class.

"Tool operator. Tooooool operator!"
posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:03 PM on September 20, 2012


Gamera vs. Guiron.

For Officer Cornjob, and for Mike's Michael Feinstein impression/routine, if nothing else--and there's PLENTY else.
posted by tzikeh at 6:05 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and if you're watching a later episode, don't pay too much attention to the stuff that goes on outside the theater, especially if it involves a woman named Pearl and her minions Brain Guy and Bobo. When the show moved to the Sci-Fi channel for season 8 and beyond, the network required an ongoing plot in the host segments, which tended to be pretty ridiculous and (to my taste) bad. If you see a woman in a VW Microbus in space or in a big castle, yelling at a man in a gorilla suit, and are confused, please disregard.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:06 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Mr. B, as much as it is like, the epitome of MST3K-itude, I would save until you've seen a few other shorts and movies, because knowing how the show works, and the personalities of the bots and the Mads and so on, just adds something *extra* to Mr. B. But seriously, in the right frame of mind, there is nothing funnier.
posted by tzikeh at 6:07 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: a woman in a VW Microbus in space or in a big castle, yelling at a man in a gorilla suit
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:08 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mitchell was the episode that drew me in, even if it was only just to casual fan-hood. It's relentlessly silly and caused me and my friend's stoned 17-year-old brains to go into giggle overload.
posted by item at 6:10 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Assignment: Venezuela, Here Comes the Circus and Young Man's Fancy.
posted by cog_nate at 6:13 PM on September 20, 2012


Worship the truck farmer at the church of your choice!
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:14 PM on September 20, 2012


Uncle Jim is an edgy man who should not be riled.
posted by cog_nate at 6:15 PM on September 20, 2012


I used to watch TV. (I am not an elitist, just a bookish guy who became busy with work and child-raising for twenty years.) What do I remember watching? Twin Peaks and MST3K.

Thanks for the link. We empty-nesters can revisit our youth. I don't think I need to revisit Twin Peaks, though.
posted by kozad at 6:16 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually didn't know they're all on YouTube

WHY DON'T THEY LOOK?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:18 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've always had a soft spot for Tormented.
posted by Lucinda at 6:19 PM on September 20, 2012


The Final Sacrifice is pretty good too.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:21 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh my god The Starfighters. SO MUCH REFUELING.
posted by mintcake! at 6:29 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


baaaaaaam baa baa baaaaaam
posted by mintcake! at 6:31 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yessssss.

When I was a kid I really, really wanted the sci-fi channel because I knew they were picking up Sliders but then when we finally got it, Sliders sucked. But I still got to discover stuff like this Canadian kid's show The Odyssey, Lost in Space and MST3k. The summer after my sister went away to college, me, my mom, and my grandfather would spend all of Sunday watching MST3k. I still have my Observers T-shirt, which my mom got me for my 14th birthday (which I cut up and put back together with safety pins when I was 16, but then sewed the image onto a normal t-shirt and I will never ever get rid of it and will always love it forever) and MST3k is just happy brainstew for me and was way better than Sliders, anyway.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:34 PM on September 20, 2012


Also, I like Pearl. And Brain Guy.

Bobo, not so much, but no one likes Bobo.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:36 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


So much for any more productivity for me. Thank you for this SO MUCH.

If only the Brit partner got the jokes. A reference to "Get Christie Love" or "Mannix" just zooms right over his head.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 6:40 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Overdrawn at the Memory Bank is good for a beginner.

Peck Hardcheese!
posted by dr_dank at 6:56 PM on September 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you're really just watching the show for the first time, I'd recommend "The Brain that Wouldn't Die."

It's Mike's first episode (as host) and does a reasonably good job of explaining the set-up, and the parameters of the show. Mike's new to the idea, just as you are, so they spend a little time getting acquainted.

Another idea might be to watch them riff a movie you're already familiar with (Marooned, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Return of the Creature, etc.) and see what they do with it.

Also a good idea would be to watch MST3K: The Movie, as it explains the entire premise of the show, as well as riffing on a not-quite-so-terrible movie (This Island Earth)
posted by ShutterBun at 7:20 PM on September 20, 2012


Responding to the request for episodes to watch, above, I already covered that with some gigantic comments months ago.... Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
posted by JHarris at 7:21 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


(This Island Earth)

TURNING THEM

AND

ADJUSTING THEM
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I swear when I listen to snarky internet reviewer take downs of things half half the vocab and affect is straight out of MST3K, there's a sociology paper in there about how one shows's sensibility went and infected an entire generation.

"...and his eyes open."
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


bondcliff, I'd guess it's right up your demographic alley. The only thing I'd mention is that it's really designed for teens/20-somethings who have a lot of time to just hang around — they're not short skits with quick punchlines. In New England they might be best watched on a winter weekend afternoon, like when it gets dark at 4:30.
posted by benito.strauss at 7:26 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lets escape under cover of afternoon in the biggest car in the county.
posted by dr_dank at 7:26 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid I really, really wanted the sci-fi channel because I knew they were picking up Sliders but then when we finally got it, Sliders sucked.

Oh god we got cable JUST as it moved to to the Sci-Fi network which WAS NOT INCLUDED IN OUR PLAN. I had to wait for like that one week preview week every so often where they unlocked the channels to record them off the TV so like half my tapes have IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU'RE SEEING CALL 1-800-blah blah running across the bottom of the screen.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it wrong that I keep hitting random until it lands on a Joel episode?

...what?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 7:30 PM on September 20, 2012


i resisted the urge to tag this Jharris_Bait
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


oh I hit random and got Teenagers From Outer Space!!

TORTURE
posted by The Whelk at 7:31 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whelk, I believe you mean TORR-CHAAAAAH!
posted by tzikeh at 7:33 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


when we get back to our home planet the high council may well sentence you to TORCHAA!
posted by JHarris at 7:34 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I try to explain MST3K and where to start here
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 PM on September 20, 2012


The Final Sacrifice is pretty good too.

ROWSDOWER!

On Netflix, MST3K isn't grouped into a series; each episode is its own thing. You can roughly tell by the year, but in general, if TV's Frank is in the credits, it's a good one.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:35 PM on September 20, 2012


Also, Joel for the host segments, Mike for the riffs.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:35 PM on September 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


(lets just all watch the really old teenagers from outer space in their matching V-necks with a machine that goes ping)
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 PM on September 20, 2012


(keep him under guard Thor)
posted by The Whelk at 7:40 PM on September 20, 2012


I appreciate that I am not the only one with 80 gigs of redundant mst3k.

you can pry it from my cold dead hands
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:52 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hey, I like that.
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 PM on September 20, 2012


I like... Mitchell!
posted by Huck500 at 8:02 PM on September 20, 2012


Site creator here.

1. Thanks for posting this, The Whelk! That was really nice of you.

2. It seems like /frank is something people want. If I was to implement that (not hard, as long as I have production codes for the relevant episodes), would it be "random episode featuring the fictional character, TV's Frank" or "random episode featuring Frank Conniff in the credits"? Either way, does someone have a list of those episodes? That's all I really need.

3. Railing kill.
posted by scottjacksonx at 8:07 PM on September 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


Personally I'd want TV's Frank in all his glory.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 PM on September 20, 2012


I have to cast another vote for Space Mutiny, featuring Thick McRunfast, probably one of the best episodes ever. I am a bit biased toward the SciFi years, as that's when I first started watching after coming across it at random one night as a high-schooler.

PS: Manos: The Hands of Fate is often cited as an MST3K milestone, but it is not for novices.
posted by dhens at 8:30 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh god we got cable JUST as it moved to to the Sci-Fi network which WAS NOT INCLUDED IN OUR PLAN. I had to wait for like that one week preview week every so often where they unlocked the channels to record them off the TV so like half my tapes have IF YOU LIKE WHAT YOU'RE SEEING CALL 1-800-blah blah running across the bottom of the screen.

I love that since we're the same age and from the same geographic area all of our touchstone life experiences [involving television and Renaissance Festivals] are the same.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:34 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If Frank is in the host segments, it is almost certainly a good episode. I don't pay attention to the end credits and can't speak to that.

(This is in part because the Larry episodes are from the first Comedy Central season, which is not as good as later seasons.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:34 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Warning: May cause blindness and death
posted by shakespeherian at 8:38 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


PS: Manos: The Hands of Fate is often cited as an MST3K milestone, but it is not for novices.

Seconded.
posted by tzikeh at 8:52 PM on September 20, 2012


A later weigh-in here. For my money, a novice is on the whole better off dipping into the Joel era first. The structure of the show back then was more, how shall I say it, revue-like or vaudevillian, a series of marginally related skits surrounding the movie-riffing. (I may be biased because after all these years I remain abjectly in love with the Invention Exchange. That segment is to my mind a metaphor for the show itself, all about wild inspiration thrown together with no budget and lots of visible duct tape.)

To narrow further, I think a science fiction film rather than, say, Mitchell or Catalina Caper, excellent as both these episodes are. There's something about SF that brings out an extra level of geekiness in the writing and the performances.

Perhaps Gamera vs. Gaos, then?
posted by La Cieca at 8:54 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


"we are the supreme race-"

"Oh turn Rush Limbaugh off"
posted by The Whelk at 8:57 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Frank is in every episode from 201 to 624, plus 1001. (Joel is also in 1001 as a cameo.)

Dr. Forrester is in 101 through 706.

Pearl Forrester is in 701-1013, but first appeared in 607. Bobo is in 801 through 1013. Observer/Brain Guy is in 805-1013.

More? Season tags would be nice: 101-113, 201-213, 301-324, 401-424, 501-524, 601-624, 701-706, 801-822, 901-913, 1001-1013. There are also KTMA episodes, but those aren't quite so watchable.

Gamera tags! 302, 304, 308, 312, 316.
Sandy Frank! Those plus 306, 310, 314, 318.
Godzilla! 212 and 213.
Japanese! Those plus 816 and 819.

There's plenty more, but the best resource for finding things to tag, Daddy-O, seems to be down or slow right now.
posted by JHarris at 9:03 PM on September 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


(I should clarify, ALL of those, Gamera, Sandy Frank and Godzilla, are Japanese, in addition to the two additional listed. Total: 13 movies.)
posted by JHarris at 9:27 PM on September 20, 2012


Yeah, years of experimentation have shown me that Space Mutiny is the ideal choice to hook new fans (or one of the shorts, if you're pressed for time.)
posted by Rangeboy at 9:28 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


hey, she's dead!
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sidehackin' is the thing to do, and it doesn't hurt to have a low I.Q....
posted by Chrysostom at 9:37 PM on September 20, 2012


Frank is in every episode from 201 to 624, plus 1001. (Joel is also in 1001 as a cameo.)

Done! (I don't include 1001 as a Joel episode — you'll never get 1001 by hitting /joel)

Dr. Forrester is in 101 through 706.

Done! (I went with /clayton because all of the others were /$FIRST_NAME)

Pearl Forrester is in 701-1013, but first appeared in 607.

Done!

Bobo is in 801 through 1013.

Done!

Observer/Brain Guy is in 805-1013.

Done! (/brainguy also works because I call him Brain Guy)

Season tags would be nice: 101-113, 201-213, 301-324, 401-424, 501-524, 601-624, 701-706, 801-822, 901-913, 1001-1013. There are also KTMA episodes, but those aren't quite so watchable.

Done! (/s1 to /s10 work, as well as /s0 and /ktma for the few KTMA episodes that are available)

Gamera tags! 302, 304, 308, 312, 316.
Sandy Frank! Those plus 306, 310, 314, 318.
Godzilla! 212 and 213.
Japanese! Those plus 816 and 819.


I didn't do these because the Gamera and Godzilla episodes make up the bulk of the ones I didn't include — I couldn't find them and/or they seem to be the ones most commonly taken down.
posted by scottjacksonx at 10:19 PM on September 20, 2012 [17 favorites]


1. taz pointed out in MeMail that the Daddy-O link is broken. Well, it is, but the site wasn't up when I posted it anyway.
2. It appears to be now though: link should go here.
3. If you want it, I'm working on a more comprehensive listing of tags to add. I really should be doing other things though, so I might not finish. Anyone could probably compile such a list with a few hours of time and an obsessive perusal of Daddy-O, really.
posted by JHarris at 10:37 PM on September 20, 2012


I would like, at this time, to nominate scottjacksonx for MetaSainthood for his service to all mankind.
posted by mephron at 2:01 AM on September 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


mst3k fandom strikes me as the kind of fandom that would prefer not to think of itself as a "fandom"
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:51 AM on September 21, 2012


My God, she's presenting like a mandrill!
posted by Think_Long at 5:43 AM on September 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


He TTTRRRIIIIEEEEDDD to kill me with a forklift!!!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:55 AM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Goddamn it I had shit to do.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:01 AM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

I was just recently soothing my fevered brow with a YouTube rewatch of The Screaming Skull. For some reason the first sketch, about the Gumby short, never fails to leave me in pieces. "JUST WORK THE LUMPS."
posted by theatro at 6:28 AM on September 21, 2012


That really squares my breasts!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 8:38 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I appreciate that I am not the only one with 80 gigs of redundant mst3k.

I see your 80 gigs of MST3K, and raise you 80 gigs of MST3K that has moved from removable storage media to removable storage media for the last 13 years, having originated from an entire summer spent tying up the phone line to pull them excruciatingly across a 56K dialup connection at the riproaring pace of 1.5K/s in Kazaa. At the time, this represented 80% of my total available storage space, and occasionally prompted decisions like "Hmm, am I going to want to rewatch 'Devil Fish' any time soon, or do I want to install this new game?" which were usually decided by how quotable the episode seemed. ("I wonder if it's powered by his face" = keeper)

Two years ago, as I was transferring data onto my most recent machine and deciding whether to finally abandon this fool's errand, the tiebreaker was checking on Amazon and discovering that a full DVD series was still many hundreds of dollars. 80 gigs of shitty bootlegs at 180x320 it is! But today... today may mark the end of that fateful folder.

On the bright side, now I can finally be free of the Folder That Everyone Just Assumed Was Porn
posted by Mayor West at 10:47 AM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh it's far more embarrassing than porn, my friend.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:52 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ow! I landed on my 8-sided dice!
posted by Kafkaesque at 11:35 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


La Cieca's comment above got me to thinking: is there a comprehensive watchable database of just the skits before or during the movie (or better yet, of just invention exchange)?

"Ziggy had Garfield neutered? Now *that's* funny!"
posted by antonymous at 12:28 PM on September 21, 2012


Puma Man!!!
posted by stratastar at 12:54 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you mean Pu Maman.
posted by JHarris at 1:13 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The puma man

the puma man

the puma man
posted by The Whelk at 1:16 PM on September 21, 2012


CLAY PEOPLE GO HOME
posted by dr_dank at 1:29 PM on September 21, 2012


Now I'm ready for years of powerful Alderian therapy
posted by The Whelk at 1:33 PM on September 21, 2012


(This Island Earth)

TURNING THEM

AND

ADJUSTING THEM



normal view

Normal View.

NORMAL VIEW!!!!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:47 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


(oops... I see I forgot another normal view in there. I'm no Blast Hardcheese.)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:48 PM on September 21, 2012


A traitorous Frenchman! Who'd have thought?
posted by Chrysostom at 1:54 PM on September 21, 2012


Big McLargehuge.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:13 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Crunch Buttsteak
posted by The Whelk at 2:14 PM on September 21, 2012


Bob Johnson
posted by JHarris at 2:32 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


NORMAL VIEW!!!!

True story: One of the first big things Mrs. Example and I did shortly after getting engaged was visit her parents in Minneapolis and give them the big news. This trip also happened to coincide with the second Conventio-Con and ExpoFest-a-Rama, at which we were volunteering. We got to sit in a room with hundreds of other MST3K fans and watch the movie, and it was a fantastic experience. On the way out of the auditorium, a couple of fans started in with "Nor-mal VIEW", and within seconds the entire crowd joined in until the rafters rang with the sound of "NOR-MAL VIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!". It was awesome.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:35 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


... Chief?
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 9:16 PM on September 21, 2012


would it be "random episode featuring the fictional character, TV's Frank" or "random episode featuring Frank Conniff in the credits"? Either way, does someone have a list of those episodes? That's all I really need.

Frank is in essentially all episodes from 201 (Rocket Attack, USA) through 624 (Sampson vs. The Vampire Women) as well as a one-shot appearance in 1001 (Soultaker)

So the episode numbers would be:
201-213
301-324
401-424
501-524
601-624
1001
posted by ShutterBun at 9:43 PM on September 21, 2012


(eep...I see that question was already answered eons of your Earth-years ago)

In that case, I'll just say: YOU'RE STUCK HERE!
posted by ShutterBun at 9:45 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


oh I see no love for the mu-tant
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on September 21, 2012


Pearl Forrester is in 701-1013, but first appeared in 607.

Pearl Forrester does not appear in episode 908: The Touch of Satan
posted by ShutterBun at 9:59 PM on September 21, 2012


that is where the fish live
posted by The Whelk at 9:59 PM on September 21, 2012


Lives, not live. (it's just one Fish, after all)
posted by ShutterBun at 10:01 PM on September 21, 2012


the fish is Satan.
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 PM on September 21, 2012


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