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Mystery Science Theater 3000

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Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a television show produced in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Each show consists of a man (either show creator, Joel Hodgson or, in later episodes, head writer Mike Nelson) trapped aboard a satellite in space by his evil captors, who force him to watch the worst movies ever made. To keep from losing his mind, the human captive heckles the movie along with his two robot companions Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo. Gypsy, a third robot, runs the ship, while the ever-elusive Cambot films the show.

The programme was first shown on independent UHF channel KTMA in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The show was picked up by the Comedy Channel, which later merged with the HA! Channel to become Comedy Central. The show ran on Comedy Central for seven seasons before being cancelled, at which time it was picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel, where it is currently in its tenth and final season.

The Format

Every episode is divided into two parts - the host segments and the theater segments. The host segments are shown at the beginning and end of the show, and during various breaks in the movie. These segments give us a chance to get to know the characters. Joel (or Mike) and the robots pal around, act out scenes from the movie, and discuss the nature of the universe. Meanwhile, their evil captors revel in the misery the movie causes, and generally make fools of themselves.

The theater segments are where we watch the movie along with Joel (or Mike) and the robots, whose silhouettes can be seen at the lower portion of the screen. They make fun of the acting, the special effects, the plot, and anything else that deserves to be mocked.

The Movies

The movies shown on Mystery Science Theater 3000 have one thing in common - they are all bad. Really bad. The most common types of movies shown are science fiction movies. These include Godzilla and Gamera movies, futuristic movies, astronauts lost in space or exploring alien worlds, all types of odd monsters, and giant insects. But there are plenty of other film catagories represented: spy films, westerns, Christmas films, Hercules movies, horror films, skydiving, rebellious teens, ninjas, bikers, and Russo-Finnish mythology, to name but a few.

The Cast of Characters

Joel Robinson (Joel Hodgson)
Joel was the first human to be trapped up in space. He created the robots to help him cope with his isolation, and eventually escaped with their help.

Mike Nelson (Mike Nelson)
Mike took Joel's place aboard the satellite in the middle of the fifth season. He quickly formed a bond with the robots, and is subjected to the same kind of terrible movies that Joel dealt with earlier.

Crow T. Robot (Trace Beaulieu, Bill Corbett)
Crow is a long-limbed golden robot with two bowling pin halves serving as a mouth. He is fairly high-strung and tends to cheat a lot. His middle initial stands for "The".

Tom Servo (Josh Weinstein, Kevin Murphy)
Tom is short and red, with a bubblegum machine for a head. He is intellectual, occasionally pompous, and has a wonderful singing voice.

Gypsy (Jim Mallon, Pat Brantseg)
Gypsy handles the higher functions of the satellite. Because she devotes all of her energy to running the satellite, she appears rather dense in ordinary conversation. She has a large purple head, and a very long plastic tube that serves as her body.

Dr. Clayton Forrester (Trace Beaulieu)
Dr. Forrester is a very mad scientist. He shot both Joel and Mike into space, forces them to watch the movies, and takes notes on their reactions. He usually wears green laboratory-type clothing, and has a streak of white in his hair and his moustache. He left the show after the seventh season.

Dr. Larry Erhardt (Josh Weinstein)
Dr. Erhardt was Dr. Forrester's assistant during the first season. He had a rather large head of black curly hair. Enough said.

TV's Frank (Frank Conniff)
Frank worked as Dr. Forrester's assistant for the second through the sixth seasons, and they endured an emotional love-hate relationship during that time. Frank wears black, has white hair that stands straight up, and sports a little white curl of hair on his forehead.

Mrs. Pearl Forrester (Mary Jo Pehl)
Pearl, mother to Dr. Forrester, arrived on the scene during the seventh season. Starting with the eighth season, she took over the task of sending movies to the satellite. She is as demanding and mad as her son was.

Professor Bobo (Kevin Murphy)
Bobo is a humanoid monkey, in the spirit of Planet of the Apes. He assists Pearl Forrester from season eight on, but is neither bright nor independent.

The Observer a.k.a. Brain Guy (Bill Corbett)
The Observer is a super-intelligent humanoid who also assists Pearl Forrester from season eight on. He carries his brain around in a dish, which apparently is the prime indication of an evolved species. Despite his supreme intelligence, Brain Guy still follows every order Pearl gives him.

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