Monday, October 26, 2015

Join Us, Won't You?: 10 Little Life Lessons I’ve Learned From MST3K

Some people get their life instructions from little books about chicken soup.  I get mine from watching Robots banter with movies on satellites.  But what have they taught me?  Read on to find out.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

MST3K Half-Month: Of Satellites: How watching Robots make fun of Bad Movies Shaped My Sense of Humor

I still remember my first riff.  

I was about fifteen, my parents were out of town and I was on Easter break.  MST3K had just begun airing in syndication; I had been deprived of the show for years  because our cable company didn’t have Comedy Central (and it wouldn’t for another three years).   It was somewhere past midnight when I turned on what would one day be my local CW affiliate and heard it: “the hat from Breakfast at Tiffany's is coming in for a landing.”  I would later learn that that was Mary Jo Pehl’s first ever riff for the show, and when Pearl Forrester became my favorite character it felt like kismet.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Laverne & Squiggy & Chuck & Rhonda: The Bizarre Last Season of Laverne and Shirley

Here’s a little confession – I love Laverne and Shirley.  Yes, it’s goofy, broad and quite behind the times (avoid The Bully Show at all costs), but there’s something about watching two women struggle against the odds to figure out who they are and survive in an environment that is considerably hostile to them, two single women trying to date.  For all of the traditionalism that soaks into the narrative through the girls’ pursuit of guys and marriage, there are just as many episodes (“The Feminine Mistake” and “2001: A Sitcom Odyssey”) that served as a burgeoning support pillars for the nascent feminist movement that was just trying to grasp the concept that it was okay to want a fair wage, stay unmarried and be less than classically feminine.

The show suffered through some growing pains on its way to the eighth season.  Running out of fresh material, they chose to move the girls to Los Angeles, take them into the 60s and submerge them into the culture of the swinging, movie-mad era of the time.  The girls go from worshiping Fabian to lusting after the Beatles, but little else changes besides the size of their set and the introduction of a flighty-surfaced/iron cored blonde actress/dancer/model named Rhonda Lee

Then Cindy Williams became pregnant, and the show dealt with that fact very poorly.