Prologue: Servo turns into a butterfly. Apparently all along the Servo we knew had been a mere larva of what he was destined to be eventually.
Segment One: Down in Castle Forrester, Pearl, Observer, and Bobo run around in penguin suits, pathetically trying to pull a practical joke on Mike and the bots, convincing them that they'd agreed to meet them there, also with penguin costumes on. Mike and the 'bots throw together some makeshift animal costumes of their own, and everyone looks pretty dumb in the end. (An editorial: As an MST performer, what I find most refreshing about acting on this show is the inherent dignity of the work: where else would one find the challenge to one's "craft" of playing a fey omniscient albino alien who then dresses up in a goofy penguin suit? Go to hell, Shakespeare! ...This is the real stuff.)
Segment Two: The bots work through the trauma of having to watch Gumby mutilate robots by having their own clay figure show.
Segment Three: Servo tries to scam a free coffin, as guaranteed at the beginning of Screaming Skull for people who die of fright (not boredom) while watching this movie.
Segment Four: Now Crow tries to pull a joke, becoming a Screaming Skull and frightening Mike. Mike freaks out and bashes both the bots with a variety of sporting goods, screaming himself the whole time.
Segment Five: Servo's coffin arrives. He has to pay the full delivery cost of returning it. But no harm is done, as he uses Mike's credit card for this.
Down in Castle Forrester, Bobo dresses like a ape, trying to fool them that he is an ape - that is, an ape other than Bobo. At Pearl's request, Brain Guy makes him tiny. Why? See below.
I dearly love my job and my colleagues here, but permit me to whine a bit, as I am very skilled and practiced at it. To wit: sometimes I wonder if we here at Best Brains aren't the butt of our own joke. While producing a show about a man and his robots who are tortured by watching bad movies, we have become the real-life victims of our own smarty-pants premise. Why do I say this? Answer: The Screaming Skull. Making someone watch this even once is specifically outlawed by the Geneva Convention. But many, many times, as is our practice? That is the custom-fitted hell that we've brought upon ourselves, worthy of a wry introduction by Rod Serling (picture if your will...).
I found this movie to be the Deepest of Hurting: like watching bacteria grow in extra-slow motion. This situation, I would contend, is true irony, Classic Greek in nature -- unlike the Alanis Morrisette version, which applies the word to slight inconveniences and minor gross-outs. (By this Morrisettian standard, then, it is "ironic" when one of her songs come on my favorite FM station.) Thank you, my whining is over and I am happy again.
The Gumby short, on the other hand, was a complete party to do. Good clean fun, though disappointingly short at six minutes. I always loved the shorts as a fan of the show, and hope we can get more.
Other things: we all loved doing Segment Four -- the Crow-as-Screaming-Skull -- though I ruined a few takes by cracking up at Mike as he carefully chose a golf club while yelling in stark terror. The Segment Five bit of Brain Guy shrinking Bobo down into his fist was completely off the slight story we had, but we got excited at it as a sort of tribute to the many MST3K movies that have used this cheap forced-perspective effect. I think we were no more successful than they were - I kept trying to see it as something other than Bobo standing on the other side of the room, but could not. But it was fun to try, and fun is the most important meal of the day. Lastly, a stunning acting debut by Barb Tebben, as the officious free-coffin representative for AIP. Barb literally phoned in her performance, which made us not want to cross her. Those of you who have dealt with Barb on the phone or taken the Best Brains tour know that she is the nicest person in the world, but: there's obviously some demon inside her that I wouldn't wanna tangle with. Don't hit me, Barb!
- Bill Corbett
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