12/27/06

Season Five: Wild, Unfettered Angst*

501 Warrior of the Lost World

502 Hercules

503 Swamp Diamonds
with What to Do on a Date

504 Secret Agent Super Dragon

505 The Magic Voyage of Sinbad

506 Eegah!

507 I Accuse My Parents
with The Truck Farmer

508 Operation Double 007

509 The Girl in Lover's Lane

510 The Painted Hills
with Body Care and Grooming

511 Gunslinger

512 Mitchell

513 The Brain That Wouldn't Die

514 Teenage Stranger
with Is This Love?

515 The Wild Wild World of Batwoman
with Cheating

516 Alien From L.A.

517 Beginning of the End

518 The Atomic Brain
with What About Juvenile Delinquency?

519 Outlaw

520 Radar Secret Service
with Last Clear Chance

521 Santa Claus

522 Teenage Crime Wave

523 Village of the Giants

524 12 to the Moon
with Design for Dreaming

The folk at Best Brains have been churning out great shows for several seasons, and they don’t stop now. The big change in Season Five is, of course, the escape of Joel Robinson (Joel Hodson) and the arrival of his replacement Mike Nelson (played by, um, Mike Nelson). This marks a transition in the tone of the overall show. Whereas Joel’s humor is sleepy and philosophical (kind of like a sad-eyed Winnie-the-Pooh), Mike’s is alert and self-deprecating. Though Joel usually seems to have a “no big deal” attitude towards his cinematic torment, Mike’s not so cavalier. His style lends a slightly bitter tinge to the commentary, making it a bit meaner. Whether you like one host over the other is a matter of taste. They’re both extremely funny.

In the host segments, the major ones in the overall arc of the show deal with the cast change. My favorite one is during Santa Claus, when Gypsy presents Mike with a sweater labeled JOIKE and explains that she started knitting it before the other guy left. Also, without Joel’s influence to keep it going, the invention exchange that has gone on since the show’s beginning peters out near the end of the season. Mike and the ‘Bots manage to fill this gap so neatly that you probably won’t even notice where it stops unless you’re looking very hard.

Though all of the movies they view this season are, of course, bad, none of them are actually unwatchable. Even Radar Secret Service, which several of the show’s creators describe with horror and disgust is funny enough to enjoy. My favorites are the fantasy episodes, including Hercules, The Magic Voyage of Sinbad, and Outlaw, but that’s probably just a matter of personal bias. There are several other enjoyable and incredibly goofy films in this season, including Eegah, Operation Double 007, The Wild Wild World of Batwoman, Alien from L.A., Santa Claus, and Village of the Giants. My least favorites are the awful misogynist mad science flicks (The Brain That Wouldn’t Die and The Atomic Brain) and all those grating juvenile delinquent films (I Accuse My Parents, The Girl In Lover’s Lane, Teenage Strangler, and Teenage Crime Wave.) Village of the Giants is a juvenile delinquent film as well, but gets around most of the angst by crossing it with a giant critter film and cranking the goofiness up several notches.

This would not be a complete summary of Season Five if I failed to mention that it includes the most reprehensible MST3K character of all time: Mitchell.

* Includes five films and one short decrying the problem of our delinquent and emotionally stunted youth.