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  • Acceptable Targets: The Green Bay Packers. The shows' creators were all fans of the Minnesota Vikings, sworn enemies of the Packers.
    • Wisconsin in general.
    • "Hey, you can see the Cubs losing!"
    • In the movies he appears in, Joe Don Baker.

 Crow (as Joe Don Baker's name appears on-screen): Ooh, I wish I was illiterate so I wouldn't have to read that.

    • Not to mention, "ROSS HAGEN?!?!"
    • Oddly (as demonstrated in both Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Rifftrax), seems to really have it in for Kenny Loggins.
    • Sandy Frank. To be fair, he IS the source of all their pain.
      • Coleman Francis as well. Really, any of the show's repeat offenders get this treatment.
    • Japan. Especially in Invasion of the Neptune Men.
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced: Ladies and Gentlemen, Shout Factory released the Gamera episodes in a five-disc deluxe box set.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Valeria (from the movie Robot Holocaust) appearing on the Viewscreen in ep. 201 Rocketship X-M, for seemingly no reason. Joel and the robots seem just as puzzled by her appearance as the viewers. After Valeria leaves, the incident isn't brought up again.
    • In First Spaceship On Venus, Tom and Crow have an encounter with an angry gorilla. It isn't really in context with anything and not even Joel believes that it happened.
  • Brain Bleach. What do you expect from being forced to watch bad movies? Check the Trope entry for a few examples.
    • It's worth mentioning that it's the only TV show with its own folder. One must wonder about the fans...
  • Broken Base: A massive uproar occurred when Mike replaced Joel as host mid-season five, resulting in a Flame War so bad that it eventually degenerated into personal attacks and pulled entire web communities apart. For years afterward the subject was banned on multiple fan sites, though in the later days of the fights there were more than a few trolls fanning the flames. These days, while fans disagree about who was better (and most admit that it really just comes down to personal preference), most find they generally liked both.
    • This has arguably continued into the principals' post-MST projects, with fans debating the merits of (Joel-led) Cinematic Titanic vs. (Mike-led) Riff Trax.
      • Mike Nelson, at one point, proposed to parody the Joel vs. Mike debate by setting up a mock rivalry between Rifftrax and Cinematic Titanic, but Joel Hodgson (who is, incidentally, still a close friend of Mike's to this day) turned down the offer.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: So many that the show has its own page.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: The Main Theme, the Tibby song from Gamera, and A Patrick Swayze Christmas
    • While there are enough songs to warrant its own page, special mention is deserved for the United Servo Academy Men's Chorus Hymn. Why? Well, the combination of hilarity and soul lifting beauty earned this song at last count 270 'likes' and 0 'dislikes'. Have fun.
  • Dude, Not Funny: the Mads' "Tragic Moments" figurines from Being from Another Planet. This example was intentional; Joel and the 'bots agreed that making said clay figures was, indeed, the greatest evil Forrester and Frank had ever committed.
    • Also the general reactions whenever the movies watched would introduce an Ethnic Scrappy.
  • Ear Worm: The theme song in every incarnation.
    • Watermelon Man...
    • "It's an arealogical, autoerotical, toobular boobular joy! An exposular-regional, batchical-pouchular fun for girl and boy!"
  • Fandom Rivalry: Joel fans vs Mike fans, which was pretty much the debate topic back when the Internet was young (well, besides "Kirk vs Picard", of course).
  • Fan Nickname: Chastain Justine
  • Fanon: Many online sources contend that Joel Hodgson pulled an all-nighter finishing the robots before the first episode, and that this is the source of his on-screen character's sleepy-eyed, laid-back persona. All-nighter notwithstanding, Joel's relaxed attitude was a holdover from his stand-up/prop comedy act prior to Mystery Science Theater 3000. Evidence abounds on YouTube.
  • Flanderization: Bobo started out as a somewhat oafish if still reasonably intelligent gorilla with occasional lapses into more bestial behavior, by the time everyone got back to earth he was basically the family dog, except as a talking monkey.
    • This may be justified in that he no longer had to act civilized around the other monkeys.
  • Foe Yay: Mike and Pearl could get very friendly when she wasn't trying to kill him...
    • Pearl and Crow are close friends, though Pearl refers to him as "Art". (See I Am Not Shazam)
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: During the host segment for The Girl in Gold Boots where Crow strips, one of Tom's reactions to Mike's horror is to call him "Mike 'Taliban' Nelson."
    • The MST gang were among the few comedians who would reference the Taliban pre-2001. Back then, they were simply thought of as a Real Life version of the town leaders from Footloose.
  • Genius Bonus: How many other comedy shows make casual references to Bedřich Smetana or Margaret Chase Smith?
    • Bre-ke-ke-kex, co-ax, co-ax.
    • During Devil Fish: Mike makes several Double Entrendres involving outboard motors, making reference to the Evinrude brand (observing Peter "grabbing at his own Evinrude," etc.). Not only is Evinrude a vaguely naughty-sounding word already, it's a substitution for another famous outboard motor manufacturer/dirty word: Johnson.
  • Growing the Beard - The cast and crew themselves have acknowledged the uneven quality of early episodes. This was largely because the on-screen talent were watching the movie for the first time, and many of their riffs were being made up as they watched. By season three, they had a more organized approach where the writers watch the movie in its entirety before approving it for MSTing, then watched it a second time to write the jokes[1], and a third time to film the episode. Season three's Pod People is frequently cited as the first truly great episode.
    • Also a literal aversion, as Joel grows some chin whiskers late in season two. At the same time, the quality of the episodes was increasing rapidly. It's an aversion because the whiskers disappeared by season three, yet the quality kept improving.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The Russians have launched their own comedian into space! Cue Project Popcorn.
  • Ho Yay: Tom's got a roll of singles as thick as a pork roast for stripper Crow in the host part of the The Girl In Gold Boots episode.
  • Internet Backdraft: Mike Vs Joel spawned many a flamefest back in the 1990s, to the point that Joel himself (allegedly) decided to have a little fun with the show's fanbase on USENET by anonymously fights SAYING his replacement was better than Joel was.
  • Memetic Badass: The Movie has '''The Amazing Rando'''.

 Tom: Watch as Rando The Great constructs sets with only the power of his mind!

  • Mondegreen:
    • The theme song for the Mike episodes in seasons 5-7 feature Cambot saying "Show yourself!" But the muffled way Cambot speaks makes it sound like he's actually saying "Kill yourself!" Similarly, when Crow appears, he says "That's one O." But it almost sounds like he's saying "That's guano!" instead.
    • In the orginal theme song for Joel, "shot him into space" can sound like "shot him in his face".
  • Nightmare Fuel:
  • Special Effects Failure: Both purposely invoked and played straight. Invoked due to the hodgepodge nature of the show's props and puppets (they were made from household appliances, knick knacks and broken toys after all). But played straight largely in the season one opening (Crow's head reveals the chroma-key effect used for the doors and his puppeteer can be seen before the "Robot Roll Call" begins).
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Joel returns for Soultaker, and he doesn't do any riffing with Mike and the Bots? (Joel explained that he wasn't able to help in the writing in this episode and didn't want to do anything he didn't contribute to.)
  • Too Good to Last: Ten seasons isn't enough. It's not.
  • Uncanny Valley: During the opening host segment of The Violent Years, Servo replaces his dome with a ventriloquist dummy's head, which frightens and disgusts the others. Crow suffers unbearable Brain Bleach.
  • Unfortunate Implications: The movies screened featured tons of them. Naturally, Mike, Joel and the Bots never let these pass by without comment.
    • Sadly even the riffers could get into it. Take the scene in The Violent Years where a female gang, gang-rapes a man. Cue the trio making jokes that the man is not being violated at gun-point but is in heaven and is listing off stuff he hopes they don't do, like rubbing his stomach. Then again... It's Ed Wood.
  • Vindicated by Cable: This happened to many riffed films.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not for Kids?: Kids do like the puppets. Yessir. And the humor in the puppet segments is fun - however the actual movies they cover may still be scary to small kids, even with the riffing.
  • The Woobie: Cambot near the end of Danger Death Ray.
    • The other bots have their moments, too, but the one with the most of these is Servo, usually when frustrated, scared or infatuated.

Notes

  1. Part of the reason for this was season two's The Sidehackers, which included a graphic rape/murder scene. The writers first saw the scene during their joke-writing session, because nobody in the crew had watched the film in its entirety
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