Tag Archives: funny

MST3K: The Return, a Minimalist Review

While fans of the original Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) are either loving or hating The Return  (read: Netflix “reboot”), its reception elsewhere is much more lukewarm. Starring Jonah Ray,  Hampton Yount as the voice of Crow T. Robot,  and Baron Vaughn as the voice of Servo (also known for his role on Netflix’s Grace and Frankie),  The Return goes back to the old Joel Hodgson formula, complete with the much-loved invention exchange.mst3k_thereturn

Slipping into the roles of this trailblazing trio is Jonah Ray,  whose serviceable performance as an average but not-so-average guy lacks the humble charm of his predecessors, and yet manages to come across as rather likable after an episode or two. Patton Oswalt repeatedly demonstrates his performance to be the most well-acted role in the whole show and a welcome inheritor of TV’s Frank role as the evil bumbling sidekick.

But it’s the robots that stand out most. Like Jonah, as characters they are pretty bland with undifferentiated behaviors, jokes, and even voices (it’s easy to confuse the three voices in the darkened theater). Their personalities are essentially interchangeable, making them feel underdeveloped and gimmicky, like caricatures of the originals. Even Gypsy (previously voiced by Jim Mallon), whose role as the somewhat mentally slower robot sibling, is not exempt. Altering her voice from “funny” to “young and sexy” strips her character of one her most defining feature.

The show launches with a rocky start. Its series opener aims below cheesy for the disappointing sub-adequate mark. Jokes range from fair to good, rarely great. By the second episode the team finds their riffing groove and the comedy becomes relatively smooth sailing from there on out.

That said, Jonah and the bots carry a heavy torch in following up the comical adeptness of MST3K’s original cast. While it may be hard to live up to the legendary Joel, Mike, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, and Frank Conniff (let alone the powerhouse trio of Mike-Kevin-Bill, now of RiffTrax fame), even they did not start out as comedy all-stars. But with a little time and practice, maybe they will one day surpass the originals.

For many, the magic is in the freshness of seeing new MST3K episodes for the very first time. Or perhaps it is watching as one of the greatest cinematic experiences in living memory passes onto a new generation while also stoking the dormant coals of that beautiful old nostalgia.

What’s the conclusion for this Minimalist Review of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return?

Meh.

Rating: 3 / 5

 

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Diary of the Unemployed Writer: Part 1

Day 1 of Unemployment: Seeking meaningless tasks to fill my time. Stuck finger in power socket. REVISED: Seeking meaningless, PAINLESS tasks to fill my time.

Day 2 of Unemployment: Rediscovered the ancient art of the paper toss, although in prehistoric times it was know simply as rock toss. Since the paper toss is a relative of the spitball, what were prehistoric spitwads like?

Day 3 of Unemployment: Attempted the colossal task of constructing the Taj Mahal out of my 12-month old’s graham crackers. Upon realizing that I didn’t actually know what the Taj Mahal looked like, I ate the crackers. Mission accomplished.

the internets are in your brain, stealing your freedumz

Back in the day the Internet consisted of two parts: (1) porn, and (2) advertisements for porn. People would say they used the Internet for “research” but we know they were masturbating to Internet porn.

Then along came a little website called MySpace Facebook (“facebook” or “fb”), knocking #2 off its pedestal, so that the Internet internets became one part porn and one part Facebook fb. With the top contender knocked down a notch, Google swooped in and took over the other constituent, again transforming the internets into two new parts: (1) Google, and (2) fb.

“What about lolcats?” you ask, or, “WHAT ABOUT MY FRIKKIN PRON??!!!11” Porn Pron is now found via Google using such tools as “Google Image Search” or “Google Video Search” and thus pron is now a subsidiary of Google. Lolcats remain more prolific than ever, but only through their conduits, Google and fb. No one can deny the compelling awesomeness of Lolcats, pron, fb and Google combined, which is why we invented smartphones, so that we could increasingly ignore reality in favor of lolcats, anywhere in the world, 24/7. Which leads us to this conclusory, if not rhetorical, question: What did people do before lolcats?