The Satellite Transmissions: MST3K Pilot Episode: The Green Slime

Hello fans of b-movies and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans alike! Welcome to a new column here on Rabbit Hole Podcasts! I easily could’ve made this a podcast but I seem to have enough of those and I kinda like writing from time to time, so I thought I’d make this a written post.

The idea is this: I’m gonna take a look at a MST3K episode, going in broadcast/production order (later I’ll explain the distinction between broadcast and production order) but not only watch the episode but the movie attached and review the movie, alongside the episode. I’m pretty sure I’m not the first person to do this but I’m not gonna Google and find out. Ignorance is bliss!!

Let’s start at the VERY beginning, the unaired pilot episode where they “riffed” the 1968 film The Green Slime. Also, I won’t go into the entire history of the show here BUT there is an awesome episode of a podcast you can listen to that does a deep dive into the history! It’s awesome!

THE MOVIE

I don’t know who made the theme song for this movie but they didn’t need to go this fucking hard. I mean check this shit out!

This wonderful song opens AND closes the movie and it’s fucking amazing. I feel like anything I say after that is not going to matter, nothing can top that. But I must press on! For science! Or something.

Your reliance on telling apart large white men with big square heads and giant squishy faces is needed for this film. There’s two guys who are Commanders, one named Jack and one named Vince. Jack was retired from the U.N.S.C, which is never really said but I’m guessing United Nations Space Corp? Space Center? Sports Craft? Space Couch? I think it’s Space Couch.

The United Nations Space Couch while messing around with a telescope noticed a giant meteor is heading for Earth!! And they need to send a team up there to destroy it…wait a second! This sounds familiar…

If you ever think “we need Ben Affleck to save the world” maybe rethink some things.

For some reason, Jack is the only man who can do this job, so they blast him into outer space! And he make a pit stop at some space station called Gamma 3, which is run by Commander Vince. We learn through various lines of awkward dialogue that not only did Vince take Jack’s job but he took his lady, Lisa. Maybe she came with the job? I don’t know. Lisa acts like she hates Jack’s guts but deep down inside she still has feelings for the big oaf. While fucking another big oaf. I’m guessing.

Anyway, the head of the Space Couch tells Vince that while Jack is on Gamma 3, Jack is to be in charge and Vince needs to do what he says. Does this include making out with Lisa? I would’ve asked.

Anyway, Jack and Vince get on another space ship with a crew of other bland looking people and one weirdo scientist named Dr. Halvorsen to go to the meteor, plant bombs inside it and blow it up. They arrive on the meteor and do just that but they across some, well, green slime, all over the place and it starts sticking to their clothes, equipment, faces, the whole nine yards. Halvorsen wants to study the specimen but Jack throws a temper tantrum, throwing a jar of the slime onto the ground, and telling everyone to get back onto the rocket so they can get back to Gamma 3 before the meteor blows up, blowing them up in the process.

The meteor blows up, the rocket just barely escapes, but we see a small sample of green slime on the pant leg of Halvorsen. Uh oh! When they get back to Gamma 3, everyone learns how much of a party pooper Jack is when he cuts their celebration short, tells them the mission isn’t over yet, and they have to quarantine! OH NO!!! NOT THAT WORD!! I’M TRIGGERED!! AHHHHH!!!!

Ok, I’m back. Jack is still a uptight asshole. Why does Lisa like this guy? Well, Vince is no better so maybe it’s her type. Or her kink. We don’t kink shame around here. Anyway, during a party that was only allowed to happen once Jack said it was ok, we try our hand at soap opera acting when Jack discovers Lisa might have feelings for him, but she don’t like how Jack treats Vince, Vince sits around being mopey, and now there’s giant slime monsters running around.

How did giant slime monsters show up? Well, that little bit that was on the pant leg got stronger thanks to this giant washing machine that was used to wash the space suits that was used on the mission. One grew very large, killed an intern, and started seeking more energy sources so it can grow and be more powerful. Once the space station is alerted to this, they find the single slime monster and shoot the fuck out of it, causing it to bleed green. Turns out the blood can replicate and more slime monsters appear. Oh and they can heal themselves too.

So within a matter of 20 minutes, Gamma 3 is overrun by giant slime monsters. Of course Halvorsen wants to study them and Vince wants to make things as peaceful as possible, but when the monsters kill 3 more interns, Jack says “enough with this hippie bullshit! Let’s murder them!!” This film is from 1968. Long haired hippie freaks need not apply to the Space Couch.

Pictured: The somewhat adorable slime monsters

Once it’s discovered the monsters feed off of energy, mainly electricity, they turn the power off everywhere, use flashlights to lure the monsters into an airlock and try to blow the airlock up. This doesn’t work so…they do it again. After doing this for about 3 more times, and Halvorsen getting completely wrecked, Jack decides to just blow the entire space station up with these creatures in them and to that I say “Jesus, took you long enough! That would’ve been the first thing I would’ve done!”

So they proceed to evacuate the space station, a lot of time is focused on the injured from the infirmary I guess because Lisa is a doctor (I mentioned that, right? She was a doctor. In case I didn’t, she’s a doctor) and she’s in a love triangle and both Jack and Vince are telling her what to do constantly.

One of those guys is Jack, the other guy is Vince. I’ve seen this movie less than 12 hours ago and can’t tell you which is which.

They get everyone onto rocket ships and they leave Gamma 3. Jack stays behind to make sure everything is clear and to manually blow it up, Vince hears about this and goes back to help fight off the ever growing army of slime monsters, and Vince gets murdered by the monsters. Jack, realizing that his life is now much less complicated, takes Vince’s body with him to the rocket leaving Gamma 3, and tells the Space Couch that Vince scarified his life for the good of the world. And the movie ends with that fucking groovy theme song! WOOT!!

Ok, I’m gonna be honest, the movie isn’t THAT bad. It’s a bit cheesy, the acting is sub-par, and the effects are barely existent, but it was kind of fun and it made me excited for what was going to happen next. We never learn if Lisa hooked back up with Jack but I’m gonna assume they did. It was on their faces the entire time. I’ve always wondered why MST3K never went back to re-riff this one and I wonder if it’s because it’s not THAT bad or if it’s because Warner Brothers has a stranglehold on their property. Probably the latter. Speaking of…

THE MST3K EPISODE

This is not going to be much because it was the pilot episode. There was barely any riffing, and it was just focused on Joel. But I’ll still go over what happened.

The very first thing we see is Joel, playing himself, sitting at the desk by himself. He addressing us and mentions that he is on the Satellite of Love, a space ship of his own making. He says this “of his own making” a lot in this episode. I guess the idea back then was that he WILLINGLY shot himself into space, built these robots, and is just spending time watching shitty movies.

Speaking of the robots, we don’t see Crow until the second segment and it’s…a weird Crow. His snout (A WORDLE WORD!) was all bent and he talked kinda weird. We also meet Beeper, this weird square metal robot that only talks in beeps and only Crow can understand what he’s saying. Thankfully, this is the only time in the history of the show we see Beeper. We also meet Gypsy, who’s a male dog robot (?). And Joel shows us these vaccu-flowers that he’s grown. But they end up getting “sick” which just means it starts spewing shaving cream. Eventually Crow, Gypsy, and Beeper get “sick” until finally Joel gets it. Like I said, there’s not much riffing but there’s a pretty good one we see. Jack (or Vince) talks about a “number 2 position” and Joel says “speaking of a number 2 position” and proceeds to get up from the theater.

The only other thing to note about the pilot is the early signs of the “invention exchanges” but it’s only one sides cause, you know, it’s only Joel. He shows off his “Chiropractic Helmet” which if you look into Joel’s stand up history, you’ll know is a popular bit of his. That’s really all I got to say about the episode. I’m glad somebody saw this, saw potential and said “Alright, make 21 more of these!” Twenty-one, I hear you asking? Yep. There was 21 episodes done for Minneapolis’s very own KTMA TV 23 and I am going to take a look at all of those.

God help me.

-Jason

You can watch the pilot below, thanks to YouTube user Ron’s Computer Videos. Thanks Ron!

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