|John Holmes Motherfucker |
Thank God! Now we can.really just relax!
Thank god. The return wasn't flawless, but it was certainly fun, and warranted more.
As a huge fan of the old show, I have to disagree. After waiting for all those years, the new show was definitely NOT fun. I really had to force myself to watch the whole season.
And no, it's not just that it's new. I never complained about cast changes with the old show. There are just so very many problems with season 11, it's difficult to watch.
As someone who has no problem admitting to actively disliking the episodes made after it moved to Sci-Fi Channel and got dumbed down, I haven't worked up to watching any of this one yet. I kind of want to if only because Joel and Trace deserve a chance, they still had it the two times I saw them live (final Cinematic Titanic tour and their MIT lecture in the late 2000s) but I'm not expecting much.
It's all about seasons 3-5.
OZ: 3-5 are my favorites too, even though many of the later Mike episodes are true classics. I was originally not that into Joel, but his sleepy eyes and family-friendliness won me over. S11 was not bad, I don't think I can say it was great, either, but it was good enough for me to enjoy and want more. The Christmas That Almost Wasn't and Starcrash! were the two best ones, for my money.
JHM: You are correct sir. I hope S12 irons out a few kinks (the absurd pace of the riffs, especially in the earlier S11 episodes, for example), but goddammit I'll take the MST3K they give me.
betabox: Sorry you didn't like it my dude. I had to push myself through some episodes (Avalanche took me like, a week), but I was happy enough overall.
|John Holmes Motherfucker |
Felicia Day is a Mom I'd Love to Follow (on Twitter)
Considering the humble beginnings of the show on KTMA I'd say the return was just fine. There's room for improvement and growth on top of a solid foundation.
Also their live show was fantastic.
|John Holmes Motherfucker |
Is it safe to say that MST3K has never been about being flawless? There have always been a few bad jokes. Season 11 featured the return of the invention exchange, and some of the best musical interludes.
The amateurishness of MST3K is largely the point! You are right!
HEY EVERYBODY JOHN HOLMES MOTHERFUCKER WAS RIGHT!
A LOT of the 11 season's jokes were road tested on Kalan's podcast, the Flop House. I kind of wish they'd have just ponied up to get Stuart Wellington to be the voice of Tom Servo, since he has the same basso profundo.
You know how the girl "Ghostbusters" movie suffered from too many people just riffing and getting approval from their peers, rather than doing the hard work of writing a script and making sure each joke was the best it could be? Maybe a podcast wasn't the best forum to get constructive feedback.
The biggest flaw with Season 11 is the clumsy performance style which I think is mostly due to the fact that unlike the old MST, the new one is composed largely of people who are not working on the show as their entire focus, but simply people who show up to film the episodes, but aren't part of the production. As I understand it from what Joel has said, Season 12's movies are already chosen and the scripts are pretty much already written, and this was done without the cast, mind you. It was all just a staff of writers and Joel. This is definitely going to have an effect on the "look at the show we're putting on" atmosphere of the original series. It seems weird to me that Joel went through the trouble of hiring stand up comics who are also writers to be the host/bots, then not actually use them in the writing room.
They're new at it, so I will credit it to that, but one of the "elephant in the room" things about MST that a lot of fans won't admit is that Mike Nelson's much rumored insistence on heavy rehearsal and longer writing sessions when he was host seems to have had a noticeable effect on the flow of the in-theater riffing stuff. They were able to cram in hundreds of jokes per movie, yet make it feel natural like there was still air around the lines and there was no rush to get through it all.
In Season 11, there are noticeable stretches where the scripts are just non-stop constant riffs without the same pacing or assuredness, so it just sounds like teenagers mindlessly reading Shakespeare out loud or something; they're just getting the lines out, but they're not getting any time or presence to really make the characters and the lines their own.
I think the one thing I’d actually change is the presence of Patton Oswalt, who is not helping. He was the star of a Pixar film for Chrissakes, he’s too big for MST3K. Patton can go. I loved Synthia and the character they made for the live shows, Terry the Bonehead, and they’d be a suitable replacement for the TV’s Frank role. Kinga is fine.
Jonah is a delight and he has a not-creepy-but-fun-Uncle vibe that used to be present in kids TV but has been replaced by attractive young adults pretending to be younger than they are. He brought back the Invention Exchange and the letters from kids segment, and he is trying to be his own man. Joel was a prop comic, Mike was an impressionist, and Jonah is a nerd musician. Mike’s MST3K was more of a late night show, and neither Joel nor Jonah seem comfortable working on that edge of blue Mike was frequently dancing on. (And, Mike could be cruel. Joel was never cruel. Sometimes Mike punched down, hard.)
The new Crow is spot on, because it’s hard to mess up what was always a Groucho Marx impression. Tom Servo is harder because Kevin Murphy has such a singular presence vocally.
And, let’s also be fair, the first Joel season and the first Mike season were both R O U G H. The Jonah seasons are their own thing. Reptilicus was pretty wooden given proof of concept issues. The Santa Claus episode is the highlight of the season.
"It seems weird to me that Joel went through the trouble of hiring stand up comics who are also writers to be the host/bots, then not actually use them in the writing room."
I was wondering about that too. Patton Oswalt has talked about how hard it is to refine premises into actual jokes, but I'm left feeling that Joel et al are mostly satisfied if they communicate a premise.
"air around the lines"
Please tell me that's a reference to this:
One of the complaints I've heard about the Mike years is that they don't feel like just some guys hanging out and making fun of movies. But if that's all you want, why not do it yourself? I'm looking for guys who can turn crap movies into something delightful, and that just might mean they put some effort into it.
I'd say that definitely a big part of the problem with Season 11 was the budget. The old show seemed like some people having fun, and putting the show together with thrift-store finds under short deadlines. Season 11 had way too much money, and that took away some of the charm.
Also, Joel, Mike, Trace, Bill, Kevin and Josh all had very distinctive voices, and they gave their characters very different personalities. With Season 11, I can't tell who's saying what.
But one of the biggest issues I had with Season 11 was the incessant jabbering. With the old show, they worked hard to avoid talking over dialog. It wasn't always possible, but they made an effort. With Season 11, it seems that they have about 5 times the riffs, so they never give it a rest, and they constantly talk over the movie. Several times while watching Season 11, my friend and I found ourselves shouting at the screen "SHUT UP!"
That's my problem too, mostly. They had some good material to work with and got in some good lines but in many places the riffs were coming too fast. I was so irritated watching the MST of Starcrash that I found myself thinking that that fan-made episode of MST3K that took on Starcrash was better.
Incognito Cinema Warriors (the only "fan" MST thing I honestly think is worth a damn) were famously going to do Starcrash, then lost the rights to do so. After that, they were going with Slipstream, and again lost the rights. They ended up just doing some short films for their 5th season 2 episode.
beta: your points are super valid. Both the overriffing and the everyone-sounding-alike was a real problem for me. I was still able to dig it, but I hope they can work out the pacing a lot more for S12. I guess there's nothing they can do for the voices but eventually get different actors.
Mike's tough, because I do think he contributed a lot to the quality of the riffs and the writing, but after he took over + Rifftrax, I don't care for how cruel he can be. It's a real double edged sword because that sharpness is really beneficial at times, but when it's too much for me it really detracts from the tone I'm looking for from MST.
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