The show that helped make me what i am today...and still does.
For those that know me personally, or quite well, or at all really, know of my love for the long lost (but never forgotten - for many...not just me, promise!) television show: Mystery Science Theater 3000, or simply MST3K for us "MSTies" as we're known on the streets.
For the uninitiated, I send you to Ye Olde Wikipedia:
Mystery Science Theater 3000, often abbreviated MST3K, is an American cult television comedy series created byJoel Hodgson and produced by Best Brains, Inc.. The show premiered on KTMA in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 24, 1988. It later aired on the The Comedy Channel (later Comedy Central) for another six seasons until its cancellation in 1997. The show was then picked up by the Sci-Fi Channel and aired MST3K for another three seasons until its cancellation in August 1999.The series features a man and his robot sidekicks who are trapped on a space station by an evil scientist and forced to watch a selection of bad movies as part of a psychological experiment, often (but not limited to) science fiction B-movies, and frequently proceeded by short public domain educational films. To stay sane, the man and his robots provide a running commentary on each film, making fun of its flaws and wisecracking (or "riffing") their way through each reel in the style of a movie-theater peanut gallery. Each film is presented with a superimposition of the man and robots' silhouettes along the bottom of the screen. The film is interspersed with skits tied in the theme of the film or episode
It's fairly easy to see why this show appeals to me so. It is a combination of 3 things I adore: Movies, Comedy, and Puppetry (all of the robots were puppets!).
It's hard to put into adequate words the full extent of my adoration for this series. It has been "with" me through ALL of the different stages/times in my life. My "constant" as it were, if I may steal some terminology from Lost. (although, I'm sure Lost stole it from somewhere else. It's not really a "new" term, I know this, but the Lost reference was the first thing that popped into my head ok, so get off my back! Geez, why am I getting so defensive? And why am I straying from the topic at hand? *SLAP!* ...ok, sorry about that.)
As with many of the things I am fond of, interested in, or just like in general, I have my father David Begle to thank. He is the one who first introduced me to this show, after having caught a few episodes of it early on in it's initial run on Comedy Central. Watching episodes with him, laughing at the jokes with him, laughing at him laughing at the jokes that I didn't get in the least, are more than likely the core reasons that this show takes me to my "happy place."
But from that beginning, of it being just a show that I could sit and enjoy with my dad, it grew into something more. As time went on, and I got older, more experienced in the world, and more versed in movie/tv/pop culture trivia, I began to "get" those jokes that my dad was laughing uproariously at. I began to "get" the references they were making. And though, the world around me was teaching me the meaning of the jokes/references that the show was throwing at me, the show itself was also teaching me. It was teaching me comedy. It was teaching me timing. It was showing me a brand of humor that I related to, a brand that I understood and felt. As I got older still, and would watch a new episode, the characters would say a joke (or "riff") similar to, if not EXACTLY what I was thinking right before they said it. This was such an instance, which happened on quite a few occasions, that would elate me to no end.
This show, above all other shows that I adore (and brother lemme tell ya, there are LOTS of 'em!), rates at the top for those reasons. I never tire of watching this show, even if it's an episode that I have completely memorized (and brother lemme tell ya, there are LOTS of 'em!). My dad would record ENTIRE marathons that Comedy Central would air on VHS, each tape on the 8hr setting. I remember putting a tape in at night before bed, fall asleep, wake up and the tape still playing with a different episode on. Perhaps, in so doing, I was absorbing the show in a different way? In a stronger way? In a pavlovian type of way? Maybe thats why it takes me to my "happy place" whenever it's on. In this day and age of the omnipotent interwebs, super fans of MST3K have dedicated websites to it, and even 24hr streaming of episodes. I, whist at work, will put one of these streaming sites in a little box in the corner of my computer screen, and just let it run. I am firmly convinced, it is for THIS reason, that no murders have been committed in my office.
So, thank you Mystery Science Theater 3000, for all you have given/continue to give me. And thank you for all the lives you have saved/will continue to save.