This week’s episode, Jungle Goddess, also features a short, The Phantom Creeps, starring Bela Lugosi as a mad scientist. In recent years, this episode has been a favorite, in spite of the incredibly cringe-inducing storyline of the main feature, Jungle Goddess. The short, too, is part one of three of a deeply dull series of shorts. Alas, we’re getting ahead of things. Plenty of time for all that later…
The episode opens with one of the great openings of all time: Joel & the Bots are playing hide & seek with the elusive and inexplicable forces which control the universe. Said cosmic forces are counting, with eyes closed, up to 6.02×1023
It doesn’t really go anywhere spectacular, it’s a brief opening segment, but MST3K is so good at casually engaging concepts of immense cosmic significance like this. We love it, and we needed a few short paragraphs to fit in all the ‘caps of everyone peering.
After the break, the Cosmic Universe has changed sides with Joel & the Bots, and they’re counting down while the Cosmic Universe is supposed to be hiding.
Unfortunately, as we can all see, the Cosmic Universe isn’t hiding at all; the universe is plainly visible. Joel is rather disappointed! Oh, well.
Now, the Mads are calling. Actually, this week, it’s just Frank, and for a while, he just stands there talking to Jerry or Sylvia, one of the Mole People, telling them all about some kind of jazz performance where Frank plans to employ his ‘chops.’
The Mole Person is completely nonplussed and walks away without responding. Frank asks Joel what he wants and Joel, frustrated, has to remind Frank that he called them. It’s an old gag, sure, but it’s a nice segue to the invention exchange.
This is an apt description of the whole episode. An old film, to be sure, and certainly not Science Fiction either; regardless, a good episode. Jungle Goddess is a terrible film, truly, and well stupid, but the riffing is really crystallizing now and filling almost all the space in the film. More and more Joel & the Bots talk right over the film’s dialogue to do one routine or another as the awkward pauses and silent moments are no longer enough room for their comedy to grow. Really, my friends, we love every episode, even the ones we may seem to complain about, or that we compare unfavorably to others.
Anyway, as we were hinting at last week, there’s only really one big thing that’s still a little out of place: Clayton is still performing experiments on himself for the invention exchange. I won’t spoil it specifically, in case you don’t already know, but it will only be a few weeks before we see Frank take his rightful place as the subject of one of Dr. Forrester’s experiments. It seems obvious, but we can imagine an excuse for them, my friends:
Of course, it takes time to figure things out. This is normal. We don’t usually re-use old screencaps but, well, we really like this one. The Editor has made a special exception in this case.
So there I was, minding my own business as I brushed up on my queer film theory, when all of a sudden this book I’m reading (Harry M. Benshoff’s Monsters in the Closet: Homosexuality and the Horror Film) goes into a lengthy section about MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000.
There you have it folks: according to legitimate film scholars, MST3K is quality queer entertainment.