Monday, March 21, 2005


'Cheap Seats' & 'Mystery Science Theater 3000'

When last we saw Mike Nelson and the bots Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot of 'Mystery Science Theater 3000', they were back on Earth. This happened in August of 1999 when the Satellite of Love crashed due to a malfunction of Pearl Forrester's joystick during a presentation of "Diabolik".

Back in Mike's apartment, they settled in to watch "The Crawling Eye" and as we left them, they were overcome with a disquieting sense of deja vu...... It was all very much like the ending of 'The Prisoner', in that Life seemed to be in a loop and everything was coming round again.

Six years later, and we find that Mike and the bots haven't moved far from their couch or their TV screen. But instead of an old, bad movie, they're watching Randy and Jason Sklar, who are "production assistants" at ESPN Classic. The Sklars basically steal the 'MST3K' riff by watching old sports films and making snarky comments, and that pretty much sums up 'Cheap Seats', the show that graced us with the return of Mike and the bots.

This might have been some sort of Zonk/Crossover hybrid; something similar to Lynette and Susan of 'Desperate Housewives' watching actress Nicolette Sheridan and Terrell Owens in the infamous 'Monday Night Football' intro from last fall.

But so long as we considered Sheridan's appearance to be as herself and not as her 'Desperate Housewives' character of Edie, there was no Zonk. And the same kind of chiropractic logic limbo can be used here.

The Sklars hosting 'Cheap Seats' can be considered as sort of a reality show that not only exists in the Real World but in Toobworld as well. It's the same kind of reasoning that we use when shows like 'Jeopardy' and 'American Gladiators' and 'Password' and 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' are worked into the plotlines of fictional series.

Only this time it's reversed and the fictional series is worked into the so-called reality show. Having the twin comedians portray fictional versions of themselves a la 'Seinfeld' only helps to grease the crossover.

Do you want to see a clip from the episode? Then try these links:




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