The act and practice of applying the MST3K treatment to movies, books, Usenet Posts, Spam and almost anything else.
For those not in the know, MST3K, or Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a hilarious, witty and thought provoking series that debuted on KTMA (a Minneapolis public access channel) Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 1988. In the spring of 1989, Jim Mallon and Joel Hodgson, the show's producer and star, took a field trip to New York and pitched the show to every network they could. A blossoming cable channel then called 'The Comedy Channel' picked up the show. They signed the show for 13 episodes. Fast Forward eleven years, and here we are: MST3K has been canceled (Sci-Fi isn't buying any more episodes), the props, except for Gypsy, Tom and Crow, have been Ebay-ed off, and the Sci-Fi channel is sporadically doling out lumps of MST3K goodness once in a blue moon, or actually four times in a blue moon, since the show is on almost every Saturday.
But even with the show almost gone, the props dispersed, and Best Brains, Inc. (the company that made MST) more or less dissolved, the fans are still here. And in a big way. On a side note, Best Brains authorized fans to trade tapes through the mail, or just swap if they meet. Can you say Analog Napster?
The other thing is what this node started as. You see MST3K has some really dedicated fans. The bulk of these fans are literate and are fairly good writers. So a little while ago, some unwary netizen posted a message somewhere on Usenet about how he 'didn't find the show funny' and couldn't 'understand these figures at the bottom of the screen were making fun of my favorite movies'.
In his infinite wisdom a fan decided to counter-critique. He took the original post and made it into a show. Mystery Usenet Theater 3000 was born. He added in Joel and the 'bots and wrote the whole thing as a script, with lines for all involved. The MSTing was an instant hit and inspired a host of others. This form of mocking and ridicule became a cult hit and what MSTies did in the off season and the times between episodes. Eventually host segments were added. Some works are over 500k in size, and that's plain text.
Some prominent authors include: Rottweiler, Mike Barklage, Joe Blevins, Matthew Blackwell and many others.
Here is the first known case of MUT3K (note the date):
Hopping Mad over MST3K
By Daniel Rice
Date Completed: Oct 1993
From rice@enterprise.Berkeley.EDU (Daniel S. Rice) Newsgroups: Subject: Re: mst3k sucks Date: 3 Oct 1993 19:47:12 GMT
  • Dr. Forrester: Good morning, boobie. Our invention this week solves the problem of filtering out painful and unsightly Usenet posts. Goodbye, kill files, helllllo _stun files_.
  • Frank: Yes, with our invention annoying posters are treating to a low-level, yet painful, shock every time you have to wade through one of their postings. The harmless power spike is able to travel over TCP/IP, Bitnet, and uucp, so you can feel sure your intended recipient will feel it!
  • Dr. Forrester: We've shut down Kibo almost entirely, and we're working on a special gas attachment for the folks in alt.revisionism. Unfortunately, the folks at zuma.uucp seem to be storing up the power and running their android overtime. Now Joel, why don't you show us your invention.
  • Joel: Tired of brutal and excessive methods for filtering out garbage while reading news? Now you can remove zero-content postings yet never miss a good chuckle on We like to call it the "Inter-Net."
  • Tom Servo: Simply attach this fine mesh filter to the input port of your newsreading machine. Flames, notes from B1FF, and irrelevant postings of all kinds are instantly eliminated!
  • Crow: Hey look! Only three postings on talk.politics.mideast! And wow, they're full of meaty, unbiased, flame-free content. Thank you, Inter-net!
  • Tom Servo: With our lame joke removal attachment, you'll never have to look at rec.humor.funny again!
  • Dr. Forrester: Well, Joel-y boy, we have a special treat for you today. It's our old friend Stuart Galbraith, master MST nay-sayer. You remember, we sent you a column of his one time... _Hopping Mad Over MST3000_.
  • Joel: How could we forget?!?
  • Dr. Forrester: Well, he's back, and this time he has an internet account. You and your droids are in for some deep hurting this time. We'll be sending up his posting in a bit, but first you're in for a little flashback.
  • Magic Voice: Flashback in 5...4...3...2...1...Flashback _now_.
  • Joel: Saigon, no!
  • ----------

    *Lights blink in the control pod*
  • Joel: Oh No! We got criticism sign!


  • Joel: (old Scandinavian lady voice) Well I vash so mad I could just hop!
  • Tom: Yah, dat really ticks me off ven dey do dat.

  • Tom: Wow! My favorite economist!

  • Joel: He's "Special" (makes quotes with hands)
  • My wife, Anne, normally writes this column, but right now she's just too mad. She just caught

  • Crow: A bad dose of the clap from some sailor...
  • part of the Comedy Channel's "Mystery Science Theater 3000." For anyone lucky enough to have avoided the program thus far "MST 3000" features an "astronaut"

  • Joel: I'm just a janitor, really...
  • and several "robots" (the latter actually Muppet-like puppets)

  • Crow: You don't think we're muppet-like, do you Joel? (quivery voice)
  • Joel: No, no, Crow, I prefer to think of you as "animatronic"
  • Crow: Thanks, Joel. I'm relieved.
  • who watch real, honest-to goodness movies

  • Tom: This guy obviously didn't see "Manos"!
  • while making comments, supposedly comical, based on the events onscreen.

  • Joel: Any resemblance between these comments and any actual onscreen events is purely coincidental.
  • The impact of this program, not only on the "so-bad-it's-good" genre, but on movies of all types, is tremendous.

  • Crow: Why thank you... Hey!
  • At a recent 24-hour science fiction movie marathon in Columbus, Ohio, Anne and I watched helplessly

  • Tom: As the technicians dripped saline solution into our clamped-open eyeballs...
  • as classic films the likes of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"

  • Tom: (sings) unda da sea, unda da sea
  • were mercilessly assaulted by audience members "inspired" by this insipid show. One patron even brought a life-size replica of one of the robots to keep him company.

  • Tom: My long-lost brother!
  • After enduring several hours of crude, sexist remarks,

  • Crow: ...we got the hang of it and cracked wise with the best of them. We laughed and laughed!
  • nonstop belching

  • Joel: Is that anatomically possible?
  • (Noel Coward it ain't)

  • Tom: It's not even Noel Redding.
  • and other contemptible, frighteningly animal-like behavior from these morons--about one-third of the audience--we left furious and deeply saddened.

  • Joel: I wonder why everyone applauded when we left...?
  • We felt sorry for all the children in the audience, children who were

  • Tom: doubt playing hooky.
  • presumably seeing these films for the first time. And as film Critic Gene Siskel has rightly stated: You can only see a film for the first time once.

  • Joel: Also the second time.
  • Crow: I think Ebert disagreed, though.
  • What were they to make of all this mayhem'?

  • Tom: Johnny was deeply scarred by the mayhem around him and had killed a man before his 12th birthday. Today he sells brushes door-to-door and has made peace with his demons.
  • Given the chance to work its powers, 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is still genuinely creepy and unsettling,

  • Crow: So is a 7-11 burrito.
  • "20,000 Leagues" is still full of wonder and excitement. But uninterested audience members didn't give either film a chance.

  • Joel: Why did the producers?
  • "Mystery Science Theater 3000" had given them the green light to tear these pictures to shreds, and so they did.

  • Crow: You are our willing slaves...
  • Just like the madman who, a while back, flipped out in a Florence museum and took a swing at Michelangelo's "David's" big toe.

  • Joel: Hey, I think I went to highschool with that guy!
  • An usher I spoke with suggested the audience would calm down for the newer films shown later that evening;

  • Tom: By then the drugs in the popcorn would have kicked in.
  • laughing at older films, he implied, was somehow acceptable simply because they were older, as if a picture made before 1980 was inherently inferior to something new.

  • Joel: "Citizen Kane" cracks me up every time.
  • Don't get me wrong,

  • Tom: (sings) Don't get meeee wrong...
  • I'm not defending bad films as great art, nor am I demanding stony silence during screenings of "Plan 9 From Outer Space." A bad script, cheap special effects, and amateurish acting can turn a bad movie into a laugh riot.

  • Joel: Oh, for fun! Let's make more films like that! I'm chuckling already!
  • The difference here is the audience didn't let the films' inadequacies or attributes speak for itself.

  • Crow: They let this guy write a column?
  • Tom: Maybe his wife has a better grasp of English grammar?
  • They simply didn't want to sit still for 90 minutes and keep their mouths shut. Long before the program even began, these fools had declared an open season on our film heritage.

  • Tom: "Gentlemen, I hold here the last remaining print of Gone With the Wind... Pull!"
  • Their complete lack of consideration was topped only by their astonishing lack of talent.

  • Tom: Which in turn was bested by my astounding lack of gonads.
  • "Mystery Science Theater 3000" is itself painfully unfunny,

  • Crow: Has this guy been hanging out with the Mads?
  • Joel: Probably a deep childhood trauma.
  • Tom: We should all pity him.

    and this audience was much worse than that. The folks behind the TV show and at the theater lack both the talent and the guts to do stand-up before a real audience

  • Tom: How about a fake audience?
  • or come up with original material on their own

  • Joel: Yes, I prefer to steal my original material.
  • (they use so-called "bad" movies as their crutch).

  • Crow: Funny as a crutch, Potsie.
  • These people are talentless cretins, and no one should have to put up with their behavior in a public theater.

  • Joel: Didn't the supreme court say it's ok to be a talentless cretin in a crowded theater?
  • Every film, no matter how good or bad, deserves a chance.

  • Crow: You're right Tom, he hasn't seen "Manos."
  • If you're someone who believes film patrons want to spend $6.00 to listen to you yak, please stay home.

  • Tom: (sarcastic) I'll go tell Spalding Gray.
  • It'll make Anne--and myself--a lot happier.

  • Crow: Do I detect a causal relationship?
  • Tom: Next week: "Hoppin' Mad Over _Rhoda_"
  • Joel: We're outta here, guys.
  • All: Bite us, it's fun!

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