Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return Season 2

How do you decide who gets the line between you and the robots?

You write all the riffs into our script and then there’s kind of a line assign. That’s done kind of at random but there is a second pass. It would be so much to take every line and go, “Who should do this? Who should do this? Who should do this?” But, as we go through it, once all the line assignments are in, we do start tossing stuff back and forth. It’s like this line is a bit more of a Tom Servo line. This is kind of chaotic and angry. Let’s give Crow this line. I’ll get a lot more commenting on stuff just because I don’t have to do a voice and we can cut real quick and fast. That does kind of happen as we’re going through them at the end of the line.

With Killer Fish, was there a debate as to whether making fun of Margeaux Hemingwy’s lisp was fair game?

You know, I didn’t feel the most comfortable with it, but everyone else seemed to be okay with it. It’s not the nicest thing to do, I’ll be honest. I can’t defend it but it was fun.

Well, SNL always did Barbara Walters.

Yeah, Baba Wawa. There is something to it where you’re kind of making fun of the lisp but at the same time you’re just speaking as the character. Let’s say some guy has a southern accent or a German accent, or someone is drunk all the time like some of the actors in Atlanta Rim. We’re just going to try and talk like them to add the lines or the riffs that we want to. It’s more about coming into the idea of sounding like them to comment on the movie or situation more so. But sometimes you’re just making lisp jokes.

I noticed The Day Time Ended was cropped from a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and it’s probably not the first time you’ve had a widescreen movie. Was that a decision that had been established a while ago on MST3K?

When we were writing the riffs on it, the file we had was a really terrible print. So they started really working on trying to find a better print. The way it pan and scans, that was because the best looking print of the movie we could find was the version like that. Again, we still need these movies to look good. They can’t be hard to look at because people have to be engaged for 90 minutes along with our silliness. We try our best to get as good of a print of the movie as we can. Just the way it turned out with that one, that was the style that we were able to get which still wasn’t that good.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a widescreen letterboxed movie on MST3K, have we?

The theatrical movie, This Island Earth is letterboxed I believe on home video but that was a theatrical release. I think it’s just the print we got. It’s the way we got it.

When you go to the movies and watch a movie, do you watch in complete silence or can you not help but riff a little?

No. It’s funny, I went to see a 3D conversion of the original Dawn of the Dead a couple weeks ago at the Aero out here in L.A. It was great. The Beyond Fest guys and Cinematic Void presented it. Greg Nicotero was there, a ton of die hard fans. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. It was a beautiful 3D conversion. I sat next to my friend Joe Lynch, the director who’s made a bunch of great movies. He just got done watching Mac and Me twice with a kid. He sat next to me, we’re old buds, and he kept wanting to say stuff to me. I was trying to be like, “Joe, I’m the last guy that should be allowed to be seen talking in a movie.” I remember one time when the last season came out, I sat down and some guy was like, “Ugh, here we go.” Someone really thought like in all movies I laugh. I like riffing on movies in the context of the show, but in reality I’m not an *sshole.

Do you have a wish list for next season?

The thing is, the movies I really like are either too bad or they’re too violent for the show. This past season I really wanted to do Maximum Overdrive because we’re in a Stephen King renaissance and it would be so rad to have that movie. It’s so fun and so silly and so cool. It’s a little violent, but we didn’t end up doing it. I was able to do the commentary with Ryan Turek, the producer of Halloween, on the Blu-ray of Maximum Overdrive. The Everything is Terrible people found this movie called Get Even but everyone refers to it as Geteven because the printing on the title page is so bad. It’s just this guy, almost in the same vein as Tommy Wiseau or Neil Breen or the guy who did Miami Connection [Y.K. Kim]. This guy was a trial attorney in L.A. and he funded and directed, wrote, starred and made music for his own movie. It’s real bad and we had a blast watching it. Those movies are kind of too bad to put on.

Do they fall into the self-parody category like Sharknado?

Respectfully, I think you’re wrong. I don’t think they’re trying to make a bad movie. Sharknado, they’re trying to make a bad movie. No one on it is taking it seriously. These guys are really trying their best to make a movie. I went and saw John De Hart talk after Geteven. The guy was really self-serious and pretentious. I saw one of the first screenings in L.A. of Birdemic and this guy really was surprised to hear people laughing. I think they become aware of the culture afterwards, but I really think they’re trying their best. That’s what makes a really great MST movie sometimes. People are trying their best. They’re not trying to be like, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we did this?” which is essentially what Sharknado movies are. Movies that are supposed to be bad on purpose is a waste of everyone’s time.

Would another example of that be like Machete? They’re trying to make a bad grindhouse movie.

That one’s tricky because it is schlocky on purpose, but it also I think can go into the world of parody a little bit more than Sharknado. At least it’s done with a steady hand of talent like Robert Rodriguez only can, where he really loves that. I think that’s the difference. Machete, these guys love those movies. I don’t think the people making Sharknado love those types of movies. They don’t like giant monster movies. They don’t like these sci-fi blockbusters. It’s all about the heart that is put into it and the intent that I think can really change the outcome of it. Sharknado is done cynically where Machete was done for the love of that style of movies, with a lot of talent behind it.

You have Patton Oswalt in live-action segments. Does he ever want to riff movies with you?

Of course, he would love to. I know Felicia [Day] would go crazy for it. There’s been ideas bandied about, ways to get them in there for riffing which they did in the old show too. There was a Forrester and Frank once riffed part of a movie, or maybe it was Pearl. It’s been done before and I’d really love to see Patton and Felicia in there riffing on movies.

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