krpalmer: (mst3k)
[personal profile] krpalmer
I had decided on what Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode to watch next by episode number. It was only after I'd made my decision that I realised it would mean going from the latest box set to the very first, but even that small, amusing thought didn't quite distract me from the feeling that I was somehow getting one of the "problem episodes" of the series out of the way... although this thought came not from my first viewing of the episode, but from things I'd read about "Catalina Caper" before I'd ever seen it.

If there's more than evidence, both within and beyond the Mystery Science Theater "canon," that "unsuccessful drama" turns into "comedy" (no matter how "unintentional"), "unsuccessful comedy" seems all too often to just get people annoyed. That's not to say that the "riffing" on "Catalina Caper" in the episode itself is "annoyed," but even I can wonder at times if there's indeed some awkwardness to some of the comments. On the other hand, I have seen a comment on this episode that's much less troubled by the whole thing.

In any case, the movie starts with one of those 1960s animated title sequences ("Jacques Cousteau meets the Pink Panther."), which makes me try to remember just where I once saw a comment that the show didn't "riff" on animated movies because it would look strange. Then, a valuable scroll (apparently not a treasure map) gets stolen from a minimal-security museum, part of an elaborate plan to sell a fake copy of it... but that, of course, is squeezed in among a bunch of pink young people going to Catalina to hang around in 1960s beachwear ("This is the kind of padding I like to see in a film!") and indulge in things like scuba diving and beach volleyball. Musical numbers are tossed in, the first featuring Little Richard, who the riffing comments must be "hopped up on goofballs," the others featuring less memorable people. A somewhat older guy in a less beach-ready outfit keeps observing on the plan and falling in the ocean ("Thank goodness his briefcase is a personal flotation device."), but in the end everything works out (somehow) and the young people and the unarrested adults can all get into one last dance party.

In the "host segments," Tom Servo begins to show off Kevin Murphy's singing talents in performing an ode to the "Creepy Girl" in the movie (with Joel and Crow dancing), and Joel explains the 1960s with a close-to-final digression on Woodstock that did catch my attention thanks to recent coverage in the news. In addition, Dr. Forrester also scoops out one of Frank's eyes with a melon baller.

May 2017

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