krpalmer: (mst3k)
krpalmer ([personal profile] krpalmer) wrote2008-03-02 09:20 am
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MST3K 503: Swamp Diamonds

There may have been only one new episode in "Volume 10.2" of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs, and yet when I was watching the original tenth volume I actually didn't get around to commenting on two of the episodes in it. I suppose that gives me a chance to get better acquainted with the sort-of new volume... and yet the thought did occur to me that one of the episodes might not have been my first choice to rewatch in other circumstances, and that made me wonder if I could be absolutely "fair" about it. However, I started watching "Swamp Diamonds" anyway...

After the intriguing "Invention Exchange" invention of the "U-View," which shows you via picture-in-picture what you would be doing if you weren't TV (TV's Frank would be playing touch football with Michelle Pfeiffer, Holly Hunter, and Debra Winger; Dr. Forrester would be having lunch with Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon), it's on to the short "What To Do On A Date," which seems to place a certain emphasis on group settings, such as setting up for a "scavenger sale," weenie roasts, and taffy pulls. For all the awkwardness the "riffing" manages to mine from this, though, there just doesn't seem to be quite the same dated yet suspicious "snap" in the short to me as such classics as "A Date With Your Family" or even "Why Study Industrial Arts?" Maybe it just says something about me. It does, though, manage to set up a whole series of "host segments" in which Tom tries to ask Gypsy out on a date. Despite such useful advice as "Avoid boring her with your knowlege of war atrocities," it doesn't go all that well.

The movie itself stars Mike "Touch" Connors, who I hear is most recognisable from starring in "Mannix." Unfortunately, not having seen that series, I seem to have a strike against the movie right off, although I could appreciate things such as Joel and the bots thinking of other names he might have considered. In any case, after showing Touch and his girlfriend wandering around New Orleans during Mardi Gras and the first "host segment" itself, we get to what might be more of the plot of the movie, involving a female cop going undercover to get an all-girl gang to bust out of prison and search for stolen diamonds they've hidden in the bayou country. One of the gang members, the "crazy and dangerous" one, is played by Beverly Garland, who's more recognisable than Touch Connors from a pure "Mystery Science Theater" context, having appeared in the previous episode "It Conquered the World" and generally impressing the "Best Brains." Busting out with very little trouble and delving into the swamplands, the gang runs into Touch Connors and his girlfriend and take them hostage for their boat after killing Touch's guide. The gang gets drunk and converts their tight jeans into cutoffs ("Ladies and gentlemen, the purpose of this movie revealed." "Hey, if they get drunk again they won't have any pants left!") and then Touch's girlfriend tries to escape but falls in some suspiciously blue water ("Just stand up; you're in the shallow end!") before being eaten by an alligator via creative editing ("Boy, I can't wait until all these movies come together!") Remarkably untroubled by this, Touch falls for the undercover cop even as the other gang members seem to fall for him. ("Girls, girls.....plenty of Touch to go around.") In the meantime, the "riffers" are joking about how there should only be one death per campsite.

Eventually ("Do not bring your padding here,") the gang reaches the readily available cache of diamonds, and then starts heading straight back through all the padding they slogged through before. Beverly Garland tries to take all of them and Touch for herself, but is killed, and just as the undercover cop's cover is about to be blown and yet another all-girl fight breaks out ("You usually find this sort of thing on pay-per-view!"), everything is settled for the forces of good. All in all, I made it through the episode without quite the trouble my reluctance at the start might have meant.