Friday, August 2, 2013

The Theological Humor of Mystery Science Theater 3000

One of my favorite shows of all time is Mystery Science Theater 3000. For those of you who have not been graced by this masterpiece of comedy, the show tells the story of a man and two robots who are stuck in space by a mad scientist, and are forced to watch real-life terrible movies in a sick experiment. Characters and voice actors changed throughout the show, but the main point always remained the same, which was to heckle horrible movies.

One thing I've noticed over time is that many of their jokes are theological or religious in nature. I thought for fun I would start to collect some together. Obviously this will take some time as I remember some or watch more episodes. If any fellow MSTie out there would like to help, feel free to email me (my address is on the right) and give me episode number, movie title, and a help as to context, and I'll try to add it here post-haste with some credit. Many thanks ahead of time.

Episode #301: Cave Dwellers

Ator: "Man's destiny is predetermined..."
Joel: "Oh, he's a Calvinist!"

Episode #411: The Magic Sword

[As a giant stone is moved aside]
Joel: "Why do you seek the living among the dead?"
Explanation: A reference to what the angel says to the women at the empty tomb (Luke 24:5).

Episode #514: Teenage Strangler

Betty: "I turned for just a second, and..."
Mike: "And you became a pillar of salt. What? What?"
Explanation: A reference to the fate of Lot's wife when she turned to look at burning Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:26).

Lieutenant: "What about you?"
Mike: "Surely not I, Lord!"
Explanation: What the disciples said when Christ revealed that one of them would turn traitor (Matt 26:22).

Mikey: "It's all my fault!"
Mike: "Well, only in the sense of original sin..."

Lieutenant: "Got a friend of yours with me..."
Mike: "Maybe it's Jesus!"
Tom Servo: "Probably not..."

Episode #603: The Dead Talk Back

Mike: "Fine! Fine! Everyone pick on the devil!"

Crow: "Hey look, the devil is my brother!"

Episode #904: Werewolf

Crow: "O God of Battles!"
Explanation: A reference to the prayer of Henry V before the Battle of Angicourt.

There are a couple of obvious references in this one, all of them a play on the main character's name of Paul.

Natalie: "Paul?"
Mike: "I enjoyed your letter to the Philippians."

Natalie: "So what do you think, Paul?"
Mike: "Could the Colossians stand another letter?"

Episode #908: The Touch of Satan

Crow: "Lay on him."
Explanation: Some fans believe this is a really, really, really obscure reference to Elijah's resurrection of the Zarephath widow's son (1 Kings 17:21-22).

Episode #1003: Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders

Old Woman: "All right...who's the wise guy?"
Tom Servo: [as lightning flashes] "I AM WHO AM the wise guy!"
Explanation: A reference to God's identification of Himself as "I AM WHO AM" (Exodus 3:14).

Episode #1004: Future War

The episode features a Roman Catholic nun having a crisis of faith and a Bible quoting, kung fu fighting human slave (no I'm NOT kidding). As you can tell, the jokes for theology and ecclesiastics abound. 

Hero: [while the female looks annoyed] "Better a neighbor near..."
Crow: "Heard it!"

[The alien robot breaks into the Catholic church]
Mike: "The Lutheran church builds a cyborg!"

Hero: "I want to be like that man..."
Tom Servo: "Jesus was a kickboxer, right?"

Episode #1008: Final Justice

[A mafioso dresses up as a monk and does the sign of the cross in a church, trying to play the part]
Mike: " delivery...whatever."