Alright, I have had my salad this morning so it's time to get to business. Also, keep the recommendations coming.
In the not too distant future: 512 Mitchell. But first we interrupt the regularly scheduled post for a short: X Marks the Spot.
Yeah, I dislike King Dinosaur, but the short is one of the best. ("When did you start having these feelings that you were Commissioner?")
Anyhow, on to Mitchell.
Joel had done 5 seasons of MST3K. He had grown the show into a powerhouse and had to move on. Mike, the show's Head Writer since the second season, would become the new host. So 512 is an introduction of Mike's character and the last official "Joel episode."
We spoke a bit last time about how the show had changed. So far Josh Weinstein was the only character the show had lost, and that was between season 1 and 2. The show knew what types of movies worked best, they had figured out how to make comedy everyone could appreciate-if not get. Yet now they were throwing a huge wrench in the series by changing hosts.
So this is like the Kirk or Picard debate. There isn't a right answer, but the question can still be asked: who is the better host? Really fans don't want to go into it too much, we know who we like often because they were the one we saw first. I saw Joel first, but Mike has some great episodes. Really, I think Mike has the majority of the great episodes. But Joel just had a "not ready for primetime" feel, in a very real and sleepy-eyed way.
In a time when you would turn on a tv to see this weird mix of Americana, with tightly designed talking-heads wearing toupees public access style presenters all seemingly taking themselves way too seriously. Then there was Joel on your TV wearing weird clothes doing a puppet show with the mads on this set with these odd camera angles. There was just no pretense beyond trying to make a fun show and I think he made a huge contribution to both TV history but also our modern pop-culture landscape. Like that first Sex Pistols show sometimes a mark of great art isn't just the art in and of itself but the affect it has on it's audience.
Joel built a show that thrived on it's audience, taking viewer mail and reminding people to share tapes with friends. This was someone who appreciated the fandom and yet didn't let this stuff take away from just making a good show. But the channel the show was on was changing, where in the first season the new network just needed content to fill the 24 hour schedule eventually that wouldn't be the case. In a way the world Joel and his group constructed was too good to be true.
But for Joel's final episode we have the film Mitchell. I think Joe Don Baker is the only person to play both a villain and good guy in the James Bond series. Anyhow, Mitchell was a film from a moment in the 70s when they wanted to try slobby-whiteguy-sploitation. Mitchell was the result. A constantly hung-over cop will attempt, and I guess succeed, to take down a drug ring. Or something. Deep hurting through and through.
As I wrote keep suggestions up. I'm doing one of my favorites and we're going to Canada next time in: MSTay3K: ROWSDOWER!
May Larry Csonka be with you until then.