For many of us, finding MST3K for the very first time is often a memorable experience — certainly it was for me, as in my case it happened in a pre-internet world where finding like-minded oddball friends was a much more challenging task than it is today (we had to walk ten miles uphill, in the snow, both ways, just to make friends who got our jokes in those days).
I have a few hazy memories of running across a TV show with inexplicable little silhouettes in the bottom right corner before I actually stopped to watch it. I was 12 or 13 and on a weekend visit to my mom’s house, after everyone else had gone to bed. The episode was Rocketship X-M, and I laughed so hard and so loudly that my mom got up to ask if I was okay.
One of the compelling things about MST3K is its relatively accessible entry point — who among us is not occasionally guilty of loudly mocking a bad movie in our own living room? The experience of watching MST3K quickly separates those who find this sort of behavior fun and those who find it annoying, and on that first viewing, something about the camaraderie of Joel and the bots and the obscurity of many of the jokes, at least to my limited young brain, didn’t feel out of reach. Lines like “by this time my lungs were aching for air!” managed to be funny to me in their delivery and their absurdity, even lacking the original pop-cultural context.
The tragedy of my new discovery, and I know this is one that some of you also shared back then, was that the cable company at my dad’s house, where I lived, inexplicably split Comedy Central with another channel, such that from 7am to 7pm it played old sports or somesuch, and from 7pm to 7am it played Comedy Central’s admittedly kinda redundant original programming.
For awhile, the MST3K schedule meant that I only got to see the back half of a bunch of episodes, because the channel swapped over in the midst of the show’s usual air time. Until Comedy Central got its own dedicated channel, this meant I spent a lot of time at my mom’s trying to tape as many episodes as I could. Video streaming is a real gift, kids!
I, for one, love hearing people’s stories about how they first discovered a series or other art that they fell in love with, so today I am asking YOU: do you remember the first time you saw MST3K? Was it in the long-ago, as my experience was, or was it more recent? Feel free to share your story in comments below, or if you’re more apt to be more verbose, email your tale to email@example.com (just in the body of the email, please, no need to send a separate file) and maybe we will run it in its own post here on MST3K.org for the cozy MST3K community (including all of us at Alternaversal Productions!) to enjoy.
Thanks, team! We look forward to hearing your memories!