Let me start out by saying that I’m a huge MST3K fan, and I’ve been so ever since the days of physically “sharing the tapes” with my family in Miami. I still watch the show way more than any sane person should, and almost every night I put on an episode when I’m ready to sleep. The voices of Tom Servo, Crow, and Mike (most of my favorite episodes came from Season 8) have been with me for so long, they can expertly narrate me through a night of REM sleep.
Needless to say, I was excited when I heard about the possibility of a reboot of my favorite show. When I was told it was seeking funding on Kickstarter, there was no doubt in my mind that it would reach its goal, and probably exceed it by six figures or so.
Then I started to hear about the casting decisions. Felicia Day, Jonah Ray, and Patton Oswalt.
There’s nothing wrong with these people. I really liked The Guild, along with pretty much everything I’ve seen with Oswalt in it. (I don’t know who Jonah Ray is.) That’s not the problem.
The problem is that MST3K is being turned into an (internet) celebrity sandbox. There’s a very obvious ploy at work…you know, the one where a known name is attached to a property to leech off of an existing fan base. That’s not necessarily a problem as far as the entertainment industry is concerned. It is a problem when we’re talking about my beloved Mystery Science Theater.
One of the most endearing aspects of the show as it currently exists is the obscurity. If MST3K had a big budget for special effects and sets, it wouldn’t be the same. The paper-plate and plastic bowling pin look is part of the charm. It’s the soul of the show…otherwise, it’s just really funny jokes over a bad movie.
Likewise for the on-screen talent. Other than Joel, the cast was a bunch of people that nobody’d ever heard of…and that was wonderful. To me, these extremely funny, talented people were their characters – in turn, they were the heart and soul of MST3K. These people were sequestered in a lab or stranded on the Satellite of Love, and I was there with them from my childhood onward.
It’s not the same when you shove a known personality in those roles. Now, it’s just going to be Felicia Day and Jonah Ray hosting MST3K. Where’s the soul? The cheesy, low-budget charm? Pack the SoL with undiscovered “nobodies” and let the show live as it always has!
I’m not really being all that unreasonable. The benefits of casting undiscovered talent to create a more believable fictional world is established. Look what it did for Game of Thrones!
NOTE: This is the same reason I dislike when Michelle Rodriguez is cast in…anything. Nothing personal against her, but whenever she show’s up on screen, my brain immediately snaps me out of the story and says “oh, it’s Michelle Rodriguez, the actress.” It happened in Lost. It happened in Battle: Los Angeles. It happens every time her face appears on a screen.
Anyway, I swore I would never be one of those nerds that gets whiny because someone is violating my favorite IP. I honestly couldn’t imagine any fictional property that I cared about enough for me to get upset (since they’re never going to make a Wheel of Time television series.)
Am I worried that these casting choices will ruin my favorite show? Not really. What bothers me is that I have no interest in watching the reboot because of the casting. As a pretty obsessive, 20-year fan of the show, that just plain sucks.
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!