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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MST Tuesday - "Star Force: Fugitive Alien II"

Welcome to another edition of MST Tuesday. Yes, I know I usually plan for it to be MST Monday, but time kind of got away from me. Besides, MST Tuesday is also a valid title since it has a nice rhythmic flow for the title. And that's why you get it today! Besides, it's also my blog and I'll run it as I please. OK?!? OK, on we go.

 Today's episode is the first Sandy Frank film I've covered here, "Star Force: Fugitive Alien II". For those who may not know, Sandy Frank ran a production company that distributed TV programs internationally as well as dubbing a good deal of Japanese sci-fi movies, particularly the Gamera films. And believe me, we'll get into those at a later point.

"Fugitive Alien II" is one of my favorite episodes and one of the first I remember recording onto VHS tape and watching over and over. It's been a while since I've watched this episode, so we'll see if it's still as good as I remember it to me. Everybody ready? We've got Blog Post Sign!

Host Segment #1

Crow and Tom Servo are having their weekly ontological discussion about the nature of puppets, and their symbiotic relationship to man. The main topic being discussed is puppet vs. costume. Tom Servo isn't sure which Yoda would be classified as.

Invention Exchange

Back from break, Joel gives the Bots a brief quiz about celebrity puppets and asks them to identify the genus - or "genius", as Joel said - of each one.

On to the Invention Exchange. Down in Deep 13 The Mads give us Big Noses. Joel wonders what the point is, and Dr Forrester explains they're just really big and to think of everything you could do with them. TV's Frank notes that now he can "brown nose" himself.

Joel presents a Big Head. Tom Servo softly sings a jazzy tune about the Big Head and Joel states that he simply has a big head.

Honestly, neither invention seemed to have a practical point. But I will give the nod to The Mads for this one since Frank used his nose to push the button that sends the movie.

Movie Segment #1

The opening credits start to role. Once the title comes on screen, Tom Servo offers up various other subtitles for "Fugitive Alien II" which are already ready subtitles to other sequels. Of note, the always entertaining "Electric Boogaloo" was part of that list. As upbeat music plays, Joel and the Bots are in high spirits. Crow thinks this might be fun but reality soon catches up with him when he remembers this is a Fugitive Alien sequel. Joel tries to boost their spirits reminding them that they've been through too many Sandy Frank films to let him defeat them now.

The movie begins with... a recap of the events of the first movie. The Bots are none too pleased at having to relive this.

The narration tells us that now Ken, the main character of the series and part of a race known as the Star Wolf, and his comrades - all Earthlings - on the ship Bacchus 3 are off to the planet Saysar to find a secret weapon and destroy it.

Tammy, one of the crew members, bandages Ken's wounds which I figure he received in the fight at the end of the first movie. She voices suspicion about a man named Colonel Yurulin and wonders if they can trust him to assist them once they reach Saysar. Suddenly cut to the Colonel whose mannerisms make Joel come to the conclusion he just took a hit of cocaine as the camera came to him. Yurulin also has his suspicions about the crew of the Bacchus 3, specifically Ken.

Captain Joe calls Ken and Tammy to the rear of the ship so he can Colonel Yurulin can speak to them. As they get up, Ken drops a medallion that Rita, his girlfriend that was killed in the end of the first film when she came to collect a bounty that was placed on Ken's head, used to wear. The medallion's fall is underscored by a jarring chord and Tom Servo identifies this moment as a plot point. Tammy picks up the medallion and starts to ask Ken about it, but he walks off providing no answers.

The crew plots their course to Seysar and Colonel Yurulin mentions the risk of encountering a black hole somewhere on their route. Captain Joe tries to remain optimistic about the situation positing that perhaps being consumed by a black hole wouldn't be a horrible way to die. Everyone else doesn't quite share his same viewpoint. Ken says that it's possible to find a tunnel in a black hole that would allow them to emerge out of a white hole unscathed. It's a tricky maneuver, but it can be done. Ken is asked how he knew about that and says he must've overheard at during a scientific briefing and quickly exits the room.

While walking down a corridor that Crow says resembles someone's throat, Colonel Yurulin catches up with  Ken. Yurulin says he knows for a fact that only a handful of Wolf attackers had ever flown through a black hole and lived to tell about it and that he's figured out that this means Ken is a Star Wolf. Ken isn't pleased and begins to throttle the Colonel. The others come to investigate the commotion and Yurulin says he made a sarcastic remark about Earthlings and Ken was right to react as he did. Yurulin then exits, chuckling. Rocky, another member of the crew, says he doesn't like the Colonel and that he doesn't like Ken either. Ken lets him know the feeling is mutual and before the two can snipe at one another any further, Captain Joe is summoned back to the bridge.

The navigation team has spotted a meteorite that wasn't on any chart. Captain Joe takes the controls and instructs Ken to blow the meteorite up with the ship's lasers. He is more than happy to do so while Joel and the Bots sing a brief fanfare - possibly a reference to the theme from "Love, American Style" - as the meteorite blows up bringing us to an ad break.

Movie Segment #2

Back from break, Rocky gets paranoid and threatens to kill Colonel Yurulin. Captain Joe calls him off saying they need to Colonel to get them to Saysar. Yurulin is escorted to the brig but protests that they need him up front to help navigate them to Seysar. He shouts that soon they'll be passing by Dimeter Star and that if they get too close, it'll set the ship on fire. As Rocky walks back through the ship he starts groaning as if sick.

Back on the bridge it looks like the internal "tenperature" is increasing. Ken sees they're coming close to Demeter Star and mentions it's nowhere on their course charts. He now realizes they're nowhere near Seysar and have just been drifting. Captain Joe tells Ken to correct their course, but the controls have been rendered immobile by Demeter Star's magnetic field. Captain Joe summons Rocky to the bridge and we see Rocky and another crew member acting rather sickly. Suddenly, the controls are working again and Ken attempts to pilot the ship away.

Rocky stumbles onto the bridge looking like Hell. Captain Joe checks on the other crew members who are looking and feeling the same way. Captain Joe says they're just feeling the after-effects of the ultra-high speed they needed to use in order to pass through the black hole and gets them some medication. One of the crew asks Captain Joe if he'll be OK since he went through the black hole too, and he insists he'll be fine.

Colonel Yurulin is still yelling from his prison cell saying he has something important to say, but no one responds.

Ken tells Captain Joe he thinks it would be best if they left the area as quickly as possible. Just then, some engine trouble occurs and all sorts of ominous red lights come on and flash. Captain Joe begins feeling the after effects of the earlier black hole travel and this sends Ken into a panic. He heads back into the crew's quarters to try and awaken Dan and Rocky, but to no avail. He then hears Colonel Yurulin yelling and goes to see what he wants.

Ken says they have no time for him, but Yurulin stops him by saying they can't get near Demeter Star since it is on the verge of exploding!

Captain Joe gets up in the cockpit and begins to lurch around, rather drunkenly. Tom Servo refreshes our memories by telling us that Captain Joe was portrayed as "quite the drinking man" in the first movie. Servo then says he's kinda feeling the same way Captain Joe is, but just shrugs it off. Ken comes back to the bridge to tend to Captain Joe and we see he's brought Colonel Yurulin with him. Yurulin explains the situation to Captain Joe, emphasizing that Demeter Star is going to explode. And then, Tom Servo's head explodes! Holy crap! What just happened?!?! Everybody, out of the theatre!

Host Segment #2

Sirens are blaring! Lights are flashing! Tom Servo is dead! Crow can't stop impersonating William Shatner! Joel has Crow fetch a defibrillator! Tom Servo has a near-death experience but recovers! Commercial sign! Now I can stop typing all of these all exclamations!

Movie Segment #3

Ken heads to the engine room and attempts to fix something, I think. Crow derides the wiring system calling it "Cheap, Japanese crap." Captain Joe calls Ken and then promptly passes out. Ken then calls Colonel Yurulin and asks him to check on the captain. Colonel Yurulin makes his way to the bridge and moves Captain Joe to the back and takes over the controls.

Ken has finally fixed the engines and tells Colonel Yurulin to take control of the ship. Yurulin tells Ken that nothing is still working and to try again. After finally getting the ship to function again, Ken calls back up to the bridge but we see Colonel Yurulin passing out as he's feeling the effects of the extreme heat now as well. As Ken hurries to the bridge, a piece of horn-driven music that's been lovingly dubbed "The Fugitive Alien Song/He Tried To Kill Me With A Forklift" begins to play. Tom Servo sings along with the action on-screen while Joel & Crow join it at the chorus with "He tried to kill me with a forklift!" (Forklift Chorus Count: 1)

Electricity sparks through the bridge and revives Captain Joe somehow. Colonel Yurulin tells Captain Joe the engines are working again and they've got to steer themselves away from Demeter Star. As Captain Joe takes the controls, Servo sings to us about the crew's condition. (Forklift Chorus Count: 2)

 Ken fiddles with some more stuff in the engine room and gets the cooling system to work. He returns to the bridge and urges Captain Joe and Colonel Yurulin to shift the engines to full thrust, successfully piloting them away from Demeter Star. Ken celebrates by yelling they did it. Crow: "We did it! We killed 20 minutes of movie!" The rest of the crew slowly revives as they live the exploding star in their wake and we get an ad break.

Movie Segment #4

Bacchus 3 is finally approaching Seysar, but are asked to hold their position and await further instructions before landing. Colonel Yurulin tries to contact Seysar in hopes that it will get them some clearance quicker. But the powers that be state that there is no Colonel Yurulin on their officers' roster. Things become rather tense on the ship and Yurulin finally comes to the realization that the crew is not on a trade mission but is after the secret weapon. This is all too much for Crow who wonders what is going on. Fighter ships come after Bacchus 3 and this is eerily reminiscent of a scene in the opening credits which prompts Tom Servo to yell in horror, "It's starting over!" Captain Joe is done with waiting around and begins the approach to Seysar while giving the order to counterattack the fighter ships. Tom sings about Ken's enthusiasm at shooting down the enemy ships (Forklift Chorus Count: 3)

The crew persuades Colonel Yurilin to lead them somewhere suitable for an emergency landing. Yurulin leads them to a treacherous area known as The Devil's Desert. The landing is about as smooth as you would expect. Captain Joe tells the crew to inspect the ship in order to figure out how much damage they've taken and we're sent to an ad break.

Host Segment #3

Joel and the Bots do a live commercial for the Captain Joe action figure, the world's first alcoholic action figure. You can have an intervention with your other toys like Ken, Barbie and Donatello of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Tom Servo: And remember kids, if Captain Joe refuses to deal with the issues you can always try to kill him with a forklift. (Forklift Chorus Count: 4) And on the note of attempted vehicular manslaughter and a quick disclaimer by Crow, we have Movie Sign!

Movie Segment #5

Captain Joe orders Rocky and Tammy to stay behind while the rest of them set out in search of the weapon. Rocky refuses and pulls a gun on Captain Joe. He dares Rocky to shoot him and Rocky follows through! But it was just a knockout dart, Captain Joe should be fine in an hour. So now with the balance of power shifted in Rocky's favor, the rest of the crew head out into the desert.

Captain Joe attempts to contact Rocky and Joel has had it with Crow's imitation of Rocky the Flying Squirrel in response to every time someone says the name. Colonel Yurulin and the rest of the crew of Bacchus 3 are marching up a large sandy hill when suddenly the Colonel stops and dives to the ground. Crow seems to think it's because he's spotted vegetation that resembles corn. In actuality, he's spotted a watchtower in the distance. Yurulin says he'll approach the watchtower and create a diversion for them so they can advance. This proves to be false as he sends the solider in the direction of the Bacchus 3 crew members, much to the surprise of no one.

Colonel Yurulin ascends to the top of the watchtower and shoots the Seysar military from there. Oh, good, he is on the crew's side. I was so worried for a moment.

Back on the ship, Captain Joe hopes the mission is going well and tells Tammy they have to move the ship somewhere else before the next sandstorm. Tammy giggles and agrees. They get ready to take off and Tom sings about it. (Forklift Chorus Count: 5)

Back to Bacchus 3 crew who are now disguised as Seysar soldiers. They're finally approaching the secret compound that houses the weapon, even though they think it doesn't look like much from the outside.

Movie Segment #6

As the crew approaches the compound, Colonel Yurulin notices some strategically placed posts. Throwing a tree branch between them reveals that the compound is surrounded by a deadly ray. Ken uses his super strength to toss Colonel Yurulin and the rest of the crew over the barrier and they proceed ever closer to the secret compound which now turns out to be located underground. After ambushing another group of Seysar soldiers and stealing their ID tags, the group makes their way into the secret compound.

They make their way through the underground caverns while being filmed rather strangely. Crow identifies it as "Crotch cam!" After what seems like an eternity of walking, they finally reach the weapon. I can't really describe it since it resembles a bunch of crystals, lights and tubes. Ken thinks he could easily destroy it by himself but is told that have to take care of it slowly and carefully, "In an effort to completely bore the audience", adds Crow.

They finally reach the secret weapon and Crow says it looks like a "Super Tom Servo", and I have to agree that there is a bit of a resemblance. Ken plants a time bomb and they group begins to make their escape.

Movie Segment #7

A piece of music begins to play over the loudspeakers in the compound and Colonel Yurulin freezes on the stairs. Crow quips, "They're playing my song!" He's not that far off, Yurulin tells them the song playing is the Seysar Anthem and everyday the song is played at this hour and all the soldiers stand at attention renewing their allegiance to their homeland.  Ken thinks this will make for a perfect time to escape since everyone will be distracted by the Anthem, but Yurulin does not budge having gone into an almost trance-like state hearing the song. Colonel Yurulin decides this is the perfect moment to become a patriot and runs back to where the weapon is being stored, presumably to defuse the bomb. The guard on duty tries to keep the Colonel from entering the room, but is forced to gun him down after Yurulin refuses to listen to the guard ordering him not to go in.

Back on the ship, Tammy and Captain Joe wait pensively for the rest of the crew to return. Tammy tells Captain Joe she's worried but he reassures her that the men are professionals and everything should be fine.

Meanwhile, the Seysar army have gotten word of the infiltration and are pursuing the crew of Bacchus 3. Dan, one of the crew, gets trapped between two laser walls and urges one of the other crewmen to go along without him. When Ken learns of the situation, he volunteers to go rescue Dan. Will he be able to do so before the bomb goes off? He'll certainly try. Speaking of Dan, he's now being tortured are two members of the Seysar army are trying to get information from him. But being the good soldier he is, Dan says nothing. Instead choosing to moan in pain while being tortured.

Captain Joe and Tammy are moving the ship out of the desert. As they do so, Rocky and Billy emerge from the compound and reappear on Tammy's radar screen much to her relief. Billy blames himself for Dan's capture but Rocky reassures him that if anyone can rescue Dan, it's Ken. Just then, Bacchus 3 comes flying into view.

Ken has made his way through the compound and finds Dan, rescuing him from his tormentors. Rocky and Billy make their way to the ship. Rocky says they have five minutes until the bomb explodes and they need to take off now. Tammy asks where Ken and Dan are, but Rocky merely repeats the importance of them leaving now, completely "skirting the whole Ken issue."

Ken is carrying Dan as they make their way back out of the compound, stopping occasionally to gymnastic fight with a troupe of guards he encounters on the way.

Back on the ship, Captain Joe says there are now three minutes left until the bomb goes off and Tammy tries to persuade him to wait a little longer while Joel and the Bots exit the theatre. Right before we get the theatre door sequence, Ken and Dan emerge must to Tammy's delight.

Host Segment #4

It's the "Fugitive Alien Song Medley"! Joel & the Bots have added lyrics to many of the recurring musical themes found in the movie and sing them for us. Easily one of my favorite musical moments in the entire series.

(Forklift Chorus Count: 7)

Movie Segment #8

The bomb goes off and destroys the weapon. Crow laments, "They blewed it up before we even found out what it was." Tom Servo asks what the plot here was and Crow responds, "Plot?" Various things continue to blow up for about two minutes, and I begin to wonder if Michael Bay was influenced by this movie.

Captain Joe congratulates the crew on a job well done and we suddenly cut to "Kabuki Darth Vader" telling some minions about Valna Star having completed a weapon that could destroy the entire universe. And just as quickly, we cut back to the crew of the Bacchus 3 landing on another planet. Ken has a minor freak out spotting someone whom he thinks resembles his mother. Suddenly, they are besieged by soldier and engage in a laser fight that ends almost as quickly as it begins. Once the smoke has cleared, the crew escort a young woman to see her father, the inventory of the potentially universe destroying bomb. The inventor entrusts a roll of microfilm to Captain Joe that has the plans for the bomb on it saying that no matter what happens to him, the plans must not fall into the wrong hands.

As they leave, Ken sees the woman he thinks is his mother again. Ken takes off to follow here and the rest of the crew are cornered by the soldiers who attacked them earlier. They tell the Bacchus 3 crew that they have orders from their headquarters to bring them in. Captain Joe's not having it and they fight back and apparently escape.

Ken is following the woman across a field as a spaceship comes into view. Ken realizes it was a trap set for him by General Halkon, the make-up wearing ruler of his home planet, Valna Star.

Suddenly we cut to the rest of the crew who have apparently joined back up with Ken. Ken tells them it was a scheme thought up by Halkon and has the woman who was posing as his mother explain the rest. We never get a full explanation, but everything's so damned confusing by this point that it's probably for the best. Ken says he has to return to Valna Star in order to fight and defeat Halkon once and for all. Captain Joe insists that the Bacchus 3 crew come along in order to serve as backup if need be

Movie Segment #9

General Halkon learns that Ken has arrived on Valna Star and with the crew of Bacchus 3 as reinforcements. Halkon tells his soldiers he wants them all dead or else they will pay with their lives. Just then, Ken bursts in and confronts Halkon. Halkon says he knows Ken doesn't have the courage to kill him because he taught him everything he knows. Ken refutes this statement saying he learned of a different way to live, a life of good and he's come to stop Halkon once and for all. Just then, one of Halkon's minions enter to attack Ken, but his shot for his efforts. But not before Halkon slashes at Ken with the katana he's wielding.

Just then. Bacchus 3 comes literally crashing through Halkon's building. Joel and the Bots surmise that Captain Joe's drunk behind the wheel again which explains the bad flight job.

Ken and Halkon are now fighting on a rooftop. Halkon attempts to kill Ken by throwing his sword, but the woman who impersonated Ken's mother jumps in front of him taking the killing blow. Halkon attempts to escape in a spaceship and Ken gives chase in one of his own. While Tom Servo gives us one more rendition of the "Forklift song" (Forklift Chorus Count: 8), Joel wonders where he'd seen this interstellar dogfight before. Tom Servo poses the suggestion, "Oh, I don't know. A long time ago in a galaxy far away, perhaps?" And yes, Fugitive Alien is a big made-for-Japanese TV Star Wars rip-off. Nowhere is this more apparent than a scene where a group of ships fly by in a moment very reminiscent of the Death Star trench battle.
Ken shoots down Halkon, presumably killing him. We can only hope.

Back on Bacchus 3, the crew is excited about returning to Earth. Ken, not so much. He tells the crew he is going to return to Valna Star. Now that Halkon had been defeated, he believes he can make it a better place for everyone. Everyone says their good-byes and Joel and the Bots cheer as the movie ends because "We have closure!"

Host Segment #5

Crow and Tom Servo are looking through Leonard Maltin's movie guide, wondering if they can find some suggestions for films that the Mads could send their way. Joel talks them out of it stating that the Mads can be pretty territorial about the movie selection and sending process.

Joel and the Bots then brainstorm who they'd combine into making the ultimate evil being, after deciding that Halkon's character was like a combination of things people would find evil, like Nazis and mimes. Then some letters are read and we head back to Deep 13.

The Mads are still wearing their big noses. Frank sings a song about loving baby ducks, much to Dr Forrester's embarassment, and uses his nose to push the button sending us to the end credits.


Ken tells us he's fixed the ship and has got it all working again.

I love this episode! Plenty of quality riffs to be found everywhere. And the awfulness of the material just made it all the easier to mock. Definitely check this episode out; 5 out 5!

Thanks again for reading. I'll be back next week for another look at another MST3K episode. And this time, it'll be free of Sandy Frank. So until next time; Push the Publish button, me!

Monday, January 14, 2013

MST Monday - "Santa Claus"

After a roughly six-month long hiatus, I'm finally back! And what better way to return then by covering Episode 521, Santa Claus. Y'know, since it's the middle of January. And Christmas was several weeks ago. And the weather here is currently in the 50s. Um.... but it's also the first Mike episode I've covered here. So, yeah, there's that.

All right, enough stalling. We've got Blog Post Sign!

Host Segment #1

Everyone on the Satellite of Love is dressed warmly to go caroling! As Mike conducts the Bots, he accidentally knocks an open thermos of hot chocolate onto Crow. Chaos ensues and everyone ends up in a big heap on the floor. Magic Voice sends us to commercial and expresses doubt as to whether or not they'll be back.

Host Segment #2

Note: Shortly after Mike became the host of the show, the Invention Exchange segments were phased out in favor of an additional Host Segment before the movie began. This is one of those instances.

Back from break, Mike is administering salve to Crow. Tom Servo suggests they make it a holiday tradition for Mike to break his dome and give Crow extensive third degree burns. Crow says it's not a big deal and figures he should be fully healed by Labor Day. Before any more bickering can occur, the Mads are calling.

In Deep 13 TV's Frank has shaved his head and gotten Dr. Forrester a watch fob for Christmas. Let the record show that these two choices were not connected to one another, Frank's kinda strange like that. Dr Forrester had forgotten that it was Christmas and hastily finds a present for Frank, a $25 savings bond. Forrester signs it over to Frank and tells him to keep it in a safe place since it matures in 2023.

Back up to the Satellite, it's time for the gift exchange! Mike's gift to Crow is a Steve Alaimo album. Crow's gift to Tom Servo is The 1991 Drug & IV Handbook. Gypsy's gift to Mike is a personalized sweater that says "Joike". Gypsy admits she started knitting it for "the other guy", but it's the thought that counts. And finally Tom Servo's gift to Gypsy is underwear in a large plastic candy cane. Awkward.

Back to Deep 13, Frank is seething over the savings bond and the fact he shaved his head. Dr. Forrester tells Mike & the Bots that their movie is a documentary about the Crimean War and Frank snaps and says it's a stupid Mexican kids movie. Crow tells Tom Servo he also got him a driedle, which is very large, and we have Movie Sign!

Movie Segment #1

The opening credits roll and Tom Servo gives us this disturbing image, "Joe Don Baker is Santa Claus!" Mike asks if Danny Elfman did the music for this movie. Sorry, Mike, but that pun was awful.

A narrator tells us that Santa Claus lives in a crystal palace high up in the sky above the North Pole. We see Santa setting up a nativity scene and he starts to laugh in a manner that is not so much jolly as it is menacing. He excuses himself and heads to a pipe organ which leads us to Santa's Toyland. The narrator describes it as  an "international toy factory where boys and girls of all races and creeds come together to help Santa". And then the worldwide feelings of pain begin.

We are first introduced to a group of kids from Africa, dressed like stereotypical natives. Mike & the Bots do not approve, Crow even boos at the screen. Mike says the kids from Spain look like their on the verge of a nervous breakdown. One of the Spanish children appears to be churning butter. A group of children from China sing a song and Crows wonders when the movie will move on to a country with some rhythm. Children from England are heard singing "London Bridge", but we never see them on screen. The narrator says that Japan helps Santa and Mike finishes the thought by saying they invested in his toy making operation and now own him completely. Next we move on to a group of children from "the Orient" who are wearing Middle-Eastern clothes and one girl is doing what could generously described as a belly dance. There's a Russian delegation who are "under surveillance by the CIA" and a group from France who, according to Tom Servo, "stink to high heaven" and spend most of their day yelling "Retreat!" German kids are riffed over with references to Hogan's Heroes and Tom Servo brings up the possibility of them invading the North Pole. Kids from Italy are next and Tom Servo uses a stereotypical mobster impression implying that the kids are there to "whack Santa for muscling in on the Easter Bunny's turf." Mike tells Servo he's offended everyone now. The Caribbean is the next country to be featured and there are marijuana jokes a-plenty. Well, as many as you could get away with on a basic cable comedy show in the early 90's. South & Central America are next, and I'm praying that this parade of nations is almost over. The U.S.A. is introduced and Crow says the children from there "are too spoiled and lazy to help Santa" in hopes that this will make up for any previous racism. America is represented by two kids dressed as cowboys singing "Mary Had A Little Lamb", rather badly I might add. Finally, we are introduced to Mexico who are singing "Rowdy" Roddy Piper's interpretation of the Mexican national anthem, "La Cucaracha".

And thankfully, this leads us to an ad break!

Movie Segment #2

Two of the children approach Santa with a devil on a stick. Santa doesn't recall anyone ordering something like this and asks how it works. Apparently it's a firework of some kind so Santa lights it and the devil starts to spin around. This transitions us into Hell where we see many devils dancing around. Mike observes that Hell must've gotten an NEA grant. A voice that identifies itself as Lucifer orders all the devils to leave, except for Pitch who is chief of the demons. Lucifer tells Pitch it is almost time for him to go up to Earth and make all the children of the world do evil deeds. But this time he must not allow himself to be defeated by Santa Claus otherwise he will be tortured by being force-fed ice cream. Oh, horrors! Pitch teleports to Earth to begin his evil quest and we see a newspaper with the headline "Spirit of Christmas Invades the Earth" begin to burn. SYMBOLISM!!! /FilmBrain

We suddenly cut to a robotic Santa in a department store window, laughing merrily. Crow very aptly dubs it "good old fashioned nightmare fuel." Amongst the crowd gathered at the window we are very briefly introduced to a boy whose father is very rich. And just as quickly we are introduced to a mother who is very poor and her daughter, the "aggressively cute" Lupita. The narrator tells us Lupita's dream is "to own a doll, any doll."

3 boys push to the front of the crowd to look in the window and Pitch decides they'd be perfect accomplices to his plan to destroy Christmas. He summons up rocks and the boys throw them through the display window. One of the rocks hits the robotic Santa in the head which someone causes the real Santa to be hit by a flying rock as well. Santa says he wishes he could down to Earth now to take care of Pitch, but he's unable to since it's not Christmas Eve yet.

Santa and some of his child helpers head to his observatory in an effort to do some surveillance on Lupita. Of note is a machine called the "TeleTalker", a horrifying gigantic pair of lips mounted on a wall or a machine or something. I'm not sure, it's a little too creepy to think about. Pedro, one of the helpers, finds Lupita in Mexico watching someone put on a puppet show which the Bots describe as "the puppet version on 'My Dinner With Andre'."

Host Segment #3

Mike and the Bots take the stage as Santa Klaws and perform the chart-topper "Whispering Christmas Warrior". The Mads rock out in Deep 13.

Movie Segment #3

Lupita finishes watching the puppet show and continues to walk around with her mother. She spots a doll at an outdoor shop and contemplates stealing it while the narrator tries to protest. Pitch teleports in and tries to convince Lupita to take the doll, but her conscience - or maybe the overbearing voice of the narrator - prevails and she puts the doll back. Santa rejoices.

Next, they decide to look in on the rich boy we briefly saw at the store window. He's asleep so Santa uses some more of his weird equipment to watch the boy's dream. He dreams of finding two large packages and upon opening them he finds what a child loves best, "A Maitre d'" to quote Crow as a tuxedo-clad gentleman steps out of the box. Actually, it's the kid's parents and Santa draws the conclusion that the boy's wish is that he gets to spend time with his parents since a dream is a wish that heart makes. And somewhere, the ears of Disney lawyer perk up.

One of Santa's helpers wonders what Lupita would wish for and Santa decides to see if she's asleep so they can invade her dream as well. We see Lupita in bed as her parents watch her, blissfully unaware as Pitch teleports in and breathes on the sleeping girl. Santa is pissed and decides to look at Lupita's dream, anticipating havoc from that red rapscallion as a result of his meddling.

We enter the dream and Lupita is standing in a foggy room with a group of large boxes behind her. She sings about a doll as Tom Servo observes, "She sure has a way with a ballad." which brings us to the next ad break.

Movie Segment #4

Back from commercial and some scary-ass giant dolls are tormenting Lupita in her dream. They tell her she must learn to steal, that dolls don't like good little girls and that she must become evil in order to get what she wants. Lupita argues that she doesn't want to be evil and refuses to listen to them. Tom Servo tries to interject some philosophy into the discussion but can't get a word in edgewise. Pitch departs and Lupita wakes up, likely psychologically scarred for years to come.

They next decide to look in on the three boys who broke the window earlier in the film. Apparently they plan on continuing their evil ways and discuss future plans, completely unaware of Santa's surveillance setup. One of them says he doubts Santa could ever see or hear what they are doing since he's too old. This upsets Santa, how dare they call him old? The devil is much older than he is! This is just the characterization of Santa I want to see; a vain bastard who's got so much surveillance equipment that characters from George Orwell's 1984 would tell him to back it down a bit. Santa tells the three boys that he can hear and see them just fine and they make a run for it from their bedroom.

Now we're in the house of the rich boy. He's writing a letter to Santa saying his only wish is that his parents stay with him on Christmas Eve because he doesn't like being alone. Score 1 point for Santa on his earlier guess about that kids wish. We're then treated to a montage of children writing letters to Santa Claus and mailing them out. The post office receives this deluge of correspondence and pours it out of the chimney so that it flies up to Santa's palace. He reads through a few of the letters and forwards one to the stork since a child asked for a little brother for Christmas. Y'know, 'cause that's the way it works.

Santa pops down to the workshop to tell everyone it's almost time for him to journey to Earth so everyone has to work hard in order to make sure they're ready for the big day. Mike gives voice to one of the workers, "Santa's pep talks really don't pay the bills. How about a pay hike?" And on that uplifting note, we go to commercial.

Host Segment #4

Mike and the Bots are on the bridge of the Satellite of Love and Mike is blindfolded for some reason. The Bots reveal that this is their Christmas present to him, a Nelson family reunion! Only, these Nelsons on the Hexfield Viewscreen are some of the several thousand on Earth not related to Mike. Plus they live in Green Bay where Mike isn't even from. After an awkward minute, Mike apologizes for the confusion and cuts the transmission. Mike says his family are sorta like those people, but not quite as emotional. Movie Sign goes off once again and it's back to the theatre.

Movie Segment #5

Santa is making preparations for his journey. Pedro reminds him that he must return to the crystal palace before sunrise otherwise the reindeer will turn to dust. I don't quite remember that being part of the Santa Claus mythos I grew up with. The children helpers enter singing a song and help Santa to pack the presents. Crow: "Every year we have to sing a fruity send-off song. No wonder the elves quit!"

Santa's sleigh is apparently a giant wind-up toy which he must get started by turning a key. The creepy mechanical reindeer come to life and move very robotically in a way that Tom Servo accurately calls "not charming, but creepy."  Santa laughs and one of the reindeer decides to join in. Mike and the Bots laugh also, but it's more out of fear and confusion. Santa takes off and it's time to deliver.

The three evil boys are seen on Earth planning to kidnap Santa, steal all the toys he was going to deliver and make him their slave. Honestly, I don't see this panning through for them. They not exactly the brain trust that Lock, Shock and Barrel were. And they were acting under the orders of a lanky skeleton man. But I digress and apologize for mentioning a much better Christmas movie. Now back to what can only be generously called the plot.

Lupita asks her mom about Christmas and Santa Claus. Lupita thinks Santa must not like her because he has never brought her a doll before. Lupita's mom then goes on to explain the true meaning of Christmas which is remembering that Christ - or "Craig", as Crow hears it - was born that day and was much poorer than them since he was born in a manger. Lupita says she's asked Santa for two dolls and that if she gets two, she'll give one to the baby Jesus.

Santa's first stop on his journey is Mexico City. Pitch is on Earth and sets about making things difficult for Santa. He moves aside a chimney so Santa won't be able to enter a house properly. Undaunted, Santa pulls out a magic parasol that allows him to discend from the roof and enters the house using a magic key. Two kids wake up but Santa is able to deter them by blowing some Dream Powder under their bedroom door which makes them fall back to sleep.

Cut to Pitch dancing and capering around in a different house, waiting for Santa to show up. Mike and the Bots are made very uncomfortable by Pitch's gymnastics. Mike observes, "He loves pantaloons a lot more than he should." Santa gets ready to come down the chimney, but Pitch summons a fire that stops his entrance. Pitch then decides to head to the front door and blow on the doorknob in order to make it so hot that the magic key won't work. Santa, however, makes his way in through a window behind Pitch and takes a cannon out of his sack to use against the demon. He loads it with a dart of some kind and shoots Pitch in the ass with it. Pitch runs around manically and Santa laughs at his adversary's pain before teleporting out out the house.

Movie Segment #6

Santa comes to the house of the rich boy. He leaves some presents under the tree and says he knows the gifts won't make the boy happen so he'll do something special for him. He uses a special powder to make the boy dream that he is awake so that he can see Santa. Santa reassures the boy that his parents love him even though they're not around that often and that he must believe this fact. He then puts the boy back to sleep and sneaks out of the house.

We see the kid's parents out having dinner together. A waiter comes by with a tray carrying a couple of smoking martini glasses. Crow: Flaming Moes!  The waiter says it's a special cocktail of remembrance that only he can make. The couple drink it up and have a sudden urge to go home and see their son. In case you couldn't figure it out by now, the waiter was Santa. They return home to find their son asleep on the chair in the living room. He wakes up right at that moment and they all share a warm embrace. Aww...

Pitch finds the three bad boys and tries to set another trap for Santa using a trip rope on the roof of their house. The plan fails and the boys go inside to see what Santa left them. Turns out they did something after all, lumps of coal. The boys begin to argue and fight with each other over whose fault it was, much to Pitch's delight.

Host Segment #5

Mike and the Bots sing the politically correct, all-inclusive holiday song "Merry Christmas, If That's OK." While "Let's Have A Patrick Swayze Christmas" is easily the funnier and more memorable song, the message behind this song which is summed up in the final lyrics - "[F]or a few days, for crying it out loud, can't we all just get along?" - is a positive and relevant one.

Movie Segment #7

Back from commercial, Pitch is trying to steal Santa's sleigh! But the reindeer don't even react to him so his efforts are in vain. Instead Pitch summons up a pair of scissors and cuts a hole in the bag that holds the Dream Powder so Santa won't be able to make anyone fall asleep. And then, a magical flower that makes Santa disappear tumbles from the sleigh as well. This can't end well for Old Saint Nick.

Santa enters the yard of another house and passes by a guard dog without a care in the world. Pitch appears and sics the dog on Santa who now realizes his Dream Powder and magic flower are no longer is his possession. Santa has no choice but to climb up a dream in order to avoid being mauled. Pitch appears and mocks Santa from a distance saying he's going to wake everybody up now that he's defenseless.

Pitch teleports into the house and tells the sleeping patriarch that there's a prowler outside who has come to kill his wife and children. He then plants a similar idea in the wife's head. The two then wake up and then go through some very unfunny shtick arguing over who should go outside to confront the prowler. Pitch, who I assume has had enough of listening to their bullshit, teleports away.

He reappears in a blond woman's room and picks up her phone and dials the police. He causes her to scream in her sleep about a prowler as well and then makes his exit. Pitch then appears in another bedroom causing Crow to break into song, "Does... the... devil lose his flavor on the bedpost overnight!" Pitch breaths on the man sleeping in this room and picks up the phone. The man sleep screams for the fire department yelling his house is on fire and that he is burning. For good measure, Pitch blows into the phone and a jet of flame comes out the other end at the police station.

Finally, Pitch comes to Lupita's house and berates her while she sleeps saying she was foolish for not stealing that doll when she had the chance and that she'll get nothing from Santa because she's poor. What a dick. Lupita wakes up and expresses her concern to her mother, but mom reassures her that Santa will always visit  the children who are good and obedient.

And now... an ad break so you can find stuff to add to your Christmas list!

Movie Segment #8

Pitch is back taunting Santa who is still up in a tree noting that the reindeer will turn to dust, Santa will starve to death and then Pitch will rule the world. Just as things are beginning to look bleak, Pedro enters Santa's observatory and he's brought someone with him, Merlin! Yes... that Merlin. Apparently the famed wizard also lives up in the clouds and was the one who gave Santa all the enchanted items he used. Santa calls to Merlin for help and after trying to bring logic into the situation, Merlin tells Santa to distract the dog with a toy cat in order to get rid of it. Mike and the Bots begin to question if this is really the same guy who mentored King Arthur.

With the dog dispatched, Santa is able to escape just as the police and fire departments arrive at the house. Upon seeing some smoke, a fire hose is pointing at it and ends up blasting Pitch. How's that for comeuppance?

Merlin tells Santa he needs to come back but Santa says he has one more friend to visit. It's Lupita! And Santa's magic flower just so happened to fall inside of her house. Lupita wakes up and tells her mother that Santa came to her in a dream and said he left a doll for her on the patio. Lo and behold, it was no dream as Lupita walks to the front door and carries in a doll. It's a Christmas miracle! Her mother makes the sign of the cross, "In the name of Santa, Merlin, and the elves, Amen" is the benediction provided by Tom Servo. Santa returns to his crystal palace satisfied with a job well done and I need to lie down after that.

Host Segment #6

Mike's a little bummed about being on the Satellite of Love since there's really no change of season in space and he kind of misses the little touches of winter that you feel around Christmas. Gypsy comes in and points out that it's snowing outside. The crew are so overjoyed they decide to take a snow day!

In Deep 13, Pitch is visiting The Mads. The visit is short lived though as Santa busts in and begins to scuffle with the demon. Dr Forrester takes a moment how lucky they are to witness this momentous fight occurring in their home and Frank declares it's the best Christmas ever!


One of the mechanical reindeer laughs its creepy, mechanical laugh.

This was an OK episode. I know it has its fans, but not as many as the other Christmas episode, "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians". The movie on its own is pretty strange, and the MST3K crew helped manage to pull a bit more of the weirdness to the surface with their observations. My rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars.

OK, that'll do it for this week. Thanks for your patience and I'm glad you came back to read this! See you next Monday. Push the Publish button, me!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Post MAGFest Announcements

After spending the weekend surrounded by so many great creative and entertaining people at MAGFest, it's helped rekindle my desire to produce content for the entertainment of others. As such, I have a few announcements to make.

First, MST Monday blog posts will be returning next week. And what an episode I have on tap for my return... "Santa Claus". Yes, that Mexican masterpiece featuring Santa, Satan, Merlin and creepy-ass laughing reindeer. The holiday season may be past us, but that doesn't mean the mind screw that is this movie is out of season.

Secondly, I'm relaunching the podcasts in February. "Thoughts Out of Context" will be my... I hesitate to say brand or studio or production company, that sounds pretentious to me. I mean, it's just me, some schmuck sitting here with a webcam and headset microphone. I guess I'll say it'll be the banner my work goes under. "This Is Gonna Suck" and "Intelligent TV on DVD Fan" will both be coming back. The flagship podcast will now be called "Witty Banter" and I ideally want it be a panel-style show because to be honest, I don't think I'm all that interesting by myself. Plus, it's always fun to bounce ideas off of other people.

In an effort to do this, I'm hoping to upgrade my microphone, my camera, and sign up for a PRO Account at PodOMatic where my podcast is currently hosted. If possible, upgrading to a new laptop would also be great, but small steps first. So, in order to do this, I've started a page at IndieGoGo. Check it out here ( and please consider donating to the cause. And even if you're unable to donate, please share the page wherever you can. I'd love to see this project succeed! Thanks for reading and thanks for all your support! 

See you around!

I Survived MAGFest 11!

MAGFest 11 was this past weekend at the Gaylord Resort in National Harbor, MD. And honestly, what a way to spend the first weekend of the new year! I shall recap the happenings here to the best of my memory. Come along with me, won't you?

Friday: My plan was to wake up at 6:00 am in order to get ready and get on the road since it would be a 2-hour trip and the first panel I wanted to attend was at 10:00. In reality, I actually work up around 4:00. I'm not sure if this was due to excitement for the weekend, or the fact that my sleep cycle has been jacked up beyond all repair for the last month or so. Either way, I was up and after showering and packing my last remaining essential items it was time to start driving.

Traffic was fairly minimal, much to my surprise considering I was driving near Washington D.C. I arrived at the Gaylord a little after 9:30 and made my way to registration. Upon picking up my badge I headed towards my first panel of the weekend, "Atop the 4th Wall: LIVE!". For those who may not know, "Atop the 4th Wall" is a comic book review show hosted by a gent named Linkara. Admittedly, I'm not a big comic book person, but his show really entertains me all the same. And honestly, I think that's the mark of a good reviewer, when they can entertain you whether or not you're a fan of the medium they cover. The panel consisted of a live review of a bad Transformers comic, a sneak preview of the latest episode of his show and some Q & A. And, much to my delight, I was called on during the Q & A! WOOT!

Afterwards, I had some time to walk the floor a bit before heading to my next panel. My phone's battery was fairly low at this point and that was more than a little worrisome. Specifically because I had not yet gotten in touch with Jess a.k.a. Lady Spaz, my gracious hostess for the weekend, and made arrangements on where and when to meet up yet. Thankfully I was able to send her a message and got a quick response saying to meet up in the lobby at 3:00. Shortly thereafter, my phone then died. Good timing, huh?

I walked around the arcade a little while, taking in the atmosphere of it all. So many classic game cabinets; Pac Man, Marble Madness, Space Invaders, The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Centipede and the 6 player X-Men arcade cabinet just to name a few. Plus a nice handful of pinball machines also including Doctor Who, Hook, Family Guy and Super Mario Bros. There were a few games I was disappointed to not see there namely Sunset Riders, Revolution X and the Jurassic Park and The Who's Tommy pinball machines. Maybe next year.

I left the arcade and headed for the Game Grumps panel about an hour before its scheduled start. And while I was on my way, I came across the guys from "Continue?" just hanging around and talking to people. And Nick Murphy recognized the fact I was wearing a CHIKARA t-shirt and my CHIKARA track jacket. So that was a personal mark out moment for me.

The Game Grumps panel line was incredibly long by the time I got there, but I still think I managed to get a pretty good seat. The panel  itself was very entertaining and I was surprised that only 2 or 3 people quoted memes back to them during the Q & A session. Two highlights were JonTron actually calling Barry - their editor - and actually getting him to answer when someone had a question for him and getting to sing along with Jon & Egoraptor when they did the Game Grumps theme song about 20 minutes before the end of the panel. Hey, better late than never, right? And the fact Jon & Arin closed out the panel by singing a bit of "Goodbye, Love" from Rent entertained me greatly.

The Game Grumps panel ended at 2:30 and I headed to the parking garage to grab my suitcase and sleeping bag and cart them back to the hotel. I finally met with Jess and Joe, her roommate/editor/antagonist in her web series "Fool's Gold". We went up to the room and shortly after I met the other two guys staying there that weekend, Matt and Adam. After lounging around a bit, Jess, Joe & Matt headed back downstairs to do some filming for a future episode of "Fool's Gold". I decided to come along and check it out. And proved to be helpful also; Matt was doing the filming and since he had to travel backwards most of the time, they asked me to watch his back. Woo hoo, helping! As we walked around, we all made a small cameo for a guy who went by the name Christhenerd who was filming "the largest crossover video ever" at MAGFest. It was a really entertaining idea and I was glad to be a part of the video, which was also very entertaining also.

Jess met up with a bunch of people that evening and Joe, Matt and I lounged in the room watching Hoarders. I'd never seen an episode of that show before, but holy crap, I'm still stunned that people like that can exist. And believe me, we were riffing on the episodes the entire time. What? Did you expect me to watch that show seriously and perhaps sympathize for the people featured? Do you really not know me that well? Also of note, go to YouTube and find the video for a commercial for a hair product called Hot Buns. It is the most ridiculous thing I had seen all weekend up until that point.

After having Papa John's delivered for dinner, I headed back down to the convention center to check out a Quiz Night event featuring many folks from TGWTG/Channel Awesome. All the competition tables had been filled already, but there were plenty of spectator seats to be found. All the questions dealt with video games and I knew a good bit of them. Hooray for random trivial knowledge! Afterwards, I found Linkara and introduced myself to him. I had actually interviewed him on my podcast a long while back, but didn't know if he'd remember that or not. He didn't, but I didn't mind. Linkara's a very cordial guy and it was a thrill to finally meet him in person. I also met up briefly with Nash, JesuOtaku and Film Brain on the way back to the room and complemented them on their work. And despite the fact it was after 2 in the morning, they were glad to for the praise.

Not long after that I returned to the room and sleep quickly overtook me. Day 1, Complete!

Saturday: After rejoining the waking world, Jess, Joe and I heading to the Chez Apocalypse panel. For those who may not know, Chez Apocalypse is a new website that houses content from some familiar faces at TGWTG like Team Nostalgia Chick (Lindsey, Nella & Elisa), Todd in the Shadows & Kyle "Oancitizen" Kallgren, as well as additional contributors Phil Bunny, Foldable Human and Rantasmo. Score another point for me as I was able to ask a question during this Q & A as well, asking if a friend of mine from high school who had appeared in a previous video with Team NChick would make any future appearances. For the record, the answer was maybe.

More filming for "Fool's Gold" was on the agenda for the day so we headed to the lobby to get a few more cameo appearances for an upcoming episode. Fun fact, I actually filmed the scene where Lady Spaz encounters That Sci-Fi Guy. So when the episode is up and that segment looks awesome, you'll know it was because I was behind the camera for that one. Afterwards, a group of about 10 of us headed to Elevation Burger for lunch. It's concept is similar to that of Five Guys, made-to-order burgers. Very tasty, but holy crap was the line to wait a long one. Though I'm sure the situation was similar anywhere else in the National Harbor area.

When we returned to the Gaylord, I got in line for JonTron's panel about an hour and a half early. There was a pretty sizable line at this point so I thought this was a good move on my part. About 20 minutes later, a staff member came around telling us the panel was cancelled because Jon had fallen ill. Well, this was a disappointing turn of events. Now with a few more ideas of free time suddenly granted to me, I decided to check out the vendor area and do some more gaming in the arcade. Hooray for free play settings!

I headed back to the room to veg out and charge my phone for a while. I brought my UltraMantis Black replica mask with me and had contemplated wearing it around MAGFest for a while. However since the mask is a little on the small side and I had to wear my glasses beneath it, it gave me a small but of double vision. Needless to say, I decided against wearing the mask. No point in risking falling and hurting myself.

Dinner time, so I decided to check out the sports bar in the resort called National Pastime. Standard sports bar fare, but very expensive. $14 for a dozen wings. Tasty, but pricey as hell. I decided there was no way I'd follow it up with dessert. $10 for a slice of cheesecake?!? Unless that cheesecake is covered in gold and being fed to me by some scantily clad women, there's no way in hell I'm paying that much.

Now that I was at full health (Did I really wait this long to make a video game reference?), I headed to one of the large ballrooms for a concert by a group called Rare Candy. They're a prog rock style band who specialize in covers in video game music. I was really impressed by their set, Definitely going to check out more of their work in the future.

So, guess who I ran into next in the vendor area? None other but "Mr. With Lyrics" himself, brentalfloss! Nice guy. And I got a picture with him to boot. Always good.

Around 10:00 I headed upstairs to get in line for an event called "Auditions For The Worst Movie Ever", an interactive event where members of the audience would be drawn at random to have a chance to act in scenes with some folks from TGWTG. Granted, I was there 2 hours before the event started. But I decided there'd be no harm in getting there early. And I was tired of walking. While waiting, Derek the Bard of "Warning: Readers Advisory" came seeking volunteers to mimic book covers for the 50th episode of his web series, so of course I volunteered. Soon the auditions began and I laughed my ass off the entire time as many members of the audience and TGWTG personalities (Linkara, Elisa, Todd in the Shadows and JesuOtaku) performed the "original screenplay" of "Captain SuperPunch: Earth's Greatest Hero" written by Tom "hesanevilgenius" White and featuring narration by Derek the Bard. ...Wow, that's a lot of quotation marks in that last sentence. Moving on. My name wasn't drawn to participate, but I loved watching it the entire time. If this movie was real, I would watch the hell out of it! I hope the event was filmed, I'd love to watch it again. So many great lines, many of them ended up going to Todd In The Shadows. Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention one of the major highlights of the event, Linkara dropped the F-bomb! Twice! If you don't know why this is treated like a big deal, Linkara is one of the few people in the Internet reviewing community who doesn't use strong profanity in his videos. So to hear him yell "Fuck you!" while portraying Captain SuperPunch, comedy gold!

Before we knew it, 2 AM came and the movie was over. Sleep soon followed since we had to get up pretty early for the first panel of Sunday morning. And it would be well worth it. You'll read more about that in just a few lines. For now... Day 2, Complete!

Sunday: We woke up at "Oy, it's early" o'clock to get ready for the first panel of the day, a Doctor Who panel ran by members of TGWTG (specifically Holly, Punky, Diamanda Hagan, Nash, Nella, Linkara and That Sci-Fi Guy) at 9:00. The panel started a bit late because apparently the staffers who had keys for the room were still asleep at 8:45 so we had to wait on them to show up. Once the room was finally opened, the panel began. It consisting of watching a bad 7th Doctor episode (Paradise Tower Part 4) while the panel members riffed on it, some discussion of the panel's thoughts about the upcoming 50th Anniversary and a small amount of Q & A. While it was an enjoyable panel, I do have to respectfully disagree on one point; I liked the 10th Doctor's exit. His last words before regeneration made me cry. Why Nash quoted it with such disdain and the rest of the panel agreed I'll never understand. Oh well, to each their own, I guess.

Afterwards I decided to drop by a shop in the resort to pick up something to snack on before the next panel. I couldn't help but notice the only non-diet sodas in the fridges were Sprite and Fanta. Way to deplete the resources, MAGFest. Two thumbs up! But I like Sprite so I definitely can't complain.

I headed back upstairs to the panel room for the next panel, Reviewing the Worst of the Worst. I'm sure by the title alone you can tell what the topic of discussion was. This panel consisted of TGWTG personalities Diamanda Hagan, Film Brain, Oancitizen, Obscurus Lupa and Phelous.  And once again, I scored a question during the Q & A portion; I asked about Mystery Science Theatre 3000 being a potential influence for their review styles, Film Brain mentioned he never watched very much of it since it wasn't heavily imported to Britain and Diamanda mentioned not being much of a fan. Blasphemy! ...I kid, please don't hurt me, Mistress Hagan!

Immediately following the Reviewing the Worst of the Worst panel was the Channel Awesome/TGWTG Meet & Greet event. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet with and briefly talk to some of the personalities I'd seen throughout the weekend and had been a fan of for so long. I managed to get everyone at the event to sign the back two pages of a Super Mario Bros. comic I brought me just for the occasion. That reminds me, I still need to post a picture of that. And on the note of comics, I donated a very strange Star Wars comic from Marvel to Linkara for a possible future review. And despite inflicting that on him, Linkara was still kind enough to pose for a picture with me. Such a class act!

The Meet & Greet ended at 3 and I had initially planned to leave shortly afterwards. Earlier in the day though, Jess asked me if I wouldn't mind leaving a little later around 5:00ish and if I could perhaps drop her, Joe and Matt off at Union Station. I was more than happy to oblige. I dropped by the arcade once again to kill some time, yay for more gaming! I also stopped by a booth in the vendor area and bought a bag of Japanese cola flavored hard candy. Tasty stuff.

As we got ready to leave, disaster struck! I still have no idea how it happened, but I lost my parking garage ticket within minutes after getting it validated at the machine in the garage. It's not like I had a lot of pockets to deal with - 2 on my jacket and 4 on my jeans - but, hey, there you have it. Never seems to fail when I'm driving with someone, especially if it's my first time doing so, something stupid like this always happens. So after paying an additional $11 for the lost ticket penalty, we were finally on the way to D.C. After being re-routed a few times thanks to construction that wasn't foreseen by my GPS, we finally made it to Union Station and went our separate ways until our paths cross again at next MAGFest if not sooner.

2 hours later, I made it home. Exhausted from my weekend but having loved every second of it. I can't wait for next year's MAGFest! And for any other fan fests, cons and other such events happening this year. I definitely want to check some more out this year. And, I'll likely recap them in far too long blog post as well. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more from me!