#17. I Accuse My Parents


17. I Accuse My Parents (1944) - Season 5, episode 507

"Well maybe he just suspects his parents at this point."

Plot:  Jimmy wins an essay contest on his birthday, and it plunges him into the heartless world of underground crime and murder.
Famous for:  
Making me never want to write an essay.

"This is a message from the other kids in the essay contest."

My favorite riff:  There are three riffs I always remember when I think about this episode.  

The first is the running gag with the duck noises. You see, for whatever reason, Kitty has a painting of a duck on the wall outside her apartment. So whenever somebody comes to her front door (which happens a lot), the door opens, and there is that stupid duck in the background. And in one of my all-time favorite MST3k running gags, Joel and the Bots always make subtle little quacking noises. It sounds stupid, but they do it at least six different times throughout the movie. And when you catch on to what they're doing, it starts to get funnier and funnier.

The famous duck painting

quack. quack. quack. quack.

Another favorite riff from this episode comes about two-thirds of the way through the movie, when Kitty turns towards the camera, and she has the oddest look on her face. In fact, for whatever reason, she sort of looks like the lion from The Wizard of Oz.

Which leads to Crow busting out his cowardly lion impression, as he says with perfect timing...


And, of course, we can't forget this riff, which Joel saves for the very last scene in the episode.

Despite Jimmy working for the mob, and running illegal items all over town, and stealing money, and murdering a guy, he gets a surprisingly lenient sentence at the end of the movie. Which leads to what is probably the most famous line from this episode:

Judge: That sentence is hereby suspended. And you are placed on probation for two years.


Comments:  Man, is this a great episode. In fact, I wasn't surprised when I found out it was Joel Hodgson's personal favorite MST3k episode. It's one of the most perfect creations they ever came up with on MST3k.

"So, Jimmy, do you like your kneecaps?"

"Mirror mirror on the wall. Can I make it to last call?"

"Eleanor Roosevelt's PISSED!"

I Accuse My Parents is different than most other MST3k episodes because it isn't science fiction. And there are no monsters in it. And the movie really isn't even that bad. In fact, if you put a gun to my head (as Jimmy probably would) I'd be willing to say it's a pretty good movie that actually has a nice moral message at the end. It's SO earnest in what it's trying to do that, as the movie goes along, you actually find yourself becoming invested in it. And there are very few MST3k movies you can actually say that about.

Al:  You learn things about people in this business.
Crow:  For instance, they're bipeds.

Diane:  Nine times out of ten, if she did stay home all day cooking, you'd phone at the last minute you had a business date, and couldn't make it.
Tom Servo:  Is she the Greek chorus?

"Yes Satan, speak to me through this song."

I Accuse My Parents is fun to watch, it's cheesy and corny in all the right ways, and as an added bonus, it actually has a lot of heart. Which, I probably don't need to tell you, is really REALLY rare for an MST3k movie.

Combine all that heart and goodness, with the hilarious riffing that Joel and the Bots give it, and yeah, this is another one of those episodes that I would call a nearly perfect Mystery Science Theater episode. I find myself smiling the entire time I'm watching it.

"Went to store. Scotch in fridge. Love, mom."

"So, how about a little sugar for happy chef over here?"

Again, this was Joel's favorite episode of all time and... when you watch it... it's pretty obvious why. And I'm guessing it wasn't just him who liked it, either. It's clear that the writers were a LOT more gentle with the riffing in this episode, especially compared to some of their other, more famous episodes. It's clear that they actually kind of liked this movie, and they didn't want to come down on it.

I don't know about you, but I think that's cute.

Kitty:  And that's Aunt Harriet.
Crow:  'Nuff said.

Other personal favorite things about this episode: 
Anyone who wants to know how to write good running gags should watch this episode and take notes. Because it is an absolute MASTER class in how take a somewhat funny storyline, and then just milk it and milk it and milk it and keep making it funny.

In fact, not only do they do it masterfully with one running gag, they actually do it with THREE! I Accuse My Parents has three of the greatest running jokes in MST3k history. And all in one episode!

The first running joke, of course, is "Hey guys, I won an essay contest!"

"Wow, the whole school seems to be buzzing about that essay."

"Dad? I won the get-the-crap-kicked-out-of-you contest!"

They also make a great running gag out of "Hey you know, today is my birthday."

And of course, just to top it off...

We also get a great running joke in "Hi, I'm Jimmy! I'm just an eager young shoe salesman!"

Jimmy:  You interested in something in shoes?
Joel (sarcastically):  No, a fish sandwich. What do you think?

"Oh, this is one successful shoe salesman. Open mouth, close sale."

Again, anyone who wants to know how to write comedy should watch this episode, and take notes. Pay attention to those three running gags. This whole episode is just saturated with callbacks to them.

Roommate:  Hey, what is this? You'd better watch your step, hadn't you?
Joel:  Well no problem with my new shoes!

Trivia:  Oh, and did I mention that there are three fairly catchy songs in this movie? Well there are.

I Accuse my Parents is technically a musical.

Kitty (singing):  Why did you leeeeeeeave meeeeee?
Joel (singing):  You tolllllld him toooooooo.


Anyway, go give your parents a hug today.

And for god's sake, go start entering some essay contests.



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