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.
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.
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...
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
Judge: That sentence is hereby suspended. And you are placed on probation for two years.
Joel: THANK GOD I'M WHITE!
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!"
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.
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?"
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.
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."
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!
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.