#48. Pod People

48. Pod People (1983) - Season 3, episode 303
"Trumpy! You can do stupid things!"

Plot:  A group of aliens come down to Earth and start murdering people. Except for the one friendly alien who makes friends with a little kid. No, it's actually nothing like E.T. Why do you ask?
Famous for:  The insane scene in the middle of the movie where Trumpy does magic things and starts making the kid's toys move around.

The fucking hell is this?

My favorite riff:  Just go to Youtube and watch the scene where
Trumpy makes the kid's toys dance around. It starts at around 59:00 and it is one of the funniest scenes in MST3k history. Just pick any riff from that scene and it's probably the best in the movie.

"What, did he come from Planet Goofball? Did he come here in a little clown car?"

Comments:  Pod People is universally considered one of the funniest episodes of Mystery Science Theater, but to be honest I've always found it a little overrated. And the reason why is because it is actually three separate movies. There's the first movie, about the kid befriending Trumpy the alien (which is hilarious). Then there's the second movie, about a music group traveling around in a Winnebago. Which starts strong, but eventually runs out of steam after a while. And then there's the third movie, about two hunters walking around and exploring the woods. And to be honest it's this last story that is the problem. The story of the hunters goes on for WAY too long, and the riffs during that section aren't very funny at all. And this section also takes up WAY too much of the movie. So as much as I love the kid scenes with Trumpy, the rest of the episode just isn't strong enough to warrant a ranking any higher than #48. There are huge chunks of the movie with almost no laughs at all, and if you watch it again you will notice that.

Still, all things being equal, the highs of Pod People are about as high as any early episode of Mystery Science Theater ever got, and you've gotta respect that.

"If these guys get any more soul, we'll have to order out for greens."

"Ewwww, I stepped in some Trumpy Dumpy."

And of course, the ever-popular...

"It stinks!"

Other personal favorite things about this episode:  There's an obscure throwaway joke in this episode that hardly anyone is ever going to get, but it always makes me laugh.

At one point in the movie, one of the girls picks up
a phone. And one of the Bots mimics somebody on the other end of the line saying something in a foreign language, like "Homey Akapisa?" There's no way you would ever get that joke, unless you knew that there was a phone commercial out on TV at the time that featured that exact exchange. There was a commercial for AT&T in the early 90's that claimed that with their new long distance service, you could now call anyone, anywhere else in the world. So they showed a guy on a beach in Fiji picking up a phone and saying "Homey Akapisa?" to someone who was calling from America. That is the EXACT type of random obscure joke that immediately made me fall in love with Mystery Science Theater. Maybe five people on the face of the earth were ever going to get that joke, yet they still went for it. I have always loved that about them.

Also, in case you were wondering... he's a virgin

Trivia:  Pod People was actually a French-Spanish movie called Los Nuevos Extraterrestres ("The New Extraterrestrials"). It was supposed to be a straight-up horror film about an evil alien on a murderous rampage, but the producers demanded script alterations to cash in on the recent success of the 1982 movie "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." So they inserted a last-minute subplot about a child who makes friends with a cute, lovable alien (which of course is the subplot that everyone remembers.) The film was largely forgotten about until 1991, when it was dug up and lampooned by Mystery Science Theater. And then it quickly became one of the show's most popular episodes.

Pod People recently ranked fifth in the "Top 100 MST3k Episodes of All Time" poll, as chosen by backers of the Bring Back MST3k Kickstarter. Like I said,
it is an incredibly beloved episode, and it will always be an incredibly beloved episode. I just happen to think it is overrated. It's a lot of fun, but I certainly wouldn't put it anywhere near my top ten.

Tommy:  "I'll never forget you, Trumpy."
Tom Servo: "The way you callously knocked off fifteen people, I'll never forget that. Don't ever change, Trumpy."

Back to Mario's Top 50 MST3k Episodes