#40. The Giant Gila Monster

40. The Giant Gila Monster (1959) - Season 4, episode 402

"I just want to know if the Lord said it this many times in a row."

Plot: A giant gila monster terrorizes a small town. Only the local hot rod gang can stop it.
Famous for: Characters randomly putting their knees up on things for no reason.  

Knee up!

Knee up!

Boy, if you knew what was best for you, you'd get yer knee up.

My favorite riff:  Here you go. Get ready for one of my all-time favorite MST3k riffs. This is the line that first made me fall in love with Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Chase comes home, and he sees that his little handicapped sister is finally able to walk

"Look what I've got! I got leg braces!"

She tries to walk over to him, but her leg braces buckle, and she collapses. Awww.  

Chase rushes over to comfort the poor little girl

Then, to cheer her up... he pulls out a ukulele and he sings her a little song.

It's a sweet scene

Then, he wraps up his song, and we all say "awwwww'. It's a nice little Disney family moment.

Then Joel pulls off the riff that instantly made me fall in love with Mystery Science Theater.

"Uh, that's real nice, but it doesn't help my legs."

Comments:  The Giant Gila Monster was the first episode of MST3k that I ever saw. And because it was first, it will always hold a special place in my heart. Because you'll never have a love quite like your first.

In fact, speaking of firsts, I can still remember the first riff from this episode that really made me laugh out loud.  

It happens towards the start of the movie. Chase and his friends are driving up to investigate a crime scene. And as their car pulls into frame, Joel and the Bots start singing the theme song from The Munsters.

(it's hard to spell out, but you know the Munsters theme)

Now, the first time I heard this riff, I instinctively laughed out loud.

Because if you know the Munsters, you'll know that hot rod looks a LOT like the Munsters' family car. 

Herman Munster with his car, without knee up

I saw that car drive into frame, and I heard the MST3k guys start singing the Munsters song. And what was amazing about this was, THEY MADE NO ATTEMPT AT ALL TO EXPLAIN WHY THEY WERE SINGING THAT SONG. They didn't explain the joke at all, you just had to get it. And it immediately struck me that wow, this show is going to be a little bit different, isn't it?

And again, this was the moment that made me take notice of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Because it was right there and then that I realized, this isn't going to be a TV show for everyone. You're going to have to KNOW YOUR SHIT to get all their little obscure comments and jokes and side references. They're not going to make it easy for you. And that's when I realized that this was going to be my type of show. As the writers would famously say in one of their interviews, "Not everyone is going to get the jokes. But the RIGHT people will get the jokes."

I considered myself be the right type of people, so I guess... here we are.

"You know, a smart feller could put his knee up on such a thing."

The minute I saw that car, and I heard that Munsters theme song, I knew this was going to be the show for me. And the fact that they did their little Munsters song at least three more times during the movie didn't hurt, either. EVERY single time that car pulls into frame, they sing the Munsters song. It never gets old.

Between that, and the riff about the little girl's legs, yes. This is the episode that made me fall in love with Mystery Science Theater.

Also, why do I look like Jan Hooks?

That being said, I don't think The Giant Gila Monster is one the funniest episodes overall. And the scenes where Joel imitates the gila monster's voice are... let's face it... they're just kind of annoying. They eventually get tedious and repetitive and dumb.

But hey, this was the episode that introduced me to MST3k, so I will always have a special place for it.

"And the Lord said DIE CHILDREN DIE!"

Other personal favorite things about this episode:  I love the fact that Chase lives in the heartland in the middle of rural America, in the 1950s. Yet for some reason his girlfriend speaks with a thick French accent. Really? Which part of Kansas did they speak French in?

"Here, drink this. It'll make you feel American."


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