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Mystery Science Theater 3000: the Characters

Updated on April 24, 2015


Mystery Science Theater was an old show. As Mystery Science Theater 3000: a Nostalgia Trip covered, Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered on the KTMA network in 1988. During its run on television, Mystery Science Theater 3000 had its protagonists, normally one human and two robots, watch old movies and make snarky comments while watching said movies. In Mystery Science Theater 3000: the Shorts I also covered some of the shorts that the main characters of this show had to watch. And while the viewer could find some fascination about the movies and shorts that these characters were forced to watch, it was important to also know about the people and robots who were forced to watch all of these movies and shorts. Initially, the first human who had to watch all of this material on the Satellite of Love was Joel, who also created the robots Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo. Once Joel was gone, his replacement, Mike, was the human who was forced to watch movies on the Satellite of Love, and he was the new guy Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo would normally make fun of, and he even had a habit of destroying entire planets using some of the most mundane products. As a constant in regards to cast members, Crow and Tom Servo also provided snarky commentary during movies, but were sometimes a subject in some entertaining moments between watching old movies. Mystery Science Theater 3000 was an entertaining show due to its commentary, but it was important to know about the characters of this show.

The three main viewers of MST3K's various movies. The human might be one of two people.
The three main viewers of MST3K's various movies. The human might be one of two people. | Source


As stated in Mystery Science Theater 3000: a Nostalgia Trip, the Satellite of Love was made to create weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons of mass destruction were old movies that were so bad in quality that anyone who saw a certain movie would literally be to dumbfounded in the idiocy to do much of anything. Of course, to make sure that this particular weapon was completely effective on people, a living specimen had to be utilized. Enter Joel, just a lowly worker for the corporation that was trying to make this weapon of mass destruction. Basically, Joel was shot into space to stay in the Satellite of Love so that he could be forced to see various bad movies without anybody else being affected. And rather than keep the mechanisms that could automatically stop these movies, Joel decided to build robotic companions. Which resulted in the robots Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo.

Our first hero, ladies and gentlemen. And his robots.
Our first hero, ladies and gentlemen. And his robots. | Source

In the first episode, titled The Crawling Eye, the viewer got to see how Joel's life aboard the Satellite of Love was like for the first time. Interestingly enough, Joel seemed pretty alright being stuck aboard the Satellite of Love. He even engaged in a friendly display of inventiveness with his captors via his exhibition of his electric bagpipes. Sure, the people who made him stay in the Satellite of Love did so to create a weapon to use for world domination, but it was interesting to see them act nicely to Joel. It was also interesting to see the robots Joel created also make fun of their captors.


In the middle of the fifth season Joel was replaced by another human to watch these bad movies. Named Mike. In the season five episode where they viewed the movie Mitchell, Joel managed to use an escape pod to escape the Satellite of Love, much to the distress of the robots. Fortunately, the people who made Joel stay on the Satellite of Love found another person to stay up on the Satellite of Love and watch bad movies with Crow and Tom Servo. That person was Mike. So after knocking him out and sending him up to the Satellite of Love, the viewer got to see a new person deal with Joel's old job and co-workers. And in the opening where Mike was the main character, Mystery Science Theater 3000 took a more slapstick tone with Mike's interactions with Crow and Tom Servo. Being the replacement of Joel, their creators, Crow and Tom Servo treated Mike with a little more disrespect compared to Joel. As shown in Mike's first full episode as the human on-board the Satellite of Love, Crow and Tom Servo essentially served as the coaches for Mike, and sometimes flaunted their experience at him, which was somewhat understandable.

The next guy to be forced to watch bad movies.
The next guy to be forced to watch bad movies. | Source

Of course, one aspect about Mike him him unique compared to Joel. His habit of destroying planets. At certain points, when people asked Mike to create a distraction so that those people could leave some planet, Mike would use mundane objects, like an overgrown baking soda bomb> Unfortunately, Mike usually did something that caused disastrous results, like putting too much of an ingredient. Which immediately caused a planet destroying explosion that even the Satellite of Love could feel in Outer Space. Mike's planet destroying habit occurred at least three times throughout Mystery Science Theater 3000, and it was both hilarious and somewhat frightening.

The Robots

In Mystery Science Theater 3000 Joel and Mike were forced to watch bad movies that were supposed to affect human minds negatively. In Joel's case, he originally had the option to automatically stop movies whenever he wanted, but he used the pieces that allowed that ability to build companions inside the Satellite of Love. Which resulted in four robotic companions who basically considered the Satellite of Love their home. Of the robots that he built, the most prominent members were Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo. Basically Crow and Tom Servo were the most prominent robots in this show because they were the ones who prominently watched all of the movies with Joel or Mike. One interesting aspect about Crow and Tom Servo was how they treated Joel and Mike differently. Joel, being the creator, was treated somewhat more respectfully, whereas Mike was often treated less respectfully because he was the new guy on the Satellite of Love.

These robots were meant to prevent Joel and Mike from going insane. In more ways than one.
These robots were meant to prevent Joel and Mike from going insane. In more ways than one. | Source

In this display of how Joel was the superior one compared to Crow and Tom Servo, after watching a certain movie which involved trying to mutate humans into monstrous beings, Joel had the idea of switching the heads of Crow and Tom Servo as a joke. Of course, once Crow and Tom Servo awoke, they were not happy. However, once both of the robots began thinking each others thoughts at the same time. So much so that they even began talking at the exact same time. And with quotes like, "Oh, yes. We love us. Our collective brains are more powerful than Joel. There is nothing that can stand in our way. We have seen the future and it is us. Massage us into your scalp. We are all one. All one. All powerful. Yes! We are ServoCroation, and we shall..." it seemed like both robots might have turned evil. Fortunately, Joel managed to turn them off.


Mystery Science Theater 3000 was filled with many unique characters. But those character helped contribute something to the show that helped make watching bad movies actually entertaining.


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    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 

      3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Sometimes nerds and nerdy things are far from my life but in this case, I love "Mystery Science Theater 3000," in ways my wife could never understand. I hesitated to tell her that it was one of my favorite shows until she walked in on it and got a full shot of the stupidity of my taste for the absurd. I begged her to sit with me but I saw the look on her face and it was plain that to earn back her respect that she lost over this would take years literally. I have not mentioned this show since and maybe finally I have succeeded in outliving the shame of watching it. I am secretly saving the article so I can "scientifically review" the movies to evaluate how much I may or may not have matured. Please don't tell my wife because it may mean our (or just my) end. Voted up and awesome. Bob.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      I love MST2k. Enjoyed the second host more than the first.

    • Titen-Sxull profile image


      3 years ago from back in the lab again

      Nice hub.

      I'd love to see a follow-up about some of the lesser characters on the show or some favorite appearances. For example Mike appearing as Torgo in Samson v The Vampire Women to take TVs Frank into 2nd banana heaven. There are so many great side characters, some that were there for a long time like Bobo or Brain Guy and others that showed up very briefly, like Mr. B Natural and Satan both showing up on the Turkey Day version of Night of the Bloodbeast (and Mike's version of Jack Perkins).

      I love MST3K and think this hub would be a great intro for anyone unfamiliar with the series!


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