Gizmonic Institute: Mystery Science Theater 3000

When Mystery Science Theater 3000 made its debut on Minnesota's own long-gone KTMA back in 1988, it wasn't just a fun, lo-fi take on postmodern comedy: It was the best form of movie-geek revenge. Think of all the times you were stuck on the couch on a snowbound weekend afternoon, trying to wring some form of enjoyment out of an ill-conceived B-movie that seemed a lot more interesting in TV Guide or on the back of a VHS rental box. MST3K turned that discontent on its ear, featuring a space-marooned Midwesterner and a couple of robot puppets attempting to salvage a wisecracking good time out of a terrible viewing experience. They succeeded week after week and year after year for 11 seasons, thanks to a deft eye for filmic nonsense and an endless Rolodex of snappy comebacks and pop-culture allusions. After more than two decades' worth of fervent cult adoration, some MST3K episodes have grown to be as beloved as the original movies were derided, and Godzilla vs. Megalon—a kitschy, cash-in low point of the once-cool Toho Studios rubber-monster franchise—is one of the best of the series' earlier Joel Hodgson-era offerings. It's also a great choice to inaugurate the Clown Lounge's weekly showings of the classic TV series: The robots' attempts to design their own giant monsters, the show-stopping translation of Jet Jaguar's theme song, and the offbeat references to Yusef Lateef and Killdozer perfectly encapsulate everything that makes the show great. Be there, or be a dickweed. 21+.
Wed., July 7, 9 p.m., 2010

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