Nearly two years ago, Cinematic Titanic revisited an MST3K classic, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. As any hard-core fan would do, I reviewed it and compared it with the original version on this blog.
Now Rifftrax has taken a second look as a classic short called "What About Juvenile Delinquency?" That was the short before "The Atomic Brain". It's been nearly 15 years, and the Rifftrax crew thought it needed some refreshing. That means getting rid of a few dated jokes, and putting the emphasis on something else. For example, in the MST version, Mike Nelson starts off with "What About Juvenile Delinquency? That's a viable career option." In the Rifftrax version, he emphasizes the name of the film series, "Discussion Problems in Group Living." To be honest, that's not as much fun.
I decided to take a few pieces to compare the riffing. First, the gang waits for their ride.
MST3K: (Crow) The Martin Milner Gang (Servo on the logo) Oh, they're so klandikto (callback to "Clash of the Moons")
Rifftrax: (Mike on the logo) It's the Fearsome Electric Fried Egg Gang.
Then they decide to beat up a bald headed guy who's driving too slow
MST3K: (Mike) When good natured ribbing goes too far
Rifftrax: (Mike) Don't hurt me! I've got Mitch Miller tickets
Followed by the picture of the driver, who is really Jamie's dad. Jamie's with the gang, by the way.
MST3K: (Crow as Jamie's mom) Oh, Willard Scott, I'll gently polish you
Rifftrax: (Bill) His high school graduation photo
When the gang goes to the dry cleaners or the H&R Block place, depending of your version, Jamie hears about how his friends clobbered a big bald headed guy in a yellow Buick. They wonder why Jamie is so interested.
MST3K: (Mike) Just trying to draw you out. Want some fries?
Rifftrax: (Mike) Because your story was a little flat. I think the kind of car he drove really helps paints a vivid picture.
Jamie comes home to find his wounded dad. He asks mom how he is
MST3K: (Crow) He's kind of rubbery
Rifftrax: (Kevin) I've given him three intravenous chuck roasts.
When Jamie meets the gang the next day at school, they urge him to come back to the club or else. While MST talks about how they tell Jamie they can beat up their other dads, Rifftrax talks about "nobody leaves our club...except for the guy who did last week"
Then the football captain, student body president and senior class president talk to Jamie about the city council meeting, and how they'll ban everything to protect the city from the wild teens. While MST was afraid of the student body president's face, the Rifftrax crew seems to be scared of him and the football guy speaking up close.
Then the class president says "They'll listen to you Jamie, because it was your dad who...."
MST3K: (Crow) Awkward....
Rifftrax: (Kevin) made a pass at me at the wrestling meet.
The mean gang is about to stop them from going to city hall, when the oldest teacher in school walks by. The gang is intimidated for some reason
MST3K: (Mike) It's Martha Graham. Run!
Rifftrax: (Mike) Cheese it. It's Orville Redenbacher
Then the final scene when the mayor asks Jamie and his friends what they can do to fight juvenile delinquency..
MST3K: (Mike) They called our bluff. What do we do?
Rifftrax: (Mike) uh...put a pop machine in the lunch room? I don't know!
I prefer the MST version better, only because the Rifftrax version had too much riffing. On the other hand, you could hear a bit more of the story, such as it is.
This brings up an interesting question...what other shorts or movies should Rifftrax re-riff? Mr. B Natural? Junior Rodeo Daredevils? Gamera? Manos (despite what Mike's wife thinks about that movie)? Maybe the final episode of Undersea Kingdom, or even Eegah?
It may not be necessary for Rifftrax or Cinematic Titanic to recycle past MST3K shows, since there are plenty of lousy reboots and cheesy dramas to attack...not to mention really bad monster movies from the Philippines. But, maybe, they could.