|It would take a mad scientist to invent|
Yes even the hilarious Mystery Science Theater 3000 is not immune to the ranting and raving of otaku. Fans love to debate their favorite episodes, favorite seasons, favorite host segments, even favorite opening credits (because there have been six of them, or seven if you count Mystery Science Theater 3000: the Movie). But the most heated debate used to be Joel vs. Mike.
It was especially bad back when the show was still airing. The internet was still in its childhood stages in the mid and late 90s, but I remember flame wars between the two passionate groups. It got nasty. Fans hurling abuse at each other and at the two hosts. I always found the whole thing kind of silly, but I can't say it wasn't entertaining.
So how can there even be a debate? I mean what did these guys do other than deliver lines and interact with puppets. Did they do it so differently that you can compare them?
|Tom Servo is expanding his conciousness.|
When Joel left MST3K a couple things happened. First was the simple fact that the main creative force behind the show was leaving. Second were all the rumors as to why Joel left. At that time no one really knew for sure what happened, but there were plenty of theories. A lot of people picked the first visible target - Mike must have pushed Joel away from the series.
Their evidence was that the tone of show shifted when Mike took over hosting duties. While Mike was the host the movie was more of a target instead of a part of the show. Mike and bots had more riffs revolving around how much the movie hurt and in later seasons of the show (after it moved to the Sci-fi channel) the aggressive tone intensified, with out and out attacking everything in sight. Many Joel fans say Mikes aggressive style was the direction the rest of the crew wanted to go and that is why he left.
|Mike and the bots ready for a night on the town...|
That said, Mike had been a head writer for the series for years. In fact, if you watch enough of the show and know a bit about Mike's joke style you can hear very Mike jokes being given by Joel. This series was very much a collaborative process when it came to the writing. Yes a tone shift occurred, but it was one that actually helped gain new fans. I know plenty of folks who first saw the show on Sci-fi with Mike as the host.
These days the Joel vs Mike debates aren't really a thing any more. Most fans accept that people have their preferences and let it go at that. Where do I stand on the whole thing? Well it kind of depends on my mood. Sometimes I like Joel's more amiable take on the movies. And his approach really works great for a lot of different types of movies. The riff for something like I Accuse My Parents or Fugitive Alien wouldn't be the same without Joel at the helm. At the same time Mike's brisk riffing style is perfect for Starfighters and Hamlet. My favorite seasons actually fall at the end of the Comedy Central era. To me both Joel and Mike were at their best and had some of the best films selected.
With a new version of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in the works we will getting a new host in Jonah Ray. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of new style he and the new team bring to this concept.
|Doesn't matter to me, all four of these guys are masters of the riffing|
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