How Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Saved My Life (Sort Of) Jul10

How Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Saved My Life (Sort Of)...

My friend Chris introduced me to Mystery Science Theatre 3000 (MST3K) after we became friends in university, and the show changed my perspective on community. Chris was an active tape trader. The show wasn’t easily available in Canada, so Chris used a wide network of associates, trading things from his impressive collection of VHS tapes, laser discs, and, later, DVDs to get episodes. I still have a banker’s box full of Seasons Eight through Ten of MST episodes I inherited from Chris in my office. Soon, word of the show spread through my apartment building and every week a group of 20 or more university students would gather in the living room of my two-bedroom apartment to watch Joel/Mike and his robot pals make fun of some of the worst movies ever made: The Skydivers, Mitchell or, my personal favourite, Manos: the Hands of Fate (Manos literally means “hands.” So the actual title of this film is Hands: The Hands of Fate. The only thing you need to know about this piece of celluloid sludge is that it’s about a fertilizer salesperson from Texas). As someone who grew up well before “geek” was the term of endearment we’ve all embraced, liking geeky things could be incredibly isolating. In the pre-internet era, there wasn’t an easily accessible network of fan communities. There may have been comic conventions in some of the larger urban markets, but they were primarily about comics (as the name does suggest, though it has since grown to mean so much more). I certainly remember being teased because I liked science fiction and comic books. I had specific friends who shared interests, but my fandoms were usually limited to one or two people. I had a couple of friends who really liked Star Wars,...