Mystery Science Theater 3000 will Cure your Loneliness (which I learned by dressing as Pearl Forrester)

Recently on PopLurker’s sister site Toy Wizards‘ YouTube channel (that’s a lot of specifics in a row), I decided to show the world my Mystery Science 3000 collection in one of our Retro Toy Review segments.

Now, you blessed people over here on PopLurker who know all of my quirks, specifics, weirdness, and isms understand what a big MSTie I am– but for the kind people who follow Toy Wizards, I think it might have been a surprise. First and foremost, I don’t cosplay. But I will always without hesitation jump right into that Pearl Forrester cosplay any opportunity I have. And why is that? Because Pearl is power. MST3K is comfort. And really, right now…it’s friendship.

We’re existing in a climate, that due to the global health crisis and pandemin, is very isolating. I am immeasurably happy that my children are alive and safe. I am lucky to the nth degree that with the exception of my convention work (which has completely fallen into the toilet for the time being) that my husband and I are able to do our respective gigs from home and maintain our lifestyle. But even with that, the truth is that I miss you. I miss people. I miss our friends.

Which is why it is so important to make sure we are remembering to laugh. At anything, with anything, as loud and bountifully and heartily as we can.

So, when I brought my entire MST3K collection into the home office turned filming area, it was really a reminder of man, 18 years worth of comfort, laugh, friendship, and love. In addition to the parts of my collection that do remain (I realized that I hadn’t yet purchased Mary Jo Pehl’s Employee of the Month and Other Big Deals, that’s now remedied and I’m currently currently reading it), I started thinking about the parts of my MST3k collection that just couldn’t survive the sands of time. Such as my MST3K bumper sticker, which disappeared alongside the shitty 1993 Madza Protege upon which it was affixed. My ill-fitting “You Know You Want Me Baby” Crow Hefty Haynes sweatshirt which choked me and was very likely a bootleg. My sister’s Mike Nelson t-shirt, which I have one picture of her wearing, complete with turquoise earrings to match the lovely black and turquoise color scheme adorning Mike’s grin. And all of my MST3K VHS tapes, which include maybe a dozen episodes, all of the Poopsie blooper reels, the Shorts tapes, Mr. B’s Lost Shorts tape, and all of those tasty, tasty host segments.

Since those long-since-past days where collecting MST3K products was an active hobby and endeavor for me, sure, more merchandise has been released. Once MST3K: The Return was announced, I’m sure Shout Factory made some efforts to release some mugs, stickers, and apparel. Hell, I’m wearing a new, actually licensed MST3K shirt as we speak! It does exist– it’s alive! But something about those quiet, direct from Best Brains (probably packed for shipping by Joel and his wife from their living room) days of yore were just so much fun.

Going through my old MST3K collection in my home made Pearl Forrester cosplay was a lot of fun and really, a lot more emotional than you would probably guess from watching the video. I became a fan of MST3K a few years after I became aware of its existence– originally, when I first saw the show in about 1998, I didn’t understand why those shadows were in the theater again, why they were talking over the movie, and why the episodes were so darn long! But by 2003, I was hooked. My best friend showed me The Creeping Terror and Catalina Capers. And while those specific movies are chores and difficult to get through, I was drawn in by the comedy, the snark, and those amazing host segments. The day finally arrived where I was hanging out at Suncoast Video and decided to buy a tape of my very own. I chose Cave Dwellers.

My life was literally never the same again. I can quote all of my favorite jokes and riffs. When cheering for something or someone, I still jump up and down and yell “Forrester, Forrester, Doctor Clayton Forrester!” or quip “Saaaaaaaaaaaaaay” whenever something is sexy. MST3K and its jokes are embedded deep inside of me, my lexicon, and I’ve truly transformed. I love the fandom– MSTies are just happy you’re at the party.

So, what items are left of my collection? Well, you can watch the video. But if you’re not into that sort of thing, I can describe it for you:

  • DVD Boxset Vol. 4
  • MST3K Triple Decker Musical Numbers
  • A whole mess of burned episodes, seasons K-10
  • Clowns in the Sky Vol. 1 & 2 CDS
  • MST3K Colossal Episode Guide Book
  • Movie Megacheese, Death Rat, and Minds Over Matter by Mike Nelson
  • A Year at the Movies by Kevin Murphy
  • 4 phenomenal posters
  • MST3K sticky notes
  • Tom Servo and Crow Funko Pop!s
  • A lifesized 1:1 scale Tom Servo replica puppet

I didn’t show the camera this collection to brag. I don’t think I’m better than anyone for these pieces. I did it because MST3K is my family. Those characters are my friends. The actors and writers are my heroes. It made me understand the makeup of comedy and what it does and doesn’t have to be. And it continues to inspire me to be more and keep being better and stronger. And my mantra, which I’ve adapted directly from Joel Hodgson, is that no matter what work you do, no matter if you think your creative endeavors are unseen or for nothing…

The right ones will get it. The right ones will find you.

And you know what? They do– so far…

They always do.

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