The Debate That Wouldn't Die

An Essay on Episode 513

I was expecting some kind of incident to occur on this fine day, after all it would be Professor Graves' first exposure to Mike Nelson, the current human inhabitant of the Satellite of Love because they were going to play The Brain that Wouldn't Die today. The problem was that I wasn't expecting gunfire.

It started like most other days at the headquarters of Grave-Diggers International. As I rode the elevator of that black edifice to the thirteenth floor, I let my mind wander. This was a rerun, in fact all of the episodes currently running on Comedy Central were reruns. However, unlike other reruns, these were welcome. Many people who are now fans of MST3K have missed shows due to whatever reason; work, cable company not carrying CC, or temporary death. Many people, like myself, tape this show, to relive the experience over and over again. Some people call this a habit of a person with no life, but it is sure better than going to Klingon Language Camp so you can verify that the subtitles used on Star Trek are correct.

When I entered the office, the Professor and his lackey Vince were having an argument . . . an argument that would have ramifications later in the day.

"Stuffing!"

"Potatoes"

"Vince, you are obviously a complete moron, stuffing is the only choice to be made when choosing between the two!"

"No way man, potatoes, only weasels eat stuffing!"

Suddenly Aarron broke away from Vince and slid up to my side, nearly causing my diastolic to break the 300 level. "You settle this argument Mister Benson, Vince is pushing me to the point where I'm going to have to call Mercedes and have her kill him."

Now I didn't care one bit about this argument, I feel that you can have both at a dinner table without an ounce of guilt on your conscience . . . these two have just fallen prey to advertising gimmickry. The problem was that I was involved in the argument the moment Aarron spoke to me. If I didn't answer the question, he would hound me until the day I die. because of this, I had to weigh the options. If I took Aarron's side, the worst Vince could do to me would be not to talk to me for a week. If I took Vince's side, Aarron might have me killed.

"Stuffing." Besides, Vince not talking to me for a week isn't a bad thing.

Vince got real close to my left ear and whispered, "Spineless! I'm not going to talk to you for a . . . woah!"

The show was starting and Vince was rushing to press record on the VCR. Aarron parked himself in the love seat and Vince sat on the sofa. Of course I was in the chair . . . you know the chair I'm talking about . . . the La-Z-Boy Atomolounger. The chair that literally causes your muscles to atrophy because of its soothing effect on the body . . . oh yeah.

Then it started.

"What the hell is this?"

"What Aarron, it's Mystery Science Theatre."

"Who the hell is that guy?"

"Mike."

"Who the hell is Mike?"

"The new guy Aarron."

The Professor got a real huffy look on his face. "Well I don't like him."

"The show just started, how can you make a judgment so soon."

"He's not funny."

I was starting to get pissed. "Listen Aarron, wait until the show is over, then you can whine and ask all of the stupid questions you want."

Stupid was apparently a trigger word with the Professor. "You are stealing my lines Mister Benson, be careful of the ground you tread on."

Note to the kind reader, to better understand this reference, read the book 101 Ways to Die Learning About Life, by me. I know it is shameless self-promotion but I got to make a buck somehow.

The outcome of this brief exchange was that Aarron kept quiet during the film, except when comments were appropriate and I felt an immediate sense of danger surrounding me. I just knew he had called his girlfriend Mercedes and she had the scope leveled at my head.

Of course when the show was over there was good and bad news. The good news was that I did not have my head blown off by a deranged fashion model, psychiatrist. The bad news was that Aarron started in with the questions.

"So what is the deal with this Mike guy, why the change?"

Vince was there to field the question because I was in the fridge rummaging for a beer. "Joel got tired of playing Joel. I mean he had been doing the show for five years, and I'm not just talking about playing Joel. He designed the experiments and wrote jokes, in addition to creating the show."

"Okay, where did they find this Mike guy?"

"Right there at the Best Brains studios, he has worked there since season two I think."

The Professor brought his attention to me as I emerged from the icebox with two hard-earned Tecate's in my hand. "One of those better be for me."

Yeah, right dickweed.

"Well, his jokes weren't as funny as Joel's."

I laughed at that one. "That's because you are grossly ignorant of the facts Aarron."

He pointed his finger at me, reminding me that, once again, I was stealing his material.

"Mike was the head writer Aarron, he wrote most of the jokes Joel used. Give the man a chance, he is just getting used to being on the Satellite of Love. Joel was the same way, why do you think they don't show the first season any longer. The show wasn't as good."

Then the strangest thing happened. It has only happened once before, and that was simply because Aarron was drunk. Aarron saw my point and accepted it. "So who do you think is better?"

And now kind readers, you see why the stuffing versus potatoes argument mentioned earlier was in fact mentioned. It was a form of foreshadowing. This is a literary technique used to show future events in a present manner, thereby giving the reader a glimpse of what is to come. It's kind of like a free sample of sausage in the store. The sample tastes great but little do you realize that when you turn the corner to isle 4, you come face to face with a display of discount frankfurters and an inner triggering mechanism says "yeah, the sample was good, these should be great." Once again you have been successfully tricked by a marketing ploy. Ahh, Capitalism and free speech . . .only in America.

"BENSON!"

Oh yeah, where was I.

"I don't know Aarron, I guess it's one of those unanswerable questions of the universe that has plagued humankind since the dawn of its existence.

"Like what is the meaning of life?"

Aarron smacked his associate in the back of the head. "No Vince, its more like the comparative unanswerable questions of the universe."

I added, "You know, which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

"Oh, or which is better, good or evil?"

"Now you're cooking Vince."

"Tastes great or less filling?"

"To be or not to be?"

"AM or FM?"

"Well that one has been answered, FM."

"AFC or NFC."

"Same as the last one, already done, NFC."

"True or False?"

"Stuffing or Potatoes?"

Aarron's facial tic went off and he gave Vince a dirty look. "Don't start again Vince."

"Yes or no?"

"BQ or plain."

"Pepsi or Coke?"

"Rectal or oral?"

Huh?

"Liberty or death?"

"You're reaching Mister Benson."

"Stuffing or potatoes?"

Aarron stopped and started looking for something, probably a knife. "That's it Vince, you've pushed me too far!"

"Ooohh, is the great Professor Graves going to hurt me?"

"To hurt or not to hurt, there is no question . . . push the button Frank."



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