The Shakespeare play is Cameron’s The Terminator (1984). Hamlet “is out there! It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” Hamlet is unstoppable. Its impact never stops. Sirveaux, Croe, Find The Lady, Ghost of Mike’s Father, Alternate Productions of Hamlet, “Alas Poor Who?” “San Quentin Prison Presents Shakespeare”, “Good… There’s gonna be railing kills”, “I saw this on Three’s Company once.” “Captain Spaulding, Captain Kangeroo, Captain Crunch” or “Sounds like Mr. Peabody is about to start”?
I really need to watch this one someday.
But not today!
Most boring episode in my opinion. I’ve seen it all the way through twice, both times for completeness’ sake, the second time in short chunks.
It often has a reputation for being the worst episode. While it doesn’t deserve its reputation ('sup, Castle of Fu Manchu), I’d still have it placed as a lower-tier episode.
Which isn’t to say that it isn’t funny, because it does have some solid riffs (“Meet the Beatles!”). But you get the sense that trying to play off of the Shakespearean dialogue plays hell with their usual rhythms, which throws off their established formula a little bit.
I would put it below Fu Manchu. I’ve been able to sit through that one multiple times. Can’t say the same for Hamlet.
Heh, I’m kinda the opposite. If Hamlet shows up on either of the 24/7 MST3K channels, I’ll think, “Oh, hey, we can roll with this.”
If The Castle of Fu Manchu shows up, on the other hand, I’ll think, “Ugh. No. Can’t.”
I think I’m in the minority of not overtly disliking this one. I wouldn’t call it a favorite, but I like it fine. Though I do have a major in English Lit and played Hamlet in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), so I’m more predisposed to like it
This is far from scientific proof. However, I once examined the Hamlet discussion over at Satellite News and counted up how many of the posters expressed positive or negative opinions. Those who liked it outnumbered those who didn’t by a comfortable margin. Now this doesn’t preclude the possibility that some may be the same person posting under multiple names (and there were a few I found suspect). But when you also consider that in the poll conducted during the original Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter Hamlet ranked at 74 out of 176 (in the upper half), the idea that the Hamlet episode is almost universally despised by fans is one full of horse hoo.
It can be said that this episode simulates a true Globe Theater experience. After all, theatergoers in Shakespeare’s day weren’t snooty pricks who wanted to believe that the plays were being written by Edward de Vere. They were regular folks like you and me looking for some quality entertainment. And if they thought they weren’t getting any, it’s reasonable to believe that they would heckle the performers and maybe pelt them with rancid produce for good measure.
There’s also the fact that Hamlet is a fairly typical MST3K protagonist. By that I mean he’s an ineffectual chump who blunders through the narrative screwing up at every opportunity, with everything finishing in a colossal mess. Put that way, he’s no different from Rod Tillman or Jimmy Wilson or Marvin Grant or Jodie Thompson.
Yeah, it doesn’t help that I’ve never enjoyed Shakespeare.
As someone who performed parodies of Shakespeare on the east coast for about 15 years of his life, I actually adored this episode. Shakespeare is endlessly riffable, especially the tragedies, and the more serious the actors take it, the funnier it can be…and BOY did these Germans take it seriously.
I’m curious what Joel-era Hamlet, or modern-era Hamlet would look like, as some of the writing of that particular era was…less than stellar, but I think it was top 25 material for me. And I think it’s required viewing for my 11 year old when they teach it in high school.
I love this episode. It’s the second one I ever saw and I think it’s hilarious. I’ve never understood the hate for it. The movie itself is dreary and about as exciting as the lumps of concrete they used for sets, but there are so many things to riff on.
“Is there a word in the English language he hasn’t said?!”
But I also dearly love The Beast of Yucca Flat which is also dreary and boring but it’s so perfect for riffing.
And I like Castle of Fu Manchu.
…so my taste may be suspect.
I also like Fu Manchu, but I just don’t find it as dreary and dull as Hamlet. Yucca Flats too.
It’s the dreariness and the long periods of silence.
I love the episode of Hamlet, and The Beast of Yucca Flatts. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like dreary films. Yet I can’t stand the rest of Francis’s movies, and Fu Manchu can go take a long walk off a short pier as far as I’m concerned. Interesting how tastes can vary.
I always found this episode entertaining. They gave it their all and spun straw into gold. But I’m tempted to rank it even higher given so many fans’ visceral hatred of it.
Don’t @ me, either. Your constant judgmental-ness about Evil is a real drag.
It’s almost like appreciation of art is subjective or something.
Right? It’s amazing. Sometimes my reactions surprise even me.