When the swallows come baaaaack to Capistrano!

There’s lots of great sketches in the MST3K cataloge, but I want to talk about the amazingness of the sketch where Bobo makes a sandwich at the end of The Undead while crooning about swallows. There’s a lot going on in that one; moving around, playing with props/sandwich fillings, and the singing. It’s not a short sketch, either, and the timing is spot on. Plus Kevin’s doing it all in the Bobo mask, which can’t be easy. Every time I see that one I’m really impressed.

What other long, complicated sketches stand out as really showing off the gang’s skills?

Joel’s epic rant about the 60s in Catalina Caper is fantastic, even if it is a bit more sedate. The absolute commitment to the joke in the Ingmar Bergman sketch, which has got to have a pretty limited audience, is super impressive. And, of course, the crowning achievement for complex sketches has to be Are You Happy In Your Work. That amount of work that must have gone into that one!

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The United Servo Academy Men’s Chorus. Great puppeteering and audio work.

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Daktari stool!

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He’s doing his impersonation of an Ink Spots song.

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Oh yeah, I know the song. But while we’re on the Ink Spots, we’ve also got the wonderful Ink Spotsesque When I Held Your Brain in my Arms. The lip synching must have added another level of complexity to that one.

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I always wondered what Istrano did so wrong that the swallows came back and capped him.

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He rang all the mission bells.

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Hey, you don’t ask about the swallows’ business.

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African or European swallows?

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Whoa, why’s this guy so interested in my swallows all of a sudden? The swallows is swallows. Let’s leave it at that, capiche?

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Youz talkin swallows ovah here?

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THAT’S IT!

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I know that the closing host segment for The Undead can be divisive, but I don’t care, I love the hell out of it.

Kevin Murphy owns that sketch from start to finish, and his dedication to the bit is admirable.

That, and I refuse to refer to a singular tomato as anything other than a “punch-happy tomato” (complete with sound effects) as a direct result of that sketch.

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I just watched that Bobo sketch with my son last night; he was laughing hysterically.

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Not a fan of the sandwich sketch, I’m afraid. I usually fast-forward through it. Bobo’s always been a hard-sell for me anyway, and the sketch bleeds a decent, simple joke dry by running on twice as long as it needs to.

Lest I be accused of host-related bias, there’s a Joel episode where he yammers on about movie do-overs of old TV shows while hurling toys into a small pool. Again, a decent idea that just felt like it dragged on forever.

I’m very amused by the dance-off sketch in Horrors of Spider Island, even though I find it an average episode overall. Everyone looks like they’re having fun, and each dancer is in the spotlight for just the right amount of time.

The whistling sketch from the Jonah era is nothing short of epic. Forgive me for not recalling the episode. :o I just haven’t re-watched that era enough yet.

The home-shopping pastiche where Joel and the robots try to trick Frank into freeing them is also aces with me. (Being From Another Planet)

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Would that be from Mac and Me, where they’re imitating the aliens’ way of communicating with each other over long distances?

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“Don’t give no matches to Mikey” from The Amazing Transparent Man. Mike has to stand there giving an intimidating stare to the camera for what had to be a quite uncomfortably long time to go without blinking.

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I’m just gonna put my feet up on the desk and cross them, although that seems needlessly complicated.

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And here’s where the inspiration for singing “When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano” while idly doing something else probably came from, about two minutes into the cartoon.

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I am all about that sandwich bit. I love how danged PLEASED Bobo is with himself while grabbing a naughty midnight snack. “May-O-NAISE!”

I also love the big long inspiring-sounding speech that Crow gives after that one traffic safety short that never actually says anything.

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