Cable Cult Classics: The Characters and Costumes from MST3K

by Julia Hall

Running from 1988 to 1999, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K) is one of the most enduring comedy series on American TV. Produced by Best Brains, Inc, the cult series was the brainchild of Joel Hodgson. MST3K is well-known for its characters and costumes, so let’s take a look at the group of characters who live in the Satellite of Love, and the rest of the characters known as “The Mads.”

The Satellite of Love Characters

Cambot: Cambot is a robot in the series, through whose eyes the television audience watches Joel Robinson. Cambot essentially serves as the audio visual medium between the observers and the Satellite of Love members. In the series, Cambot joins the crew in the theater and records them as they are subjected to some of the worst movies ever made.

Crow T. Robot: Crow T. Robot is the robot who is often heard passing sarcastic remarks about the shoddy, B-rate movies which are being shown. The 'T' in his name stands for ‘the,’ while Crow, according to another cast member, Joel, stands for the term “Cybernetic Remotely Operated Woman.” The robot was constructed by Joel.

Gypsy: Gypsy is a robot with a female appearance. Gypsy is considerably larger in size than the rest of the robots. Unlike the other robots in the Satellite of Love, Gypsy is less verbal, and more 'behind the scenes.' She is in charge of some of the high-level functions of the Satellite of Love board. Since she’s engrossed in higher functions, she appears to be slightly unintelligent, which is actually untrue.

Joel Robinson: This character was played by the creator of the series, Joel Hodgson. Dr. Clayton Forrester, Joel’s boss, puts him into space to test if B-grade movies make the human mind dumb. During the episodes, Joel Robinson wore red-colored jumpsuits, as well as costumes of bright aqua, green, and tan.

Magic Voice: The Magic Voice, as the name suggests, is only a voice. Basically, she plays the role of an alerter, and her main function is to make the crew aware of the time before a movie or commercial. The Magic Voice also occasionally comments on the activities of Mike Nelson and Joel Robinson.

Mike Nelson: According to the Amazing Colossal Guide of the Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike Nelson is the member of the Satellite of Love who has the intelligence of a normal person. In the episodes, Mike Nelson often shows his mental limitations as he comically fails to perform certain activities which other, smarter characters can effortlessly perform. Mike Nelson is also comparatively unaware of his surroundings.

Tom Servo: Tom Servo is the other robot created by Joel Robinson. The main purpose of the robot is to help Joel escape the boredom and madness of watching low-grade movies. In contrast to the other robots, Tom Servo displays more maturity and is more cynical than the other robots in the Satellite of Love.

The Mads Characters

Dr. Clayton Forrester: Dr Forrester is the lead mad scientist. During the time of the Last of the Wild Horses in the mirror universe, the mad scientist Dr Forrester, along with TV's Frank, is appointed as the test subject. Dr Forrester is an expert in riffing, and he is obsessed with a Lemur called Joey.

Dr. Laurence "Larry" Erhardt: The mad scientist Dr. Erhardt used to be the first assistant of Dr. Clayton Forrester. The more vivacious Larry has a squeaky voice, wears glasses, and has curly hair. Larry had to undergo several tortures at the hands of Dr. Forrester. One of the catch lines associated with Dr. Erhardt is “Enjoy,” which he often exclaims after describing the storyline of a horrendous B-grade movie.

Pearl Forrester: Dr. Clayton Forrester’s mother is Pearl Forrester. Pearl is also a mad scientist like her son. Pearl was introduced in the episode “Bloodlust” in Season 6, and in Season 7 Pearl became a regular cast member of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Professor Bobo: Professor Bobo is a talking gorilla who is wise and intelligent. Professor Bobo hails from the future, and the character is modeled after the apes from Planet of the Apes. Bobo descends from a lineage of respected apes. Sometimes, Bobo shows signs of a primate chasing after primitive sensory-driven desires which contradicts his claim to be a respectable primate.

The Observer (Brain Guy): Brain Guy is also called Brian or the Observer. He used to be under the watchful eyes of Pearl Forrester, along with Professor Bobo. Brain Guy is actually an alien with psychic abilities, and he’s also hyper-intelligent. He comes from a race of aliens who supposedly use Petri dishes to carry their blue, glimmering brains.

TV's Frank: TV's Frank is the lab assistant of the mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester. After the former lab assistant (Dr. Laurence Erhardt) departs, TV’s Frank takes up his position in Season 2. According to the Amazing Colossal Guide of Mystery Science Theater 3000, TV's Frank used to work at Arby’s, from where Dr Forrester spotted him and eventually roped him in as his lab assistant.



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