As the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” reunion show readies for broadcast to theaters across the country tonight, TheWrap asked series star Kevin Murphy why the show has remained so popular over a decade after it left the airwaves.
“We love any chance we get to talk back to the media that keeps being poured over us,” Murphy said. “We made it our mission, so I think people give us that opportunity to do it for them, to talk back to your TV or a movie screen. Because it’s very cathartic to do that, to be able to call bulls–t on something.”
The reunion is part of the 10th anniversary celebration for RiffTrax, an online service launched by Murphy and fellow “MST3K” alums Mike Nelson and Bill Corbett that offers downloadable audio tracks for A-list feature films, as well as educational shorts.
The show will feature all three men as well as Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank), Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Clayton Forrester, Crow T. Robot), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester), Bridget Nelson (Nuveena, Mr. B Natural) and Joel Hodgson (Joel Robinson). In addition, the host of the rebooted series, Jonah Ray, will also join the cast for a live riff.
Murphy also discussed differences between RiffTrax and “Mystery Science Theater.” The original series employed a more traditional writers room, but RiffTrax does things a little differently.
“On RiffTrax we actually divide the movies into chunks among the writers,” he said. “We each take a chunk of the film and spend as much as a week with it. You’re just watching the same 25 minutes of ‘X-Men’ or Tommy Wiseau. And that can be a little maddening at times … but it’s turned out to be a really good process.”
He also shared some great fan interactions from over the years, including one man who sent the cast and crew his molars.
“We got weird things, like we got a fan letter from Al Gore,” he said. “Mary Jo had mentioned she was a fan and he sent a letter to ‘Mystery Science Theater.’ Then we got one from the chief of police of Brooklyn. On his official letterhead, he sent us like this pass so we could do one thing wrong in Brooklyn.”