So I'd wager at least 75% of you readers are really, REALLY confused right now. For those not in the know, Mystery Science Theater 3000, or MST3K is a cult favorite comedy show in which a guy and two robots, stuck in space on the Satellite Of Love (SOL, get it?) and forced to watch bad movies by mad scientists. Deciding to make lemons out of lemonade, the crew of the SOL decides to riff on, or make fun of, said bad movies. It's one of my favorite shows ever, and currently there's a Kickstarter going on to bring back the show. It's coming back, at this point it's just a question of whether it'll get a full season or not. Anyway, I indirectly mentioned BSD in the comments on the MST3K Kickstarter, and several of my fellow fans (known as MSTies) pledged to follow me on Twitter and read BSD to get us some of that sweet, sweet exposure. People helping people! In honor of them, and of the tail-end of the Kickstarter (it ends Saturday at 1 a.m. EST), I thought I'd do something to cross two of my passions: MST3K, and WFU. That said, let's do this!
1. Both are capable of eliciting great emotion.
Whether it's the elation of a 30-0 shutout of Florida State in Tallahassee, or the anguished cry of "DO SOMETHING! GAH!" which could either be heard from Joel in the classic MST3K episode "Manos: The Hands of Fate" or from any number of Wake Forest football fans in varying states of inebriation during most gamedays this season, both things have a bizarre ability to toy with our emotions.
2. Both are best enjoyed with friends.
Sports are always better in a crowd, and there are few crowds I'd rather spend time with than Wake Forest fans. Of course, if you ask Joel Hodgson and/or Mike Nelson, two of the key auteurs behind MST3K, they'll tell you that it's all about the "PACKERRRRRSSSSSS! WOOOOO!" (For those uninitiated, the show's braintrust, being Midwesterners, frequently sneak Packers jokes into any scenes involving particularly enthusiastic crowds). Similarly, much as I love watching MST3K alone, it's much better with friends and family, wherein a well-placed joke can cause peals of laughter. Heck, the crew of the SOL even laughs together during the episodes! That's why Joel built the 'bots in the first place! I'll never forget a bonding experience I had with my older brother many years ago; we were watching an MST3K episode (The Skydivers, for those MSTies out there), and a particular scene with a particular joke caused my brother to laugh harder than I've ever seen him laugh in his life, which just made me laugh even harder as well. What a Christmas morning that was. On the Wake Forest front, the year of the Duke game the Deacs won on the blocked field goal (what up, Chip Vaughn?), I was at the game with my mom, dad, aunt and uncle. We left early (I know, I know) and heard Stan Cotten's radio call of the game-winning play just as we pulled into the driveway of our house. We looked at each other in disbelief, and then burst into unabashed cheers and jubilation. Neither of those examples would've been the same by myself, and they'll both stay with me for the rest of my life.
3. Both require making the best out of Deep Hurting.
Again, for those uninitiated, "Deep Hurting" is a concept introduced into the lexicon of a special group of weirdos (read: MSTies) by the nefarious Dr. Clayton Forrester, the first mad scientist of MST3K's tenure. Deep Hurting denotes the suffering caused by watching a really, really bad movie. As previously stated, Joel and the 'bots (and later Mike and said 'bots) cut through the Deep Hurting with some good old fashioned humor. Let's be honest folks, Wake fans do the same thing, especially around here! Wake Forest Athletics can subject us to some Deep Hurting good and proper, but somehow through it all, even at the absolute worst, we find a way to love it anyway. I mean seriously, what other football fanbase would have a running tally for their punter's quest to break the all time record? Deacs, that's who. And what kind of special weirdos would willfully expose themselves to Manos....repeatedly? MSTies, that's who!
4. Both have a fairly small but rabid fanbase that frequently defies explanation, and involves some weird traditions.
Meet any MSTie and the majority of the conversation will be conducted in inside jokes and references if both people are fans of the show. If you describe it to anyone who's not a fan, at least a fair number of people will respond with something like, "This appeals why, exactly?", and yet, once given exposure people understand it and are quite often converted. Similarly, most people who watched a Wake Forest game the last several years, or really almost ever if we're talking football (WOOO, PACKERRRRS!), would probably think to themselves, "Why the heck would these people bother?" It's simple. Because we're weird, and it's what we do. .Not everybody is going to understand it, but that's okay, because we get it, and we're some kind of bizarre extended family. Said families also have some funky traditions, like Deacs rolling trees in toilet paper to celebrate a victory MSTies, on the other hand, frequently enjoy unconventional Christmas carols like "A Patrick Swayze Christmas" (by Crow T. Robot), or any number of other little quirks and traditions that'd leave most others going, "Huh?"
5. Both are coming back when many thought their best days might be behind them.
MST3K has been off the air for over 15 years, and while fans would've always had the wonderful episodes and memories left to them by Joel, Mike, and the 'bots, up until a month ago I'd never have expected a resurgence until hearing about the Kickstarter thanks to my brother. Similarly, while Wale Forest sports thankfully hasn't had something as dire as cancellation to come back from (that's more SMU's bag), I've certainly kind of "checked out" for the last 3-4 years, even as a season ticket holder. And yet, like I've been telling anyone who'll listen recently, I think Wake Forest football and basketball are well on their way to bringing us joy once again, much like the Satellite of Love will be back up in space sooner rather than later. In both cases, I could scarcely be happier.
I once again want to thank the #BringBackMST3K campaign, especially those who decided to help out a fellow MSTie by following me on Twitter and hopefully reading and enjoying my work. My apologies to anyone who read this and still has no idea what on Earth I'm talking about. Don't worry, this was just an experiment. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming very, very soon. If you are a MSTie and haven't heard about the campaign yet, OR my piece has intrigued you, you can find out more about that at BringBackMST3K.com.
Rob's telling me to push the button. Go Deacs.