Mystery Science Theater 3000 season 12, episode 1 recap: Mac and Me


Mystery Science Theater 3000 returns to Netflix!

Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans were faced with a somewhat difficult decision for Thanksgiving.  Watch the annual Turkey Day marathon or the new batch episodes now available on Netflix. Of course, some more dedicated viewers could’ve attempted to do both since sadly, season 12 only comes with six episodes, though looking at the episode list there’s still plenty opportunity for hilarity.

The first experiment of the new season will be none other than 1988’s Mac and Me, the story of a young boy who meets a “cute” alien.  If that premise sounds incredibly familiar to you, you’re definitely not alone.

Typically, movies that get the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment are largely forgotten or never remembered B movies that ironically are able to achieve cult status after their appearance on the show, with Manos: The Hands of Fate being an obvious example.  Mac and Me is not one of those films.

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Flashback to 1982 and Steven Spielberg’s E.T. became a massive hit that has ended up grossing close to $800 million worldwide over the years.  Naturally, a poorly made imitation was inevitable and Mac and Me came calling six years later.

Another thing Mac and Me tried to duplicate from E.T. was its success in product placement.  E.T.’s product placement of Reese’s Pieces famously ended up becoming a huge windfall for The Hershey Company as sales for the candy skyrocketed.

Mac and Me attempted to do the same for McDonalds and Coca-Cola but the promotion for the products was so obvious that Ronald McDonald (yes, that Ronald McDonald) was given with a Razzie Award that year for Worst New Star.  Unsurprisingly, Mac and Me is regularly cited as one of the most shameless examples of product placement in movie history.

While Mac and Me flopped in theaters, it has achieved a cult status despite (or perhaps because of) having the dubious honor of achieving a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now with that bit of movie history out of the way, we’ve got movie sign.

Luckily for Jonah, his would-be nuptials with Kinga was canceled off-screen.  No real explanation is given for this with Kinga even saying “We don’t have time for loose ends!”

The invention exchange is off to a good start this season.  Kinga, being an evil scientist, of course, decides to try her hand in pharmaceuticals with the cutting edge brain pill Algernon.  The pill works so well her test subject is now smart enough to realize how dangerous the pills are and should stop taking them.

Jonah meanwhile has rebuilt Servo and Crow into giant Pez Dispensers, now called Spez Dispensers that instead give out blocks of Spam.  Well, if the regular dispensers can bring new appeal to an otherwise borderline inedible candy, why not Spam?

Over at the main experiment, Mac and Me gets off to a bizarre start (and really it only gets weirder from here).  A family of aliens get abducted by a NASA probe and brought back to Earth.  It’s at this point, I should tell you that while the movie would have you believe these aliens are cute, they are nightmare-inducing to the point that Jonah describes Mac as Teddy Ruxpin with its face torn off and Crow generously describes as less an E.T. ripoff and more E.T. cosplay.

Anyway, shortly afterward, the aliens panic and flee the nondescript government facility with the baby and title character Mac (Mysterious Alien Creature) getting separated from the rest of the family.  After Mac gets electrocuted and run over with a car (you know for kids), he stows away with a widowed mother and her two kids, who are moving to California. As all of this is happening the soundtrack is disturbingly whimsical to the point that Crow states “I want to see the movie this composer thought he was scoring.”

Mac quickly befriends the younger child Eric, who’s notably in a wheelchair and the girl next door Debbie.  It’s at that point the product placement begins to rear it’s hilariously ugly head since Mac seldom eats or drinks anything for nourishment the rest of the movie besides Coke.

The product placement only gets more transparent from there as hijinks ensue and Eric and Debbie go to a birthday party at McDonald’s, which Mac also attends disguised as a giant teddy bear (don’t ask), complete with an appearance from Ronald McDonald and a dance number.  I have no idea why folks accused this movie of being a McDonald’s commercial.

Believe it or not, though things get even weirder.

The government agents get into a chase scene with Eric and Mac in Eric’s wheelchair and they LOSE. A bunch of grown men is actually dumb enough that they can’t catch up to a kid in a wheelchair.  In case you’re wondering, no Mac does not use any powers to make them fly.

Thanks to some help from Eric, Debbie and their siblings Michael and Courtney, Mac is then able to reunite his family who winds up getting saved thanks to the magical power of Coke.  They then make a quick pit stop at a supermarket.

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This scene of Mystery Science Theater 3000 starts out harmlessly enough with Mac’s family accidentally knocking over a Coke can pyramid, which ends with them getting into a shootout with the cops and the market blowing up in a huge explosion with Eric seemingly getting killed in the blast.  Well, that sure escalated quickly.

Naturally though, Mac’s family use their powers to bring Eric back to life and they live happily ever after inexplicably gaining U.S. citizenship even though Crow rightfully points out they just whistle. The movie leaves the audience with an MCU like message promising they’ll be back.  Spoiler alert, they won’t.

While this a fantastic start for season 12 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, there will be no rest for Jonah, Servo, and Crow as they immediately transition to the next experiment Atlantic Rim.  Three guesses what this is ripping off.