MST3K Club FAQ 2.0
June 1, 2016 10:01 PM - Subscribe

This revised post (original) describes how to join our weekly MST3K Club showings of Mystery Science Theater 3000, technical details of the show, and some minor related bits of weirdness. tl;dr: Watch the show at, at 9 P.M. Eastern/6 P.M. Pacific Thursday nights. Other topics covered involve technical details, preshow material, viewer controls and powers, and whimsical lore.

--- How to view the show ---
At the moment (6/2/2016), MST3K Club meets Thursdays at 9 PM Eastern time, which is 6 PM Pacific, at the address: This address may change in the future depending on randomly-arising situations and reasons (we've usually done a special show for Christmas), but is pretty solid overall. is not a streaming site. Instead, it is a means to synchronize YouTube videos among multiple viewers, while supplying a text chat room to hang out in while watching. This system is attractive legally because we don't actually distribute episodes ourselves, we just all individually watch already-existing videos on YouTube. Plus, if it played our voices, it'd drown out the show! We are helped in our quest by the readily availability of most Mystery Science Theater episodes on that site. Anyway, that is the idea. Sometimes it works better than others.

Unlike our previous video sync solution,'s player seems to be HTML-based, but mobile platforms (especially those with low memory) may still have issues. We recommend watching on a desktop or laptop, but it seems that watching via mobile is less disruptive to other viewers than it was at the prior site. Give it a shot, maybe?

There are other potential issues with YouTube, the host of 90%+ of our episodes. It's possible for some viewers to be region-locked out, or not be able to watch due to embedding settings, depending on what crazy flags the uploader decided to set on his video. It is not a perfect solution, the whole thing is basically a hack held together with gum and spit. If you lean too hard on it it will fall apart, either technically or legally, so please, please, don't kick the walls if you can help it.

Once in a while an episode is not find-able on YouTube. In these cases, sync-video also supports Vimeo and self-hosted files. Both of these have their own issues. Because of them we so far have had to skip one episode in our run, 213 GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER. We hope to return to it sometime in the future, if the planets align, although notably it is not one of the show's best.

--- Show structure ---
When the show isn't going, we have various random things in the channel, so feel free to drop by any time. Usually one of these things will be the previous week's episode, for those who missed it. Note, at any time, if a majority of users click the SKIP button (beneath the video to the far right), it'll skip the current video in the playlist. If you are watching alone, you can use this to get to the episode.

The custom is, some time before the episode's scheduled time I will start air what we call a pre-roll. All kinds of stuff gets slotted in here: YouTube oddities, weird movie trailers, complete movies (often bad, once in a while good), and drive-in movie theater intermission reels are common appearances, as are sometimes other Mystery Science Theater 3000-related items.

We try to get the actual show going a few minutes after the dot of 9 o'clock, to allow late-comers a bit of time to shuffle in. Episodes of MST3K typically last around an hour and 40 minutes. After the show the pre-roll content resumes, or sometimes I might have something else to offer, depending on circumstance, but most people file out pretty quickly. In the past we've shown the movie twice, back-to-back, but that was time and energy consuming, and the move to a 9 PM showtime seems to have aligned with the schedules of most of our regulars. If you have a specific time you'd like to watch the show, bring it up in comments. If there's a lot of people wanting to watch at a specific time, we might consider holding alternate showings.

It is worth saying that there is nothing about this setup that prevents others from using the same system to view episodes at different times. All MST3K Club really is is me setting a time and place to meet, and putting effort into trying to keep everyone's computers lined up and generally showing the same thing at the same time, for the reason that MST3K gets exponentially better the more people you see it with. We pretend a bit in order to help give the whole rickety scaffold an illusory sense of permanence, because that helps herd everyone into the same temporal corral, but really there is nothing "official" about any of this. If you wanted to hold your own showings at other times, you can do exactly what I'm doing.

--- Associated lore ---
Who is rodneylives?
That is me. "rodneylives" is a name I go by in a few places, especially on Twitter.

Who are the regulars?
Frequently appearing are oneswellfoop, valkane and Hobgadling, who by this point are pretty much co-hosts. They all have channel op powers (or if they don't, they should have). Ilana, Room 641-A and wittgenstein have/are frequently shown/showing up at the moment to, as are some others who I dearly hope I am not offending by leaving them out.

Is it okay to riff along?
Yes! This is strongly encouraged. An advantage (THE advantage really) of using a chat window is that there is no danger of drowning out the show. Riff away! Of course it is difficult to keep up with the episode in real-time, but then most of us are off by a few seconds anyway because the site isn't perfect at keeping us lined up.

Why did rodneylives say something like "11:30" "11:35" "11:40", etc?
Those are sync codes. One of the viewers is viewing on YouTube and has asked to sync up. I am calling aloud (well, in the chat) where the movie is, at the moment the movie hits that time on my screen, to help them scrub to approximately the right place so as to be seeing the same thing the rest of us are seeing. This doesn't happen too much these days; see the next item.

Why did someone say "Time?"
It's a desultory custom we've adopted, a passive way to see how far off you are from the others in synchronization. The idea is, when the episode shows the famous "Spaghetti Ball" with the show's logo hanging out in space, at the moment that dips all the way out to black, someone may say "Time". That way, other people can observe how far their video is off from the others and possibly take corrective measures, like reloading the page if need be. Now that we've moved over to for our showings, this happens far less often than it used to.

Who is Eudora?
  1. She is our projectionist, a woodland fairy by species, and a former maintainer of mail servers. Imagine her tangled up in film strung everywhere when the show messes up, like the Swedish Chef in The Muppet Movie -- it's entertaining and distracting to think about when I'm trying to get things working again. Think of her as our "Magic Voice," a ubiquitous presence of dubious reality.
  2. Eudora is a whimsical running gag I made up to have something extra to talk and joke about at those times when the show breaks. She is completely made up.
What are experience points?
Sometimes I jokingly award experience points to viewers after the movie concludes, as if they were D&D monsters. This is a sum of points, usually some number in the tens of thousands like 38,000 or something, which is then evenly split between all the people present when the movie concludes. (These numbers have steadily increased over the weeks.) You are then free to add them to your personal score and track your "experience level," or not. This has all the importance of the host awarding points on Who's Line Is It Anyway?, that is to say, none. There is no actual reason to do this, it's also completely made up.

Oh no, I couldn't make it this week I am SO SORRY!
Don't be! MST3K Club is intended to be entirely stress-free. We all have too much going on in our lives to get upset because we missed a dubiously official internet showing of a movie-mocking cowtown puppet show. If you can't make it during the show, just drop in any random time and skip to the episode in the off-time playlist. Chances are good that you'll be the only one in the room, and that's unfortunate, but solo MST3K is still better than none at all!
posted by JHarris to Mystery Science Theater Club 1 user marked this as a favorite
« Older Mystery Science Theater 3000: ...   |  Dance Academy: Turning Pointes... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments