I have a fresh Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan fiction to share! Way back in the 20th century I came upon one Charles Brown’s Animaniacs fan fiction “Skippy’s Mom”. Its inspiration: if Skippy is Slappy’s nephew, who is his mother? Answering this sort of question is just what we created fan fiction to solve. Brown’s answer is … not what you might have imagined.
I wrote longer fan fictions back in the day, so this one goes on a bit. This section doesn’t even get out of the introductory host sketches. Those sketches were inspired by watching a bunch of Cartoon Network, as you can tell. Also from my annoyance at bad snarking on Scooby-Doo. There was not a horde of comedians making bad jokes about Scooby-Doo, unless you count people on Usenet having fun. I like think I’m a bit kinder these days to snark that doesn’t meet my high standards, but I know deep down I’m cranky about people doing the same stuff I do. One hazard of MiSTing is it gets very easy to get mean and I’ve tried to get better about that.
Not many references to explain here. Hal Jordan was the Green Lantern when I was a kid. Ken Connell was the hero of the New Universe comic Star Brand, in the 80s. He got a magic alien tattoo that gave him all the superpowers and he accidentally blew up Pittsburgh with it. Ralph Hinkley, or Hanley as they abruptly renamed him for some reason in the middle of 1981, was the star of The Greatest American Hero, or as you might recognize better if you read it while you were eight, only the most greatest TV show in the history of ever. The goofball scenarios they reference were all things the Green Lantern did in the Challenge Of The Superfriends cartoon, keeping this animation theme going. I used to write more thematically unified back then.
[ OPENING SEQUENCE ]
[ 1.. 2.. 3.. 4.. 5.. 6.. ]
[ SOL DESK. JOEL, TOM and CROW are at the desk, deep in discussion. ]
CROW: I’d say he would grow up with eating habits memorized, but not internalized. He’d eat healthily but not understand why.
TOM: The answer has to depend on whether the child can shapeshift. That changes everything.
JOEL: [ Touching CROW and TOM’s shoulders ] Oh, hey, we’re on, everyone. Hi there, and welcome to the Satellite of Love. This afternoon we’re going to participate in a hideously evil experiment, and before that we’re discussing a ‘Winnie the Witch’ cartoon Hanna-Barbera made in the 60s.
TOM: In this short, stork error delivers a baby to Winnie Witch, a feeble simulacrum of Witch Hazel, and she adopts it.
CROW: But the baby’s reluctant to drink milk, so she turns it into a kitten.
JOEL: And we’re debating the long-term developmental challenges this may inflict on the baby.
CROW: Such as confusion over self-identity and body image.
TOM: And whether it’d ever learn to eat healthily. If habits are learned by storing memories in that big ol’ chemical soup of the human brain, then how are they wrecked by completely rewriting the kid’s biochemistry, from cat to kid and so on?
JOEL: So far we don’t know.
TOM: I’d say it depends if the kid can shapeshift on his own. If he can, then when he’s hungry for — let’s say — Brussels sprouts,he’ll turn into a beaver or whatever eats them. When he needs meat, he’ll become a basset hound or something.
CROW: When he needs plankton he’ll turn into a whale.
TOM: Exactly, Crow, you get it.
JOEL: Uh, guys, humans don’t eat plankton.
TOM: Just because you don’t, don’t assume nobody ever does, Joel.
JOEL: It’s just not something we can eat.
CROW: Maybe that’s the problem. Did anyone ever transmogrify *you* when you were growing up, Joel? [ JOEL shakes his head and starts to answer ] Aha! That’s it!
TOM: Yeah! Your problem isn’t that this kid is getting the benefits of a proper polytheriomorphic childhood.
[ JOEL skeptically mouths the word "polytheriomorphic." ]
CROW: You’re just jealous that you never got to be anything other than a poor little human.
TOM: Aw, Joel, why didn’t you share your pain with us?
CROW: We’d have understood.
JOEL: Guys, it’s not like that. Humans aren’t supposed to —
CROW: No, no, don’t talk.
TOM: We love you no matter what you weren’t in your past.
CROW: We’ll help you through this.
TOM: You can hold us, if you like.
[ JOEL sighs, gives up, and hugs TOM and CROW. ]
JOEL: You guys are true friends. Thank you.
MAGIC VOICE: Commercial sign in five seconds. Cambot and I are here for you too, Joel.
JOEL: Thanks, Magic Voice. I’m sure Gypsy is too.
[ COMMERCIAL SIGN flashes. JOEL taps it. ]
GYPSY: [ Calling from offstage ] You said it!
JOEL: We’ll be right back.
[ COMMERCIAL BREAK ]
[ SOL DESK. Zoobooks are scattered over the table. JOEL, TOM, and CROW are examining different pamphlets. ]
CROW: How about the rock hyrax?
JOEL: And what’s a rock hyrax?
CROW: We can give you a weeklong tryout with it, maybe try a bush or tree hyrax if you’re not fully satisfied …
TOM: I’m holding out for you as a woylie. It’s a cute little kangaroo that feeds on roots, tubers, seeds, and legumes. See the picture?
JOEL: Yeah, nice. And what’s the hyrax, Crow?
CROW: I… uh… have no idea. But if you became one, then we’d know, right?
TOM: Yeah, unless he got caught in the mouse traps.
[ MADS sign flashes ]
JOEL: Hang on, Loopy the Lion and Hardee Har Har are calling.
[ DEEP 13. DR. FORRESTER has what looks like a plunger mounted on a water gun; TV’S FRANK is in the background, wearing a bullseye target and holding a SCOOBY-DOO T-shirt. DR. FORRESTER is by a table with considerable clutter on it.]
DR.F: Touche, turtle. Our invention this week is based on beating back the horde of comedians who make incredibly trivial comments about ‘Scooby-Doo.’ It’s a high-powered gun designed to stop them. It tracks certain characteristics of people who’ve figured out they can approach being amusing by talking about this overexposed show — rising levels of unjustified smugness, a clumsily jocular air around them, Scooby Snack Powder… who needs details? TV’s Frank will demonstrate.
FRANK: [ Sheepish ] Now?
DR.F: No, Frank, next week.
DR.F: [ Growls, lowers the gun, riffles through the stuff on the desk, making a mess and loud noise. ] NOW!
FRANK: OK, like, you notice how it’s always the creepy old guy wearing a dumb mask? And how these kids don’t have jobs or school or parents or anything? And was Shaggy stoned or what?
[ As FRANK talks, DR. F raises the gun and aims. As FRANK finishes talking, DR. F fires the gun, sending the plunger flying to the bullseye. FRANK, "impaled," begins a prolongued death scene as BUGS BUNNY might do. ]
DR.F: A sharp, thin needle at the end of the plunger makes your displeasure really stick. [ He begins cackling, and suddenly stops. ] Over to you, Hokey.
[ SOL DESK. The brouchures are cleared away; JOEL, TOM, and CROW all have hefty instruction manuals. TOM and CROW’s are opened. ]
JOEL: Anyone who lives long enough, be he Hal Jordan, Ken Connell, Ralph Hinkley, or Joel Robinson, will eventually be host to benevolent aliens who grant one a ring, tatoo, suit, or some other token of almost unlimited power to use for the good of humanity.
CROW: But will you know how to use it?
TOM: Great power carries with it great responsibility, and you must be prepared to use that power efficiently and for the good of all.
JOEL: [ Showing off his book ] Which is why we’ve created the nigh-omnipotent token’s user’s manual!
TOM: Indexed, cross-referenced and with a web site for newly discovered twists, this guide will help any new superhero do his or her best possible good.
CROW: See, here, ‘Earth threatened by gigantic comets’…simply power up and move the comets out of the way.
TOM: Whereas under ‘City threatened by nuclear missiles’… use your powers to turn the missiles into giant sticks of butter.
JOEL: Have to move your entire legion of friends in a hurry? Fire up your token and expand your hands, then fly them all there!
CROW: Keep your excessively large hands out of your line of sight, or flight will become erratic.
TOM: What do you think, sirs?
[ DEEP 13. FRANK is gasping, continuing the act. DR. FORRESTER is at the camera, sneering. DR. FORRESTER makes quote marks with his hands where appropriate. ]
DR.F: Infinitely clever, mes amis. Your pain this week is a beauty of an Animaniacs fanfic entitled "Skippy’s Mom," by one Charles "Runt-Abu" Brown. It’s the heartworming story of Skippy Squirrel as — could you see this one coming — he finds his Mom. Read it and weep, my little Nimrods of the nitrate stocks.
[ FRANK groans ]
DR.F: Oh, suck it in, wimpy.
[ SOL. As before. ]
[ MOVIE SIGN flashes ]
JOEL: Later! We got movie sign!
[ To continue … ]