Welcome to this reproduction of the 1998-ish Mystery Science Theather 3000 fan fiction The Rangers of NIMH II. With part two here, we finally get past the host sketch and into the story proper. The whole of this MiSTing should appear at this link. As mentioned last week, I was only one of four riffers for this piece. Håkan Svensson edited together my, Kevin A Pezzano, and Christopher Street’s riffs to make this reasonably coherent whole.
While there was a whole Rescue Rangers/Secret of NIMH fan fiction before this, I think the story holds up on its own. The opening seems interesting enough before you even know what’s going on. So let’s jump into the theater and the start of David Gonterman’s story.
[Our heroes enter the theater]
TOM: Mike, if Dr. Forrester ever shows us that Batman movie, promise you will kill me first.
MIKE: You know you can count on me, pal.
> The remains of the lab is combed over by a vanload of scientists.
MIKE: They’re covering up the lab’s bald spot.
> picked that place clean,
CROW: They left not the tiniest piece of flesh on the bone.
> searching for anything they might be interested
TOM: Mmm… Month-old Chinese food… some Lego blocks… big box of toothpicks…
> But, all they can do is look at each other and shake their heads.
MIKE: Wow, they didn’t waste any time getting to the meat of the story, did they?
CROW: More like the disgusting intestinal flora of the story.
> They’ll won’t find anything of interest there as much as they won’t know
> that they’re being watched.
MIKE: Hey, I think the narrator’s gonna spoil the story for us! Where’s the netiquette and spoiler space, bucko?
TOM: I take it this is Gonterman’s idea of subtle foreshadowing.
> Especially by a rat with a holographic gyroscope.
TOM: [chuckling] Isn’t it cute when they try to use science?
CROW: He’s looking through the gyroscope and… yes! There’s the pole star, right where he left it.
> Another rat, much younger than this rat in question approaches him.
MIKE: "Thank you, Ratbert, but we’re *not* hiring right now."
> "All of the captured rodents are recovered and accounted for, Justin."
> "Good going, Rasco.
MIKE: Rasco P. Coltrane?
TOM: Hyuk hyuk hyuk.
> Er, anything left for these scientists?"
> "No way. What we didn’t pick up, that Zannie dude in that freaky armor
> picked up. Even though he didn’t get the formula, he sure runs a tight
TOM: [singing] If they could see me now, out on a fun ship cruise! I’m wearing stupid armor and killing who I choose!
> "Hmmm, all that’s needed now is for Jonathan to contact us.
CROW: Or we could go drinking instead.
> that mousie at?"
TOM: [robotic monotone] He’s got two turntables and a microphone.
> "He’s still hooked up with those Rangers I told you about, I suspected
> he’d stay, with what I’ve heard from the grapevine."
MIKE: Also, the azaleas are planning a rebellion. November 17th. Spread the word.
> "So have I. Ras, that tree the Rescue Rangers lives in isn’t far from
> where Mrs. Brisby is visiting.
CROW: And launching her ten-city concert tour!
> Send word to her and tell him that we
> need to talk."
CROW: "Send word to *her* and tell *him*"? Could we have antecedents for these pronouns, please?
TOM: Ah, that David Gonterman. Changing characters’ sex in the middle of sentences again.
MIKE: Up to the usual business, I see.
> "Will do."
MIKE: And no slapping him this time.
> FoxFire Studios Presents:
TOM: [singing] The fox, the fox, the fox is on fire…
> The Rangers of NIMH II:
CROW: Where Rangers Dare.
> Gadget Hackwrench and the Rats of NIMH
MIKE: [Art Fern] Starring Fay Wray, Doris Day, Charles Kay, Ernest Jaye, and Splats the wonder pigeon.
> Based on ‘Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers’ by The Walt Disney Company
> and ‘The Secret of NIMH’ by Sullivan-Bluth Studios
MIKE: Thankfully, Gilbert managed to extricate himself before the terror began!
TOM: What, Gonterman’s so ashamed he didn’t even want to put his name on it?
> Part 1:
> "Yoo-hooooo, over here, you silly humans!
TOM: Silly human LAAAAAADIES!
> Yer ain’t gonna find anything
> over there! Ha-ha, made you look!"
CROW: And Pee Wee Herman teams up with the Rescue Rangers.
> Jonathan Brisby was having some yucks
TOM: That’s pretty much my response to this whole sordid business.
> at the expense of the scientists
> and what he calls their ‘Stupid Human Tricks.’
MIKE: And you thought Letterman was going downhill *before*!
> Gadget Hackwrench was mere
TOM: I imagine she *was* mere. She *is* a mouse, after all.
> standing by and giggling at her new
> boyfriend’s comical teasing.
TOM: Then she noticed Jonathan.
> Monterey Jack was inside fixing up his prized Cheese Chowder when he
> heard a knock on the door.
CROW: Touch of parmesean and a little sprinkling of arsenic… heh heh… They’ll never see it coming.
> He opened it to find a shy field mouse in a
> flowing blue cape.
CROW: [mouse] Trick or treat for UNICEF!
TOM: [mouse] Want to buy some Mouse Scout cookies, mister?
MIKE: [mouse] Have you given your heart over to Jesus? Here, have a pamphlet!
> Montey: "Hello, ma’am. Something we can do for you?"
MIKE: Mystery Mouse, enter and sign in, please!
TOM: Oh, joy. "Mouse"! Yet another fascinating character brought to you by the FoxFire Studios!
> "H-hello. Is this the Rescue Rangers–"
TOM: Only tangentially.
> Montey: "Right you are miss. Come on inside. I’m Monterey Jack."
MIKE: [Mouse] But I just… I’m only looking for the library… uh…
> Mouse: "Thank you. I’m Jennifer, and I’m looking for my great-
> grandson, and I’ve heard he’s here. Jonathan Brisby by name."
CROW: He’s a subplot, by trade.
> Montey: "You’re heard right, love. I’ll whistle him down for y-y-y-y-
TOM: Someone hit Monty, he’s skipping again!
MIKE: Why not go straight to the source and hit the author?
> Jennifer: "Pardon?"
> Montey: "Your great-grandson?"
CROW: No, my great-grandson.
> She nods.
> Montey: "Then that makes you–"
MIKE: Gonterman’s dumbest plot device yet!
> Jonathan: "Grandma Jenny!"
MIKE: So, JB Junior is the great-grandson of the original Jonathan, but Ms. Brisby is his grandma. Great attention to detail here.
TOM: I just noticed, guys: this fanfic has gone from narrative to script form all of a sudden.
CROW: Ah. This *really is* a sequel to "The Rangers of NIMH".
> Jennifer turned around to see
MIKE: A new car!
> the mouse she was looking for, the two
> greeted each other in a hug.
CROW: Hi, I’m Jenny, and I’ll be your family for this evening.
> Gadget: "You know her, JB?"
TOM: [Jonathan] Yeah, I know her! She’s my great-grandmother!
MIKE: Sheesh, hasn’t she been paying attention?
CROW: Have you been, Mike?
> Jonathan: "Yeah, I do. Gadget, Monterey, this here’s Jennifer Brisby.
> She’s the widow of the original JB."
MIKE: [Jonathan] And several other rich mice with large insurance policies that died mysteriously. Go figure, eh?
> She curtseyed.
> Montey: "Too-la-loo, you look exactly like the one in the Movie, Mrs.
TOM: Except you, we hate!
> Gadget: "Golly, if you’re his great-grandmother, you don’t look the
MIKE: Well, except that the gestation period for mice is twelve days.
> Jennifer: "Why, thank you. But really, you should thank this stone
> Little Johnny wears."
CROW: [Jonathan] Grandma! You promised you’d never tell anyone about my little Johnny!
> She lifted it up with one finger, and it flashed,
MIKE: [amulet] Hey! I’m the *real* star of this fanfic!
> making her jerk her
> hand back, as if she touched something unbearably hot.
TOM: No, no. Only daddy touch.
> Jonathan: "The amulet’s kinda developed a ‘tude while I’ve been weaning
> it, Grandma.
TOM: I hear the amulet even has a tongue piercing.
CROW: Sheesh, magical stones these days!
> That’s why I always wear these gloves, you see?"
MIKE: It’s not cause the animators can’t draw hands! I swear!
> Jennifer was cooling her finger with her mouth. "And be dressed like a
> Toon? No thank you."
CROW: [Jennifer] I *like* wearing pants!
[ To Continue … ]
Perhaps it’s my fading memory of glory days but I think a lot of the riffs this section were mine. I always did tend toward the saturation-bombing approach for riffing and one good thing about collaborative MiSTings is an editor would trim out the weaker stuff. The one about “isn’t it cute when they try to use science” is definitely one of my riffs and I think it was nominated for a best-riff award when Web Site Number Nine, back then the depository for MST3K fan fiction, started giving out awards. As fun a riff as it was, I always felt a little guilty that it seems like there might be something one could reasonably call a “holographic gyroscope”, probably measuring orientation by differential changes in coherent light. As far as I can tell, though, there isn’t any such a thing yet, so the riff stands.
The Art Fern riff was one of mine, and one of my favorites because I feel like I nailed the voice of both the Brains and of Johnny Carson’s character. It was weirdly hard to write because I felt some need to stick to actual actors with names that rhyme with “Wray”, and scoured the Internet Movie Database. Thus how Charles Kay and Ernest Jay got summoned from obscurity. Not answered: how I failed to think of “Danny Kaye” and “Alice Faye”. I apologize for my mistake, but I imagine Charles Kay and Ernest Jay appreciate being thought of.
The riff about wearing gloves because the animators can’t draw hands has never made sense but I stand by it anyway.