The show was awash in quick, smart wisecracks, not to mention cultural references that ran the gamut from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Miles Davis to Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. Watching MST3K was like hanging out with a trio of underachieving-genius best friends. At a time when depictions of geekery were limited mostly to Urkel and Comic Book Guy, the denizens of the Satellite of Love were brazenly brainy—which explains whyMST3K’s fan base reportedly included such meganerds as Al Gore and Patton Oswalt.
As fun as MST3K was, though, life aboard the Satellite of Love wasn’t always easy: The show was never a ratings smash, and tension between Hodgson and producer Jim Mallon led to Hodgson leaving the show just a few years into its run. In later years, members of the show’s Midwestern-based, DIY-determined staff found themselves struggling with the sort of big-TV bureaucracy they’d long fought to avoid.