Mystery Science Theater 3000's Joel Hodgson on How Jim Henson Influenced The Show

Puppeteer and filmmaker Jim Henson passed away in 1990, but his legacy as one of the most influential entertainers in American history was already set in stone by that point. Just one example of that, is apparently Mystery Science Theater 3000. The series, which started in 1988, was shaped by Henson's total dominance of the puppetry field at the time, according to series creator Joel Hodgson. Speaking with about the upcoming, 13th season of MST3K, Hodgson praised the puppetry of Emily Marsh, who has joined the series as a new host, Hodgson took a minor side trip to talk about the "endless" impact of Henson's work on the field, saying that thirty-plus years into his MST3K career, he is still learning new things all the time, which Henson pioneered decades ago.

In this case, Hodgson says that he considers "the Bots" -- the robot friends and space ship computers portrayed by the MST3K puppets -- as "the opposite of a Muppet." Which...well, it worked, considering that Marsh herself said that when she was growing up, she didn't think of Tom and Crow as puppets at all.

"As time goes on, and as the show gets older and older, and I get to work in puppetry for 30 years now, I realize how important Jim Henson's influence was," Hodgson told "It's kind of endless. When I decided to do a puppet show, everybody did their puppets like Jim Henson did. He created his own, unique form of puppeteering, and the way they shot, it and the way they did it. As time goes on, I keep running into these things that he got to 30 years ago, 40 years ago, or 50 years ago, and so you realize how wildly influential and effective he was at his job. The MST3K robots were really a reaction to the Muppets. I didn't want to make plush toy puppets. I don't want them to be these cozy things. I wanted them to be the opposite of that, and that's kind of how the robot thing happened. It was just, what's the opposite of a Muppet, is a robot. I worked on that premise to get to that. It was so everywhere, that I had to kind of struggle to not go there, because every way of being a puppeteer was like a Muppet."


The Gizmoplex will be the only place to see new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and will kick off with a weekend of premiere screenings: Santo in The Treasure of Dracula (May 6), Robot Wars (May 7), and Beyond Atlantis (May 8). After that, the Gizmoplex will release brand-new MST3K content every two weeks, including new episodes and shorts, as well as livestream premieres and special events.