10/08/1990 at 01:00 AM EDT
The Comedy Channel (Saturdays, 7 P.M. ET)
In the ultimate kick-off-your-sneakers and pour-yourself-a-cream-soda diversion, two evil scientists want to study the effects of truly bad movies on the human mind. So they maroon poor, rumpled, unassuming Joel Hodgson in space and, week after week, force him to sit through Hollywood hell, black-and-white stinkeroos along the lines of The Phantom Creeps, The Crawling Hand, Jungle Goddess, Corpse Vanishes and Untamed Youth.
Most of the series is devoted to the mothy matinee as Hodgson, a former stand-up comic, and two robot friends watch with you. They sit in silhouette in the lower right-hand corner of your screen keeping up a running stream of heckling and ironic make-believe dialogue.
The snide tone of the humor on MST3K, which began on a Minnesota UHF station, isn't far removed from high school homeroom, but Hodgson is really God's little wiseacre.