Where does Coily fit into God's plan for us?
  — Crow T. Robot


"C'mon! No one's that southern!"
  — Tom Servo


Squirm is the 12th episode of the tenth season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, the 197th episode overall, and the penultimate episode of the series (at the time). It premiered on August 1, 1999.

The Short

A Case of Spring Fever

Synopsis

"From then on, Coily visited him nightly until he was driven mad."

By accidentally bad-mouthing springs, a doughy man runs afoul of Coily the Spring Sprite, a little creature with a single tooth, pointed ears and a voice like a cartoon grandpa. Angered by the man's taking springs for granted, the vindictive Coily shows the man a dystopian world where springs no longer exist. Whenever the man attempts to use something that once contained springs, Coily lunges out of the device, shrieking "No springs!" before chuckling, whistling, and disappearing.

At the brink of insanity, our lumpy hero pleads with Coily to return him to the world he once took for granted. After a brief moment of consideration, Coily relents and returns springs to the universe. After his epiphany, the man becomes a spring zealot, preaching about the marvelous wonders of springs and their importance in everyday life, much to the annoyance of his golf buddies. On the drive home, one of his friends makes the same mistake he once made- wishing to never see another spring again- but he is cut short by our spring-spouting preacher before Coily can strike again.

Information

  • This short is famous for Coily's aforementioned quote which he repeats several times throughout the short.
  • The short was referenced back in the Joel-era, during the "Waffle Man" skits in episodes 317 and 423 even though the short was not used on the show until years later. The MST3K crew had seen the short but had never gotten around to using it in an episode.
  • Goof: The man gets into his car on the driver' side but when he tries closing the door (with 'no springs') it's the passenger side door he's trying to close.
  • Goof: When the man who is fascinated with springs is about to take his second shot at the golf course, two of his friends are standing next to the hole. In the next shot as the ball nears the hole, only one pair of shoes is visible by the hole, and the other friend has vanished.
  • The last short used on the show (to date).
  • Pinto Colvig, the voice of Coily, worked with the Walt Disney company throughout his career. He provided the voice of Goofy and Pluto in many cartoons from the 1930s through the 1960s.
  • Featured as the short before RiffTrax Live: Sharknado.

The Film

Main article: Squirm (film)

Synopsis

Squirm

A small town in Georgia is overrun by worms.

The Episode

Host Segments

Castle Forrester Fair

Prologue: The annual safety check on the SOL reveals that it's completely unsafe, and suggests an alternative use for HAM radios.

Segment 1: Pearl is happy! She organizes a fair at Castle Forrester, modestly beginning her quest for worldwide fair domination. She's not impressed by the Bots' prize pig, but she is wowed by some other offbeat attractions. There seems to be a lot happening on the satellite that Mike isn't aware of.

Mikey the Mike sprite

Segment 2: Mikey the Mike Sprite visits and shows the Bots a world without Mike, but they are unfazed by Mikey's powers, only wishing for Mike back so Mikey will go away. As soon as Mike is back, Tom wishes that Mike's socks didn't exist and they find themselves beset by Mikesocksy the Mike's Socks Sprite.

Segment 3: Servo has contracted an extreme case of Southern Belle-ness! It's up to Mike and Crow to Yankee him back to his senses.

Segment 4 : Mike replicates the electrical experiment from the movie on his pal Emmett the worm. With delicious results.

Crow gets high

Segment 5: Crow tries to poke fun at the gangly younger sister in the movie by way of his really tall platform shoes. It's not long before he realizes the drawbacks of this plan. Back at the castle, Pearl appears to have seriously misunderstood the allure of bungee jumping. Come to the fair!

Stinger: "You gonna be dah worm-face!"

MST3K cast

Guest cast

Trivia

  • In the DVD intro of this episode, Joel Hodgson admits this is the only movie featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 that he paid to see in a movie theater.
  • Jeff Lieberman was so angered by this episode that he wrote an angry e-mail to Best Brains telling them how they were idiots for riffing his movie. His DVD commentary for Squirm even includes multiple digs at MST3K and their treatment of his film.

Callbacks

  • "It belongs to a guy named Al P. Yorick." (Hamlet)
  • "The monster called Gamera is destroying the city."

Obscure References

A Case of Spring Fever

  • "My Tamagotchi seems okay!"

The Tamagotchi or "digital pet" was a late 1990s toy fad that originated in Japan.

  • "This Edgar Kennedy one-man show is going good."

Edgar Kennedy was a popular comic actor during the 1920s and '30s.

  • "Merry Christmas, you wonderful old couch!"

Paraphrasing George Bailey's line from It's a Wonderful Life.

  • "It's a Zero!"

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was Japan's best-known fighter plane during World War II.

Squirm

  • "I want to play but I can't..."

Mimicking the voice of comedian Gilbert Gottfried.

  • "Roger!" "Ramjet!"

Roger Ramjet was a comedic 1960s Saturday-morning cartoon about a superheroic fighter pilot.

  • "Ford to Fly Creek: Drop dead"

A reference to a famous front page headline from the NY Daily News, "FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD", related to President Gerald Ford declining to offer New York financial assistance.

  • "Most bizarre freak of nature... oh, broccoflower!"

Broccoflower is a hybrid of broccoli and cauliflower, resulting from cross-pollination. Broccoli and cauliflower (as well as several other vegetables) are selectively bred variants of the same plant species, brassica oleracea.

  • "Uh-oh, he's gonna get Dave Barry all over his head!"

Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist who had a widely syndicated newspaper column until 2004.

  • "The Jim Varney Library!"

Late comic actor Jim Varney was best known for playing the character Ernest P. Worrell.

  • "He's actually lost in the Wooley Swamp.

"The Legend of Wooley Swamp" is a horror-based song by Charlie Daniels that is set in a swamp in the deep South.

  • "I'm switching it to the all-'Philadelphia Freedom' station."

"Philadelphia Freedom" is an Elton John song recorded in 1975.

  • "...and the yam that looks like Lyndon LaRouche!"

Lyndon LaRouche is an American political activist and perennial third-party presidential candidate, known for his bizarre, conspiracy-obsessed worldview and the cult-like movement that has grown up around him.

  • "The Ford station wagon: Unsmall at any speed."

A reference to Unsafe at Any Speed, a book written by Ralph Nader that was released in 1965, in which Nader criticized automobile manufacturers for failing to include more and better safety features in their vehicles.

  • "Lowly Worm's Worst Day Ever!"

Lowly Worm was a character in Richard Scarry's Busytown children's books.

  • "It's Chuck Wepner's skull!"

Boxer Chuck Wepner challenged Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight title in a 1975 bout that loosely inspired the first Rocky movie.

  • "Please, I need to get back into Gary Hart's closet!"

Former Colorado senator Gary Hart campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988, but dropped out of the race after a heavily publicized sex scandal tarnished his popularity.

  • "...John Birch Society literature..."

The John Birch Society is an extreme right-wing American political organization.

  • "It's the skull of Mortimer Snerd!"

Mortimer Snerd was a ventriloquial figure used by Edgar Bergen. Snerd had a big nose and a weak chin.

  • "Rerun? Dwayne? Deedee? Shirley? Mama?"

Servo is listing characters from the 1970s sitcom What's Happening!!.

  • "Jame Gumb rents this shack!"

Jame Gumb, a.k.a. Buffalo Bill, was the skin-suit-wearing serial killer in The Silence of the Lambs.

  • "Kevin McHale, Cross-dresser."

Kevin McHale played for the Boston Celtics during the 1980s and early '90s. He was tall, slender, Caucasian, and had dark hair.

  • "Manute Bol's sister, Susan Bol!"

Manute Bol was a Sudanese-born basketball player known for his imposing height of 7'7".

  • "Letters to Der Weise Engel"

Reference to the book and movie Marathon Man. Laurence Olivier's character, former head of a Nazi concentration camp, was dubbed "Der Weise Engel" (the White Angel) by his prisoners, and in one scene is recognized by several Jewish citizens in New York who cry out his other name.

  • "This is for Rudy Boschwitz!"

Rudy Boschwitz is a former Republican United States Senator from Minnesota who was defeated by Democrat Paul Wellstone in 1990 and then again in 1996. Before becoming a Senator from Minnesota, he was the founder and chairman of a plywood and Home Improvement retailer, Plywood Minnesota (the riff comes when Roger throws a piece of plywood on Mick).

  • "We're out of Billy Beer."

Billy Beer was promoted in the late 1970s by President Carter's brother Billy who was known for his love of beer.

  • "Thanks, Hank Hill's friend."

A reference to Hank Hill's friend Boomhauer from the animated TV comedy King of the Hill . The repairman's Southern drawl resembles Boomhauer's rapid-fire redneck mumbling.

Memorable Quotes

A Case of Spring Fever (short)

[the title is shown]
Servo: Me? I'd rather have a case of Bass Ale.
Gilbert: I hope I never see another spring as long as I live!
[Coily the Spring Sprite appears]
Servo [as Coily]: I anticipated your complaint!
Coily: So, you never want to see another spring, eh? Okay, mister, I'll fix it so you get that wish!
Crow [as Coily]: ...In HELL!
[After Gilbert, a rather rotund man, wishes there were no springs, Coily magically makes them disappear from the world.]
Mike: So, one clod says one thing and the whole world pays???
Crow [as Gilbert]: No springs? I don't care. There's still butter and meatloaf.
Coily: No springs [laughs]
Crow: Oh, and no redemption, by the way.
[Gilbert proceeds to leave his house for the golf game. He closes the door, but due to the lack of springs in the door lock, it bounces back open.]
Coily: Hey! The door!
Servo [as Coily]: I own your ass, fatboy! Get back here!

[After Gilbert discovers he can't even operate his car without springs, Coily appears.]
Coily: Noooo springs! [laughs]
Gilbert: Awww, gee, Coily, I didn't realize what I was wishing. I'm sorry for everything I said. Can't we call the whole thing off? Isn't there anything I can do? Please let me take back my wish.
Coily: [rubs chin in thought] Wellll...
Mike [as Coily]: NO!
Coily: Okay! I'll do it, just this once! But next time, be careful! Don't ever make that wish again!
. . .
[With that, Coily makes all the springs reappear into existence.]
Servo: So Coily waited all eternity for this moment and he backs down almost instantly?
[Gilbert notices the couch is full of springs again, which he pushes his hand on to make sure they're there]
Crow [as Gilbert]: Merry Christmas, you wonderful old couch!
[After his experience with Coily, Gilbert turns his golf game with his friends into a massive filibuster about the greatness of springs.]
Gilbert: [After a friend makes a bad shot in their game.] Too bad...
Servo [as Gilbert]: ...but if you didn't hate springs so much, that wouldn't have happened!
. . .
Gilbert: You see all spring action depends on elasticity: the ability of material to return to it's original form after it's been forced out of shape...
Mike [as Gilbert]: ...by anti-spring extremists.
[After several jump cuts and the end of the game, Gilbert's lecture is still going on, much to the annoyance of his friends and the MST3K crew.]
Gilbert: I never realised until lately that springs have such a universal use. Why, there's springs in mousetraps, guns, exercisers, hinges, pogo sticks...
Mike [as friend]: Guns, huh?
. . .
Gilbert: Why, it's practically impossible to name anything in which a spring isn't an essential part in one way or another! [inexplicably looks into sky]
Crow [as Gilbert]: Hey, look! God has a spring!
[Gilbert finally finishes lecturing his friends on springs as he pulls up to Joe's house.]
Gilbert: Hey, Joe! Wake up!
Crow [as Gilbert]: It's Coily's army of darkness! Look!
. . .
Joe: You and your springs! I hope I never see another—
Gilbert: Stop! Don't say it! Don't ever wish anything like that as long as you live!
[Gilbert looks down to see Coily the Spring Sprite materialize on his car seat. Coily cackles.]
Servo [as Coily]: You'll be the first to die!
["A Jam Handy Production" credit is shown.]
Crow: Jam Handy, reminds you to keep your preserves in a convenient place!

Squirm (movie)

[The title SQUIRM appears on the screen.]
Mike: Well, I don't know why, but okay.
[Mike, Crow, and Servo all squirm around in their seats.]
[the preface ends with "This is the story..."]
Mike: [dramatically] Of a man named Jed!
Servo [as Granny Clampett]: JEDDDDD!!!
[Roger emerges and threatens our hero; after having had worms burrow into his face earlier.]
Roger: You gonna be da worm face!
Mike: No, you gonna be da worm face!
[Mama Sanders and Geri get into an argument over Geri's "gentleman caller."]
Mama: Alright, alright, I'll stop butting in.
Mike [as Geri]: Mom, you don't even have a butt.
Mama: I just don't want you to be too disappointed if he doesn't come.
Crow [as Geri]: Mother! That's private.
Mama Sanders: [in her exaggerated Southern accent] I never saw such a storm...
Crow [as Mama]: I do hope Ashley Wilkes can get through.
[Geri introduces Mick to her family.]
Geri: Mick got off the bus and fell in the swamp! He's soaked clean through, even his suitcases.
Mama Sanders: Well... well, you can give him some of Daddy's old clothes. They're upstairs in the trunk in the storage room.
Servo [as Mama Sanders]: ...along with Daddy.
[Geri wants to help Nick fetch some plywood for the windows.]
Mick: No, no, no — you stay here. Your mother looks like she's about to crack. I'll be back before it gets dark.
Servo [as Geri]: Mom cracked in 1953.
[Partially worm-eaten Roger spies on the Sanders' home from outside in the dark.]
Servo [as Roger/Stevie Wonder]: Isn't she lovely?
[Geri's car bounces quite violently on a pothole]
Servo [as Coily]: Noooo springs!
[Mick stares at a worried Geri being rowed away by Roger, then turns and leaves.]
Crow [as Mick]: Save the girl or go antiquing? Hmm... Antiques, here I come!

Video releases

MST3K DVD Cover

  • Scream Factory, a branch of Shout! Factory, released a special edition standalone Blu Ray of Squirm one month before the release of the Turkey Day Collection.

MST3K DVD Menu

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