"Is this love, or is it just rough sex with Michael Douglas?"
  — Tom Servo

"Splendor in the Grass 2: Dream Warrior!
  — Crow

The Short

Is This Love?



A girl goes against the advice of her parents and her roommate and runs away with her boyfriend. The short asks the question of whether their love has the necessary elements to last long or not.


The Movie


"The Amish kids beat me up again!"

A serial killer has been targeting teenage girls in a small town, strangling his victims with pantyhose and drawing an "X" in lipstick on their foreheads. Lieutenant Anderson (Bill Bloom) is frustrated by the crimes, and thinks that modern parents have become too lax with their curfews. Local hot-rod gang the Fast Backs find themselves prime suspects, since an eyewitness says she might have seen their insignia, a bulldog, on the killer's back. Their only alibi is an illegal drag strip race (they're the number one group in the state), except for Jimmy (John Ensign), who is carrying on a forbidden romance with Betty (Jo Canterbury), and can't answer for his whereabouts. Tensions with fellow gang member Curly cause Jimmy to throw his Fast Backs jacket away, and a wild fistfight leads to a challenge to drag. When another body is found, the clues suddenly point to Curly, but a high speed chase and a terrible accident only complicate matters further. So who is the killer? Is it the creepy janitor? Is it the dweebish kid brother? [1]


  • Teenstrangler2.jpg
    The episode revitalized interest in the film so much so that it was given a premiere showing in Huntington, West Virginia (where it was filmed) in 1994.
  • This movie was re-released in black & white in 1990.
  • John Humphries (Mikey) had never acted before doing this film. He has since said that he took his acting cues from Jo Canterbury, whom he knew had some acting experience off-Broadway. So, as her performance became more teary and shrill, so did his.[2]
  • According to Humphries, most of the cast and crew of this film were friends or relatives of director Ben Parker.
  • John Humphries appeared at the first MST3K ConventioCon in September, 1994. 

The Episode

Host Segments

The Frank-N-Forcer

Prologue: Mike tries to phone his grandma for help. He runs into problems with calling long distance from space and answering machines.

Segment One (Invention Exchange): In Deep 13, the Frank-N-Forcer keeps Frank out of Dr. F’s way. On the SOL, the Waiter-Baiter attracts waiters so you don’t have to.

Segment Two: Mike and the Bots read some e.e. cummings poetry and ponder the question, "What is love?" Crow wants to hear more about "hot love". The gang ends up pondering the nature of love, mostly in terms of famous celebrities.

The Waiter-Baiter

Segment Three: Crow of the Crow-Magnons and Tom of the Hovermothers want to rumble gangland style, but Mike intervenes by "rapping" with the Bots.

Segment Four: Crow and Tom have a gadget attached to a pair of giant glasses that will make Mike act like Mikey from the movie. Mike wises up eventually, and takes revenge on Crow.

Segment Five: As the Bots go on Thanksgiving Break, lonely custodian Mike sings "I’m a Janitor". Back in Deep 13, Dr. F uses sawdust to clean up after Frank when he bounces along to the song.

Crow and Tom's "Mikey" glasses

Stinger: "And he didn’t steal no bike neither... I did!"

MST3K cast

Regular cast

Guest cast


  • RiffTrax would later riff How Much Affection? which is promoted in the short’s closing credits.
  • This episode aired sixteenth and last during Turkey Day '93.


Obscure References

  • (On seeing a sign for "Women's Residence) "Well, except for Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari."

Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari starred in the sitcom Bosom Buddies as a couple of guys who pose as women so they can live in an affordably-priced women-only hotel.

  • "What about Emilio and Paula? Is she forever his girl, or is he just a cold-hearted snake?"

Actor Emilio Estevez married singer Paula Abdul in 1992, but their marriage ended about two years later. Both "Forever Your Girl" and "Cold Hearted" are songs recorded by Paula Abdul.

  • "And then you became a pillar of salt...What!?"

In The Story of Lot's Wife from the Bible's Book of Genesis, Lot and his family flee from the City of Sodom to avoid its destruction. They are advised by the angels escorting them not to look back but Lot's wife looks anyway. As a result, she incurs God's wrath and is transformed into a pillar of salt.

  • "Ah, lunch at the Russian Tea Room!"

The Russian Tea Room is a prestigious New York City restaurant.

  • "Dead Kennedys!"

The Dead Kennedys were an American punk band fronted by Jello Biafra.

  • "Even Charles Whitman at age nine gets down!"

In 1966, Charles Whitman climbed to the top of a bell tower at the University of Texas in Austin with a high-powered rifle and began shooting random bystanders on the ground.

  • "Doin' da butt!"

"Da Butt" is a 1988 song by Experience Unlimited that is featured in the Spike Lee movie School Daze.

  • "Bored Straight!"

Scared Straight! is a 1978 television documentary in which a group of juvenile delinquents are led on a tour of a New Jersey prison to demonstrate the ultimate consequences of criminal behavior.

  • "Watchtower!"

The Watchtower is an illustrated magazine published by Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • "Oh, it's Andrew Dice Clay!"

Andrew Dice Clay was a popular comedian during the early 1990s. He was known for his vulgar, chauvinistic on-stage persona and costume, a throwback to the greaser subculture look of the 1950s and '60s which partially consisted of a black leather jacket and dark, slicked-back hair.

  • "Free Huey!"

The Black Panther Party co-founder Huey Newton was accused of murder in two separate cases in 1967 and 1974.

  • "Jonathan Silverman!"

Jonathan Silverman is an American actor best known for his lead role in Weekend at Bernie's and its sequel. He has dark hair and a prominent nose.

  • "Looks like Operation Rescue!"

Operation Rescue is a radical anti-abortion group.

  • "k.d. lang is in their group!"

k.d. lang is a Canadian singer. She had short dark hair and was openly gay at a time when there was a stronger social stigma about homosexuality.

  • "Next time on Sweating Bullets! Crimetime After Primetime."

During the early 1990s, CBS broadcast a series of late-night crime drama series (including Sweating Bullets) under the name Crimetime After Primetime.

  • "They killed Vivian Vance!"

Actress Vivian Vance was best known for playing Ethel Mertz on I Love Lucy and Viv on The Lucy Show.

  • "Cornjob!"

"Cornjob" is Joel and the 'Bots' nickname for a character in Gamera vs Guiron.

  • "It's the Battle of the Network Sedans."

Battle of the Network Stars is a series of television specials from the 1970s and '80s that pitted TV stars from the three major networks against each other in a series of athletic competitions.

  • "You could learn a lot from a dummy."

During the 1990s, a series of public-service announcements promoting the use of seat belts featured the comical misadventures of a pair of living crash-test dummies, and used the slogan "You could learn a lot from a dummy."

  • "The call is coming from me!"

The babysitter and the man upstairs is an urban legend that dates back to the 1960s about a teenage girl babysitting children who is harassed by a series of anonymous telephone calls wherein she is told to "check the children." She eventually calls the police, and, after tracing the next call, they tell her, "The calls are coming from inside the house."

  • "He asked me! He asked me!"

A quote from Monty Python's Cosmetic Surgery Sketch.

  • "Jew? I specifically heard him say Jew."

A quote from the film Annie Hall, in which Woody Allen's character reacts with paranoia about perceived anti-Semitism.

  • "Clang clang clang went the trolley."

Lyrics from "The Trolley Song" featured in the musical Meet Me in St Louis, used here because the soundtrack is similar to the trolley theme from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

  • "You're not fully dead unless you're Zest-fully dead!"

A series of Zest soap commercials prominently featured people taking showers and the slogan "You're not fully clean unless you're Zestfully clean!".

  • "They're behind you! I have that problem."

Crow is referring to the multistable perception optical illusion that results in his theater silhouette sometimes being perceived as facing either toward or away from the viewer.

Memorable Quotes

Is This Love? (short)

[Reading the title card]
Servo: Is this love, or is it just rough sex with Michael Douglas?
[Inside the college dorm room]
Servo: So... Where's Waldo?
Mike: He's under the bed.
[We see Liz, an oddly mature woman, brushing her hair before bed.]
Crow: Geez! How many times was she held back?
Servo: Heh heh heh.
Liz: Hi, Peg!
[In the mirror, we see college girl Peg toss her books on her bed.]
Mike [as Peg]: Hi, Mom.
Peg: I think I'll send a telegram instead.
Liz: Don't be silly, Peg! You always talk as if your mother were an… ogre, or something.
Mike [as Liz]: Well, I've known her for fifty years…
Liz: Honestly, Peg — I don't know how many times, ever since we were in high school together, I've heard you go on the same way about some man or other.
Peg: Oh, but this is different, Liz! Really it is!
Mike [as Peg]: He's anatomically correct, and everything!
Peg: It's the real thing.
Liz: I remember when I first felt that way about Andy.
Servo [as Liz]: the turn of the century.
[The short is ending.]
Narrator: How would you answer this question for Liz and Andrew? Peggy and Joey?
Servo: Bob and Carol? Ted and Alice?
Narrator: How can you tell? Is this love?
Crow: You have ten minutes to answer the question starting now.
[Servo imitates a clock ticking.]
Mike: And, now stay tuned for the Clarance Thomas-Anita Hill hearing.
Crow: No animals were hurt during the filming of this movie.
[A list of related film titles scrolls on the screen.]
Servo: "How Much Affection?"
Crow: "When Should I Marry?"
[Mike and the bots continue with fake titles.]
Mike: "Know Your Ointments"
Servo: "What's That Down There?"
Crow: "When He Wants It Rough"
Mike: "Procreation, Not Recreation"
Servo: "Oh No, Pleasure!"
Crow: "McClintock!"

Teen-Age Strangler (movie)

[As a girl is strangled]
Crow: Splendor in the Grass 2: Dream Warrior!

Video Release