|“||And loving lovers love as loving lovers love...||”|
|— Pearl and Observer duet|
In a future dystopia, Aram Fingal (Raúl Juliá) is a lowly programmer working for Novicorp. Arts are prohibited, and he is caught watching the classic film Casablanca ("scrolling up cinemas") on his workstation. To rehabilitate him, the company transfers his mind ("doppels" him) into a wild baboon (a process which has become routine, with people buying "doppeling vacations").
Eventually, Fingal begins to enjoy his baboon existence until he finds his peaceful perch in a tree threatened by an elephant shaking it for fruit. He then activates an escape clause that is supposed to return his mind to his original body. Unknown to Fingal, however, his body has been accidentally tagged for transfer to separate wing for a sex change; and, with the computer unable to return him to his body, Fingal's mind must be kept active by storing it in Novicorp's central computer – the HX368, which controls everything from finances to the weather – until his body is located. His mind can only be maintained in such a way for a limited time before it is destroyed, forming one of the central plot points of the film. Fingal's disappearance is reported to a rival corporation.The news is broadcast worldwide, causing Novicorp's share price to crash. Majority shareholders force Novicorp's Chairman (the film's main antagonist) to divert resources to keep Fingal alive and find his body. Apollonia (Linda Griffiths), a computer controller, is assigned to locate Fingal and keep him from hacking into Novicorp's mainframe.
With Apollonia's help, Fingal creates a virtual world where he encounters characters from Casablanca, including a version of Humphrey Bogart's character, Rick (also played by Raúl Juliá). Over time he grows bored (while only minutes pass in the real world, days pass in the virtual one) and plots to bring down Novicorp's finances without being removed and, thus, killed.
Apollonia tries to keep Fingal out of trouble, placing her in opposition with Novicorp's leaders, especially when she finds herself falling in love with Fingal and develops a conflict of interest. With Apollonia's considerable help, Fingal eventually "interfaces" with the mainframe and defeats his antagonists. He also returns to his body, which has been discovered before undergoing the aforementioned sex change operation.
Finally corporeal and reunited with his accomplice, Fingal and Apollonia experience a traditional happy ending, with Fingal having taken complete control of the HX368. After ordering bonuses and stocks for every employee, committing Novicorp's Chairman to a month of "compulsory rehab" via doppeling and changing both his and Apollonia's identity to Rick and Ingrid (respectively), the characters from Casablanca, Fingal, who by now has absolute and total access to and control of the system, vows to fight against the dystopian government. The film ends with the new couple walking out the door and, now free from Novicorp's oppression, talk about opening a club on the other side of town: Rick's Place.
- Loosely based on a short story by John Varley, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank was originally broadcast on the New York City PBS affiliate WNET in 1983, and was partially funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
- This was the second movie in WNET's experiment in producing television movies for public television. The first was an adaptation of Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven in 1980. While Lathe was and still is well regarded, WNET's movie experiments ended after Overdrawn was an acknowledged failure.
- The movie was shot on videotape in order to take advantage of cutting-edge (for their time) digital graphics and special effects.
- The wild-animal footage was taken from the documentary Animals Are Beautiful People. The scene in which animals appear to be getting drunk from eating the fruit of the Marula tree is alleged to have been staged.
Host SegmentsPrologue: Crow cashes in on his 'loved by millions' catch phrase, "You know you want me baby!"
Segment One: Mike tries a few catchphrases himself, and as usual, fails miserably ("We're all out of toner!"). In the spirit of the day's experiment, Pearl, assisted by Ortega, starts her own public-TV station in order to enrich herself through pledge drives.
Segment Three: Mike keeps fighting Henry, and we get to see a "very special pledge week special of a special pledge week special", "Pearl! Pearl! Pearl! Pearl! Pearl!" which features a touching if slightly repetitive duet by Pearl and Brain Guy.
Segment Four: Tom wants to be 'doppled' to the nanite world and cause trouble. He soon regrets it.Segment Five: Bobo tries to talk Henry down, but Henry turns the tables on Bobo, and convinces him to throw things like microwaves. The bots are scared at first, but of course, when Mike takes action, the Bots scorn him. Meanwhile, Pearl counts her money.
Stinger: "Mum... 'm I nuts?"
- Pearl states that she had Brain Guy create the set for her Pledge Drive, but it is unclear exactly where this is taking place. In the previous episode, the SOL and the Widowmaker were floating freely in space.
- The music used during Pearl's telethon is the theme music from when the show was syndicated as The Mystery Science Theater Hour.
- Best Brains went out of their way to avoid anything that could seem like an attack on actor Raul Julia (who had recently passed away at the time of the episode's production) and had Pearl specifically call him a "really wonderful actor."
- Ranked 11th in the Top 100 Episodes as chosen by backers of the Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter.
- During the second host segment a box of Triscuits lands in Crow's net which he fails to notice.
- "Hey, it's TV's Frank!"
- One of Pearl's network's shows is "Mike Nelson: Lord Of The Dance" based on the opening host segment of the Jack Frost episode, complete with footage.
Quotes & References
- Public Pearl intro music.
Same music used on the Mystery Science Theater Hour. The reference made by Pearl (and the screenshot shown on the monitor) for "Michael Nelson's Lord of the Dance" is a callback to the introductory host segment in Jack Frost.
- "Oh, if only she spoke French..."
A reference to how Gomez Addams of The Addams Family (played by Julia in two feature films based on the television series and print cartoons) was always driven mad with desire when his wife Morticia spoke French.
- "Oh no, you think Mark Russell is gonna be in this?"
Mark Russell is a fixture on PBS, doing "comedy specials" where, sitting at a red, white, and blue piano, he takes toothless jabs at both political parties, being very careful to offend neither side.
- "Doctor Who...the hell cares."
Reference to the long-running British sci-fi series about a time-traveling alien adventurer which was typically broadcast in the United States on local PBS stations. The show's opening titles featured the current lead actor's face surrounded by colorful light effects, somewhat like how Fingal's face is displayed during the intro of the movie.
- "But I'm signed to play Archbishop Romero!"
- "Still, this is easier to read than Wired magazine."
A common complaint about the technology magazine Wired is that its typography, including selection of fonts and colors, makes it difficult to read.
- "I hear the transpod comin'/It's comin' round the bend..."
A parody of the Johnny Cash song "Folsom Prison Blues".
- "They must have a Jack in the Box in the food court!"
A reference to an E. coli outbreak that occurred among customers of Jack in the Box fast food restaurants in 1993. Or, alternatively, just a general comment on the quality of the food at that restaurant chain.
- "Come/As you are/To my mall/To my atrium, yeah yeah"
Referencing the Nirvana song "Come As You Are".
- "Elizabeth Clare Prophet and David Duchovny look on."
Elizabeth Clare Prophet is the leader of the Church Universal and Triumphant, a religious movement that has been widely denounced as a cult. David Duchovny is an actor best known for starring as Fox Mulder on The X-Files. The two Novicorp bigwigs bear a striking resemblance, respectively.
- "Appearing tonight, Slayer!"
Reference to the popular thrash metal band from California.
- "Eraserhead was easier to follow than this."
A reference to David Lynch's first movie, which, unlike this, was supposed to be surreal and have an abstract plot that made very little literal sense.
- "And now you find yourself in 82...!"
Bobo starts to croon "Heat of the Moment" by the band Asia.
- "Maruba fruit"
This term used in the film for the fruit the monkeys use to get drunk should actually be "marula fruit" as pointed out here.
- "It's a Viv Savage Christmas ornament!"
Viv Savage was one of the keyboard players for the fictional heavy metal band Spinal Tap.
- "So this is public television. I suddenly want to beat the crap out of Fred Rogers"
A reference to Mister Rogers Neighborhood about the kindly Rogers.
- "This is sexual harassment, and I'm going to take it!"
A takeoff on an [harassment PSA from the early 1990s], in which a woman stands up to her lecherous boss by saying she's NOT going to take it.
- "The days of maruba fruit and roses."
A reference to the title of the classic film The Days of Wine and Roses, about the relationship between a couple of alcoholics.
- (After hearing what hears like voices being played backwards) "Kill myself? OK, no problem."
A reference to rumors about bands using the practice of "backmasking", putting backwards messages into their recordings. In particular, the band Judas Priest was sued by the parents of a teenage boy who committed suicide, who claimed that Judas Priest had hidden the message "Do it" in one of their songs.
- "Of all the public television stations in the world..."
In the spirit of Casablanca being key to the movie, Mike parodies one of its most famous quotes: "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."
- "I've got a fever for the flavor of Fingal!"
A play on a Pringles advertising slogan from the 1980s.
- "Angus Young!"
- "Eating Raul!"
A reference to the 1982 black comedy film Eating Raoul.
- "We just lost Watson." "He came here, we wanted him."
A reference to Alexander Graham Bell and the first words ever spoken over telephone: "Mr. Watson — Come here — I want to see you."
Tom Servo says this a few times while the computers make beeping noises which sound very familiar to the electronic beat of the song "Fashion" by David Bowie.
- "You can't always get what you want..."
A reference to the Rolling Stones song of the same name, sung by a chorus. A choir is heard in the background as an angelic Apollonia is floating down from the sky.
- "Could Woody Allen bring a lawsuit against these people?" "I don't think Woody's gonna bring too many lawsuits against anyone, really."
Around the time this aired, Woody Allen was embroiled in various legal entanglements related to the end of his longtime relationship with Mia Farrow, and scandal over the fact he'd left her for Farrow's adopted daughter Soon-Yi Previn. Presumably, the grounds for Mr. Allen to sue would be because this is all very similar to his play and movie Play It Again, Sam in which a neurotic guy is given advice on life by a vision of Humphrey Bogart from Casablanca.
- [Pearl is holding a pledge drive. Servo is trying to call in, but Mike is holding Servo's arm, stretching out the spring.]
- Servo: Gimme! Come on, there's still much more to tote!
- Mike: Let go of it, man!
- Servo: Oh sure, Mike. Go watch your Websters, and your Facts of Lifeses, and your Who's The Bossesesses!
- [Movie Sign goes off]
- Mike: We got movie sign! [Mike lets go of Servo's hand, sending him flying off screen]
- [The opening credits and movie's theme begin over an image of Raul Julia's head inside a golden electronic cube]
- Mike: This lovely Raul Julia pendant, available only on the Home Shopping Network.
- Crow: It's a Raulbik's Cube!
- Servo: Heh heh guys, see, I thought that he was Puerto Rican, I didn't know that he was...
- Mike: Oh no, don't say it!
- Servo: ...Cube-in!
- Mike: Ahhh.
- [The cube begins to fade away]
- Crow: Raul, you come right back and be in this bad movie, young man!
- Servo [as Raul Julia]: But I'm signed to play Archbishop Romero!
- [The movie's theme plays]
- Mike: And now, the news.
- [New York City PBS affiliate WNET is credited]
- Servo: That's the New York Public TV station! What, did Pearl accidentally send us "MacNeil-Lehrer Report"?
- [Title card is shown]
- Servo: [with monotone sarcasm] Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. That is funny.
- Crow: Wanda Cannon? Now that's a porno name if I ever head one! Not that I've ever heard one... You know, I don't subscribe to lots of publications or anything.
- [The gray-haired and fat head of NoviCorp is giving a speech during the opening credits.]
- Mike: Wow. TV's Frank!
- Servo: Wow. Frank's really come up in the world.
- Crow: Still, this is easier than reading "Wired" magazine.
- [Over a shot of Fingal's workplace]
- Crow: SAT farms of the future!
- [Explaining Fingal's problem, secretly watching movies doing work]
- Appalonia: He was working in the data flow center of NoviCorp as a processor third class. He had a terrible job: monitoring routine data output on global climate control.
- [The Warner Brothers logo appears on Fingal's screen.]
- Mike: And its effect on Bugs Bunny.
- . . .
- Servo: Man, never show a good movie in the middle of your crappy movie.
- . . .
- Appalonia: And he'd been doing it for a few weeks before they caught him doing it.
- Mike [as Appalonia]: Data entrying with no pants.
- . . .
- [Fingal gets caught.]
- Crow: We now return to Billy Madison.
- [Fingal has been sent to therapy.]
- Mike: [on the therapist] It's Merv Griffin!
- Computer: Ask about his mother.
- Servo [as Computer]: Ask if she wears Army boots.
- Servo: So aging lesbian nuns run the future?
- [A shuttle passenger dashes impoverished Fingal's hopes of "doppling" into a stallion.]
- Fingal: I got 47 credits. What kind of a dopple do you think that buys?
- Shuttle Passenger: An anteater... maybe.
- Crow: Whoa, huge slam on anteaters out of nowhere!
- [At Nirvana Village, workers pass by Fingal with "doppling" people on a tray.]
- Servo: Oh, look. Must be a Jack-In-The-Box in the food court.
- [A boy looks at routing tags while the teacher is explaining what the colors mean.]
- Boy: And blue, like this?
- Teacher: Well, that's rather unusual. We can talk about it later.
- Boy: Is it sexy?
- Teacher: We'll talk about it later! Now come along, the class is waiting in the doppling room.
- [The boy secretly switches a blue tag with a orange tag before leaving.]
- Servo: [chuckling] The littlest sexual deviant.
- . . .
- [Later, the boy switches Fingal's green routing tag with the blue one.]
- Servo: There's your precious Canadian healthcare system at work. [N]
- [A medico and teacher stop restless little Desirée from playing with Fingal's exposed brain, while Marco looks for more mischief.]
- Servo: Is it "Children of the Damned Day" at the brain institute here?
- [Fingal's sleeping body is silhouetted against his identicube.]
- Crow: Doctor Who... the hell cares!
- Mike: You know, isn't it weird how life imitates art, and I'm, like, sleeping right now, too?
- [Fingal has been "doppled" into a baboon.]
- Fingal: At least I'm not an anteater.
- Mike: This movie just hates anteaters!
- . . .
- Fingal: This cost me every credit I have?
- Mike: He's gonna start flinging it any minute now!
- . . .
- Mike [as Fingal]: I'm as clumsy as a stupid, repulsive anteater!
- [The "doppled" Fingal is looking at a giraffe.]
- Fingal: What happened to him? He looks drunk to me!
- Crow [as giraffe]: I'm on medication, okay?
- [An overhead shot of workers running around Nirvana Village trying to intercept a unauthorized communication.]
- Servo [as Worker]: Embassy Suites is having a free brunch! Woo!
- [Fingal's identicube begins flahing red.]
- Crow: Must be Christmas on the Borg ship.
- Servo: [singing] See you on the dark side of Raul...
- Mike: You know, I hope nobody ever scrolls up this cinema.
- [Fingal is talking to Pierre, a Peter Lorre lookalike.]
- Mike: It's Asian Pee-Wee.
- . . .
- Crow: Who's he trying to do? Jimmy Stewart? Uh, James Cagney. No, no, no, wait... John Kenneth Gaulbraith. No, no, no, Ram Jazz. Uh, Terry "Hulk" Hogan, maybe...
- Pierre: Everybody goes to The Place.
- Servo [as Co-worker]: You know, when they have to go...
- [On the name of "The Place"]
- Mike: Formerly "That Other Place".
- Servo: Yeah, they hired a huge consulting firm for millions of bucks, and this was the name they thought up.
- . . .
- Servo: Formerly "The Locale".
- . . .
- Mike: Formerly "The Site".
- . . .
- Crow: It's changed ownership. Now it's a gentleman's club.
- [During another one of Pearl's pledge breaks, Pearl has shown a clip of her signing a duet with Brain Guy.]
- Professor Bobo: Hey, I can sing, too! [singing off-key] And now you find yourself in '82— [Pearl kicks him in the groin.]
- [The Fat Man enters "The Place" and sits down.]
- Mike [as the Fat Man]: All I can eat? The joke's on them!
- [While stuck inside the NoviCorp computer, Fingal is told to go about his normal data processing routines.]
- Fingal: I can't take this anymore... I'm so bored!
- [Mike and the bots all look around]
- Servo: OK, which one of us said that?
- Crow: I felt it, I don't...
- . . .
- Fingal: Listen! We're nothing more than a byte in a giant computer!
- Mike, Crow, Servo [as co-workers]: [dully] I'm okay with that.
- . . .
- [Fingal holds up a bunch of cards and they turn into flowers.]
- Crow [as co-worker]: My coffee coupon!
- Fingal: If I'm in charge of what happens to me in here. I'm not going to go on being a zombie like all those zombies at work.
- Crow: I'll be a better zombie!
- [During a rather adult scene]
- Mike: Man, kids are tuning in to watch "Barney"...
- [Inside Fingal's virtual world, sim-Apollonia argues with Fingal about his "romance" with a simulated co-worker.]
- Apollonia: If this one-handed exercise is all you can think of to do with your life...
- Crow: Whoa!
- Apollonia: ...you're a very little man, and I'm very disappointed in you!
- Servo: Is this still the Officially Sanctioned Boring Part?
- . . .
- Fingal: It's a good thing we don't have to like each other, isn't it? Because you're definitely not my kind of woman!
- [Apollonia slaps him.]
- Crow [as Fingal]: Well, now you are, actually.
- . . .
- Apollonia: Fingal... I want to do the right thing... I'm just not sure what that is...
- Servo: Well, slapping him seemed like a good start!
- [In the simulated bar "The Place", Fingal talks to bar-owner Rick.]
- Rick: What're you gonna do?
- Fingal: I don't know. But I've got to get the hell out of here. NoviCorp isn't helping! So I guess I'm going to have to push my own buttons for a change.
- Mike: Ah, you've been doing enough of that, mister!
- [Fingal is trying to write a computer program while in the computer.]
- Computer: What is your access code?
- Crow: Where do you want to go today? All over this movie, that's where I want to go.
- Computer: Invalid access. Quit or retry?
- Servo: I'll take "Quit" for 25, Alex.
- [Fingal's mainframe tampering produces a snowfall inside the simulated NoviCorp building.]
- Crow: The chairman's got really bad dandruff.
- Mike: This is how much pure cocaine you would need to enjoy this movie.
- . . .
- Fingal: I'm not making this up!
- Mike [as Fingal]: I'm not cleaning it up either!
- Crow: So this is public television, huh? Suddenly I feel like beating the crap out of Fred Rogers.
- [Apollonia is trying to convince Fingal that he shouldn't stay a dopple]
- Apollonia: Dopples don't dance, they don't make love...
- Crow: They're Lutherans!
- [During another simulation, Fingal has been sent to the Garden of Eden.]
- Mike, Crow, Servo: [singing to the background music] You can't always get what you want...
- . . .
- [Two tablets fall from the sky, and Fingal catches them.]
- Servo [as God]: Here's some more commandments I forgot.
- Fingal: Shut up, Fat Man!
- Mike [as Fingal]: You... you anteater!
- [As the Fat Man leaves]
- Crow [as Fat Man]: To Wendy's!
- [Fingal has successfully been allowed to redistribute finance.]
- Fingal: Genius. Pure Genius.
- Crow: ...couldn't save this film.
- . . .
- [At the Fat Man's office, cards begin flying out of nowhere.]
- Servo [as Fat Man]: I'm farting Monopoly cards!
- Mike: Well, they're all getting credits where credits are due. [chuckles] Sorry.
- [In the final confrontation scene, Fat Man pulls out a gun.]
- Crow [as Fat Man]: Draw... me some butter!
- Servo: People with pacemakers, do not watch Raul Julia here.
- [Fingal's identicube has destructed. Both Fingal and Rick are flying through a portal.]
- Mike: Vertigo to hell.
- . . .
- Servo: You kidding? We'll have an electron sex party right now!
- . . .
- [Sim-Fingal flies by, arms open.]
- Mike: I love you this much!
- [Sim-Rick flies by, his hands in his pockets.]
- Servo: I don't care for you!
- [Fingal (played by Raul Julia) finally awakes in his own body. Apollonia practically lies on him in a serious lip-lock.]
- Crow: Eating Raul!
- [Fingal (now Rick) is sending the chairman to rehab. Appalonia suggests "doppling" him into Daisy, the baboon Fingal was originally "doppled" as.]
- Rick: Daisy's too good for the bastard. He's going on as an anteater!
- Servo: Lay off the anteaters! Come on!
- Crow: Man!
- [Fingal and Apollonia go into yet another lip-lock in this PBS TV movie.]
- Servo: Oh, and I guess "PBS" means "Public Boinking System", huh?
- [At the end of the movie, all of Fingal's (now Rick's) co-workers are watching "Casablanca".]
- Crow [as co-worker]: But I hate this movie. It's on AMC every week!
- [The theme plays at the end.]
- Mike: And now the news.
- [Theme plays again.]
- Mike: That was the news.
- Commercially released on DVD by Rhino in November 2003 as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection: Volume 4, a 4-DVD set with Space Mutiny, Girl in Gold Boots, and Hamlet, the DVD was later pulled in January 2010 due to Rhino no longer holding the rights to distribute MST3K.
- The DVD features an introduction by Mike Nelson, specifically produced for the DVD release. The writers made an effort to not excessively mock Raul Julia explicitly for his performance in Overdrawn, since Julia - who was well respected outside of this movie - had died three years before the episode aired.
- Available for rent or purchase on Amazon's streaming service, and is included with the Shout! TV Prime Channel subscription.