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Historical Background Dept.: Back in the summer of '94, my daily obsessions with Nine Inch Nails and MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 were running pretty much neck-and-neck. Around that time, I first got access to the 'Net, and spent most of my time hanging out on Usenet in and One day, it struck me that having MST3K's Mike, Crow, and Tom Servo watching (and commenting on) NIN's "closer" video might be a hoot 'n' a half; I promptly typed up said fanfic and posted it to the MST3K conferences. (I originally opted not to cross-post to the Nails newsgroup, for fear that the more rabid "NINnies" might burn me at the stake.) As it turned out, the piece made it over to a.m.n after all, resulting in the following E-mail:

Date: Mon, 25 Jul 94 22:29:10 EDT
Subject: Closer 
I directed the Closer vid. That MST3000 transcript had me laughing so hard I was crying. How can I get that on tape?
Mark Romanek

Yow. (I didn't even mind breaking the news to him that it wasn't a real MST3k episode...)

Anyway, with the new Reznor/Romanek collaboration "The Perfect Drug" keeping their batting average at 1.000, I thought I'd exhume the piece, revise some of the wisecracks, and add screen captures ("visual aids," you might say). Obviously, if you haven't seen the original "closer" video all the way through, run off to your nearest boob tube -- or, if you can afford the bandwidth, get it online -- then come back here. We'll wait for you. Promise!

(PS. Feel free to E-mail me if you don't get some of the more esoteric jokes...)

Mike Nelson on the Satellite of Love MIKE: Whoops, Fripp and Eno are calling... (Hits call button)
 Dr. Forrester DR. F: Greetings, Crow D., Flavorless Flav, Tominator X. Something a little different today, punkies: Frank was trying to write a Java script on the server and accidentally crosswired and, so you'll be getting your first music video today.
 Crow, Mike, and Servo

MIKE: (Butt-head voice) Huh huh. He said "script." Huh huh huh...
CROW: (Beavis voice) Yeah. Hmm hmm mmm hmm...
TOM: (Mr. Anderson voice) Whut th' hell?

 Frank and Dr. F DR. F: Joke while you can, Idalis, this'll be a killing joke!
FRANK: Killing Joke? I LOVE them! (singing) "I'M LIVING IN THE EIGH-TIES!"
DR. F: No, Frank, not the band Killing Joke -- I mean Nine Inch Nails. Bow down before the one you serve!
FRANK: You're going to get what you deserve...
DR. F: I bring you "closer" -- to PAIN. Send 'em the video, Frank.
 Door sequence...6...5...4...3...2...1...
Heart letting off steam CROW: What is this, the Jarvik 6?
TOM: When I asked for a plate of "steamers," I wasn't expecting this!
Bald lady with eggs spinning on fingers CROW: Hey, it's Edie the egg lady!
MIKE: Oh, the agony of mistaking the Nair for the styling mousse...
 Crucified monkey TOM: "Rhesus Christ Superstar."
 Trent holding a seashell CROW: I can never remember -- is that a nautilus shell or a conch shell?
TOM: Hey Mike, they "conched" him on the noggin, too!
MIKE: Don't remind me...
 Bug crawling ALL: RAAAAAAAID!!
 Man behind ticket window MIKE: Ladies and gentleman, the president of TicketMaster!
TOM: Thank you, thank you. A ten dollar per ticket service charge is more than fair, and Pearl Jam are just a bunch of whining dickweeds...
 Trent suspended in mid-air TOM: Thunderbirds are Alternative!
CROW: He's wearing the Playtex "No Visible Means of Support" jockstrap.
MIKE: Man, that is one BUTT-ugly pinata...
 Trent singing in front of a cow carcass CROW: Beef -- The Other Music Video Prop!
TOM: My God -- it's full of steers!
 Trent clawing at himself TOM: Nurse? Some Prozac for Mr. Reznor, please.
 Committee of old men CROW: Hi, we're from the PMRC. Tipper wants to make sure you don't do anything...y'know...nasty.
TOM: It's the Franz Kafka Appreciation Society!
 Trent wearing visor, in bondage TOM: When did "VR-5" start running on the Playboy Channel?
MIKE: Just another VIDEODROME outtake...
 Naked woman posing with steer skull CROW: You know, I'm not even gonna touch this one...
MIKE: Whattaya mean?
CROW: Well, she's naked. know...horny...
MIKE: You're getting "closer" to a major time-out, my friend.
 Machine with pig head TOM: Pork -- The Other Erector Set!
CROW: Pigbot?
MIKE: Don't worry, pig lovers, we didn't use a real pig!
CROW: Yes we did!
MIKE: Uh -- okay, but it was just this once...
 Moray eel swimming TOM: Ya know, this reminds me of a Dean Martin song.
MIKE: Really?
TOM: (singing) "When the eel bites your arm/And you scream with alarm/That's a moray!"
 Medical engravings CROW: Okay, I came up, I saw your what?
 Little girl lounging in chair TOM: Alice In Reznorland!
CROW: Kathy Ireland -- The Preschool Years!
MIKE: (dirty old man voice) Hey, little girl, wanna be the next Tawny Kitaen?
 Man in top hat and tuxedo MIKE: I didn't know Trent collected cast-iron lawn jockeys...
 Girls with hair braided together CROW: That's gotta be "The Bad Hair Day From Hell..."
 Square-faced old man TOM: Dolph Lundgren in: "Grumpy Old Men Kick Ass!"
Trent licking the microphone MIKE: ZZZZAP! Ow! That's not properly grounded!
 Man Ray's "Object to be Destroyed" TOM: WHAT?!? They haven't destroyed that object YET?
 Startled old man CROW: Norman Fell!
 Old-fashioned adding machine MIKE: ...minus repairs for two smashed DX-7's, fifty thousand for payola this week, eight G's for the cocaine...
 Trent buffeted in wind tunnel TOM: Major John Paul Stapp -- The Musical!
 Film catches in gate, burns up CROW: (disgusted) Union projectionist...
Man blows dust off top hat  ALL: *cough!* *cough!* *choke!* *gasp!* *wheeze!*
 Trent plays the gutted synthesizer CROW: "Trent Plays Tori Amos -- Badly!"
TOM: Madame Sousatzka, I'm ready for my lesson now...
Final shot of candles burning MIKE: Extinguish your candles! (Where applicable...)
CROW: I'm getting nausea. Let's go.
Door sequence...1... 2...3...4...5...6......Back on the SOL
Mike and the 'bots discuss "closer" TOM: Well. Scar me for life, why don't you?
CROW: You get the feeling the wrong band did "I Hate Myself And I Want To Die..."
MIKE: Come on, guys, it wasn't that traumatic. Didn't you enjoy the faux-antique cinematography? The nods to Man Ray and Mark Pauline?
CROW: Not to mention self-loathing so thick you could eat it with a fork!
TOM: Yeah, but use a spoon -- you'll want to gouge out every last drop of your spleen!
MIKE: Teenyboppers. (Call light flashes) What do you think, sirs?
Dr. F gets the last word in! (Frank is dangling from a wire. A drum synthesizer thumps mournfully in the background)
FRANK: Oh, I'm so depressed. Oh, my life sucks. Oh...
(Dr. Forrester comes into view)
DR. F: Well, Depeche Mode, I see that clip left you thoroughly "Broken." (Chuckles at his little joke) Now if you'll excuse us, I have to have Frank "Fixed"...
(Dr. Forrester pushes Frank away. Frank swings back, slams into Dr. Forrester and pushes him into the control panel...)
---------------- * ----------------

PARALEGAL VIDEO-CREDITS-IN-THE-LOWER-LEFT-HAND-CORNER-OF-THE-SCREEN DEPT: "MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000," its characters and situations are (c) Best Brains Inc. Nine Inch Nails and "closer" are (c) Nothing/TVT/Interscope records. All rights reserved. All slights deserved. Intended as satire.

This column is dedicated to Mark Romanek, who knows a good joke even when it's at his expense...

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