I laughed out loud a solid handful of times at the supermarket short. Pretty funny. The county fair short...seems a bit less densely written...
That short had a lot of actual pauses after sentences where the lack of a riff was glaringly obvious. I feel almost like I shouldn't complain since the Netflix shows were jammed too full of riffs but it was...offputting...to expect a riff and be met with silence. I had a few laughs on the Supermarket short but the County Fair one was a total disappointment. I've always enjoyed Josh's droll riffing, but Bill seemed like he was throwing in asides and under-the-breath words to make it feel more "live." That may be because Bill riffs far more often than the other two, or it may just be his style, but he sounded very comfortable, more so than Josh or Joel. (Also, this is personal to me, but I just don't like that fakey "riffing voice" Joel has been using since the MST3K Reunion Show. It's very grating after two or three lines and totally unnecessary to the delivery of the joke most times.) All in all I think it was a good idea to have Josh and Bill reprise Tom and Crow; they're just better at comic timing and riff delivery than the current Tom and Crow performers.
Technically it was an acceptable job given that it was produced and assembled remotely. Joel's sound was a bit tinnier, more distant than that of Josh or Bill. The Shadowrama was awful for the entrances/exits into/out of the theater, with "Joel's" silhouette noticeably growing and shrinking, but OK for the seats. I would like to know why Matt McGinnis was used as a stand-in for Joel, though. It was glaringly obvious that was NOT Joel, the head and shoulder shape was off. I can think of no good reason why Joel couldn't have done his own silhouette.
I will add, too, that this event did nothing to reassure me about the health of the MST3k brand. When I tuned in, there were only about 1,000 people watching, and even I stopped watching after a few seconds, deciding that I would really rather watch someone play video games on Twitch. Sad, but true.
Found the show on youtube. Watched the first short. Not bad. I laughed. Josh's delivery is as dry as ever -- "here they are trimming off the extra consonants." Bill was good, but then he's never stopped riffing, and even though I think a lot of the writing on RiffTrax is stale, there delivery has stayed pretty solid over the years.
NOT Joel in the silhouette was obvious and distracting. And, yes his delivery was a little lacking. But then, I never loved his delivery even back to Cinematic Titanic. He's never been the same as that sleepy-eyed nerdy-but-cool that he was back in the golden days of CC MST3K.
My esteem for the Supermarket short has grown since my last post. I watched it with the family over Thanksgiving along with a few classic shorts (Spring Fever, Mr. B Natural, and Hired Pt. 1), but it was the Supermarket short that got the most and the biggest laughs of the night.
Also, the subtle meaning of the line "Where's Johnny?" completely escaped me the first time around. It wasn't until this second viewing, when other people started laughing at it, that it hit me. Dang, I'm usually quicker on the uptake! But that was great line.