The episode: “Zombie Nightmare,” ep. 604
The riff: Exclaimed by Mike as a group of young people chuckle heartily and slap one another on the back. At the exact moment he says it, one guy is holding his hands in such a way that he almost seems to be giving dual middle fingers to the camera.
The explanation: I’m sure you’re familiar with the Mentos line of mints, but this is actually a sort of complicated riff. On one hand, it’s a parody of the ridiculously upbeat Mentos ads that appeared all throughout the 1990s, where the little mints would help people do the impossible and solve wacky situations. The Foo Fighters notably parodied these commercials in their song “Big Me.” But MST3k also has personal history with the Mentos brand. In the 1990s, the commercials ran constantly on Comedy Central, and at times it seemed like Mentos were the only sponsor the network could get during the show’s two-hour runtime. This ended in Mike and the bots parodying Mentos commercials in one of their host segments for “Mystos” mints.
Novelty factor: Being a big geek about the show, I knew that they had some kind of history with Mentos.