The episode: “Daddy-O,” ep. 307
The riff: Opined by Tom as a truck driver and a young woman in a luxury car engage in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse in their vehicles. Which is to say, they try to pass each other.
The explanation: “Duel” is the title of an influential 1971 thriller film that was made for TV, largely remembered as being the first feature film of Steven Spielberg’s career. It tells a simple story, that of a man being chased by a trucker for no apparent reason in the desert. The trucker is purposely kept faceless throughout the film, and only his truck is scene. Whereas here in this MST3k episode, we see things from the trucker’s perspective, hence the joke. Weirdly enough, “Daddy-O” was also the film debut of frequent Spielberg collaborator John Williams as a composer.
Novelty factor: I recognized the film reference right away, but I’ve actually never seen “Duel.” I’ve only ever read about it.