Memorable Post-Episode Stingers in TV History

Stinger can be used to describe the nasty bit of anatomy on an insect that can cause you to hurt like you were forced to watch a 24-hour marathon of Family Guy.” Stinger is also an alcoholic drink that, when you’ve had too many, can cause you to think Family Guy is actually funny. Stinger is also used to describe a little bonus that appears after the closing credits of a TV show. Some stingers are more memorable than others, and these are among the best.

Mystery Science Theater 3000

The stinger first began appearing at the end of MST3K early in the second season. Almost all episodes of MST3K featured a stinger in the form of a clip from the movie that was just riffed and ragged upon by the robots and humans aboard the Satellite of Love. Looking for any rhyme or reason to the collective entity known as the MST3K stinger is an exercise in futility. Usually, the clip features a particularly bizarre moment from the movie in question, but the quality of bizarre ranges wildly from a silent shot of a contemplative Gene Hackman as an astronaut to a Bigfoot hunter softly saying “I saw the little creature” to a teenage caveman running into a tree limb.

The Muppet Show

Just before the fanfare dies down, the late great and totally lamented 1970’s syndicated brilliance of The Muppet Show would focus on the two old hecklers sitting high up in the theater. Statler and Waldorf always ended The Muppet Show with a sarcastic observation. The post-credits putdown wasn’t known as a stinger at the time; In fact, I’m not entirely sure when such a post-credits bonus became known as a stinger. What is for sure is that the final Statler and Waldorf heckle can now be seen as the prototype for the MST3K stinger and other examples.

King of the Hill
King the Hill did not start out featuring a post-credits resurrection of a great line from that night’s show, but it is now hard to remember when the show didn’t include a stinger. Just about every major character from “King of the Hill” got their opportunity to act as the coda for an episode, and it was difficult to tell while watching the show which particular line would be singled out for stinger immortality following the last chord of the closing theme music. Among my own personal favorites is Bill Dauterive saying “The monkeys must never find out.”

Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena offers a stinger of a different color. The stinger offered at the end of many, though not all, episodes of “Xena: Warrior Princess” are in the form of a crazy disclaimer credit. Examples include “No Dead Amazons lost their lives during the production of this motion picture” and “Although no great literary works of art were harmed or plagiarized, a few thespians stole some scenes during the production of this motion picture.”

Third ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ Could Do with Same-Named ‘MST3K’ Staple Over Zellweger

Just what the world has been waiting for: a third “Bridget Jones’s Diary” movie. Who out there hasn’t been biting their fingernails and fighting off constipative worries over the potential that they would never again see Rene Zellweger’s pinched face situated between the man who saved the world from Rupert Murdoch (potentially) and the fella with the stammer? Maybe this time the fella with the stammer will become the definite winner once and for all.

Oh wait, Hugh Grant made a career out of stammering. Yeah, maybe, but Colin Firth picked up a naked little golden guy with no hair by sputtering and stuttering. Yes indeedy, a whole lot has happened since Bridget Jones made a tentative decision to head off into the great beyond with Firth’s character. According to Firth’s interview with Entertainment Weekly, the third installment may have something to do with Bridget discovering she can’t have kids with Firth’s character and then deciding to head back to Grant’s character. Of course, that could be nothing more than wishful thinking for Firth, whose post-Oscar dreams may be of a Bridget Jones movie without actual love scenes with Zellweger.

You know what would make a really great third Bridget Jones movie? The movie could open up with Grant’s character in bed watching television. The flickering images of a TV show on casts shadows and light across Grant’s extremely lined face and we hear what sounds like a classic British horror film such as, oh, let’s say “Devil Doll.” Suddenly, Grant’s attention is caught by the appearance of a woman on the TV who isn’t part of that old movie about the psycho ventriloquist.

This version of the third “Bridge Jones’s Diary” then switches over to Firth, who is also awake at night watching “Devil Doll.” Only it turns out that he and Grant aren’t really watching “Devil Doll” per se, but rather the “Mystery Science Theater 3000” version of “Devil Doll.” Both are entranced by the appearance of the actress playing Flavia in the host sequences set in ancient Rome.

Imagine their surprise, shock, and sensuality when they both wait until the credits to discover that the name of the actress who plays Flavia is — Bridget Jones! At this revelation, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” in its second sequel status becomes a race between Firth and Grant to seek out this second, brunette Bridget Jones who inhabits all those qualities their first, blonde Bridget does not: confidence, self-control, and lack of compulsiveness; not guided by fluctuations in her weight; and possessed of a wickedly satiric sense of humor.

Alas, the real life Bridget Jones is married to fellow “MST3K” writer and performer Michael J. Nelson. Nelson, faced with the prospect of two guys even pastier than him making a play for his wife, temporarily leaves his job recording riffs over movies like “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “The King’s Speech” to track down exactly why his wife Bridget is paying such attention to these two guys from across the pond. This is the point in the movie where Mike discovers there is, indeed, a second diary belonging to one Bridget Jones.