Articles · MST3K

I’m (Potentially) Moving to Minnesota Because of a Puppet Show

Just hear me out.

Sometimes, if you’re extremely lucky, you find something so wonderful and pure, so unapologetically cheerful, so transcendentally beautiful that it changes your life forever and you have no choice but to let it influence all of your major decisions.

For me, that thing is the ’90s TV godsend, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Enjoy your flashback to 1992.

It’s an absurdly long story, but the point of it is that when I was 15, MST3K saved my life.

I was suicidal because of my borderline personality disorder, and no one had figured out yet that the pills they were feeding me every day weren’t effective. So I was unstable, untreated, and pubescent, and as a result, unbearably miserable. I was so preoccupied with being acutely mentally ill that I didn’t know how to love anyone or anything. Or maybe I just didn’t want to.

Joel Hodgson made me want to.

Joel holding a fan-made statue of himself holding one of his lovely inventions. Totally normal.

My mentally ill assertion that I would never care for a human being crumbled to sand and blew away when this stupid, low-budget, hopelessly Midwestern puppet show and its sleepy brunette creator were introduced into my life when I was 15.

I’m not even going to begin to try to explain what’s going on in this picture.

Now, seven years later, I find myself still living with my parents, still treated like a hospital patient in my own home, still unable to make the independent decisions that an intelligent person in her early twenties should be able to make. And it all boils down to my personality disorder: had I not gotten sick in junior high (or possibly when I was born), I would be out in the world right now, building empires with my creativity and making my own 30-year legacy like Joel has.

I have that in me. It’s just been buried in depression.

For ten years.

The next life choice I make needs to be bigger and stronger than the disease that has been pummeling me into the ground my entire adult life. If my convictions going forward are weak, mental illness will swallow them and I’ll end up back in my parents’ house – that’s a guarantee. Moving out is the obvious first step: it allows me to be independent. But where can I go that has a vibrant arts scene, is home to many of my friends, and has some sort of spiritual connection to Mystery Science Theater?




MST3K originally aired on a UHF station in the Twin Cities, because that’s where it was made. The cowtown puppet show’s first ten seasons were written and filmed in an otherwise unextraordinary office park just outside of Minneapolis, and the demeanor of the show reflects that suburban charm. I’ve been there twice and absolutely loved it.

2016-06-27 10.09.00
Trace Beaulieu, me, Carolina Hidalgo, and Frank Conniff outside Best Brains, the original MST3K building in MN.

Before you get up in arms about the sheer stupidity of the major decision I’m about to make, please understand that I have nowhere else to go. I can’t even move back to my hometown of Boulder, CO, because ever since Google set up camp there, rent has become prohibitively expensive. San Francisco, which is my favorite place on Earth, is also out of the question for the same reason. After ruling out the two places I could possibly already call home, every potential new city where I could live is equally foreign and scary to me.

Except one, of course.

The State Theater in Minneapolis in 2016. That was a great day.

Just to be clear, nothing is set in stone yet. There are a lot of finances and logistics to work out before I can say my heart is irreversibly set on Minnesota. For now, I can only say I’m pretty sure that’s where I’m going. After all, a lot of the show’s original cast, many of whom I’m extremely fortunate to call my friends, still live in the Twin Cities area. As far as I’m concerned, if Minneapolis is good enough for the people who have brought me more happiness than anything else has since I was 15, it’s good enough for me.

2016-02-26 01.46.31
Speaking of home.

2 thoughts on “I’m (Potentially) Moving to Minnesota Because of a Puppet Show

  1. When I first saw your musings on moving to Minnesota on Facebook I was going to do something stupid like recommend you move where I am, just because it was an option and I actually have two levels of connection with you, namely MST3K and your dad. (We’ve swapped e-mails a few times, but he probably doesn’t remember me. Such is the fate of most fans.) But then I thought that moving to Minneapolis would probably be a good place for you. First, it’s a place you feel a connection to. It doesn’t matter what that connection is, it’s important that you have that connection. Second, it’s your decision to do this and I recognize that this is an important thing. In short, I think you’re doing the right thing for yourself. I hope you’re able to make this happen.


  2. Hi Zoe, after reading so many articles in which you expressed your unberable suffering caused by your drug resistant disease, it’s quite refreshing to read your new, optimistic and passionate, post ECT ones. Let’s hope that you finally found the right treatment. And from everything I read from you lately, I would risk saying that you did.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s