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Pearl Forrester

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Pearl

Pearl Forrester in Castle Forrester

Pearl Forrester was one of the villains on Mystery Science Theater 3000. She was played by Mary Jo Pehl. Forrester was the mother of Dr. Clayton Forrester (Trace Beaulieu). Initially devised as a guest character, Pearl would take on an increasingly important role in the series, first as a replacement supporting character for Dr. Forrester and subsequently replacing him as the lead mad scientist.

Pearl's first appearance was in the episode Bloodlust!. Her character was featured in the opening and closing host segments when she paid a visit to Dr Forrester and his current assistant, TV's Frank. It became apparent that Frank had become a firm friend of Pearl's through a long correspondence, and Pearl was much more interested in spending time with him than her own son. At the end of the sixth season, TV's Frank died and Pearl moved in to help her son at the beginning of the seventh season, and became a regular cast member from that point until the end of the show's tenth and final season.

When Trace Beaulieu left at the end of the season, Pearl took over as the head Mad at the beginning of the eighth season. According to the backstory presented at that time, Pearl killed Dr. Forrester (after he had re-attained adulthood following his transformation into a baby), then vowed to "avenge his death" by continuing his experiments on Mike and the Bots; she had herself cryogenically frozen until the year 2525 and became the leader of the Planet of the Apes-like apes who now dominated Earth, at which point she (apparently) somehow drew the Satellite of Love's crew back to the ship so that she could send them bad movies. In the episode "The Deadly Mantis," the Earth was destroyed, when Professor Bobo and Dr. Peanut helped their mutant neighbors fix their thermonuclear device. From then until the end of the series, she was assisted by Professor Bobo, who often addressed her as Lawgiver (another Planet of the Apes reference), and Observer. During the episode "Quest of the Delta Knights" she becomes frustrated with a significant lack of progress in the experiment and decides to do some role-reversal to see firsthand what is wrong with the experiment, switching places with Mike in the Satellite of Love while Mike takes her place in Castle Forrester. During the movie, in lieu of a smoke, she decides to suck on a mint and shares with the bots. She is later referred to as "Mintgiver" by the bots.

When the Satellite of Love returned to the present, Pearl and her lackeys followed and took up residence at Castle Forrester, ancestral home of the Forrester family, where she found records of a long line of Forresters who had performed experiments similar to those she and Dr. Forrester conducted on Mike and the Bots. Oddly, Pearl claims to be descended from these Forresters, indicating that Dr. Forrester used his mother's original surname, rather than that of his father (whoever that might be), which might suggest that he was born out of wedlock, or that the strong-willed Pearl refused to change her surname on marriage and insisted on her children bearing her name, or possibly that his father died before he was born. Indeed, Pearl has been married several times, with all of her husbands meeting gruesome fates on their honeymoons (it is implied that she was responsible for all their deaths):

  • Chuck — became a prairie dog when he and Pearl visited a prairie dog colony in South Dakota; cause of death unrevealed
  • Felipe — shot
  • Maury — had hatpins shoved through his eyes right before the ceremony, presumably lingered long enough to in fact marry Pearl, then die on the honeymoon
  • Wendell — shot
  • Jerome — cause of death unrevealed (by her sinister tone of voice when she alludes to his death, it is implied he died in a particularly gruesome manner)

Which, if any, of these men was Dr. Forrester's father is unrevealed.

At the end of the series, Pearl accidentally used a new controller to send the Satellite of Love crashing back to Earth. She supposedly became the ruler of Qatar, where she vowed that her first item of business would be to insert a "U" in the nation's name. She is last seen with her lair devoid of furnishings (it is evident that they are nearly moved out), attempting to dance and sing "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" with her cronies by the light of a lone light bulb in a parody of the final episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Her last words to Mike and the Bots before pulling the plug on Castle Forrester's observation equipment were, "Look, Nelson. Move on. I am."

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