Say, what is the deal with this guy and these cute robots?
~ Mike Nelson, asking TV's Frank about Joel Robinson and the 'bots

Mike Nelson was the second human protagonist of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Mike Nelson was portrayed by series head writer Michael J. Nelson.

Mike was hired as a temp worker for Dr. Clayton Forrester and TV's Frank when they were being audited by the Fraternal Order of Mad Scientists. Gypsy happened to hear the Mads plotting to fire Mike, but assumed they were talking about killing Joel Robinson. Mike helped Gypsy in her efforts to return Joel to Earth. Needing a new test case the Mads decided to send Mike into space to watch bad movies after Joel had escaped.

On board the Satellite of Love, Mike watched the movies while making jokes with the help of two robots built by Joel, Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo. During his time aboard the satellite, Mike made many attempts to escape to no avail.

At the end of the tenth season, the Satellite of Love crashed on Earth, but Mike and his robot friends survived the crash. Gypsy went on to run a company on Earth. Meanwhile Tom Servo, Crow, and Mike all moved into a one-bedroom apartment. The last thing they did on the show as watch The Crawling Eye, the first movie riffed on the series.

The 'bots eventually were recaptured by Kinga Forrester and placed on board a new Satellite of Love, where they were forced to watch bad movies with Jonah Heston.


Mike had a very goofy and mischeivous personality, often playing pranks on his captors and trying to escape. Crow and Tom Servo, who would riff along with him in the theater, would often tease and make fun of Mike, although they ultimately respected him. He is also slightly dim, having accidentally caused the destruction of three planets, and thinking that his identity had been stolen when his wallet was misplaced.


  • Nelson had previously guest starred in a number of bit parts on MST3K, including the recurring character of Torgo.
  • When show creator and host Joel Hogdson decided to leave the series in the fifth season, Hogdson named Nelson to be his replacement on the SOL. He felt that Nelson was a natural leader, gifted comedian, and looked good next to the 'bots.
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