The Onion’s A.V. Club just put up a great piece about Mystery Science Theater 3000 that attempts to explain the show’s appeal and why its fans are so diehard:
Mystery Science Theater had such a small circle of followers even at its peak that those who became one of them felt a responsibility to the show: to preserve it, to preach it. If you were a true fan, you didn’t just watch MST3K back in the ’90s, you taped it. And you didn’t set your VCR, you watched it while you were taping it, with your finger poised over the remote’s pause button so you could zap the commercials.
Indeed, I have very fond memories watching friends’ tapes, recording my own, and biking the tapes over to another friend’s to watch—so much damn fun.