Can’t spell worth a hill of beens…er, beans? Can’t name a single member of the Portuguese parliament? But you do know it was Alan Young who played Will-buuuur on Mister Ed? Have we got a game show for you!
MTV’s Remote Control, a trivia contest-TV parody that premiered in December, stars a wise-guy host—comic Ken Ober—and a hostess who looks to be fresh out of a spin cycle. Three college-age contestants sit in recliners, facing a wall of photos of game show legends such as Wink Martindale and Bert Convy, answering questions about TV, music and even junk food.
“I guess our form of humor isn’t exactly the highest brow,” says Ober, 30, an ex-bowling alley attendant. Which means that in the category “Dead or Alive” contestants guess if TV has-beens such as Tina Louise and Charles Nelson Reilly are alive. But wait—there’s more. To fully simulate the viewing experience, each show has a snack break featuring mounds of popcorn, pork rinds and cheese puffs.
The hostess is Marisol Massey, 23, a model who admits, “I’ve only really seen Wheel of Fortune once. As soon as Vanna came on, I felt embarrassed for her and turned the channel.”
Remote Control’s stars aren’t just ungracious to Wheelbigs; they insult contestants too. Still, Ober insists, “We’ve never gotten out of hand. I mean, no one’s had their eye put out.”
The show’s origins date to April 1987. Impressed by the kiddie game show Double Dare on sister cable network Nickelodeon, MTV Executive Vice-President Lee Masters decided his channel should cash in with 18-to 24-year-olds. A sign of the show’s success is the interest shown by would-be syndicators. “We’re hoping that after syndication we’ll get our own game show on one of the networks,” Ober explains. “Then we want our own network. Then our own island.” Somebody warn Gilligan and the Skipper.