Stay Tuned (1992) is an American film directed by Peter Hyams, starring John Ritter, Pam Dawber, Jeffrey Jones, and Eugene Levy.
John Ritter plays Roy Knable, a couch potato
, and Pam Dawber (of Mork & Mindy
fame) plays his neglected wife Helen. After a fight (which involved Helen throwing one of Roy's fencing trophies into the the family television, smashing the screen and matrix
as a wake-up call to reality), Mr. Spike (Jeffrey Jones) appears at the couples' door, offering him a high tech new satellite dish
system filled with 666
channels of every program you can't get on the four big networks (CBS
, and FOX
). The dish soon sucks Roy and Helen into a hellish television
world, full of satirical shows and movies. In some shows, the Knables are transformed into various roles and forms that fit the plot of the movie they happen to be in at the time (Captain Jean-Luc Picard
in the Star Trek
scene, Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western
scene, and even as Jack Tripper
on the set of Three's Company
). If they can survive for 24 hours, they're free to go, but if they get killed, their souls will go to Satan
. They are pursued by Mr. Spike (also known as "Mephistopheles
of the Cathode Ray
") who enters some shows along with the Knables in order to halt their advance. He too takes on alternate forms that reflect the themes of the various shows (the Klingon and Android in the Star Trek
scene, the driver in Driving Over Miss Daisy
The early 1990s musical group Salt N Pepa have a cameo near the end of the film in a "Hell TV" (MTV) segment. Mr. Spike, the DJ in that segment of the film, threw bladed-records at Roy Knable (dressed in a satirical Prince outfit.) However, Roy dodged them all and confronted Spike, winning back the remote. The music video ended and Roy used the remote to save his wife from being run over by a train. At the end of the movie, Roy is teaching a fencing class (he was a co-captain of his fencing team in junior college) when a student attempts to disarm him with a fancy move but fails. When he asks "Where did you learn that?", she replies "I saw it on TV once," to which Roy replies, "Don't watch too much TV, trust me it will get you into trouble."
Some film and TV show parodies include:
- Off With His Head (a documentary about the French Revolution, with Ritter as the Marquis de Knable.)
- A cartoon, animated by Chuck Jones, depicting Roy and Helen as mice trying to evade a mechanical cat
- Yogi Beer commercial (a commercial Yogi Bear parody about beer for children)
- You Can't Win (a game show awarding demises for wrong answers)
- Home Shopping Club - Home Shoplifting Channel
- Totally Hidden Video, America's Funniest Home Videos, Candid Camera -- Sadistic Hidden Videos
- Incredible Crash Dummies, Roy is inside a crash test car, while Mr. Spike states that the driver gets a seat belt & air bag, while Roy gets neither one.
- A western with Roy dressed like Clint Eastwood and Mr. Spike is the 'Black Suited' bad guy.
- A classic Black-&-White film noir, like Casablanca & The Maltese Falcon
- An Ice Hockey game where Mr. Spike is most of the opposing team.
- A medieval times castle, where Roy & Mr. Spike engage in a fencing duel.