Arts & Culture News

Fan Expo's Shindig Will Feature a Live, Star-Studded Revival of MTV's Remote Control

Remember when MTV had shows that were watchable? Believe it or not, there was a time when the so-called "Music Television" channel had original programming that didn't exploit knocked-up teens and undiagnosed alcoholics who bathed themselves in ethnic stereotypes. One of the cable channel's greatest original shows was the game show Remote Control, and it's making its long, overdue comeback at Fan Expo Dallas.

The convention's after-party, dubbed the Saturday Night Shindig, on Saturday, May 30, at the South Side Music Hall will close out the pop culture convention with a night of music, art and games. One distinctive event of the evening will be a live rendition of MTV's classic quiz show with a geek twist featuring completely useless trivia, famous faces as contestants and quizzing characters (oh please say that Stan Lee will play the ) and the grand return of the "Snack Break."

Devin Pike, the after-hours programmer for the Fan Expo and Ken Ober of the live game show revival, said he wasn't like the other kids. TV mattered. Nothing else did. When girls said yes, he said no and now he's got his own game show.

"I've been a game show junkie for my entire life," Pike said. "My mother used to tell people I was solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles at age 4. So, not only did I find Remote Control really entertaining when it ran in the late '80s, but I identified with Ken Ober's backstory on the show. So now that I'm producing the Saturday Night Shindig events for Fan Expo Dallas, I've been scheming to do a live revival of Remote Control from day one."

MTV's first foray into game shows took place inside the basement of the fictional Ober's mother's house at 72 Whooping Cough Lane somewhere in Anytown, U.S.A. Contestants sat in loud La-Z-Boy recliners and took turns answering questions about television and other useless subjects from channels they picked on a large Zenith TV such as "Dead or Canadian," "What's Their Line" and "Private Dicks." Occasionally, some recurring faces would stop by to ask questions as well, such as Andy Warhol, played by future stand-up and Rescue Me star Denis Leary and the aforementioned Stud Boy played a young Adam Sandler.

The show will also feature comedian and blogger Clay Harrison as Pike's Colin Quinn-esque sidekick since he "sounds slightly less raspy than Colin Quinn" and model and cosplayer Taffeta Darling as the show's Kari Wuhrer. Musician Kadesh Flow will provide all of the joyous celebration music when contestants answer correctly and disappointing sounds when they don't.

"The contestants will still be lounging in recliners, using old remotes to select categories and we'll have their scoring panels mounted on TV trays," Pike said. "Instead of the large portrait of Wink Martindale, we'll have a portrait of the late Ken Ober."

Pike said they are working on getting some of the celebrities appearing at the Fan Expo to sign on as characterized question flingers and even contestants for the live comedy game show who are "fan favorites and in line with the energy level we're looking for." The contestant who wins the game will also earn $1,000 for the charity of their choice.

The show will also feature some of the original show's familiar question types and characters with a geek-centric twist, Pike said.

"We have a twist on the classic 'Sing Along with Colin' channel that I think will make the viewers go bonkers," Pike said.

Pike said the show is sure to be the capper of a wild raucous party for anyone who cares about any aspect of pop culture or just hopes to see Nathan Fillion answer questions about The Twilight Zone or possibly have Cheetos dumped on his head.

"The thing I'm most proud of is that this is only one component of a really cool night of programming at the Shindig," he said. "Live music, dancing, Cards Against Humanity, video gaming, live art commissions. People who throw parties always say 'there's something for everyone,' but we've busted our arse to make sure that's true."

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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.

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