Something weird's on the air.The one where Jack Tripper
is Trapped in TV Land
and has to escape or they'll both die.
To be more precise, Stay Tuned
is a 1992 comedy starring John Ritter
, Pam Dawber, Jeffrey Jones, and Eugene Levy
. The plot revolves around Ritter's character Roy Knable, who is a couch potato and plumbing supply salesman down on his luck. Dawber plays his neglected wife Helen, who after a fight throws one of Roy's Fencing Trophies into the Television. This action prompts Jones in his role as Mr. Spike
, to appear at their front door, with an offer to Roy for a new satellite dish system, filled with 666
channels of every program you can't get on the four big networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX).
Soon after installation, Roy and Helen are sucked into the satellite dish parked in the back yard and are blasted through a cornucopia of television and movie roles with a fatal twist. If they can survive for 24 hours they can leave
, but if they die their souls become property of Mr. Spike. As the two trek through the various landscapes, they are pursued by Mr. Spike at some points in an effort to thwart their advance.
Not to be confused with the cult PC game Stay Tooned
This film contains examples of:
- Actor Allusion: At one point, Roy Knable stumbles through a channel onto the set of the television show that catapulted John Ritter to fame in the 1970s. Two women dressed as Chrissy Snow and Janet Wood shout "Where have you been?", a snippet of the Theme Song plays, and Roy screams in terror and changes the channel.
- Art Shift: In a live action movie oddly enough, the Looney Tunes-esque parody made and provided by none other than the legendary animator, Chuck Jones.
- Attractive Bent Species: Roy thinks Helen is "pretty sexy" for a mouse when they get stuck in a cartoon.
- Big "NO!": Roy Knable says it in Star Trek spoof when Spike plays Worf and Data.
- Also invoked by Helen after Roy was seemingly shot by Spike near the end of the film.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT mess with Helen's hair, or her husband to a lesser degree.
- Candid Camera Prank: One of the TV shows they enter is a parody of this type of show.
- Cassandra Truth: Their son figures out that the two are in TV Land, but his sister (initially) doesn't listen to him.
- Chained to a Railway: This happens to Helen near the end of the movie.
- Chekhov's Gun: Roy's Fencing Trophy / Ability early in the movie.
- Chuck Jones: One of his last projects.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Spike as a Network Executive.
- Deal with the Devil: Roy accepting the new Satellite Dish, and later when Mr. Spike tells them they can leave after 24 hours.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The entire Roy Knable, Private Dick segment.
- Don't Try This at Home: Helen stops to look at the camera and say this before she and Roy push a hair drier into a bath tub in order to kill an evil robotic cat.
- Electrified Bathtub: Roy and Helen try to defeat a robotic cat this way when stuck as cartoon mice.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: All the seemingly harmless shows are designed in some form or another to kill its human visitors.
- Exact Words: Spike uses this to his advantage, when Roy and Helen survive the requisite twenty-four hours. The deal in the contract was that the undersigned would be let loose if they survived a whole day... but Helen didn't sign the satellite contract; only Roy did, so he was the only one that Spike was obligated to release.
- Eye Scream: Red-Hot-Poker-In-The-Eye Cam.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Roy and Helen can still die, despite being inside the dish.
- Genre Savvy: "We're safe here, nobody ever dies in cartoons", "I've watched enough cartoons, how would an animated character handle this?" Both said by Roy during the section where they are animated mice.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "This is one clever pussy."
- Halfhearted Henchman: Levy's character Crowley especially after Spike "demotes" him into field work.
- Handy Remote Control: The remote given to Roy, which allows him to change "channels", and also for the remote that Mr. Spike possesses, which allows them to finally escape.
- Heel Face Turn: Crowley.
- Henpecked Husband: Murray Seidenbaum, a previous "customer".
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Near the end of the movie when Spike trying to avoid becoming dog chow. Who should show up but Crowley, the same man he promoted to "field work"? Cue "Oh Crap" from Spike.
- If You Die I Call Your Stuff: An intern does this after Crowley gets even with Spike.
Intern: (With his own remote in hand and sitting in Spike's chair) I call his parking space.
- Instant Home Delivery: Genre Savvy Roy makes use of this trope during the "cartoon mouse" sequence.
- Medium Shift Gag: At one point Roy and Helen are in a cartoon as mice.
- Mouse Hole: In the animated sequence, a mouse hole is a portal to the next channel.
- Music Video: Features near the end with a Cameo by then-popular Hip-Hop group Salt'N'Pepa.
- Noticing The Fourth Wall: When they realize that they are inside TV land.
- Off with His Head!: Almost attempted on Roy. Even worse is that he and Helen are in a show, which is aptly named Off with His Head!
- Parody: While the movie tends to play itself straight at the beginning and end, Loads and Loads of them appear when Roy and Helen are 'in' the dish.
- Parody Commercial: At one point there is a Yogi Bear commercial concerning Beer for Children.
- Possibly related to, or at least suggested by, the Hamm's Beer commercials starting in the 1950s, which did feature a cartoon bear (not Yogi, though). The commercials were eventually discontinued (though not until at least the 1970s) due to the Animation Age Ghetto implications of appearing to market beer to children.
- Parody Names: Most of the shows and movies have slightly tweaked names.
- Pocket Protector
- Pro Wrestling Is Real: Justified, given that each channel is essentially a more sadistic version of it's Real Life counterpart. Roy assumes at first that it's all a show and no one gets hurt in wrestling...and gets a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: "Eye...warship...satin?"
- Satan: Mr. Spike, for the purposes of the story... however, he's more of a Senior Executive than the bona fide "Boss" of Hell, who's referred to in dialogue as Mr. Spike's boss.
- Actually, The Devil is the one who watches the shows. The entire point of the network is to provide Satan with entertainment with live souls.
- Screwed by the Network: In a very twisted sense when it becomes apparent Roy and Helen might survive the deal.
- Shout Out: Loads of these too, considering the source material. The most obvious example is when Roy changes the channel onto the set of Three's Company.
- Status Quo Game Show: The sadistic game show, You Can't Win, which was also the former Trope Namer.
- Subverted Kids Show: There's a small bit where animated versions of the couple try and evade a mechanical cat in the style of Tom And Jerry. Also the parody commercial mentioned above.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: "He's going to hit me with a train AND blow me up?!"
- Trapped in TV Land: The main premise for most of the movie.
- Unintentional Period Piece: The HTV segment is only the most blatant example. Combined with some severe Technology Marches On... remember when a satellite dish the size of a hot tub and a remote control the size of a bar of cooking chocolate were the bleeding edge? ... No? Darn whippersnappers.
- Up to Eleven: "Dynamite? You're going to hit me with a train AND blow me up???"
- Verbal Backspace:
Roy: Whoever left the gate open is grounded for a week.
(neighbor's vicious dog jumps at them, gets beamed away by the satellite dish)
Roy: Check that. Whoever left the gate open gets double their allowance.
- You Have Failed Me: Spike to Crowley.