Long-running Game Show franchise created by Stone Stanley Entertainment where two teams of two players competed for prizes by completing various stunt/trivia games, set inside the center court of a mall. Round 1 stunts were worth 100 points, and Round 2 was worth 200; winning a stunt also allowed the team to pick a prize from one of the mall's stores.
The maingame ended with the Shopper's Challenge round, a 90-second rapid-fire Q&A with correct answers worth 50 points. After time expired, the team in the lead played the bonus round.
The show is notable for having been Un-Canceled twice, with each uncancellation also involving a Channel Hop it aired on Lifetime from 1991-94, The Family Channel from 1996-98 (officially titled The New Shop 'Til You Drop), and PAX beginning in 2000. Pat Finn hosted until 2002, when the show went into repeats for a year; it returned in 2003 with JD Roberto as host, running until 2005. GSN has aired all of Finn's PAX era, the Family Channel era and even part of the Lifetime era, beginning in December 2013.
Compare and contrast Supermarket Sweep, which it was paired with during the Lifetime and PAX eras.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: Shop 'Til They Drop; the team was given a set of six "gifts" that one person opened; they could either keep the prize, or "take it back" to any store in the mall (all of which had gift boxes in front). In either case, the runner had to take the gift to a table on the other end of the stage and hit a bell sitting atop a podium before the opener could continue. After that, the gifts would be revealed; everything on the table was theirs, no matter what. If the team managed to get at least $2,500 in prizes ($1,000 during Seasons 1-2), they won a "dream vacation".
- Bonus Space: One store in each episode was the "Shopper's Special", which awarded a mini-trip. On some occasions, an additional bonus prize would be included.
- Celebrity Edition: An hour-long Christmas special was done in December 1993 with four teams (including one team of three) playing for charity and a far larger budget than the norm. Cash was used instead of points (Shopper's Challenge awarded $500 per correct answer), and the bonus round target was increased to $5,000 with victory awarding a further $10,000.
- Mystery Box: All the gifts in the Bonus Round, both at the table and at the stores.
- Speed Round: Shopper's Challenge.
- Sudden Death: In the event of a tie score at the end of the Shopper's Challenge round, one final question was asked. If the team that rang in answered the question correctly, they would advance to the bonus round. If they answered incorrectly, their opponents automatically won (fellow Stone Stanley game show Legends of the Hidden Temple also used this exact same tiebreaker format in its' first season).
- Zonk: Gag prizes worth between 49 cents and $50 were among the gifts in the bonus round during Seasons 1-2. They were removed when the goal was increased to $2,500.
This show provides examples of:
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: During a 2003 episode (Season 9), one category was "Shameless Plugs", to which JD chuckled a bit. When it came time to play said category, JD noted that it was sponsored by (reaches into his podium and pulls out...) nothing, after which he silently mouthed a praise to the heavens. Even the host of the plugathon that was the show's final two seasons hated the endless plugs.
- Bittersweet Ending: One episode from 2000 (Season 7) saw the winning couple run out of time in the bonus round before exchanging all six gifts, but still wound up winning the trip.
- Christmas Episode: The aforementioned 1993 special.
- Catch Phrase: After Pat says that the couple will win a trip if they win a certain amount of money, him and the audience would then shout along "To where, Mark/Jason/Dee?".
- Creator Cameo: Sort of- the stores in the mall era tended to be named after crew members.
- Hostile Show Takeover: Dee once attempted this near the end of Season 8 by (apparently) knocking out Pat and tying him up; it was a joke, of course.
- Minigame Game: The show in a nutshell.
- Obvious Beta: The pilot suffered this severely- different logo, different host, a far more abstract mall set, a hostess- though some of the elements from this pilot besides the gameplay, including the shop names and Mark Wahlberg, were kept while everything else was changed and refined. Hell, one of the stores was a pizzeria.
- Recycled In Space: Legends of the Hidden Temple, another S&S show, albeit with Nickelodeon, reused the "find and carry items through a mock-up of a location" concept and seriously amped it up.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The bonus round music and original theme song were recycled from College Mad House, a Stone-Stanley property that had aired in the 1989-90 season.
- One episode late in the Lifetime era (when they taped at Universal Studios Hollywood) reused the theme from Quicksilver (one of two game shows produced by Stone-Stanley for the USA Network in 1994; the other, Free 4 All, was hosted by Mark L. Wahlberg) as a stunt cue. It was also reused as a prize cue during the Roberto era.
- Precision F-Strike: In this Season 7 episode, one of the runners in the bonus round looks inside a box and goes "Oh, shit." Uncensored. And apparently, the Family Channel censors somehow didn't notice. (Pat Finn then says the "beep you heard" was because of a "technical error"- but there isn't a bleep.) And it evidently didn't get censored later, given how this video is from a GSN rerun.note
- Tempting Fate: Until the 2003 overhaul, Shop 'Til They Drop used both floors of the two-story mall. As such, contestants typically had to run down a flight of stairs holding a very large, vision-obstructing box.
- The Unintelligible: Grandpa Curmudgeon was a Scotsman who not even Pat could understand.
- Visual Pun: The final two seasons loved to do this with the category titles. For instance, the aforementioned "Shameless Plugs" had a picture of a wall outlet.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Dee frequently played females for various stunts, most famously Grandma Curmudgeon.