May 29, 2006

Remote Remake

ClickThe poster for Adam Sandler’s new movie Click asks the question, “What if you had a universal remote… that controlled your universe?”

Well, that’s an intriguing question. For the answer, maybe he should have just asked one of these people:

  • The main character from the 1985 episode of Steven Spielberg’s TV show Amazing Stories called “Remote Control Man.” The plot: “An unhappy and frustrated husband with a nagging wife and an incorrigible son, finally finds solace in his new TV set that comes alive with the use of a magic remote control.”
  • Pete from the British Australian kids’ show Round the Twist. Here’s the plot of a 1990 episode called “Spaghetti Pig Out”: “Chaos reigns after a bolt of lightning hits the video remote control - it works on people! Pause, rewind and fast-forward have amusing consequences.”
  • Benny Hill. His Golden Classics DVD contains a skit called “Henry’s Remote Control” in which “Benny discovers he can control the real world with his remote control and sets off on his journey, leaving his nagging wife in ‘freeze-frame’ mode.”

  • George Jetson. In a 1985 episode of The Jetsons, “George Jetson happens to sit next to a brilliant, but unrecognized genius. This genius has invented the one-of-a kind Re-Play-Ola. The genius decides to give it to George because the genius can always make another one. The Re-Play-Ola has the ability to rewind time, allowing the person who possesses it, the ability to rewind, modify, erase, and the unusable stop button.”
  • The main character from Rewind, a 1999 Spanish movie about a man who has a party that “doesn’t go terribly well — food gets burned, things get broken, Pablo makes a scene — and later in the evening, Andres nearly finds himself regretting that he videotaped the entire evening. However, when he rewinds the tape, much to his surprise he finds he can rewind real life as well, giving him a chance to salvage the party after all.”
  • Bart Simpson, from the Simpsons episode “Treehouse of Horror IX”, where a plutonium-charged remote control has the power to send him and Lisa into episodes of their favorite — and least favorite — TV shows.
  • The kids from the movie Pleasantville where a fight over a magic remote control sends them into the world of their favorite old black and white TV show.
  • Ned from the 90s Fox Kids cartoon Ned’s Newt. In a third season episode called “Remote Possibility,” Ned recieves help from “a magical remote that doesn’t work on televisions but does seem to work on everything else.”
  • The kids from Eerie, Indiana. In an episode called “Scariest Home Videos,” a magical remote control sends them into an old black and white mummy movie.
  • R.L. Stine. He wrote a short story called “Click” for his Goosebumps books that was eventually adapted into an episode of the Goosebumps TV series. From “Seth Gold is sick of being ordered around by his sister, his mother, and his father. His hobby is channel-surfing, so he orders a remote from a company in a magazine… Seth notices it can also be used to change the radio station… As a joke, Seth presses the Pause button while aiming the remote at his sister. His sister actually pauses! Seth now realizes this new remote can control more than just the TV.”

I guess there just aren’t any original movie ideas anymore. Maybe something good is on TV. Now what did I do with my remote…?


There was also a program on when I was a kid called Bernad’s watch which he used to stop time. I wish I had that, there’d be no need for me to waste money on date rape drugs.

i’m surprised no one’s mentioned Nicholson Baker’s “the Fermata” novel(la)…it’s the same conceit, without the actual electronic device.

imho it’s a sucky book tho.

Round the Twist was an australian kids show.

May have been shown in Britain, but definately Australian. It was filmed in Victoria.

Do the two different episodes of Star Trek where time is stopped for everybody but a couple of crew members count?

Or the episode of the twilight zone where Darron from bewitched lands a quarter on the edge and stops time for everybody but himself?

(I guess neither involves a remote control.)

Of course, such a situation (as Jesse just observed) would quickly devolve into an awful story of mass rape. While I hated Verhoeven’s Invisible Man, at least he was honest about the horrific things some people would really do. I’m sure Adam Sandler would be no different.

There’s a series of erotic comic albums in -France, I think- called “Click!” wherein a man with a magic remote can make any woman a complete sex maniac. It’s obviously not for kids, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn they bought out the idea to make this movie. It was a popular, much-seen title in the day. It was also terrible.

There’s a hitchcock episode with this too…

Don’t forget Stay Tuned, starring John Ritter. Essentially the same plot as the Simpsons episode above.

There’s also the first scene in THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, where Mike Myers uses a remote control on Liz Hurley.

Don’t forget the Twilight Zone Episode “A Kind of Stopwatch” from 1961…you know a watch that stops…well you know.

There was also an episode of the Saturday morning cartoon Johnny Test with the same plot a few weeks ago. I think that we can officially declare this the most played out idea in the history of the world, but that still means that next year we’ll see another three or four movies with an identical premise if Click grosses more than $50 million.

There was also an episode of the short-lived TV series “Weird Science” (based on the movie — it aired on the USA network) in which the two boys get their hands on a remote control that controls time.

I remember an episode of “Ducktales” in which the science geek made the same kind of stop-watch. Huey, Duey and Lewy proceded to cause havoc until it broke… they were stuck in frozen mode.

I think also there was a recent Family Guy episode where Peter shops for a Tivo, and the guy at the store demonstrates it by fast-forwarding the episode. -David

There’s an episode of Jimmy Neutron where Jimmy invents a remote control that effects the real world. Jimmy’s Dad sends the boys back in time, and then uses the remote himself in all kinds of zany ways.

Link to

I can’t believe you also forgot the Robert Hays-Pam Dawber classic, The Girl, the Gold Watch, and Everything, in which the Airplane! thesp learns he can stop time through the use of a gold watch his millionaire uncle wills to him.

Another “Family Guy” reference - Peter walks into “Bed, Bath & Beyond” and enters into the “Beyond” section floats around in the alternate universe until he finds the coffee mugs.

And don’t forget the super-hot literotica (or “rot,” as he might call it) The Fermata by Nicholson Baker. This is one of the most interesting uses of the remote control-type sci fi scenario I’ve seen.

In Spaceballs the movie, they view themselves in the video-cassette version of the movie, and then use the fast forward on the remote to determine where the princess, et al., have fled.

In the The Twlight Zone ep mentioned earlier, putting the quarter on its side lets Dick Sargent/York read minds, not stop time.

There is also a brilliant episode of ‘The Fairly Oddparents’ where the fairies give Timmy a magic remote that lets him move through the tv universe. Evil baby sitter Vicki also has one and is trying to get to the History channel to become dictator of the world.

There was actually a short on Sesame Street that I remember from my childhood where a guy finds a remote in the part and uses the buttons in sort of this way, where up makes something go up, down to come back down, etc.

I remember a Tales from the Dark Side where a lady finds a necklace buried in the yard, and when she wore it she could stop time by yelling “shut up” and start it again by saying “okay.”

Michael Haneke’s enormously disturbing Austrian film FUNNY GAMES also features a jaw-dropping use of remote-control tomfoolery to rewind the action of the film to a point where the recently-liberated protagonists are in peril again. it’s really effed up. watch for an American remake starring Naomi Watts coming soon. no, seriously — it’s in the works.

There was also a Treehouse of Horror where Bart and Milhouse get a time-stopping watch.

And… There was a movie about kids who could move so fast that it was as though they had stopped time, called “Clock stoppers”

And what about that scene in “Being There” with Peter Sellars.

And also the Stephen King Story, that was about a writer who could edit his life through a hyped-up PC. Which was a short Story and an episode in Tales from the Darkside.

“Amazon Women on the Moon” had a brief segment where couch potato husband get caught in his TV when his remote goes on the fritz. Every time his wife changed the channel he found himself in new situations. Amazon Women, for those who haven’t seen it, is like UHF or Kentucky Fried Movie; and is worth watching for just the BB King segment.

not only has this concept been done to death, but its been done so much better… like in an episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark, which had a similar concept. The kid either hits the stop button or rewinds to the beginning of time, and ends up in this misty nothingness, at which point the batteries run out and hes stranded. Fantastic ending, i remember it being really disturbing as a child, and its still creepy now.

The Weird Science TV show did it too.

Saved By The Bell had a magic remote in the very beginning of the series.

Anyone remember “Video Girl Ai”?

Was also a great song by Steve Goodman (best known for “City of New Orleans”), called “If my life was on videotape…”

Ah, Stevie, we miss ya!

Eerie, Indiana also had an episode which featured a faulty remote that sent a family memeber into the black and white horror film they were watching.

Don’t forget about the show “Out of This World”, where star of the show had the ability to freeze time by connecting her index fingers.

Don’t forget about the show “Out of This World”, where star of the show had the ability to freeze time by connecting her index fingers.