Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Off to the Great Armchair in the Sky. RIP, Mr. Ober

As an adolescent in the late 1980's, I was glued to MTV. They were my pop culture beacon. I think I admired Pauly Shore, I know I didn't think Adam Curry's hair was weird and I loved the young ladies on the screen. From the Go Gos to the girl in the Warrant video that had a piece of cherry pie fall in her crotch to every woman who ever appeared in a Van Halen video. I loved them all. But one special lady stood out. And her name was Kari Wuhrer. She was the gratuitous T&A on the grossly entertaining game show Remote Control. She was only 20 years old and had not yet begun her death spiral into Cinemax late-night films, science fiction flops and horror flicks. She was young and nubile and sorta slutty, and was a pleasant visual contrast to the ugly but hilarious bits by Adam Sandler, Colin Quinn and Denis Leary. She was the Nicole Eggert of MTV. A hot, barely legal woman who peaked before she turned 21 and then slowly slid downhill into the dark side of minor Hollywood fame. And probably got a venereal disease from Scott Baio somewhere along the way.

As we come to terms with Mr. Ober's passing yesterday from a heart attack at the age of 52, let's pause for a moment to reflect on that show, a bizarre snapshot of pop culture from 1987-1990.

(somber pause)

Now let's remember Ms. Wuhrer, before she did this. Or this. Or this. Let's remember her in her barely legal glory. Thank you Ken Ober for helping keep the show together for a few years to allow 13 year-olds from New Jersey to enjoy the Kari Wuhrer era.

23 comments:

rob said...

thank you, timmy. kari wuhrer was the stuff of a young man's dreams.

Geoff said...

We'll be back with more "Adolescent Masturbatorial Reminiscence" after this ad from Jergens.

Shlara said...

Ken Ober died, wow. I loved Remote Control. This makes me feel REALLY old.

Whitney said...

Bad news, but a great post, TR.

"Remote Control" was the 1st (too lazy to coin a better term for) Gen X game show. While "The Price is Right" sated the housewives, "Jeopardy!" enthralled the geeks (overt and closeted), and "Wheel of Fortune!" was tripe for morons, this show was for us.

Segments like "Dead or Canadian?" and "Beat the Bishop" (in which contestants had to answer the questions before Adam Sandler in cheesy clergy garb circumnavigated the studio set) were fairly imbecilic but very funny. The fixation on Susan Olsen struck the right chord for the overgrown children of the 70's. And Kari . . . oh, Kari. Kari Wuhrer was something special. If you Google Image her . . . well, shut your office door, and you're welcome.

I think if Remote Control viewers would have been polled (not in the good way) about who'd go on to future fame, we might have predicted the exact opposite amount of success from the show's stars. It turned out:

Adam Sandler
Denis Leary
Colin Quinn
Kari Wuhrer
Ken Ober

What ever happened with poor Ken Ober? He was an everyman, the host with charm, wit, and only trace amounts of condescension. To read his obit say "best known as the host of the 1980s-era MTV game show 'Remote Control'" is to wonder why he never ascended up the comedy ranks. But today we salute him, mourn his passing, and think that MTV would be a lot better today if they were airing reruns of that show.

TR said...

MTV had a brief run when it balanced between being funny and hip and informative, while still being a music channel. This is back when Stiller, Stewart and Garofalo were young and funny. Whit is right in saying that Remote Control was really ahead of its time. Before there was Comedy Central and Spike, there was a 19 year-old Adam Sandler being as weird and funny as anybody on TV.

Ober's obit said he was a producer on some TV shows, and he hosted a Comedy Central game show.

mayhugh said...

A tad obscure but Ms. Wuhrer also starred in "Eight Legged Freaks" the cheesy but amiable horror-comedy about giant spiders which also starred David Arguette and a young Scarlett Johansson.

mayhugh said...

make that "Arquette"

Dan said...

she was also in Anacondo with Jon "I drive a Chrylser Lebaron" Voight.
i loved her. she reminded me very much of another source of my affection back then - the Bangles' Susanna Hoff...loved 'em both.

rob said...

ohhhh, susannah hoffs

Dan said...

was at a wedding 2 autumns ago in springfield oh...colin quinn was staying at same hotel -he ate breakfast with/next to a few of us hungover wedding attenders...he was a good dude - pretty funny, very congenial...3 bangles out of a possible 4.

zoltan said...

So I guess I missed out on some stuff while growing up without cable?

Geoff said...

I would like to see this film "Anacondo" that Dan speaks of. From what I gather it is a spinoff of the 80s NBC program 227, with the roles of Marla Gibbs and the effervescent Jackee played by snakes.

TJ said...

Northeastern looking to upset Siena in what must've been a noon tip-off in Smalbany.

Dan said...

:) whoopsie.

TJ said...

Hmmm, Portland St says Jerry Glanville will no longer be their coach. Am I the only guy here who had no clue someone had actually hired Jerry Glanville to be their coach?

mayhugh said...

Isn't "Anacondo" the one with Ice Cube as the overly-friendly maintenance man who wears a utility belt and a vest?

Whitney said...

Went to a fundraiser breakfast for my daughters' Catholic grade school this morning. Michael Cuddyer was a couple of tables over. Nice to see an area alum coming back to help out.

Marlin said...

Mayhugh, that was One Dayz At A Time.

Greg said...

Whit, Rob...:.when are you going to post about the Devo concert?

Whitney said...

Greg-
Rob didn't go, just me. And it was awesome. Maybe I'll chuck up a brief review for filler tomorrow AM.

Whitney said...

Go here to see quite a few Remote Control clips with Kari, Ken & Colin.

jerome said...

Breaking News: Bills Fire Jauron. No interim named.

http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/864823.html

Mark said...

If the shitty coach of shitty organization is fired...does anybody give a fuck?