The Game Show Era

Old or young, game shows have held a significant role in American culture since the 1938 show “Spelling Bee,” which none of us remembers. That being said, it cannot go unsaid that game shows were a huge part of our childhood, and Nickelodeon absolutely killed it in all categories. Let’s take a look at the 4 game shows that I wanted nothing more than to be on as a growing boy.

#1: Double Dare 2000

The show started in ’86 actually, under the name “Double Dare.”and is credited with tripling Nickelodeon’s Ratings. They single handedly tripled the entire channel’s ratings.

Anywho, one thing led to another and Fox bought the show. Ya. Fox bought a Nickelodeon show. Tell me another time that has happened. It ran on Fox for a while and Nick got to show re-runs. So you may be familiar with Family Double Dare involving two kids and two parents. YB and I would have dominated that #juzzayin. But the version we’re talking here is Double Dare 2000, hosted by the great Jason Harris and had everything a kid could ask for. Mind-bending Questions round, and Physical challenges that were just sloppy enough for a kid to love and enjoy. One critique, though, is that some of these questions are WAY TOO EASY. I get it that some kids might not know who of the following invented the light bulb: Benji Franklin Alex Graham Bell or Tommy Edison. But these kids have their parents right there. If you can’t answer that as a parent, it’s apparent (see what I did there?) that you are an idiot. Either way, we all watched this for the obstacle course at the end, which is just the messiest thing of all time. Epic show.

#2: Figure It Out

Well first off, these kids had some terrible secrets to figure out. A friend of mine wanted to be on the show because he could make cartoon characters out of pancakes…he could make Mickey Mouse… But point is this show was hilarious to watch. With the 3 regular panelits of Amanda Bynes, Danny Tamberelli (who always ate the slime. I’m not sure which I want to try more: slime or a krabby patty, but I’m also 100% positive the answer is a krabby patty), and Lori Beth Denberg. First off, legendary crew right there. Of the most hilarious people of our generation. But if that’s not enough you gotta peep the list of panelists they’ve had on this show. A few are: Kenan Thompson, Coolio, Julius Erving, Penny Hardaway….as you can imagine the list goes WAY on. And who could forget the secret slime action. (e.g. “The secret slime action is touching your head”) And then the kids got to show off their craft. This was also a show I really wanted to be on, but I didn’t really have anything to show for like racing turtles or saying I could juggle and barely juggling or something. Also Summer Sanders was kinda hot, right?

#3: GUTS/Global GUTS

Talk about the greatest sports related game show of all time. First off, great host. Mike O’Malley. Second, just some classic all-american sporting competition among 3 young children. (Sidebar: The space GUTS was filmed in is now used to film TNA) Anyways, we all know what the deal with this show was, so I needn’t divulge. But this show had a certain IT factor, and that was The Aggro Crag. I don’t know what either of those words means, but I am receiving word that they are actually dictionary-approved words. We’re talking about a three-sided mountain with strobe lights, rocks, snow, all of the elements that constituted a real rock climbing experience except for the rocks. The show also wasn’t afraid to use big words like “actuators” (those light switch thingies they had to deal with). Talk about boosting a young child’s vocabulary. I want to climb that one day. And then they had Global GUTS, priming our young minds for the Olympics. Rather, I’d posit that this show was more entertaining than the Olympics, which is saying something because I’m ALL ABOUT the Olympics.

#4: Legends of the Hidden Temple

Who could forget? Everyone who is anyone recognized this show as one of the all-time greats. People rock these shirts like it’s their absolute job.Not to mention the voice of Olmec is currently the voice of Perry The Platypus…how that happens, no one may ever know. Kirk Fogg was an all around great host as well. I was always a big fan of the Silver Snakes, as in when I was going to be on the show, I was going to do that one, yaknow? You start off with The Moat, a nice swimming challenge for the lads. Only first 4 teams advance, I love this show already. It’s gripping seeing people get knocked off. Then you have the Steps of Knowledge, wherein the kids need to answer stuff about mythology and history and stuff. Great for young minds to enrich their brains. So now you’re down to two teams who compete in The Temple Games. These kids now compete for the Pendant of Life, you remember. Anywho, the real best part was certainly the Temple Run, and know I’m not talking about that unreal iPod game. I’ll be honest, the temple guards used to scare me a little bit, and by that I mean quietly a lot, but if I had one shot at that I KNOW I would have owned it. Because the kids were too stupid to realize what their partners were doing and fell into the same traps all the time.

Either way, I loved these shows because they teach kids that there are certainly winners and losers. These shows were about values, kids earned to be creative, learn things, and achieve great feats, whereas nowadays all kids want to do is grow up to be famous. Not an actor, not an athlete, just famous, that’s the only goal. If any of you reads Barstool sports, you’ll note that they often talk about the pussification of America. It’s a true thing, kids aren’t learning that there are winners and losers. Bring back these game shows Nickelodeon, and you’ll go very far.

~Little Spoon

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