Who doesn't like to watch children fail at things? It builds character in them and it makes adults laugh, which is why it inspired a whole era of kid-based game shows in the late '80s and early '90s.
But some of these shows seemed less about fun and more about introducing children to the dark, cruel world they were about to grow up in.
5Fun House (1988-1991)
Every good kids' game show challenge involves some type of skill, whether it's knowing the difference between Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, using hand-eye coordination to shoot an arrow plunger at an apple dangling over your mother's head or having the leg strength to push a giant plastic bacteroid on wheels across a finish line.
In the late '80s, the show Fun House said fuck all that and introduced the Slop Machine, a big machine with four booths for the kids to sit in. The host, J.D. Roth, pulled a lever and the giant slot machine spun wheels over each booth until they landed on candy or slop. The three losers got a bunch of sticky shit dumped in their hair while the one lucky winner had packages of hard sugar rain down on their head.
That's right--in order to win this game, you had to do NOTHING. It was like the Wheel of Fortune, if you took away the contestants' ability to solve a puzzle. Or even spin the fucking wheel. It was all luck and you didn't even get to press a buzzer. Your fate was entirely in the hands of pretty boy host J.D. Roth, who was a little too enthusiastic about luring children with the promise of candy and then covering them in goo.
In order to affect whether or not you win this game, you either had to have control over time and space, a special chip you could cash in with God, or a MILF willing to bone the producer to throw the game in your favor.
You have utterly no control over your own success or failure.
The Only Way It Could Be Worse:
You would have to risk your college savings and all of your parents' future mortgage payments every time J.D. pulls the lever.