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Haven't you heard? Nicktoons are coming back! Legends Of The Hidden Temple is gonna be a movie! Double Dare is back, and it's hosted by Marc Summers! Yay! Well, OK, that last one was just for Comic-Con, but yay to the rest! Remember how you always wanted to be on that show? And on Legends Of The Hidden Temple? Oh man, you were so sure that you woulda put together that damn silver monkey! But hold your horses, Slick. Because I think if we look back without the rose-colored glasses, we would realize that all of these shows were hideously incompetent, inappropriate, and/or embarrassing. Being on one of these shows woulda straight-up sucked. And not just because of the slime. Because secretly, Nickelodeon hated these kids. How else can you explain that ...

Marc Summers Threw Kids Around On Early Episodes Of Double Dare


Viewers of Double Dare (or its millennial successor, Double Dare 2000) may remember that it started off Family Feud-style, pitting one family against another with trivia questions. At the end of each show, the winning family got to participate in the famous obstacle course. This usually resulted in a little girl picking a huge nose, the father riding a river of chocolate, and/or the entire family covered in whipped cream. In other words, a 10-year-old's dream.

But back in the '80s, it must have seemed like a nightmare. In one of the very first episodes of Double Dare, Marc Summers simply could not stand the fact that children were not able to complete the final obstacle course within his acceptable timeframe, so he gave them a little extreme help. And by "help" I mean that he grabbed the kids by the arm and FORCED them to complete it, goddamn it.

"Alright, they've got 60 seconds, and if they don't finish, well ... Lord help them."

After the very first obstacle, in which the first kid is run through a steamroller, he grabs the boy's ass and hoists him up to the monkey bars, then grabs the girl by the elbow so forcefully that she falls on her face. In a telling moment, Summers says, "C'mon, get up" juuust slightly off-mic -- enough that you have to listen to hear it, but not enough to doubt that he barely stopped himself from adding the words "or you'll upset me." It's like his whole fucking career depends on these kids winning this thing. Note that in this version of the show, it was kids-only, so there weren't any dads around to say, "Um, what the hell are you doing?"

Producer 1: "Was that an FCC violation?"
Producer 2: "Not in Reagan's America!"
*both high-five, wink at camera*

Summers is mesmerizing in his efficiency. From obstacle to obstacle, he physically assaults the kids in no way that would be allowed on TV today. At one point, he throws in an apology real quickly, maybe out of fear of what the other inmates are gonna think, or maybe because the show's lawyers just whispered in his ear, "Um, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING???" The best/worst part is when one of the kids tries in vain to crawl out of the pit and falls, presumably due to physical and mental exhaustion. Summers just pulls her by her arm, giving no fucks, and berates her to stand up. I can't stress enough how important this is to listen to with sound, because modern GIF technology hasn't yet adapted to incorporate Marc Summers' cold, cold heart. The attendants look like they are silently preparing their "just following orders" defenses.

"Don't, Brenda. She needs to learn."

And then, as the timer approaches zero, the boy going for the next flag just hangs his head in shame while Summers drags the other girl toward defeat, though her natural instinct is to get as far away from him as possible. Notice that Summers quickly checks to see if anyone is looking.

I'm surprised that he didn't just throw the kid at the flag.

At the end, Summers gathers the kids to view their their prizes, but they are not happy. They look as if he just told them he was "not mad, but disappointed." He gives them a final "Are you OK?" but by that time, it wasn't worth the fucking Sketchers. The kids weren't even close to winning anyway, so if anything, Summers' grab-ass only hurt them and their self-esteem forever.

"Stop squirming. I want you to see this. It's what you could've won."

The Nick Arcade Host Let Trivia Rounds Spiral Completely Out Of Control


Being a kid on a Nick game show must have been equal parts exciting and stressful. Occasionally, things didn't go your way, but that was OK, because the host would help you steer it in the right direction and would never dare make fun of you on television. Except the host of Nick Arcade. Throughout this single episode, the host could not be less helpful, which causes the kids to fail over and over, and then he lets them bathe in their failure.

In this show, two teams of kids competed to answer trivia questions until the winning team got to run around in front of a green screen for five minutes. This show was kinda cool back then, but because they based it entirely around a fast-evolving technology, the core mechanic became obsolete as soon as the episode aired. Networks today are able to reboot 50-year-old game shows with no problem, but it was as if the producers of Nick Arcade made a game show specifically for the era of late '92 and then forgot to destroy the tapes.

Anyway, in this one episode, the trivia portion goes so horribly that the host eventually becomes speechless. One of the first questions is "The Rio Grande separates Mexico from which country?" The yellow team kid thinks he's a smart alec and buzzes in before the host got to "country," so he mistakenly answers "Texas." Then, the question passes to the red team, who stare and say nothing. Dude, he just said Texas.

"'Where are you right now?' There, is that easier?"

That's fine, whatever. Dumb mistake. But then the yellow team gets to play an arcade game.

This game needs a bit of explaining, because you're probably not used to video game graphics this bad. The girl's goal is to collect 60 coins. She gets 10 every time she kills one of the bad guys and steals their coins (her total is on the bottom left). She gets halfway to the goal in the first five seconds of the game, but then accidentally picks up a coin weapon, which ... apparently makes you throw all your money as an attack. So the host helpfully chimes in with, "Oops, she lost a little there," and then devolves to "She's throwing the money. You have to hold on to the money" in the most condescending tone possible. Predictably, she ends up throwing all the money, which the host helpfully explains to the audience, in case she didn't realize that she blew it. Hmm, I understand that games were a bit rudimentary back then, but the host could have maybe given the all-important instruction that "HEY, THIS BUTTON THROWS THE MONEY BACK. DON'T TOUCH IT."

"Wow, she's throwing the money, even though literally no one told her that would happen. What an idiot."

From there, it goes off the rails. On the next question, the red team accidentally buzzes in before the choices are given, so they get it wrong. For the next one, yellow team buzzes in, blanks, and then asks the host to repeat the question. The host seems so frustrated that he has the audience yell out the answer, as if to remind these children that everyone around them is smarter than they are. Give 'em a break, dude. Did you not let these kids have a practice run?

In the final question, the host flashes a series of images on screen, alternating between office supplies and food items. The goal is to name three of the five office supplies. The red team almost gets it, naming the stapler and tape correctly. Then yellow team gets a chance. The boy starts to say "stapler," but the host gives them another spin of the images ... and the boy says "hamburger." He was just about to say the right answer. Why the fuck did you confuse him? Ya, he fucked up, but the host audibly holds back chuckles, even though he indirectly kept the kid from winning. This poor kid just did the equivalent of answering "D" in an "A-C" multiple choice question that you scribbled and crossed out on a piece of paper, and then you laughed at him.

"Hold on, let me consult the notes here. Yes, it appears a calendar is, in fact, an office supply,
and any dumbass would know that. Sorry, that's just what it says here."

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Wild & Crazy Kids Taught Kids How To Play Flip Cup


Wild & Crazy Kids would have fit right in today with Michelle Obama's "Get Out Of The House And Do Something, You Slobs" initiative, because every episode would have a team of teen hosts play games on location with kids and families. Maybe they played water balloon toss in a park, or that game where you spin the bat and try to hit the ball, but can't because of the brain bouncing around in there. You know, healthy activities.

In a first season episode of W&CK, the show took over a mall and held a series of relay race contests. Most of the contests were normal kid fare -- "play this video game and then skateboard across the finish line," for example. But the very first "game" in this episode may look a little too familiar to today's college students:

Um ... what the hell? Dude, those kids are totally playing flip cup right now. OK, so they aren't actually flipping the cup, but come on. Mugs full of ROOT beer, which you have to down as fast as you can and then pass to the next person? What else could that be?

"C'mon, Aaron! Chug, you pussy!"

This is practically child abuse. Look at these kids' faces as soon as they finish. This does not look fun. No one wants to play this. The host's voiceover makes it seem like gee-willikers silliness, but all these kids want to do is to go home so they can throw up.

"Congratulations! You've won the position of treasurer at Alpha Sigma Epsilon!"

Now, I know what you're thinking. This show was on in the early '90s, so how likely is it that the creators were aware of flip cup at the time? Well, party games have spotty histories, but flip cup is rumored to have been started by college students in the late '80s in New Jersey (pretty believable), and this show was on in the early '90s. Let's just say that it's way more likely that the adult creators of the show were aware of flip cup than it is that college students saw this show and said, "Hey we should do that, but with booze!"

No One Could Ever Figure Out The Maze On Legends Of The Hidden Temple


At the end of each episode of Legends Of The Hidden Temple, the team that won all the trivia rounds and challenges was allowed to go through the temple maze, easily the most famous part. Basically, you started at the bottom of the maze, and had to find the hidden historical object and bring it back out. Some rooms had guards who would kidnap you in almost a too-real fashion (did anyone ever see those kids again?), while other rooms had hidden doors that would let you progress. The problem was that some of that shit might have been too hidden.

In this episode, the first kid comes to what is clearly a dead end in the throne room. The announcer, Kirk Fogg (HAHA, forgot about that guy) pounds into his head that there is a door somewhere, so the kid starts tugging on pretty much anything. Pieces of the wall, the decorations, whatever.

"Kirk, I'm telling you, there's no fucking door."

He eventually gets kidnapped in the "Heart" room, so it's time for the girl's turn. She makes it to where he was before and heads up the ladder, but despite Kirk's yammering, there is clearly still no workable door. She pushes all the damn buttons.


She goes back down to the throne room and just kinda stomps around in frustration on the throne, because apparently sitting on the chair can also open doors (wait, what are the rules of this maze?). Eventually, she just crawls back to where she came from and runs out of time. But what the heck was she supposed to do? At one point, she even ended up BEHIND the set, because I guess it was easier to try to crawl around than to find that damn door.

"Does this ... do something? Fuck all of this."

Now, I know that whenever I would watch this show, I would just be screaming at the TV, telling the kids the correct way to do things, even though I wasn't there. And nothing was more frustrating than watching people put together the silver monkey. Goddamn it. It was three pieces of a monkey that you had to fit together on a pedestal. It looked so easy, but I think we all may have misjudged the contestants. There must be a reason every team struggled. In some of the episodes, the kids were clearly putting it together right, but it still didn't fit. Some kids even dropped or damaged the pieces. Other players would just give up and start mashing all the pieces together, probably while cursing Olmec's name.

"Damn you, Kirk Fogg. Damn you."

Every kid who failed at the silver monkey probably got it spray-painted into their lockers, and the damn pieces didn't even work half the time. That's bullshit. I rescind all my eight-year-old criticism of anyone who had to endure that. Just more shit from Kirk Fogg.

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A Mother And Son Once Sang A Song About How Much They Love Creampies On What Would You Do?


Oh ya, Marc Summers shows up twice in this list.

What Would You Do? was basically the same deal as Double Dare, in that it featured people doing weird stunts with whipped cream. It even had the same host. I think the only thing that separated them was that contestants were pulled directly from the audience, a la Price Is Right. And maybe it was a little bit wackier, I guess.

This eye followed me around in dreams.

In a very special country-music-themed episode, Summers explains that he's going to give some "lucky" audience members a chance to be country music stars. This was already off to a bad start, but nothing could have possibly prepared this family for this amount of future embarrassment, because this video will never be removed from YouTube and this kid is now 30.

Summers finds a mother and son from the crowd and chooses them because they like Billy Ray Cyrus, which should actually be an automatic disqualification for a country music "fan." He instructs them to go backstage with a professional country band to write a song to perform at the end of the show. Later on, they come out wearing overalls and supposedly sing an original tune about ... OK, just keep in mind that this is a mother and son.

In case your ears just immediately filled with blood upon clicking play, here are the lyrics:

Son: You baked the only pie I ever loved;
Mom: Now you put me on the shelf;
Son: I tried donuts, tarts, and cakes;
Mom: But make no mistake, I can't help myself.

Oh, that's cute, if not creeping into some vaguely uncomfortable territory. This couldn't possibly ...

Son: Now I admit I cheated and lied;
Mom: But you're the only one I ever pied;
Son: So darling please believe me when I say I'm willin';
Mom: I'll supply the crust, and you supply the fillin'.

No. No. No. No.


Son: Apple, cherry, it don't matter;
Mom: Without your pie, I'm gettin' sadder;
Son: Please don't leave me, don't say goodbye;
Mom: I need your love, and I need your pie.

Yup, that was a mother/son duo singing about filling her crust up with her son's cream pie. They went backstage with a professional performing country band for 20 minutes, and that's what they came up with. To her credit, Mom is a good sport and doesn't seem to see anything sexual in this at all, and it definitely goes way over Billy Ray Jr.'s head. But Marc just can't leave enough alone. At the end, he makes Mom repeat the last lines, and even sings along. If every 20-year-old production intern didn't immediately look at each other and smirk, then comedy is dead.

The "Talents" On Figure It Out Were INSANE


I used to love Figure It Out! It eschewed the typical Nick team-versus-team format for more of a panel show. It featured teen celebrity judges trying to guess the secret talent of a normal kid, while host Summer Sanders guided them through the clues (imagine if she and Marc Summers got married). It was all low-key and innocent. You got to show off your skills and meet Amanda Bynes before she went nuts. Except looking back on clips of the show, it seems like they reeeeeally stretched the word "talent." Like, WTF is any of this shit:

*heavy breathing* "I showed her how." *heavy breathing*

"Psst ... I also kick small animals for fun, but the lady said that was too mean to write."

Producer: "Are ... are they still alive?"
Child Terror: "Not anymore. I have absorbed them."

Here's "Collects Chewed Gum To Freshen Car." Because that's a normal, everyday hobby that parents should encourage and also agree to put on national cable television.

"So when did you realize your life was on a crash course toward the abyss of insanity?"
"Somewhere around this row."

And here's a future serial killer. There's no other explanation.

Ya, I'm sure the corpses you stole from think it's a great talent.

Look at this list and try not to worry too much that these kids can now vote. This is the best that we as a generation could come up with? "Puts Little Sister in Bubble." "Grows His Own Foot Fungus." "Delivered Her Baby Brother." "Sings Crawfish to Sleep." "Holds Twenty Quarters in His Neck." And that's all in the first season. 80 percent of the talents come from parental neglect ("Growing Rat Tail Since Birth") or complete accidents ("Knocks Poker Chip Off Ear With Yo-Yo"), and the other 20 is just "Makes Funny Sound With Mouth." One girl's talent was that her mom gave her a crazy-long name that takes 30 seconds to say. Great job?

How did we let this happen? This is simply unforgivable. These are not talents. They are check marks on a juvenile insanity test. If I didn't already know what these screenshots were from, I would think it was a child announcing what she won from the Nickelodeon Studios Wheel O' Traumatic Punishment.

Even the dog is like, "Are you fucking serious?"

If you like fun, check out Chris's new party game, Cheer Up!, coming to Kickstarter this fall. Like it on Facebook to stay updated when it goes live, you silly-heads.

See the darkest side of cartoons in 7 Horrifying Things Snuck Into Famous Children's Cartoons and find out why certain religions hate Spongebob in 7 Things From Pop Culture That Apparently Piss Jesus Off.

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