Thursday, October 20, 2016

I Dare You

It looks like the classic children's game show Double Dare is coming back! Well, for a one-off half hour special, anyway.

Although it makes for good blogging fodder, believe it or not, I'm not much into nostalgia wank. I mean, it's nice to remember stuff like that, but now that the internet has cracked open the availability of almost everything culturally able to be uploaded to YouTube, it's easier than ever to remember how that stuff you remember as a kid actually wasn't all that great.

Still, I won't lie; I was always charmed by the conceit of Double Dare.

I didn't grow up with cable, so the only Double Dare (normally on erstwhile kid's network Nickelodeon) I got to watch was some bastardized family version on the local station. Even then, I was probably a bit too old for it--this was well after its heyday, and it probably just missed that glorious time between 8 and 10 where shoving your hand up a big nose full of fake snot was fun. As always, I was the weird kid who found answering the trivia questions more fun than the physical challenges.*

In fact, I kind of hated the "gross" parts of DD. I don't really like people making messes for the sake of making messes--my long-standing hatred of smash cakes is well-known--and DD was predicated on basically using any excuse to make said messes. The physical challenge of the physical challenge was interesting enough, but when the end result was almost certainly a floor covered in that off-white milklike substance I always got squicked out.

Still, there were two things that kept me coming back. First was my love of game shows; I have a deep-seated desire to be a game show creator/host, which is an admittedly weird aspiration. Second, it was the charm of Marc Summers, who somehow managed to be simultaneously good with kids yet not condescending towards them. 

I rewatched some old episodes a few months ago, and like most things from our childhood it was almost unwatchable. The kids are shrill, the pacing off, the color scheme neon and garish, and even my boy Marc Summers was a little more grating than I remember--although not as bad as it could have been. The end run was still fun to watch, but, man, kids can be dumb.

I will say this--I'm not sure if there's any way to improve on that. An adult version of this would just be sad--I know they do a "drunk" version of it once in a while, but watching adults do this sort of things would just be depressing. And if you're gonna have kids, the visual stimulation of garish colors and obnoxious presentation is pretty much par for the course. So while it doesn't really hold up in my book, I'm glad it exists in its nostalgic form.

*Weirdly, I very specifically remember one question--what letter doesn't appear in any state? (Q, if you don't want to look it up.) Not sure why that stuck out or why on earth I remember that 30 years later.

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