#79: Top 5 Worst Double Dare Obstacles
Ruining Good Obstacle Course Runs Since 1986

Compilation Induction
Nickelodeon: (October 1986 - December 2000)
Syndication & Primetime on FOX (January 1988 - September 1989)

Cool kids game shows are so rare to come by.  The coolest of all the kids game shows is normally debated between two of the best: Double Dare and Legends of the Hidden Temple.  This time around, I'm going to be doing a look at Double Dare.  When you thought Nickelodeon in the 80s, you thought Double Dare.  The slime, the physical challenges, Marc Summers & Harvey, you kicked back, relaxed and just enjoyed the ride.  When the obstacle Course came along, you definitely cheered for the kids to get through all 8 and win that vacation to Disneyworld or the computer or whatever they were giving as the grand prize that day. 

The Obstacle Course is one of the best end games in game shows.  It was simple, get through all 8 obstacles, be covered in slime, gak, chocolate, cream or whatever and win yourself prizes.  That's all there is.  Many people remember the Sundae Slide, the Blue Plate Special or Da Nose as the most memorable obstacles.  However some of the obstacles halted contestants dead in their tracks because they were too hard, too confusing or just were plain awful. 

So, for the delight of all the kids game show fans out there, and the many nasty e-mails I will be getting in the next couple of days.  Here is my list of the Top 5 Worst Obstacle Course Obstacles of All Time. 

Number 5: The Revamped Inside Out

We kick things off with a revamped obstacle.  When Inside-Out debuted, it was simple.

There were 3 or 5 balloons and one of them had the flag.  All you had to do is pop the balloons to find the flag and move on.  It couldn't be simpler.  Especially with 3-5 balloons, it was one of the easiest obstacles.  Normally it would be in the middle of the course as a breather after the Sundae Slide or something to that effect.  When the show went to its Super Sloppy days, all the obstacles got bigger and better, although some obstacles were left unchanged, such as the Hamster Wheel and Doggie Door.  Inside-Out got changed, and what did it become?

A gigantic forest of balloons.  So, the contestants had to find the flag in a bunch of 40 or so balloons.  This would often eat up lots of time, unless they found the flag right off.  The average time it took the contestants to get through the old Inside-Out was about 6-10 seconds.  The new average with this variant was around 15-20 seconds.  More often than not, good course runs would be halted at this very obstacle, once was a nice breather after the Sundae Slide.  It was on the course for a few times before the obstacle got retired after the move to Florida.  If they had just stuck with the first variant, it wouldn't have needed any changing whatsoever.  They could have added various things inside the balloons, like Slime, Water or Chocolate to go with the Super Sloppy motif and it would have been fine, but with things getting bigger, it just got big for the sake of getting big.

So now let's get to the next part in our Obstacle Course from hell.

Number 4: Double Click

Double Click was a Double Dare 2000 Reimagining of the classic obstacle, Hunt & Peck aka Typewriter.

The idea was simple, hit a key and the flag would pop up.  It was one of those obstacles that would appear in the middle of a course as a breather obstacle, like the previously mentioned Inside-Out or at the very end of the course, since normally they had about 4-5 seconds left anyways and it made for exciting TV.  The obstacle stuck around until the end of the original show's run in 1994.  So, it comes as no surprise that it would get a reimagining for the 2000 course.

To their credit, at least it looked big and impressive and gave off that it was as it should be.  The same idea of Double Click was the same as Typewriter: hit a key and the flag would light up and get the flag.  So, in theory, this would be a fantastic update to the classic obstacle, right?

Well, not really.  Unfortunately, most of the time the kids would hit all the keys and sometimes the flag wouldn't light up and say the admittedly cool, "You've Got Flag" so they could move on.  This, more often than not, ate up quite a bit of time that couldn't get made up, because the next obstacle after this was often The Gak Factory or The Big Nose.  So, updating an old obstacle might have been good, but it just didn't work the way it should have worked.

So, let's click on over to #3

Number 3: SHARK!!

With Family Double Dare going into a new Tournament mode in 1992, new obstacles were added to freshen up the course.  Some of my personal favorites were The Gak Geyser and Low Hurdles.  Others were somewhat mediocre, such as Big Bowl and New Lake Double Dare.  However, the worst one that often stalled a course to oblivion was Shark!!

No, not that Shark.  RIP John Tenta.

Basically, it was a variation of Da' Nose.  The contestant had to climb up this springboard and had to find the flag that was inside the shark's mouth, which had all sorts of aquatic stuff in it, like fishnets and lifejackets among other assorted things. 

While it may have been a good idea, it seemed like it was poorly executed.  More often than not, it took about 20 seconds to find the flag, which was buried deep in the shark's mouth.  Maybe that was the big flaw in this one.  It's just another variant on a theme that was done better in Da' Nose and Blue Plate Special.  Not only that, the shark seemed too deep, a kid could have fit inside it and wouldn't be able to get out...which kinda explains why it was always #5 and almost always after the Gak Geyser.

Now we're getting into the home stretch and let's go to the 2nd worst obstacle.

Number 2: Fireman's Flag-Pull

When Double Dare first debuted in 1986, it was a simpler time.  It was just two teams of two, answering simple questions and performing, what would appear to be tame physical challenges from what we were used to seeing with the Super Sloppy and Family versions.  What was also different in the early shows was the obstacle course, albeit smaller, also had its own quirks to make it more intriguing as well with its simplicity.  For example you had the Wall Climb, Tarzan Swing, and the Rope Climb, which was basically a Cargo Net.  Arguably, the most popular obstacle of all time was The Sundae Slide.  I mean, who didn't want to slide down into that big mound of whipped cream or whatever was down there.  During this time period, there were a couple big obstacles made to be rotated in the same place of The Sundae Slide.  The better one was Sewer Chute, the worst one and the 2nd worst Obstacle, Fireman's Flag-Pull.

*GSG Note.  I have this on tape, but the quality isn't that great and it's hard to decipher, but it did happen*

The Fireman's Flag-Pull was like The Sundae Slide, except more painful in ways.  The first part of the obstacle was to climb up a chocolate covered slide, like The Sundae Slide.  So far, it's just a cheap rip-off of The Sundae Slide, however, the second part of the obstacle was more annoying.  The Pull part of the obstacle was having the contestants Pull in some laundry or different colored flags in order to slide down the pole.  So, not only was the slide part tough enough to deal with, the added pain of having to reel in the flag made this obstacle almost unbearable to take care of.  With this obstacle, I doubt the course was even won with it on it.

Maybe I should be thankful that after some time, they revamped it with just the slide and the flag and the pole, without the pain of having to pull in other flags or laundry.  The pain of this was that if you forgot to grab the flag, you had to climb back up the slide and get the flag and go down the pole, eating up massive amounts of time and making the course almost next to impossible to complete.  This obstacle lasted until the second run of episodes, and was retired quickly.  Maybe they thought they had something with both the Sundae Slide and the Sewer Chute that they didn't need a third big obstacle.  Either way, I'm just thankful that it was axed.

And now the absolute worst obstacle of all time is..............

Number 1: The Garbage Truck

Would you expect anything less that a site called Game Show Garbage would deem The Garbage Truck the worst obstacle of all time?  But anyways, here's my reasoning.

Along with the move to Florida, and the reviving of Family Double Dare, new obstacles were created to make it harder for the course to win, and I can understand that because the grand prize for Family Double Dare in 1990 was a car.  So, certain obstacles were made sloppier to make it harder, like the Sundae Slide or Pipeline or Fancy Footwork.  Others were brought back but magnified, like the Volcano aka Mount Saint Double Dare, and others were made to take advantage of the dads who would play the game like Gator Alley and Wrestle-Rama.  But one obstacle was created that lasted the rest of the run that halted tons of runs on the obstacle course, pending if the damn thing worked.

Ladies and gentlemen, the worst obstacle of all time, The Garbage Truck.

Basically, the Garbage Truck is another one in a long line of "Find the Flag in a big pile of mess" obstacles that seemed to be in almost every single obstacle course during Family Double Dare's Nickelodeon run.  Basically the flag would either be on the bottom in a bunch of garbage or in the lift that comes down after you pull a handle that's got bags and a bunch of other garbage in it as well.  All the contestant has to do is find the flag.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, not exactly.

More often than not, the flag would be camouflaged in a big messy spot on the truck bed and nobody would be able to find it, causing good course runs to be destroyed because of this unforgiving obstacle.

I can recall one episode where it took All 4 members of the family, Marc Summers, and a few crew members to find the flag.  Thankfully, they did find it, just before Doc Holliday read the infamous "Family Double Dare was taped at Nickelodeon Studios, Universal Studios Orlando Florida" Line.  Then you have other times where the lever wouldn't work and the top part of the truck wouldn't go up, and most of the time the flag was up there, so Marc had to tell the contestant to go on and forget about the obstacle, and that happened a couple of times as well.

The Garbage Truck would last until the end of the show's original run, and sadly would make a return in Double Dare 2000, but the Garbage Truck stuff would just be big items, so it wasn't as devilishly hard as the old version.

Well that wraps up yet another Kid's Month on Game Show Garbage.  Maybe it's time to take a look...

"Hey Rob, it's your benevolent webmaster here. A certain kids game show's been really bugging me since 1996...can you look into it?"

Sure, Benevolent Webmaster. What show is this? 

"That one with the Cryptkeeper"

Oh dear god, Not that one. Times like these calls for some backup. And I know just the guy.

*places a call*

 Hey Seth, It's me Sigma. Hey, listen I need your help for something that qualifies for both your site and mine. Let's team up and take care of this long national nightmare. I think this would benefit both of us in more ways than one. Especially if this thing gets cast into both of our domains.

You'll help me out with it?  Great, see you here next week.

*hangs up phone*

This is going to be a rough one.

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