Following my colleague Lynette Rice’s spine-tingling report that TeenNick will be rerunning some semi-klassic-kids’-TV this fall (Pete & Pete, you were the Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel of the 1990s), I have a modest proposal: Let’s make sure Double Dare gets back on TV.
Double Dare was the kiddie game show that put children through challenges such as throwing a football to your partner while blindfolded (oh, and your partner is blindfolded, too) or trying to assemble a Mr. Potato Head toy in less than 20 seconds (tougher than it sounds). There were obstacle courses whose stations included a slide slathered with chocolate sauce, and “The Icy Trike,” in which a luckless young person had to negotiate a baby-size tricycle across a surface slicked with vegetable oil.
As I wrote in The Philadelphia Inquirer at the time, Double Dare “is like a televised Van Halen concert marinated in raw eggs and green slime.” (Hey, it was the ’80s: Van Halen was the right cultural comparison at the time.)
I have a soft spot in my heart and head for Double Dare. In my head, because I know it’s really not a great show by any standard, but it’s awfully fun and entertaining. In my heart, because my daughters loved it — it was the first TV-show taping I took them to, when the series was filming in Philadelphia. In 1988, we attended a Double Dare “Celebrity Week” edition whose big name celebrity guest was Married… With Children‘s David Faustino, who taped a week’s worth of Dares in two days and gamely threw himself into a grinning mouth, scooted down the throat, and landed in a pile of what looked like regurgitated guacamole.
I’m also retro-fond of host Marc Summers, who was always super-nice to the kids while managing to telegraph to any adults watching how ridiculous the show and his job really was. “It’s a great country, isn’t it?” Summers told me at the time. “Where else could you become famous offering kids a clean towel after you’ve just told them to have an egg fight?”
Anyone else remember Double Dare? Would you watch it again?