Originally debuting on Nickelodeon in 1986, Double Dare gave teams of kids (and later, families) the chance to answer questions and win points with the hope of making it to the end-of-show obstacle course. Because the series railed against parental advice like telling children to not be loud, play with their food, pick their nose — here in the form of an infamous obstacle course stunt — and other inherent kid-like behaviors, it seemed very anti-authority and that combined with the show’s inherent goofy fun made it a smash hit.
Joined by his funny, bearded sidekick, Harvey, host Marc Summers brought a genial charm to the series that went missing when Nickelodeon rebooted the show without him in 2000. Because we’ve all dreamed of wearing a red sweatsuit and covering ourselves in slime, let’s take a look back at Double Dare‘s most memorable physical challenges.
By the way, as you’ll come to realize by watching these clips, what you would have been able to easily accomplish as a kid would destroy you (and me) now. So, ready? On your mark. Get set. Go!
The World’s Largest Banana Split
The calorie and sugar intake issues that this challenge endorses aside, tooling around in a banana-shaped canoe just seems like an inherently bad idea, no?
Thru the Wringer
At the end of each episode, the winning team would have the opportunity to go through the Double Dare obstacle course. Having to complete eight rapid-fire physical challenges in less than a minute seems unthinkable from this writer’s current couch potato-ish state, but the contestants gave it their all with hopes of winning Nintendo games, Garfield puzzles and that ever-elusive grand prize – a trip to Walt Disney World. One of the most horrific challenges on the obstacle course was Thru the Wringer, which is essentially just a warm and fuzzy version of a massive industrial accident. Was Double Dare actually using some of these obstacles to prepare the kids for the life of drudgery ahead of them? We may never know.
The William Tell Challenge
Randomly spraying seltzer in the faces of strangers with hopes of making an apple fall off their head is way less acceptable today than it was in the ’80s.
Truth be told, if I were to attempt to go through the Sewer Chute (or the Big Cheese, for that matter) now, I would immediately get stuck and the whole affair would devolve into some sort of 127 Hours dealie where I would be forced to devour the questionable food stuffs in the obstacle to survive — something that seems less appealing than chewing my own arm off. Keep your telescope.
The Sundae Slide
Climbing up sliding boards is difficult enough (I assume), but when they are covered by the ingredients of a chocolate sundae? Nearly impossible (again, just an assumption). To this day many of the show’s contestants can’t even go near a Friendly’s.
Toss Your Cookies
The food-based physical challenges were among the favorite of viewers because of their ability to create a huge mess in a short period of time, but while it’s never my goal to pierce the delicate bubble that is TV magic, behind the scenes, you have to imagine these were’t high on the list of favorites for those who worked on the show. After all, several episodes were filled at once, so one can only imagine the smell.
The Garbage Truck/Pick It
From the “needle in a crapstack” family, Pick It was probably the most iconic obstacle course entry thanks to its giant nose imagery and the need to go in up to your shoulder to rescue the well-hidden flag. The Garbage Truck was its near-cousin and featured a deeply hidden flag among a bunch of trash, slime and lost dreams of Busch Gardens glory for those who couldn’t make it through the course because of it. This one wouldn’t destroy you physically, it’s more about spiritual destruction.
This is an updated version of a post that ran in November of 2015