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"On your marks, Get set, GOOOOOO!!!"
Marc Summers announcing the first game to start.

Children's quiz/stunt show on Nickelodeon. Teams answered questions to earn money, trying to be the leader after the end of two rounds. The team in control could answer a question asked to them or "Dare" the other team, letting them try to answer for double the money. The other team could then "Double Dare" in return, doubling the value again (i.e., four times the original amount). Once a question had been Dared or Double Dared, an incorrect answer would award the money to the opposing team.

Once the question had been Double Dared back to the first team, they had to either answer or take the Physical Challenge, where they competed in a timed stunt in order to win the money and retain control of the round. These challenges, and the whole show in extension, were famed for being very messy and ridiculous, and of course getting people Covered in Gunge. Contestants also competed in messy stunts at the beginning of each round to see who would get the first question, as well as in the Bonus Round.

There was also a Family version and the epitome of telling the whole show on the title, two Super Sloppy versions. Marc Summers was the host of all versions except Double Dare 2000, which starred Jason Harris.

A UK version of the show was made, the only major difference being the teams played for points rather than money (in the UK, there's a law that says kids can't win cash on a game show). It became famous for host Peter Simon slipping on the gunge and falling over, which happened almost Once an Episode.

Not to be confused with CBS' Double Dare, which is something quite different.


Game Show Tropes in use:

  • Bonus Round: The Obstacle Course. On 2000, this was the Slopstacle Course but essentially the same. The winning team had 8 obstacles to go through, always ending with the player grabbing an orange flag (a pennant, to be precise), and clearing them all within 60 seconds won them a trip or, for much of the Family run, a car.
  • Carried by the Host: Do you think Double Dare and not think Marc Summers?
  • Confetti Drop: Subverted; used whenever someone went for the Triple Dare Challenge in the 2000 version.
  • Covered in Gunge: Self-explanatory. Along with You Can't Do That on Television, Double Dare established green slime as a trademark of Nickelodeon's original shows.
  • Double the Dollars: Trope Namer.
  • Personnel:
    • The Announcer: (John) Harvey. Doc Holliday announced for the 1992-93 season, and Tiffany Phelps for 2000.
    • Game Show Host: Marc Summers; Jason Harris in 2000.
    • Studio Audience: Occasionally, Marc would pull someone from the audience to demonstrate one of the obstacles.
  • Rules Spiel: Marc Summers even made a ceremony out of ripping up the cue cards with the rules on them when he finally had them memorized.
  • Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: Quite a few for a kids/family show, but what better way to get to the Physical Challenges?
    • There was a question about The Dating Game. On a children's show.
    • A 1990 episode (Long Lastings vs. Blue Thunder) asked a question about the Wheel of Fortune pilot.
Tropes used in Double Dare 1986 include:
  • Bar Slide: The basis for one of the physical challenges, albeit with a "root beer-like substance" and even later a green slime-type liquid.
  • Celebrity Edition: The syndicated run had a week here and there during which young celebrities would be paired with civilian teammates. Nickelodeon would later do the same thing using actors from its own shows, as well as a couple of Super Special episodes. A Pilot was also made in 1987 for Celebrity Double Dare with celebrity/adult contestant pairings; it never sold.
    • On one edition of Super Sloppy Double Dare, Marc and Harvey paired off with child teammates. JM J. Bullock took over hosting duties and DD production assistants Robin and Dave filled in as announcers. They were then made to run the Obstacle Course as a pair with any prizes won going to both civilian contestants. They finished the course in 57 seconds, albeit not without glossing over some botched flag handovers.
  • Christmas Episode: Featured decorations on the set and a Christmas themed obstacle course; in addition, the parents of the kids on each team performed all the physical challenges and the Obstacle Course. Given that this was produced prior to the first incarnation of Family Double Dare, it may have been an experiment for this very purpose.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Not until the first Super Sloppy version, but for the majority of the show's run it was always the red team (or family) vs. the blue team.
  • Crossover: with Legends of the Hidden Temple, Nick Arcade and What Would You Do? called Nickelodeon All-Star Challenge that aired during The Big Help in 1994.
  • Downer Ending: It wasn't uncommon for the team to pace through the Obstacle Course looking like they could win, only to run out of time on the last one, but on one occasion the contestant's gunge-covered hand literally slipped off of the last flag at the last second. The real kick in the nuts? That slip cost the family a Ford Mustang.
  • Epic Fail: On the first taped episode (not the first one aired), the first item in the Obstacle Course (find a flag hidden inside a pillow) was missing said flag. On the second take, the flag was still missing due to miscommunication. The flag was present on the third take, but a cameraman ended up getting right in the contestants' way immediately afterward, necessitating a fourth take.
    • The fourth take went into the episode as aired, while the first three takes (with slate, showing the recording date as September 18, 1986) were put into the direct-to-video release Double Dare: The Inside Slop.
    • And the name of that very first obstacle, which gave the show so much trouble? Nightmare.
  • Follow the Leader: There were several "messy kids' show" clones, most egregiously the short-lived Slime Time. However, most of the other kids' games of the era had completely different stunts and/or presentation.
  • Gross-Out Show
  • Halloween Episode: Early on, with a brutal obstacle course (see YMMV entries).
  • Irony As He Is Cast / Terrified of Germs: Marc Summers was host for seven years (1986-93) of a game show remembered as one of the messiest ever. Summers has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and he's been known to obsessively straighten out the fringe on a rug. When this news became common knowledge, he became something of a Memetic Badass since he was able to power through filming such as messy show and enduring having Covered in Gunge contestants hug him.
  • Lampshade-Wearing: The basis for one of the physical challenges - one partner would have to find poker chips in a bowl of dip and throw them to his partner, who was required to catch them with the lampshade serving as a blindfold.
  • Level Ate: Aside from using large quantities of post-dated food in the physical challenges and obstacles, many such obstacles consisted of the contestant having to crawl through and/or find the flag in a giant sandwich, slice of pizza, stack of waffles, plate of mashed potatoes, etc. Later in the run, some of the physical challenges required a team to create a giant replica of some food, such as a burrito or bowl of cereal, with one of the contestants naturally replacing one of the items.
  • Loophole Abuse: Some of the physical challenges had rules that allowed for less obvious but much easier game play. One of the easiest involved filling a cup on a contestant's head using a water fountain. There was no minimum distance, so the contestant could simply put their head under the fountain instead of having to arc the stream.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Depending on how many obstacles required the contestant to find the flag (whether in simulated food, a giant nose, or a big foam rubber shark's mouth), the Obstacle Course could easily become one of these.
  • Mascot: During the early years, the obstacle course would regularly feature a Toys 'R' Us gift certificate as a prize for one of the early obstacles. The obstacle with the gift certificate as its prize would generally have a stuffed Geoffrey Giraffe, the mascot of Toys 'R' Us, sitting on the sign giving the obstacle's name.
  • Obstacle Exposition: Before the Obstacle Course began, Marc would give a brief-but-thorough explanation of how to get through each segment of the course. Occasionally, he would have an audience member demonstrate one for a Double Dare t-shirt.
  • Product Placement: Everyone got to take home the pair of Reebok sneakers they wore for the show (though you might need to get them cleaned before wearing them again). As stated above, the Toys 'R' Us mascot was also frequently seen.
  • Projectile Toast: One of the physical challenges involved launching toast out of a springloaded toaster to one's partner on the other side of the stage.
  • Reunion Show: Marc Summers and John Harvey reunited on an episode of NBC Philadelphia's The 10 Show in late 2010, and participated in a Double Dare-esque challenge. The interview portion is here, and the challenge portion here.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The Triple Dare Challenge in round 2 of 2000. An add-on to the regular Physical Challenges, it carried a prize and $300 in score money if attempted and completed, but if failed, the money and the prize went to the other team. If declined, the team would play the Physical Challenge normally for the usual $200 either way.
  • Serious Business: Contestants (and even the host) seemed to treat the events as such.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Various episodes were themed around The Hollywood Squares (1988) and I Love Lucy (1989).
    • While explaining a Physical Challenge involving paper airplanes, Marc made a reference to Bud Collyer.
    • 1988: A young girl in the audience said her favorite show was...Finders Keepers.
    • In a later episode, one of the questions asked was "What is the only game show on PBS?", which of course was Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego??. When neither team could think of the answer, Marc gave it out and took time to acknowledge the fact that host Greg Lee was a former staffer on Double Dare.
  • Spiritual Successor: It's basically a more competitive Beat the Clock with a quiz added.
  • The Teaser / Cold Open: Each episode began with a physical challenge to determine initial control of the board. This was pretty much the only game show to open in such a manner.
  • Timed Mission: The physical challenges were usually played in 20 or 30 seconds (always 30 on Double Dare 2000, barring a time reduction due to a "Triple Dare Challenge"), although in earlier episodes 10 and 15-second challenges were not unheard of. The Obstacle Course had a time limit of 60 seconds.
  • Title Scream: Subverted; each FOX Family Double Dare episode began with the audience yelling "Take the Physical Challenge!"
  • Womb Level: Several of the obstacles: "Pick-It" (a giant nose); "Down the Hatch" and later "Big Gulp" (huge mouths, the latter being a Sundae Slide retool); "In One Ear" (a big head filled with "earwax"). "Foot Locker"/"Toe Jam", a huge foot, may also qualify somewhat.
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