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Two shows, same basic concept.
Both were a children's Game Show that capitalized on the Covered in Gunge craze in the late 1980s and prolonged it deep into the mid- to late 1990s in the United Kingdom. Teams performed sloppy stunts and answered a question after every stunt in an attempt to earn the right to enter the massive Fun House onstage. The first version was the U.S. series, which was hosted by JD Roth, who would later go on to work in Reality TV, and ran between 1988 and 1991. The United Kingdom came along with its version of the show shortly after in 1989 hosted by the much mulletted Pat Sharp and ran for a whole decade as opposed to four years for its older brother.
After the U.S. version ended its run in syndication, it aired for a season on the Fox network with a few changes. There was also a Spin-Off series, College Mad House. Instead of pitting two teams of two kids together, two teams of four students each from rival universities competed, with much more risqué challenges thrown in. Greg Kinnear presided over that circus.
In the United Kingdom, Fun House became something of an institution to kids now aged between 20 and 30 as the zenith of gungey game shows. Airing on ITV during the 1990s, it involved much the same things as the U.S. version did, but with different twins, different hosts and a set which was more like a carnival funhouse than just a fun... house.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Big Win Sirens: Heard if the team won the grand/Power Prize in the Bonus Round.
- Bonus Round: The Fun House itself. Contestants took turns grabbing cash and prize tags three at a time for two minutes. One of the tags also contained the "Power Prize", which awarded the team the major bonus prize that day. Changed in College to each player getting 30 seconds in the house to grab as many tags as possible, with the grand prize being awarded for "Cleaning House" (finding all 13 tags).
- Bonus Space: The aforementioned "Power Prize" (although getting it was the main objective), and the Glop Clock in the FOX version that added 15 seconds to your allotted time in the house.
- Consolation Prize
- Covered in Gunge: Taken Up to Eleven. Some of the games consisted of little more than pouring it onto the players' heads.
- Game Show Appearance: Subverted; on one episode of Perfect Strangers, Balki and Larry are contestants on the fictional game show "Risk It All", which features some of the stunts and props used on Fun House.
- Golden Snitch: The Fun House Grand Prix, to an extent, especially when they added a "token bank" from which contestants could pull as many point tokens as would fit in their hands.
- Home Game
- The Announcer: John "Tiny" Hurley in the original version, Michael "MC Mike" Chambers in the FOX run. In the UK version, Gary King
- Game Show Host: JD Roth in the United States, Pat Sharp in the United Kingdom.
- Lovely Assistant: Twin cheerleaders Jackie and Sammi Forrest in the United States. Melanie and Martina Grant were their British counterparts.
- Studio Audience
- Show the Folks At Home: The location of the Power Prize.
- Speed Round: College Mad House had the "Finals" instead of the Grand Prix race. The host asked a series of rapid-fire questions for a minute and 30 seconds, and getting one right earned your team 25 points and allowed you to pie your opponent.
- Catch Phrase: Several.
- Celebrity Edition: The show once had a "Teen Star Week", where young actors were teammates to ordinary schoolchildren. One episode pitted Tiffany Brissette against Jerry Suprian.
- Christmas Episode
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The red team vs. the gold [yellow] team. Even in College Mad House, the teams competed in red and yellow jerseys regardless of school colors.
- Deserted Island: One of the tag locations, in the pool.
- Double Unlock: In the UK version, finding the "Power Prize" earned the team a chance to answer a question requiring three answers under a 10-second shot clock. Success earned the grand prize. Averted in the U.S. version, where the "Power Prize" tag was enough to win the grand prize.
- Dueling Shows: With Double Dare.
- Everything's Better with Chocolate: One episode was a dedicated "Chocolate Day".
- Everything's Better with Rainbows: The "Rainbow Bridge" over the pool.
- Eighties Hair: JD's near-mullet and Pat's actual mullet.
- Fan Service: Jackie and Sammi (as well as Melanie and Martine) for older viewers obviously (possibly even Parent Service). Averted in College by replacing them with referees, but given the contestants and what kind of stunts they were doing, it's debatable whether or not they were really necessary anyway.
- Follow the Leader: See "Dueling Shows" above; Double Dare was the forerunner of this and a slew of other messy kids' game shows.
- Interface Screw: The "Kockeyed Kitchen", in which everything is upside down. Comes complete with an upside-down camera effect to make the contestant appear to the viewer to be walking on the ceiling.
- Luck-Based Mission: Occasionally found on the U.S. version. One common variant involved players taking alternating turns putting their faces into a pie, gripping a handle with their teeth, and lifting it up in the hopes of selecting a pie with a designated winning phrase, such as "Big Win." Usually the winner was the first to find two "Big Wins." Another one, found in a holiday-themed episode, had the contestants spin a giant dreidel in the hope of landing on a "candy" symbol; the contestant with more candy after three turns won.
- Also, finding the "Power Prize" tag. Although your chances could be improved by getting more tags.
- Nobody Poops: Averted with the "Flushing Meadows" room.
- Obstacle Exposition: Done by the announcer right before the run through the Fun/Mad House.
- Pie in the Face: Several main game stunts, as well as during Finals on College. The right to pie your opponent after answering a question carried over to the FOX version.
- Recycled Soundtrack: The Theme Tune and Bonus Round music from College would later be used on another Stone Stanley-produced game show, Shop 'til You Drop.
- Spin-Off: College Mad House.
- Subverted Kids Show: Pretty much all of College, with the lewd nature of some of the stunts and the renamed obstacles in the
- Timed Mission: Most of the stunts in the United States, and all of them in the United Kingdom (bar the Grand Prix). In the United States, the time limit was usually 30 or 45 seconds, while in the United Kingdom, it was 60 seconds for most of the run, then reduced to 45 seconds later.
- Also, the Fun House run was timed to two minutes.
- In College Mad House, the two minutes were divided evenly among all four contestants on the winning team (so 30 seconds each); the goal was to find all 13 tags in the house before the last player's time ran out.