I was born in 1989, which means I grew up dreaming of getting slimed. I watched Nickelodeon's '90s game shows like Legends of the Hidden Temple, Figure It Out and Family Double Dare, and I begged my parents to take me to Universal Studios to be on the shows, but it never happened. Those shows ended and the world moved on. Nowadays, it seems like only celebrities get slimed, and so my dream of feeling green goop cascade down my head passed into childhood nostalgia and fantasy, alongside playing in the NBA and having my own Pokemon.
Until now. Nickelodeon is bringing back Double Dare starting Monday, and I got the incredible opportunity to make my childhood dream come true by running the course. And yes, I got slimed.
The iconic game show originally ran for nearly 500 episodes from 1986 to 1993 (and in reruns long after that), with a few title variations, includingFamily Double Dare and Super Sloppy Double Dare. It was briefly revived for Double Dare 2000, but it's been dormant ever since. It's being brought back now in our reboot-crazy era with one eye toward nostalgia and the other toward now. It has a new host in social media star Liza Koshy, but original host Marc Summers is onboard as an executive producer/color commentator/perfect link between the past and present.
I didn't get to see either of them in hosting action at the recent press event where reporters were invited to run the course, but it was okay, because my game was hosted by a very competent Nickelodeon employee named Mike. Shoutout to Mike. I was on the red team, which one of my teammates christened "Team Won." Team Won was me, two other reporters and an employee from Nickelodeon's animation department, who turned out to have clutchSpongeBob SquarePants knowledge in the Nickelodeon trivia round.
The game started with a human wheelbarrow race where the wheelbarrow had to bob for cherries in a whipped cream pie. My team lost the race and then we fell further behind during the trivia section. Our chances were especially hurt when we couldn't get it together during our physical challenge, which was passing a ball from person to person using plungers. Hand-eye coordination is not an important skill in entertainment journalism.
After trivia was a game called "Make That Pie Fly!," which was basically a version of musical chairs where all the competitors stood shoulder-to-shoulder and passed whipped cream pies up and down the line, and if you dropped it, you were out. To make it harder, the people on the ends had to spin around when passing the pie back. I didn't drop the pie because my hand-eye coordination is only slightly below average, but the person next to me did, which meant we had to "make that pie fly" into each other's faces. So I smashed a tin full of Cool Whip into someone from the blue team's face while she did the same to me.
Then it was time for the main event: the obstacle course. It was a scaled-down version of the full course with four iconic stations: The Wringer, Down the Hatch, Pick-It, and the Human Hamster Wheel. I was assigned the Wringer, where I dove Superman-style through a roller that looked like the world's most whimsical industrial metal-flattening machine and shot down a slide covered in whipped cream. The whipped cream made the slide very fast, and I hit the ground with a thwap that left two Cool Whip handprints on the rug. (Hopefully Nickelodeon budgeted carpet cleaning into the event, because we left the room in 1515 Broadway a mess.) I jumped up and grabbed the flag above me and passed it to my teammate, who then dove into the giant mouth of Down the Hatch. I didn't do Pick-It, the most iconic Double Dare obstacle, where you have to dig around for a flag inside a giant nose filled with green whipped cream, but I can give you this advice in case you ever find yourself face-to-face with the disembodied schnozz: get under it like you were working on a car and go straight to the side of the nostril. The flag is velcroed on there.
My team ran the course in 47 seconds, four seconds faster than the blue team, and our prize for winning was getting slimed. I felt like it was 1995 and I was at Universal Studios Orlando. I was vibrating with excitement. I got into a kiddie pool and the stagehands poured the slime over my head as I always dreamed. It was chilled, but not cold, and very, very sweet. The recipe for slime, I've since learned, is vanilla pudding, oatmeal, applesauce and a whole lot of green food coloring. It felt like very thick, slow shampoo that made my hair much dirtier. I slicked it back through my hair like dairy pomade.
For a short time, I got to feel like a kid again. And that's the kind of nostalgia I can get behind. The return of Double Dare gives parents who grew up watching the show the chance to share it with their own kids. And now a new generation of kids will dream of going through the Wringer. I hope this revival lasts another 500 episodes to give thousands more kids the chance to experience it. Slime without end, amen.
Double Dare premieres Monday at 8/7c on Nickelodeon.