It was a great time to be an American during the 1990s, especially if you had cable television. In one lap of channels, you could come across the Toronto Raptors ridiculous jerseys, the entrance music of the nWo, scrambled adult films, and Carson Daly doing awkward Carson Daly things on MTV. Those were the days.
There is one programming block that will always hold a special place in my heart though: Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids, or, as kids cooler than me called it, “Nick GaS.” GaS instilled the spirit of competition within anyone who tuned in, and the lesson that life doesn’t give you lemons, but it does give you a giant load of green, unhygienic slime when you’re not expecting it. It had a magical run, but one that could never happen again. Here’s why, as we buckle up for our journey down nostalgia lane.
Legends Of The Hidden Temple Was Probably Racist
Considering all the hubbub currently circulating around the Washington Redskins mascot controversy, there is absolutely no way that a show revolving around dressing up like Mayans (or is it Aztecs?) and chasing children is flying in 2013, which is a crying shame, because it does a disservice to the memory of all the brave souls who were lost in the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. Get more than one and a half pendants of life and you’re not locked away in some Orlando backlot for eternity. At least that’s what I thought happened to those kids.
How would you even pitch Hidden Temple to the network in this day-and-age, and get the green light?
Producer: “Here’s our idea. We’re going to have a bunch of unwanted outsiders, divided into teams by color, essentially trespass on the natives’ property. Should be extremely entertaining.”
Network: “Hmmm. Are there going to be lessons learned, like learning to appreciate each other’s culture?”
Producer: “Nah, we’re just going to encourage the contestants to pillage the indigenous people’s valuables.”
Network: “I can’t imagine the residents would take too kindly to that. Seems kind of dick-ish.”
Producer: “You’re right. That’s why all of the temple guards will be wearing stereotypical Ancient Mesoamerican battle paint, and will have the goal of kidnapping any child who crosses their path. That is unless the child gives them gold. We’re also thinking about allowing them to use a ‘Manifest Destiny’ bonus to avoid capture. Still tinkering with it.”
Network: “I don’t know about this.”
Producer: “Wait, it gets better. The sage that the contestants receive instructions from is a giant Olmec Head who sounds so unintelligible and threatening, he could pass as a drunk Shaquille O’Neal. He’ll be like the temple guards’ spiritual guide, or something. We’re really not sure.“
GTA doomed Nick Arcade
Anytime the great American innovations are listed, Nick Arcade constantly gets lost in the shuffle for reasons unbeknownst to me. It’s a tragedy. We’re talking about virtual reality, people! Does the ability to shoot laser guns at meteoroids on a green screen mean nothing to you? If I didn’t know any better, I would have sworn that those valiant contestants legitimately saved planet earth from surefire destruction.
But let’s be honest with ourselves, if you only had enough ammo in your digital firearm to save the planet from the apocalypse, or, alternatively, gun down a few economically-downtrodden street walkers who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time as offered by Grand Theft Auto, you’re choosing the hookers every time.
GUTS Was A Lawsuit Waiting To Happen
Have you seen some of the stunts they pulled on Nickelodeon GUTS? Kids were literally bouncing off the walls and suspended from the sky as super sexy referee Moira “Mo” Quirk looked on in disbelief and host Mike O’Malley screamed like a maniacal, possibly-homicidal caffeine junkie. A theme song with the lyrics, “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Do You Have It?” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Wild & Crazy Kids Was Just Plain Silly
While there was always great potential in Human Space Invaders and Bumper Boat Lacrosse, let’s face facts, soccer is never working in America, even if it’s of the three-legged variety. Also, all these obese American children don’t play outside anymore, so good luck getting them out of the house, even if it was for a basic cable afternoon game show.
What Would You Do? Would Be Deemed Too Unhealthy
What a great show for anyone who wants to embrace their inner fat child. The entire show revolved the premise of drilling audience members with pies. As much as I kicked and screamed for my parents to build a Pie Pod in my room over the years, competition devoted to the worshipping of the wrong end of the nutrition pyramid is not exactly in line with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” initiative.