1. All That – Out of all the shows on this list, this is the one that I would have done anything to be on. I was already a smart-allecky 12 year-old who was constantly on stage wherever I went (at least I was in my head). I’m not sure how good I would have been at creating characters, but I was very good at imitating characters like “Ed” (Good Burger), “Super Dude”, and “Ishbuu.” They also had one of the best theme songs (performed by TLC) and had cool musical guests like, Da Brat, Soul 4 Real, Immature, and Craig Mack. Oh, and you know Kenan Thompson from SNL? This is where he got his start (see the video below).
– Nick Arcade – So, you’re telling me that I come on your show, and you’re going to have me play video games and answer questions about video games, and you’re going to give me prizes and cash? Where do I sign up?
– Salute Your Shorts – I grew up going to camp every summer, and no matter how much fun my camp experience was, I always imagined it being 10 times better at Camp Anawana. I wanted to play ball with Pinsky and Telly, pull a prank on Ug with Budnick, or just hang out at the lodge with everybody. It didn’t matter to me that their food (when they showed it) was atrocious and their activities were pretty dismal. I just wanted to be there.
**I couldn’t find a usable clip of the opening credits, so I just found a clip from the show. It starts in the middle of an episode where there are hunting for treasure using a fake map that Budnick sold to them.
– GUTS – I was an athlete. I’ll humbly say ‘was’, because I’m not exactly doing line-drills in the gym for hours like I used to. And this was the ultimate athlete game show. Kicking, jumping, running, throwing, climbing, this show had it all, and I just knew that if I was on that show, I would totally dominate. The challenges were sweet along with the host (Mike O’Malley) and of course, Mo, the British lady who would have to explain the challenges to the audience (and probably to Mike as well.) Top it off with climbing a fake mountain and taking home ‘a piece of the crag’ if you won, meant this show was everything I wanted in a show that liked to watch instead of being active myself.
– Double Dare – One of the original Nickelodeon game shows, this paved the way for many other shows on this list. I always wanted to lean into the microphone and say, “Physical challenge.” Also, with the dynamic duo of Marc Summers and announcer Harvey, everything seemed twice as exciting as it actually was. And then there was the final challenge, slipping and sliding all over the place, grabbing and stuffing flags and loading up on prizes with each completed challenge.
– Wild and Crazy Kids – This felt like the one that I was closest to actually getting on. Not that I ever did anything to get on it, but since it wasn’t acting and it wasn’t in a studio, it felt like if I just went down to the local ball field or pool that I would see them filming and I would grab a shirt and compete. Donny Jeffcoat, Omar Gooding (Cuba Gooding Jr.’s little brother) and two different girls shared hosting duties and occaionally jumped into the games. All the games seemed to be things that I could have done in my backyard and this was the other one that I felt like I could have dominated had I ever found that park where they were filming.
*Bonus for having Ashley Johnson from Growing Pains!