Monday, April 4, 2011

Figure it Out

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Alrite, folks. We're back for your blog-reading enjoyment. The new plan is to have:
Mondays: Series Posts (currently doing Game Shows)
Tuesdays: News (a collection of spoilers, news, and gossip)
Wednesdays: Lists!
Thursdays: Throwback Thursdays (featuring an old episode or clip I've come across)
Fridays: Reviews & Commentaries (Scripted Shows)
Saturdays: Reviews & Commentaries (Unscripted Shows)
Sundays: Random Thoughts & Questions

Now, let's continue...

Since I wrote about Legends of the Hidden Temple last time, I thought I'd do another Nickelodeon game show. I chose Figure it Out because I actually tried to get on this one... even though I didn't succeed. It's another gameshow that was filmed in Orlando and was aimed at a child audience. I thought I was a shoo-in, although my "talent" was kinda simple.... I can say the alphabet backwards really fast. Like, faster backwards than forwards. And every letter is distinguishable. I've had friends time me. I entered a talent competition my senior year of college and came in second place (to a double-jointed girl... ain't that always the way?!?). But, apparently it wasn't enough to impress the big wigs over at Figure It Out...

Brief history:
They managed to get in four seasons between the summer of 1997 and Christmas 1999. The concept isn't entirely original, though the execution is clearly Nickelodeon. It greatly resembles other game shows like To Tell the Truth and I've Got a Secret. After the show was canceled on NICK, it aired on NICK GAS (Nickelodeon Games and Sports) right up until that network disbanded in 2007.  

The game: There was a kid with a unique talent. There were four panel members, usually actors from the Nickelodeon shows, and sometimes guests from other shows or celebrities in another manner. Summer Sanders was the host. The kid would have a talent, and there was a pre-determined phrase that described said talent. The panelists would get to take turns asking yes or no questions (there were three 1-minute rounds), and then they'd try to guess the overall answer. There were also clues given via charades, or something that they could hear, touch, taste, see, or hear. There was also a "secret slime word or gesture," and if one of the panelists said it or did it, they'd get slimed. Many people believe that it was slightly rigged, since Lori Beth would often figure out the answer at the last second. Regardless of whether or not anyone guessed correctly, the kid would demonstrate the skill or collection or whatever at the end.

Notable changes to the way the game is played: The secret slime action wasn't always triggered, though in the later seasons it seems that they made it almost inevitable more often than not. Season 3 started featuring family pairs, like siblings or parent-kid (these tended to be pretty dumb - like "rollerskates through dad's legs" or "bags groceries the fastest"). The final season focused on animal talents, and was even renamed: Figure It Out: Wild Style.

Special contestants: The panel of guessers often included Danny Tamberelli (young Pete on Pete & Pete), Amanda Bynes (then of All That, more recently of Hairspray), and Lori Beth Denberg (of All That). BUT, non-NICK people, like Taran Noah Smith (Home Improvement), Steve from Blue's Clues, and Chris Jericho (the wrestler) were also panelists at one point or another. I saw Kenan Thompson a few times (of Kenan & Kel), and Michelle Trachtenberg (remember Harriet the Spy??) was on there, too. It wasn't just television celebrities, either... Tara Lipinski (the Olympic skater), Coolio (the rapper), and Shannon Miller (the Olympic gymnast) all made appearances.

Favorite Rounds: The kid who could play any tune on the piano after hearing it once was impressive. The kid who could squirt milk out of the eye gland was creepy.

My take: Well, I tried to be a kid on it. On the flip side, I think that I'd make a pretty lousy panelist. I'm not very good at guessing really random things. The only type of "20 Questions" that I'm good at is guessing famous people, LoL. So, I'd pass. I'd totally be an audience member tho... get a chance to win a prize, maybe take part in a clue, etc.

What about you? Did you ever watch Figure It Out? Did you try to get on it? What would you have used as your talent? Do you think you would've been a good panelist? What was the best talent you saw on the show?
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1 comment:

Julia said...

i remember a commercial for it - i think the first one ever - and i never was able to find that commercial anywhere. It had a song everyone knew the tune to, but I don't know what it was called...

Anyway, the kids were so unenthusiastic it killed me!