#26: You're On
In the mid 90s, Nickelodeon seemed to be firing on all cylinders. Since their move to Florida, they've come up with great programming like Hey Dude, Welcome Freshman, Clarissa Explains It All, Adventures of Pete & Pete and one of my all time favorite shows, Salute Your Shorts. And that's not even going into the greatness that was Family Double Dare, Guts and Legends of the Hidden Temple, 3 of the most memorable kids game shows out there. However in the late 90s, things went down the crapper faster than Donkeylips gets down on a double cheeseburger. Innovative and entertaining programming got replaced by staleness & patheticness that was the Klasky-Csupo line of Nicktoons such as CatDog, Rocket Power & others that I don't remember. Then in 1998, Nickelodeon unleashes not only one of the worst game shows in history, but undoubtedly the worst kids game show of all time. Now, I know I already called Slime Time one of the worst kids game shows, but at least that had something interesting behind it. But You're On....Had none of that whatsoever.
Now, we must start off with the host...
Oh no. Oh god no!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Phil Moore. He was an Orlando based comedian before he was slated to host Nick Arcade back in 1992. He is the most obnoxious, annoying pathetic host for any kids game show. I would say all time, but then he'd have to deal with Blake Emmons, Chris Wylde, and that dolt that's hosting The Newlywed Game right now. None of his jokes are funny & I thought he was pathetic, even when I was a 12 year old, watching this when it first came out, he was pathetic. But enough about him, I'll go further into detail about his untalented past in the next couple months. There are two other people that help out with this show to try to make Phil Moore seem less inept than he really is.
One is Vivianne Collins, who if you watched Nick GAS back in the early days of it's venture, was one of the hosts who did the cut-in segments during the day, sometimes it's the In Play Today section or the Family Fuel segments where her and Mati Moralejo co-hosted the games done in between the shows that aired in that block. She's got the chops here of doing a capable job hosting, instead of being a supporting host with the contestants. Sadly, she is stuck out there with this guy.
Enter Travis White. He's like Phil Moore, except not as annoying, but still as hyper and horrible. What is also bad about him is that he often forgets what to do during the show, so he's often bumbling his way through the setups and whatnot. In short, he was bad.
Now the format, if you can call it that. Two kids have to convince the unsuspecting masses around Universal Studios to do some pretty stupid stuff in order to win the grand prize. They are given 3 tasks that revolve around 1 object, such as toilet paper, jewelry with bugs inside them and other things. They have to get these 3 tasks done within 10 minutes in order If they get all 3 tasks done, then they win the grand prize. If they fail, then they get something like a $100 gift certificate to Kids Foot Locker.
Yes, let's talk about these prizes. These are the most undesirable prizes that I've seen in kids game shows. I mean, sure Slime Time had bad prizes like that damned blow-up dragon, but a cheap football arcade thing? That is really scraping the bottom of the barrel. I mean, Nick wasn't really in dire financial straits at this time, at least spring for some decent grand prizes, like what Figure It Out was giving away at the time. I mean, they were giving away TVs and stereos and trips to places outside of Universal studios. Hell, I remember seeing kids winning a basketball hoop. Yes, a damned basketball hoop. If I found out that was my grand prize, I would rather complete one or two tasks and then fail on purpose, just to get something that's actually useful, like some new shoes & a couple sports jerseys.
Now, the set. This has to be one of the most ugliest sets that I've seen. Now, although it's not as cheap as Card Sharks 2001's set, at least that set looked semi-decent. This set is just awful on the eyes. It looked like the designers said, "Meh, throw some blue paint, some red paint and yellow paint over there, there, there, and throw some sunglasses, sneakers and other stuff on the walls, and let's call it a day and go spend the rest of our day on the Back to the Future Ride." Knowing that they would rather spend their day getting insulted by Biff Tannen rather than work on a set for a show that doesn't need that big of a set to begin with is rather shocking to say the least. The guy who designed this monstrosity of a set is Byron Taylor, who's more well known for creating other sets for Nickelodeon's more popular and better game shows like Double Dare and he's the brainchild behind the Finders Keepers house. I guess even the best have off days.
It doesn't get much better when watching the show when you realize it's the same thing just looped. It's pretty much Phil sets up the game, Travis or Vivianne introduce contestants and what they must get the public to do, Phil asks audience members how many tasks they would get done, & after that, we see the kids trying to get adults to do these stupid stunts. I guess it's because it's a pre-pubescent kid asking you to wrap yourself in toilet paper or become the floating sorbet in a punch bowl or wear a spider necklace means it's supposed to be funny.
But after the first time, we get something called the Big Runaround where audience members run to various parts of the set to predict how many tasks the contestants would do. Supposedly, the audience members who picked right won something, but it was never announced what they would win, or even if they actually correctly predicted saying something right. I mean, Figure It Out, which was going strong at this time, and soon to be doing Family Style, was giving audience members some nice swag such as Figure It Out backpacks, or messenger bags, or even Sweatshirts. You're On should have at least given away watches or shirts or something to the people that predicted it right.
The last game had another Big Runaround, where it had both kids & Adults picking who won, and after the third game, you know what happens.
Yup, pointless messing up adults when they didn't predict right.
This show is completely pathetic on all accounts. The gameplay is more vapid than Hidden Agenda's, the host sucks, and so does one of the co-hosts. And this isn't even getting to the announcer, who makes Henry J sound like he's on Decaf. But that's besides the point. This could have been decent, but instead what we're given is something that seems like it was thrown together in a matter of minutes. And that's what infuriates me. This was a total rush job. The set looked like it was done 5 minutes before the first show was scheduled to be taped, the music was probably all thought up in 15 minutes before they needed it, and the format was something completely ripped from Anything To Win back in 1984, except half as entertaining and twice as stupid. Thankfully, this only got it's one season to suck and Nickelodeon saw fit to dispose of this waste of programming. Let's just hope that Nickelodeon doesn't fall back to this stinker again. They have a good thing going with Brainsurge, let's not spoil it with a horrendously put together format.
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