Friday, May 16, 2014

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: My Family's Got GUTS

At this point in time, game shows for Nickelodeon were dead. Just plain dead. After Nickelodeon Studios shut down its doors in 2005, people's interest for kids' game shows waned down fast, especially when Nickelodeon GAS was done in 2007. However, Nickelodeon decided to bring back kids' game shows with another revival. The first two attempts of game show revivals such as Double Dare 2000 and the 2002 Wild & Crazy Kids were such colossal failures that they didn't last longer than a year and people still look back to the original with fondness. Third time would be the supposed charm with the revival of the 1992 game show Nickelodeon GUTS with My Family's Got GUTS debuting on September 15, 2008.


The game show starts with a group of two families competing each other in a tournament filled with extreme games and concluding it at the Aggro Crag. The families with the highest points will move on to the next round, receive a piece of the Aggro Crag and the next family competes. It continues on until the final two families compete in the Aggro Bowl and the winner receives a full Aggro Crag trophy and a family trip. The host of My Family's Got GUTS is film critic/actor Ben Lyons and his co-host is Australian celebrity Asha Keurten.

What makes My Family's Got GUTS interesting is the fact that it was filmed in Sound Stages 23 and 24 of Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, which is something to behold since as previously mentioned, Nickelodeon Studios had shut down 3 years prior and every show that was being filmed were taking place at Nick on Sunset in California. Similar to the original Nickelodeon GUTS being a kid version of American Gladiators coming out around the same time, My Family's Got GUTS came out a few months after the American Gladiators revival back in January 2008. However, My Family's Got GUTS lasted for 2 seasons ending its run on October 10, 2009 despite the fact that Season 2 was never shown in North America due to most likely low ratings. There are a lot of reasons that My Family's Got GUTS frustrates me.

First off, this would've been a great opportunity to not only to revive the Nickelodeon game show genre that had been dead for 3 years, but it could've been the thing to bring back Nickelodeon Studios. If the show would've been a big hit, maybe more game shows or live action shows could've been filmed at the different Sound Stages at Universal Studios. Unfortunately, there was no mention of My Family's Got GUTS being filmed at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida similar to most of the game shows during the 80's and 90's during the ending credits. Parents could've taken their kids there and Universal Studios could've made a lot of money, but it was wasted potential.

Secondly, the hosts of Ben Lyons and Asha Keurten are very forgettable. It seems that the people who created this revival wanted them to be the next Mike O' Malley and Moira Quirk, with Lyons being kooky and wild and Keurten having a exotic language, but didn't understand what made O'Malley and Quirk work in the first place. Mike O'Malley was very goofy and silly, which would have normally been out of place for an "extreme" game show like Nickelodeon GUTS, but he was likable. Moira Quirk was the steady, down-to-earth referee who explained the rules to the kids and had a cheerful personality that was a much needed balance for O'Malley. They worked great together and no other Nickelodeon game shows accomplished this feat ever since. Lyons and Keurten were rehashes of what O'Malley and Quirk did 15 years prior as oppose to their own true personalities with no chemistry or likability.

Double Dare 2000 was a revival that played itself way too safe with little to no changes. Wild & Crazy Kids back in 2002 had too many changes that didn't make it unrecognizable from the original. My Family's Got GUTS was a mixture of both. While it retained the extreme games, the Aggro Crag, the theme song, and the criteria of the hosts' personalities, there were a lot of changes that were made that were mostly unnecessary. For example, the addition of the families being the contestants didn't mesh very well and made the pacing slower. The scoring system is very different from the original and can be confusing at times. Plus, the Aggro Crag was very confusing with the different gameplay, having a few seconds start with the teams with the highest score, and it being 5 feet smaller than the original Aggro Crag, it became a letdown since every Crag in each season became taller with more challenges with the Mega Crag being 28 feet tall and the Super Aggro Crag being 30 feet.

Overall, I have mixed opinions of My Family's Got GUTS. On one hand, it was the best revived game show that Nickelodeon had at that point and it felt like Nickelodeon GUTS. However, due to a mixture of keeping things way too safe with things that needed to be changed and having unnecessary changes that shouldn't have been made makes it a game show makes this a very frustrating experience to sit through. I think the game show would've done better if it wasn't based on Nickelodeon GUTS and was an original idea. It's an okay game show by itself, but it's nowhere near as good when compared to the original.

That's all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.


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