Rembert Explains the ’80s: Double Dare

Editor’s Note: Welcome to our series, Rembert Explains the ’80s. Every so often, we’ll e-mail 24-year-old Rembert Browne a video from the 1980s that he hasn’t seen. Rembert will write down his thoughts as he’s watching it, then we’ll post those thoughts here. This week’s installment was selected by our fresh-faced Hollywood Prospectus editor, Mark Lisanti: Double Dare (1988 Episode). If you have an idea for a future episode of Rembert Explains the ’80s, e-mail us at

Rembert Note: Before opening the link, I’m assuming Lisanti will come with the heat on his first try. If it’s Purple Rain in its entirety, I will flip, and then cancel all my plans for the next two weeks.

0:01 Wait, if that’s Marc Summers, that means this is DOUBLE DARE. Lisanti, you DOG.

0:03 I forgot how this show starts with the cold open. You’ve got to love a good cold open. Double Dare was probably my introduction into the beautiful world that is the cold open. Not enough solid cold open these days, if you ask me.

0:06 Cold open challenge — Apple Wheelbarrow. Classic Summer Cold Open.

0:22 The Double Dare font is magical. Is there a name for that font, or has it just been referred to as writing in “Double Dare” since the late ’80s?

0:25 Marc Summers was so fresh. No one pulled off shirt, tie, vest, blazer, jeans, and Reeboks like my man Marc. If no one has started a Tumblr about this man’s style, I guess my weekend is officially shot.

0:35 I would never talk smack about Marc, but is that a toupee? If you told me no, I wouldn’t argue with you, but my-oh-my how that helmet isn’t moving.

Now would be a great time to note that this was always my second-most desired show to be a contestant on, with the first obviously being GUTS. Actually, third behind GUTS and Legends of the Hidden Temple. Correction, fourth behind GUTS, LOTHT, and Eureka’s Castle. Yeah, definitely fourth.

0:45 Yes, I forgot the kids got to make up their names. That would be so pointless now, because it would always be a matchup between “#TeamBieber” and “#TeamIHateYouSelenaGomez.” Every. Single. Time.

0:46 Team 1 = The Slime Suckers, Shamika and Bill. I wonder if they’ve kept in contact, Shamika and Bill. Probably depends on whether Shamika and Bill won or Shamika and Bill lost. Ha, Shamika and Bill.

Side note: For those of you paying attention, we’re still in the first minute.

0:54 Classic Summers Convo (causing my first of four audible, clip-pausing laughs).

    Summers: Now Shamika wants to do an interesting job and … Why don’t you tell them what the job is first?
    Shamika: I want to be a nurse.
    Why do you want to be a nurse?
    Shamika: Because I want to follow in my father’s footsteps.
    Summers: How long’s your dad been a nurse? That’s a neat job.

So condescending. So Summers. I bet Nurse Shamika’s Dad had some words for Marc, post-show. “Neat,” that’s the best. So undercutting.

1:15 Bill, on the other hand, likes computer games, mainly “Gauntlet.” That’s it. I love integration.

1:20 They won $20 for winning Apple Wheelbarrow. $20, to split. Nickelodeon, the ultimate hustlers.

1:23 Team 2 = The Wacky Wall Walkers. In case you thought the whole “kids make up the team names” thing was a joke, here’s your proof they weren’t kidding. Only demented 10-year-olds think of stupid alliterative nonsense like this.

1:29 The WWW = Jamie and Christina.

1:38 Jamie, lover of football and basketball, is a big boy. I’m pretty sure, at some point in his later life, he changed his name to D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

1:42 Summers, with the most unnecessarily warm yet wordy question ever: “Christina, what kind of animals do you love? It says you love them here and I want to find out.”

Wow. I wish job interviewers would go that route with me and say, “Rembert, it says here you are proficient at Microsoft Paint and only Microsoft Paint, I think that’s wonderful and would be delighted to know why you stopped there and refused to learn anything else, despite having a great deal of resources at your disposal to be quite well versed in Photoshop? How ’bout it, Rembert?” Ugh, that’d be so awesome.

1:44 Christina’s answer to the question: “Dogs.”

1:45 Summers’ response (audible laugh 2-of-4): “No cats? I love cats. I have a cat named Molly at home. She’s a neat person.” Wow, Marc, wow.

Again, for those of you counting, the Marc Summers “Neat Count” is at two in under two minutes.

1:52 Hit us with the rules, Marc.

2:12 Wow, haven’t heard the phrase “Physical Challenge” in a long time, in or out of this context.


2:20 Question 1 for Shamika and Bill: “In horse racing, what do you call the man or woman that rides the horse?”

    My turn: “Jockey,” duh.
    Their turn: Bill knows it immediately, Shamika hasn’t a clue, but when told the answer says “Jockey.” Correct. Bill looked like he was leaning in for something, but Nurse Shamika was not having it.

2:33 Question 2 for Shamika and Bill: “What kind of cartoon animals are Chip and Dale?”

    My turn: Chipmunks.
    Their turn: Bill with the quickness. Shamika, on the other hand, is not even processing the questions, but simply waiting for Bill to tell her the answer. “Chipmunks.” Correct. Bill smiles to himself. Shamika has the smirk on her face of, “This white boy is ’bout to get us P P P PAID.”

While I got that one correct, Bill knew it before I did. Again. I’m 20 percent impressed and 80 percent ashamed.

2:42 Question 3 for Shamika and Bill: “About half of the U.S. peanut crop is used to make what 1 product?”

    My turn: My first guess was peanut butter, but that can’t be right, right? There can’t be that much peanut butter out in the streets, can there? I wish I knew anything else with peanuts, sorry for failing you, George Washington Carver, but I’m forced to go with peanut butter.
    Their turn: They discuss (Bill talks to Shamika, Shamika waits, and then “DARE.”
    WWW turn: “Peanut butter.” Correct.

Take THAT, Bill (cue beating of chest, popping open a bottle of champagne, and a quick résumé update).

3:13 Question 4 for Jamie and Christina: “Who created the name ‘The United States of America,’ Thomas Paine, Amerigo Vespucci, or Mr. Veddi Boom Bats?”

    My turn: I know it’s Paine, but there’s no way these kids don’t pick Amerigo. Oh Double Dare, you trickster.
    Their turn: Christina very confidently whispers to Jamie “Amerigo Vespucci.” Jamie: “Amerigo Vespucci.” Wrong. Thomas Paine. At this point, Jamie is giving Christina the evil eye through his trifocals. Christina, on the other hand, is smiling and looking forward. The tension is brewing on this side.

3:26 Question 5 for Shamika and Bill (Audible laugh 3-of-4, because Summers can’t read): “For reasons no one can figure, painter Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad simply used his mother’s last name in his work. By what do we know this painter?”

    My turn: There is no way they know this is Picasso. I smell a physical challenge.
    Their turn: “DARE.”

3:30 Summers has to read the whole question again. That kid Bill is easily at a higher reading level than Marc Summers. Also, it is very apparent Marc has never met anyone from another country.

    Jamie and Christina: “DOUBLE DARE.”

4:08 Summers reads it for a third time. It’s almost like a cry for help to Nickelodeon to buy him Rosetta Stone. He just pronounced “Jose” Joe-Zay.

    Shamika and Bill: PHYSICAL CHALLENGE.

4:32 Challenge = “Drown the Duckies.” Shamika and Bill have to submerge 20 rubber duckies for a three-count before 30 seconds is up. Seems comically easy.

5:43 They did it, but Shamika cheated. Fortunately for them, this is 1988 and there are no challenge flags or instant replay. I like your style, Shamika.

5:56 Before the first commercial break, Summers says, “Come back for maybe an obstacle course.” I completely forgot that’s how the episodes end. This rules.

6:20 Question 6 for Shamika and Bill: “Ruth Westheimer dispenses advice on TV and radio. By what name is she known?”

    My turn: PAUSE. Are you kidding me, Double Dare? You’re really asking questions about the sex therapist, Dr. Ruth, to a bunch of children? Seems like a pretty inappropriate way to force some physical challenges, if you ask me. But yeah, Dr. Ruth, that’s my girl.
    Their turn: “DARE.” Thank you. Please no one know this.
    Jamie and Christina’s turn (audible gasp 1-of-1): The two, already embroiled in a bitter beef, don’t discuss and answer at the same time. Christina says “DOUBLE DARE.” Jamie says “Dr. Ruth”. Jamie is correct. I’m floored.

6:38 The look Jamie gives Xtina, one of “Girl, if you don’t let me handle this … ” is priceless. They got the points, but they’re about one more misstep away from going to court.

6:42-6:44 Two straight seconds of Marc Summers talking gibberish. What is his deal? Is he okay?

6:49 Question 7 for Jamie and Xtina: “In what century was the year 1857?”

    My turn: Nineteenth century, but it took me seven seconds.
    Their turn: Jamie, without even pretending to consult his partner, “Seventeenth century.” WRONG, JAMIE. SO WRONG. Xtina says something to him. Jamie looks right through her. They couldn’t be on worse terms.

7:02 Question 8 for Shamika and Bill: “What does it mean when a red light goes on in a hockey game? (1) A goal has been scored, (2) it’s halftime, (3) you do the hockey-pokey and turn yourself around.

    My turn: Scored goal (I’m crushing this game, by the way).
    Their turn: Shamika and Bill equally participated in the dialogue. And then they said the correct answer, “A goal has been scored,” in unison. Also, they are both Soprano 2s and speak at the same pitch. Additionally, below the podium, I think they have just started holding hands. They are pretty much the opposite of Jamie and Xtina, who off-camera are talking to their respective lawyers.

7:16 Question 9 for Robin Thicke and Paula Patton: “If you take it off your horse and hang it over your door, it is supposed to bring you good luck. What is it?”

    My turn: I have no idea? Saddle? Seems wrong.
    Their turn: Instantly, they both say “Horseshoe.” Correct. How did they know that? Or, better yet, how did I not know that? Bill, I hate you. You are my arch nemesis.

7:29-7:31 Summers just did the gibberish yodel again. And again, no one laughed but Summers. Am I missing something? I’m starting to think Double Dare was just a long peyote trip for Mr. Summers.

7:34 Question 10 for David Bowie and Iman: “What trio of sightless nursery rhyme rodents had their tails amputated?”

    My turn: What? I have no clue. Again. Uh-oh. Bill, don’t you dare get this right.
    Their turn: “DARE.”
    Jamie and Xtina’s turn: “Three Blind Mice.” Correct. Wow, how’d they know that? This is getting bad, two in a row. Unless all these kids ended up being astrophysicists, I’m signing up for night-school classes this afternoon.

8:02 Question 11 for Jamie and Xtina: “If you were studying ‘speleology,’ you’d be spending your time (1) with a dictionary, (2) in a cave, (3) doing black magic?”

    My turn: Please be cave, please be cave, please be cave.
    Their turn: A long discussion between Jamie and Xtina. I really hope they get this right, or someone might get backhanded. “With a dictionary?”
    Summers: “Incorrect, it’s in a cave.”
    Jamie and Xtina: No reaction. It’s gotten real bad over there.
    Me: Doing the Dougie while burning all of the dictionaries in my dictionary room.

8:14 Question 12 for Mr. and Mrs. Shamika: “What number would you get if you divided the number of weeks in a year by the number of cards in a regular deck of cards, no Jokers?”

    My turn: There is NO way someone knows that there are 52 in both. Can’t all four of them be dumb kids for once?
    Their turn: “DARE” immediately.
    Jamie and Xtina’s turn: “One.” Correct. You have to be kidding me. I’m so mad. How did they know that? Why am I getting so competitive with 10-year-olds from the past?

8:57 Question 13 for Jamie and Xtina: “What color is used to describe Manhattan Clam Chowder?”

    My turn: Would not have known the answer was red four years ago. Late bloomer in the chowder game. If the question was “What are the two best things to put in grits?” however, I would have correctly answered “catfish and gravy” as a 10-month-old.
    Their turn: “DARE.”
    Shamika and Bill’s turn: “DOUBLE DARE.”
    Jamie and Xtina: “PHYSICAL CHALLENGE.”

9:24 Wow. Jamie just came from behind the podium, looking like a young Orlando Pace. If this PHYSICAL CHALLENGE is bench pressing your partner that you hate, they are golden.

9:35 Summers, to the girl wearing a deer helmet: “You kind of look like Pete Rose with antlers.” Unreal, Marc.

9:50 One of them needs to put on the helmet for the ring toss physical challenge, but neither of them will because THEY AREN’T ON SPEAKING TERMS.

9:55 Finally the helmet is put on Xtina, with Bone Crusher serving as the tosser of rings.

10:12 They only have to get one ring on an antler. Seems easy, but Biggie Smalls might just start firing the rings at Xtina’s face.

10:34 They did it, with 19 seconds to spare. There wasn’t even a sign of congrats given by either player.

10:48 BUZZER. Round 1 over.


11:12 Third Summers yodel. It’s starting to get a little uncomfortable. I’m about one yodel away from scratching that whole Tumblr idea.

11:14 In this round, dollar values double. I would care, but I have no idea who’s winning. I’ve been too caught up hating Bill and watching Jamie and Christina try to ruin each other’s lives.

11:19 Summers, setting up the first challenge (audible laugh 4-of-4): “We have some flypaper here, it’s what the flies read when they’re sitting at home with nothing to do … I’m gone, folks.”

Thanks, Marc, at least now we don’t have to speculate about your pre-show activities.

11:35: Challenge: throw Ping-Pong balls at the flypaper. First team to get two balls stuck wins.

11:44: Bill goes 2-for-2 and wins in about 5 seconds. He’s like Djokovic, I can’t stand him but I’ve got to respect him. He’s a gamer.

12:03 Question 1 for Shamika and Bill: “What rock star played Sonny Crockett’s wife on Miami Vice?”

    My turn: “Grace Jones”. Final answer.
    Their turn: “Sheena Easton.” Correct.

I hate Bill so much. Round 2 record: 0-for-1

12:18 Question 2 for Shamika and Bill: “How many eyes does an earthworm have? (1) none, (2) two, (3) four.”

    My turn: None
    Their turn: Shamika, all of a sudden, has become very talkative and keeps mouthing “four” to Bill. I really hope this is right, because if she’s wrong she may never raise her hand in class for the rest of her life.
    Correct answer — None.

I’m not even happy about getting that correct. Poor Shamika. Round 2 record: 1-for-2.

12:40 Question 3 for Jamie and Xtina: “In the capital of what country can you take the ‘tube’ to Trafalgar Square?”

    My turn: Yes. I’m back. “London.”
    Their turn: “England.” Correct.

Mom, please unframe my diploma and throw it in the trash. I’m worthless. Round 3 record: 1-for-3.

12:56 In more uplifting news, Jamie and Xtina just laughed together. It was too cute. I hope they’ve made it through the roughest patch of their relationship and it is smooth sailing from here on out.

13:02 Question 4 for Jamie and Xtina: “‘Two Bits’ is slang for how much money?”

    My turn: “$20 dollars.”
    Their guess: (Jamie answers without even looking at Xtina) “2 pennies.”
    25 cents.

And like that, Xtina gives Jamie a mouthful. Well, I guess the honeymoon was nice while it lasted.

Round 2 record: 1-for-4. This is getting very sad.

13:17 Question 5 for Shamika and Bill: “What is the only state that begins but doesn’t end with the letter ‘A’?”

    My turn: Arkansas.
    Their turn: “DARE.”
    Jamie and Xtina’s turn: “Arkansas.” Correct. It looks as if they have accepted the fact that they hate each other, but still want to win. Respect.

Round 2 record: 2-for-5.

13:47 Question 6 for Jamie and Xtina: “A camel’s hump is made out of what? (1) modo, (2) Quasimodo, (3) fat.”

    My turn: Fat.
    Their turn: “Fat.” Correct. Uh-oh, they are starting to feel it. More importantly, so am I.

Round 2 record: 3-for-6, baby.

14:06 Question for Jamie and Xtina: “What 1950s rock star’s life was made into the movie La Bamba?”

    My turn: Richie Valens. I’m so smart.
    Their turn: Richie Valens. How are they equally as smart?

Round 2 record: 4-for-7.

14:16 BUZZER. Jamie and Xtina on to the Obstacle Course.

14:30 Not going to lie, I’m pretty sad to see Shamika and Bill go. Well, more Shamika than Bill. Bill’s a jerk.

14:35 Luckily, they both get $80, and …

14:47 A small boom box, and …

14:49 The Double Dare home game. Wow, I remember always wanting that game but never getting it because my mom was too busy trying to make me smarter which obviously didn’t pay off because I went 4-for-7 as an almost-25-year-old in a trivia game designed to challenge the brains of third graders.

14:59 Wow. They also get a $50 gift card to Kay Bee Toys. Not bad.

Okay, so over them.


15:20 This is so good, just remembering they have to dig the flags out of nasty stuff. So good.

15:27 Obstacle 1: Xtina — BLUE PLATE SPECIAL. Prize: The Franklin Word Wiz!

15:51 Obstacle 2: Jamie — THE TANK. Prize: Binoculars!

16:16 Obstacle 3: Xtina — ICY TRIKE. Prize: 35mm Camera!

16:39 Obstacle 4: Jamie — WALL CLIMB. Prize: 5-Speed Bike!

17:07 Obstacle 5: Xtina — GRANNY’s ATTIC. Prize: Handheld Color TV!!

17:28 Obstacle 6: Jamie — THE SUNDAE SLIDE. Prize: $500 at Kay Bee Toys!!!

17:56 Obstacle 7: Xtina — BYE BYE BIRDIE. Prize: A Jeep CAR BED.

Wait, what? These existed? That’s the best prize ever. It doesn’t get any better than that.

18:19 Final Obstacle: Jamie — THE ONE-TON HAMSTER WHEEL. Prize:


Me: Scream, hit head, faint.

[Four hours later]

Whose iPad is this, why is Double Dare cued up to the final obstacle course, and why are there 19 pages of notes on my desk? Eh, who cares, might as well continue with the notes and watch the end.

19:06 Summers: 60 seconds, ready, set, GO.

19:11 Blue plate special done, 55 seconds left.

19:20 The tank done, 48 seconds left.

19:26 Icy trike done, 39 seconds left.

19:31 Wall climb done, 35 seconds left.

19:41 Granny’s attic done, 26 seconds left.

With three more left, I don’t see them making it. No disrespect, but I think it’s going to take big boy 20 seconds to get up and down this slide.

20:04 Sundae slide done, three seconds left (what did I say?).

20:07 Bye bye birdie done, BUZZER.

20:16 NO SPACE CAMP. Mwahahaha. Victory is mine! SPACE CAMP must be earned.


20:36 Double Dare officially has the three greatest sponsors: Reebok, Nintendo, and Nickelodeon Green Shampoo.

Rembert Browne is a Grantland staff writer.

Previously: Rembert Explains the ’80s: “The Return of Calderone”
Rembert Explains the ’80s: Manimal
Rembert Explains the ’80s: ALF
Rembert Explains the ’80s: Lionel Richie’s “Hello” Video

Filed Under: Nostalgia, Rembert Tries to Explain the Eighties, The 80S

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert