Nickelodeon had the 90’s all figured out. They knew what it took to make a good show. They had the right amount of animated cartoons and their fair share of live action shows. But they really knew what they were doing in the game show department. All of their shows were unique and Figure It Out was no exception.
As a child of the 90’s and an avid Nickelodeon watcher, I always assumed Marc Summers would host every game show on their channel. I was wrong. When Figure It Out premiered, there was a new host in town and her name was Summer Sanders. I’m glad they managed to keep the “Summer” theme rolling. Summer Sanders was a good host—anytime there was a lag, she knew how to keep the ball rolling. But I still missed Marc Summers.
Figure It Out was a great idea because it involved kids (like you!) that had special talents (not like me at all!). Their goal was to stump the special guest panel and reveal their talent at the end of the show. I liked when the panel would immediately guess the right answer and ruin the show. Why did I always want everything to be ruined?
The special guest panel were always stars from other Nickelodeon shows. Which was awesome for people like me who knew everything about everyone involved in Nick shows. Some of my favorite guessers were Danny Tamberelli, Amanda Bynes, Lori Beth Denberg, Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Aaron Carter, Carrot Top, Marc Weiner, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mike O’Malley, Moira Quirk, and Schuyler Fisk. There were many others, but those were the greats in my book.
Each episode had a different combination of four Nick stars. There were three rounds of guessing for the panel. For each round that the contestant stumped the panel, they would win a super cool prize. The prizes were typically N64s, Sketchers, Nerf guns or something of the like. The panel had to ask yes or no questions to the contestant in order to Figure It Out. If they said one of the key words in what the contestant’s talent was, it would show up on this brain board called Billy.
Since it was Nickelodeon, there was always some sort of slime involved. Usually around round 2, there would be a Secret Slime Word that would be known to the viewers at home and kept from the panel. Watching people get slimed never gets old.
There was also a conveyor belt in front of the panel to help them with their questions and guesses. If they guessed the talent correctly, or if all the rounds ended, the contestant would either play a video of themselves doing their super sweet talent, or actually performing it for the audience. Usually it would be something lame like “I can pet rabbits.” On occasion it would be something cool like a barefoot water-skier or a competitive jump-roper.
Judging (our favorite thing to do) by the last picture you’d swear this target audience were fat adult tourists. Look at that small studio audience and how old they are.
I can’t remember any cool talents any of the kids had. I think someone could use a pogo stick. Wonderful, you can hop around. The best was when they’d screw up their talent and the rabbit would bite them.
I love the audience. It’s like they force the grownups in the back and the kids get all the fun in the front. The pogo stick thing sounds familiar. They probably had like a world record or something stupid.
I loved when people would screw up their talents. Did that ever happen? I hope it did. I would’ve taken so much joy in it.
I can still hear Summer Sanders saying “Give it another try” so yes, they did screw up often.
I think this show was in its heyday right when I was a little too old to watch it and I just equated the Nick stars that were featured with the shows I had to watch while I was babysitting. Wasn’t the girl who hosted it famous from the Olympics or something?
Yes! She was like a gold medal swimmer in the 92 Olympics or something like that. I looked it up before but figured it wasn’t worth mentioning. Yeah I could see this show being kind of stupid if you were a teenager. At least you weren’t watching Barney.
Oh man, I loved me some Summer Sanders. I still do. Like a sexy mermaid she was. Well, I guess all mermaids were supposed to be sexy. Like a sexy mermaid with legs. So, a woman. A sexy woman. Simile King, right here.
Do you remember the cast of All That making fun of Summer Sanders with a character called Winter Wonders? I hope so.