As a writer working her first Comic-Con, I had no idea what to expect from the world famous event in San Diego. To be honest, SDCC sounded kind of insane. Full of crazy crowds and long lines -- and even though I love TV and movies more than the average person, I was weary of the entire fan-filled convention atmosphere. And then Zap2it got an email from Nickelodeon mentioning that Marc Summers was coming to Comic-Con, that they were recreating the set of "Double Dare," and oh, would any of the editors from Zap2it like to compete?
UHM. LET ME THINK ABOUT THIS FOR A MIN -- YES.
My childhood dreams were coming true. Nickelodeon was celebrating the 30th anniversary of "Double Dare," and leading up to the big event, The Splat was going to air marathons of this beloved '80s/'90s game show for the first time in 16 years. The Splat is the time block on Nick that airs from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I binged as many episodes as I could to refresh my memories of the obstacle course beforehand.
Remember to stick the flag down your shirt for no reason. (Check). Try to not get embarrassed by trivia questions that a 5th grader can answer. (Fail). Be prepared to get slimed. (We did not).
Having just celebrated my 30th birthday, I can not remember a time growing up in which my older siblings and I turned on the TV and didn't have a new episode of "DD" to watch. We shouted tips at the TV as if the contestants could hear us. We boasted that we could do all these challenges smarter and faster -- and now, I was being given the opportunity to prove as such. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
When I arrived to FLUXX nightclub in San Diego, I couldn't believe my eyes. The set of "Double Dare" looked exactly like it did on TV: The Nose Picker in all its glory. Down The Hatch. The Hamster Wheel. The Wringer!
Bursting with excitement, I headed backstage to change into my Blue Team outfit. I could barely stand still as they strapped on my helmet and knee and elbow pads. It was all becoming real.
My level of hype was already at a 10, but once I realized who I was prepping backstage with, it zoomed off the charts. Standing next to me was the cast from another one of my favorite Nick series, "All That." Joining me on the Blue Team was Miss "Vital Information" herself, Lori Beth Denberg, and Walter the Ear Boy, Josh Server. Gearing up for the Red Team was Danny Tamberelli from "Pete & Pete," and Kel Mitchell from "Kenan & Kel."
Be cool, I said to myself. Keep it together. As playful jabs of which team was going to win starting getting tossed around, I yelled to the Red Team, "We're going to push your shit in!" And everyone went silent. Apparently, nobody had seen "Training Day." Or if they had, didn't readily remember one of director Antoine Fuqua's most famous scenes from the movie. I wanted to die inside.
But then the stage producer said, "Hell yeah! This girl is pumped!" And everyone happily joined in on my over-the top level excitement. Server said, "Don't tone it down. It's Comic-Con! That's what it's all about." I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Now, I understood why people love Comic-Con so much. Everyone is an obsessed fan. No one is judging your nerdiness.
As die-hard "DD" viewers, we all knew things kicked off with an opening physical challenge to see which team would go first. Server and I nominated ourselves for the Wheel Barrel/Cherry in a Whip Cream Pie Challenge, and we won by "maybe a half a second," as Summers described the photo-finish ending. Bursting with pride, our team shared high-fives all around.
During the Trivia portion, things didn't go as well. When Summers asked, "How much does the Monday edition of The New York Times cost?" I told my team with serious confidence, "I got this." I knew this answer. Monday was my favorite day to buy the Times. As a Journalism major at New York University, and lover of the easy level crossword puzzle, I bought that exact paper nearly every week.
However, I forgot the fact that I had graduated college eight years ago. Summers announced my answer of "$1.25" as incorrect, and once again, I wanted to die inside. My team was understandably taken aback. I was so self-assured with my not even close wrong answer, and they dished out some well-deserved ribbing. But two seconds later they were like, "Brush it off! We'll get them with the next question."
Now, I don't know how things went down when kids played, but I was thanking my lucky stars to be doing this an adult, with such awesome other adults. During this one-time only revival, it truly didn't matter who won or lost. Why? Because we we're playing "Double Dare"! At Comic-Con! With Marc Summers! As cheesy as this sounds, we were already winning at life.
Personally, I felt I was able to redeem myself from my Trivia fail when our team stood on the brink of elimination, and I helped us win the final physical challenge. We got to run the entire final obstacle course, in which I got to jump down The Wringer, get covered in whipped cream and pass my flag on.
Competing in "Double Dare" was something for which I had been positive was an experience that passed me by decades ago. But thanks to Nickelodeon and the glorious event that is Comic-Con, I had one of the best nights of my life. Even though the Red Team was announced as the official winners, I received a congratulatory kiss on the cheek from teammate Lori Beth, and a bear hug from Server. Yep, childhood dreams do come true.