In a world of American Ninja Warrior, and Wipeout, Millennials had Nickelodeon Guts. A show that would bring together athleticism, strange games, and a very large climbing mountain all for a chance to win a large piece of said mountain. Yes, that is all that you win, a glowing piece of rock that isn’t actually rock.
The series was filmed at Universal Studios Florida, which is where most of the shows were filmed in the 80s-00s for Nickelodeon. It was a place where many tourists would go, and Nickelodeon took advantage of that because people could come in and be studio audiences for those shows. They could easily fill those sound stages with people and contestants for many shows. The studio had a full-sized turf track, a climbing mountain, and a pool, all included.
The show was hosted by actor Mike O’Malley and had a referee named Moira Quirk, who was nicknamed Mo throughout the series. The show had three contestants on each 30-minute show. The contestants would go through 4 physical challenges that would be ranked, and each ranking would give points. First place would get 300, second place 200, and third place 100 points. The person with the most points at the end would win a piece of the Agro Cragg, their mythical mountain final challenge.
The show had 2 spin-off series, Nickelodeon Guts All-Stars, My Family Has Guts, and Global Guts, both not as popular as the original show but did well. The show lasted 4 seasons, with Global Guts being the 4th season.
Nickelodeon Guts seemed to be the answer to American Gladiators for kids. A competition show where kids do stunts and compete against each other. The biggest difference between this show and all the other game shows back in the 90s was that there were no real prizes for the winners of Guts. You won a medal, or you won a medal and a piece of rock. Despite that, kids still wanted to take part. Imagine being on vacation, going on Guts, winning, and then your parents have to get that huge rock statue that is larger than your head home.
The show starts with an aerial activity where they have to jump off something high, and then shoot a basket, or shoot arrows, something that goes into a target. The three contestants have 1 minute to do this activity and the person who does the best wins. Moira the ref, gives the rules before the game and blows the whistle. There are points awarded for first, second, and third. It is funny how Mike O’Malley at the beginning tells kids not to try this at home, as if kids have a bungee cord long enough to jump off the roof or something. There is no way I could have ever tried any of these activities at home.
The three contestants comprise a mixture of boys and girls all competing against each other. In between games, each contestant gets a profile read where they “Spill their Guts” and gives general information about the contestants. The kids also get nicknames, like Maniac, Monster, Rags, or others depending on their name. Usually, it matches the first letter of the first name of the contestant.
The next activity is usually a timed activity that requires the track, whether it is biking or running or something or that matter. There is a mixture of activities for all athleticism levels. There are penalties that can happen for each challenge. It all depends on what they do and what the activity is. That is why they have a referee present. There are also a lot of stunt coordinators and adults to assist the kids.
After each activity, they also go through the scores to keep updated. The scores don’t really mean anything because they increase at the Agro Cragg to make it so that it is anyone’s game and everyone can win. So the other competitions are pretty meaningless, but the kids don’t know that.
The third activity is normally an obstacle course. This includes a rope bridge, a tightrope, a web, and a slide-type activity. I know I would be terrible at this obstacle course. I remember field day and was always terrible at the obstacle course. The kids seem to have fun when they are doing it though.
The last activity before the Agro Cragg is a majority of different activities. This one was a pool activity. They had to pull themselves across the pool and back with jets, stopping them. It seems difficult. All the kids have life jackets and there are spotters in the pool just in case they fall.
Then, the Agro Cragg. This “mountain” is ridiculous. There is smoke, and rocks that fall down. There is also snow and evidently, trap doors. That’s what Mike O’Malley says. This last activity is the equalizer. Contestants have to hit 6 actuators and have to stay in their section. They have to hit every actuator, so if they miss one, they have to go back and hit it to win. As aforementioned, the points are super-sized so anyone can win from this point even with the least amount of points of 400 going into it. Throughout the years, they made the Agro Cragg more difficult to complete.
After all the points are tallied, they find a winner and they win a gold medal and a piece of the Agro Cragg. This piece is green and glowing and is about half the height of these kids. It’s a large piece. I would be very upset to just win that after competing in 5 events.
I loved watching this show growing up and thought it was cool. I still enjoy watching it because it is a fun show to watch.
Does it Hold Up?
Ehh, with shows like American Ninja Warrior Junior today, you don’t really need a show like this now, and it seems lame considering.
I remember watching this show on reruns growing up. It brings back fond memories!
Do you agree with my assessment? Post your thoughts in the comments below!
As always, Creating Nostalgia Millennial Style!