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Series / Nickelodeon GUTS

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Do you have what it takes to climb the Aggro Crag?
"It takes a certain kind of person to keep the body working, to the level of precision that's needed to be risen to the top,
Do you have it?"

"It takes a certain kind of something to keep the heart pumping, something everybody needs to achieve, to succeed, you need a lot,
Do you have it?"

"Do, do, do, do you have it? GUTS!"
— The opening lines to the Nickelodeon GUTS theme

Nickelodeon GUTS is a game show by, well, Nickelodeon. Described as American Gladiators for kids, each episode of the show contained three kids competing against one another in five events.

The games themselves were either based on the Olympics (Triple Jump, Vertiboggan, Jump! Jump!), actual sports (Off the Wall for baseball, Rebound for basketball, and Fumble for football — though it was changed to Rugby in 1994), or a strange mixture (Basic Training, which later became Extreme Baseball in 1994). The competitors have to either go through the courses by themselves or compete with others, depending on the events.

At the end of the four events, there is the final event, The Aggro Crag. In it, the competitors had to set off actuators — depending on when the show was aired, it would be around six to eventually eight — while climbing. And if that wasn't enough, they would have to deal with falling rocks, water and slime on their faces, and snow falling down. The competitor who had the most points would win a gold medal and a glowing piece of the Crag.

In 1995, Nickelodeon GUTS was retitled Global GUTS. It worked as a mixture of the original series and the Olympics with eight countries battling it out. At the end of the series, the United Kingdom won eight medals and the show. It should be noted that this was the only time where there was an injury during one of the events: CIS contestant Katya sprained her ankle during Tornado Run. Stepan, also from the Commonwealth of Independent States, took her place and won a silver medal for both of them (had Katya not gotten third in the first two events, he would have likely taken the gold due to winning all his events).

In 2008, the show was remade into My Family's Got GUTS. It's essentially the original series crossed with My Dad is Better Than Your Dad. Mike O'Malley and Moira Quirk, the original hosts, were replaced by Ben Lyons and Asha Kuerten.

Reruns of the show aired on Nickelodeon GAS until the channel's disestablishment in 2007. It was then shown on TurboNick, Nick's online video service of the era, until it shuttered in summer 2009.

Game Show Tropes in Use:

  • Bonus Round: The Aggro Crag. Later remodeled as the Mega Crag in the third season of GUTS, then turned into the Super Aggro Crag in Global GUTS.
  • Consolation Prize: Silver and Bronze medals.
  • Golden Snitch: The Aggro Crag, later evolved into the Mega Crag and the Super Aggro Crag, zig-zags this. First place is worth 725 points, compared to 300 in each of the first four events...but last place is still worth 375, with second being worth 550; its real purpose is to prevent ties (barring two contestants who were tied going into the Crag both getting hit with automatic third place finishes for missing an actuator, missing a boulder in Boulder Canyon on Global, or crossing over into another player's section of the Crag), and the setup actually favors those who take a lead into the Crag.
  • Personnel:
    • Game Show Host: Mike O'Malley (Nickelodeon GUTS/Global GUTS; he had also previously hosted Get the Picture for Nick), Ben Lyons (My Family's Got GUTS).
      • For Global GUTS, the other countries represented besides the US and UK had their own host. Ralf Kühler filled this role for German audiences.
    • Lovely Assistant: Moira "Mo" Quirk (Nickelodeon GUTS/Global GUTS), then Asha Kuerten (My Family's Got GUTS). Both were also co-hosts, as they explained the rules and saw the contestants' performances.
    • Studio Audience

This show provides examples of:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Mike O'Malley is fond of this, describing colors in terms like "blazing blue," "radical red," and "pulsating purple," among other descriptors. The kids' nicknames tend to be alliterative as well, based on their first or last names.
    • Occurred at least once, though unintentionally, with the players' first names. Episode 28 of Season 1 featured a Jimmy, Jilly, and Joey competing against each other.
    • A season 2 episode had a Jarad, John, and Jennifer competing against each other.
    • The Artiom versus Amit versus Azita episode from Global Guts.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Heather in the season 1 episode "Shelly versus Rusty versus Heather". Another example is Melissa from the season 3 episode "Melissa versus Bobby versus Tina".
  • Butt-Monkey: The Commonwealth of Independent States in Global GUTS. They were the only team to never win a gold (despite two players having the lead going into the Crag), and also produced the franchise's first player to have to quit due to injury (the aforementioned Katya) as well as the only player to win every event they competed in and fail to win the gold medal (Katya's replacement Stepan).
  • Carried by the Host: While Asha was praised by some fans for equaling her referee predecessor, many fans felt that GUTS wasn't the same without Mike and Moira.
  • Catchphrase: Quite a few, but special mention goes to Mike's "Let's go to Mo!" and "Do you have it?". Not to mention Moira's "On your mark, get set... (blows whistle)".
  • Cultural Translation: When the series shifted to the Global GUTS version, the American football-based events were either phased out or changed to a being based on a sport with more international appeal, such as rugby (Scrumble) or handball (Skyball).
  • Disqualification-Induced Victory: There were a few occasions where the leader going into the Crag got disqualified on it for one reason or another (missing an actuator, missing the last boulder in Boulder Canyon, crossing into another player's path, false starting, etc.), thus allowing a trailing player to pass them on the leaderboard and win the gold.
  • Don't Try This at Home: During the show's first two seasons, Mike would give the same scripted disclaimer before the first event, mentioning how there were spotters watching the contestants, and how the players were wearing safety equipment. In the final season of regular GUTS, and then Global GUTS, this disclaimer was either not given out at all, or only mentioned in passing.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first taped episode, which has different fonts for the on-screen displays and a different "Extreme Arena" sign over the scoreboard (both lasted at least one more taping). The rules explanations are slightly different, and Mike refers to Moira by her full first name throughout the show. Notably, the Crag's actuator lights look like rocks themselves when turned off and light up in that player's color, instead of using the familiar orange ones used for the rest of the run, and shots of the "normal" Crag are superimposed over a couple of spots in the episode.
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: Mike O'Malley, Type 1.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Any episode where the scores stood at 1200 for 1st Place, 800 for 2nd, and 400 for 3rd following the four main events meant that would be where the contestants were guaranteed to finish no matter the Crag results.note  The only real purpose for the Crag in these instances was to see if the leader could achieve a perfect score.
  • Game Show Physical Challenge: GUTS is built around physical challenges, such as long-jumps, bike races, and obstacle courses. Each episode invariably ends with a climb up the Aggro Crag, a rock wall with multiple activators.
  • Hi, Mom!: During the ending credits of the season 1 episode "Tiff versus Christa versus Brent", the last of the three (Brent) can be heard saying "Hi everybody at home." to the camera just a few seconds before the credits finish rolling. This is actually said word for word by Jamie during the credits of the later season 1 episode "AJ versus Amanda versus Jamie".
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Mike towers over the 5-foot Moira.
  • Large Ham: Mike O'Malley, to the point where Moira would say "Steady, Mike" or some other variation.
  • Last-Name Basis: In the season two episode "Brandon versus Jaime versus Meri", Brandon was only called by his last name, Holcombe (though his first name was displayed on the leaderboard after each event as was the case with other players).
  • Limited Wardrobe: Mike and Moira lampshaded this in the Behind The Scenes special, while discussing what to wear for the day.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: On at least two occasions, a penalty on the Crag cost a player a perfect score.
  • The Nicknamer: Many contestants go by nicknames given by the show. Moira also obtained a nickname, "Mo". However, the latter stuck.
  • No Indoor Voice: Mike O'Malley, to the point where Moira would say "Steady, Mike" or some other variation.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: When Boulder Canyon (no, not that one) was introduced to the Crag, contestants had to climb the largest boulder to start their ascent. However, some players zig-zagged though the rest of the obstacle, sometimes not touching all the boulders. Global GUTS required contestants to jump on every boulder or get hit with an automatic third place finish. On one episode, this turned into a case of Disqualification-Induced Victory where two contestants were penalized as such and got automatic thirds. One of the disqualified players was tied for the lead with the third player, who won the event - and gold - despite reaching the top last.
    • On the first filming day of the third season, one of the rules for the Mega Crag stipulated that the players couldn't grab on to the railings near the top to pull themselves up. After at least three players were disqualified due to this (which cost one of them a perfect score), said rule was quietly abolished.
    • After the injury mentioned abovenote , Tornado Run was changed from a race to a time trial.
  • Opening Narration
    • Seasons 1 & 2: "From Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida, welcome to GUTS! The action sports show that's gonna make you sweat!" (today's contestants are then introduced)
    • Season 3: *Black & White shots pan over today's contestants* "Will *Contestant's name and objective here*, can *Contestant's name and objective here*, or will *Contestant's name and objective here; cut to Mike in the audience after "Do You Have It Soundbyte*" "I'm Mike O'Malley, welcome to the Extreme Arena, this is Nickelodeon GUTS! DO... YOU... HAVE IT?!"
    • Season 4: *Shots of Earth, flags, city landscapes, and Nickelodeon Studios* "They've come from all over the world with one goal: A glowing piece of our radical rock. But one question still remains: "Do... you... have it?" *Camera goes inside the studios* "Welcome to the Extreme Arena at Nickelodeon Studios! This is Global GUTS! Nickelodeon's world championship for kids!" (today's contestants are then introduced)
  • Production Foreshadowing: Six episodes during the last season before the switch to Global Guts featured contestants from the United Kingdom competing alongside the USA. They wound up winning 4 out of 6 possible gold medals.
  • Rearrange the Song: An orchestral version of the theme was introduced for Global GUTS, being used in every episode for a recap of events prior to the Super Aggro Crag.
  • Red Baron: The show gave one to each contestant.
  • Signing Off Catchphrase:
    Mike: No ifs, ands or buts, these kids behind me, they've got guts. DO YOU HAVE IT?!
    Audience: GUTS!!
  • The Runner-Up Takes It All: A.J. McLean, Mike Vogel, even Ashley Drane... they won silver medals, and yet they went on to do bigger things.
  • Two Girls and a Guy or Two Guys and a Girl: Most episodes had either one of these tropes be the case though there were some exceptions; nine episodes had all male players while 3 episodes had all female players.
  • Voiceover Translation: Used for non-English editions of Spill Your Guts.

Alternative Title(s): Global Guts