One of several Game Shows produced by Nickelodeon following the success of their original offering, Double Dare. Teams competed in head-to-head stunts (known as "events") to earn money and eventually the right to enter the Locker Room at the end of the show. The show was hosted by Michael Carrington in the first season, taped in Philadelphianote , who was replaced by Skip Lackey when the show moved to Orlando and Universal Studios.
As the title suggests, unlike Double Dare and Finders Keepers, Think Fast had less to do with physical activities and more to do with brain teasers and other memory challenges, like dumping colored slime on your teammate in a certain pattern a la Simon.
Each show consisted of four events (worth $50 for the first two, $100 for the other two), after which the winning team would win money and a chance to solve the "Think Fast Brain Bender", usually a picture or a rebus covered by puzzle pieces. One would be uncovered after each event. Solving the Brain Bender was worth $200. The team with the most money won the game and advanced to the Locker Room.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: In the Locker Room, the contestants had to match the contents of 15 large lockers, each of which contained either a silly character, a prop or series of props, or a "booby trap" of some sort (the Carrington episodes had props, puppetsnote , and some people dressed as crazy characters while the Lackey episodes had people dressed as crazy characters and props). One at a time, a locker would open, and then the player had to find its match by hitting the buttons in front of the lockers to open them. Each successful match won money or a prize. All but one of the lockers contained something that matched with another locker's contents; the remaining locker contained a gimmick meant to throw off or hinder the players' progress:
- Carrington Era: The first contestant had 30 seconds to make as many matches as possible before the second went. The unpaired locker contained a "Time Bomb", which would "go off" after 20 seconds if not revealed. If the first contestant found the Time Bomb in time, the second got the full 30 seconds to make matches; however, if the Time Bomb went off, the second player only received 20 seconds (in very early episodes, finding the Time Bomb also added 10 seconds to the second player's time, for a total of 40 seconds; likely changed due to too many winners). Finding six of the seven pairs in time won the grand prize.
- Lackey Era: Players alternated making matches for 60 seconds. The odd locker contained the "Red Herring", an item or character with no match. The only way to proceed was to pull on a special "Herring Handle" at home base. $100 per match for the first four, two prizes of increasing value for five and six, finding all seven won the grand prize.
- Consolation Prize
- Covered in Gunge: Many of the events, because it almost wouldn't be Nickelodeon without it.
- Double The Dollars: Round 1 events were worth $50, Round 2 events were worth $100.
- Promotional Consideration
- Rules Spiel
- Show the Folks at Home: The identity of the "Red Herring" in the Lackey era.
- Speed Round: If both teams did not guess the Brain Bender after the 5th (and final) event, they go to the Speed Up Brain Bender before advancing to the locker room.
- Whammy: The Red Herring in the locker room. The Red Herring is a character or thing with no match at all.
This version provides examples of:
- Colour Coded Armies: The Gold (yellow) Team vs. the Blue Team.
- Excited Kids' Show Host: Lackey, in the "over sixes" variety. "LOCK IT UP LOCK IT UP LOCK IT UP LOCK IT UP!!!!!"
- Luck-Based Mission: Plumber's Blackjack, in which the contestants had to fill a container with randomly-sized beakers of water that corresponded to numbers on cards. The first team to go over lost.
- Product Placement: Converse All-Stars. Inverted in some of the games with grocery items, as at least parts of the brand names were usually covered with tape.
- Red Herring: Played straight in the Lackey-era Locker Room, as outlined above. Also, pulling the Herring Handle released a bunch of red plastic fish onto said character or item.
- "Simon Says" Mini-Game: A number of games were based on this, including punching in numbers on a large telephone, throwing four colors of paint-filled balloons at one's partner, or burping the "three gross uncles".
- Songs in the Key of Panic: "Hurry" variant in the Locker Room; all variants of the music except for the Carrington version's standard 30-second cue doubled in tempo and added a drumroll with around 10 seconds left.
- The Teaser: During the original era, Carrington would open each episode by saying "Hey you....think fast!" Sometimes, he'd use a prop from one of the day's events or locker contents to do so.
- During the first half of the Skip Lackey era, Locker room characters would chat as the announcer says "We are here inside the Think Fast Locker room, where you can find the matching pairs, but look out for the evil Red Herring today on...." And the locker room character would then shout "THINK FAST!"
- During the second half of the Skip Lackey era, the announcer would say "Today inside the Think Fast locker room, if you can find the matching pairs, then you've got what it takes to win cash and prizes worth over $2,500. But somewhere inside lurks the ever-smelly Red Herring!"
- Time Bomb: Played straight in Carrington-era Locker Room, albeit with no actual destruction except to the second player's time limit.
- Timed Mission: The Locker Room, both in finding the matches and the Time Bomb.