The main game was split into two rounds of questions, which were asked in skit format in a manner similar to Remote Control. In each round, each team placed three personal items on the line for potential "trashing". The team in control selected one of the other team's items they wanted to see "trashed", at which point a category was revealed. Each category contained three buzz-in questions, and the defending team had to answer two out of three to save their possession from the hands of "Mark the Trasher", who would destroy it violently if they were unsuccessful. If the team saved their item, it could not be selected again, and that team then gained control and picked one of the opposing team's possessions for the next category.
The final round was the "Survival Round", in which each team had to sacrifice one of its own members for potential "trashing", while the other answered rapid-fire questions; losing the game meant public humiliation for the contestant in question, usually involving one of the victim's phobias. The winners had a chance to take home the day's grand prize if each member could name the bands in three music videos described by the other.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Bonus Round: One player had to identify artists in music videos being described by the other partner. Each player had to describe three videos; the time limit was 30 seconds, plus 5 for each possession saved, so potentially 60 seconds.
- Confetti Drop: Bonus Round winners were showered with confetti (and later trash) from a leaf blower.
- Consolation Prize: Losers received somewhat of a Zonk, and in an inversion were required to sign up for 10 hours community service.
- Covered in Gunge: Some of the losers got covered in Gatorade, "tobacco spit", beer (some of it regurgitated). This was occasionally used as a method of trashing items, such as soaking a prom dress in rancid bean dip.
- Double The Dollars: First-round questions were worth 50 points apiece, while second-round questions were worth 100.
- Golden Snitch: Perfectly played, the most a team could lead after the first two rounds was 600-0; however the questions in the final Speed Round were 150 points each and rapid-fire, with more than enough time to eclipse even this score. There was a distinct advantage to winning the first two rounds, though — the more possessions a team saved, the more time they got in the Bonus Round.
- Pie in the Face: Occasionally happened to a contestant getting "trashed" at the end of the game.
- Promotional Consideration
- Rules Spiel: Parodied; the announcer would read the rules to the Bonus Round at an incomprehensibly fast speed while the complete legal version scrolled up the screen at an even faster rate.
- Speed Round: The Survival Round; 150 points per question for 39 seconds. No, that's not a typo.
This show contains examples of:
- Catchphrase: "Loser." "Safety first." "You didn't lose a damn thing!"
- Don't Try This at Home
- Flawless Victory: Saving all of your possessions in the main game; it was the only way to receive the full 60 seconds in the Bonus Round.
- Forced to Watch: Main premise of the show.
- Grossout Show: Some of the skits, and some of the "contestant trashings" at the end.
- Grunge: Everything about the show — the theme music, the wardrobes, the set, you name it. This was 1994, after all.
- Jerkass: Mark the Trasher for certain, and Hardwick to an extent.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Giving an illegal clue in the Bonus Round, which eliminated that video from play.
- One Last Smoke: Parodied. This commercial opens with a blindfolded teddy bear doing this before it gets cut up and torn apart, akin to an execution.
- Serious Business: Some contestants became very visibly agonized over losing some of their possessions, even if they weren't worth much to begin with.
- Shout-Out: One trashing involved putting a contestant's clothing on Beavis And Butthead dolls before destroying it.
- Spiritual Successor: Kidnapped, in a sense; MTV made an entire show out of the Survival Round by having three teammates attempt to save a fourth from repeated rounds of "torture".
- Stuff Blowing Up: And Anvil on Head, and many other methods of gratuitous vandalism.
- Traumatic Haircut: The end result of one contestant putting his long blonde hair on the line for trashing.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Some of the "contestant trashings" were based on the victims' phobias.