The show went through a slight Retool between seasons:
- In the first season, more emphasis was placed on skits and stunts that did not have a messy outcome. The only pie device that was regularly used was the Pie Pod, and it was not even in every episode. Each show ended with the What Would You Do? medley, where people would perform gross stunts that were on cards taped to their heads or go to the Pie Pod.
- In the second season, more emphasis was placed on games and getting people messy, with new pie devices like the Pie Wash. Each show ended with the Wall O' Stuff, where people would open panels what would either give them a cheap gift, a card to go to a pie device, or a direct messy consequence like a pie or whip cream being shot in their face.
Compare to Family Challenge, a later show from the same creator that aired on The Family Channel (now Freeform), hosted by Ray Combs and later Michael Burger, which played like a cross between Double Dare and WWYD?, including reusing many of the latter's trademark pie-in-the-face gags.
Not to be confused with the ABC show What Would You Do?, although both shows use hidden cameras as an element.
Game Show Tropes in use:
- Zonk: Some doors in the Wall O' Stuff contained cards that would send them to a pie contraption, and sometimes contestants would have pies thrown at them or be squirted with whipped cream upon opening the door.
This show provides examples of:
- Catchphrase: What Would You Do?.... not used as often as one would think.
- Cheaters Never Prosper:
- In one of the "memory game" contests in the second season, one girl's father ducked not once, but twice, when his daughter tried to pie him. Eventually not only was another one of his kids finally able to land a direct hit, but the father was also sent to the Pie Pod in addition as punishment for cheating.
- In another "memory game" episode, one boy was stumped with an answer so his father whispered it to him. Marc made the boy pie his father as punishment.
- In another season 2 episode, a boy and his father played a game in which they had to throw rubber chickens into a giant pie crust, with the loser (whoever's crust had fewer chickens in it after 30 seconds) being sent to the Pie Wash. The rules stipulated that the chickens had to be thrown one at a time, but, as Marc pointed out after time had expired, the father had been throwing multiple chickens at once, and was effectively disqualified and sent to the Pie Wash.
- In yet another season 2 memory game, a man had to memorize the contents of a grocery shopping list, then grab all of the items on the list and put them into his prop shopping cart within the time limit. Success would send his daughter to the Pie Wash, failure would send him to the Pie Wash. Among the items on the list was a broom. At the end, he had gotten everything on the list BUT the broom, then proceeded to lie that he did have the broom. And he actually got away with it at first, as his daughter did get sent to the Pie Wash. It wasn't until after the next commercial break that the producers realized he cheated, at which point his daughter got the option of taking a token for the Wall of Stuff or pieng him in retaliation. Not surprisingly, she chose the pie.
- The Chew Toy: Any audience member who is chosen, yet doesn't want to go along with the game.
- Covered in Gunge: Slime was used in some games, especially during Season One (i.e. the "Crowning Glory"), although it was referred to as "pie filling" (actual, i.e. cherry, pie filling was used in some games) and was pink instead of green as was the Nickelodeon norm. In one show, a dad ended up gunged by accident when the gunge tank he was standing under malfunctioned.
- Cringe Comedy: Major premise, and especially notable when the producers messed with Marc (who has OCD). For his own part, Marc has said the OCD thing has been blown out of proportion and that he did not have a major problem with the mess.
- Crossover: With Double Dare, Legends of the Hidden Temple and Nick Arcade called "Nickelodeon All-Star Challenge" that aired during The Big Help in 1994.
- Eat That: Some of the dares during the What Would You Do? Medley including eating bizarre food combinations such as a Twinkie with gravy, a hamburger with honey, ice cream with ketchup, "Stan's Cola", etc. Most of these are like Fear Factor later on.
- Every Episode Ending: The "What Would You Do? Medley" in the first season, and the "Wall O' Stuff" in the second.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Marc would ask contestants What Would You Do?
- Fanservice: A woman once went to the pie pod in a sports bra.
- Foregone Conclusion: Two contestants, one game, someone's going to be covered in whipped cream very soon. Subverted in the second season, when the winner was offered a token to the Wall O' Stuff or a pie device for their opponent. When the winners kept choosing the tokens, the producers began offering them a chance to either send their opponent to the pie device or go themselves, and several of them decided they wanted to get messy.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- A regular occurrence, most notably on the country western episode when they had a mother and son sing a Double Entendre filled song about wanting her pie. Even ignoring the fact that pie is a common slang term for female genitalia, several of the lines scream Does This Remind You of Anything?, like when she asked him to provide filling for her crust, or when the song ended with the son giving his mom a face full of white cream. The producers were clearly aware of the Incest Subtext involved, as demonstrated by an audience reaction shot. Nevertheless, the double entendre seemed to go right over the head of the mother and especially her young son, who sang the tune without any visible sign of discomfort; the mother had a surprisingly good voice, and even after she'd been pied by her son, she reprised the last line of the song as a duet with Marc,
- Other examples are the result of the same From the Mouths of Babes formula used by Kids Say the Darndest Things. For example, when a little boy was asked what his mother said that he does not like, he responded that she says his dad is a real sex machine.
- Marc himself would occasionally sneak a few in since it was an unscripted show, such as asking a man if he had ever been this turned on in his life during an electrical demonstration, or saying that he had a joke that he wanted to say but it would take them off the air after he discovered that two teenagers he had randomly selected from the audience to kiss were cousins, and the boy said the girl would sock him (which Marc misheard).
- The Glomp: In one Season 2 episode, an "Anything You Can Do" challenge involved a boy challenging his mother to play a harmonica with her nose. When the mother was able to do it, she got to pie her son. Immediately afterward, the boy threw his arms around his mom's waist.
- Leave the Camera Running: The show would end with Marc signing off, yet things still went on during the credits, including and especially someone being placed in a pie device.
- Mascot: The latter part of the second season featured a trained monkey assisting Marc instead of Robin or a kid assistant.
- Oh, Crap!: The look on some people's face when they get chosen out of the audience, or when they lose a challenge and know they're about to face some kind of pie punishment.
- Once an Episode: Someone goes to the Pie Pod.
- Pie in the Face: Turned Up to Eleven. Half the show was coming up with new ways to pie people.
- Precision F-Strike:
Guy: Try Stan's Cola, the new soft drink that brings you... [laughs]... brings joy to your taste buds. [takes a drink of cola] And it tastes like [bleep]! [cut to a double shot of guy and Marc, who is laughing hysterically] And it goes down like [bleep], and it's the coolest [bleep]! ... Stan's Cola is now available at Saddam Hussein's Grocery.
- According to The Other Wiki, Marc actually swore on the show once (it was bleeped). As a result, he was sent to the Pie Pod.
- During the Stan's Cola segment in a Season One episode:
- Recycled Soundtrack: The show borrowed most of its musical cues from a show already airing on Nick at the time, Wild and Crazy Kids. Both were produced by Woody Fraser and featured music by Alan Ett.
- Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue...: Two instruction cards from the Wall O' Stuff had these:Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
A trip to the Pie Pod,
Is waiting for you.
Roses are red,
Envy is green,
After the Pie Wash,
You'll be squeaky clean.
- Title Drop: In every episode. It makes sense given the show's premise.
- Title Theme Tune: The entire theme song consisted of the words "What Would You Do?"