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Knightmare on Nerd Street.



"Babysitter of the year; 1990, 1992, 1993"
In the 1990’s, nerds were not cool. This is something of an understatement. In the 1990’s, being a nerd made you a Chess playing, Sci-Fi loving, unattractive, socially awkward male (very few were girls back then), whose place on the human food chain was so lowly regarded, their friendship was less desirable than that of a kid with terminal nits and worms – as well as very busy hands. In the 1990’s, being a nerd, geek, poindexter, egghead, boffin, or any type of pejorative mustered, left you nothing more than a charmless freak; a future basement dwelling, lifetime virgin of the highest order. 

In these times, nothing more epitomized their lifestyle than their undying love for Knightmare. For those unaware, Knightmare was an interactive fantasy Television show for kids, in which four children (usually male nerds aged between nine and thirteen) entered a mystical castle run by Tregard – a man whose heavy Fishermans beard, made him appear to have fiddled more minors than Maggie Thatcher. Inside this castle, three of the lads would sit in Tregard’s dungeon watching through a screen, as the fourth member was sent on his visionless, helmeted quest (to protect his eyes from the dangers which lie ahead, apparently), carrying nothing but an empty satchel and the wits of his team - in order to free a maid, retain a sword, or lose their virginities; the quests varied from time to time, and I’m guessing some of those contestants still haven’t completed the final one. 

Through each quest, there were many potential ways to die in the castles many levels – which, ninety-five percent of the time, they did; usually through missing a spell, neglecting to steal a pie from varying monsters. (Pictured – without his pie) Though why a skeleton spider monster needs to eat a fucking pie, is never explained. Or how he managed to pick it up? Other forms of death included pissing around too long in a room where daggers shoot from the walls, or tiles falling from beneath their feet; the castle must have been built by pikeys, I guess. The villains were pretty sadistic, killing little kids in helmets. And why they sent pre-teens in to do the job, instead of the SAS or Chuck Norris, I will never know.

"Give me back my pie!"
Every room entered would be met with the blind boy saying “Where am I”. I mean every last time. Worse still, he never took his helmet off, ever. The kid’s in an evil dungeon, always seconds from death in a building where every room is a cross between Dungeons and Dragons and the movie Cube, and he still keeps the fucking mask on. 

Bulging stomach sandpit sinking him to his death, still kept on. Pie eating skeleton breathing down his neck, nope. Shit, even the angel voiced wench/secret witch, with her seductive tones, couldn’t do it. I so hoped one episode she would say to one of them, “I’m stark bollock naked here, horny, and I know a spell to free a maid. Why don’t you take your mask off and have a look”. I bet even if the unfunny court jester –who kept popping up now and again, started bum raping the boy, he’d still keep the pissing mask on. If only Jimmy Saville had presented Knightmare instead.

That was the other portion of the show. The residents of the castle regularly met these boys, while doing very little else. Surely one of these dwellers would have eventually said to a particular boy “Look, you arseholes keep coming through here. All you ever want is a spell or food, or some shit like that. Maybe one of you could at least get me a beer or a copy of Razzle! And where are your parents? Of course, should the boy die in the castle, him and his friends were banished to the never lands for eternity. I actually thought that was genuine, until I saw a group who perished on a Thursday, appear on kids show Motormouth the ensuing Saturday. Unless Motormouth was also a part of this abyss; which is possible… Andi Crane was there too.

As the seasons progressed, Tregard bought in Pickle - a slim young Elf boy, as a dungeon companion. Likely born from his tiredness of bumming frozen kids; or no longer being able to seduce them with bread, water, computer games, and pies of deformed skeletons. Eventually, in 1994, and after seven years, the show finally ended. The dungeon closed its doors for the final time, and nerds nationwide turned their attentions to Mulder, Scully, and Captain Picards bald head on the Enterprise.

"Gargoyles Are Easy - Google it"
Last Friday however, Knightmare resurfaced on Challenge TV here in the UK – at a unique Friday 10pm slot.  Which I caught a showing of; hence this blog. Beyond the jokes, or the realization I love taking the piss out of the show. To be honest, watching it back after all these years, it‘s actually a pretty original, entertaining, fascinatingly creative product. The drama-school actors hammed it up with such passion, the rooms contained many original creatures; my favourites being Granite-arse, the talking wall which looked like an arse, and the low self-esteem gargoyle (pictured). And for thirty minutes a week, nerds felt a power which made all their wedgies and wet willies worth the pain. 

The show was revamped this summer as a one-off special; as part of YouTube’s "Geek Week". And while the cast came off to me as a mixture of Franz Ferdinand and Paramore visiting their mad bearded uncle, the show retained its elements of charm; the kind which helps create articles like this, almost two decades later. But it wasn’t cool back then to like Knightmare. And the open love of it probably got a few poindexters beaten up. 

Of course, the flame of Tregard, Granite-arse and the rest, is kept alive and well in the minds of it's loyal fanbase. But in the 1990’s, nerds were not cool. How times change… 

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

S P E L L C H E C K I N G

Lee Gunnell said...

Anyonymous, show me one spelling error. On Knightmare, you'd have been the dumb kid, who thought he was really smart - making him even dumber. Who eventually got their leader killed.

Anonymous said...

Spellcasting: O W N E D.

nice article. Do you remember the "real environments" later on, with the decidedly dodgy purple CG trees?

Anonymous said...

What happened? Did you apply for the show and get turned down? I don't mean to be rude but there seems to be a hint of bitterness in this rant!

Lee Gunnell said...

Yeah, they tried hard with the graphics, but it was much harder back then. It would all be too advanced for today. :-)

Lee Gunnell said...

It's just my style of humour. I actually liked the show - sad so many nerds got offended. I guess the joke about still being virgins after all these years, really hit home.

Anonymous said...

Horrible article. Not funny at all. Joking or no joking, this should be taken down.

Lee Gunnell said...

Geez, get a sense of humour. I complemented the show.

Anonymous said...

I have got one. Just not as vile as yours.

Lee Gunnell said...

Listen, don't worry... you will lose your virginity eventually. Though it may cost you a few quid,

Anonymous said...

Already have done and didn't have to pay! You stick to your hand mate since that's all you know