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Sign me up for Netflix’s Floor is Lava show so I can live out my teenage dreams

It’s not just a childhood game; it’s the quirky life dream I craved

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Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Netflix has been boldly venturing into reality programming, with shows like Love is Blind, The Circle, and Too Hot to Handle redefining what we know of reality television. Think Love Island isn’t horny enough? Bam — now none of the contestants can bang. Think dating shows are ruined because the contestants can see each other? Well, now they can’t!

Now Netflix is setting out to redefine the concept of the obstacle competition series by adapting one of the most iconic childhood pastimes and internet darlings: THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!!

What is “THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!!” might you ask? Why does it hold such a specific place in your mind beyond a childhood game of whimsy?

To answer that, let me take you back in time, to the late 2000s - early 2010s, when internet forums My Life is Average and Fuck My Life were poppin’ and cool places. Remember how My Life is Average slowly evolved from “I did this boring thing today” to “Rawr! I am SO QUIRKY XD,” and for whatever reason, that meant a lot of what we can only assume were late-teens early-twenties posting about how they would randomly scream “THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!!!” in semi-public places and how the normies would respond? It was the coolest thing in the world to read as a young teenager bored with her own life. There existed a world out there full of fun people who did random things! The Floor is Lava represented spontaneity, freedom, and an early internet world where you could make up stories online and no one really questioned if they were true or not!

Netflix’s take on this game evolves it from simple childhood whimsy into a proper gameshow, much like how forums of internet yesteryear evolved it to a certifiable meme-before-memes, an emblem of “quirky XD” culture. In this Netflix show, the lava is red water and not lava (of course), but instead of regular furniture, the rooms are full of themed props like giant Easter Island heads and space shuttle wrecks. The teams need to make it across using these props — falling into the lava means certain death! Er, disqualification. Same thing, right?

This is my early teenage dream come to life. This is everything I ever wanted when I browsed through My Life is Average on school computers during lunch and visualized a quirky world where Rawr meant I love you in dinosaur and people really did yell “THE FLOOR IS LAVA!!!” If this show survives more than one season, perhaps that means one day I, too, can be swinging across floating rocks and doing my best not to fall. Agile, I am not. Surefooted, not at all. Strong, one could argue. But for the floor is lava — for a chance to live out those quirky and cool lives I assumed all strangers on the internet had in 2009 — for that, I will become the very best I need to be.

Floor is Lava premieres on Netflix on June 19. My training for season 2 starts now.

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