The Internet is full of interesting things to read outside of The A.V. Club—no, really! In our periodic Read This posts, we point you toward interesting or noteworthy pieces that caught our eye.
Late last week, sports blog SB Nation took a hard-hitting look at one of Nickelodeon’s most-beloved mid-‘90s game shows: Legends Of The Hidden Temple. While a lot of people loved the show, writer Jon Bois argues that it was absolutely torture to watch, with kids trying to reach things that were too high for their short little arms to grasp, being scared to death by temple guards, and just generally trying to conquer a challenge that was practically unconquerable. Bois says the Temple Run featured “emotionally fragile children [who] were prodded through a disorienting maze in which they were expected to fulfill not-specific-enough instructions and complete a ridiculous array of trial-and-error puzzles within three minutes, a time constraint so overbearing that roughly 75 percent of the contestants failed.” Fair enough.
There are plenty of video examples in the story, all of which are just horrible to watch, but no real hard evidence. This week, though, Bois has a follow-up interview with a girl named Keeli, who made it to the Temple Run during the “Stone Marker Of Leif Erikson” episode. While she discounts some of his theories—all contestants were walked through the temple before the taping started, for instance—other statements are more revealing. For example, contestants looked tired because they were tired; her episode of the show took a full 12 hours to shoot. She actually got to go through parts of the Temple Run three times because of mechanical errors in the rooms, and yes, Temple Guards are totally, absolutely terrifying, even to this day.
Both stories are well worth a read for any ‘90s nostalgia-heads out there, and if there are any Temple Guards out there who’d be willing to be interviewed about what it felt like to make kids cry day after day, The A.V. Club is ready to talk.