More trouble for NBC’s Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide this week—which is saying something, when you’re a show that’s already weathered a very public outbreak of on-set diarrhea. But so it goes: The NBC reality competition series, ostensibly a fun summer romp where comedians Bobby Moynihan and Ron Funches crack jokes while people go down waterslides into non-parasitically infested water, is continuing to struggle with what to do without a final episode. That’s even as its planned release date—scheduled for the immediate aftermath of the Olympic Games in August—moves ever closer.
As we reported a few weeks back, the problems on Slip ‘N Slide began back in early June, when many members of the show’s crew suddenly began suffering from what’s been described as bouts of “explosive” diarrhea, eventually linked to an outbreak of the intestinal parasite giardia. Now, the outbreak—which, per Yahoo! Entertainment, apparently ended up infecting roughly 65 percent of the show’s staff—didn’t hit until the show was coming up on filming its final episode. But Slip ‘N Slide seems to have been designed to build up to a climax after eight weeks of filming, finishing with contestants all battling it out on the slides for a final hefty cash prize. Presumably, not even inspiring a truly transcendent Ron Funches tweet about the situation can take the sting off of having an $18 million reality series that suddenly finds itself with no readily filmable ending.
Most worryingly, The Wrap reports that, when an environmental study was conducted on the show’s set, it was discovered that giardia wasn’t present in the water—but it was present in the dirt surrounding the show’s giant slide, meaning that it would be extremely easy for the pool to be re-infected by parasites on people’s feet, or even just from dust clouds kicked up by activity. Given that the set reportedly cost something like $6 million to construct, and there’s only a single episode left to film, moving the whole thing is probably out of the question. (A new location is reportedly being sought for the second season.) That same Wrap report notes that producers on the show are expected to present NBC with two different approaches for how to handle the finale; we can only wait and see whether they go with the first (as yet, unknown) selection, or whether they’ll end up giving in to the undeniable power of number two.
Update, 7/3/21: Deadline reports that the planned August 8 premiere of Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide has now been delayed. The series was initially supposed to kick off its run immediately after the closing ceremony for this year’s Olympic Games, followed by a second installment the following night. Per the report, there’s currently no plans in place to re-schedule the series.