NBC's Ultimate Slip N' Slide has been shitcanned. For now, at least.
If you're not already familiar with Slip 'N Slide, it's delightful summer toy that's basically a hose that sprays water down a plastic tarp which is fun for about 5 minutes and then turns everything into mud and skin rashes. So naturally, it was the perfect thing to adapt into a TV game show. Hosted by Bobby Moynihan and Ron Funches, Ultimate Slip 'N Slide was slated to premiere in August, right after the closing ceremony of the Olympics — a prime sport to wrap an international sporting event!
But you know what they say about the best laid slip 'n slide mats of mice and men — they are prone to violent outbreaks of explosive diarrhea caused by a microscopic parasite known as giardia. In early June 2021, production on the $18 million show was unexpectedly shut down with just five days left on the schedule after more than three dozen crew members contracted the ol' Slip 'N Slide of the rectum. As The Wrap reported at the time:
According to a person with knowledge of the production, the outbreak of "awful explosive diarrhea" left people "collapsing" on set and "being forced to run into port-o-potties."
People Magazine added:
To determine the problem, water on set was tested by a third-party environmental lab in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Ventura County Public Health.
Though samples from a well, pond, slide pool, water truck and restroom sinks all tested negative for giardia, results of additional testing came back on June 10 showing giardia in the set's surrounding area.
According to the CDC, giardia is easily spread between people or through contaminated water, food, surfaces, or objects. The most common way to get it is by drinking poop-contaminated water … but that's not the only way to get it.
We know that now because, while the show had hoped to go on, that rascally giardia just wouldn't go away. More than 65% of the people working on the show found themselves violently shitting at some point in the last month. That's because the giardia parasite wasn't just in the water—it was in the earth itself, spreading every time someone kicked up dust and traveling on the bottoms of their shoes (the parasite, not the poop). And that meant it would always find a new way to infect someone.
So those last 5 days of filming? They're not going to happen, because the problem is in the very soil of the $6 million dollar set they built. NBC has finally accepted the unfortunate truth that the show just won't be completed in time. And with no final episode in the can, they've finally decided to pull Ultimate Slip N' Slide from the post-Olympics TV lineup while they figure out a new plan.
Will they build a new set? Will they move the set? Will they reconfigure the structure of the series into a docs-drama about the importance of public health initiatives? We shall see.
Image: Fred Rockwood / Flickr (CC-BY-SA 2.0)