Heroes of 2020: Floor Is Lava

In a year with few reasons to leave the couch, the show inspired me to get up—and wreck my furniture.

Mother Jones illustration; Netflix

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

Roughly three months into a life concealed indoors, a surprise game show appeared on Netflix’s “Top 10” list.

That show, Floor Is Lava, is billed as such: “Teams compete to navigate rooms flooded with lava by leaping from chairs, hanging from curtains, and swinging from chandeliers. Yes, really.”

Had I read the description in another era, my husband and I likely would have skipped. But this was June and our pandemic diet demanded the dumbest forms of everything. What could be dumber then, and therefore more essential for the moment, than cheering on adults traversing across low-budget sets plastered with absurd graphics to compete in a goofy obstacle course for a cash reward of $10,000? Not much!

It’s far from the best show I watched in 2020; that honor probably belongs to I May Destroy You. It definitely wasn’t the worst; Queen’s Gambit, what a corny disappointment! But years later, send me a screenshot from any Floor Is Lava episode, and I’ll be sure to recall how much wine I overdrank that night and why the dumb came as such a balm against the cascade of despair and horror emanating from outside. I’ll also probably torture you with (very false) claims that I could perform better than the contestants we saw in June.

“Want proof?” I’ll ask. Naturally, you won’t. But I’ll ignore that, whip out this photo from then, back when my husband and I filled evenings taking to our own furniture to try the lava on for size.

Inae Oh

Heroes and Monsters 2020

The staff of Mother Jones is highlighting the year’s heroes and monsters. Find them all here.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate