The whole world is captivated by the latest game show on Netflix: ‘Floor is Lava’. As the title suggests, it is a variant of the well-known children’s game ‘the floor is lava’ – but a very extreme version.
For those who as a child has never gone upside down while jumping from one seat to another: the rules are simple. You just pretend that the floor no longer consists of tiles, carpet or parquet, but of boiling lava. Then you try to get from one side to the other side of the room without falling into the ‘lava’. Whoever touches the floor falls off.
It almost sounds crazy to attract viewers, but in some countries ‘Floor is Lava’ is already in the top 10 of most-viewed programs on the streaming service. What exactly makes the show such a big hit? The Hollywood Reporter asked the creators: Irad Eyal and Megan McGrath.
Sport vs. game
“Who doesn’t love a good game for daredevils?” They shrug. “But we admit that global success probably has something to do with the fact that there are no real sports games on TV anymore. So people are looking for something different, but with the same guidelines: they have to see good performances, they have to be able to support, and there must be enough elements of surprise present. Floor is Lava offers all that. Plus, it is very funny.”
So it’s more fun to watch than it was in your childhood: the showrooms of the show are decorated with all kinds of strange objects floating in real lava. Or yes, a good thing that looks very realistic. “We don’t want to reveal what’s in our lava,” Megan laughs. “That’s pretty much our secret sauce. We keep the mystery in there.”
What makes the game so much fun is that the participants are fully absorbed in it. “Hilarious, because we didn’t ask them for that,” said Irad.
“We said: climb up everywhere, use everything you see, use your imagination. But we never asked them to act. And yet: every time someone falls into the ‘lava’, it happens with a drama that you normally only see in bad movies,” he laughs. “But you know, in times like this, a little childish magic might be exactly what we need.”