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Forget “Floor Is Lava,” Watch “Supermarket Sweep” Instead

Streaming services have been the drink of choice in quarantine, and—as we all know—our cups runneth over. During the past four months, I’ve watched four seasons of The O.C., re-watched Euphoria, and, most recently, dove headfirst into The L-Word (seeing as I’m finally feeling my girl-loving oats).

Recently, though, as I’ve absorbed the fictional drama of ’00s West Hollywood gay girls, I’ve been feeling like my television quotient has been a little… off. The missing flavor: absurdity, earnestness, schadenfreude. Indeed: a game show. I needed a game show.

I gave “Floor Is Lava” a shot first. As a surprise hit that’s been on Netflix’s “Top 10” since it premiered a few weeks ago—and subsequently the butt of some pretty good Twitter jokes—I figured it could be just what I needed.

Wrong. It felt like a bad blend of “American Ninja Warrior” and “Legends of the Hidden Temple.” I could only watch for so long, as beefy triplets wearing matching American flag tanks catapulted themselves across Easter Island replicas poking out of bubbling, glowing red “lava” (which apparently required cycling through 50 different formulas to perfect).

My salvation came a few days later:

Almost a year ago, during a particularly nasty flu, I watched almost 20 episodes of Guy’s Grocery Games during a 24-hour fever dream. Yes, Netflix, it was me who needed to hear this. Thank you.

All I knew about Supermarket Sweep was that it was a nutso game show from the early ’90s that sent people scrambling around supermarkets like it was their last day on earth. I’d watched YouTube compilation videos and SNL spoofs, but nothing—nothing—could compare to the real deal.

So, I made a package of Banza mac and cheese and watched four episodes in a row—and in a stupor. Women with hair feathered to the gods ran around looking for Corn Pops. I watched one contestant pronounce the word “rigatoni” as “rigatooni” with the absolute confidence of a to-be actress. I watched unhinged, grown adults rocket themselves around the store, throwing whatever they could find into grocery carts: whole Butterball turkeys, bottles of baby formula, mayo containers the size of torsos. The show is schmaltzy, white-washed, hyper-capitalist, ’90s America on steroids, and to watch it is to experience the real-life manifestation of the 🥴 emoji.

That said: if you’re looking for pure entertainment value, enviable sweaters, and opportunities for slack-jawed laughter, look no further than Supermarket Sweep. I recommend consuming them all in a row with a homemade sandwich and a slight glaze over your eyes—a true quarantine delight.

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