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By Alexa Carson

Nickelodeon Slime: A History

With slime videos raking up billions of views on YouTube in recent years, it’s easy to question why this new trend has taken off and captivated children and adults worldwide. Is it the satisfaction of seeing that not quite liquid, not quite solid substance stretched and molded? Slime tutorials are undeniably mesmerizing and it’s easy to lose yourself in that gooey, stretchy, unique texture. Slime may be taking over TikTok and YouTube today but it’s hard to talk about this new age of slime without paying tribute to the innovators of slime: Nickelodeon.

It all started back in 1979 with a show called ‘You Can’t Do That on Television’ which branded itself a kid-friendly version of Saturday Night Live complete with live sketches and political comedy. One of these sketches featured a boy in a dungeon getting dumped with a bucket of slop. According to Nickelodeon legend, the once liquid prop sludge took on a gooier consistency after being left out between long takes and the hilarity and satisfaction of watching someone get slimed on television was born. The show started featuring more and more slime content and even paid child actors an extra $50 per slime (though the kids really didn’t seem to mind the messiness).

 

Slime proved to be a huge hit for Nickelodeon, with kids everywhere obsessed with seeing people doused in the iconic gooey gak. It became a central part of the network’s identity, being featured on game shows like Double Dare and at celebrity events like the Kids Choice Awards. Nickelodeon was THE slime channel, and the late 80’s ushered in an era of Nickelodeon shows centered around slime like Super Sloppy Double Dare.

In 1992, Nickelodeon even unveiled a 17-foot high Slime Geyser in front of their studio. Their logo became a splat of gooey slime. The era of slime marketing was born, and if you were a child in the mid 90’s it’d be hard to resist begging your mom to buy you some slime shampoo or cereal. Getting slimed on Nickelodeon became the dream of kids across America. And if you couldn’t afford a ticket to Universal Orlando to compete on a Nick show in the hopes of a sliming, the next best thing was seeing your favorite celebrities slimed on live television. Nickelodeon’s image was forever sealed as the slime channel.

The 1980’s and 90’s seemed to love playing with unique textures in general, and slime was just the beginning. The Secret World of Alex Mack was another huge success for Nickelodeon, and while the sitcom didn’t feature any slime it DID explore some of the new and exciting special effects and textures of the era. The show featured an average teenage girl whose life is forever changed when she’s hit by a truck and doused with the chemical GC-161, giving her superhuman powers, including the ability to shape-shift into a gooey liquid (with an almost slimy texture).

The decade was obsessed with playing with the boundary between liquid and solid, and a perfect example of this is the liquid metal effect featured in Terminator 2. The film’s visual effects were considered groundbreaking and paved the way for science fiction films to come, but there is an undeniable link between the stretchy, liquid metal being that is T-1000 and the viscous, gooey slime that has come to represent childhood in the 90’s. The 90’s were so many things and ushered in a wave of new technologies, fashion trends, and music styles, but the decade was also undeniably the decade of slime.