Legends of the Hidden Temple

19 Jul

Years Aired: 1993-1995
Station: Nickelodeon

This is my favorite show to bring up in conversations about old kids’ shows. I’m not sure why that is because I don’t remember it all too well. I just know that everyone loved it.

What I remember:
Mostly I remember Olmec, the giant talking statue. I think kids were divided into teams, and they had to run something like an obstacle course. Was this the show where contestants had to build a monkey at the end? But I definitely remember this show being awesome.

Re-watch:
First off, “The rooms are filled with lost treasures that are protected by mysterious Mayan temple guards. Only Olmec knows the legend of each of the treasures in this temple.” The Olmec and the Mayas were two separate civilizations. I can see this show isn’t going for historical accuracy. I feel like I was deceived as a child now. Anyway, “Which one are we going to hear about today?” The Legend of the Broken Wing of Icarus! The host seems excited about that. I’m more focused on how Olmec’s mouth doesn’t move in sync with what he’s saying.

But moving on to the six teams who are going to try to retrieve the wing: the blue barracudas are everyone’s favorite, right? I wonder if kids got on this show and then were upset when they weren’t put on the blue barracudas. All these kids have helmets and mouth guards and have pads on their knees and elbows and wrists. I don’t remember the challenges being that violent. I guess they really need them for swinging across on this rope. That’s not a very exciting challenge. I think people would realize that if Olmec weren’t explaining it so enthusiastically through puns. “Let’s rock the moat!” That’s not something a real Olmec would say!

Okay, this rope swinging does look pretty fun. But they have to jump in, then crawl back and swing over? Counterproductive. The silver snakes finish first, while the orange whatevers are having problems. They look like they’re just swimming along the moat. It’s an acceptable strategy; they’ll get there eventually. But not soon enough. The orange iguanas, as they turn out to be called, and the blue barracudas are out. What?! I thought the barracudas never lose! I’m not sure I want to finish this episode anymore, but I want to see the challenge in which these mouth guards are necessary. I don’t even wear a mouth guard when I have Quidditch practice and we’ve been known to call the ambulance a few times. But what’s the prize for the silver snakes’ momentous win?

Sneakers with cyber glow! I don’t know what that means but I’m sure I would have thought that was cool as a kid. Okay enough of the advertisements. Olmec is about to tell us about the legend of the broken wing of Icarus while his eyes glow red and his bottom lip sticks out like it’s swollen.

Olmec tries to make this story interesting by adding in funny voices but Olmec should stick to being the statue of an ancient civilization. Mysterious statues don’t tell bad puns and use funny voices. He says that an old Greek prince forgot his dad the king told him to not fly too close to the sun. He forgot because a cloud called to him and the sun melted his wings. A piece broke off and floated to the shore. It’s the four teams’ quest to find it.

“Thanks, Olmec”. The host sounds like he’s friends with Olmec. He gets him to say that the wing is in the shrine of the silver monkey. How did it end up there? And why do the contestants have on water shoes? This next challenge is a knowledge question. I love the upbeat music playing in the background. Every once in a while this show has to do something totally discordant with the show’s theme so it doesn’t become too scary. The silver snakes are dominating but the green monkeys are catching up. The red jaguars and purple parrots are going home, but not empty handed. They’re getting “Sleeping Beauty” on VHS! Those have probably ended up in a Half Price Books by now. Maybe if you stopped by your’s you could find the video tape that a child ventured to Olmec’s temple to get.

Commercial break. I’m liking the show so far but I don’t remember Olmec’s temple being so obviously built on a sound stage. It’s okay.

It’s on to the temple games where teams are competing to win pendants of life. That’s a pretty good prize! I wonder what you can do with a pendant of life. Maybe it makes you immortal or when you’re about to die you can use it and then you get to keep living, or it could be like the resurrection stone and bring people back to life. Oh. They protect you from temple guards. What do the guards do that a coaster with Olmec’s face on it can save them from? In temple game #1 the contestants are sticking birds tied to strings on the ceiling. Well this is obviously going to help them find the broken wing. I just want to get to the part where they climb really high and then build a monkey. The green team wins the first challenge and a half pendant of life, which in my theory is useable for resurrecting half a person.

Temple game #2 looks… interesting. The contestant gets pushed around in a kind of swing by a guy in a safari costume and has to grab a feather and put it in a basket. Again, very productive towards the final goal. I kind of get the feeling that the host realizes this is a stupid idea when he says, “All right, you’re going to have to time it out perfectly.” The kids just stick their hand out and grab a feather. Then they smash their faces into the rock because they wanted to finally get some use out of their mouth guards. The green monkeys win another half pendant of life, which gives them double the immortality they had before. The silver snakes are still trapped in their human forms… at least for now!

The next temple game is worth a full pendant. It involves transferring feathers with feet and then sticking them on their back. Are the two team members friends or did they just meet on the show? It would be interesting to be an old lady and turn to your best friend and say, “Remember the time we went on television and passed feathers to each other using our feet?”. I really want to meet someone who’s been on this show, I have so many questions to ask them. What is Olmec like in real life? What did you use the powers of the pendant of life for? Were you upset you didn’t get to be a blue barracuda? Anyway, even though the host had a moment where he didn’t know how to count and thought the teams tied, the silver snakes won! I think the host was trying to cheat and get the green team to win, but his plan failed. The teams are tied! Tiebreaker! This show is suspenseful!

The team to answer the question correctly gets to go into the temple. Olmec gives the final question. Which of these places was destroyed by a volcano? The green monkeys answer Atlantis, which is impressive because the Disney cartoon wasn’t out for them to watch on VHS yet. So after all the silver snakes’ hard work, they’re going home… with a savings bond from Sketchers Footwear! A savings bond from Sketchers Footwear?! I hope they enjoy their $50 that they can’t spend from a shoe company that will probably get them laughed at if they wear their shoes. (I know this from experience. I didn’t know it was uncool to wear Sketchers sneakers in high school until someone told me. I still wore them because I didn’t want to buy new ones. But if you’re about eight years old or younger I’m sure it’s still acceptable to wear Sketchers Hot Lights because those things will never be uncool.) Meanwhile, the green team is on their way to Olmec’s temple.

Yes! They’re going to start climbing through stuff! No more of this taping birds to the ceiling business, this is the reason I wanted to go on this show. Okay, Olmec, I get it, your temple is scary, now let them start climbing. No, first we have to hear what prizes they will win!  This is another tension reliving moment. Olmec scared everyone pantsless by describing the temple so now we have to hear from the typical game show announcer. “It’s a pair of skateboards!” And a what? A singalodeon? Oh, it’s a karaoke machine. With a cassette player. And a trip to an island. I don’t care. I want to see if they get the broken wing that I’ve become so invested in over the past twenty minutes.

Why wasn’t the rest of the show like this? This is scary! Smash the pots! Find the key! Ehh, now I think he’s lost. Ten seconds! He jumps across a ball pit (Yeah, Olmec’s temple has a ball pit), over a bridge, and runs out of time. Let down! He’s out before seeing a single temple guard though, so he’ll get to keep those resurrection stones for himself. The contestants look sad and the host looks like he’s glad it’s over. Instead of parting words from the ever wise Olmec, the show ends with a reminder that Legends of the Hidden Temple is filmed before a studio audience in the Nickelodeon studios in Florida. I’m glad they told me because I really couldn’t tell.

What did we learn?
This is not the show where they build a monkey statue. Or maybe it is, but it didn’t happen in this episode. If they built a monkey in every episode I would have paid more attention. I can’t really comment much more on what I learned because the show’s opening lines were lies so I just don’t know what to believe any more.

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