I didn’t see this coming: videos of fingers poking and prodding homemade slime that cater to Western '90s nostalgia are set to become the internet’s bizarro new site of self-care hypnosis. Isabel Slone writes for Hazlitt about the weird quasi-sexual, somewhat nostalgic appeal of slime, from You Can’t Do That on Television to Alex Mack, and links to a few popular slime accounts. Read Slone in partial below, or in full via Hazlitt.
Part of slime’s appeal is that it is endlessly customizable. Slime can resemble a pastel blue puff of cotton candy or a tub of crude oil. There is fairy princess slime containing beads and glitter, frothy slime with a surface covered in bubbles, and crunchy slime called floam, which contains tiny Styrofoam beads. Instagram user @audeezslime (151,000 followers) gives her creations evocative names like grape bubble gum, pink lemonade, peachy bubbles, and blue Powerade. She dubbed a red container of floam “pomegranate seeds.”
Geraldine Cassidy, a slimer from Singapore who goes by @slimecrime.co (1,000 followers), suggests that slime is popular because the ingredients are cheap, easy to make, and kids love it. Similarly, Samantha Baker, a nineteen-year old from Massachusetts who runs the popular @honey.guts slime account (72,000 followers), credits her experiences mixing slime in the second grade as inspiration for her current hobby. “Now that it’s just blowing up, it brought back all those childhood memories,” she says. Indeed, much of the appeal of slime is predicated on regression to childhood. It’s the 2016 version of an adult colouring book; a satisfyingly childish pastime that allows us to indulge in escapist fantasies.
There’s something quintessentially retro about slime. You Can’t Do That On Television, a Canadian television show that first aired in 1979, was the original program to feature unsuspecting kids being assailed with buckets of slime. Later on, Nickelodeon’s game show Uh Oh, which ran from 1997-2003, featured an S&M fantasy character called “The Punisher” pouring a bucket of slime on each contestant’s head if they answered a question wrong. In The Secret World of Alex Mack (1994-1998) the titular character gets hit by a truck full of chemicals and is left with the superhuman ability to turn into a puddle of slime. And who could forget when Robin Williams cemented his turn from Lenny Bruce-inspired comedian to peddler of family comedy pablum with the 1997 flop Flubber?