Inner Monologue Of A Child Solving The Shrine Of The Silver Monkey In Legends Of The Hidden Temple

I’ve seen Legends of the Hidden Temple a thousand times, and I know this is where everyone fails, this room, the self-esteem crusher, the ego death chamber, the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. But not me. I will not fail. My parents and teachers have always said I’m special, that I’m a winner, and they’re right of course. In the hotel restaurant today, I drank three cokes all by myself with my pizza — I’m so full of caffeine right now I could smash through these Styrofoam walls like a fucking freight train, motherfucker. I hope a temple guard jumps out, so I can toss him off the balcony into the Pit of Despair like a bitch.

But seriously, I hope I don’t see a temple guard because I heard if you don’t have half a pendant of life to give them, they drag you into a pitch black room and rub oils all over your body followed by a blinding white flash. Then the lights flick on and you’re on that gaudy acid trip of a set for the Zeebo the Clown episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark. You cry and cry and cry, but they won’t unlock the doors until you sign a nondisclosure agreement.

The bottom part of the monkey I find on a shelf in the corner. The middle part I find on a lower shelf across from it. Where’s the top part? Where is it? Is it even in here? Did the production manager forget to place the head of the silver monkey in the shrine room? Jesus Christ! Finally, I find it on a much higher shelf — I’m 5’2’’, and these assholes put the monkey’s head that far up? Whatever. With all the pieces cradled in my arms, all that’s left is to assemble them on the front pedestal in the full two minutes I have left on the clock. I’ve seen countless contestants fail this simple task, yelled at the TV with frustration at the fact that if I were there, I could slap it together in no time. I will complete this puzzle with the calm deliberation of a tightrope walker over an active volcano. I will deconstruct the task into many smaller tasks, each of which I accomplish with the swift thoughtful precision of a semi truck driver parallel parking on a busy street in downtown LA. I will step outside my body and conduct this operation without stress like a determined mother fishing for her keys with a metal hanger through the car window while her baby slowly succumbs to heat stroke in the backseat. I will not panic. I will not start crying.

“It looks like he’s got the bottom turned around!” yells Kirk Fogg.

What does he mean I have it turned around? The front’s facing me and the back’s facing — oh, it has to face the camera. Shit, I’ve already screwed up! I’m blowing it! No, calm down. Don’t lose your cool now. You’re a Purple Parrot, and that means something, goddammit. I can see my partner from up here, the nerdy kid who kept talking about how he wished he could’ve gotten on Nick Arcade instead. He’s shaking his head in disgust, hand over his eyes.

“Oh no, he’s dropped the monkey’s head over the edge!” yells Kirk.

Shit, I didn’t even notice! It’s because I tried to hold everything in my tiny eleven-year-old arms, my cursed toothpick arms, my damned baby kitten arms. What am I going to do now? Precious seconds of the most important two minutes of my life tick away. I place the middle section on, but I can’t discern which part’s the front and which is the back. Then a producer tosses the head back up to me—a blessing from the temple gods—and as I reach to grab it, I knock the middle section onto the floor. Everything’s spinning out of control. The world sways, and a mouthful of partially digested pizza rushes up into my mouth.

I place the middle part on and then jam the head rod through the whole misshapen mess. Nothing happens. I twist the middle part around and around, twist the head around and around, and then begin stabbing the head rod through the torso with murderous fury, damaging a treasured Nickelodeon prop. Still nothing happens. Sweat pours into my eyes — or maybe they’re tears — and I’m blinded. The silver monkey becomes a vague gray blur rotating furiously in the bright stage lights. Time stops. I drift out of my body like a smoky white tentacle. I soar out of the studio, out of the building, and out of Universal Studios. I see my friends sitting in front of their television sets, laughing at my inept performance. I see my family standing in the dimly lit kitchen after I’ve gone to bed, whispering about what an embarrassment I am, the shame I’ve brought on the family. I see millions of people in the future, watching my pathetic temple run on something called YouTube, laughing at me. The defining moment of my life. My greatest failure.

I drift up further and further until I’m in a higher plane of existence where multicolored snake monsters swoop through golden fog and vaguely human-shaped ghosts float silently past. There’s a low thrumming noise like a trillion locusts. Then a huge old man face emerges out of the gloom in front of me, eyes blazing, cloud beard blowing. He opens a mouth like the sun, and I’m a speck of dust compared to one of his wispy eyelashes. His voice is a hot shower spraying my spirit body. I hear it in every particle of my being. He says, “Ya blew it.” TC mark

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  • Anonymous

    The title alone had me and then I absolutely died. I always thought these kids were buffoons, but how much better would I have done? Probably not much.

  • https://twitter.com/iamthepuddles Jordana Bevan

    oh my god Brad Pike stop writing the best articles

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    I read the title of the post and then said to myself, “Brad Pike probably wrote this,” and I was right, and it was brilliant.

  • Robert L.

    This is awesome. I completely forgot about that awesome show until you mentioned it.

  • http://twitter.com/MAMACAKESS Cecilia Hurtado

    my god, i never laughed as hard as i did reading this, i literally cried from laughter. i needed this, thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/layzrr Matthew

    I don’t have time to read this right now, but I wanted to pop in and say that I really appreciate the specificity of the title.

  • PTK

    Good article but I think all of us true fans know that the Purple Parrots never actually made it to into the Temple. Silver Snakes forever.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jessi.smith1 Jessi Smith

      Agreed. Purple Parrots were like the Hufflepuffs of the pre-Harry Potter world.

      Personally, I was always partial to the Blue Barracudas.

  • yo

    being a child in the 90s/early 2000s=amazing

  • http://twitter.com/AbeAxis Abe Lara

    This was just AMAZING!!!!!!!!! 

  • cassidymccraney

    Pike for the win.

  • Erin

    I LOVED this.  I can relate so hard.  Once I almost had my friend convinced that I had been on an episode of Legends of the Hidden Temple.  He asked to see the videotape, but I claimed that I had broken my arm in the course of the show, so they never aired it and didn’t give my family a tape to save me from the embarrassment.  He ALMOST believed me. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10036647 Aimee Vondrak

    The paragraph when you fail, that reminds me of when I disappointed everyone in my life by losing the Showcase Showdown when I was on the Price is Right. I can’t repeat the story without feeling absolutely miserable.

  • best quest

    Brad, you are a crazy son of a bitch. 

  • sixxxes

    BLU3 BARRACUDA$$$$ 4 LYFE

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  • ryan

    this was seriously awesome. AWESOME. i used to like hyperventilate in front of my tv when i would watch this because i knew that if i was in there and the temple guard came out i’d piss myself and pass out. i was terrified of them. AND of the zeebo the clown episode of are you afraid of the dark!!!! i can’t believe you referenced that. i can remember it so clearly.

  • http://twitter.com/MelanieAvalon Melanie Avalon

    I used to be so in awe that the kids didn’t completely freak out because of the Temple Guards. All I could think when I’d watch the show was HOW could I possibly go in that place knowing scary people might jump out at me at any moment? terrifying 

  • Anonymous

    God damnit, Regina. WHY WERE YOU WALKING?!

    I will always wonder whether the conscious choice of mustard yellow sweatpants was some kind of deal with an outfitter to finally get rid of its [rightfully] massive unpurchased stores of mustard. yellow. cotton. sweatpants.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrickhuffine Patrick Huffine

    Oh my god this was the best. I loved that show and I loved this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrickhuffine Patrick Huffine

    Oh my god this was the best. I loved that show and I loved this.

  • https://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/comparing-us-cities-to-90s-nickelodeon-tv-shows/ Comparing US Cities To 90s Nickelodeon TV Shows | Thought Catalog

    […] Legends of the Hidden Temple was GUTS’ hip sister show. Hosted by Kirk Fogg, the show pitted teams against each other in an archaeologically themed competition. Team names were the Red Jaguars, the Blue Barracudas, the Green Monkeys, the Orange Iguanas, the Purple Parrots and the Silver Snakes. (When NICK started showing re-runs of this show on Nick GAS, my friends and I would watch and put money on these competitions. I’m not kidding.) […]

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/11/comparing-us-cities-to-90s-nickelodeon-tv-shows/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Legends of the Hidden Temple was GUTS’ hip sister show. Hosted by Kirk Fogg, the show pitted teams against each other in an archaeologically themed competition. Team names were the Red Jaguars, the Blue Barracudas, the Green Monkeys, the Orange Iguanas, the Purple Parrots and the Silver Snakes. (When NICK started showing re-runs of this show on Nick GAS, my friends and I would watch and put money on these competitions. I’m not kidding.) […]

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