Thursday, 6 May 2010

Why I got banned from watching The Crystal Maze

Hands up if you remember The Crystal Maze.

For most people it was a fun and lively gameshow and they gained much enjoyment watching the team progress through the 4 zones, completing challenges and trying to win as many crystals as possible, earning them more time in the crystal dome at the end of the show.

For me, I break into a sweat just typing the name.

I don’t know what it was about The Crystal Maze but it induced a state of such high anxiety in me that I was in danger of putting my health at risk.

It all centred around the concept of getting locked in. For those of you that aren’t in the know, one person from the team was selected to play a game that came under the categories of Mental, Physical, Skill or Mystery. That person went into the room alone to complete the challenge. They were usually between 2-3 minutes long, with the clock starting the second the door closed.

If you completed the challenge and got the crystal, happy days. Much celebrating. You didn’t always have to win the crystal though. If it became apparent that you weren’t going to solve the puzzle in time, you just had to ask to be let out and you could be, no problems. As long as you didn’t let the time run out.

Really it was no big deal. You were locked in. You had to stay in the room until your team decided whether or not to use one of the crystals to buy you out. They could move on to the other zones and you would be left in there.

There really wasn’t anything to freak out about.

But for me I just had this thing about them getting locked in. It was if in my brain, getting locked in equated with them being killed or something because the whole idea just gave me a mental breakdown.

It would start as soon as there was only a minute left on the clock and it started counting down the seconds. My breath would start getting shorted and my heart would begin to pound. Then I’d get really really hot. Then I would be completely unable to stay sitting down and would have to get up and pace about, clenching my fists. I would start saying “Come on come on come on come on come on” under my breath. When it got to 30 seconds I really started losing it. That’s when I would start telling them to “Get out! Just get out! Get out now!” And start covering my face with my hands.

If they left it any later than 10 seconds I would completely flip my lid.

And there were people who would just always leave it to the last second to come out. They clearly weren’t going to be able to solve the puzzle so why did they insist on leaving it until the clock had 2 seconds on it?! And then there were the people who had had to go through some maze or over some bridge or some other crazy challenge which meant that it would take longer for them to get back to the door. Those people would get yelled at by me.

Don’t even get me started on the games with automatic lock ins. They were the games were you weren’t supposed to touch the floor or you couldn’t let something drop or get the wrong sequence 3 times in a row. Once they’d done it twice I was begging them to “Just get out!”

One morning, during the school holidays, I was watching an episode, it was always part of the Channel 4 school holiday programming schedule. I’m not going to lie here, I wasn’t really that young. I was probably 12/13.

They were doing their usual trick of leaving it until the last minute and I had, totally subconsciously, risen to my feet and was standing the middle of the room, screaming, and I mean screaming, at this person to “GET OUT!!!! GET OUT! GET OUT!”

My Mum came storming into the room. “That’s it. I’ve had enough. You are ridiculous. You are absolutely not watching this programme anymore!” and switched off the television.

I haven’t watched it since.

She said she was genuinely afraid, I was completely puce in the face and looked like a wild woman.

I tried to watch it a year or so ago, it was repeated on Challenge and my sister had Sky. I put it on for about 2 minutes and as soon as the countdown started I could feel all the old feelings coming back. I just switched it off, it’s not worth the emotional wreckage.

Just talking about it stresses me out. People think I’m mad when I tell them the story but I don’t understand how they don’t understand how that’s not stressful. Even typing this out my palms are sweating. Seriously.

I have no idea where it comes from. I’m not claustrophobic in the slightest. There is just something about that concept of being locked in that taps into something primeval in my DNA that makes me need to escape.

I revisited the stress in the form of a new gameshow that was on ITV recently, The Cube. It wasn’t the same kind of format at all really, you didn’t get locked in as such, but if you decided to go into the cube to play the game, you couldn’t leave unless you won the game. I got through one episode of it but spent most of it standing up behind the sofa going “This is really stressing me out”, while the boyfriend looked at me bemusedly.

I need to go and sit in a darkened room for a while now, stop my pulse racing.

14 comments:

BlackLOG said...

I have my hand up. Can't say I ever got over excited by the show though.

I always liked to think that anyone who got locked in and not claimed during the show would be left there forever.....

Sounds like it was probably a good thing that you were banned when you were. The only thing I was banned from watching as a kid was the "Life of Brian" - I wouldn't mind but my mother laughed at the first couple of lines and then she realised what it was*. This was particularly harsh as my father had decide to get a Betamax video recorder and the selection of recorded films was pretty sparse as it was....

* I think that was the moment when I became a failed catholic by choosing not to believe in god. In my view any god who does not have a sense of humour is not getting my vote....

Doris said...

Me me me!! (Hand high in the air!) I used to LOVE that show. I'm really sorry that it stressed you out that much, but I had to tell you that your post made me laugh out loud. You tell stories so brilliantly.

xxx

Jill said...

I would become alittle 'anxious' when time was nearly up and I didn't think that the people were gonna get out, but not to the same degree of stressfulness as you obviously were. Tee Hee.

The only thing that I can remember my mother stopping me watching was 'Grease'. Can you believe that? I remember I had a black & white portable TV in my bedroom (yes, I'm old), and when it was on I turned the sound way down and put towels behind my door so my mum wouldn't see that shaft of light under the door and realise I was watching it. How naughty was I, eh? What a rebel I was back then!

Kim said...

Just discovered your blog :)

I can relate to the stressyness, automatic lock ins were hideous - I think there was one involving lasers once that they had to avoid, I think I stopped breathing for the whole 3 minutes they were in there! I also used to hate the timer in the Aztec zone, because it was a sand one I always used to think ROB would misjudge the time left and they'd get locked in...

Maria♥ said...

Omg, I am sat here cracking up..sorry but the way you write is hilarious. I used to love The Crystal Maze!

Em said...

Oh dear poor you..but it did make me giggle quite alot whilst I was reading it!
Be warned there are still repeats of The Crystal Maze on one of the Sky channels!
Em xx

The Curious Cat said...

Oh boy this entry had me laughing - I could really imagine you there! I know what you mean...I didn't like watching it for the same reasons - it was stressful! That was part of its magic I guess... still, for some I'd hardly call it entertaining or relaxing viewing! Very funny entry - thanks for sharing! xxx

Hookin It With Mr. Lick Lick said...

I was stressed just reading about you stressing out! Holy cow......

Heather said...

I ALWAYS wanted to go on crystal maze! and on gladiators.
I hated the underwater maze bit of crystal maze, that was creepy.
I mostly got stressed out about how stupid some of the contestents were :p

Itch2stitch.com said...

Hello! Sorry if I have been a bit absent this week! In my mind too I might add! My daughter used to love the Crystal Maze, but I never really watched it much. I don't think it is strange in the least, what you describe. Only because I have reacted in a similar way to playing tomb raider! I can not play games like that without feeling like a nervous wreck! So in a way I do get what you mean! I used to feel like I was seriously losing it when I tryed to play it... heart pounding.. the works! Oh dear! What are we like! suzie xxx

Diane said...

How very very spooky!! I think we used our imaginations too much when we were young!!! My sister got banned from watching "Little House on the Prairie " as she could never eat her tea as she was sobbing too much. In the end, Dadd flipped and banned it!!!

Blue Eyes said...

I have never watched Crystal Maze but totally understand you getting really involved in things going on on TV. I get really emotionally involved in movies and will shout at the TV, cry at sad bits and cringe so much at embarrassing moments (especially cringey - How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Inbetweeners and He's Just Not That Into you). Sometimes I actually have to leave the room because I physically can't deal with how cringey some shows are!

Have you ever seen the movie Cruel Intentions? I don't want to ruin the ending but it had me actually shouting crazily at the TV that it 'can't end like that' etc. My friends were like WTF?! Looking back I did get a bit too emotional...

Blue Eyes xx

Petit Filoux said...

What can I say, the French in me just doesn't know about this programme you're talking about. It does remind me of Fort Boyard though, did you know that one? My mum hated it so I didn't get to watch it much, but I used to hate the bit where time was running out. Didn't get blue in the face though, oh how I'd love to see you going mental in front of the TV lol!!!

P said...

I was actually texting my ex about the Crystal Maze a few weeks ago - i'd been out with some friends and we'd got talking about it, and I was asking him via text if he remembered it and how I used to get really upset when they got locked in. So I know how you feel! How random!