Empires of Crap - Billy Bowles: Teen Prince Of Florida

Imagine if a person tried to live their dreams only to discover that they actually were a charismatic leader, a talented pirate, and a surprisingly good escape artist. That's the story of Willam Augustus Bowles, aspiring King of Florida, who lived one of the coolest lives of the 18th century before his own delusions of grandeur ate him alive ...

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After years of pouring millions and millions of dollars into big-budget series and Oscar-bait movies, Netflix has finally discovered that what viewers really want are goofy game shows and creepy Polish erotica. On the game show front, one of the biggest shows in the world right now is Floor is Lava, which takes the classic children's game that devastated many a coffee table, and updates it for adult contestants. Teams compete to win $10,000 by hopping across a room from object to object without falling prey to the slimy red "lava" below. There's really no overarching theme to the show other than bubbling lava and the occasional cracked rib ...

... Or is there?

The first season of the show has five different rooms; The Basement, The Kitchen, The Bedroom, The Study, and The Planetarium. While no one ever comments on this, and the show has no story to speak of, several rooms contain references to various conspiracy theories. Some are super-obvious -- there's a Yeti in The Study and pulling a rope in The Basement reveals an alien corpse inside an Egyptian sarcophagus.

Is Netflix's 'Floor Is Lava' Secretly A Conspiracy Theory Show?

But the basement is also filled with objects that fringe groups have suggested contain secret extraterrestrial ties a pyramid, the Easter Island heads, and the Ark of the Covenant.

Is Netflix's 'Floor Is Lava' Secretly A Conspiracy Theory Show?

Similarly, the Planetarium features model planets, which are all round -- except for Earth, which is flat.

Is Netflix's 'Floor Is Lava' Secretly A Conspiracy Theory Show?

The Kitchen contains the clue: "Pizza is the key." This helps contestants find a literal key inside of a pizza oven. But given the multitude of nods to tinfoil hat-level paranoid delusions, could this be a reference to ... Pizzagate??


Even the show's loose premise that a home has been engulfed in lava could itself point to a real-life conspiracy theory; there are alarmingly frequent (and bogus) reports that the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone park is on the brink of eruption, and will destroy the United States. So perhaps all of these conspiracy references are meant to clue us into the metanarrative that drives the very premise of the show? Of course, it's also possible that with no sports, movie theaters, and little human interaction, our brains are searching for meaning in even the most disposable forms of entertainment to keep from drifting into panicked thoughts of existential dread. Either way, it's fun to watch grown-ups fall into a pit of mysterious goo.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter! And check out the podcast Rewatchability

Top Image: Netflix

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