downtownexpress.com
Volume 20 Issue 10 | July 20 - 26, 2007

Slime and the city

“Slime Across America Tour”
Tuesday July 24, 12-5 p.m.
South Street Seaport
Fulton and South Streets, Pier 17
(nick.com/slime)

Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon’s “Slime Across America” tour rolls into the South Street Seaport on July 24

By WILL McKINLEY

I’ll admit it. I’m nearly 40-years-old and I still want to get slimed. And, thanks to Nickelodeon’s “Slime Across America Tour,” which is set to splatter the South Street Seaport with gelatinous green goop, I may finally get my chance.

As anyone who has been a kid ­— or has raised a kid — in the last quarter century knows, “slime” is the semi-viscous substance that made Nickelodeon famous. And the people who work there take it very seriously.

“Slime is my favorite topic,” Frank Tanki, Vice-President for Nickelodeon Brand Marketing, told me on the telephone, with what sounded like a straight face. “It’s silly, it’s irreverent, it’s a little messy and it’s all about kids. Slime is a big part of Nickelodeon’s essence and its history.”

Today’s kids may not know it, but the gooey green stuff first flowed back in the Dark Ages of the early 1980s. Nickelodeon had just gone national and was devoting much of its airtime to foreign-made cartoons and low-budget puppet shows. Then in 1982, a Canadian sketch comedy show called “You Can’t Do That on Television” joined the schedule — and American television was changed forever. The show captivated kids with envelope-pushing gross-out humor and a recurring gag wherein gallons of what looked like curdled green milk doused the head of anyone who uttered the words “I don’t know.” Finally, Nickelodeon had found its voice — albeit one with a Canadian accent.

In the years since, the slime has continued to flow non-stop, perhaps most famously on the annual “Kids Choice Awards,” where A-Listers like Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp and even P. Diddy have bathed in a shower of slime.

“It’s a who’s who list of Hollywood,” Tanki gushed. “Even James Earl Jones got slimed in 1993.”

Yes, the actor who gave voice to the greatest villain in movie history was once drenched in the Yoda-colored concoction. Any “Star Wars” fan would assume that the stagehand that did the dumping got zapped with the business end of a light saber but, according to Tanki, that was not the case.

“Actually, Darth Vader was surprisingly cooperative,” he said. “He really gets it.”

And now, New York City kids (and hopefully at least one middle-aged reporter) are about to get it too. Nickelodeon’s slime factory has been working overtime, pumping out 1,200 gallons of goo, loading it onto an 18 wheeler called The Slime Mobile, and dispatching it on a twenty city tour — all with one simple goal in mind.

“We’re going to pour slime on as many kids as possible,” Tanki proclaimed with pride. “We can’t guarantee that everybody’s going to get the slime, but we’re going to try!”

The way the Nickelodeon press materials describe it, “The Slime Across America Tour” sounds like Lollapalooza for the “Spongebob” set. There will be a stage show called “Nick Live! Slime Edition,” a musical performance by someone named Sean Kingston (ask your kid who he is), costumed characters, product giveaways, karaoke and an unholy union of slime and dodge ball — appropriately called Slimeball.

“There’s a very good chance that kids are going to get messy,” Tanki said, exhibiting a level of understatement uncommon for marketing people. “But no one will get slimed that doesn’t want to get slimed.”

Although there will not be any on-site bathing facilities available, plenty of towels will be provided. And fear not, Moms and Dads, because Tanki promises that the slime will come out “as long as you wash your clothes within a 24-hour window.”

What Tanki would not disclose, however, was the top-secret slime recipe. “I would not be asked to come back to the company tomorrow if I revealed it to you,” he said, despite repeated badgering.

Now, perhaps even as you read this, the Slime Mobile is speeding toward Downtown Manhattan.

“We want to make sure that New York City kids get a chance to experience firsthand what slime is all about,” Tanki said. “If you’re a fan of Nickelodeon, it’s timeless. You want to get slimed when you’re ten and you’d love to get slimed when you’re 40.”

He has no idea how right he is.





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