The word “relatable” is so vastly overused on this internet that you’d think any writer would be embarrassed to have it included in their work. And yet, while skimming the article accompanying Margot Robbie’s new Vogue cover, I came to a part where I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, that is oddly, and very specifically, well, relatable.”
The moment comes when Robbie admits she fantasizes about getting some sort of joint-living fantasy to share with her husband, Tom Acklery, and her friends and business partners Josey McNamara and Sophia Kerr. “We’ll be like a cult!” the 28-year-old actress explains before revealing that she has one very specific fantasy for a living situation, as recounted by Vogue writer Irina Aleksander: “When they looked at one property, Robbie asked if she could have a slide built connecting her bedroom to the pool.”
“I think that just sums up the person that she is,” adds Kerr, her friend. “She will buy a compound on a whim, so that her close friends could live near her and so that she can wake up and slide into the pool.”
It was at that moment that something rumbled inside of me to remind me that I, too, once fantasized about the specific idea of one day having a waterslide that began in my second-story bedroom and then promptly deposited me in my own laguna-size pool. A quick search of the internet revealed that Robbie and I are not the only millennials who have had this dream, and also revealed what was likely the locus of this idea: the 1994 live-action Disney movie Blank Check.
With a vibe reminiscent of later Disney Channel Original Movies, but actually released in theaters, Blank Check follows an 11-year-old named Preston Waters who inadvertently comes into $1 million and promptly decides to live as many 11-year-old’s fantasies as one can buy for that amount, including the purchase of a castle-themed home that includes, you guessed it, a waterslide connected to his bedroom…or maybe his office. (Turns out when doing research on this film there’s a lot of weird things you misremember—like the fact that Preston has a weird quasiromantic storyline with a full-grown woman.) Whatever the case, the film may have launched the notion of the bedroom waterslide into the collective consciousness of millennials.
Indeed, it seems someone out there actually is living the dream, according to a 2010 real-estate listing story that went viral. Some subterranean (which, yes, does still mean underground) mansion in Cheshire, England, apparently does have a bedroom waterslide, though not exactly as we had collectively imagined it.
The prevalence of the fantasy made us wonder if it was only in Blank Check? Didn’t we see something like that on MTV Cribs? No, that was just Missy Elliott’s Ferrari bed and that one place with the aquarium built into the couch. What about the Macaulay Culkin–starring Richie Rich? Turns out that Richie was the one who had a fully functional private McDonald’s, but not a bedroom waterslide. The titular Smart House of Disney Channel’s Smart House had a lot of cool features, but not a pool. Hey Arnold‘s room was cool as hell, but he lived in an apartment building without a pool, either. Cher had a cool computerized closet in Clueless, and a very nice pool, but, alas, not a slide that went from her closet to her pool.
Actually, it’s striking, looking back, how frequently what we now call “real-estate porn” was featured in media aimed at millennials during their childhood and teenage years in a way it hadn’t been before (well, unless you count The Jetsons). Which is ironic considering the fact that so few millennials are able to purchase any home (let alone one with a bedroom waterslide) is a key symptom of America’s possible economic collapse. But at least it’s nice to hear that some millennial out there keeps the bedroom waterslide dream alive.