MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Kaminsky family of Maplewood was featured on yesterday’s episode of The Crystal Maze, a new game show on Nickelodeon.
“We had an absolutely amazing time,” said Jan Kaminsky, who along with her wife, Samantha, and children Asher, Ezra, and Talya, had a family experience she said she’ll remember forever — especially since they conquered the eight different physical and mental challenges in the maze and won the game.
“We won the grand prize, and that was completely unimaginable” before they filmed, Kaminsky said. Before the shoot, she noted, “we honestly said the trip and the family experience is the prize, and we really meant that.” Most of the $25,000 prize money went to the kids’ college accounts, she said, after each family member got a little to spend on a reward for themselves.
Their journey to The Crystal Maze started last July: they were submitted as potential contestants by a casting agent who knew the show was looking to include an LGBTQ-headed family in the mix of competitors.
“They did a really good job including a diverse group of families in a lot of ways,” said Kaminsky. “We were thrilled, and really proud to be part of it.”
Their summertime audition was complicated by the kids being at sleep-away camp, but a Skype interview and a later in-person audition with sample challenges to see how the family would work together secured them the opportunity.
The family used the pseudonym Eastman on the show in case there was any hate backlash; Kaminsky said there has not been. They traveled to London in August to film the show on its sound stage; it is already a long-running, popular program in Great Britain. The day-long shoot was a “fun but grueling experience,” Kaminsky said.
And no one should worry that there were re-shoots of the challenges: “The challenges were real, the outcomes were real, and it was a really, really fun time.” An on-set adjudicator, who watched over the shoot the whole day, “ensures that it is legitimate and nobody’s doing anything that is untoward.”
One aspect of the filming delighted the kids, who are ages 15, 12, and nine: Adam Conover, of the show Adam Ruins Everything, was the host. All the Kaminsky kids are big fans and were very excited to meet him.
As hard as the game show was, keeping the results a secret for six months from family and friends was also tough. Knowing that if they spilled the beans they might have to forfeit the prize money helped to keep their lips sealed. Still, said Kaminsky, “people texted me all along saying, ‘really, what happened?’”
The episode, #110, is now available to stream on demand through cable providers and to purchase on Amazon.