Saturday, February 23, 2008

The first annual Gladdies and thoughts on season one

The new American Gladiators first season has come and gone – garnering mixed reviews. Hulk and Laila Ali were undeniably vapid, there was too much contestant interviewing, the editing was choppy and other negatives were pointed out. But the bottom line is there were juiced up bodybuilders with cartoonish personalities pounding regular people in wacky events. And I loved it.

But there are a number of simple improvements that could be made. What follows are my thoughts on how to improve season two and some end of the season awards.

Get rid of crappy events

Hit and run sucks. It just does. It’s way too easy for the competitor to rack up points and the rare times they get knocked out, it’s more pathetic than exciting. Those medicine balls should be iron or something. Maybe spiked. Either that, or raise that crappy suspension bridge up a few inches (too easy to duck as it is now) and add 5-6 more Gladiators. You can never have enough Gladiators.

Do the awesome events more

Joust and Powerball are the best events – and it’s not even close. Do these more. Every episode should have both of these for the men and the women. Earthquake seems pretty great, but it was only in four episodes. Militia was in it two separate times and sucked, so maybe that’s why it wasn’t featured that much.

Bring back the old Powerball goals

Speaking of Powerball, what the hell is up with these new goals? The game is called Powerball, not Wussyball. I don’t want to live in a world where contestants can shoot jump shots and make them - unless there is a fourth Gladiator who is there just to block shots like Dikembe Mutombo. In the old Powerball you practically had to have your arm elbow deep in the goal to insure a point – that’s the way it should be.

Force Gladiators to do more events

Who doesn’t want to see Hellga slog around on Hang Tough? Or Titan on Wall? Forget about basically gifting an event to a competitor, it would be hilarious. I would rather watch someone torch Justice on Wall than that person scurry around on Hit and Run getting 15 points.

Force Gladiators to do fewer events

Wolf was on Wall nine times out of 24. I love seeing Gladiators have a signature event, but it can get boring – especially when they aren’t very good at it. Similarly, Hellga was on Assault six times out of 18 and was God-awful. I know she can’t do much else, but don’t force it.

Cut the total Gladiators from twelve to ten

Would you recognize Stealth if you saw her? Not on the street, on the show American Gladiators. Because I wouldn’t. Cutting two lame Gladiators out (namely Stealth and Militia) would alleviate the previous two suggestions and allow fans to become more familiarized with the real Gladiators.

Tweak the Eliminator

The new Eliminator is way too hard. By the time the contestants get to that conveyor belt thing, they are totally exhausted. I don’t like watching someone lay on their stomachs, grasping for a rope for two whole minutes. Granted, some people killed it, but it’s far too difficult and long as it is now.

Also, where have all the Gladiators gone? In the old show there was this:

Fast forward to about the three-minute mark for maximum ownage

That kicks ass. Even having them lob medicine balls or shoot Nerf guns when humans are walking across that balance beam would be better. I don’t even watch the Eliminator because - who cares? I watch the show to see Gladiators kill people, not normal guys go down zip lines.

Finally, are there even penalties for falling off stuff? If there is, I don’t know about them. If there isn’t, why would you waste your time with the hand bike or the rolling log?

Get rid of the safety equipment

This is for Powerball and Gauntlet - neck braces are for wimps. That’s what waivers are for. Gladiators don’t have necks anyway.

* * *

Now for the Gladdies – the goofy name I am giving the end of season awards for American Gladiators.

MVP – Crush

Not that difficult a choice. Was at or near number one in the rankings all season and left chalk outlines of ladies on Joust. Five knockouts out of eight appearances – the other three being ties. Although she didn’t do much else (two Pyramid, two Earthquake), she wasn’t beaten all season.

LVP – Stealth

Had two individual event appearances all season and got murdered in both of them. Let her competitor beat her in Pyramid for the full 10 points and ditto for Wall. Terrible, awful, boring and stupidly-named, Stealth is easily the worst Gladiator.

Most kills

Siren eked this out with eight on the strength of four on Hang Tough. Venom, Wolf and Crush all had seven. Congratulations on spilling the most human blood, well done.

Most appearances

This one goes to Wolf, who logged 16. His ridiculous nine on Hang Tough is the most appearances in any single event by an AG. Siren was second with 15.

Most times knocked out

The dubious honor goes to both Militia and Siren, who were bested three times each. A special mention goes to Hellga, who was knocked out twice in Assault, quite an achievement.

Most intimidating (male)

It’s close between the genetic freakitude of Justice and the pure power of Titan. Justice is eleven feet tall and weighs 600 lbs, but his goofy hair and revealing Gladiator uniform loses him points. Seeing the way Titan turned opponent’s skulls to dust in three seconds on Joust gives him the edge.

Most intimidating (female)

Not even close, Fury is by far the scariest female. Forget the obvious Hellga. She sucks at actual events. Fury is actually competent and is, genetically, a man – a tough one at that.


In a way, American Gladiators is a lot like life. You are constantly at battle with forces much stronger than you - simply trying to get a head start on the guy next to you.

With that, check back during season two and leave any comments for suggestions or stuff you’d like to see.


DougOLis said...

I actually like the Eliminator being so tough. Some of the old ones were more luck but this one requires a hell of a lot strength and speed. Plus it's more like one of the stages from Ninja Warrior; definitely a better test of the contestants apt.

The rules of Joust need to be changed so contestants must stay on their feet all times. It's a rule for the Gladiators so why not the contestants? In both of her appearances, Shanay just plopped her ass down for an easy 5 points.

Caleb said...

Thank you so much for doing this.

I agree with every award you gave, and that Milita and Stealth suck.

The Eliminator needs Gladiators in the pit of the hand bike to kick the contestant's ass if they fall. It's the only way to make that stage of the Eliminator make sense.

Dougolis is right about the Joust too. I was upset but fortunately Shanay got her ass kicked anyway.

Pyramid is a better event than Joust and Powerball. It is the best event.

One thing you neglected to comment on was the countdown on the final show of top moments over the season, with Venus's Eliminator run being #1 for some reason. That is nowhere close to being as great as Wolf flip-powerbombing the douchebag off of the Pyramid.

Jason Cook said...

I didn't see the countdown of moments! I wish I did. But yeah numbers 1-10 should be people getting owned on Joust or Pyramid.