As I glue myself to my TV each week in anticipation of my national broadcast debut as “Audience Member 327” on American Gladiators, I’ve come to the realization that American Gladiators is possibly the dumbest show on television today.
Today’s episode was tied into the new Hulk movie coming out this weekend, which means they gave out those puffy hulk fists to people in the audience. Additionally, they had several of the gladiators use them as their blocking apparatuses in Gauntlet, and Titan was painted green and used Hulk-like grunting as a form of communication on Joust. Now, it’s not like I treat American Gladiators as some kind of sacrosanct icon of American culture, but still, the egregious Hulk promotion was a little too much to handle.
I’ve also realized that despite all of the events and rigmarole they have the contestants go through before reaching the eliminator, any head start gained through points is typically eliminated by the time the contestants reach the cargo net, which is about 30 seconds into a 2 1/2 minute race. What’s worse is that the Eliminator culminates in an obstacle known as the Travelator. The Travelator comprises what is essentially an inclined moving walkway with a rope hanging down from the top, the idea being to walk up the incline using the rope to offset the fact that the walkway is moving against you.
The problem is that by the time they reach the Travelator, the contestants are so exhausted that they almost unfailingly end up slipping back down on the first try and stop to catch their breath at the bottom. This gives the other contestant ample time to catch up to that point, which means that every episode of AG boils down to who is able to climb up a moving ramp more quickly. That’s it. They might as well forget having gladiators at all because they sure don’t affect the outcome at all.
And lastly, because this is a primetime TV show, the contestants always end up being chosen for the drama they end up creating. First, there was the guy with no leg versus the normal guy. Then, there was the deaf guy versus the family man (granted, the deaf guy was far and away the best contestant on the show so far, so my hat is off to him). Then they had seasoned veteran cop versus his mentee, young naive cop, where of course the veteran cop pulled off the upset. And this week, it was the former cheerleader versus the former football player in what was clearly hammed up to be some kind of nerd versus jock battle. And naturally, the former cheerleader won. As usual, it came down to the Travelator.
I guess it’s all in the name of good tv, where good means appealing to the largest demographic, but whatever happened to the pureness of competition?
According to the end of episode promo though, next week is the week with the twins on it, which was one of the episodes partially recorded while I was in the audience. Make sure to tune in next week to get a glimpse of Hollywood’s next big thing. You’ll never see better fake cheering in your life.