American Gladiators was a subtly patriotic show about amateur athletes going head to head with professional "Gladiators" in a series of grueling events. After going on a short twelve year hiatus for a few production meetings and the construction of a new set, the series is set to return in 2008. How does the new American Gladiators stack up against the original from the early 90's?
Then: Aired during Operation: Desert Storm, a justified invasion of Iraq that was backed by a majority of the American public. Although we pulled our troops out of the country rather quickly and left Saddam Hussein in power, the war was considered a success.
Now: Will air at the height of the writer's guild strike.
Then: Pumped full of steroids, scooped up from a beachside gym in California.
Now: Pumped full of steroids and botox, scooped up from a reality show's audition room in California.
Then: Mike Adamle, the greasy creep that pestered female competitors with his constant leering and unnecessary physical contact during interviews.
Larry Csonka, the retired football player who felt the need to reference his accomplishments in the NFL at every opportunity.
Now: Hulk Hogan, the greased-up freak will confuse female competitors by referring to them as "dude" and "brother" during interviews.
Laila Ali, the retired boxer who will feel the need to reference her father's accomplishments at every opportunity.
Then: Tourist families taking a rest from the blazing sun during their trip to Universal Studios, clad in Zubaz and neon T&C Surf Design shirts.
Now: Those very same families, who were unable to find an exit after the last taping in 1996.
Then: As a Gladiator mans a giant air cannon that launches tennis balls at 100 miles per hour, the challenger must navigate an obstacle course and shoot a target above the Gladiator's head with one of several Nerf guns without getting pegged by a tennis ball.
Now: Realizing the event's obvious influence on the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings, it has been removed from the show. In its place, a two minute moment of silence. During this time, the challenger that can go the longest without blinking or laughing gets five points.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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