Then: Using padded jousting poles, a Gladiator and challenger attempt to knock each other off raised platforms to the safety mats far below.
Now: Taking a page from Survivor, the Gladiator and challenger share a tiny platform above a pool of water. The two put their senses of balance to the test as they stand still for hours. The first to fall in the water wins.
Then: The challengers and Gladiators step inside large metallic spheres that resemble hamster wheels and smash into each other. Challengers score points by stopping on marked capture points.
Now: Gladiators and challengers put on blindfolds and enter a small closet, where they punch and kick one another wildly. Points are awarded arbitrarily.
Then: Two challengers race to the top of a rock-climbing wall as Gladiators attempt to pull them off.
Now: Challengers and Gladiators team up to pull Mexicans off of a replica U.S./Mexico border fence as they scramble for a better life.
Then: Gladiators don protective gear and shields, then stand atop a raised platform as challengers attempt to knock them off by swinging into them with a rope.
Now: Three judges - one snarky, one female and one "cool" - rate the challengers' interpretive dances and puppetry skills.
Then: The final event of every show, both challengers race to complete a brutal gauntlet of challenges and emerge the victor.
Now: Challengers are released in a section of L.A. that was devastated by a 1997 earthquake. Here they must elude a series of Gladiators armed with unique gadgets such as flamethrowers and jetpacks as they attempt to hunt down and kill the challengers in front of a bloodthirsty nation of mindless viewers.
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.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.