The results are in: American Gladiators performed decently in the ratings last night on NBC, giving the network its highest-rated premiere for a new show since Heroes. But as a newcomer to the David-vs.-Hellga genre, I was mildly befuddled by what happened on my screen last night. I had to turn to my colleague Mandi Bierly, a Gladiators expert, for answers. Our IM convo went as follows:
Slezak: So Mandi, question: Did you actually enjoy American Gladiators last night? I ask because halfway through, I had to switch to Cashmere Mafia. Maybe the better question is: Why does everything on TV have to be a “two-hour event”?
Mandi: I liked it enough to watch it again if I stumble across it, but not enough to DVR. I was ready for it to end after an hour, too—I didn’t need to see the skateboarder’s kid watch his dad get his ass kicked anymore.
Slezak: I know, right? The firefighter dude dominated him! I’d have been furious if AA (pictured, right) had lost out in the eliminator round. Does that mean I actually cared about what was happening?
Mandi: Since you know the firefighter’s nickname is AA, then the answer is “Yes.” But don’t worry: I would have flown through my TV if that had happened, too.
Slezak: Also making me want to fly through my TV: Hulk Hogan declaring, “Now we’re getting serious because up next are the guys”? Sexist much?
Mandi: Totally sexist. And hello, did he not just watch a female Gladiator take a contestant out of the competition on Power Ball? Laila Ali should have pounded him into the floor mats.
Slezak: Speaking of the women’s competition, what about that doctor, Venus? She worked so hard in med school, and her family came to this country…so she could be on American Gladiators? I wonder if she’s in my HMO plan?
addCredit(“American Gladiators: Trae Patton”)
Mandi: I think people who like to “work out” do enjoy testingthemselves. I wished I could have asked Venus’s parents if herexhausted look at the end of the Eliminator was real or fake. Shelooked like she wasn’t getting enough oxygen to her brain. Which, Iguess, she probably wasn’t.
Slezak: She literally said something about “fruits, vegetables, nuts,and seeds” helping her to defeat the gladiators.
Mandi: Wait, was that her, or the life coach lady?
Slezak: Oh it was the life coach! You’re right.
Mandi: I can’t believe I remember that.
Slezak: She was the lowest-seeded competitor
Mandi: Can we talk about Wolf?
Slezak: She sowed seeds of defeat early in the interview segment!
Mandi: You need to stop that.
Slezak: Sorry. Wolf. Ugh.
Mandi: The howling?
Slezak: The only thing crazier than his howling was that Toa dude (pictured, left), whenhe started speaking in tongues and then making that tongue gesture atpoor little AA.
Mandi: Toa is the Rock’s cousin and majored inpsychology–he’s all about intimidation. I don’t know if AA wasintimidated or just really, really confused. The men are freakin huge,no? Like Titan, who’s a four-time Mr. Universe.
Slezak: I love that you can identify individual gladiators. They alljust kind of morphed into one giant meat sandwich for me. And I onlyuse the term “meat sandwich” because they used it in a commentaryvoiceover.
Mandi: I interviewed them all on the phone. I can’t help it.
Slezak: I accept that.
Mandi: Oh, by the way, Pyramid is a new game, yes? That was cool. I wasexhausted just watching it.
Slezak: I don’t even like to walk up a flight of stairs to the vendingmachine, but I suppose if they had bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper at thetop of the pyramid, I could’ve made it past Toa.
Mandi: Add an autographed photo of Fergie and you might win the whole competition.