Return of the American Gladiators

Over the weekend we attended a taping of the new American Gladiators TV show. 10 years after Gladiators went off the air, this revival version will debut on NBC in early January as a mid-season replacement. The new American Gladiators is hosted by Hulk Hogan and Laila Ali, Mohammad Ali's daughter, and tapes at Sony Studios in nearby Culver City.

It was fun being in the audience, but we literally waited for four hours for the taping to finally begin. First we were in a line outside the gate, then in a cold soundstage left to sit on the cement floor for over an hour and then finally in the studio for another hour or so. On our way to the seats I got to hold one of those big qtip looking jousting sticks that I remember from the original series. I can't say I ever really watched a whole episode though, I was more of a Nickelodeon Guts fan, but I do remember an episode of Ellen where she competes.

Anyway, the waiting was annoying but the sets were very impressive, we could see a big rock climbing wall, the Hang Tough set and a big mountain and track in the distance. The audience warm up guy kept going around giving out prizes to those with short, funny and clean jokes. After an hour of listening to "Your Mamma" jokes and staring at an empty set, I couldn't take it any longer. A girl can't survive on free gronola bars alone after all. So, I raised my hand and said that I had a joke. He had me stand up and say where I was from and then asked what my joke was. I responded, "What do you call a show that never starts?" Everyone laughed and he was half way through repeating my question when he called me a smart alec and let me pick a prize out of his bag. Unfortunately I picked a cheesey $1 DVD called The Magic Horse.

The event we watched was called "Hit & Run," where contestants have to run across a clear wobbly bridge above a pool and ring the buzzer on each side as many times as they can while ducking and dodging medicine balls being swung at them by the gladiators. We stayed to watch three contestants participate, two male and one female. None of the three fell in the water, but they did slide on their stomachs in an effort to miss the balls. Gladiators Titan and Helga were my favorite since they looked the most impressive. And although the events and set has been updated, the outfits have not, lol.

I was looking forward to seeing The Hulk, but only Ali's daughter emced this segment, she of course is cool, too, though.

The bulked-up hulks on American Gladiator meanwhile are hardly close to the Famous Gladiators of times past. Pop in a gladiator DVD into one of your DVD players and see what real heroes looked like. They look even better up close on high definition LCD TVs.
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