Monday, October 01, 2007

Gladiators, Ready

As I kid I remember watching American Gladiators, and even at the age of 12 I knew it was really cheesy. However, it was an effective way of distracting myself from the Saturday morning chore of cleaning my room. Recently I've watched a few reruns on ESPN Classic and it's just as I remember it. Although, in today's win-at-all-cost sports culture, including steroid allegations in the WWE, I can't help but wonder if Nitro or Turbo or any of the testosterwomen weren't using a little something extra to bulk up. Another thought I had based on the recent state of things was that if American Gladiators was on today it would have a bigger stage. I'm talking prime time television presented in HD with a semi-famous, charismatic host. Apparently somebody in a position of authority at NBC was thinking the same thing because tryouts are being held for a big budget prime time version of American Gladiators. The casting call is great because it makes it clear that any potential contenders or gladiators must bring their own shoes, towel and water as those items will not be provided (Come on! They couldn't even provide water?). Hopefuls must be "big, bad, and athletic" with the "heart, skills, and desire to compete." While strength, speed, balance and agility are important, so are how well you get along with roommates, the newspapers you read, the topics you consider off limits at dinner parties, and what you would do with your three wishes if you were Aladdin (all questions from the 27-page application).

It will be interesting to see if America is willing to embrace one more reality TV show. In today's homogenized entertainment industry, riding the trend wave is all about getting the formula right and when you break it all down, it appears the new American Gladiators is trying to follow the often-used classic formula:

 Deal or No Deal
+WWE Smackdown
+Fear Factor
-  Eating maggot-filled cow intestines

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