With the Presidential speechifying over tonight it was time for American Gladiators (unless you live in a different part of the country than I and saw Gladiators first). I could only hope that the bloodshed here would be far more red than anything our politicians dole out. It never actually gets that serious on Gladiators, I know it doesn’t, but I always hope it will.

The women got us started tonight playing Power Ball. Kim (a former Knicks cheerleader) was up against Toni (a high school athletic director), who was actually on the original Gladiators (making her oldish). The Gladiators were all over both Toni and Kim during the event. Kim somehow managed to pick up four points, but not before both women were repeatedly knocked to the ground (sadly, no blood).

The rest of the women’s events were pretty mundane.  Up next for they played Joust. Siren barely put up any sort of fight, allowing Toni to knock her into the water and Kim to knock her down to both knees (an automatic loss). The third event on the women’s side was Hang Tough. Toni missed a couple of rings, got stuck in the middle, but didn’t fall off, getting five points. Kim had no such luck, hitting the water and picking up a big old goose egg. In the final event before the Eliminator, the women played Assault. Toni got four points as did Kim, making the score 19 to 18.

Toni had a mere half-second head start in the Eliminator, making it barely worth mentioning. What was far more important though was the fact that Kim couldn’t make it to the top of the wall until Tony was ready to go down the zip line. I guess in the end it made no difference because despite her best efforts, Toni’s time wasn’t good enough to make it to the next round. She came awfully close, but that only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

The men also started off with Power Ball. Alex (a history teacher and wrestling coach) was pitted against Mark (a chiropractor). Mark’s little bio was full of smack-talk, and not the worthwhile kind. He was instantly on my bad side… and then he played Power Ball. He absolutely refused to go near any of the gladiators, taking jump shots any time a gladiator came close. How did they find this guy? Surely people are made to participate in practice events before coming on the show. Did he suddenly get stage fright? For a guy that instantly rubbed me the wrong way, Mark was doing his best to make the situation worse. He managed to score four points with his jump shots, but Alex, who actually played the game, put up six.

The second event for the men was Earthquake. Alex, the wrestling coach, hung on as long as he could before Militia knocked him over the edge. On his turn, Mark took Militia down in about six seconds before opening his mouth and one again inspiring my ire. The men’s next event was Hang Tough. Wolf barely touched Alex on Alex’s way to 10 points, but Wolf wasn’t going to lose twice and he pulled Mike into the drink, smack-talking Mark the whole way down (goose meet gander). The men’s final pre-Eliminator event was the ever-boring and completely foolish Hit and Run. Alex showed the producers just how silly the event is, picking up an easy 14 points and almost doubling his previous total score. Mark again appeared worried about hurting himself, tiptoeing across the bridge for 8. Seriously, can we get rid of Hit and Run for next season? Maybe the contestants could do something slightly more physical, like take a math test. In any case, Mark had 22 total points and Alex 30 going to the Eliminator.

Between Alex’s four second head start and my urging him on with every ounce of strength in my body, I felt confident he would win. Mark never caught up to Alex, it looked like he might right up until Mike got on the hand bike, but he didn’t. Alex, except for one small fall at the very top of Travelator, flew through the event, making it into the next round and sending Molivann home. More importantly though, I won’t have to see Mark again and really, that’s what it’s all about.

Next week, round two of Gladiators starts. Hopefully the producers have something new up their sleeves to keep the whole thing interesting. And, failing that, maybe they’ll just get rid of the weak events. I’m all for eliminating Hit and Run. Any other votes for events you’d like to never see again?

Okay, sure, sure, it was a great episode – Mark lost and I didn’t fall asleep during it like I did the State of the Union, but where was Crush? She, and you, are always welcome to come visit me at The TV and Film Guy’s Reviews.

Posted by:Josh Lasser