Love/Hate: American Gladiator Style

As a kid I totally loved watching the American Gladiators. I was excited to see that it was coming back on after 14 years off the air. Excited for a couple reasons. I knew it was going to be fun to watch with my son. He’s fairly close to the age I was when the show was on originally and I knew the show would be right up his alley. I wasn’t wrong. We watched every episode of the first season together. We cheered, rooted and booed the contestants and gladiators every Tuesday afternoon (Tivo’d from the night before).

Last night was the first episode of the second season. For some reason, instead of waiting until this evening to watch the show with my son, my wife and I watched it. They have a few new events, a revamped “Eliminator” course that’s tougher than last season and a few new gladiators, including last year’s American Gladiator winners.

As we started watching the show, a few things started annoying me. First off, as they introduce the new contestants, at least one of the female competitors cries during their intro interview. Do all women immediately start to cry when they say the words, “I was a single mother?” Then, before each event Hulk Hogan and/or Laila Ali ask the contestants how they are going to take on the next challenge. Their answers are always an uncomfortable mix of forced-excitement and bad clich├ęs. To be fair, the voice-over guy does have a few amusing lines from time to time, but they are the exception.

My wife put it best when she said, “I’d enjoy watching this so much more if we put it on mute.” So, we tried it. She was right. It was far more enjoyable to watch the show with no sound.

I’m going to go back to waiting for Tuesday’s to watch the show with my son. Hopefully his enjoyment of the show will spill over and cover for the parts of the show that irk me.