'American Gladiators': Strong man, hollow words

Glad Tonight American Gladiators featured pain. Some people on the show felt it, and I, sitting at home, certainly felt it (though for a different reason). The contestant pain we'll get to, but my pain can't wait. My pain has a name and it is Titan. Ah, Titan. Tonight the pretty boy gladiator proved why he should at most be seen and never be heard. Every time he opened his mouth I cringed. Literally. Read on and you'll find out all about it.

Up first tonight, the men played Powerball. Former troublemaker and current teacher Sharaud played against a mate on a fishing boat, Adam (he's apparently known as the "Hebrew Hammer," though I thought of him more as a Gilligan). Sharaud said that his mother is the strongest person he knows (one wonders why she didn't play in his stead). Almost halfway through the session of Powerball, Adam got slammed by Mayhem. He had already picked up two points during the round, but pretty much lay on the ground for the rest of it. Sharaud, who played the full round and had to contend with all three gladiators after Adam went down, also picked up two points.

The saddest part of it all was Titan. Our resident gladiator pretty boy issued hollow-sounding words of encouragement to his fallen enemy once the battle was over. I'm not against good sportsmanship, I like good sportsmanship, I encourage good sportsmanship, but this didn't feel like good sportsmanship. It felt like Titan didn't mean much of what he said, especially the bit where he said that Adam had done well and was a strong competitor. After all, Adam had only sunk one ball and only played the game for about 30 seconds. Adam may have turned out to be a great opponent, but he wasn't up until the point he got injured.

Adam was unable to continue playing, which may have been better for him as Andy, a youth minister who wanted to use American Gladiators to spread Christianity, got clobbered by Titan in Joust. Now, how is it that a Christian youth minister took over for the Hebrew Hammer? Is Gladiators trying to tell us something about their religious point of view or was this just dumb luck? But I digress, Sharaud was able to take out Titan during his turn for the full 10 points. Titan then came up to Sharaud as the Hulkster was interviewing him and congratulated his opponent. Titan issued more hollow sounding words about the great competitor, yada, yada, yada. Is Titan just after time in front of the camera? It definitely seems like it.

During Hit and Run, Sharaud and Andy both put up 8 points. Andy forgot to use the smokescreen during Assault and ended up with three points, which was still better than Sharaud's big old one point. Sharaud turned the cannon in the wrong direction, losing the shield and making himself into an easy target for Justice. Did neither contestant look into how the game works? Were they not briefed by the producers on how to play?

Either way, Sharaud had a four second head start during the Eliminator. Sharaud lost his lead during the underwater swim (how is it that people come on the show who can't swim?). Andy continued to extend his lead as Sharaud practically crawled home, and Andy finished with the fastest time in the Eliminator thus far. I guess we'll be seeing him in the next round.

The women also played Powerball for their first event. It was Belinda, a professional bull rider, against Monica, a fitness model and mother of twins (I think she ought to have automatically advanced to the next round based solely on that). They did moderately better than the men, with Belinda picking up four points to Monica's six.

During her turn in Joust, Belinda seemed unaware of the rules. She stepped across to Venom's platform, pushed the gladiator into the water, and celebrated like she had won. Apparently brains are not a requirement to be a contestant. On her turn, Monica did better, pounding Venom into the water. Monica picked up a mere one point in Assault, while Belinda managed to get the bulls-eye on her second shot, launching Hellga, in awesome fashion, into the water for 10 points. During Pyramid, Stealth once again showed herself to be the weak gladiator link, as Monica had little difficulty in making it past Stealth and to the top for 10 points, while Belinda came up empty and started tearing up during the post-round interview.

Monica had a sizable six and a half second head start during the Eliminator. It was plenty of time. In fact, Monica didn't seem to have any difficulties with the event at all. The Eliminator doesn't seem like the most difficult thing in the world, but other contestants have had huge problems with it. Certainly Belinda didn't have the easiest time with it, though once a contestant wins the event, it seems like the other one doesn't run full tilt anymore. It makes it awfully hard to judge just how far behind Belinda was tonight, but it is safe to say that she wasn't very close.

My thoughts and a couple of questions:

  • I know that we're still early in the competition, but I'm concerned about the fact that there's really no one here that I'd want to be a gladiator next season. I don't think the winner is guaranteed a spot as a gladiator in the second season (which will be happening), but they get the opportunity to maybe be a gladiator (the wording of it is vague). I just don't know that I want to see any of these guys again.
  • What about you, is there anyone out there thus far who you think ought to be a gladiator next season? If I had to choose, I like Monica best to this point.
  • Is there anyone out there who is a gladiator now that you think should be given the boot? I think you all know who I would choose here.

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