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My roommate and I have a running joke at the moment. Whenever we see a TV commercial for a new (obviously half-baked) reality show, we pause and say, "Goddamn you, writers' strike." TV was already loaded to the gunwales with horrendous cheaper-than-original-scripted-programming reality shows. But even my jaded ass was horrified to see that the cupboard of ideas is so unbelievably bare that NBC brought back American Gladiators. American Fucking Gladiators. Again.

I make one basic assumption about media – if something (music, movie, TV, whatever) struck me as abysmal and puerile when I was 9 years old, it is very, very unlikely that it will strike me as less so as an adult. This is not an exception. But I'm sure this will be as popular as the original. Which makes me wonder – what's wrong with me? What's wrong with any of us? I have a hard time believing I am of the same species as people who like this – and most of America seems to do so.

I must reeeeally be out of touch. How anyone can watch these HGH-sweating mongoloid retards hitting each other with plastic sticks – and like it – is simply beyond me. Half a minute of it is enough to put me down on my knees, praying to an assortment of deities that a comet will strike the Earth and wipe out humanity. We have clearly failed and need to hit the reset button.

See? My reaction is atypical. I'm a bad American.

I'd like to identify the exact point of divergence at which I parted ways with my WWF/American Gladiators-loving countrymen. In my more cynical moments (i.e., when I am awake) I wonder if that moment was when I learned how to read.

Goddamn you, writers' strike.

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12 Responses to “SO IT HAS COME TO THIS – AGAIN”

  1. J. Dryden Says:

    The writers' strike has hurt us all, Ed, but consider what they were doing when they *weren't* on strike. Sure, non-scripted TV sucks–though I admit to a perverse adoration of COPS–but is scripted TV that much better, most of it? And if the strike means that fewer movies get made, that's probably a good thing too–while I have the exact same problem as you with AMERICAN GLADIATORS, I'll gladly take that show over, say, MEET THE SPARTANS. Now *there's* a cultural phenomenon I am completely not a part of: that whole "It's not a Wayans Brothers' Movie, but we'll try to make it just as inconceivably sh*tty" generation of movies that 'satirize' movies that don't take themselves seriously to begin with, and therefore render 'satire' unnecessary and moronic.

    I watched *one* of those movies, *once*, on cable, and seriously, if the closing credits had been the video from THE RING, I would have welcomed that scary girl coming to kill me with open arms and a smile. Sweet merciful Lord–who clearly does not exist, since He allows such abortions to live–there are people who find those films funny. Genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny. Now, like you, I don't wish to be a bad American; I know I shouldn't judge, or preach, or judge in a preachy way, or condescend, but you know what? F*CK. THAT. These are terrible movies, and they are terrible people for having made them for equally terrible people who enjoy them, and if a comet DOES come and wipe us all off the f*cking planet, we will have deserved it richly for allowing such people and their MINDLESS appetite for toxic swill to live among us, breed, and vote.

    (Never let it be said that No Politics Friday ™ equals No Hyperbole Friday.)

  2. warmbowski Says:

    I hear there's a giant space goat on it's way to destroy the earth. We need to start building getaway ships and load them full of our most important people – Politicians, Lawyers and Phone Sanitizers (as well as TV Reality show stars, and TV show writers). These people are far too important and should be saved now! The future of our civilization depends on it!

    We'll start building ships for the rest of us when they are safely on their way.

    Pass it on! ;)

  3. Scott Says:

    I don't know. I'm personally pretty excited about "America's Next Top Pirate," "Are You Stronger than a Dog?" and "MILF Island."

  4. Joe Says:

    It was a bummer when people I respected were excited for American Gladiators to return, even if 'ironically'

    My roommate forced me to watch "Moment of truth" (which I highly do not recommend as I've been more entertained passed out) and then she made me hold a candlelight vigil for heath ledger who I've never met in person. Then we killed an Iraqi

  5. BK Says:

    Ed – you'd only be a bad American if you had hoped for Osama Bin Laden to raise up another round of attacks.

    Luckily, there are shows like '24' which show us all what the war on terror looks like and what a hero does.

    Wait… you mean 24 has been off the air for a while now??

    I should probably watch more tv so my stinging cynicism can be more culturally acurate and timely.

  6. Jude Says:

    something called "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann" came across my tv the other night on ABC…

    Fucking what?

  7. Heqit Says:

    Take heart, man, at least somewhat: you're not THAT atypical for hating American Gladiator. (Gladiators? Whatever it's called.) The people who hate it along with you just don't have massive marketing campaigns aimed at them (us), that's all.

    Lest that sound to optimistic, I am convinced that we are slowly ceasing to be a literate society…not that we were one for that long.

  8. BK Says:

    Please clarify – did you mean we were not a society for long, literate for long, or both?

  9. Chris Says:

    It pains me to say it, but I think most of Americans aren't that bright. They also don't think outside the box too often, are extremely wasteful, and really only care about money. It really is both astonishing and depressing that people enjoy watching American Gladiators, Professional Wrestling, and NASCAR. It is hard to believe people enjoy this excrement and are dumb enough to like it.

    I wish Americans had more culture and "read stuff" like other societies do (Europe, especially). I think America would improve a lot if people picked up a book every now and again. People would see different perspectives and learn new ideas. I have noticed that most Americans either can't read or don't want to.

  10. Woof Says:

    There are some really great shows on/that have been on TV. American Gladiators is not one of them, obviously. My parents love that reality show crap: The Bachelor, American Idol, Rock of Love 6 or whatever. It's so embarrassing. I think the real question is, which is worse….game shows or reality television?

  11. Rick Says:

    You know what I don't get? My parents love that midget show on Discovery. Little People, Big World? I think? A reality show about midgets. Really. Networks are scraping the barrels with exactos when it comes to this shit.

  12. erik Says:

    Tonight we have the distinct pleasure of watching American Gladiators followed immediately by the State of the Union on NBC. Now there is some must see TV.