Saturday, January 5, 2008


While tonight was going to be the continuation of Forward, it's been a bit difficult to finish (halfway there) with a lunatic Steelers fan/Army man/brother-in-law jumping at every whistle. Plus, my niece is just too cute to ignore. And this Jacksonville/Pittsburgh game is too good to turn from.

I was wondering something, though.

American Gladiators makes a comeback tomorrow night on NBC. Along with the two-hour 'backdoor' pilot, Knight Rider (with a Ford Mustang, mind you) in February, it seems as if the Peacock wants us all to break out some Hammer-pants and Members' Only jackets for their trip down Memory Lane. Besides a personal dislike for most things related to the 1980s, one curiousity I have about the revamped AG is regarding the Gladiators themselves.

Nitro, Ice, Gemini and Turbo didn't look like you and me. In fact, they didn't look much like the professional athletes we would watch throughout the week (at least we thought). Their physiques were more like the WWF/E wrestlers you saw minutes before on their Superstars show; chisled, oiled up, extremely buff and eerily perfect. As rumors about baseball players using steroids came to light, you just knew that there was more to their workouts than lifting weights. Of course, we didn't think of the Gladiators or the wrestlers as athletes because they weren't playing the sports we knew and loved.

Fast forward to nearly twenty years after the debut of the original series and there is a completely different tone regarding athletic achievement now. Fair or not, there has been obvious witchhunting, speculation and legislative action, making performance enhancers the subject du jour in sports. I'm curious to know from you if you think that the reincarnation of Gladiators will do well in the current landscape. There is the desperation of network television to consider, but can we really watch the show without wondering?

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