American Gladiators: The Next Generation

Snap! That’s right. A balls joke. That’s how I roll. I sent you on the balls-train to balls-town. I’m not ashamed. I usually don’t work blue… BALLS, that is! Double snap! In your face. What’re you gonna do? Nothing.

Over new years we were talking about the new American Gladiators revival power hour, or whatever, and Denise (that’s the girl in the comic, who oddly enough is the first REAL girl to appear in HE) said basically what you see in panel 2 up there. I loved the idea that the cultural ambassadors of late 80’s America to nations far and wide were Nitro, Laser and Diamond. There’s something beautiful about that. I wondered if she feared getting pummeled with sand bags at an American shopping mall or being forced to climb a rope ladder then ride a zip line to get to the bus stop. It would have been 10 times awesome if the audio and video signals got scrambled in the Philippines so that they saw American Gladiators and heard C-Span.

I had NO intention of watching the new American Gladiators until I realized that it had been infused with HULK-A-MANIA. Oh, brother, let me tell you, brother, that Hulk Hogan, brother, is one lumpy pile of orange man parts. He must sleep in a tanning bed for the same reasons Dracula sleeps in a coffin. They are both kept eternally young but develop complexion problems as a result.

A few things stood out from the 20 or so minutes I saw of the episode. First off, there was SO MUCH HULK-A-MANIA, brother! They could have toned it down to a moderate Hulkitiude and I would have been fine. God he freaks me out. You want to peel him, then zest his flesh over a salad. Anyway.

Secondly… TOYOTA FUCKING GIANT SUV-A-MANIA!!! They mentioned their sponsor just a few times. One of the tests was to run across an oil slicked glass bridge while Gladiators threw trucks at you. Everyone died.

Third thing: this guy comes back 14 years after having lost on the original show only to get his ass handed to him by some kid 10 years his junior. It’s SUPER SAD if your biggest regret, the demon that haunts you and prevents you from being a well adjusted person is your American Gladiators failure in 1994. Can you imagine? He lives a decade and a half in the shadow if this wretched event knowing that he can never be given a chance to redeem himself because the show simply no longer exists. 14 freaking years late they announce a new AmGlad (that’s the abbreviation I just made up), and reopen the wound (and offer new opportunities for sucking).

Last thing. Wolfe. Wolfe looks like what would happen if Dog the Bounty Hunter, an actual wolf, the 80’s, a pickup truck and hair had a crazy 5-way hump session that somehow led one of them to crap out a baby (probably the truck). I assume he was found in the woods, rabid and starved, raised by the US Military and kept in cryo-stasis until such a time that he would be needed. That time is obviously now, brother. My favorite part is that his “real” name is Hollywood Yates. “My name is Hollywood, but you can call me Wolfe.” “My name is SuperRockandRoll but you can call me SexFactory.” “My name is RocketLauncherSpeedo but you can call me NinjaTank.” “My name is SharkJetPack but you can call me MotorcycleExplosion.”  I could keep that up for hours.

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  1. Beautiful, just beautiful. Did you also notice that everything is over water or fire now? I’m a little disappointed. I’m athletic in some ways but I couldn’t swim my way out of an overfilled bath tub. Way to crush my dreams, American Gladiators. Also, is it just me or is there a lot more awkwardly-delivered trash talk in this version?

    Favorite gladiator: Hellga. You have to love the name, if only because she sounds like a Dethklok groupie. You know she means business with that extra L, brother. And they even give her braids for authenticity. (Real name: Robin Coleman)

    Also, they’re going to have to do something about the Eliminator, specifically the “Travelator” at the end. Ridiculousness of the name aside, remember how that used to be at the beginning of the course? Yeah, turns out it was because it’s full of fail and public humiliation. The last five minutes of the show is devoted to getting depressed watching contenders try to expend their last fragments of consciousness by repeatedly failing to climb a treadmill. It’s just sad. Maybe it’s because they’re wasting energy doing the barrel roll and the handbike when any normal person would just jump down and run across. That’s what I’d do. But I can’t swim so I’d be dead by that point anyway. C’est la vie.

    • One of the biggest holes in the concept for me is that you can fall off any overhead obstacle and then just keep going on foot. Wha? A well timed fall could allow you to conserve energy and move faster. If I lost to a guy that did that I would call shenanigans.

    • Actually, in some of the seasons of the old show, the treadmill was at the end of the Eliminator (I don’t know if it’s the earlier or later seasons). While I agree that it looks a kabillion times harder in the new version, there was much embarassment to be had in the old versions too when contestants would blow through the course and then stumble for two minutes on the treadmill.

      The Eliminator in the new AG is definitely at least a minute longer than the old one, though. And I think they forgot to oil the handbike because the male competitors used to blaze through that and now barely anyone makes it across!

      @Joel: Great comic. 🙂

      • Thanks, Nicole!

        The best part of the old show for me was when you had to bust through the paper door at the end and it either was clear so you were safe or it housed a poised and angry Gladiator ready to pummel you with a sand bag.

        I also really enjoyed the nerf rocket launcher. As tennis balls are raining from on high the contestant would always grab it with one hand and launch it sideways into the audience. Futility FTW!

  2. I think the new AmGlad (wow that’s catchy) is a bottle of win filled with just the right amount of fantastic and capped with hulk-a-mazing.

    Just a few small changes would make it perfect:

    1) Less talking between rounds. As much as I love cheese it could use a tune down.

    2) The lack of gladiators in the eliminator is disappointing. At very least put one in the pit of the hand bike since it’s faster to just fall and climb the other side.

    3) Get some contestants I actually want to cheer for. So far the marine chick and the firefighter guy were the only two I actually wanted to see succeed, everyone else I want to see fail, horribly.

    Oh and one of the female gladiators is smoking hot. Gina Carano (crush) who is a former MMA fighter. I’d let her (insert sexual innuendo relating to AmGlad here)

    • regarding #2: if they did put one down there, he should just wail on you for falling and NEVER let you climb back up. Thats motivation to NOT fall.

      Let’s see… AmGlad innuendos…. something with a pit, maybe a climbing the mountain thing… jousting lance…. wow, that’s harder than I thought it would be.

  3. I also attempted to watch AmGlad to give my failed childhood another shot. Boy, was I sorry.

    I can stand to watch it for the pure joy of seeing folks getting delivered massive amounts of fail by FailEx, but, Mike up there is right on. The trash talk would be great if it didn’t sound scripted! How fucking annoying was the Life Coach gash that failed so hard in the eliminator? I wanted her to fall into Hellga’s clam like so much venus fly trap and be digested.

  4. Man you got it wrong about the dude waiting 14 years. He was selected to be on the show but hit like 10 years of traffic in LA trying to get to the studios. I don’t even think he realizes the show ever stopped being on. He’s just been trying to get another chance the last 4 years.

    Glad to see American Gladiators back, it was just a bit to 80s watching it on ESPN Classic. I agree with an above poster saying the gladiators should show up in the Eliminator. Maybe they will when they change from Swiss format to the top 8 bracket? And I dont get why anyone even tries the handbike. Have you seen that thing? It’s just to slow down stupid people i think.

    • I dont see why you have the option to do or not do the handbike. If there was a cobblestone path around the entire Eliminatrix, could you just take that instead?

      “No thanks, I’ll avoid the obstacles. They seem hard.”

  5. I loved it! Loved it loved it like kittens in bowls of more kittens.


    After watching Ninja Warrior on G4 (or whatever gaming network) I wish that they were either forced to start over on a failed portion of the Eliminator or be disqualified for doing it wrong (falling off the log roll or the handbike).

    Other than that, seriously, bowl of kittens good.

    • Thats what Im saying. its a flawed System. First off, all of the AmGlad set is padded. No sharp edges to lose an arm on. Ninja Warrior is scaffolding, plywood and Astroturf. When you fall, you fall into shallow muddy water, not 4 feet of foam. When you mess up an obstacle they make you commit ritual suicide. You can just run to the end of keep going.

      Anyone that passed the first stage of Ninja warrior could do every stunt on AmGlad with both arms amputated and a jungle cat tied to their face.

      • What I really want to see, then, are some AmGlad contestants in the vein of the comedians and beauty queens on Ninja Warrior – people who are there for the sole purpose of failing in the most humorously spectacular manner possible.

        Also, the Ninja Warrior tradition of people wearing outfits appropriate for their occupation should find its way over. Seeing the gas station attendant (who has devoted his life to conquering an obstacle course) in his slacks and polo shirt cracks me up for some reason.

        • Though I do love the gas station guy, I REALLY love the guy that refuses to get a job and lost his wife and kids due to his devotion to Ninja Warrior. He’s never even come close to winning. Me and Eli were talking about this one time and realized that there isnt a prize for winning. It’s only happened 3 times and we’re pretty sure you dont get anything but bragging rights. I read the whole Wiki article and it didnt mention anything.

          It was so great when NW had, “Japan’s Strongest Transvesite!” As if that was a title this person had beaten out so many others to win.

  6. Just as a bonus for anyone that cares: Eli knew someone that knew someone that went to stenography school with the chick that played Diamond from the original AmGlad. I just imagined her passing a stenography test then standing up and and flexing, expecting steam to shoot out from a platform beneath her feet.

  7. What I don’t get about the conveyor belt is how it could possibly be so difficult that people have to keep doing it over and over. It has to be there just to completely humiliate you.

    The contestants are so exhausted at the end, I’m just waiting for the episode where one of them busts through the wall, then Hulk comes up to talk to them, and they just start projectile vomiting all over him.

  8. Oh, and btw Joel, I am now regestering the web site That’s just awesome. It’s like the only thing cooler than a tank could be, well, I’ll be horn swaggled, a damn Ninja Motherfucking Tank! Hell Yeah!

  9. Alright, I admit it, when I got to the last panel I actually LOL! Not just in that gay “wrote it but didn’t really do it” way, either. I truly did laugh out loud. I have reverted to “Porky’s” mentality apparently.. (glad to have company, tho!)

    I’ll be sure to let THEM know to double whatever you make doing this!

    • I too reserve my “LOL’s” only for conveying truthful laughs out loud. Admit it, we never left the Porky’s mentality.

      Hmmmm…. double zero…. sounds promising.

  10. There are already a thousand comments to this post, but just to add my two cents:

    “My name is SuperRockandRoll but you can call me SexFactory.” – That make me LMFAO. I tried to tell my wife what I was laughing about, but all I could muster to say out loud was, “My name is hahahahahahahahahahaha!” Yeah, I’m easily amused.

    I think the new AmGlad is really fun. Wolfe is a complete lunatic, but you know what? He’s the only Gladiator who really bridges the gap with the mullet-licious spirit of the 80s show to today’s show so, for that, I applaud his effort.

    Hopefully we’ll see some REAL HULKAMANIA ACTION pretty soon; I’d love for him to do a flying downward clothesline to people just as they’ve used all of their effort to come up the Travelator. “WHATCHA GONNA DO, BROTHER?!”

  11. I just read the entire archive tonight after following a digg link, and have been grinning pretty much the entire night. Then I got to the last paragraph of this comic and just fucking lost it. That’s the funniest thing I’ve read this year.

    • I really appreciate you taking the time to read the whole archive. Thats awesome. Stick around and tell your friends and I will do my best to keep it up.

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