After twelve long years, American Gladiators returned to TV last night. It was far too epic to be covered by just one man, so this morning I sat down with Dan Gurewitch, Sarah Schneider and Patrick Cassels to discuss Hulk Hogan and his army of spandex-clad beasts.

Jeff:
Well, was it worth the wait?

Dan
: I think new gladiator Toa expressed the passion borne from years of absence the best when he said "Oota bata oota zuga numa bata yama zuga boota botta yama zata fukka."

Jeff: Fifteen minutes in I thought Hellga was a front runner for future Surreal Life participant, but after watching two hours I'm almost positive it's going to be Wolf.

Sarah
: Was anyone else completely disappointed by Hellga's performance?

Dan: She could talk the talk, but she couldn't large foam square the large foam square.

Sarah
: It just goes to show you: gladiators should never wear skirts.

Dan: I think Sarah wants to talk about Titan. I say this because her legs are quivering.

Sarah: My blonde Gaston? He's a real-life Disney prince. Everytime he looked at the camera and flexed, I melted a little inside.

Jeff: Titan is so smug. He's like a character Conan O'Brian slips into for 10 second spurts.

Patrick: Unlike the rest of the Gladiators, who are nothing but humility.

Sarah: He can't help it, it's his chiseled jaw's fault.

Sarah: Old-man Jeff, a wannabe contestant 14 years ago, was probably the most memorable of all the contestants. His first run down the gauntlet was insane.

Dan: "You can't punch the gladiators! You can't punch the gladiators!"

Sarah
: 'NO HANDS! NO HANDS!' That guy was out for gladiator blood.

Patrick: It was pretty apparent Jeff wasn't going the distance when we learned he missed his original Gladiators try-out because he got "stuck in traffic." How's he going to conquer half-a-dozen 'roid-raging bodybuilders when he can't conquer the morning rush on the 405?

Patrick: "There's daddy, sweetheart. Say 'mid-life crisis' for mommy."

Jeff: I kept wanting him to say, "I ran the gauntlet 14 years ago against Gemini! You, sir, are no Gemini!"

Dan
: Remember when he cried? The world's first American Sadiator.

Jeff
: In Jeff's defense, the producers were promised his first-born son if he lost in the eliminator. The baby, now renamed Painkiller, begins a life of Gladiator training tomorrow. Jeff should be honored.

Dan: Did you notice that when they cut over to his family, his wife was sitting with an attorney filing divorce papers?

Jeff: How about Chad, the pro skateboarder? After he started losing 428-6, I kept hoping they would show his son in the stands, crying.

Dan
: In all fairness to Chad, he thought he was showing up for "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"

Sarah
: You mean 'Skate Dad Chad.'

Patrick: The last thing pro skateboarders need is another reason for people to make fun of them.

Jeff
: I can't believe they don't let Hulk Hogan call the events. Is it that hard to do color commentary on Power Ball? Was Mick Foley unavailable?

Sarah: 100% agreed. Who is announcing this thing?

Dan: The disembodied voice was actually just Hulk Hogan after a massage.

Jeff
: Whoever was calling it was completely anonymous and generic. It sounded like the announcer in a Playstation 1 baseball game. "A big hit from… THE RED PLAYER… to… CRUSH!"

Jeff
: Pyramid fucking rules. It's a better sport than basketball. And I'm pretty sure they lifted Hit and Run, the brand new swinging balls event, from MXC.

Dan
: I call that event Testicle Mayhem.

Jeff: Earthquake was so-so. I was hoping the neck braces were explosive. You know, in case a gladiator tries to escape. Unfortunately, they seemed to be there for safety.

Sarah
: I personally was disappointed by the return of Assault. I like how during Moley's run, he abandoned the arrow in the sand because he 'needed to get going.' It probably would have gone over better if they explained the rules to him before he started.

Dan: Or even better, just how bows and arrows work.

Jeff: Hulk Hogan was right, this really isn't my grandma's American Gladiators. Would you rather have a Pyramid room in your house, or an assault gun on your porch?

Dan: Flaming pool in my backyard.

Jeff
: I don't see what the big deal with that is. It's not like they are going to set themselves on fire in a pool.

Sarah
: Thats what you think, and then Bonnie the marine goes and breaks her head open on it.

Patrick: Two years fighting in Iraq, and what finally takes her out? Some left over props from the Double Dare obstacle course.

Jeff
: Did anyone else not realize this was two hours long when they started watching? Even with DVR, that's like a movie's worth of American Gladiators, and it's on again tonight.

Sarah: I thought the entire second hour was going to be that first girl still struggling to get up the rope at the end of the eliminator. I fully expected her to still be there when the guys took their turn through.

Dan
: I have never seen a contestant in any sort of televised competition give up with such flair. She was lying there like Uma Thurman from Kill Bill had exploded her heart.

Jeff
: I don't want to keep comparing it to the old show, but thing I'm happiest they kept? "Gladiators READDDDDDDY?" Thing I'm mad they lost – the theme song. They had the perfect theme song, I don't know why they thought they needed to change it.

Sarah: I'm happy they actually gave the girls bad-ass names this time. None of this "Lace" bullshit.

Dan
: That's true, it was updated for 2008. Though I do miss Glass Ceiling – she was so good at the Joust. And how about the contestants' repeated, pre-planned statements relating their occupation to their performance? "Hulk, I'm a pediatric nurse, so today, I'm going to prescribe an antibiotic for Victory." Somebody's crossing picket lines to write that hot pile of trash.

Jeff
: Mayhem burst through the picket line like it was a wall of carefully assembled cubes and injured 10 writers.

Sarah: I think Hulk Hogan is not only hosting, but writing the jokes as well. By the way, try and picture Hulk Hogan whispering. You can't do it.

Dan: Strangely enough that's not because Hulk doesn't whisper, but because he's so strong he will not allow himself to appear in other people's imaginations.

Jeff: Overall it really wasn't as bad as I expected. The reality elements were kept to a minimum, though I certainly won't be tuning in weekly.

Dan: While we've been talking I looked up a translation of "Oota bata oota zuga numa bata yama zuga boota botta yama zata fukka." It means "I find the dramatic irony in the denouement of Jane Eyre to be quite forced, especially for a bildungsroman of its time."

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