‘American Gladiators’ is the best game show concept of all time. Let’s take four normal sized human beings and lure them into physical combat with Herculian brutes by offering them slightly above average prizes and gifts. It’s like a televised Odysseus versus Polyphemus with outrageous Madonna hair and more Larry Csonka commentary. Unfortunately, ‘American Gladiators’ died young along with Pogs and snap bracelets, unable to conform to the changing economic landscape.

Thankfully for hand to hand combat hungry nostalgia fans, ‘ESPN Classic’ has begun televising reruns of the long cancelled game show. Each weeknight, the sports network will deliver an episode at 7 PM, 9 AM on the weekends. What’s better than seven weekly showings of ‘American Gladiators?’ Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

There’s really only been two issues that I ever had with the Mike Adamle hosted program. Firstly, the joust is the most painful blue ball of all time. I would get so excited every time, waiting for Gemini to reach back and swing the foamy mallet at about eighty miles an hour. Sadly, this never happened. The gladiator and contestant would just poke and prod at each other like two teenagers fooling around for the first time. It was slow developing and painful to watch.

Secondly, and possibly the most infuriating was Malibu. Tiny Tim was probably faster and more coordinated than this oaf. Standing at about six foot four and capable of eating overweight babies, Malibu should have been more intimidating than a Yeti, but shockingly, he couldn’t tackle his way out of a jerk circle of emo kids. In a great stroke of luck, Malibu was injured during the first season after getting kicked in the face in an unfortunate ‘Human Cannonball’ injury. Who would have seen that one coming?

I know where I’ll be at seven tonight. After all, somebody needs to laugh at the poor schmucks blocking tennis balls off their throats in ‘Assault.’

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