January 29, 2008


in class today we got a big helping of american gladiators served to us by 12 god-like figures, not to mention laila and hulk. it is interesting to compare this showcase to the spectacle barthes analyzes in his essay of wrestling. some of the obvious similarities are the over dramatic and showmanship of the fights. for the gladiators, they are welcomed into the arena with laser light shows and fireworks all of which glisten against the silver costumes. this grandeur adds to the feeling and idea of an epic journey is about the take place, like in the greek myths. it is all played to be an act, a show, pure entertainment. as far as the gladiators themselves, they play up a stereotype of some-sort to the max, leaving no room or ambiguity or question to the viewer. this same sentiment was shared by barthes. the 12 larger-than-life charters, in some cases literally, bring to the table exactly what they are supposed to, an energy that makes its way through the challenges to the audience in house and home. as for the contenders, the are your average joe but driven to defy the "gods" of the eliminator. draped in red and blue, heroic colors, and preface with personal vignettes, the home audience can form a relationship with each contender. through this contrived sense of familiarity the viewer is drawn into the story even more.

at the end of the day however, when the contender finally beats that damn ramp, it is all just for show. pure show. the drama let us escape for an hour or so but in so, lets the viewer participate in an age'ol indulgent of theater and entertainment.

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