Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Deadliest Warrior: Rajput vs Roman Centurian


This is about a guilty pleasure which is not actually a guilty pleasure. Which is to say I know some would like me to feel guilty for loving SPIKE's The Deadliest Warrior, but I do not.

For those who don't know what it is:
The show pits historical and contemporary warriors against each other in a virtual battle, man vs man.

They have never met each other in history before. How is this battle judged?

2 experts from each camp choose which weapons of their traditional arsenal they will employ against their foes. With these weapons they attack ballistic dumbies (fake bones and organs wrapped in human flesh-esque jelly), blood filled mannequins and pig carcasses filled with blood naturally and extra bags of blood. The "scientific" results of these faux massacres are recorded by an emergency room surgeon, a military/martial arts expert with a Phd and a computer programmer. The programmer inputs the results of the weapon rounds and other data into a program that will simulate 1000 battles between the warriors. This simulation is strictly math based but the show pretends that the program generates a dramatization style action scene.

Reasons why I love The Deadliest Warrior:
- As seen above, it is great fodder for sketching weapons, armour and other costume elements
- The carnage of the weapon challenges, though often stupid are also educational and a good reference for explosions, swordplay etc.

Reasons why I hate The Deadliest Warrior:
- It always, ALWAYS turns into a pissing contest.

Reasons why I love The Deadliest Warrior, Part2:
- It always, ALWAYS turns into a pissing contest.

I don't get into pissing contests, but there's nothing quite as funny as a pissing contest when you're the spectator. They do some serious trash talking, oblivious to evidence and the fact that they end up looking like total douche-bags.
Now I'm no fool, I know that they are being goaded by producers into lobbing half-formed and dimwitted insults back and forth but that's integral to the final result. It's that license given to them by the facade of the show that allows them to lose themselves in the moment of pride-piercing competition. The guys who aren't used to being assholes stumble over themselves in equal parts, adorable and disappointing ways, and the dicks who come to it naturally get this gorilla god complex and quickly revert to schoolyard mentality. This phenomenon is the sensationally clumsy heart of the show. But back to the stats...

Here's the rundown of the Rajput's weapons:


Khanda
Chakram
Katar - you may remember these as Voldo's weapons from Soul Edge
Aara

I don't care to list the Centurian's weapons. They are just a bit too boring for my tastes. They lack the flare of the Rajput arsenal.

The Rajput won in the end, which pleased me. The most interesting warrior doesn't always win. Apparently the Rajput won due to their proficiency and unpredictability one on one, supposing that the Centurian was only dominant when in their vast units.

Maybe everyone has bailed halfway through this post. I understand. It's can be unnerving to read something so elaborate written about something so inconsequential and tacky. But I love dissecting reality TV and peeling back the layers (which are there). What is the show trying to make you think? What methods are they using to lead you to this conclusion? How are they editing the footage to craft an exaggerated narrative? Where is the line between scripted and spontaneous behaviour? How are they arranging the footage to keep this line ambiguous? Should you care about any of this? No, not likely. But I do and I feel zero (0) guilt about it.

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