Let's establish one thing here and now: The new American Gladiators show is the greatest thing that has ever happened to humankind. Yes, even better than handjobs. Perhaps it's because this seemingly endless writers' strike has turned the TV landscape into a bleak, colorless desert of abject misery... or perhaps it's just because American Gladiators is a super-duper awesome example of people getting their heads beat in by steroid-addled goons with NERF-tipped weapons. Regardless? I LOVE IT!!

And my love doesn't emanate from some retarded sense of nostalgia, either. I hated the original Gladiators, which debuted way back in 1989—probably because the show seemed like just another WWE rip-off, and it conflicted with my "guzzling liquor and popping goofballs" time. But now? I've seen just enough crazy Japanese game-show competitions to really appreciate Gladiators and its cast of hilarious muscle-bound cartoon characters wailing on everyday fitness freaks.

For those who have never experienced the glories of Gladiators, here's how it works: 24 buffed-out civilians (12 men, 12 women), clad in spandex jumpers, compete in a series of ridiculous physical challenges against the show's cast of "gladiators"—each of whom is built like a brick poop house, and given a hilariously dumb name. My favorites are "Hellga," a pig-tailed Aryan hottie with a body like a tank, and "Wolf," a hairy hunk of meat loaf who is seemingly capable of only one response: "Ahhhh-ROOOOOOO!" (Think "Teen Wolf," except with muscles and without Parkinson's.)

And the competitions? OMG! They're a heart attack waiting to happen! In "Pyramid," the contestants must climb a 30-foot squishy pyramid and try not to die when "Wolf" throws them down on their necks. "Ahhhh-ROOOOOO!" In "Joust," the competitors balance on tiny platforms 50 feet above a water tank, while Wolf beats them to death with an oversized Q-Tip. "Ahhhh-ROOOOOO!" Then there's "The Eliminator," where the contestants must climb a wall, dive into a pool, swim underneath flames, climb a 30-foot cargo net, hold on to a rolling log, destroy their shoulder sockets on the "hand bike," traverse a balance beam, scale the aforementioned pyramid, fly down a zip line, climb a grueling reverse treadmill, and then crash through a wall. (Where Wolf is waiting to stab them in the neck with a broken beer bottle. "Ahhhh-ROOOOOO!" Just kidding... but I wish I weren't. "Ahhhh-ROOOOOO!")

At the end of the show, two of the contestants either go home (or to the hospital) while the winning pair of contestants move on to the semifinals. After weeks of spinal-cord-injuring shows, only one competitor ultimately receives $100,000, a car, and the chance to become an American Gladiator (or a quadriplegic... whichever comes first).

The only problem with this awesome show? The brain-damaged commentary from hosts Hulk Hogan and boxer Laila Ali—but that's nothing a little TiVo fast-forwarding can't fix! So check out Gladiators every Monday night on NBC at 8:00 p.m., and don't miss a second of the neck-snapping fun! (By the way, I wonder if Wolf is available for any freelance work? There's a meter maid currently ticketing my car who needs a little "Ahhh-ROOOOOO!") recommended