So here we are. 2015, and I’m writing another installment to “BattleBots Update”, a column I last contributed to in 2008 on a website that has long since given up the ghost; seven years since my last article, and thirteen years since the last televised episode of BattleBots. I’ve gotta be honest with you, I never thought I’d be dusting off this project.
As hopeful as I was that BattleBots would make its comeback, that hope slowly waned over the years. The BattleBots magazine never made it to its fourth issue, the BattleBots console game was cancelled, and the sport of robot combat itself seemed to slowly fade into obscurity.
Then, out of left field, ABC shows up and casually mentions that they’ve greenlit BattleBots for a reboot. Cue me at my desk at work seconds later frantically buying www.battlebotsupdate.com and calling up the fragmented members of Twilight Foundry Robotics to let them all know we’re back in business. Thirteen years is a hell of a long time; hell, thirteen years ago I was still in public school dodging glances at school dances. If they’re back. we’re back.
BattleBots, welcome home.
This column was formerly a weekly spot where the website I was a writer for would post a legacy episode of BattleBots on Saturday and on Sunday I’d show up and be a snarky piece of trash. That’s what we’re doing here; be patient with me, though, these parts haven’t moved in a while and might be a bit rusty.
ECHOES OF COMEDY CENTRAL
BattleBots starts out with copter shots of San Francisco. For the first few seconds, it’s exactly like the original series from Comedy Central. Then, we get introduced to the first of literally like four or five hosts that this show has. Rather than let the commentators carry the entire show, ABC went all in and gave BattleBots the American Idol treatment because money. I’m in the minority on this one, but I feel like BattleBots eventually failed in the past in part due to the producers’ giving Carmen Electra’s breasts and Carmen Electra more and more screen time. ABC? Fuck it, let’s just cut straight to the pretty lady. She introduces the Giant Nut, presented on what I can only describe as the table Doctor Claw would keep his dildos on.
Our commentators for this season of BattleBots are two gentlemen who look identical to me. I swear, if the one on the left didn’t have facial hair I’d think they just hired Randy & Jason Sklar again. It looks like overall not much has changed since the old days. Fights still end by knock out or go to a judge’s decision, and the judges still measure the same criteria. The famous BattleBots hazards are back in full effect, too; the Killsaws are here, the Pulverizers are here, the Ramrods and pistons have been combined into one super hazard, and the screws are back because hey why the hell not ABC’s footing the bill for this.
The pits don’t look as chaotic as they did in seasons passed, but that’s probably because there’s only a couple dozen or so teams at this event instead of hundreds of robots like there was in season five. Oh yeah there’s also a couple of people saying things while this is going on but the only thing I’m processing is the douchebag hair. The pit people seem likable enough I guess, at least neither of them are Brad Wollack whom I’ve just Googled for the first time (literally, the first time) and found out that he’s important enough to have a verified Twitter account but not a Wikipedia page. You win some, you lose some.
I see a lot of myself in Marc DeVidts, builder and driver of Icewave. Back in 2002 I too was building robots from things just laying around; it was a fun thing that I could do with my dad and we had been building robots together for a few years by that point. Seeing the home movies of Marc driving his test bot around kinda hit me right in the feels, it was strange. Aw shit, they’re going to say something to make me not like this guy aren’t they?
Marc DeVidts is the founder of Double Robotics and the inventor of Telepresence, a remote controlled robot that can literally be described as “an iPod on a stick”. My only knowledge of this invention is that is was used by some Bitcoin asshole who was denied entry into the United States so he used one of these things to “attend” Bitcoin conventions. Not a good first impression. The Telepresence thing is this robot that lets you telecommute to work as a fucking sign with wheels so you don’t miss meetings or whatever, because business is literally that important that if you’re sick or out of town or god forbid on vacation you can still be dragged back into your bullshit desk job to talk about stocks or numbers or whatever. The only people who like this invention are the CEO’s and VP’s that use the goddamned things because I can guarantee nobody else appreciates DeVidts letting their managers micromanage their jobs from their fucking six bedroom home.
Asshole Skype aside, Marc’s heart is in the right place with Icewave; he wants his robot to inspire young budding engineers to be fearless in what they do and tell them that they aren’t too young to get into robot combat. I can’t fault you for that, Marc. You’re okay in my book, but the second my boss gets one of those robots it’ll be your head on that fucking stick instead of the iPad.
RAZORBACK vs. ICEWAVE
Machinewerx (Wellington, CO)
Weapon: Lifting arm
Builder Zach Bieber formerly competed with middleweight El Diablo.
Team Icewave (Sunnyvale, CA)
Weapon: Gas-powered spinning blade
Icewave’s weapon is powered by a 15 HP engine from a fireman’s saw.
The last time we saw Zach Bieber in BattleBots he was sporting a goofy(er) goatee, his robots were all devil-themed, and he and his girlfriend dressed like the Columbine shooters. Yes, Bieber is the builder of legacy favorite El Diablo, and yes that was a Columbine joke in the first sentence of actual BattleBots Update fight coverage in seven years; it only goes downhill from here, folks. Bieber’s toned his act down quite a bit since the early days but his engineering skill has only gotten better. After BattleBots, he built robots for military operations and I can tell because Razorback looks like a tank. He still has the goatee, though. It’s also worth pointing out Razorback is sporting a wedge attachment for this battle because its opponent is beyond terrifying.
Icewave is not a new robot; it has been refined over the years as a former post-BattleBots middleweight contender in officially sanctioned Robot Fighting League events. Though its design has stayed mostly the same over the course of the past decade, the real improvements have been focused to its weaponry. The “Ice” in “Icewave” isn’t a reference to water below 32 degrees, it’s “Ice” as in I.C.E. — Internal Combustion Engine. Gasoline-powered weapons are notoriously fickle and a single stall can kill your weapon for the rest of the fight, but that’s the risk you take when you factor in the raw power exhumed by burning dead dinosaurs. Icewave’s weapon is nothing to fuck with, just ask Icewave itself; at the NPC Charity Open in 2004 Icewave spun its weapon up, barely tapped its opponent, and literally exploded.
There’s only one way to come at Icewave, and Razorback knows that. You gotta take it on the chin and pray that their engine stalls, and to do that Razorback promptly floors it across the arena and smashes its face into Icewave. As mentioned earlier, Razorback’s builder moved on to building military robots after BattleBots and it shows, Razorback takes hit after hit from Icewave’s spinning blade without too much trouble save for a few visible pock marks. Then, Razorback’s face comes off. Razorback immediately flees because the world isn’t ready to see him yet and he’s not supposed to leave the bell tower and then at the end of the movie the hot chick doesn’t date him anyways and he’s still a creep who talks to gargoyles and has a giant lump on his back.
Hang on, I recorded this on the same VHS tape that The Hunchback of Notre Dame was on.
Icewave’s driver screams “HOLY SHIT” when Razorback’s wedge flies off and hits the arena wall, and Not Bil Dwyer (I haven’t learned the hosts’ names yet) comments that Razorback has been reduced to a push bot, “like a wedge”. This is who they hired to do the commentary. Icewave smashes Razorback one more time and fucks up its front right wheel, reducing Razorback to only pirouettes. The hosts haven’t seemed to notice that one of Razorback’s wheels is literally diagonal so they keep up with the hopeful wishes of Razorback making a come back being something that could happen in this universe. Icewave lands one final massive hit that blows Razorback’s face apart, sends it into the spike strip, and causes something inside of Icewave to catch fire.
The referees call the fight a knock out in favor of Icewave and for a moment there’s this beautiful shot of Zach Bieber solemnly staring into the arena as his creation sits there as a smoking, burning husk of its former self. The Icewave team notice that something is seriously wrong with their robot, but Tits Microphone the post-fight interviewer doesn’t seem to notice as she still tries to pull the driver aside for his thoughts on the fight. His thoughts on the fight are, verbatim, “I think our robot is on fire and I would like to go in there to put the fire out”. Spoken like a true champion, Marc. Way to shut that down. Maybe Post-Fight Interview Lady should do what they did on Comedy Central and wait for the teams to get their shit out of the arena before asking them how it felt to rip its opponents face off. We call that “doing a Scooby Doo”, by the way.
Winner: Icewave, KO
WINTER IS COMING
Lisa Winter is a name you’ll only recall if you watched the Comedy Central episodes of BattleBots, and even then the name may not have stuck. Though you might not know or remember who Lisa Winter is, you sure as hell remember her robot. The ladybug? Red robot, opens and closes, has some bullshit weapon inside of it? That’s Tentomushi, her lightweight robot and one of the most memorable robots in the sport. Lisa, her father Mike, Mike’s friend Will Wright (yes that Will Wright), Will’s daughter Cassidy, and some other friends and relatives of the Winter family comprised the Robot Action League. Their robots were generally more about concept than effectiveness, and their overall win/loss record kind of reflects that.
Lisa’s actually about my age, so she’s the builder that I guess I’m supposed to use as my barometer for personal growth. Let’s see, according to the BattleBots website she’s a project manager at the company Sproutling (where her hair is blue instead of pink); I sit at a desk and talk to idiots all day who can’t figure out WordPress. Alright, there’s a little bit of a rift there, what else is new? She’s got a lot of tattoos and has gauged ears; I could stand to lose about 40 pounds. Okay, I’m getting depressed now. I’m done playing this game let’s see what Lisa’s up to in this builder bio spot.
She’s working on what I presume to be Plan X, driving it around and all that, and then we get something I wasn’t expecting to see in this season: legacy content. Bam, right there after she mentions her first robot we get Comedy Central footage of motherfucking Tentomushi. I didn’t think they’d be able to get the rights to that considering Viacom are a bunch of jabronies but hey there you go; I guess it literally takes Disney to one-up Viacom. Lisa tiptoes around saying that Tentomushi sucked (“crowd pleaser”) and that Plan X is here to turn opponents into dust. It achieves this by luring them outside of the museum with the magic tablet as the sun rises. Mike Winter, the “mad scientist”, informs us that the robot’s secret weapon is a brain… and then this guy comes out with an actual brain prop and puts it on the robot, because this is the Robot Action League.
The unnamed gentleman (we’ll call him “Igor” since Mike is the mad scientist) tells Lisa that the brain reflects the robot’s emotional state. When powered on, its emotional state is revealed to be blue (da ba dee). It can also be red and green… which… mean… ??? Anyways much like Marc the Icewave Guy, Lisa hopes her robots inspire young adults to get into the sport and engineering. She’s understandably going for girl power which is totally cool. You go girl.
It’s not possible for me to insult Lisa. Only her robots.
WRECKS vs. PLAN X
Team Pubb (Berkeley, CA)
Weapon: Vertical spinning disc
Wrecks uses the gyroscopic precession its weapon creates to walk.
Robot Action League (Berkeley, CA)
Weapon: Vertical spinning blade
Features modular design, ablative armor, and minibots.
Just in time for the release of Jurassic World we have Wrecks, a heavyweight walking robot whose weapon doubles as its method of locomotion. The concept is difficult to explain fully, but if you’ve ever played with a gyroscope then you know what I mean when I mention how the gyro will fight the process of being turned perpendicular to the axis it rotates on. This is called gyroscopic precession. It’s the same physics phenomenon that makes it hard for robots with vertically spinning blades to turn without tipping over. Team Pubb has harnessed this force and converted it into movement by means of a complex walking setup, and with it comes the bonus of the additional weight allocations that walkerbots receive. It’s hard to say whether or not Wrecks is a competent robot because it’s a gamble with walking robots; Pressure Drop was terrible, but Son of Whyachi was a champion. We’ll just have to see. Oh also Wrecks is a dinosaur and I love dinosaurs!!
You might call Wrecks something of a gimmick bot, but Wrecks’ opponent is here to show them what “gimmick bot” means, mostly because she and her team invented it. Plan X is the latest creation from BattleBots veteran Lisa Winter of the Robot Action League. Does the name Tentomushi ring a bell? You know, the robot built from a fucking ladybug sandbox? Lisa Winter. Bust out your official Robot Action League Gimmick Robot Checklist™ because we’re about to make a blackout bingo with Plan X:
- Ridiculously ineffective-looking weaponry
- Unnecessary modularity
- Massive fucking chassis
- Bullshit avant garde “high concept” theme
Yep, we’re gold.
Lisa utters “this brings me back”. I get teary-eyed. Plan X’s weapon spins the wrong direction. Wrecks shows it the correct direction. The fight starts and– OH MY GOD IS THAT HOW WRECKS MOVES?! It’s like a zombie torso from Half-Life except twice as slow! Plan X (as a whole) doesn’t really know how to approach this situation because it knows it’s generally frowned upon to hit someone who’s handicapped. Plan X maneuvers around to the backside of Wrecks and gently nudges the robot around, making sure to support the head and neck since Wrecks isn’t strong enough to hold it up on its own yet. Wrecks’ method of movement is certainly “unique”, I will give Team Pubb that much, but when your opponent is the size of a fucking house and you still can’t turn around fast enough to hit them that means you fucked up.
If you paid close attention before the fight started you may have seen members of the Robot Action League attaching some keystock rods to the back of Plan X with zip ties. I would imagine it’s just a sacrificial piece of armor meant to give them a little extra width to push with and in no way will come back to bite Plan X in the ass. The rods fall off on their own and one of the commentators (still haven’t learned their names yet) makes the obvious pun that Plan X needs to find a new plan. No, I’m pretty sure “move every once in a while to stay behind Wrecks” is working out pretty well. Leave the BattleBotting to the actual experts, please. Lisa Winter’s been fighting robots longer than the former MMA fighter commentator has been putting his balls in other men’s faces while punching them in the legs. I mean “fighting”. This is the same guy who’s used the term “jam up” as the necessary strategy for the past two fights. If you say it enough times it starts to sound like a shitty 90’s kid rap group.
The main body of Plan X keeps behind the clumsy dinosaur while the two minibots shoot the shit and make fun of the cripple. Plan X pushes Wrecks toward the Killsaws and Wrecks promptly gets it weapon jammed into one of the slots. This eventually results in Wrecks flipping over and we get to see the robot pimp strut its way over to the screws and take another tumble ass-up. The camera cuts to a shot of Wrecks’ driver pretending to know what the fuck he’s doing while Plan X remembers that it has a weapon and now would probably be a good time to use it. Plan X takes a couple of generous shots at Wrecks and after a few more moments of randomly flicking the controller sticks in various directions Wrecks somehow manages to get back on its feet, or whatever those pieces of shit are that it calls its “feet”.
Plan X’s larger component manages to get itself high-centered on the metal rods it lost earlier in the match. I guess I was wrong about that. Lisa calls for help from the minibots and apparently only one of them was paying attention because that’s all she gets in the way of reinforcements. The minibot cruises over to push Plan X off of the stray part and does so with ease. Nah, I’m fucking with you; that RC truck barely makes a difference. Wrecks uses these final few seconds to rip up part of Plan X’s left side and throw the multibot’s tiny ally into the wall. Wrecks’ driver couldn’t be happier, that’s the first hit he’s landed this whole match, now if he can only jus– oh wait, we’re out of time nevermind.
The hosts build suspense by doing that fucking “we’ll find out the results after the break” thing that reality TV does these days, assuming I guess that nobody was paying attention to the fight they just saw? “Was that enough damage to turn this fight around?” Are you fuckin serious right now? No. Hell no. And fuck you for thinking otherwise Not Sean Salisbury.
Winner: Plan X, Judge’s Decision
A LEGEND RETURNS
Warhead is a returning robot from the BattleBots of old, built by Ian Lewis and Simon Scott of Team Razer. We’re first posed with a question as the mysterious Warhead is introduced to us, “Is it alive, a machine with a personality?” On a scale from 1 to 10, that question rates as Jaden Smith. Snark aside, Warhead was a powerful robot when it competed in the final televised BattleBots event and we get to see some video proof of that which puts Nightmare in a much less frightening light. Simon Scott admits that Team Razer might have a bit of an unfair upper-hand in the event due to their experience in the sport, 17 years to be exact. I don’t want to sound like a piece of shit here, but the Robot Action League as a whole has around 20 years of experience. Just throwing that out there if you guys want to bring numbers into this.
Ian puts a shirt on while Simon talks about how they’ve sharpened Warhead’s teeth and they’re ready to raise some hell in the arena. From the look of things, sharpening the teeth appears to be the only thing they’ve done to Warhead. It looks the same to me, and not “same design” or anything like that; I mean literally the same.
WARHEAD vs. BITE FORCE
Team Razer (Bournemouth, UK)
Weapon: Adjustable spinning dome
If flipped, Warhead is able to right itself using its two wings.
Aptyx Designs (Mountain View, CA)
Weapon: Lifting arm
Its tank tracks contain magnets for extra downward pull in the arena.
Team Razer have created some beautiful robots. Razer, the robot the team gets their name from, was a former BattleBots champion and was one of the most iconic competitors in the UK’s Robot Wars series of events. Strangely, Team Razer did not return to BattleBots until the event’s fifth and final season where they brought with them the monster known as Warhead. Warhead ate up screen time like it was the girl from the BBC test pattern and was in four televised fights that season. Warhead disposed of a few unmentionable rammer bots and then really made a name for itself by disabling Nightmare and ripping off one of the robot’s signature teeth. It’s a scary-looking dragon of a robot, but I’m not quite certain it’s the “legend” the commentators make it out to be. It is by no means a piece of crap but there are other robots at this event that have been competing in BattleBots since literally the very first one. (e.g. Nightmare) Anyways that’s enough soapboxing. Call me crazy, but Warhead looks almost exactly as it did over a decade ago. I imagine Team Razer had to have updated that machine, they wouldn’t be ballsy enough to bring it back as-is… would they?
Bite Force is a new robot that, when it doesn’t have its weapon removed, ironically bears resemblance to the original Razer. Normally armed with a clamping jaw, Bite Force enters its debut match with just the bottom set of lifting forks and a heavy duty steel plow on its backside. The hosts don’t notice this even though I’m supposed to believe they’re literally sitting right there by the arena. Bite Force isn’t using its jaw this match. For fuck’s sake can’t you assholes even look at the robots you’re introducing? Anyways, while these chucklefucks are talking strategy that’s irrelevant, there’s more to Bite Force than meets the eye. Tank tracks have often been called “Killsaw Magnets” in the past due to treads being destroyed by the arena hazards fairly often; but speaking of magnets Bite Force’s tracks actually have high-density magnets embedded in them which provide a little extra pull toward the arena floor. For a robot whose M.O. is lifting and picking up its opponents, I gotta say that’s not a bad idea. Now let’s just hope the tank tracks don’t attract the Killsaws which have yet to do anything this episode.
Oh, by the way the producers do that fucking commercial break thing again.
We return to BattleBots mid-sentence as the announcers continue to fellate Team Razer’s ego. The fight starts and Bite Force immediately gets in Warhead’s face and discovers the British robot’s main weakness: surface area. There’s a giant perimeter of non-weaponized robot for Bite Force to take advantage of and the tracked newcomer does just that. Warhead gets thrown over into the screws and receives the world’s most unprofessional circumcision. There’s a lot of power in Warhead’s weapon, enough to cause the robot to bounce in the air as it hits Bite Force’s wedge, ricochet off of the screw hazards, and eventually be the first robot to take a shot from the arena Pulverizers this season. There isn’t enough power, however, to rip Bite Force’s heavy duty ass off. That’s “legendary”, I guess.
Bite Force eventually realizes that this is just a bunch of goddamned nonsense and decides it’s safe to use its lifting forks. Stop reading this article, I want you to do something real quick. Take your thumb and push it up under your chin, on the underside of your tongue where you don’t have a jaw bone. That sucks, doesn’t it? Yeah, that’s exactly where Bite Force grabs its opponent; the lifting forks of Bite Force slip underneath the spinning dome of Warhead and the dragon is effortlessly lifted up and paraded around while Bite Force pops wheelies. Eventually, Bite Force tires of this and throws Warhead over its back and the fight ends.
WARHEAD IS THE MOST LEGENDARY ROBOT IN BATTLEBOTS, IT’S A LEGEND. THE CROWD FAVORITE VETERAN MOST FAMOUS BATTLEBOT EVER. BOTH IAN LEWIS AND SIMON SCOTT ARE THE SECOND AND THIRD COMING OF CHRIST. WARHEAD WILL WIN THIS COMPETITION WARHEAD ALL THE WAY.
Winner: Bite Force, Judge’s Decision
Let’s meet the Ewert’s, a father-son-son-son-son team who are introduced to us by Pretty Lady On Stage (yeah, don’t know her name either sorry) with the remark that they’re currently missing a fishing trip in Canada because they came to BattleBots. Wonderful. Cry me a fucking river you privileged shits. Anyways Terry Ewert built a robot one time called Son of Whyachi and it was the season three BattleBots heavyweight champion but only because it bent the rules to enter as a walker, and when the robot was forced to fight other robots its weight in the super heavyweight class in the final two seasons Son of Whyachi won only one of its three final fights.
Anyways, Terry has a son named Clint who was tragically born without a chin. Clint says something. Terry says he’s 50 and he’s too old to compete so Warrior Clan is his last robot and now his sons have to lead the team. Hey Terry, Thomas Petrucelli (of Bad Attitude fame) built robots until he died at age 77 so no, “50” isn’t “too old” to compete, you’re just salty that your robots couldn’t fucking win any fights in their proper weight class. Fuck you, fuck your team, fuck your stupid Warrior Clan, and fuck this bullshit scripted reality segment.
Also yes, Thomas Petrucelli died. I am deeply sorry if this is how this news was broken to you because the man deserves better than that, God rest his soul. Here’s a photo of him being a total badass to make up for it.
NIGHTMARE vs. WARRIOR CLAN
Team Nightmare (Bradenton, FL)
Weapon: Vertical spinning disc
Nightmare’s disc is one of the most iconic weapons in robot combat.
Team Whyachi (Abbotsford, WI)
Weapon: Spinning shell, lifting arm, & flamethrowers
Team Whyachi built BattleBots season 3 heavyweight champion Son of Whyachi.
I am legitimately happy to see Nightmare again. Nightmare isn’t really one of my favorite robots or anything, but it was one of the most iconic competitors in BattleBots history. Did you know Nightmare is the reason why the BattleBox has a roof? The safety officials made Jim Smentowski spin his weapon in reverse if he wanted to compete at the 1999 Long Beach event. Nightmare is also the reason why the rumbles in season five were cancelled, because he sent a piece of someone through the aforementioned roof and into the audience. Thanks a lot, Nightmare. Anyways, Nightmare is back and it has a new weapon that I’m on the fence about. I mean, I know there’s a practical reason involving weight distribution that’s behind the redesign of the disc, but I feel like you can’t do that when your robot was famous for said disc. That’s like New Coke, you fucked it all up Jim. They’re still calling it Coca-Cola Classic 30 years later; look at what you’ve committed yourself to.
Warrior Clan is the latest hum blah blah derp from Team Whyachi. It’s a multibot whose centerpiece, Warrior, began life in BattleBots‘ fifth season as a simple four-wheeled wedge presumably because Team Whyachi realized their previous bullshit wasn’t working. Warrior did okay, I guess? It barely won its first match, won its second by forfeit (read: doesn’t count), and beat Bender by a knock out… but Bender was a piece of shit that routinely lost every single fight. Bender would still lose even if it was the only robot in the arena. Warrior also showed up at Robotica, TLC’s robot show, and somehow drove itself up a wall and knocked itself out. So, great bot all around I guess. Somewhere along the line Warrior’s builders got into an argument over “spin bot” and “flipper” before declaring “fuck it do ’em both”. Also since “clan” implies that there’s more than one robot Warrior is joined by two identical minibots, each armed with a flamethrower.
When the fight begins, Nightmare starts spinning its weapon while Warrior Clan separates into formation. From watching the robots disperse I can piece together a fuzzy plan of “you guys surround him and I’ll bring in the big guns”. The minibots successfully surround Nightmare, and I think that’s as far as they thought that plan through. Warrior and Nightmare make first contact which signals that this pit has officially been opened up and all hell breaks loose. All four robots start driving like they have Parkinson’s and somewhere in this mess Nightmare tries to do a karate kick, fails, and its weapon lands exactly on top of one of the minibots, sending it flying off camera never to be seen again. The remaining minibot, seeing what just happened to its friend, takes refuge underneath Nightmare because it’s the one place it can’t get hit. That theory proves incorrect, as Nightmare effectively erases the minibot from this world. That poof of fire was the robot turning into pure energy.
By this point Warrior Clan is more or less looking like Warrior Lone Wolf now that Nightmare has blasted both of its minibots into a higher plane of existence. After literally watching the final minibot get turned into its principle atomic particles, Warrior focuses its attention back on Nightmare and goes all in. Despite looking far more stable than it’s ever been, Nightmare manages to flip itself over after smashing its disc into Warrior’s wedge skirting. Warrior’s driver shouts what I think is “ALL ABOARD” when this happens because he is a major fan of trains. Nightmare proceeds to zip across the arena on its disc and one wheel in a vain attempt to right itself. As you might expect, this doesn’t work very well and the robot manages to climb up onto the spike strip and get itself high centered. While upside down.
Ah well, thanks for the memories at least, Nightmare. RIP IN PEACE.
Winner: Warrior and some parts that once comprised “The Clan”, KO
So in the end, is it all worth it? Is BattleBots season six everything that fans wanted? Yes and no. First of all, nothing is going to live up to hype that’s been building for over a decade (see also: Duke Nukem Forever, Chinese Democracy, and Star Wars: Episode I). That said, it’s good to see the BattleBox back with its trademark hazards, namely the Killsaws and Pulverizers. While the Killsaws haven’t been used at all yet the fact that they’re there is what’s important; the original BattleBots events were all about carnage and destruction and the hazards provided the atmosphere needed to make everything a little more exciting. It’s also good to see old competitors return, though to an extent I have to admit the heroes and stars of yesteryear don’t quite hold up today; both Nightmare and Warhead went down in the first round despite being some of the “poster robots” of the sport.
Since I’ve decided to cover the good parts first for once, now it’s time to get out the swear jar. I hate the fucking hosts of the show. Mind you, on the off-chance that you recall my old articles I didn’t really like Bil Dwyer either, but these people are a different kind of bad. They’re the “fakey” kind of assholes that are there to get a paycheck. As much of a doofus as Bil Dwyer was you could tell he was genuinely a fan of BattleBots. The guy anchored five goddamned seasons of it even after Sean Salisbury tapped out after two. Bil Dwyer sucked because all he told were dad jokes, the two new commentators suck because they don’t know a goddamned thing about robot combat and they don’t even bother pretending to know. The former MMA fighter used the phrase “jam up” three fucking times during the episode when talking about robots who were battling spinners. Jam up. The only reason why he didn’t use the term in Warhead’s battle is because he probably got ahead of the cue cards. Jam up.
I feel like the Blue Dress Lady whose only purpose is to keep people of certain demographics watching doesn’t need to be there. That’s not a sexist remark, she just doesn’t serve a practical purpose. Everything that she said and did could’ve been done by the commentators. As a third wheel all she accomplished was make every pre-fight discussion awkward as hell because there’d be one person standing there like a fucking idiot not saying anything at all. I’ve worked in television before and I get that make-up is something that’s needed so you don’t look like a zombie on camera, but it shouldn’t be the first thing you think of when you see someone on TV. I’m willing to bet she spent more time choosing the right lip gloss than she did figuring out what BattleBots was. Again, not sexist, because the MMA host did the same thing except instead of lip gloss he was sitting in his dressing room sniffing underwear he stole from other fighters.
The post-fight interviewers are likable to an extent, but they don’t seem to be natural speakers. Well, the girl at least isn’t; the guy whom I dubbed “Douchebag Hair” appeared in this episode exactly once. The questions the post-fight interviewer was asking weren’t necessarily bad, they just came out very jilted and scripted. Comedy Central’s track record of hiring stand-up comics (and in some cases “stand-up comics”) to do this job may have been dubious, but at least a competent stand-up comedian has an innate ability to connect with people. The interview with Icewave proves that these people don’t.
In the end, I can’t complain; there were a lot of moments in this episode that harkened back to the original era that started it all, and for that I’m grateful. The things I’m most put-off by are the hosts and the imaginary numbers they make up for “robot stats”, but those are things that can be zoned out if you don’t pay them any attention. Television changes and evolves; the format that worked for BattleBots in 2001 is radically different from the format considered to be the industry average today. In a lot of ways, season six is not as good as the first five, and in other ways it’s far better. I can’t complain, though. I love the sport and as I anxiously watched the clock count down to 8:00 for a moment it felt like I was back in my bedroom in my parents’ house foregoing homework to watch the newest episode of BattleBots. Some things just never change.