With this ridiculous writers’ strike dragging on and keeping most of TV’s best shows on the sidelines, a bunch of really, really stupid shows have taken over my DVR. You know the ones I’m talking about. After all, who among us hasn’t wasted an afternoon watching “10 Years Younger” or “A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila?” Don’t deny it – you know you have an opinion on Dani, one way or the other. And you know what? That’s perfectly okay. After hours of school and work and studying, we all deserve a little time to sit back with shows that don’t force us to think. There are plenty of them out there, and for the most part they provide a pretty high degree of entertainment. Instead of wasting time coming up with actual creative ideas, these shows pride themselves on providing unintentional comedy to a viewing audience that usually just wants to see someone worse off than they are.

You see, shows like “Tila Tequila” and pretty much everything on TLC are successful because the participants don’t realize – or don’t seem to care – they’re really made fun of by the networks and the audience. They want to be stars, and the networks allow them to follow this dream, with the only sacrifice being a complete loss of their dignity. Between the writers’ strike and three weeks of vacation, I’ve been watching plenty of people lose their dignity over the last few weeks, but nothing compares to what I rediscovered on Sunday night. The greatest mindless entertainment show of them all: “American Gladiators.” The original version from the early 90’s is a classic, but NBC’s reincarnation takes unintentional comedy to a groundbreaking level. I’m almost embarrassed to admit I even watched it, but if you’ve read this far you’re either a friend of mine or a fan of shitty television. Either way, you’re definitely going to want to tune in to the best bad show of them all.

What makes “American Gladiators” so special? I don’t even know where to start, but since the contestants seem to think they’re so special, I might as well treat them like stars and mention them first. There are eight men and eight women, and from Anthony the New York City firefighter to Chad the pro skater, they all appear to be complete morons. The key to a good reality show is for the contestants to think we’re laughing with them instead of at them, and luckily for the audience this group seems to have no idea they’re the butt of the joke. Especially when they’re yelling things like, “I’m about to unleash the quickness of a spider monkey.” It’s hard to believe people like this even exist, but I suppose they’re not all that different than some of those cool cutoff shirt clad guys at the Rec Cen.

Opposing the contestants is a brand new set of Gladiators, with badass nicknames like Fury, Justice[[ok]], Militia and Tool. I’m kidding, there’s no Tool, at least not in terms of their nicknames. If you’re wondering where the writers of “Dodgeball” found the inspiration for White Goodman’s dodgeball teammates, look no further than this motley crew. The two standouts thus far are Wolf – who looks more like a buff homeless guy than a Gladiator – and Crush, the busty brunette whose profile brags she handles female competitors and then breaks men’s hearts. I know she’s a fake character, but I’m not going to lie: I would have no problem with getting my ass kicked by Crush.

Like any good reality show, “American Gladiators” pumps up the drama a notch with plenty of melodramatic music, slow motion replays and commercials when something “crazy” is about to happen. Throw in host Hulk Hogan’s efforts to read cue cards, the occasional injury, the fact the losers often cry and a rabid crowd – who are these people, and how do I become one of them? – and the new “American Gladiators” has already become television’s best way to zone out for an hour and feel better about yourself at the same time.