8 Asians

API Faces on American Gladiators

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So everyone is allowed a little guilty indulgence once in a while, and last night mine was watching the return of NBC’s American Gladiators. Sure, it’s sports entertainment at its finest with its fireworks and its attitude, and it’s incredibly campy to boot – one of the female gladiators is named Hellga, for godssake. But the show was also a part of my Saturday mornings in the 1990s, and for nostalgia’s sake I tuned in. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Between all the peroxide in the Gladiators, there’s Toa, who as Angry Asian Man puts it, “is seriously rocking the Pacific Islander warrior vibe.” And let me tell you – yes. Yes he was. Anyone who busts out with the haka right before the Pyramid event might be playing up to a certain character or caricature, but when you’re both the cousin AND the official stunt man of The Rock, I’m not going to disagree otherwise. Also, he’s eye candy. There, I said it.

Anyone that caught the debut of the show would have also noticed two Asian-Americans winners: 24 year old Cambodian-American Molivann Duy, nicknamed “Mowli” presumably because Hulk Hogan found it awkward constantly saying the word “Molivann,” and the women’s winner, Venus Ramos.

Ramos was an alternate for a contestant that was injured her leg in Powerball, and her background story (parents crossed an ocean to give her a better life! She worked hard to get her MD!) and come-from-behind victory in the Eliminator actually made me stand up and cheer – at least until shortly afterwards, when I did some searching on the Internet and learned she was on Temptation Island. Somehow, I relate more towards the “Asian girl who worked hard to get her MD” archetype than the “model/actress” one. Just saying. (Two other Asian American contestants are also scheduled for this season as well, not counting the other possible alternates in case anyone else breaks a femur bone.)

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