In Full Metal Jousting, which premiered on the History Channel on Sunday night, 16 big he-men get to play out fantasies of medieval fighting. Suited up in 80 pounds of armor, plopped on horses while hoisting an 11-foot lance, the contestants galloped at each other, hoping to hit each other on a breast plate called the grand guard. The result was like watching humans engage in voluntary collisions.
It was the red team versus the black team, and the show is essentially The Ultimate Fighter with knights. The guys have to endure the various cliches of reality TV – rooming together while being gradually eliminated, one by one, in a final joust each week. It was fun to watch the training sessions: seeing men knocked over when hit with a giant battering ram, then slammed with metal baseball bats. And it’s fun to hear their semi-literate, semi-humorous descriptions of the same: “It looks like it’s painful, but it’s more painful than it looks.”
Full Metal Jousting’s first face-off was between Mike (sporting a Mohawk, self-describing “I’ve got inner rage”) and Josh (red hair, red beard). The two were on their mighty steeds aiming for that guard plate positioned over their left chest, a target “not much larger than a license plate,” we were told. The rules gave them eight passes at each other. Josh won, but Mike got to stay around, to replace anyone who might get knocked off a bit too violently, which seems a distinct possibility.
The unfortunate paradox of the jousting is that it looks, in mid-gallop, a lot less violent/painful/dramatic than it is when you see the collisions replayed in slow-motion (or, I’d bet, witnessed in real life).
At this point, I’m intrigued enough to watch again, but not at all sure that I’m hooked. How about you?