Have you been watching Battlebots? Come on, dorks: you need to be watching Battlebots.
This is the type of show designed to simultaneously make you feel dumber and smarter. Like its early aughts Comedy Central incarnation, the show infuses the pratfalls of robotic wrestling with witty technologic porn. People build giant, crazy, creative robots just to put them in a giant box to be destroyed. Is there anything more satisfying than this? Consider the future, when robots overtake us: won’t you wish that you got to enjoy the execution of robots while you had the chance?
It’s also the sporting event for the non-sports enthusiast. The show is framed as a bracketed competition, where robotos go head-to-head, to fight to the death—and that it is. Thus, you latch on by picking favorites with catchy, biker names like Mohawk, Chomp, and Tombstone and witness their fall to scrap or rise from scrap in a matter of seconds. It is indulgent, brutal, harmless television. It was created to satisfy our carnal, cave dweller desire to rip things apart. Ever wanted to throw your computer against the wall because it was frozen? Here, let this that want:
There’s also a dork voyeurism to this too. First, the contestants—the 48+ teams of robotic engineers—are competing for a giant nut, a beautiful hardware trophy to symbolize which robot is the best robot. Take that desire to win paired with the phrase “I’m going to get that nut,” divided by your middle school brain’s association with the phrase “get that nut,” and you have a recipe for homoerotic humor. There is no situation where a robot enthusiast saying “I want that nut.” isn’t funny.
To heighten this, the show is best watched when drinking. Wine or beer, liquor or whatever cheer, you can’t watch this sober. All the jokes get funnier and all the clashes clash harder as you’re able to rise to the occasion and take this otherwise meaningless sport as seriously as these men and women who spend months and years and decades preparing for a fight that could end in seconds. There is nothing but joy to be found in the flaming, spinning bludgeons being given.
It’s just…perfect Summer television. Battlebots doesn’t take itself too seriously but is self-serious enough that you find the importance of these robo-warriors. The show airs Thursday nights and can be caught online. Don’t deprive yourself of joy: revel in robotic mayhem.