Why Deadliest Warrior is my favorite comedy on TV

Deadliest Warrior title logo

Funniest Arguer is really more like it.

Deadliest Warrior was the funniest comedy on television. Ever. Holy dammit was it hysterically funny. Nothing can make me laugh more than watching those guys attempt to inject “science” into what is clearly just a silly bar argument between two drunken frattish guys. And they managed to make it into a whole TV show!

Allow me to explain the premise of the show, so you can delight in the hilarity as well: The show features a matchup in each episode of two great warriors throughout history, matched up against each other to see who would win. Some of the matches have been:
  • Knight vs. Pirate
  • Maori Warrior vs Shaolin Monk
  • Apache Brave vs Roman Gladiator
Get the idea? Seems kinda fun, right? It might be worth thinking about this kinda thing and examining the strengths and weaknesses to see what might happen, wouldn’t it? Probably.

But they turned it into a comedy.

Allow me to elaborate.

First of all, the show doesn’t actually set a real knight against a real pirate, since it’s hard to gauge each group’s actual skill in terms of fighting ability. We don’t really know how good a knight or pirate might be, and we don’t have averages on which to base the matches.

Instead of comparing skill vs skill, which would be impossible, the show examines their weaponry. The “experts” on the show examine the effectiveness of a longsword, the effectiveness of a blunderbuss, the defensive capability of the armor, and so on. Sounds fine, right?

Deadliest Warrior samurai vs viking

Samurai vs. Viking. I mean, I do kinda wanna know who wins…

That’s when it turns into hilarity.

They test the weapons by getting a mannequin of a human designed to simulate the physical properties of a human body, or they just get a giant dead pig hung from the ceiling and start slashing away. Then the doctor comes in to examine the wound and tell you how significant the damage is. Sounds good, right?

What’s great is when they start discussing the weapons. Quite often, they’ll say things like “this weapon…was designed to kill.” Um, no shit, guys. Are any weapons designed not to kill?

So basically you get a bunch of guys talking about how weapons can kill each other. And it’s hilarious.

Now of course they’ll examine it seriously, and weigh the pros and cons of a sword vs an axe, etc, etc, so it’s not so bad. But that line just gets me every time. “This weapon…was designed to kill.” Love it. Love love love.

But my favorite part is when they have re-enactors with a vested interest in the victory of their supposed warrior. For knight vs. pirate, they have historical re-enactors. For situations like Mafia vs. Yakuza, they have grandsons of former mob bosses. And the best one, by far, was Green Berets vs Russian Spetsnaz (special forces), when they actually had real Green Berets and real Russian Spetsnaz performing the tests.

And they trash talk the hell out of each other. But they all do. It’s incredible. It makes the most sense in cases like Green Berets vs. Spetsnaz, because they actually want to think of themselves as the best, and in cases like Apache vs. Gladiator, there’s a very obvious White Man vs. Native American pseud0-racist trash talk going on, so you can tell there’s some ethnic pride in there on the part of the Apache descendants.

But even the extreme cases where there’s clearly no connection will still have emotional investment. Knight vs. Pirate, for example. They really got on each other’s nerves in that one. And clearly no one is a knight or a pirate anymore, so why would they care? They’re historical re-enactors! Who cares about trash talk if you have no literal connection with the original warrior?

But they trash talk anyway, and it’s awesome. Even though it makes absolutely no sense and is just a silly bar fight argument with computers.

Definitely check out the Green Berets vs. Spetsnaz episode. It’s so goddamn good. The Green Berets come in with all their Texan pride and brag about ‘Murica and real-life ‘Murican military training, blathering on and on about how they’re “proven” on the battlefield.

The Russian guys said, with no emotion in their voice whatsoever, “They have no chance.”

Goddamn it was amazing. I love seeing egotistical braggers go down. There’s very little as satisfying as watching a guy who’s full of himself lose to a guy who’s modest and spectacular.

I love it. For all the wrong reasons, of course, but damn it’s amazing. Amazingly hilarious.

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