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After the opening teases, it's time for "Botography." The subject: Backlash.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Backlash... the name sounds familiar, but I just can't place it." Remember all the toys were released last year? "Oh yeah! The one with the vertical spinning disk! Someone must've made a robot based on the toy!"

Yes, Backlash is back on TV. It's gone under quite a transformation since the last time we saw it back in season two. The big wedged backside is gone. It's been replaced by a thinner box. On the top of the box, near the spinning disk, is a curved claw. This claw will ride the floor if Backlash is flipped over, allowing the bot to run inverted now.

"Botography" features a narrator (not sure if it's one of the usual talent or somebody else) doing a Peter Graves impression. I've never seen "Biography," but I'm assuming it's like "Behind the Music," except its subjects don't necessarily meet their downfall by snorting cocaine like it was an antihistamine. "Botography" gives the show a chance to reuse the footage from previous Jim Smentowski interviews, add a sound bite with Donald Hutson as one of Backlash's best friends, and of course, Gary Coleman.

Yes, Gary Coleman, best known as Arnold from "Diff'rent Strokes" (but woe unto you if you mention it to him) has joined Team Nightmare. I suppose I should explain that, too. One of the team's new sponsors is UGO.com. Being a major presence at UGO.com, Gary Coleman tagged along with Team Nightmare in order to promote the web site at every possible moment. ("Boy, Gary, that was one hard hit Nightmare delivered!" "That's right. Speaking of hard, the hardware running the servers at UGO.com is some of the most impressive machinery I've ever seen!")

Where was I? Oh yeah, "Botography." Since it's been a couple of seasons since we've seen Backlash, they play up that fact, creating a depressive spiral for it to go down since its loss in season two. It really hasn't done that badly, it just kept getting flipped. Anyway, it's back. That's the point, I think. With Gary Coleman.

And it's in the first fight tonight, facing Burning Metal. Burning Metal is a Lexan-covered bot with a weapon of a spinning bar mounted to the robot like an airplane propeller. It also has two strips sticking out of the back that I think are supposed to serve either as a kind of wedge or just a way to prevent being balanced on its rear end. You could attach little brooms to them and let the robot sweep the box for you.

Lightweight fightin' time. Backlash spins up instantaneously. Burning Metal also spins its weapon. The two robots meet head-on in the center of the Box. Backlash hits Burning Metal right in its weapon, and the whole bot is flipped from the force of that attack. Backlash hits Burning Metal again, shattering armor and knocking it right side up.

Burning Metal hits reverse and tries to get its blade working again. Backlash approaches and simply rips the blade right off of the robot. While the weapon's axle is still spinning, the tires on the robot aren't. Looks like Burning Metal is toast.

Time for some fun. Backlash attacks the front armor a little bit, but not much happens. So it aims for a tire, but misses. I know what you're screaming -- I was screaming it, too. "Take off one of those dangling things on the back!"

Since Burning Metal died near the saws, though, Backlash spins down and pushes the dangling strips over those. However, the saws only lift the strips -- no breaking. Another push, and the saws just kind of move Burning Metal's body to the side.

Backlash is determined to do some more damage to Burning Metal, though. If you want something done right... Backlash spins its disk back up. It heads straight for one of the strips... Yes! The power of the disk instantly snaps the strip, sending it flying into the air. One and a half seconds later, the strip lands on the ground.

That's what we wanted to see. And now Burning Metal has been counted out. Victory spin for Backlash.

Into the studio with Bil and Tim. A flat-screen television magically appears behind Bil to give us pictures of Gary Coleman. No sign of Emmanuel Lewis, though.

Carmen gives us a sound bite of her own, then it's down to Arj for the interview. Not knowing the consequences, he asks, "Any comments, Gary Coleman?" (Yes, he used the actor's full name.) Gary wastes no time in performing his appointed duties -- "Hey, I'm just happy to be here for UGO.com."

Then Tony Rock interviews Jacob Rede. They must've edited out the part where at the mention of "Burning Metal," Gary Coleman came running over, shouting "Burning? The content at UGO.com is hot, hot, hot!"

Directly into a middleweight fight. Wee Willy Wedgy is... a wedge. Big tires and a wedge. It also won the first BattleBots IQ this spring. To show that it means business, in its introductory shot, the wedge has been adorned with a lovely pair of men's briefs.

Little Drummer Boy still has its drum weapon, but has a new design for the body of the robot. It's wedged in the sides and back. Looks a lot nicer than it did in season three. It, however, is completely nude.

Fightin' time. Wee Willy Wedgy (now sans underpants) drives off to the side. Little Drummer Boy simply turns around to face Wee Willy Wedgy. Wee Willy Wedgy plows underneath Little Drummer Boy. The drum produces sparks on Wee Willy Wedgy's armor. Wee Willy Wedgy puts Little Drummer Boy down and runs away.

Wee Willy Wedgy obviously wants to attack Little Drummer Boy from the side, but Little Drummer Boy will have no part of it. As Wee Willy Wedgy positions, Little Drummer Boy attacks its side. Then its front. More sparks. Wee Willy Wedgy escapes.

Wee Willy Wedgy isn't doing that well at attacking Little Drummer Boy. Then we see that sudden acceleration will cause Wee Willy Wedgy's wedge to momentarily lift into the air. Wee Willy Wedgy tries to find an angle from which to attack.

Wee Willy Wedgy drives toward the corner of Little Drummer Boy's drum. When it hits the drum at that sharp angle, Wee Willy Wedgy is tossed into the air and bounces on one of its tires before landing right side up (well, it looks like it's upside-down to me, but that's the way it's been running all fight).

Little Drummer Boy aims for one of the tires. Eh, the wedge will do nicely, though. More sparks. Wee Willy Wedgy then decides to simply charge Little Drummer Boy. Little Drummer Boy goes up the wedge and is pushed back.

Another push by Wee Willy Wedgy. Little Drummer Boy tries to find its position. But now Wee Willy Wedgy has adopted the strategy of waiting in one place, keeping its wedge pointed at Little Drummer Boy at all times. Little Drummer Boy attacks Wee Willy Wedgy in its side. Again, more sparks.

Wee Willy Wedgy starts to turn. Little Drummer Boy hits Wee Willy Wedgy in the tire, flipping it over. Of course, the bot works exactly the same way upside-down.

Well, it would work if it was actually moving. But Wee Willy Wedgy appears to be dead. Little Drummer Boy examines Wee Willy Wedgy, then pops it again, knocking it over to the ramrods. The ramrods make one of their rare appearances to bash Wee Willy Wedgy one time. Tim calls the ramrods "pistons." Don't remind me, Tim.

Wee Willy Wedgy starts to drive forward... then Little Drummer Boy hits it again, tossing it over to the spike strip. Wee Willy Wedgy backs up... looks like it isn't dead after all.

Oh, that seems to have angered Little Drummer Boy. A hit to flip Wee Willy Wedgy over again. Little Drummer Boy instantly turns around and hits Wee Willy Wedgy again, sending the robot upward onto Little Drummer Boy's back. The killsaws take some time to raise Little Drummer Boy's wheels into the air.

Now Little Drummer Boy is carrying Wee Willy Wedgy around. It looks like it isn't sure of what to do. It spins down the drum. Well, Little Drummer Boy knows that it needs to take advantage of the situation. So it carries Wee Willy Wedgy over to a sledgehammer. It looks like it wants the hammer to hit the tire of Wee Willy Wedgy that's hanging over Little Drummer Boy's side to knock the robot off. But the hammer simply hits the wedge a couple of times. Wee Willy Wedgy slides off anyway.

Wee Willy Wedgy is still dead. I'm not sure what Little Drummer Boy is doing. It looks like it's pacing. Back and forth, next to Wee Willy Wedgy's dead body. It starts to push Wee Willy Wedgy toward the hammer... nope. Wee Willy Wedgy is counted out.

And once again... "Botography." This time, the focus is on Neal Muzzy, driver of M.O.E. Wait, why is "Botography" telling us about the human team? Unless...

Commercials. The battlebots.com plug follows, and then Bil gives the site an extra recommendation. I've "gotta check it out"? That's a little demanding of you, isn't it, Bil?

Now it's time for "Private Liaisons with Suggestive Electra" -- I mean, "Private Lessons with Professor Electra." Carmen appears in a short skirt and a dress shirt that she apparently forgot to finish buttoning. Taking a page from "Hot for Teacher," she begins dancing in front of her class of two (adult) students. The subject of the segment is the same old "these are the illegal weapons" routine they go through every year, but if you're a heterosexual male, you probably didn't notice. Poor girl looks like she's having trouble standing up straight.

The next fight is between heavyweights M.O.E. and Stealth Terminator. Tim and Bil go over how each bot lost last season, which is good, since we never saw either of those fights.

M.O.E. has made a few changes. Most noticeable would be that the spinning bar is now attached to the robot from both above and below, so it's not just hanging above the floor if the robot gets flipped. Stealth Terminator has undergone some more serious revisions. It's lost the two side lifting arms, and increased the length of the "foot" on the front one. It still has the Arnold Schwarzenegger figure on the top, though.

No words from Mark Biero, it's just robot fightin' time. M.O.E. spins up. Stealth Terminator charges. Sparks go flying as the two robots collide.

Stealth Terminator backs up toward M.O.E. M.O.E. turns around to hit Stealth Terminator again. Lots of sparks, and one of Stealth Terminator's skirts goes flying.

Stealth Terminator charges with its rear toward M.O.E.'s spinning bar. Multiple pieces of Stealth Terminator's armor break off after that one.

Undaunted, Stealth Terminator continues to charge toward M.O.E. Again, sparks. M.O.E.'s bar will not slow down.

Stealth Terminator tries charging with the front. When it hits M.O.E., it gets knocked away. After it gets knocked away, the lifting arm is activated.

Stealth Terminator backs up and tries again, but again is too late with the arm. However, now M.O.E.'s spinning bar is slowing down.

Stealth Terminator still can't time its lifts correctly. But as it runs into M.O.E., it decreases the speed of that bar even more. M.O.E. looks like it wants to get away to get the bar moving at a deadly speed again. But then the bar simply stops.

Stealth Terminator gets its lifting arm under M.O.E.'s bar, and gets an effective lift. It doesn't flip M.O.E., it simply raises M.O.E.'s front end into the air. Stealth Terminator can only drive in circles with M.O.E. balanced on its arm like that, so it has to put the robot down.

Stealth Terminator tries to get under M.O.E. to flip it over, but M.O.E. drives away. Stealth Terminator charges toward the front of M.O.E., causing M.O.E. to slide up its front. Then Stealth Terminator raises the arm.

M.O.E.'s front slides back onto the floor. Then Stealth Terminator raises the top panel of its own body -- ah, that must be its self-righting device. However, Stealth Terminator keeps activating its weapons too late.

M.O.E. tries to push on Stealth Terminator with its back end, but Stealth Terminator doesn't budge. Stealth Terminator gets its lifting arm under M.O.E. again, and this time activates it while M.O.E. is still on top of it. However, the arm slips out from underneath.

Stealth Terminator begins to tip M.O.E. toward its side... almost flips it, but not quite. Again, with M.O.E. on Stealth Terminator, Stealth Terminator can only move in circles.

M.O.E. is still trying to push with its rear end, but Stealth Terminator is the only one that is getting any pushing done. Stealth Terminator brings its arm down on top of M.O.E. It takes a few tries to get it off.

M.O.E. is doing its darnedest to push Stealth Terminator, but isn't faring very well. Stealth Terminator is doing its darnedest to flip M.O.E. over, but also isn't doing very well.

Stealth Terminator rides the killsaws. Tim tells us that that action "racks up points." Not that I like to be contradictory or anything, but he's wrong.

Stealth Terminator's front pushes on M.O.E.'s back. And suddenly, M.O.E. is the one pushing Stealth Terminator. M.O.E. gets Stealth Terminator against the base of a screw. The two stalemate it out for a few seconds. Then, suddenly, M.O.E.'s bar begins spinning again! At full speed!

Only twenty seconds left, so M.O.E. had better hurry. Unfortunately, Stealth Terminator is on the opposite side of that spinning bar, and is pushing M.O.E. toward the wall. M.O.E.'s bar is pushed against the spike strip... and starts bending spikes flat against the strip!

With four seconds left, M.O.E. escapes and gets itself turned around. Right after the buzzer sounds, M.O.E. puts another hit on Stealth Terminator.

It's going to the judges. It's a close one -- the 24-21 decision goes to... Stealth Terminator. A pre-recorded shot of audience members booing and giving the thumbs down is shown. Tim says, "Obviously the fans couldn't disagree more." I'm a fan, and I think that was the right decision. Yes, it was close, but Stealth Terminator dominated most of the fight.

Bil explains that the judges gave Stealth Terminator the Aggression and Strategy points. We don't get to see the exact scores, though.

Carmen tells us that she disagrees (she never saw the fight), and then it's time for exit interviews. Because I have no life, I shall point out that the A in "Arj" is different than the A in "Barker." I know it's a minor and pointless observation, but it's still true, isn't it? Eh, all I know is that every time they use that font, it reminds me of how much I miss playing "Acrophobia."

Neal Muzzy states, "We're really not built to handle pushing and shoving crap." That's a bit of an oversight in robot design, isn't it?

Don't run away yet, it's time for another "Botography." This one confused me -- I think it has something to do with making up a story about Andy Sauro obtaining ties with professional thugs. All I can tell is that it involves a quote from Little Drummer Boy's team taken out of context.

Commercials. Hooray for the fast-forward button.

After we're told we need supervision to build a BattleBot (what's the fun in that?), it's time for another lightweight bout. Slap 'Em Silly looks the same as last year, except now it has some red color to its armor. Rambite 2.0 is a robot with spinning blades that curve around its round body. According to its picture on robotcombat.com, it used to have a Ziggo-style self-righting bar on the top, but has gotten rid of it for whatever reason.

Time for fightin'. Slap 'Em Silly weaves over to Rambite, which is spinning up in its... well, they're not squares anymore. Octagons. Spinning up in the blue octagon. Slap 'Em Silly gently nudges into Rambite, which instantly starts doing the Mauler dance. Break it down!

Rambite powers down the spinning blades to regain its balance. It lands on its wheels, but Slap 'Em Silly comes over to push it toward the spikes. Rambite escapes and tries to spin up again, but Slap 'Em Silly then fully pushes it into the spikes.

Slap 'Em Silly gets under Rambite and takes it to the saws, which do a little underbody work. Rambite has given up on spinning the blades for the moment. Slap 'Em Silly gets under Rambite again and tries to push it to a sledgehammer, but Rambite avoids being pounded. Rambite drives away and begins to spin the blades.

Slap 'Em Silly takes a couple of minor hits from the blades, but no damage is done. And those hits slowed the blades down, so Slap 'Em Silly gets under Rambite again. It tries to push Rambite to another set of saws, but Rambite slips off.

Rambite flees, Slap 'Em Silly chases it. Slap 'Em Silly is sitting right on top of one of the floor spinners. The spinner isn't even spinning. Slap 'Em Silly has no trouble escaping from this treacherous trap.

Rambite begins to spin up again, and gets to a pretty good speed when Slap 'Em Silly drives into it. A quick dance, and Rambite lands on its head. Slap 'Em Silly begins to push it, but sees that Rambite is beginning to spin, so it backs off.

Rambite is spinning, and it's starting to become unstable in its upside-down position. It's spinning faster and faster... and Rambite self-rights! Now that looked cool!

Slap 'Em Silly begins to chase Rambite again. Rambite has its blades spinning at less than half speed. When Rambite drives itself into the spikes, the blades quit spinning. Slap 'Em Silly gets a quick taste of ramrod, then pushes Rambite up against the wall. Slap 'Em Silly gets another taste of ramrod as Rambite escapes.

Rambite has its blades spinning fairly quickly again. However, it's also sitting between two saws. The saws pop up, and Rambite goes flying across the BattleBox! It travels all the way from the center saws in front of the drivers to the sledgehammer in the back corner by the blue octagon! Slap 'Em Silly drives over to push Rambite under the hammer, and it lands squarely on the blades, bouncing Rambite into the air.

Rambite leaves the corner, and Slap 'Em Silly continues to push. Now it looks like Rambite is pushing back, as Slap 'Em Silly gives up and turns around to see if that big spike in the back of the robot can be of any use. After a couple of failed charges, Slap 'Em Silly goes back to using the wedge.

Slap 'Em Silly pushes Rambite over the saws, which don't toss Rambite this time. Slap 'Em Silly gets under Rambite again, and pushes it over to another sledgehammer, which gives Rambite another good whack. Rambite then drives itself into a screw. And another one.

Slap 'Em Silly gets under Rambite and pushes it onto the ramrods, which give Rambite a pop. Then Slap 'Em Silly moves Rambite onto the saws, which also give it a pop. Slap 'Em Silly tries to push Rambite to another set of saws, but places Rambite between them, doing no damage that time.

Time runs out. Andy Sauro is pleased with his performance.

We're not directly told that Slap 'Em Silly won until they show the video of Andy's arm-raising. But I think we could infer it.

Commercials. No "Botography" this time.

Arj interviews Andy. This time, all of the A's on the screen look the same. Man, I'm pathetic.

Some recaps, and then the show is over. You know, they're missing out by only doing "Botographies" on robots that make it to the television rounds. For example, here's a "Botography" that landed on the cutting room floor:

"TriWedge was a middleweight that began life difficultly. With an original frame consisting of PVC piping and duct tape, it was not a robot to be feared. In fact, after its plywood armor was attached (by zip ties), it was a favorite target of the German Shepherd next door.

"It appeared that TriWedge would never be able to fight. However, what at first appeared to be a tragedy was actually a blessing in disguise. While wandering out into the road one day, TriWedge stood directly in the path of an oncoming car. The car tried to stop, but it was too late. The collision left TriWedge shattered and useless. Which was pretty much the same way as it was before, except for the shattered part.

"The driver of the vehicle, fearing a lawsuit, immediately wrote a sizeable check to TriWedge. This was the break TriWedge had been waiting for. It was now able to afford aluminum for its armor. It could even armor all of its sides now.

"Feeling confident, TriWedge knew that it was time to prove itself in the Box. So it drove itself all the way from its home in Portland, Oregon to Treasure Island in San Francisco. It was a difficult task -- every five minutes, TriWedge had to change its batteries. But eleven days after leaving Portland, TriWedge was in San Francisco, ready for the BattleBots tournament that was to take place. Unfortunately, TriWedge had arrived two weeks early, so it spent that time living under the Bay Bridge.

"But finally, the big day arrived. TriWedge found itself in the box against its first opponent, a low Hazard clone named Drazah (its builders were not particularly imaginative). The green lights lit up. Drazah began to spin its blade. TriWedge ventured forward, ready to show its mettle.

"Unfortunately, TriWedge had neglected to get anything thicker than 1/32-inch aluminum for its armor. Drazah had no trouble cutting through. And when Drazah found the PVC piping and duct tape that remained underneath, well...

"TriWedge died that day, shattered into three large pieces and several smaller pieces. Those pieces was collected in a garbage bag and unceremoniously thrown into the San Francisco Bay."


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