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Ladybug, ladybug, fly away... OH, THE CARNAGE!


During the previews, we're assured that "it's not the size of the bot in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the bot." In addition, there's no "I" in "robot" and if you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few bots.

"BattleBots" is sponsored by Circuit City, which is with you, and by Lucas Arts, which I guess, then, is against you.

Back to the shiny curtains and rotating tables for our introduction to the lightweights in tonight's first fight. Dr. Inferno Jr. has new weapons on its arms -- each arm has a spinning triangular blade. Except that in the fight just before the one we're about to see, one if its arms was torn off its body, so it now has only one triangular blade on one side and a wad of bloody gauze on its other side.

Tentoumushi 8.0 is the same ladybug sandbox capturing device from past seasons. This time around, they've just given up on putting a useful weapon under the dome and are going for a strategy of nothing but smothering. For whatever reason, Tentoumushi doesn't get to rotate in the introduction. Maybe the ladybug has motion sickness.

It's instantly recognizable robot fightin' time. The two robots head toward the center of the Box. Dr. Inferno Jr. gets to the side of Tentoumushi and pushes it in a circle, then into the wall.

Dr. Inferno Jr. releases and Tentoumushi runs off near a set of saws. Dr. Inferno Jr. follows. Tentoumushi turns around and gets the ladybug shell over Dr. Inferno Jr.'s body. Dr. Inferno Jr. uses that to its advantage, though, pushing itself up against the robotic body of Tentoumushi and shoving it toward another wall. Tentoumushi raises its shell to try to escape. Dr. Inferno Jr. lets off and drives away.

Dr. Inferno Jr. pretty much willingly drives under Tentoumushi's shell again. It shoves Tentoumushi toward some saws, which pop up and create some sparks. Tentoumushi kicks into reverse and the shell catches on the toy body of Dr. Inferno Jr. Tentoumushi pulls back, and Dr. Inferno Jr. starts to tip. Tentoumushi hits reverse as hard as it can, but the shell slips off and Dr. Inferno Jr. lands back on its wheels. Saved by the skirt.

Dr. Inferno Jr. drives toward Tentoumushi, but Tentoumushi misses the smother. Dr. Inferno Jr. pushes Tentoumushi over some saws. It then gets at the side of Tentoumushi and shoves it into some spikes. Tentoumushi tries to smother Dr. Inferno Jr., but Dr. Inferno Jr. just pushes it around some more. The ladybug shell remains cheerful.

Now Dr. Inferno Jr. is just trying to get out from underneath that blasted shell, but Tentoumushi won't let go. So Dr. Inferno Jr. tries a little more shoving near a sledgehammer. Tentoumushi releases, nearly tipping Dr. Inferno Jr. over again.

Tentoumushi drives itself under the sledgehammer. The hammer pounds Tentoumushi in the ladybug shell near the cut made by Dr. Inferno Jr.'s blade. The force of the hit dents the shell and makes the cut bigger. But admit it -- you wanted to see something cute get destroyed, didn't you? I know I did. Someone needs to build a robot with a big, vulnerable picture of Hello Kitty on it for hammer fodder. Oh, man, that would be so sweet...

Huh? What? Oh, the fight. Dr. Inferno Jr. is back under Tentoumushi's shell. It rams Tentoumushi against the spike strip a few times until Tentoumushi is on the spikes in such a way that its wheels don't touch the floor. Dr. Inferno Jr. frees it. Then immediately shoves it into another spike strip.

Tentoumushi runs away. Dr. Inferno Jr. deliberately drives itself under the shell and pushes Tentoumushi toward some saws. It stops next to the saws, keeping Tentoumushi's wheels off the ground. The saws repeatedly pop up and make marks on the body of Tentoumushi. Well, presumably. We see the saws and hear the sound effects added in post-production, but the saws pop up three times before we get a shot from the other side where Tentoumushi's body isn't blocking the view of the saws. Tentoumushi waves the shell around in a struggle to get free.

Tentoumushi gives up and tries to smother Dr. Inferno Jr. instead. Dr. Inferno Jr. backs up a little, and now Tentoumushi's wheels are back on the floor. Tentoumushi tries to topple Dr. Inferno Jr. again, but can't.

Dr. Inferno Jr. drives into the front of Tentoumushi's lowered shell as Tentoumushi also drives forward. This causes both robots to tilt backward, Tentoumushi's shell resting against Dr. Inferno Jr.'s toy body. Neither robot's wheels are touching the ground. Dr. Inferno Jr. spins its weapon, but doesn't hit anything. Tentoumushi appears to not be able to move its shell. The saws that are right below the two robots repeatedly appear but don't cut anything.

So the last 16 seconds of the fight consist of Tentoumushi and Dr. Inferno Jr. stuck like that. Looking for all the world like the ladybug shell and the Tomy Omnibot are engaged in a long, passionate kiss. Who says there's no love in this sport?

The buzzer sounds. Break it up, you two.

One of the replays is Tentoumushi getting its shell harmed by the hammer. However, the Circuit City logo is covering the lower left-hand corner of the screen, so we don't actually get to see it happen. Nice.

The 26-19 decision gives the victory to Dr. Inferno Jr. I'll bet that cad won't even call poor Tentoumushi ever again.

In the post-fight interview, Jason Bardis explains that since the eyes of Dr. Inferno Jr. came off during the fight, he gave them to Lisa Winter as a souvenir. For its next fight, Dr. Inferno Jr.'s weapon will be a cane that it uses to whack its opponent.

A segment that contrasts the evil of a smiling Jason Bardis with his hobby of swing dancing. Then teases of the upcoming fights. Teases such as "nanny nanny boo boo" and "your mother wears army boots."

To keep you hanging around during the commercial, it's BattleBots trivia time. "True or false: The hammers used on Son of Whyachi are actually meat tenderizers used in a slaughterhouse." Wait, the hammers the robot uses as its weapon or the hammers the builders used to construct it?

After the commercial, we learn that the answer is "True." I hope they cleaned the hammers before putting them on the robot. Unless their secret, diabolical plan is to cause opponent builders to get sick with E.coli after handling their beaten bots.

Next, Arj visited the pits to talk with some builders that have already been defeated, mostly in the preliminary rounds. That sounds all right, doesn't it? After he talks to a builder, they put a graphic over a shot of something to announce that robot's defeat. The first graphic we see says "Mungus D.O.A Round 1" over a generic shot of a tire lying in the BattleBox. Okay, first of all, the robot's name is "Mongus." Second of all, Mongus doesn't even use tires -- it's got an interesting pseudo-walking system. I also can't figure out what method they're using to tell us which "round" a robot lost in, since, for example, Gyrax was defeated in the TV rounds, but the graphic says "Round 1." Mauler, on the other hand (which is shown being loaded into an ambulance back in season two) went out in "Round 3." I think maybe my problem is treating this as if it was being presented as actual information.

Forget it, let's just go to the next fight. No Apologies will take on Son of Whyachi. In an attempt to stop the spinner (or maybe just push Son of Whyachi's body around without being hit by the spinning hammers), No Apologies has added a series of pipes to the arms that are on the sides of the robot. The pipes stick way out in front, protecting the spiked hammer from instant damage. Son of Whyachi has responded by lowering its spinning weapon so it almost touches the floor.

Robot fightin' time. Both robots leave their squares. Son of Whyachi is noticeably slow in starting to spin its weapon.

No Apologies has its pipe addition riding the floor. The robot drives up to Son of Whyachi, and the pipes go under the body of the robot. Son of Whyachi hits the front of No Apologies' body. Whoops. No Apologies backs off and gets the pipe addition to push Son of Whyachi into the base of a screw.

Whyachi's hammers aren't spinning as quickly or as consistently as they usually do. They're still spinning fast enough to hurt No Apologies, though. No Apologies raises and lowers its pipe addition, which is rattled by Son of Whyachi. No Apologies worries about the nearby saws, since it covers quite a bit more ground with that addition.

Son of Whyachi drives toward No Apologies, which backs off to the center of the Box. Son of Whyachi's weapon is going fast enough to blow the debris on the floor out of its way. Son of Whyachi drives up and hits the front of No Apologies again.

No Apologies raises and lowers the pipe addition over Son of Whyachi's weapon again, bending the pipes. No Apologies drives the pipe addition into Son of Whyachi, which breaks the pipes a little bit. At the same time, the killsaws that are underneath Son of Whyachi appear so they can make sparks on the robot's spinning weapon.

No Apologies gets its pipe addition wrecked some more by Son of Whyachi. It then is pushed around by some saws. Son of Whyachi comes over and hits the pipe addition, turning No Apologies around. Son of Whyachi hits the back of No Apologies.

No Apologies turns around and comes forward, ready to sacrifice that pipe addition if need be. It pushes itself into Son of Whyachi a few times, severely slowing down the spinning weapon. No Apologies also drops its spiked hammer once, completely missing Son of Whyachi.

Son of Whyachi drives away over some saws. It spins up again in the center of the Box. No Apologies pushes the pipe addition into Son of Whyachi, then immediately fires the spiked hammer. But No Apologies is pushed away by Son of Whyachi's weapon before the hammer can hit anything.

Son of Whyachi leaves to try to get its weapon moving faster. It has trouble doing so, and the fact that it drove over the ramrods isn't helping matters. No Apologies shows up and uses its pipe addition and/or the spike strip to bring Son of Whyachi's spinner to a complete stop.

No Apologies has the pipe addition around Son of Whyachi's weapon and is pushing the robot around. The spiked hammer of No Apologies is moving really slowly -- I think it might have been damaged.

No Apologies continues to push Son of Whyachi. Nope, I was wrong -- the hammer just activated. However, it missed hitting Son of Whyachi.

No Apologies pushes Son of Whyachi against the spike strip, then backs off. Son of Whyachi, its weapon now free of that pipe addition, begins to spin. No Apologies approaches from a different angle and gets its pipe addition underneath Son of Whyachi. Son of Whyachi breaks part of the pipe off.

That pipe addition is looking pretty sad right now. But No Apologies has a good hold on Son of Whyachi, pushing it into the base of a screw (have you noticed that it seems like robots are pushed into the bases of screws more often than the screws themselves?). The spiked hammer of No Apologies, not working at full power, taps Son of Whyachi's body.

No Apologies pushes Son of Whyachi into the actual screw. The screw raises Son of Whyachi's body off the ground. For a few seconds, the action is of No Apologies holding Son of Whyachi against the screw while the screw alternates between bouncing Son of Whyachi's body around and stalling under the weight of the robot.

No Apologies comes around to the other side and hits Son of Whyachi's body again with its spiked hammer. Still no damage. Son of Whyachi falls off the screw. No Apologies pushes it over some saws.

That pipe addition has pretty much been totaled at this point. No Apologies flips it around to its rear to get it out of the way -- it's going to attack solely with its spiked hammer now.

Man alive, I've written a lot about this fight already. Is it almost over? No Apologies briefly stops Son of Whyachi's hammers with the front of its body. Son of Whyachi moves back a foot or so and starts spinning its weapon again. No Apologies drops its hammer into the ground. One of Son of Whyachi's hammers catches it and bends the spike to uselessness.

Son of Whyachi's weapon briefly stops spinning, then begins to spin in the opposite direction. Weird. No Apologies easily stops the spinning by driving its body into the weapon. It drops its spike, still doing no damage.

No Apologies pushes Son of Whyachi into the spike strip, enduring some saws in the process. Son of Whyachi just sits there for the last few seconds of the fight while No Apologies prods. The buzzer sounds. It's about time it did.

The judges' decision is 24-21. No surprise there. The winner is No Apologies.

Official scores! In Damage, Son of Whyachi led 10-5, while in Strategy, No Apologies led 10-5. The decision-maker was Aggression, which went 9-6 in favor of No Apologies. I have no witty comments about specific judges' scores; I just thought you'd like to know.

The post-fight interview reveals that, yes, Son of Whyachi never got up to full speed. In case you didn't notice.

As they go to commercial, we see the Pit Girls using feather dusters on Huggy Bear. No mention is made of the fact that the members of the Bot Dudes team are holding white cotton briefs over their pants. In case you're keeping track, that's the second underwear sighting this season (and surprisingly, neither sighting comes from Carmen Electra). So many pairs of men's underpants... I'm not sure I like the direction this show is taking.

After the commercial, it's "Electra here, getting up in your business with This Date in Bot History." Time to rehash the ol' "late hit" fiasco from the Pressure Drop vs. Subject to Change without Reason fight from season one. This was already settled in season three, so don't get too worried about it. I'm also fairly sure that this event didn't occur two years ago this day, either. But since the robots can't beat up the referees or hit each other with folding chairs, this is the only controversy the show has to work with.

Let's go to two middleweights that are actually in this tournament. Huggy Bear is pretty much the same as it was last year, except now it's blue. Bad Attitude is also the same as it was last year. Now that the complex introductions are out of the way, let's fight.

Bad Attitude makes a quick turn so it can approach Huggy Bear from the side. Huggy Bear simply turns in place so it faces Bad Attitude. Bad Attitude briefly drives into the "hug zone," but leaves before Huggy Bear can deploy its arm-bar thing.

Bad Attitude tries again to get to the side of Huggy Bear, but Huggy Bear again turns in place. Bad Attitude stays away.

Bad Attitude tries to lure Huggy Bear over the saws, but Huggy Bear stays in place. Bad Attitude does some more driving. It sees its chance and wedges under the side of Huggy Bear. It slips out from underneath Huggy Bear before it can push the robot anywhere, though.

Huggy Bear is using the time-tested strategy of staying in one place and always facing its opponent. Bad Attitude can't make a wide enough arc to get to the side of Huggy Bear.

Huggy Bear gets around Bad Attitude, but doesn't activate the clamper. It pushes Bad Attitude near some saws, but winds up taking all of the saw damage itself. Bad Attitude escapes.

Bad Attitude gets another chance and again gets under the side of Huggy Bear. But again, it can't push Huggy Bear into any walls before Huggy Bear slides off.

Bad Attitude takes some damage from a saw, then backs up and drives over Huggy Bear like it's a speed bump. Bad Attitude then drives over some more saws, which send lots of pieces of tire flying.

Bad Attitude is driving in wide circles, trying to disorient Huggy Bear. Huggy Bear holds its ground and rotates. Bad Attitude almost gets under Huggy Bear's side. But then it drives into the hug zone, and Huggy Bear grabs it.

Huggy Bear takes Bad Attitude to some saws, but then decides against it. It drives over the saw covers (I'm surprised the saws never came up to hit Huggy Bear) and takes Bad Attitude to the sledgehammer. The hammer gets four good hits on one of the wheels of Bad Attitude.

Huggy Bear turns around and pushes Bad Attitude into a nearby screw. The screw frees Bad Attitude, which gets hit by the hammer again. Then it drives itself into the other nearby screw. Then it escapes.

Bad Attitude drives into Huggy Bear and over it. It teases the hammer again, then drives to the other side of the Box.

Huggy Bear moves to the center and goes back to turning in place while Bad Attitude drives around behind the hazards. This goes on for about thirty seconds.

Bad Attitude drives too close to the saw holes, and Pete hits it. The bottom of the wedge catches the saw and Bad Attitude goes twisting through the air! It lands on its back and on top of Huggy Bear.

Huggy Bear pushes Bad Attitude a bit, but Bad Attitude falls off as Huggy Bear turns to get it in its hug zone. Bad Attitude drives itself into the spike strip.

Bad Attitude attacks Huggy Bear, but only drives up onto it. Bad Attitude drops off as Huggy Bear pushes.

Bad Attitude tempts a saw, then drives onto Huggy Bear again. Huggy Bear uses its clamper to keep Bad Attitude's wheels off the ground. It starts to push Bad Attitude toward some saws, but since there are only five seconds left on the clock, it stays in place to keep Bad Attitude helpless at the end of the fight. Time is up.

Replays. Then more scary men in the audience with things painted on their chests. It's times like this that I'm reminded of how great of an invention the shirt really is.

Commercials. They've stopped doing that pointless "roll call."

Not much to note in the last segment. Hit of the Week, an interview about "Starsky and Hutch," and a fast recap of the fights. As the credits roll, Bil mocks melodramatic crying, though I like to think that he's trying to claw his eyes out.

Not that I haven't written enough about it already, but here's a fun craft for the kids -- make your own re-creation of the No Apologies versus Son of Whyachi fight using items you have around the house! Here's what you'll need:

A kid's-sized shoebox
A drinking straw
A toothpick
Pipe cleaners (You should have these! Every crafts project requires them!)
An empty box of 64-count crayons
Tinkertoys
A small, powerful motor

Remove the lid from the shoebox and discard it, saying something emotionally damaging to it in the process. Turn the rest of the shoebox upside-down. This will serve as No Apologies' body. Cut a slit from the center of the shoebox down toward the front using your fingernails and/or teeth (scissors are too dangerous!). Only a slit -- it needs to be able to grip the drinking straw.

Next, poke the toothpick through one of the ends of the drinking straw at a right angle. This forms the hammer of No Apologies. Place the non-toothpicked end of the straw in the slit in the shoebox.

Next, poke a hole on each side of the shoebox (actually, you might want to use the toothpick for this). Now, take a handful of pipe cleaners and tie them together to approximate the shape of the addition No Apologies put on for this fight. Insert the addition through the two holes in the shoebox. Now you've made No Apologies!

Now we're going to make Son of Whyachi. Take the empty crayon box and start whacking the corners against a hard surface, over and over, until it looks like Son of Whyachi's body. Then put the box down and learn to control your anger, for crying out loud.

Using the Tinkertoys, build something that looks more or less like the cage spinner on Son of Whyachi. I'm not going to tell you how -- I'm trying to boost your creativity here!

Finally, insert the motor into the middle of the crayon box. Mount the Tinkertoys on the motor, and make sure everything is secure. Attach the appropriate wires to the motor, connect the wires to some batteries, and store those inside the crayon box.

You're all set! The Tinkertoys should spin on their own, and all you have to do is move the boxes around manually (watch your hands near Son of Whyachi!). Have fun, and be sure to give your own voice to the robots as they fight! ("Rarr! I'm going to bash you with my Whyachi tool!" "Oh no you're not, villain!" "Kapow!")

Next time, we'll recreate the T-Minus versus Double Agent fight. Hope you're familiar with modifying pneumatic components, kids!


Answers to last week's puzzles


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