The First, But Not The Champion
November 6, 2015 9:23 AM   Subscribe

For six and three-quarters seasons, no contestant had ever made it to Mount Midoriyama, the insanely difficult Stage Four of American Ninja Warrior, the grueling ultimate-obstacle-course reality show, despite the incentive of a $1 million prize for doing so. Then, in season seven, not one but two people completed the entire course, with TV cameraman Geoff Britten completing the course first, then Isaac Caldiero, a "professional nomad," beating Britten's time. Since the rules of the show state that only the fastest competitor to beat Mount Midoriyama gets the prize money, Caldiero got the million dollars and Britten got nothing - but he seems to be okay with it.
posted by mightygodking (66 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a totally weird fascination with this show and how it's basically sprung up out of nowhere into its own subculture. (Or has been around a while and only reached mainstream knowledge). Looking forward to reading this when I get home after work.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:26 AM on November 6, 2015


Stage Three of the final challenge is what really weeds 'em out. This was the first year anyone completed Stage Three. Stage Four does have that last obstacle of getting to the top of the mountain itself, but it seemed to me that it was not super hard compared to Stage 3.
posted by briank at 9:34 AM on November 6, 2015


I wish it was Samurai Warrior instead of Ninja Warrior:

Stage 1: burn incense in your helmet.

Stage 2: Perform honourable deeds for your patron.

Stage 3: When you are beheaded by your enemy, he is not offended by the smell of your helmet.
posted by crazylegs at 9:42 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


I have a lot of love for this show, though I TiVo so I can largely skip the human interest parts (which always feel super melodramatic and overdone). The contestants are, for lack of a better term, kinda a big supportive group of athletics geeks, and you really get the impression that they're all rooting for one another. Plus, the athleticism on display is really quite amazing, and in a way that you don't often see at the singular, human level in most sporting competitions.

It was awesome that someone finally won, but when I saw this on first airing I so predicted what would happen. Nobody had ever reached Stage 4, and suddenly 2 people had done it. After Britten made it up to the top, I cringed with anticipation of what was to come. In any other year, Britten would have taken the prize money.
posted by tocts at 9:43 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love this show. I love that it is ninja-vs.-obstacles and not ninja-vs-ninja, and that everyone is completely jazzed when other people do well.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:46 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Once again, let me state that "Mount Midoriyama", much like "ATM machine" or "PIN number", drives me nuts.

Second, I like the US version better mainly for the fact that it focuses on the competition. The Japanese version falls victim to the Japanese attraction for spectacle, with a number of gimmick competitors.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:46 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


Stage Four does have that last obstacle of getting to the top of the mountain itself, but it seemed to me that it was not super hard compared to Stage 3.

It's not super hard by comparison if you've had a day's rest. It's gotta be brutal immediately after stage 3.

I am so happy to see my favorite thing on mefi!
posted by desjardins at 9:47 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's not super hard by comparison if you've had a day's rest. It's gotta be brutal immediately after stage 3.

There's also the soft time limit on the first phase - if you don't make it to the rope in time, they pull the walls away.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:49 AM on November 6, 2015


I wish the show would be more clear on the timing of everything. It's hard to tell how many stages are done in the same night, or if they are spread over multiple nights.
posted by Think_Long at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2015


though I TiVo so I can largely skip the human interest parts (which always feel super melodramatic and overdone).

The worst is when they spend, like, four minutes telling somebody's touching life story, and then they faceplant on obstacle #1.
posted by dnash at 9:54 AM on November 6, 2015 [27 favorites]


If they're keeping to the way the original was done, the finals are all done over the course of a single day.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:54 AM on November 6, 2015


It's easy to say now, but I saw this coming when I saw Britten do the salmon ladder. There's something insanely fluid about the way he does it compared to everyone else's jerkiness. Clamping down on those stair steps (headline photo in the last link) further reinforced that.

And then Caldiero made it to Stage 3, and I thought, Well, that's that. I'm just glad Britten went first, so he could lay claim to being the first ANW.

Though I am a terrible person for wanting him to retire from the sport so I never have to hear the announcer yell "Britten's got talent!" ever again. Or, for that matter, references to "Mighty Kacey", because who wouldn't want to be attached to a story of hubris, over-hype, and failure?
posted by supercres at 9:56 AM on November 6, 2015


I love this show but I preferred the Japanese version if only because I can't understand what the announcers are saying. Instead I watch the American version on mute with lots of fast forwarding. I love watching them do their thing though. It looks like so much fun.
posted by bleep at 9:57 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Second, I like the US version better mainly for the fact that it focuses on the competition. The Japanese version falls victim to the Japanese attraction for spectacle, with a number of gimmick competitors.

I haven't watched the American version of Ninja Warrior, but I have to say the opposite is true of Iron Chef. The American version takes itself too seriously, while the Japanese one definitely marinates itself in spectacle, with an overly dramatic pepper bite that pans back to reveal an army of chefs at the ready!
posted by FJT at 9:58 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


The worst is when they spend, like, four minutes telling somebody's touching life story, and then they faceplant on obstacle #1.

Even worse is when Akbar dooms them with some stupid comment about how they've totally got through such and such an obstacle and OH NO, WHAT HAPPENED?!

Also, every single episode there comes a point where my wife and I start making up shit that Akbar would say. He is the John Madden of Ninja Warrior -- remember, the trick to this course is to not fall into the water! And keep those 'L's!
posted by tocts at 9:59 AM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh man, my arms are hurting just from watching that. Amazing.
posted by kmz at 10:00 AM on November 6, 2015


The worst is when they spend, like, four minutes telling somebody's touching life story, and then they faceplant on obstacle #1.

One of my favorite youtube videos ever is a video from the original Japanese show, where they spend five minutes talking about how the contestant's brother's dream was to compete on Ninja Warrior, and he had all this gear and a full training setup in the backyard, and he died before he ever had a chance to even get on the show. So his brother stepped in, and spent years training on his dead brother's equipment to fulfill his dead brother's dream. Now he's at Midoriyama, the timer starts, he starts running... and misses his very first jump. I've never seen anyone look quite so dejected.

At which point, to add insult to injury, the announcer yells "OH NO! HE'S DISHONORED HIS BROTHER'S MEMORY!"

It's most awful/darkly hilarious thing I've ever seen. I can't find the video now, unfortunately, but I'll post it if I dig it up.
posted by Itaxpica at 10:01 AM on November 6, 2015 [51 favorites]


I have to say the show completely obliterated my stupid daydreams about developing ninja skills on the sly and one day amazing friends & family (& fellow somewhat sedentary freelance editors!).

It proves beyond a shadow that you actually have to start with a very high degree of natural athletic talent (& then work like blazes).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:01 AM on November 6, 2015


Second, I like the US version better mainly for the fact that it focuses on the competition.

I would disagree- the US version feels like five minutes of backstory to one minute of competition at best. The Japanese version, which minimizes that and is mostly just people doing the runs, is way more watchable.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:04 AM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I prefer the Japanese version. I imagine a bunch of American TV execs watching it and saying "OK, how do we suck the fun out of this?"
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:10 AM on November 6, 2015 [9 favorites]


The moment Britten sees himself lose $1 million dollars is the best moment in all of live television. He's got this grin on his face and he turns to someone and says, "THAT WAS AWESOME!" There is unadulterated joy that his rival has beaten his time because he did it better.

I don't know what could make a person that good-hearted, but I don't think I know a single person like that, and it makes me happy the human race exists because somehow we produced a Geoff Britten.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:17 AM on November 6, 2015 [33 favorites]


The moment Britten sees himself lose $1 million dollars is the best moment in all of live television. He's got this grin on his face and he turns to someone and says, "THAT WAS AWESOME!" There is unadulterated joy that his rival has beaten his time because he did it better.

I don't know what could make a person that good-hearted, but I don't think I know a single person like that, and it makes me happy the human race exists because somehow we produced a Geoff Britten.


I'm going to go with he needed to keep up a smile because he knew he was on TV.
posted by dry white toast at 10:21 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


anotherpanacea, I think that comes from the us -vs- obstacles view that so many of the contestants have. People build their own at-home training courses that they then share with other contestants, and newcomers get mentored by the prior contestants, even though everyone is supposed to be competing for the same prize money.

I think that because no one has one in six years means that it's not simply an endurance race to the end, but a challenge to this self-selecting group of competitors. If someone won even a fraction of that money every year, it would be different (unless someone beat you with more style and skill than you, which could be pretty great to watch).
posted by filthy light thief at 10:23 AM on November 6, 2015


To elaborate - at least in the US program, it's been fun to watch people come back, and see friendships form between contestants old and new, with some of those "real life story" bits become about how people worked together to improve each-other's chances of completing the course. I can't recall if there is that same focus on a hardcore group of repeat contestants in the Japanese version.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:25 AM on November 6, 2015


Professional nomad? Isn't it cheating to be an actual ninja?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:28 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


Once again, let me state that "Mount Midoriyama", much like "ATM machine" or "PIN number", drives me nuts.

Because I won't actually get around to making these, let me share my scripts for comics about literal visualizations of these redundant phrases:

Person 1: "I need to go to the ATM machine."
Person 2: (thought bubble - person 1 going to a large ATM-looking thing and pulling out a smaller ATM instead of money)

Person 1" "I never share my PIN number"
Person 2: "Why not? Mine is 12"
Person 1, big-eyed in disbelief: "You know I can steal your money now, right?"
Person 2: "No, that's the 12th PIN I've had for my bank card. I'm not going to tell you my personal identification number, that would be foolish."
posted by filthy light thief at 10:31 AM on November 6, 2015 [23 favorites]


What I love about this show/sport is because of the nature of the competition -- person vs. environment -- you don't see people rooting against competitors. Sure, you see people cheering for their favorites, but you don't see anyone in the crowd going, "FALL! FALL! MISS IT, FUCKER! TRIP AND FALL!" You often seen competitors cheering each other on, even when there's real money on the line.

It's like gymnastics that way, or perhaps some other sports. You're either cheering or you're kinda silent. No one's holding up a sign reading, "YOU SUCK, NADIA!"
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:31 AM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


Professional nomad? Isn't it cheating to be an actual ninja?

Nomads aren't by definition masters of scaling unlikely and increasingly difficult obstacles. Ninja Warrior doesn't include "surviving in a foreign country for 3 weeks when you don't know the language and only have $25 USD in your pocket." (Now if someone's a professional parkourist and rock climber, that would be different.)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:32 AM on November 6, 2015


This is one of the (increasingly rare) really family friendly shows on prime time TV. My kids are FASCINATED by it. They play with their trains during the human interest parts and then watch the runs and we all go, "NOOOOO!" and I'm always shouting at the announcers to stop talking because they constantly curse the competitors by saying how well they're doing.

My older son, who has some gross motor delays, takes a class at the local gymnastics gym called "Ninja Zone" which is based on this same subculture of ninja sport that has just suddenly appeared out of nowhere. It combines "Obstacle Course Training, Gymnastics, Street Dance, & Martial Arts." But the REALLY nice thing about it is that it's deliberately inclusive of boys who have super-high energy levels and the often-attendant impulse control issues (autism, ADHD, immaturity, just plain too much energy), and as any parent with a high-energy boy will tell you it's really hard to find activities for those very high-energy little boys who can't stop moving and running and listen to directions really well. They basically run-run-run for an hour, leaping over obstacles and doing tumbling moves and spinning in circles and climbing up walls. They only take short pauses to learn the next part of the circuit and then run-run-run again. It is the high point of his week, and it has made me be like, "Wow, this is a super-weird subculture but it is extremely healthy and welcoming!" It's the one place we go with our high-energy child where he's not constantly being told to slow down, use walking feet, wait his turn, listen better, don't do that, don't climb that, stop wiggling ... and he's making more gross motor gains in "ninja class" than in occupational therapy because he's SO MOTIVATED in ninja class.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:43 AM on November 6, 2015 [46 favorites]


I can't recall if there is that same focus on a hardcore group of repeat contestants in the Japanese version.

There totally was. Repeat contestants were even branded as "Ninja Warrior Legends."
posted by mightygodking at 10:44 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


My kid does parkour at Tempest Freerunning Academy, which means as his mother I basically spend a lot of time at Tempest Freerunning Academy, which means I've had a lot of time to get to know a lot of these guys. Tocts is right -- they're a big group of supportive geeks. They love watching each other do amazing things. They clap for each other. They cheer each other on. There's a lot of testosterone applied in a generally positive fashion. I love it.

Also -- Flip Rodriguez? Nicest. Guy. Ever. And a great, great coach. Especially wonderful with kids.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:45 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


I miss the good old days, back when Americans were Gladiators. None of this Ninja Warrior stuff. Back then you had two teams, blue and red, things were simpler. And the people had strong wholesome American names like Nitro, Laser, Atlas, and Tower.

*sighs*
posted by Fizz at 11:08 AM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


I prefer the Japanese version. I imagine a bunch of American TV execs watching it and saying "OK, how do we suck the fun out of this?"

I was really into the Japanese version for a while and then they started showing the US Version and it seems like they started showing the Japanese version less and the US Version more. The US version lost me by keeping track of the times on every stage and this insistence on making it a competition between the athletes. It's not, it's ALL the athletes against Midoriyama.

The best part of the Japanese version is that, if no one finishes all four stages, there is no champion and every contestant that does finish the whole course IS a champion (or, more specifically, got the title of "Ninja Warrior" IIRC). I think the prize for winning the Japanese version is "pride and fame" rather than $1MM.

So in a sense, in any athlete beat the mountain, they all did.
posted by VTX at 11:13 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


The US version lost me by keeping track of the times on every stage and this insistence on making it a competition between the athletes

I think the reason why a lot of non sports people love this show is that it is explicitly not about intra-athlete competition. It's a bunch of dorky friends supporting each other as they complete meaningless and entertaining tasks.

I'm also a fan of competitors who develop their own mythologies, wear costumes, and think up nicknames for themselves. Basically, I want everyone to hit the course as their own superhero and dominate.
posted by Think_Long at 11:20 AM on November 6, 2015


for some reason the post's wording read to me as though britten was a cameraman for the actual ANW show itself who completed the course, idk, during a commercial break for the lulz or something.

reality you have failed me yet again
posted by poffin boffin at 11:26 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


As someone who used to dabble in rock climbing,

"And now the hang climb, that is a 15 degree incline"

bugged me because it's really more like a 165 degree incline if you want to talk about going from flat to overhanging, or at least a 75 degree one if you're going from vertical (normal climbing wall) to overhanging. 15 degrees massively understates the difficulty. At least the climbing holds there gave them places to put their feet, unlike other parts of the course.

I don't watch these regularly but I always enjoy seeing people doing well on these courses! My forearms are glad I'm not up there.
posted by A dead Quaker at 11:36 AM on November 6, 2015


reality you have failed me yet again presented me with an opportunity to see my vision come to life!

FTFY

Seriously though, shouldn't a bunch of the contests run the course with a GoPro camera mounted somewhere? Google Glass?
posted by VTX at 11:37 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


> ... you don't see anyone in the crowd going, "FALL! FALL! MISS IT, FUCKER! TRIP AND FALL!"

No, because that's what we're doing at home. I mean, like, everyone does that, right?
posted by scruss at 11:39 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


No, just you.
posted by desjardins at 11:53 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


But seriously, the fan base is pretty relentlessly positive. It's nice to see women competing (successfully or not) without having to read a lot of gross remarks about them on Twitter.
posted by desjardins at 11:55 AM on November 6, 2015


It took me two seasons to realize that Matt Iseman's twitter handle wasn't gloriously, illogically "Matisse Man" but simply his name, @mattiseman.
posted by lubujackson at 12:11 PM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


I also DVR this to fast forward through the profiles of the athletes, they really ruin the show for me.

I don't know what could make a person that good-hearted, but I don't think I know a single person like that, and it makes me happy the human race exists because somehow we produced a Geoff Britten.

A big example of the "human-interest" segment ruining the show is actually Britten. In one of the final episodes, I didn't FF through those bits 'cause I was using the time to go get a snack, but the TV was still in ear shot, and they were talking about how he manages to fit in training time while still spend time with his family and working his day job (he's a cameraman at the Raven's stadium in Baltimore, and he lives in Olney, Maryland, about 20 min away from me, so it's not a quick commute). Theeen they cut to him commenting about it and he basically comes off like the biggest dick, saying something like "yeah all these Ninja Warrior guys train like all the time and here I am working full time and have a big family and I made it to the finals too!" with this super smug grin on his face. UGH, AMERICAN TV.

I really would've like to go through the season without having knowing that. Because then it can just be about their performance and their athleticism and whatever their gimmick is during the runs. Their personal lives doesn't have to be on TV for the show to be entertaining.

And those segments cut into the time you could watch other people run who might actually pass! Like dnash said, it's so bad when they spend five+ minutes on some guy's personal story, and then he faaaails horribly. And then they cut to commercial, and then they come back and then it's like "WHILE WE WERE AWAY THESE 5 OTHER PEOPLE HAD THEIR CHANCE AND 3 OF THEM MADE IT!" WTF, you didn't have to be away for those five people!
posted by numaner at 12:35 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Speaking of the women competing: Is it just me, or are the courses (particularly in the Las Vegas finals) maybe a bit biased towards male upper-body strength? There is SO MUCH "hanging from things." Maybe it's not as true as I'd always heard, that women's bodies generally have less upper body strength than men's - but I've sometimes wondered if the design of the courses sort of precludes women from being as successful as men?
posted by dnash at 12:38 PM on November 6, 2015


Also, I'd like to point out that I thought it was both smart and nice that Caldiero let Britten be the first ANW.
posted by numaner at 12:38 PM on November 6, 2015


Speaking of the women competing: Is it just me, or are the courses (particularly in the Las Vegas finals) maybe a bit biased towards male upper-body strength?

Yes and no, because we've seen other women in other sports with what is considered "male-equivalent" upper body strength. I feel like the bias is more towards height and weight. I was super sad that Sam Sann was too short and too light to get a high enough bounce on the trampoline. That one Navy guy, I forgot his name, was even shorter than Sann, but he had enough weight to get off the trampoline onto the propeller, only to fail at the spiderwall because.. he was too short. So women of Kacy Catanzaro's stature and weight would like also fail.
posted by numaner at 12:40 PM on November 6, 2015


I only watched this twice, but I am absolutely fascinated by both the culture of the contestants and by the love shown here for it all.

The support of the contestants sort of reminds me of the Battle of the Network Stars from the 70s.
posted by AugustWest at 12:56 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't watch this particular show (though I might start), but I don't see anything unusual about people enjoying watching other people do things that are at the very edge of human ability. I mean, see also professional sports, the Olympics, the ballet, the circus. . . .
posted by KathrynT at 1:23 PM on November 6, 2015


Once again, let me state that "Mount Midoriyama", much like "ATM machine" or "PIN number", drives me nuts.

Wait, so I shouldn't be saying "the River Thames River?"
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:39 PM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm not any even remotely an actual athlete of any kind, but I do like working out and take it semi-seriously and it's still pretty exhausting... but I definitely harbor the idea that if I had 4 hours a day to train and some good coaching and that I could be all cool and nimble and parkoury and whatever.

So watching a show about people who DO train for hours a day and are basically living spider-people capable of suicidal rock climbs and precise leaps over deadly gaps who nonetheless get swept away like dust by rope climbs and doorknobs... it sort of takes that imaginary finish line and moves it so far away it almost borders on being a bummer!

Somebody put my mind at ease and tell me that Isaac Caldiero is just some 9th tier jobber and real climbers just never bother with this because it's too easy. That's gotta be what's up, right?
posted by SharkParty at 2:50 PM on November 6, 2015


Speaking of the women competing: Is it just me, or are the courses (particularly in the Las Vegas finals) maybe a bit biased towards male upper-body strength? There is SO MUCH "hanging from things." Maybe it's not as true as I'd always heard, that women's bodies generally have less upper body strength than men's - but I've sometimes wondered if the design of the courses sort of precludes women from being as successful as men?

It's very possible. In Japan, there is (or was? I haven't watched this stuff in a while) a companion show called Kunoichi that is a course built for women, and in that course there's a greater focus on agility and balance. A quick search turned up this video of Ayako Miyake running the Kunoichi course.
posted by IAmUnaware at 2:53 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


I had the biggest moment of cognitive dissonance, watching Ayako's video, because my brain started translating and then froze because I was expecting Japanese, which I don't speak, and was very confused when I understood the announcer.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 3:03 PM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


In I think the first episode of Sasuke there's this woman who's a gymnast, and she just breezes through the first stage, making it look effortless. Then she gets to the first obstacle of stage two, where you brace yourself between two walls and sort of hop forward, and she's not tall enough to do the obstacle. Nothing wrong with her physical training or skill, she's just not built with enough length of limb to continue. Seemed so unfair.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:28 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


dnash: "Is it just me, or are the courses (particularly in the Las Vegas finals) maybe a bit biased towards male upper-body strength?"

I do think they're upper-body-strength biased (and I think you'll find more men than women who can compete at that level, though obviously there are women who can and do!). I'm not sure if that grows organically out of the underlying "sport" or what, but I do often think, when they're on hanging obstacle #3 in a row, that it'd be nice to see a little more variety. I always like the running obstacles, so I'd take more of those! Or more climbing obstacles where you can use both arms and legs ... more agility-type obstacles ...

And yeah, it's so short-ist. I don't mind the tall-people-favoring obstacles, but it'd be nice if they got a short-people-favoring one in there too from time to time!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:28 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, more parkourish obstacles like a series of jumps that have to be made at a run without stopping would be cool.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:29 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


(I would totally watch American Traceur Warrior. )
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:30 PM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


We watch every episode, but only on DVR. The production is just horrible. As others have stated, the "human interest" portions of the show really ruin it. I don't mind a bit of behind-the-scenes stuff, a minute here or there about training regimes and friendships.

But the worst aspect of the production is the predictability: they generally broadcast the contestants in order of least successful to most successful, with very little variation.

The show would benefit greatly from showing every competitor, in the order in which they actually compete.

[I feel this way about the absolute shitshow that is U.S. coverage of Olympics as well. Cut the fuxking back stories, and show more actual competition, including more coverage of non-winners and non-Americans.]
posted by yesster at 4:34 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Somebody put my mind at ease and tell me that Isaac Caldiero is just some 9th tier jobber and real climbers just never bother with this because it's too easy. That's gotta be what's up, right?
posted by SharkParty at 2:50 PM "

Nope, Caldiero is a real climber with world class climbing skill. Other climbers won't show up at ANW simply because they are busy loving the climbing on real rock.

from: http://www.dpmclimbing.com/articles/view/isaac-caldiero
DPM: So your most recent send, The Present (5.14a)... how did you prep for that? You seem to be very comfortable with highballs...do you have the mind for that or is it something you have to psyche yourself up for?

Isaac: Apart from climbing up The Present a couple times on rope prior to bouldering it, I'd say I have a reputation for doing crazy highballs and solos over the past 10 years.

I'd also like to comment regarding all the posts referring to the Warriors support for each other. ANW is similar to rock climbing a sport where all compete against the difficulties of the climb and are as a class supportive of one another. In ANW Even though they all compete for the million dollars they are essentially teammates rooting for the team.
posted by Jim_Jam at 5:35 PM on November 6, 2015


I get mad at people who hate on Isaac for choosing to go second on Stage 4. He had the best Stage 3 time, so it was his choice to make, and it gave him a few more minutes of rest. Smart move! And a win-win--Geoff got to be the first ANW, but Isaac got the dough.

For the record, I picked Isaac quite early on this season as the guy who was finally gonna do it. I knew it would be one of the Wolf Pack, but Isaac in particular made things look so easy.

I'm glad they all seem to be moving away from costumes too. Flip Rodriguez made me so happy when he lost that creepy mask.
posted by Camofrog at 5:56 PM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


And I too DVR this to FF through most of the backstories. They waste so much time with that stuff and then cut back from commercial breaks to show us recaps of five awesome runs we just missed!

This is the rare show that I usually watch standing up pacing around the room, I get so into it.
posted by Camofrog at 6:01 PM on November 6, 2015


Oh, and a note on the production (again): I'd much rather have a few minutes devoted to some behind-the-scenes on the designers of the challenges, and the folks who test them. THAT would be SIGNIFICANTLY more interesting than another sob story about another competitor's personal life.
posted by yesster at 7:56 PM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


Professional nomad

That would basically be a hipster bum, wouldn't it?
posted by Grangousier at 1:25 AM on November 7, 2015


Count me as one person who likes the backstories! I like feeling some connection to the competitors.
posted by desjardins at 2:45 PM on November 7, 2015


I actually like the backstories of the people that have been on the show for several years. Like once they have a certain reputation it feels more earned. But most of them have only been on the show for a few years.

But even then, I much prefer the stories of how they train, rather than who they are. It's getting close to the territory of reality TV that makes unknown people famous just because they are on TV.
posted by numaner at 7:47 PM on November 7, 2015


I can't do American Ninja Warrior. It just doesn't seem right without Makoto Nagano and Octopus Man.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, and a note on the production (again): I'd much rather have a few minutes devoted to some behind-the-scenes on the designers of the challenges, and the folks who test them.

I would watch the shit out of this. More generally, I'd watch a documentary about the people who design challenges for all kinds of reality shows.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:43 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


More generally, I'd watch a documentary about the people who design challenges for all kinds of reality shows.

Agreed! I've been sort of fascinated with reality tv from a production and design perspective for a while, ever since I got the idea to run a public policy game show, Democracy: The Game Show. (If any reality tv folks are out there reading, let's talk!)
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:54 AM on November 9, 2015


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