Welcome back to BattleBots Update. Last week saw the rise of Ziggo, who’s technically the reigning champion in the lightweight division in the context of this season, as it pluralized The Missing Link. Mauler outlasted Nightmare thanks to its opponent being courteous enough to drive like an idiot. Finally, Overkill managed to beat Frenzy in a boring match that might as well have been a coin toss decision. For all we know it probably was. This week six more robots enter the arena to see who’s moving on in their respective divisions.
For a moment I thought we were back at the first episode because Sean gets into all of the commentators and Bil summarizes the tournament setup again. I realize, of course, what’s going on here is the hosts are providing a quicker and more truncated version of episode one’s intro for the people arriving late who missed the first episode of BattleBots but are catching this one. These are the assholes who didn’t believe the hype or listen to the commercials for the show, yet still believed their friends (who saw it last week) who claimed it was “the most radical shit ever except for that last fight”. If this episode is any indication, next week Sean will perform his recap by yelling every syllable in the English language simultaneously while Bil puts his arm up to his mouth and makes a fart noise.
This week’s first match is between Voltarc and Bender, two heavyweight contenders. Bill Nye gives us the inside scoop on Bender and claims that the robot’s disc, which he erroneously calls a saw blade, spins at 16,000 RPM. Bill, I think someone on staff is fucking with you because if Bender’s weapon spun at 16,000 rotations per minute that means that it’s travelling at about 1,713 MPH. Maybe 1,600 RPM is what you meant to say, because that puts Bender’s weapon in the realm of 171 MPH which seems a lot more reasonable. Now, that said, when do I get my own fucking science TV show on PBS?
Bil Dwyer primes us for this episode’s builder bio on Stephen Felk by saying some nonsense about how the quietness of everyday life gets turned upside down when you learn about your neighbor’s killer robot addiction. This is said while the bullshit brass horn music from every big-city-edgy-noir film plays. It’s either that or someone in the editing room is watching Cowboy Bebop. Anyways, you might recall the builder bio segment for The Tilfords last week tried to paint them as crazy hillbillies or whatever, but get a load of Stephen Felk’s bio. Does this guy live on the set of fucking Breaking Bad or something? Christ, there are felons who’ve murdered entire families who get to spend their incarceration in rooms bigger than this dude’s apartment. I guess that’s California for ya!
Felk goes on to describe his hobby by means of a series of disjointed sentences that make absolutely zero sense. “I’m a sculptor except instead of marble it’s metal” and “if I had a kid I’d name him Voltarc and really screw him up” are among the word salads that tumble out of his gullet. Thank god this guy doesn’t have any kids, I guess. Naming your kid “Voltarc” is pretty much priming them either for a life of Transformers collecting or weird pornography… or possibly weird Transformers pornography. In any case, “Voltarc” at some point in his/her/xir/hamburger/whatever future would eventually have a Patreon account, gender reassignment surgery, and an Encyclopedia Dramatica entry after having a meltdown on DeviantArt over cartoon fanfiction. So I guess Felk is right in that naming your kid “Voltarc” would really screw them up. Maybe he’s not as crazy as I originally thought.
Felk’s segment ends with his acknowledgement that he’s wasted four years of his life. The upswing is that he’s got “a pretty decent robot” to show for it. You know, he’s not exactly wrong about any of that. I appreciate his honesty.
He’s probably going to win this fight, isn’t he?
VOLTARC vs. BENDER
Weapon: Wedge w/ lifting arm
Weapon: Horizontal spinning disc
We just got to see Voltarc in its builder’s bio spot, but basically this is a precision-machined device built to lift up opponents and shove them around. It achieves this by means of an actuated lifting arm and a ridiculously meticulous chassis. Seriously, I dare you to count the screws in this fucking thing. Voltarc wasn’t new to the sport when this match was taped and had a prior battle record of 4-3 from previous BattleBots events. Among the robots left in its wake is the legendary Razer, so Stephen Felk doesn’t fuck around. Granted, Voltarc has also lost to Razer once as well, but you get what I mean; he fucks around only 50% of the time, I guess. Voltarc is unique in that there’s really not much to say about it despite how over-engineered it is. It’s a wedge with a lifting arm. That’s it.
Thus far all we really know about Bender is incorrect since whoever wrote Bill Nye’s script added an extra 0 and fucked up the equation. Bender is a bit of a mess to explain, but essentially it’s a robot armed with a spinning disc whose ass-end is propped up off the ground by a castor wheel. This allows Bender’s
16,000 1,600 RPM weapon to aim downward in order to hit its opponents, since otherwise the combination of the robot’s chassis and its stupid ground clearance puts the disc about nine feet off the ground. Sean says Bender will need to “get in close to be effective”, which Bil unconsciously agrees to before saying hi to stock footage of the audience. Sean, buddy, let me give you the hot tip; guns aren’t allowed in BattleBots so literally everyone needs to “get in close to be effective”.
Bender, whose drivers I’ve just discovered are dressed like total assholes, doesn’t do anything for the first few seconds of the match allowing Voltarc to weave through the Hellraisers and cruise on over. Voltarc immediately gets all up in Bender’s face who begins retreating while getting its weapon spinning. I know Bill Nye goofed and said “16,000 RPM” and I came in and corrected it with a hypothetical 1,600 RPM… but I’ll be damned if that piece of shit isn’t pulling more than just 16 RPM right now. I can still see the shitty masking tape pattern on the weapon, that means it’s not spinning fast enough. And actually, none of this matters a goddamned bit because within seconds Voltarc manages to use the corner of its chassis to break Bender’s rear castor off rendering Bender completely useless. Sean Salisbury makes a “castrated” joke and rather than get huffy at him for doing his job, Bil Dwyer giggles at the pee pee joke.
Without its rear wheel it’s pretty obvious Bender’s disc is too high to strike Voltarc. That’s just the beginning of the robot’s problems because Bender then begins spinning around in place like it’s being driven by a Lego Mindstorms RCX programmed by a dumbass (i.e. me). In what I’m calling one of my favorite jump cuts in the history of the sport, Bender is suddenly mobile again with its weapon spinning in a slightly different part of the arena. I don’t really know why it’s funny to me, I guess it just implies that Bender did fuck all for such a long period of time that the editors cut out like ten minutes’ worth of footage or something. Anyways, Bender is “all systems go”, or at least as close as it’s going to get to it considering it’s not going to be able to hit Voltarc at all.
In case you’re wondering how long it takes Bender’s weapon to achieve top speed, the answer is about one minute. After finagling around the arena and getting manhandled by its opponent, Bender’s disc finally looks like it’s whipping around at the 1,600 or so RPM that was conveyed to us earlier. Not that it matters or anything, but it is amusing to hear Bil argue with Sean about why Bender is an ineffective heap of garbage. I can’t tell if Sean’s remarks about the weapon being “too small” are just carefree banter or what, but that thing’s literally a goddamned meter wide. Bill Nye said so. So, actually that means Bender’s disc is probably not that size since that whole “technical breakdown segment” was a mistake. I just realized that.
Watch closely in the upper left corner of the screen and you’ll see Stephen Felk’s face appear to come talk about mankind’s violent tendencies. That means Sean and Bil have used their “phone a friend” lifeline and called upon Felk to help them get through this snoozefest. Felk says humans have killed everything that got in their way and that’s why we rule. He then says BattleBots is like pro football, which pisses off Sean Salisbury and prompts Bil Dwyer to start talking shit again. As the match winds down Sean tells Bender’s team to take their shades off while Stephen Felk awkwardly runs into the TV camera.
WINNER: Voltarc, 9-0
Bender loses nine to fucking zero; not a single pity point from any of the judges. After the fight Stephen Felk, Voltarc (the robot), and Voltarc (his apparent son) say they had a good win even if it is was “lame”. Damn.
KILLERHURTZ vs. KNOME II
Weapon: Pneumatic axe
Team Duct Tape
Weapon: Bulldozer scoop
Killerhurtz is our first international competitor this season and traveled all the way from Oxford, England to compete in BattleBots. Killerhurtz has already made a name for itself both here at BattleBots and also in Robot Wars as well; in BattleBots specifically the robot has a 5-3 record coming into season one. That probably has something to do with the fact that Killerhurtz is built like a goddamned tank and despite the fact that it features automotive-style steering it’s surprisingly mobile and its pneumatic axe strikes like a sonofabitch. Sean mentions Killerhurtz is driven by two people making this fight “two versus one”; he tries to set Bil up for one of his trademark sex groaners but Bil isn’t paying attention. Shoutouts to the totally-not-a-planted-hot-chick with the Microsoft Office “KILLER HURTZ” WordArt sign.
Knome II is… well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if the Killerhurtz team got confused and thought they were back on the set of Robot Wars for a moment after seeing this work of art. Knome II is a fucking disasterpiece of a gimmick weighing in at just 126 pounds. To better put this figure into perspective, the cutoff for the middleweight division was about 120 pounds and the upper limit of the heavyweight class was 210. That means there’s room for a weapon on Knome II. Like, a real weapon, not some bullshit plow made from a single piece of bent up diamond-plated aluminum. Alternatively, I’m 100% positive Knome II could’ve dropped a few pounds to compete in the middleweight class to make its first bout not as one-sided. Point is, Jerome Miles doesn’t give two shits because he straight up told Jason Sklar he wasn’t going to win anyways. Jason thinks he smoked him, but Jerome is just telling it like it is. Look at this fucking thing, part of its decor literally includes those god awful spinning plastic daisies that you used to see in the uncut front lawns of every white trash home in America in the eighties.
Killerhurtz is the early aggressor in this match because its opponent moves about as fast a desert boulder. The Brits don’t even need to fire their axe to start causing damage because merely running into the side of Knome II causes its stupid ass head to pop off and bounce across the arena. At this point, Knome II is completely dead. John Reid from the Killerhurtz team is seen visibly laughing his ass off and when the cameras cut back to the “action” Killerhurtz takes another swing with its axe and shatters what used to be the “neck” part of Knome II. Bil Dwyer blurts out “Knome II: Lost In New York” which makes for an extremely tenuous reference to the Home Alone movie sequel. Sean finally breaks and you can hear him start laughing into his microphone because the gravity of what it means to share a table with Bil fucking Dwyer has finally sunk in. Well played, Bil.
Meanwhile, Killerhurtz goes in for some extra hits, misses, and crashes into the spike strip over near this season’s pissant Pulverizers. The Pulverizer goes to town on the side of Killerhurtz and serves no other purpose than to scuff up the finish on one of its “WINNER” medallions, which is okay because they’re about to get another one anyways. Knome II is counted out and when the commentators review the
tale of the tape battle-stats it turns out that once again the editors decided to take the piss out of this match and threw in a “decapitations” category, which Killerhurtz obviously had the edge in. One of the Sklars makes a bunch of jokes about European royalty to the Killerhurtz team and I can’t decide if it’s inadvertently offensive or not, while Donna D’Errico comforts Jerome by making a joke about premature ejaculation and kisses Knome II’s hard hat. Bil misses the dick joke because the vocabulary used was higher than a 4th grade reading level, but he goes all in on Donna making out with the robot.
WINNER: Killerhurtz, KO
Man, Christian Carlberg is really getting the spotlight this season; we’re just two episodes in and we’ve had back-to-back builder spots on him and his robots. Granted, Overkill is kind of a piece of shit, but his super heavyweight Minion is currently the reigning champion in its class this season. That’s why Sean said it was ranked #1, and I guess we’re not supposed to pay any attention to the neon green toy chainsaw the robot is sporting in its introductory shot?
This segment seems to be less about Christian and more about his team, which consists of him and two other people. Luke, the first person they introduce, lets us know right off the bat that he’s a lazy fuckhead who doesn’t do anything and likes to show up when most of the work is done. Alright, good start. Brian is the other guy and he talks about how him and Christian never agree on anything and how he thinks having a roll cage is more important than bigger motors. Sure, that’s debatable I guess, but it doesn’t really matter because just mere seconds later Brian is seen riding around atop Minion and Christian decides to drive him into oncoming traffic. There’s also apparently one more team member, Jessica, who happens to be Christian’s girlfriend. I had to go look this up to see what kinds of jokes I’d be allowed to make here and since the two of them ended up getting hitched I don’t really think I can be a piece of shit and make fun of the fact that she looks more like “Christian’s mom” than “Christian’s girlfriend”. Instead, I guess I should say something nice… good job, uh… with the stickers?
Finally, just to flaunt their bravado and wave their dicks around, we get a parting shot of Minion towing three goddamned cars. Considering they’re running this spot before Minion goes up against a fucking ram bot I think this constitutes overkill.
Shitty Overkill pun unintended, but pointed out.
MINION vs. GRAY MATTER
Weapon: Vertical saw & rear wedge
Team Gray Matter
Weapon: 16″ spike
Minion’s up first in this match and thankfully since it was running around without its weapon and armor in the Team Coolrobots segment that means I have something worth talking about in this paragraph. Minion’s weapon is a rescue saw that seriously just looks like the team took it off the shelf from a Home Depot, stuck it on their robot, and called it a day. The single saw is actually a step down from Minion’s previous weapon, which featured two saws, but to be honest in any case the weaponry looks kind of stupid on a robot of this size and weight. Minion’s real weapon is its six-wheel drive system that’ll allow it to plow through its opponents and take them to the arena hazards. We literally just saw this robot tow three goddamned cars, you’re not fooling anyone Christian. Patrick Campbell, the TMZ.com guy that Christian beat in the heavyweight division last week, idly spectates this fight along with Colonel Sanders from the Mauler team.
Under any other circumstances I would completely trash and dismantle Gray Matter’s design and choice of weapon — especially because it’s a fucking super heavyweight — however considering it’s opponent, Minion, is pretty much naked this could very well be the one time in history where the planets have aligned for a robot armed with nothing more than a spike. What I’m trying to say is that Gray Matter isn’t a good robot by any stretch, it just so happens to have lucked out and be presented with an opportunity where its performance may be markedly less shitty. A girl in the audience holds up a sign asking for batteries and Bil Dwyer misses the obvious dildo joke. Shit dude, last week you were all about bullshit innuendos and now you’re missing them left and right. Did Sean fucking hit you or something?
Right away Gray Matter is clearly having a hard time driving in a straight line as it starts doing donuts and wheelies as it tries to get across the floor to Minion. If you’re going to drive like someone with affluenza you have to be a god damn idiot to think a precision weapon is a good idea, why not use a mace or something that caters to whatever kind of fighting style Gray Matter is currently demonstrating? The two robots lock heads in the red square and unless I’m gravely mistaken it looks to me like Gray Matter is doing all the pushing and shoving here. Surely there’s a builder bio segment for Israel Matthewson that we didn’t get to see where Gray Matter pulls a whole semi-truck or something.
Even more alarming is the fact that Minion’s weapon has decided to bounce. I don’t know how Gray Matter did it but somehow its spike managed to not just stop Minion’s blade, but cause it to literally fucking explode. Here we have the current #1 ranked super heavyweight — the reigning champion at that — and it’s built like Knome fucking II. Christian shakes his head and as soon as the camera cuts away he presumably punches out Brian for convincing him that stealing the portable saw from Home Depot was a good idea. Gray Matter smells blood and wastes no time jamming its spike up Minion’s ass between the seams in its Lexan armor.
Bil and Sean take some time to argue/ponder whether or not Gray Matter’s drivetrain has enough oomph behind it to stab completely through what little armor Minion has, and Gray Matter responds by doing exactly that. Minion gets an ass piercing as this battle trots along into FULL PENETRATION. The Killsaws separate the two bots while the two hosts continue to be bewildered, this time claiming the robots’ wheels are “super rubber” because they can withstand so much punishment from the arena hazards without going flat. Now, while I’m sure there are builders dumb enough to use legitimate pneumatic tires on their robots, wouldn’t it be easier to assume that there are alternatives? You know, like the foam-filled wheels popularly used on motorized wheelchairs and fatty scooters?
Minion starts turning the match around in the final few seconds while Sean talks about how this might be an “upset” if Minion wins, forgetting the fact that Minion is the reigning champion and it would need to be the other way around for that to be an upset. Sean asks Bil if he has a favorite once the fight ends and as always Bil isn’t fucking paying attention and Sean just plows past him to keep the show on track. We at least get an interesting camera angle from inside the Killsaws, and then find out Minion wins the fight by a retarded margin. I’m not saying I disagree with the verdict overall, but how the fuck could one of the three judges scoring this match watch this fight and not award Gray Matter their point for “damage”? Minion barely did a fucking thing aside from spend the majority of the fight driving backward.
WINNER: Minion, 7-2
Just before the break Bil gets back on his game and makes a dick joke over the stock footage of San Francisco that plays as the show’s outro to commercials. I can’t decide if that’s a homophobic joke or just something painfully immature. Given Bil’s demeanor thus far I’m going with the latter. After the break, Sean compliments Israel Matthewson on his valiant effort in the arena but uses the term “young man” to describe him. Dude, Israel looks like someone’s fucking dad. Bil chimes in and ruins the moment by insulting Gray Matter’s weaponry. That’s my job asshole, and for all of Gray Matter’s lack of “sophistication” it didn’t take long for its caveman tool to completely and irreparably fuck up Minion’s weapon.
Can you guess what this episode’s Hit of the Week is? That’s right, it’s Killerhurtz getting a free win from Knome II!
Another week, another post. I’ve gotta say, after having gone back and re-re-reviewed this episode I really think Gray Matter got shafted in favor of the reigning champion, but that’s just my opinion. Even if you disagree with that sentiment, I’m sure we’d agree that definitely wasn’t a 7-2 match. This week things are going to be a little weird on The Update because ABC is running a sneak preview episode of the new season of BattleBots TOMORROW (at 10PM Eastern / 9PM Central). Obviously, I’m going to be covering this. However, depending upon the time frame in which I am able to get a digital copy of the episode and write its article it might end up taking the place of what would otherwise be another season one recap. That’ll start back up again the week after next.
Everything will work itself out in the end, until we inevitably put season one on hold again to provide full coverage on the new ABC season when it airs next month!