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In case you don’t have as much free time as I do, let me explain. Knights of Mayhem is a new show on A&E that follows a group of youngish Texans in their quest (get it?) to bring a real-life, honest to god, no-fake-Medieval Times-bullshit, full contact joust to the forefront of American sports. It’s Jackass meets Hard Knocks. Yes, think A Knight’s Tale, except real. And in the year 2011. And much, much sadder.

See, most of the guys on the show are a bit down on their luck. Several are out of work. A couple actually quit their jobs to pursue their dream of riding a horse at full speed toward another fully-armored man on top of a horse riding at them whilst trying to hit said man with a 10-foot wooden pole. A handful have families that they’ve left behind until they hit it big on the joust circuit. Did I mention that not all of these knights are in what you might consider to be peak physical condition?

And then there’s the not-so-small issue of the impact (get it?) that pursuing their passion has on their body. Their head gear, for example, amounts to a solid-metal helmet with no cushions. It was therefore little surprise (but fantastic entertainment!) when one of the knights nearly suffered permanent brain damage and sustained a severe concussion in a fall of his horse after his opponent out-jousted him. (Note: If this sport is really going to be a thing now, so is that word.) But I’m sure his brain injury was but a small price to pay for the fame and fortune that awaits once he becomes the King Knight. (That’s going to have to be a thing now, too. Or Knight Champion? Undisputed Knight of the World?)

So who says we don’t make anything in America anymore? We make stupid, vapid compelling reality shows…

…that I can’t stop watching.

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