Episode 1 of ‘Colosseum’ is basically a giant, unintentionally gay, Gladiator-themed circuit party

You may have recently learned that The History Channel’s YouTube page is chock full of homoerotic content. My colleague Cameron Sheetz recently compiled a list of the channel’s gayest shows, including some featuring ridiculously hot dudes wearing basically nothing because clothes weren’t invented until Victorian times or something. Like, a lot of it basically looks like a big gay Gladiators themed circuit party. (Which, actually, I’d be willing to bet these shows probably have about the same budget as a lot of circuit parties, but maybe that’s beside the point.)

Related: We need to talk about all the super homoerotic stuff happening on The History Channel’s YouTube page

Anyway, the thirst is apparently creeping onto History’s linear channel as well. Which brings me to the recently premiered colosseum. According to the network’s description, “The eight-part series vividly brings to life the rise and fall of the Roman Empire through the lens of one of the most exhilarating and brutal arenas in the history of humanity–the Colosseum. From the savage truth of a gladiator’s life as a slave-warrior to the fascinating ways Rome’s Emperors used the vast amphitheater to demonstrate…” blah blah blah. There’s lots of guys wearing basically leather jockstraps and slamming their bodies into each other.

Episode 1—which I watched on History.com because I am a young person who does not have real television only streaming things—is all about The Gladiators, aka stupid hot dudes with all the muscles who are also slaves who have to constantly fight each other to the death.

Like, look at those two above: they are basically about make out.

Unfortunately, in addition to all the mostly naked He-Mans, there’s also a lot of present-day nerds talking about the Roman Empire. (I joke! Academics are awesome and super important!) So, in Episode 1, there’s an emperor, and we learn about how Rome took over the world. But also the Romans love watching people kill each other especially if they are hot dudes. So Emperor Titus is like, “100 games of murdering now!”

These himbos are Verus and Priscus, who is a barbarian. So, they are about to go to town on each other and it’s so hot that someone wrote a poem about it which is how we know it happened.

Priscus is maybe from Germany (even though everyone in this is Australian I think a la Russell Crowe in gladiator) where they captured him for slavery. So the Romans send him to Gladiator School to learn how to do fighting with other naked men. But hahahahaha, all the historians are like, “Gladiators only ate carbs because fat protects you from being stabbed!” Which…really makes me question the accuracy of these reenactments! I mean, look at this pretty boy! He has never eaten a carb in his entire life!

I mean…

Then there’s all this stuff about how gladiators can earn their freedom if they don’t get murdered by each other, and something something about their armor and stuff, and amphitheaters. Oh this if fun: gladiators were sex symbols and celebrities, but also basically trashy like prostitutes. (The Academics’ word, not mine. Sex work is work!)

Then Priscus is advancing to the semi-finals or whatever and gets to butcher this sex bomb:

*Sigh* what a waste. Anyway, now Priscus gets to go to Rome to mud wrestle at the Colosseum. This is where he meets Verus who is the best champion man meat in the land, and also has big bearded murder daddy energy. Verus is like, “I’m going to give you the beating,” and looks at Priscus like this:

But actually, Verus becomes Priscus’s new prison daddy and they’re forever hanging out shirtless and sweaty all the time. (Notably, there has been zero mention of whether these dudes get, like, conjugal visits yet. So they have to be getting some sexual release somehow, right? Maybe with each other? Why don’t the Academics talk about THAT?! Oh god, I hope gladiator hanky-panky was consensual…but, ugh, I bet it probably wasn’t.)

Okay, so now it’s the fall and all the peasants are gathering for a big day of murders at the Colosseum. Oh, and for whatever reason the Emperor is rooting for Priscus, and for some reason he is doomed if Priscus doesn’t win?

Oh my god, I want these two to run away and be in love together! Unfortunately instead they have to try to kill each other to death while mostly naked. According to that poet guy, they went at it for hours and hours. Just grunting and sweating and stabbing away at each other all day long.

So then they’re both so tuckered out they both just give up and ask the Emperor to decide who wins. But surprise! Titus breaks his staff and gives one half to each. So…then Priscus and Verus…get married and live happily ever after? Let’s go with that!

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