Spartacus is set at a time when Western Civilization was in its infancy, and made as if it died there in the cradle. The first six episodes consisted of Spartacus chopping heads off while bellowing, “I must find my wife!” When he found his wife, and she was dead, he spent the next six episodes chopping heads off and bellowing, “I miss my wife!” I realize that readers who have not seen the show may be baffled by the byzantine nature of its storyline, but try to keep up nonetheless.
Longtime friends can confirm that my real talents, such as they are, lie in the realm of fiction rather than non-fiction writing. As proof, I offer my own script for a new episode of Spartacus, which I humbly submit for consideration to the producers of series. As this is a family blog, I have omitted all swearing, though you should feel free to imagine certain four and twelve-letter swearwords sprinkled liberally throughout.
Exterior, Gladiator training school. Enter SPARTACUS and his six-pack abs. The sun reflects off them, blinding several stage hands.
SPARTACUS“I need a new wife!”
Enter BATIATUS, his master, having sex with a slave.
BATIATUS“Spartacus! You bring DISHONOR on the House of Batiatus!”
Enter CRIXUS, another gladiator, preceded by his abs.
CRIXUS“I am the TRUE champion of CAPUA!”
SPARTACUS“No, I am the TRUE champion of CAPUA! Still, you think maybe a Gaul like you and a guy like me..."
CRIXUS attacks. They fight, making a point to hit each others’ swords. A tidal wave of blood knocks everyone off their feet. They are about to resume fighting when DOCTORE, the gladiator trainer, appears and cracks his whip.
DOCTORE“You can’t fight in here! This is the gladiator school! Ah...Ah...get it? Get it? Plus it’s a Kubrick reference, from Dr. Strangelove. But he also directed the movie version of Spartacus. You see, what I’m doing is subverting your expectations by inserting a metafictional reference, and...er...ah...come on, people. Work with me. You can win independent film awards for this sort of thing.”
Enter XENA, naked, with an entourage of NAKED SLAVES in tow.
XENA“My husband, could you have Crixus brought naked to my room? Make sure he’s spritzed with a thin but glistening sheen of oil.”
BATIATUS“Certainly, my dear wife. My goodness, how you two seem to be getting on well these days. No doubt you’ll have an enjoyable conversation or something. Anyhoo, I’m off to the market for precisely the amount of time it would take for you to have sex with a gladiator, if you were doing that behind my back, which you’re not, of course. Ciao.”
SPARTACUS (from below)“While you’re at the market, can you find me a wife? I really need one. Seriously.You have no idea.”
Interior of BATIATUS’S digs. BATIATUS sits at his desk, writing a love poem for his wife, XENA. XENA and CRIXUS can be heard GRUNTING and MOANING and SIGHING and POUNDING THE WALLS in the next room. This goes on for twenty minutes. Enter SPARTACUS, with little frowney faces drawn on each of his abs. When he flexes, they become smiley faces.
BATIATUS (shouting over the noise coming from the bedroom)“Ah, Spartacus. Your presence brings GREAT HONOUR on the House of Batiatus. Now pack your things. You’re fighting a TEN FOOT TALL NINJA with FOUR ARMS in the arena this afternoon. I must warn you. No ONE has EVER defeated the TEN FOOT NINJA with FOUR ARMS. There’s nothing I can do. I owe the man a dollar fifty.”
SPARTACUS“Is he looking for a good husband?”
Exterior of arena. By which I mean interior of arena. The part of the arena that’s interior to the physical structure but actually is open to the air. You know what I mean. Thousands of HALF NAKED ROMANS await the arrival of SPARTACUS. They pass the time by the doing the wave. BATIATUS watches from his private booth. An IRRITATING ROMAN BLONDE WOMAN is there. XENA and CRIXUS are making out in the back row.
IRRITATING ROMAN BLONDE WOMAN“Oooo how I totally hate that Spartacus. And why do all Romans have British accents?”
BATIATUS“Spartacus may yet bring GREAT HONOUR on the House of Batiatus. Or GREAT DISHONOUR. Or, his effect might be more-or-less neutral in terms of its impact on the relative honour standing of the House of Batiatus. There’s no way of knowing without an objective consideration of his win-loss record over the course of the gladiatorial season.”
Cut to: SPARTACUS, entering the arena. He is BUCK NAKED except that he is carrying a sword in each hand and is also holding a shield. Don’t ask how. The CROWD begins to chant his name.
SPARTACUS“I am SPARTACUS! Are any of you ladies single?”’
ENTER a TEN FOOT TALL NINJA with FOUR ARMS. He is carrying a sword, an axe, a spear, and an atom bomb. He and SPARTACUS fight. They make sounds such as “ARAAGH” and “OOOGHA” and “BLAGH” and say such things as “Hey! Careful there!” SPARTACUS is slashed across the chest, arms, legs, and nearly gets his shield-holder taken off. His hair is ripped out. His teeth are smashed in. He loses both eyes and has to put them back in to see, but he puts them in BACKWARDS and sees everything upside down. One of his six abs gets removed with a cake-lifter. He is finished off with a horrendous noogie. Spartacus collapses all dirty and sweaty. Four men throw buckets of blood on the camera. The NINJA pauses for a few hours to GLOAT.
Cut to: SPARTACUS, having a vision of his WIFE, who is named MILDRED.
MILDRED“Is that the best you can do? Typical. You never could keep it up. What will the neighbours think? And you never help around the house. I should have listened to my mother and married a doctor.”
SPARTACUS“I want my wife!”
MILDRED“Not now. I have a headache. And If you think I’m washing your loin-cloths later, you’ve got another thing coming, mister. Anyway, get up and kill this Ninja. Get that promotion you’re always bragging about.”
MILDRED“Because everyone wants to see you have sex with Xena next season.”
Cut to: SPARTACUS, raising both his swords and his shield. The NINJA goes to finish him off but stubs his toe. While he’s hopping around on one leg, saying “Ow! Ow! Ow!”, SPARTACUS cuts it off. Then his other leg, his ears, and each one of his fingers in turn. Then his arms, which SPARTACUS uses to wail on the NINJA for about half an hour. A thousand-gallon drum of blood is thrown at the camera. Finally, SPARTACUS chops off the NINJA’S head and punts it for twenty-five yard field goal. The CROWD goes WILD.
SPARTACUS“That one’s for the ladies!”
Cut to BATIATUS, who is being jostled by XENA and CRIXUS who are rolling about the booth naked in a sweaty embrace.
BATIATUS“Spartacus! You bring GREAT HONOUR on the House of Batiatus!”
SPARTACUS“So you’re saying you find me attractive?”
Next week on Spartacus: SPARTACUS searches a mail-order tablet for a wife. BATIATUS accuses him of dishonouring the House of Batiatus, and condemns him to fight a BRONTOSAURUS. The IRRITATING ROMAN BLONDE WOMAN tries to frame SPARTACUS for tax evasion. Everyone has sex while DOCTORE throws buckets of blood around. XENA and CRIXUS continue their secret affair.