(last edited on April 29, 2014 at 1:29 am)
I’m a fan of Penn & Teller’s magic shtick. They’re subversive con artists, but they’re honest about what they’re doing; It’s entertaining and at the same time empowering. When they’re not on stage in Vegas, they’ve got a program on Showtime called Bullshit! which is kind of like a sardonic version of 60 Minutes. In the first season, they’ve debunked mystics, alien abductees, and firewalkers. That’s to be expected. But they’ve also cast a critical eye on entrenched mainstream practice. Chiropractors, smoking bans, environmental activism…they’ve all been examined and laid bare. They challenge what you think you know, exorcising lies from all parts of the political compass. The show isn’t unbiased in its presentation, mind you; I’ve wondered if the producers trumped things up more than was necessary. It’s still great. P&T want us to question and find the truth on our own, not take it for granted because some guy in a suit says so. I just picked up the second season on DVD.
As much as I like P&T, sometimes all that high-minded Libertarian thinking gets in the way of blowing stuff up real good…that’s the strength of the Discovery Channel’s Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage on Mythbusters. Veterans of the film special effects industry, Hyneman and Savage apply their pragmatic (and loony) approach to science to prove or disprove urban legends. Like, can you get stuck on an airplane toilet seat when you flush, the vacuum of spaaace locked onto your tuckus? Does toast really tend to fall butter side down? Can you beat the Breathalyzer with Tic Tacs? Can you make an assassin’s rifle bullet out of ice? If you toss a penny off the Empire State Building, is it lethal? All those questions and more are addressed every week by the Mythbuster’s crew with boundless energy and good humor. These are the kinds of folk I’d like to hang out with: smart, motivated, and just a little bit crazy.
The more you blog Dave, the more I find out what we have in common. These two shows are near the top of my TiVo’s Wishlist and I always press the button on my remote with anticipation of a new Myth Busters or Bullshit. While I don’t always agree with Penn & Teller (the smoking show comes to mind), I do love the “flying in the face of authority” of their Showtime 1/2 hour romp. I look forward to the new season greatly. Myth Busters has become a cult hit and has become one of my favorite shows of all time. The one where they nuked jaw-breakers was fantastic as well as the one where they blew up the cement truck. The show gives ya warm fuzzies all over and I’m glad you’ve given them the credit they are due.
“I reject your reality and subsititue my own!”
That’s awesome! I’m glad that we’re on the same page here! :-)
“I reject your reality and substititue my own!” is one of my favorite lines from the show! That’s being out of the box and having a good time with it.
I also like that red haired woman on the show. She’s spicy! :-)
I’ve always been a big fan of P&T, but I gotta admit, I was really really disappointed by their Vegas show. It smelled so much like two desperate has-beens trying too hard to reinvoke their past glory. They felt very dated. The Showtime show’s a little better.
Aw, that’s disappointing! I must go to Vegas and see if it’s true! Was it the crowd?
It sseems that the big magic shows never make it up to the East Coast. Too many skeptical, bitter old New Englanders…hard to grift a decent profit from.:-)
I can’t comment on their current Vegas show, but I saw them there a couple years ago (I think it was the summer of 2002). Not their best material, but it was definitely cool.
The highlight was a segment they did on the Bill of Rights. I wish I could remember it all, but they did a whole trick about making a flag dissappear wrapped up in the document, and then used a see-through Bill of Rights to do the trick again. I’m totally killing this, but they made a point about how important your rights are whether or not you could see them. My friends and I were blown away.
I also like Mythbusters – that job looks too fun. But I do have a problem with some of their “conclusions” when their tests were clearly not conclusive. But it’s still a lot of fun.
Yeah, I know what you mean about the Mythbuster’s conclusions. I was once so moved to actually visit their forum and say something, but when I read the hundreds of other would-be bunk debunkers replies, I decided that they already had their hands full :-)