Sorta Odd ThoughtBusters

MythBusters is a good show, a fun show. The hosts are funny and the show is usually good about creating an entertaining spectacle. But there’s no denying that they’ve kind of drifted away from their original purpose over the last several seasons.

The original premise of the show was to test the veracity of various recurring urban legends. Quicksand? Pop rocks and cola? Guy gets electrocuted after peeing on an electrified rail? Check, check, and check. Every couple of episodes we’d get a big explosion and everything was good.

This isn’t a bottomless well, though. It took them about three seasons to completely run out of real myths, which meant they had to start improvising. At this point, the show become more “can this crazy scene from an Action Movie/YouTube Video really happen“, with an occasional idiom or physics thought experiment on the side. This was fine too, even if you had to squint a little more — the argument could be made that YouTube is urban legends for a new generation (although half the videos the MythBusters have tested were flat-out admitted by their creators to be staged). The “extreme engineering” aspect of the show became more prominent, and you got episodes that had no real myth but featured the MythBusters making cannons and boats out of duct tape, and that was nearly as cool, so okay.

I’ve got to draw the line, however, at the episodes that are badly-concealed commercials for other people’s shows. I’m thinking, specifically, of the recent Storm Chasers and Green Hornet episode, which featured the Storm Chasers and Seth Rogan respectively as special guests. I don’t know, you guys, this seems awfully commercial… the exploding cement mixer is timeless, but an episode about some random Seth Rogan vehicle that no one will remember a year from now doesn’t promise to rerun well. The Storm Chaser episode didn’t even include any myths — it was just “Can the Storm Chasers’ vehicle, which is specifically designed to withstand heavy storms, really withstand heavy storms?” No fucking shit, Sherlock.

This first started up as early as the baseball episode, which was pretty awful (and featured Roger Clemens as a special guest — little wonder that particular masterpiece isn’t showing up in reruns). It’s not really very compelling television, though — Adam and Jamie are fun enough characters on their own without having to force chemistry with random actors who have a new movie to pimp. I certainly hope this isn’t a trend — wouldn’t it suck for MythBusters to just become another stop on the action movie press tour? Leno, Letterman, MythBusters? No way.

I can deal with definition drift as long as the show is still fun to watch — but enough with the B-listers, MythBusters. You’re better than this.


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