Penn and Teller have been amusing audiences for years with they're magic/comedy stage shows but being the avid fans of Henry Houdini that they are, decided to take a look at some of societies hucksters, Charlestons and other sketchy or questionable topics with they're new Showtime channel show, Bulls**t.
Named so cause calling the people they question liars would get them sued, Penn, Teller and they're team of researchers seek to look into all sorts of pseudo science, religion, get rich quick and fad schemes that they can that are used for exploitation and crack them open the best they can.
Going into they're 8th season Penn and Teller take a look at topics including and obviously not limited to:
The War on Drugs Legalized Prostitution Gun Control (We need guns, and guest Jackie Mason agrees) Faith Figures (Mother Teresa, Ghandi, Dhali Lama) Breasts (no really, the topics that surround public breast feeding and public toplessness) Violent Video Games Reparations ESP Detoxing Bottled Water Death (the industry that goes into selling you expensive caskets and mausoleums anyway) Anti Smoking Laws
and many MANY MORE! Heres some of my own personal favorite episodes:
Wal*Mart Hatred Conspiracy Theories Nuclear Power and Hybrid cars P.E.T.A (Hate them now? Loathe them by the end, guaranteed!) Recycling (It's not that good after all!) The End of the World Death Penalty (it honestly changed my opinion on it) Genetic foods and dieting (I now know who Norman Bourlag is)
Bulls**t has a number of sex related episodes and in later episodes especially is NOT ashamed to have half nude or FULLY nude models in they're shows so if you are bashful careful if you watch, oh and the models are not limited to only voluptuous females, but sometimes men too.
Bulls**t ALSO has made it a point to touch on religion and usually not very flattering. Rather then go for an instant dismissal that a lot of Hollywood atheists would, Penn and Teller will look into The Bible or the Vatican to try and hammer down what is said and all episodes on any topic has got the defenders on both sides but you know without a shadow of a doubt which side Penn and Teller are on when the episode starts and anyone who comes on the show to debate KNOWS this but try to convince the audience otherwise, even on those times when being introduced via Penns trademark "...and then theres THIS asshole!" As Religious as I am, watching some of these episodes didn't get a little uncomfortable and even made me a little upset but Penn and Teller do at least show a little decorum unlike other names I could name right now. Ironically enough, The Vatican episode has been taken out of the Season 7 DVD set, and was an episode that talked about the Vatican's censorship issues, ironic. Penn and Teller had no control over this, it simply happened.
The only other issue I can think of is that the show is REALLY reaching in it's later seasons with subjects like orgasms and cheerleaders and even one episode about "the good ol' days" where people look back with reverence to those timeless days that we all think are great but aren't. The one episode that is ripe for this show's format Airport Security will sadly never be made since cameras are illegal to use in airports.
Many later season episodes up the ante on the number of nude models and swearing that Penn gets away with. Penn is clean mouthed in the Vegas shows he and Teller still do, but on Showtime, you'd think Kevin Smith or Joe Pesci was writing the scripts and it could be a turn off to some, and yes, there is an episode about swearing and profanity.
Bulls**t has waned in later years but can remain entertaining, educational (yeah if a bit slanted) and eye opening. I hope they can make some more seasons as good as they're first batch and the final episode is rumored to be an episode where they admit they went too far or were completely biased in they're opinion. Yes, that is Bulls**t.
What did you think of this review?
Fun to Read
About the reviewer
John Nelson (TheJohn)
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Penn and Teller are not only world-famous comedians and magicians, they're also die-hard skeptics. Each episode takes topics such as abstinence, life coaching, cryptozoology, 12-step programs and psychics and uses principles of magic and trickery - as well as good ol' fashioned hidden camera sting operations - to smoke out "nonsense peddlers" and reveal how they operate.