Somewhere along the line, quietly, “Mythbusters” passed 200 episodes. That’s a hell of an achievement for any TV series, especially a goofy reality show about two nerds blowing things up. In fact, the show’s approaching ten years on the air with consistently high ratings, and a still-rabid fan base.
And there’s reasons for that. True, we’re not talking about an ingenious program here. It’s got its flaws, and not everybody loves the personalities involved.
But it’s also got its virtues, making it one of the best shows for nerds on TV. Virtues like…
#5) Shutting Up Anti-Science Trolls and Conspiracy Theorists
Is there a moment greater for people who love science than two special effects artists taking all the moon landing nuts by the throat and kicking them in the groin repeatedly? Short of one of them getting decked by an actual astronaut? Or when they put widely-held and completely sexist beliefs to the test and utterly destroy them?
Seriously, this is a show that just last episode trashed the idea that women can’t drive because they wear high heels. That probably marks the end of that particular belief, because rebutting it is now a matter of pulling up the right YouTube clip instead of a woman forced to ask “How would you know?”
That’s really the thing, this show does America a public service by actually trying out this stuff and demonstrating whether it’s true or false. Yeah, they’ll never convince the hardcore troll…but that troll will have a harder time finding people to believe him.
#4) They Call Out Crappy Journalism
A subtle, but strong, undercurrent of “Mythbusters” is “don’t believe everything you read, especially if somebody who didn’t study physics wrote it”. There are multiple moments in the show where they’ll stumble across newspaper articles offering explicit circumstances…only to discover that article was blatantly full of crap.
This is important because honestly, even educated people can be shockingly ignorant of science. Go around your office, ask anybody with a college degree about evolution, and you’ll find at least one dolt who thinks it’s “controversial”. True, they can’t be everywhere, but they can at least chasten bad journalists where they find them.
#3) They Often Stumble Across Something Fascinating
A lot of shows will teach you something about safety methods, product design, the laws of physics, or history. A nice touch is that if, say, they start talking about something, they will actually bother to do their research before the fact, generally at Adam’s expense.
This also leads to some of the funniest moments in the show, like their consistent failure to launch a bumper by discovering that, actually, the thing has a lot of safety features built in to prevent, say, two nuts lighting an old car on fire to see what happens.