The Discovery Channel has be dropping in quality for several years now. This isn’t telling anybody anything they don’t already know. The “dumbing down” of the U.S. has been in full swing for over a decade. That being said, the Discovery show I most hate seeing slowly ruined is Mythbusters. From the first episode I was hooked. The Mythbusters were the dream team, conclusively answering these questions that I had wondered for years. I read about certain myths and stories but actually seeing someone on TV attempt to do the experiments brought my curiosity to a whole new level. Watching the process of trial and error of scientific experimentation that Adam and Jaime go through was fascinating: the frustration, the heartaches, the disagreements and the victories. Also Adam and Jaime are fascinating people and I love reading interviews with them (especially Adam). The chemistry between them is another reason why I loved watching the show. Sadly as the seasons have pass the show and the hosts became a shell of what they once were and is why I believe that my favorite show has been sold out.
Something happened around season 4 to season 5….
The Build Team
The Mythbusters had always had “The Build Team” around, Kari, Scotty (later Grant) and Tory which was a group of “helpers” that would assist them Adam and Jaime when they needed to menial tasks that they didn’t have time for or didn’t want to do. As the show went on around the second-third season they started to be featured on camera a lot more and eventually split off into a separate team that tested smaller and easier to test myths with Jaime and Adam acting in a mentor role. It was tolerable, they had more manpower to test more myths and Grant’s skills in robotics enabled them to test myths that would have been impossible or very difficult before. Eventually in the later seasons the build team became a completely separate entity and even were moved into a separate building (M7 Industries) and now they are rarely on camera together with the original Mythbusters. They were much more tolerable interacting with Jaime and Adam who seemed to drown out their irritability factor. The myths they test are so boring or are so ridiculous to make you believe that it seems they are only testing it so they can blow something up. The blueprint room discussions are almost painful to listen now to with their awful acting and faked conversation.
Cue the painful car commercials
Earlier in the show the episodes that featured large explosions were some of the more popular and enjoyable episodes. They were fun to watch and were a necessary part of some of the myths that they were testing. Then it’s like the producers figured out that more people would watch if they blew stuff up more so gradually they started incorporating more explosions into the episodes and eventually it seemed they were only testing things that gave them an excuse to blow things up. As a result a lot of the myths became boring and predictable and pointless and you didn’t really learn anything. I don’t think my life really benefits from learning what happens when you put C4 in the microwave.
Pandering to Morons
Let’s face it, a good number of the American population are idiots, uneducated, ignorant, and have no idea about the world around them and the basic laws of physics. Let’s not forget 40% of them believe the Earth is 6000 years old. So I think has the show went on, people in charge started to realize that some of the myths were a little too intelligent for your average viewer. So many of myths were dumbed down, which meant many more explosions and firearm myths because that’s what your average American wants to see. There have been some pretty bad and outrageous myths done with this dumbed down approach in mind. I think nothing is a greater example of this then the curving bullet myth from the movie Wanted, that flicking your wrist will somehow make a projectile travelling at between 600-1000 miles per second curve around in a circle. Everything about the laws of gravity, momentum and inertia make this completely totally indisputably impossible. Although many Americans base everything they know from what they see in movies. The Mythbusters were intelligent enough to know that this is impossible yet still tested it. This was all over the forums and there are still people on there to this day arguing about it.
Adam and Jaime
One bright light of the show has always been Adam and Jaime but even they have become victims of the slow decline of the show. First off let me say I think Adam Savage is a fascinating guy, if you search for him on Youtube and watch some of his college speaking engagements the man is passionate about what he does, in front of the camera and in his personal life and he’s also a really funny and light hearted guy. Although I think he comes off as sort of a baffoon on the show sometimes and it’s like the producers tell him to act like an idiot or write something for him to do. Many of the conversations between the two seem scripted and seems like they are acting and are being told to act in a certain way. You don’t seem them arguing and disagreeing anymore which I always enjoyed watching because it gave people a chance to see inside two passionate people discussing opposing views on how to gain a desired result. Jaime sometimes just comes off as a big grump and you can tell sometimes he has no interest in what he’s testing or what the show requires him to do like he’s just going through the motions for a pay check. In the earlier seasons it just seemed like they were much more interested in what they were testing and they acted much more genuine with each other and to the camera. It was much more enjoyable to watch.
Credibility crash for cash
Back in December 2010 they spent an entire show featuring myths from the movie The Green Hornet. A movie that:
- Hadn’t been released yet
- Had nothing to do with science or the Mythbusters
- Was a high budget superhero movie that didn’t pretend to be realistic
- Had not been seen by anyone, therefore no one really cared about the myths.
Seth Rogan was on the show to promote it. A person who typically plays in a slow stoner role in his movie and doesn’t really fit with the Mythbusters at all.
Earlier in the season they had a show about a new Discovery show named Storm Chasers where they tested this tank like vehicle that they drive around in and see if it can actually withstand tornado winds (see above clip). There wasn’t a myth to test they were just seeing if they could blow this vehicle over. The entire episode was basically a big advertisement for the upcoming new series. Is this what the show has been reduced to? Using the show to advertise movies and other tv shows like some corporate prostitute? Beyond Productions and Discovery are probably getting a bunch of money for what they’re doing but it’s completely destroying the credibility of the show.
I can’t really put my finger on it but the show seems way too polished and streamlined now. The older episodes weren’t really about the myth so much but the journey that was taken to arrive at that conclusion. It was fascinating to go on that journey with them and watch the trial and error involved and all blood sweat and tears that went into something. Now everything seems to be so rushed and myths are tested in such quick succession that you really don’t put any emotional stock in it. Now if they build some big complicated device that they need to test something with, it gets some quick 30 second montage and boom it’s done, complete with paint and other pointless additions. I remember in the older episodes that I would actually get excited to find out the result of the tests now I really couldn’t care less. In older episodes a good portion of the entire episode would be about the build. The show also seems to have a really inflated budget now, destroying 10 cars to test a myth doesn’t even seem to be a big deal anymore. Like for the myth about whether we use 10% of our brains they built this big elaborate set that resembled a game show so they could ask trivia and math questions, it was a completely unnecessary and a waste to what the myth was about. I miss when the Mythbusters were the little guys in town and just seemed to making a quaint show for people who enjoyed science.