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Featured TV on DVD Review: Penn and Teller: Bullshit: Season Eight

May 1st, 2011

Penn and Teller: Bullshit: Season Eight - Buy from Amazon

Season Eight of Penn and Teller: Bullshit hits the home market this week in a rather timely release, as it was recently announced that it would be the last season of the show. Don't worry fans of Penn Jillette and Teller, they have a new show coming out this fall. However, does Bullshit end on a high?

  1. Cheerleaders
    After opening with some pathetically gratuitous nudity, the pair look at cheerleaders, who suffer some of the highest injury rates in all sports. Why is this and how can it be changed?
    It's a good episode, for the most part, but it's kind of ironic to have the CATO Institute accuse someone else of having an agenda. Also, the gratuitous nudity is a distraction from their argument and I've long since grown tired of it.
  2. Fast Food
    Oh jeez. One of the first things they complain about on this episode is the government forcing fast food restaurants to post calorie counts. Yeah, because having information is a bad thing. Having information somehow takes away your freedom. This woman starts listing all of the very serious health problems associated with obesity, and Penn responds with, "We get it. Fat people bug the shit out of you." Maybe on your next show you can tackle the subject again without the lies.
  3. Martial Arts
    Penn and Teller look at three basic forms of martial arts: self-defense, relaxation, and the murderous. Maybe murderous is an unfair name, but when your sparring dummy has a knife in its head, you know you are not messing around.
    Now this is the subject Penn and Teller know how to handle. They talk about the physics of board breaking, the obviously exaggerated claims of healing power, etc. They also do briefly mention the benefits of martial arts, even the mystical crap. Just getting up and moving will help; every little bit of exercise helps. On a side note, I think Stephanie's needs to check bra size. An improperly fitted bra can cause back, shoulder and neck pain.
  4. Teen Sex
    Is teen sex really as prevalent as some people say? If so, is it really a problem? And if so, who is to blame? Also, what about gays and lesbians?
    I was really hoping the "Teen" part of the title meant they wouldn't have gratuitous nudity in this episode. I was wrong. Don't try to out-porn porn. It can't be done. Just stick with the facts. When they do stick with the facts, it's a really good episode. Hell, my biggest complaint outside of the nudity is they go after targets that are just too easy at times.
  5. Easy Money
    Did they really need to do a show about this? Do they really need to prove multi-level marketing is crap?
    They do a great job pointing out the obviously flaws in multi-level marketing and how you make money not by selling products, but by recruiting other members and how that's destined to fail very quickly. Although when they mention Social Security they lose a lot of credibility.
  6. Area 51
    The mother of all conspiracy theories.
    Some of this is interesting to discuss, but we have to wade through a lot of low-hanging fruit to get to the good stuff. It's not till we get to the psychological explanation of conspiracy theories that the show takes off. It comes a little too late.
  7. Criminal Justice
    A look at the criminal justice system, how some prosecutors are more worried about their reputation than justice. And how human error and bias can pervert justice.
    Very powerful, but one that has absolutely no easy answers, so it is a whole lot less satisfying.
  8. Old People
    The episode looks several myths surrounding old people and whether or not they are true. It also looks at the issue of death with dignity.
    It's a rather mixed episode with only the death with dignity really rising to the top. The rest isn't bad, just not as compelling as other episodes.
  9. Self-Esteem
    A look at the ego fluffing industry and how an over-inflated ego is bad for you.
    I don't think anyone thinks self-esteem is bad; after all, if you do something well, you should be praised. However, the theory that being praised will make you do something well is not only fallacious, but the basis of a massive industry. Unfortunately, this episode is not praiseworthy. It's more dull than anything else.
  10. Vaccinations
    Is there a link between vaccines and autism?
    No. And this show does a great job at showing that. The series ends on a very high note and this is the kind of episode the show excells at. On a side note, it's tuna, not tuna fish.

The Extras

There are no extras for the show itself, but the first two episodes of Episodes are on disc two. This is less of a bonus feature and more of an ad for an unrelated show. There are also no subtitles and no proper chapter placement, but there are play all buttons.

The Verdict

The final season of Penn and Teller: Bullshit has a few good episodes, a few misses, but is mostly merely average. It's too bad the show has to go out on a weak season.


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