Perhaps a better title for Penn & Teller’s Showtime series “Bullshit” is Penn & Teller’s “Steaming Pile of Bias Excrement” because the show is the most hypocritical piece of nonsense that’s come out since Eliot Spitzer was busted with a hooker. Conceptually the show is interesting as the duo attempt to uncover the money-making schemes and false facts in issues such as: the war on porn, new age medicine, dolphin magic? (that’s right dolphin magic), environmentalism, and world peace, but it all becomes lost in their choice of nutty advocates and their lack of impartial discussions. First off, who in their right mind would choose 2 magicians to expose the truth about anything? They are magicians…their job is deceiving the audience with tricks, it’s like having George W. Bush and Stuttering John team to teach pronunciation and public speaking.
That aside, the main problem with the series is all in its one-sided format which pits the two “magedians” against previously taped segments of phonies, crazies, and crazed phonies and rather than confront the people being taped they just call them stupid and then drop a few F-bombs. Occasionally they do point the microscope at more reputable advocates such as Al Gore when they look at “Being Green” but it’s a moot conversation because the statement from his reps only say that he’s too busy to appear on the show.
Anyway, apart from those tremendously huge issues, the show is almost watchable at times and most of their opinions are pretty agreeable although dolphins are not stupid and definitely not fish and being more environmental is definitely not B.S. One episode, “Stranger Danger” is actually very well done because rather than doing a voiceover over a videotape they have a parent representative from each side argue their point. The theory that parents are stressing out kids by making them over-anxious about the danger of strangers abducting them is interesting and well presented and when it’s paired with facts and a mother of an abducted and murdered child who reinforces the points, it makes for a strong conclusion.
So it’s not a fair and unbiased documentary- no big deal, it still would be fine if it was at least funny but it doesn’t really deliver there either. In all they have a few interesting points presented poorly and a pretty cool title sequence that looks like it cost more than the series itself but not much else. Either people leave their televisions on Showtime when they sleep or the producer has a ton of friends, either way Bullshit! is, well you know…