40 Hours of Television

The class is over, but the discussion continues. Does the media shape reality, or does reality shape the media? Art can imitate life...and life can imitate art. "40 Hours of TV" will explore the media and its impact on us all.

Monday, July 04, 2005

June 29, 2005, pt.3

Show: Myth Busters
Time: 9:00 p.m.
Network: The Discovery Channel
Genre: Entertainment/educational

Science is fun! Myth Busters is about two special effects wizards, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who set out to prove -- or disprove -- urban legends and myths, using science and creativity. If you jump up from a bed and your head hits a ceiling fan, will it decapitate you? Are perpetual energy machines possible? Did a Ming Dynasty "astronaut" blast into space? The Mythbusters work to get to the bottom of those myths, by attempting to recreate the conditions of the myth.

This is a fun show. The hosts and other cast members are engaging and they do make science cool, although a lot of what they do on the show would probably result in death if some kid tried to duplicate what they've seen on an episode of Myth Busters.

We've all heard urban legends, the "friend of a friend" story. And in the age of e-mail, millions of people see these urban legends, and because they sound plausible, believe them. The lie of the urban legend creates a version of reality -- people really believe that if they forward an e-mail sent by Bill Gates (or AOL, or Nike, or IBM -- the list is pretty long) they'll get money. Walt Disney is on ice -- his body was put into cryonic storage upon his death. People like to believe these things, and I suppose it may come as a disappointment for folks when they learn that virtually all myths or urban legends are simply not true. That's reality for you.

Grade: A, because they like to blow stuff up.


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