Case Number 21308: Small Claims Court

PENN AND TELLER: BULLSHIT! THE COMPLETE EIGHTH SEASON

Paramount // 2011 // 275 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 9th, 2011

The Charge

Things aren't always black & white.

The Case

Welcome to the eighth season of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Think you know everything? Penn and Teller are here to set you straight! With their intense muckraking skills and penchant for dirty words and even dirtier body parts, everyone's favorite magicians are out to prove that you don't know jack about the things you THINK you're an expert at! In this season the twosome discover the real truth behind cheerleading, the titillating details on teens and their sexuality and what's really behind everyone freaking out over vaccinations! Get ready to step in some serious bull honky with Penn & Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Eighth Season!

The ten episodes included on this two disc set:

* "Cheerleaders"
* "Fast Food"
* "Martial Arts"
* "Teen Sex"
* "Easy Money"
* "Area 51"
* "Criminal Justice"
* "Old People"
* "Self Esteem"
* "Vaccinations"

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! is as polarizing a show as I've ever seen. I can't imagine it's the kind of program people plop down and watch lightly. I'd go so far as to say it's a show that defines the word 'confrontational.' The show does something fascinating, which is to take sometimes deeply serious topics (the elderly, teen sex, self esteem, criminal justice) and puts a comedic, often acidic spin on them to find out the real truth behind our assumptions and misgivings on said topics. All of this is done using some of the filthiest language this side of George Carlin and lots male and female genitalia. For all intents and purposes, Penn & Teller: Bullshit! is a cross between a Michael Moore documentary, a Kevin Smith film, and late night Cinemax programming.

Yet for all its ragged edges, I find Penn & Teller: Bullshit! to be a fascinating exploration into things I thought I knew. The whole point Penn and Teller try to make is that the things we think we're sure of are often, well...bullshit. Take their episode "Easy Money" (Rodney Dangerfield not included), which delves into companies such as Mary Kay Cosmetics or Man Cave products (meats and BBQ accessories) and shows us what really goes on behind the curtains. I personally have known many people who have been drawn into what is eventually a pyramid scheme -- sure, you hock your products but you're also trying to recruit more people sell underneath you (hence, a 'pyramid'). I'd never put a lot of thought into those companies, and after watching Penn and Teller's take on it I can now see how it's all a big ruse that doesn't actually make people a lot of money (and, in fact, often takes it away from them).

Another of my favorite episodes dealt with our nation's senior citizens, and how we have preconceived notions about what they're like (bad drivers, a crusty old smell, etc). During one segment of this episode a test is set up to see if blindfolded participants can tell the difference between an 'old person smell' and a 'young person smell'. Guess what? Surprise! Fifty six percent got it wrong! Even in the lesser episodes of this eight season ("Self Esteem" and "Area 51") there is still enough information to hold even the most casual viewer's attention.

Then, of course, there is the language and the nudity. Let's not beat around the bush (um, no pun intended) -- if you're easily offended by things like swearing or nakedness, Penn & Teller: Bullshit! is a show to actively avoid. A lot -- and I mean A LOT -- of the episodes contain language that would make a sailor blush. And yet, that's part of the show's charm -- the topics can be deathly serious, but the delivery is often just this side of the nuthouse. I'm sure the more titillating aspects are part of the draw for some viewers. However, the good news is that this fluff is offset by good reporting skills and informative content.

Penn and Teller may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it can hardly be said they don't do their homework when it comes to their subject matter. Penn & Teller: Bullshit! is often funny, always informative and sometimes even offensive. Served up with a side of bulbous buttocks.

All ten episodes of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Eighth Season are presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a show that combines both high quality, professional camera work and sometimes rougher handheld shots. So, viewers are going to get a mixed bag of sharp images and sometimes not-so-sharp images. Considering the show (it's not a special effects laden action movie), this is a very good looking transfer that should please fans. The soundtracks are presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English and, while serviceable, aren't anything spectacular. Except for the opening and closing theme songs, these aren't very surround heavy sound mixes, nor do they need to be. Also included on this set is a 2.0 stereo mix in English, as well as a mono mix in Spanish.

The extra features are rather slim -- all viewers get on this set are the fist two episodes of the new Showtime television series Episodes starring Matt LeBlanc (Friends).

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile
Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 275 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0346369/combined