In the true spirit of network TV, Judge Brett Cullum calls "Hogwash!"
Our reviews of Penn And Teller: Bullshit! (Seasons 1-3) (published October 19th, 2006), Penn And Teller: Bullshit!: The Complete Sixth Season (published June 6th, 2009), and Penn And Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Eighth Season (published May 9th, 2011) are also available.
Grab your shovels.
Penn and Teller started the Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in 2003, and skeptics and cynics have been celebrating the cerebral show ever since. The mission is to reveal cons and crimes that sucker America, and this is the fourth season of the show packaged for DVD called Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: The Complete Fourth Season. Why would two Vegas magicians take it on themselves to reveal frauds and scams? They are carrying on the tradition of master magician Harry Houdini who made it his mission late in his career to reveal common cons. The magicians say the difference between liars and the act they perform on the stage is "We tell you we're lying!."
Each show opens with a skit from Penn and Teller that introduces the subject to be debunked, and obviously Penn Jillette does all the talking while Teller mugs silently like a magical mime. Penn keeps a constant profanity laden diatribe over documentary footage while talking heads debate the arguments. Penn always takes the dark cynical side, but his arguments are as well thought as they are bombastic. In between segments we get more skits from Penn and Teller as comedic punctuation to the rants. Jillette says the name of the series and all the profanity are used to defend the show legally. Apparently calling people "liars" or "frauds" is considered slander, but calling "bullshit" or hurling "mother fucker" at someone is just good clean fun. Don't you love speech laws? They're bullshit.
During season four here's the bullshit the guys took on:
• Episode One, "The Boy Scouts"
• Episode Two, "Prostitution"
• Episode Three, "The Death Penalty"
• Episode Four, "Cryptozoology"
• Episode Five, "Ground Zero"
• Episode Six, "Pet Love"
• Episode Seven, "Reparations"
• Episode Eight, "Manners"
• Episode Nine, "Numbers"
• Episode Ten "Abstinence"
The fourth season of Penn & Teller: Bullshit! as a whole is a strong one. Taking on the Boy Scouts, Ground Zero, and the death penalty resulted in moving and compelling television. The guys showed the appropriate amount of respect for the hot button topics, and still got the arguments across eloquently even if they dropped the "f bomb" on more than one occasion. The series is a prime example of how cable television trumps network shows, because Penn & Teller: Bullshit! dares to take a stand where other shows waffle in a politically correct mess of cowardice. Penn and Teller have balls: other news shows are neutered. Now the guys do stumble now and then. I can't say the "Pet Love" episode revealed much other than people are sorta nuts when it comes to the dogs and cats in their home. But is this news? Still, it's fun to see Penn curse while kitties prance through a cat show obstacle course and fashion show.
As much as I love Penn and Teller, I'm going to call bullshit on this set's extras. Penn & Teller: Bullshit! -The Complete Fourth Season consists of ten episodes spread over three discs without anything but a photo gallery and filmographies as extras. These shows are simple fullscreen transfers of half hour episodes that don't take up that much disc space. Surely we could get some deleted scenes, bloopers, interviews or commentaries. The picture and sound is fine throughout, and each episode is delivered uncut and in the order they aired. And that folks is all we get.
Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: The Complete Fourth Season is a fresh load of ten episodes that continue the muckraking magician movement. This is an outstanding set of episodes, and it certainly makes sense as a purchase or rental if you didn't get to catch the show on cable. But be warned, you don't get much more than the episodes. If you recorded the series as it aired you don't have much reason to check this one out, unless you want to have an official copy to thrust on your more gullible friends. The biggest problem facing America is how much bullshit we fall for, again and again. Thank goodness Penn and Teller are here to save us.
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