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Case Number 10190: Small Claims Court

Buy Penn And Teller: Bullshit! (Seasons 1-3) at Amazon

Penn And Teller: Bullshit! (Seasons 1-3)

Penn And Teller: Bullshit!
2003 // 364 Minutes // Not Rated
Penn And Teller: Bullshit!
2004 // 400 Minutes // Not Rated
Penn And Teller: Bullshit!
2005 // 376 Minutes // Not Rated
Released by Showtime Entertainment
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // October 19th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum calls bullshit!

Editor's Note

Our reviews of Penn And Teller: Bullshit!: The Complete Fourth Season (published February 20th, 2007), 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.

The Charge

Penn Jillette: Sure, we lie, cheat, and swindle. We've been known to deal in a bit of bullshit ourselves. So some of you may ask, "Why pee on someone else's parade?" One important difference: WE TELL YOU WE'RE LYING!

The Case

As Harry Houdini neared the late stages of his career before an untimely death, he picked up a cause. The famous magician wanted to arm people with knowledge that would empower them not to be fooled, and he wanted to debunk cons that got the common man every time. Decades later and Penn and Teller seem to have reached this point in their career. In Houdini's honor they have picked up the torch from out of history to run with it. Despite the curse word in the title, Bullshit! isn't concerned with the profane. It's about teaching people how the world works and revealing charlatans of all color and creed. Think of it as a way to empower yourself with the facts behind just about anything and everything designed to con you out of a buck. Ever wonder about psychics, ghosts, or chiropractors? Or how about ancient herbal remedies, second hand smoke, or whether or not a twelve step program works? These guys will let you know. Worse still…they're going to entertain you and then inflame your sensibility, because one day they will tackle a topic you cling to as your own personal bullshit. It's all fun and games until they shatter a belief you've long held. And trust me, whether it's yoga class or Bible study…Penn and Teller will get you eventually. Oh yes, you will be offended at what gets labeled in each thirty minute episode as Bullshit.

We're going to play catch up with this cable series which debuted in 2003 on Showtime, since DVD Verdict has not reviewed all of these sets. At the time of this writing Penn and Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Third Season is the most recent to hit store shelves, while the fourth season is still airing or completing its fourth run. So let's take a look at the features and topics of each volume of the Showtime series one at a time.

Season 1 episodes include the following from 2003:
• Talking to the Dead
• Alternative Medicine
• Alien Abductions
• End of the World
• Second Hand Smoke/Baby Bullshit
• Sex, Sex, Sex
• Feng Shui/Bottled Water
• Creationism
• Self-Helpless
• ESP
• Eat This!
• Ouija Boards/Near Death Experiences
• Environmental Hysteria

Penn and Teller: Bullshit! The Complete First Season is available and includes three small slipcases surrounded by a cardboard sleeve. The aspect ratio is the original full screen, and the transfer looks great with the documentary style causing some scenes to look better than others. Sound is a full blown surround mix which does wonders with the music, but really isn't needed since the dialogue drives the show. But you haven't lived until you hear Penn Jilette screaming at you from all your speakers. Extras are actually quite nice considering this is the only release of Bullshit to date that offers them. No commentaries are needed since their opinions are clear. But there are nice features, such as an interview with James Randi (an advisor and declared inspiration of the show for his foundation debunking psychics and myths). Also included is a look at a rough cut of an episode never aired on ghost sightings without any input from Penn and Teller. Obviously someone else does a temporary track to show the basic structure, and the Las Vegas magicians do everything quickly in post production to crank out the shows. Deleted scenes are offered, a gag reel of outtakes, a behind-the-scenes feature, looks at the promos, and text bios of the hosts.

Season 2 episodes include the 2004 season covering:
• P.E.T.A.
• Safety Hysteria
• The Business of Love
• War on Drugs
• Recycling
• The Bible: Fact or Fiction?
• Yoga/Tantric Sex
• Fountain of Youth
• Death, Inc.
• Profanity
• 12-Stepping
• Exercise vs. Genetics
• Hypnosis

Penn and Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Second Season comes complete on three DVDs in standard size cases with a cardboard book like sleeve to house them. It is deceptively larger than the other two because they do not use the plastic slim cases, but ironically there's no special features to go along with the size. Full screen transfer once again with the beautiful Emmy-nominated music in full surround.

Season 3 episodes include these topics for 2005:
• Circumcision
• Family Values
• Conspiracy Theories
• Life Coaching
• Holier Than Thou
• College
• Big Brother
• Hair
• Gun Control
• Ghost Busters
• Endangered Species
• Signs from Heaven
• The Best

Penn and Teller: Bullshit! The Complete Third Season comes on three DVDs housed in slim plastic cases, and yet another cardboard book-like cover. You should know the drill by now—full screen and surround sound make another appearance. Bonus features this time out include a photo gallery and text biographies again. It's almost bare bones when you think about it.

Bullshit! is entertaining and informative, and Penn and Teller fashion themselves into modern muckrakers in every episode. The good news is they show a lot of sympathy for any victims of a scam. The bad news is they are irreverent, and not above using nudity and profanity to make a point. Usually you will clap with glee if you agree with them, and shake your head in disdain or frustration if you don't. All of their research is extremely well done, but they do not allow their targets a fair chance at rebuttal. Season Two's unapologetically in your face episode on whether the Bible is fact or fiction becomes a lightning rod that will surely offend people of the Christian faith that believe in its veracity. Penn Jilette's delivery is loud, brash, and extremely abrasive. A marathon viewing of his rants could prove audibly exhausting.

Bullshit! is a good example of how daring cable television can be, and also a grand display of critical thinking on the airwaves. There aren't many shows that ask you to think about issues like those brought up in Bullshit!, and for that reason alone any one of these three sets make for fascinating and compelling viewing. If you can get past an asshole magician shouting at you about things he doesn't believe in, you'll learn quite a bit about how gullible we all are as a society. Leave it to the masters of illusions to shatter each and every one of ours. Bullshit! is anything but the sum of its title. Penn and Teller have produced a cracked out version of 20/20 and replaced anemic journalists with their own anti-politically correct rants and ravings. The whole show reveals that it takes a bullshit artist to recognize another.

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Genres

• Documentary
• Television

Scales of Justice, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

Judgment: 92

Perp Profile, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

Studio: Showtime Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 364 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

• Naked Promo
• James Randi Interview
• Behind the Scenes
• Outtakes
• Deleted Scenes
• Wraparounds
• Bonus Episode on Ghosts
• Penn and Teller Bios

Scales of Justice, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

Judgment: 92

Perp Profile, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

Studio: Showtime Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 400 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

• None

Scales of Justice, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

Judgment: 92

Perp Profile, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

Studio: Showtime Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 376 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Penn And Teller: Bullshit!

• Photo Gallery
• Filmographies of Penn and Teller

Accomplices

• IMDb








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