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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mythbusters Copycats Destroy Home

 They say art imitates life.  But what happens when art imitates art that was imitating art?  People get confused, that's what.  Take National Geographic's new show "How Hard Can It Be?" for example, an rerun of an idea that has already perfected by the guys Mythbusters over 8 seasons*, but was still unnecessarily duplicated by the folks at National Geographic.  A part of me can't help but think of all those disclaimers one sees before shows like Jackass reminding the audience to never try any of these stunts at home.  Mythbusters issues the same warning.  And today many Americans are asking the same question: why then, didn't you heed the warning?

Percy Hill of O'fallon, IL wonders the same thing.  "I'm sitting here bathing my game leg when all the sudden the roof of my house gets ripped off!"  Several residents of the greater O'fallon County area reported similar incidents.  One man's phone line was ripped clear from his house.  Another woman's clothes line (and all her delicates) were picked up and flown about like the tail of a kite.  And as she stepped outside to see her panties were strewn about the town like over-sized snowflakes, she finally saw the culprit: a flying house.

Larry Walters, the OG Balloon Boy
The crew's general negligence notwithstanding, the experiment makes sense given the past couple years of American pop culture.  From Falcon, the balloon boy, to the movie Up, a new generation of Americans are discovering the whimsical concept of engine-less flight.  But hasn't this been done before?  Didn't Mythbusters cover this exact same set up based on actual scientific evidence?  Wasn't it their pilot episode?! They did and it was.  That's why I was building it up so much.  Larry Walters attempted this stunt many years ago in Southern California, and before being arrested for his antics, he made national headlines.  Or something like that.  Years later, Discovery TV gave Mythbusters the shot to duplicate the same thing.  And the results were successful, to say the least.  So successful in fact, that Discovery green lit the series.  They have since tackled virtually every urban or scientific myth imaginable often times yielding legitimate results. 

The point is that not only had this idea been done in real life, it had also already been imitated by a group of specialists many would call "masters of their craft."  Why then is a boutique network wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars developing the exact same thing again?  Cause it's a house instead of a chair?  Give me a break.  Are we, as American TV viewers, so brain-dead by this point that they can repackage a show with a much nerdier host^ and we'll still devour it as if we've never seen it before? 
Unfortunately that seems to be the trend.  Top Chef bred ChoppedDeal or No Deal bred Million Dollar Money Drop.  The list goes on and on.  Here at Great Scott!, we can only hope that as our society gets dumber and dumber the explosions and colors improve to compensate for it (see: 3-D TV).  Because if you're turning on your TV in 2011 for unique and original unscripted content, you've come to the wrong planet. 

*And unless they got canceled (which they didn't) there is absolutely no need for this show.  Period.
^ I didn't think it was possible either.

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