Fare Thee Well, Mythbusters

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 3.618% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

So I’ve been reluctant to write about Mythbusters since the build team – a.k.a. Tori, Kari, and Grant – were fired. I just didn’t feel like giving Mythbusters any excess cash at that point, and “cash” involved giving PR to the show.  So even though I remained a large fan, I kept it on the down-low.
Now it’s over, and I figure mise well have my say on the build team-free seasons:
They were kinda dull.
Now, Mythbusters is like pizza in that even bad pizza is still kinda good.  And a show that routinely flattens cars with explosions filmed lovingly in hi-def is never going to be “boring.”  But compared to its own canon?
The absence of Tori, Kari, and Grant really changed the energy of the show for me.  For one thing, it made the show more monotonous – there were more “Jamie and Adam devote themselves to one huge task” episodes, and I always disliked those because if you found that myth boring, well, the entire hour was boring.  Whereas in past episodes, they were more likely to switch over to another myth, even if that myth was like ten minutes total.
(And they kind of had to go with more mono-myths, because as Adam acknowledged, you had to do the same show with fewer hands.  There were some builds I suspect took up all the screen time just because working with only Adam, Jamie, and nameless assistants meant it took a week instead of three days.)
But more importantly, Jamie’s not really a presence on camera.  I mean, he is, but he’s a stolid guy who cracks the one-liners they give him, and not enough to carry the show.  He knew that.  This is why even though he basically fired Adam for being too sloppy in the workshop, when he got offered a show, he did his usual engineering math and said, “I’m not good on camera.  Who do I know who is?  Even though I personally don’t get along with him?”
So basically, sans build team, the “Adam and Jamie” show consists of like 80% Adam -and Adam is only endearing in measured doses.  (Particularly in the early shows, before they edited out the friction at Adam and Jamie’s request, you can see why they get on each others’ nerves.)
I get Adam is super-thrilled by things, but the absence of the build team really demonstrated how much of what I thought of Mythbusters was, in fact, a balance.  Yeah, Tori was frequently goofy and Kari was frequently cynical, but all five of them created a beauty in the way they interacted that really gave the show depth. All-Adam got grating, at times.
Bouncing back and forth between all of them really made the show magnificent.  You didn’t like a myth? Here’s the other one.  Adam getting on your nerves? Well, here’s Tori to get on your nerves in a different way!
And without it, well, there were still great moments – I wish the show had had the drone-cameras for explosions right away, and the super-fast cameras capturing shockwaves made for some awesome visuals.  The cement-smothers-a-bomb surprise still makes me giggle.
But overall, the last season was comfort watching.  Decent.  Not great.  And given that Mythbusters was slowly descending in the ratings anyway just as they were going with bigger and bigger builds, well, I can see why Discovery Channel did the math.
Still. It’s not dead. It’s like Harry Potter; everyone involved loves it so much, it’s not a question of if it resurfaces, but when.  I’m sure in ten years there’ll be a big hubbub about the new Mythbusters and maybe Adam will have died (god knows Jamie can’t, that grizzled cyborg) and maybe we’ll get Kari back or maybe hell, Scotty will decide she wants the spotlight.  All of those are good options.
But I teared up at the finale, which was about as good as a finale like that could get.  Even with all the complaints I’ve given, I still did not want this to end.
Mythbusters has been a big part of my life with Gini.  We became fans together, we loved it together, and now it’s gone.  And I’m really glad they brought Kari, Tori, and Grant back for the reunion episode, because really, I think we all know how much they were missed – even the accountants who had to make the call seemed a little sad about it.
The show is too good to go away forever.  It’ll be back.  But I loved ya, guys.
Always will.

1 Comment

  1. Brad
    Mar 8, 2016

    If you like the building stuff part, there’s tested.com which the mythbusters production company bought a few years ago. Mythbusters had a sort of overproducedness and god-awful editing “because tv” to it, and I think Adam’s antics are emphasized in the show because he’s… chill isn’t quite right because the enthusiasm is still there, but he never goes “annoying” in their videos when he’s working for himself or talking about stuff.
    If you want to re-watch the series, Streamlined mythbusters is, in my opinion, a vastly superior way to watch it. All that recap and “coming up” tv-garbage that doesn’t add anything is gone.

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