Quantcast

«

»

Sep 09 2013

It’s going to be very popular, I fear

I was stunned by Rebecca Watson’s account of the promotion efforts of a new show that looks like a drunk version of Mythbusters. Then I watched a couple of their videos, which were garbage, and I heard this tag line:

You’ll know stuff your friends don’t, which will give you a temporary feeling of superiority, and might just get you laid.

And I thought, that’s brilliant. They’ve identified exactly what the modern skeptical market wants. And it’s all schlubby guys with women in bikinis as props.

The creator, Jon Hotchkiss, has a horrible blog post bragging about his show on HuffPo, and he also reveals his intellectual lineage: he’s worked on a number of shows I’ve never heard of, but also with Bill Maher, Penn & Teller, and Playboy TV. It shows.

I’ll skip it. It’ll probably thrive anyway.

58 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    anuran

    Making people feel they are special and superior is always a winner.
    Everyone wants to feel she or he’s better than the common herd.
    Proselytizers understand it.
    Salesmen understand it.
    Politicians understand it.
    Why should “the modern skeptical market” be any different?

  2. 2
    Inaji

    “When it comes to facts and science, we will never elucidate, demystify, expound, oversimplify – you know, dumb it down?”

    Er…

    Right now, I’m so happy I don’t have televison anymore.

  3. 3
    Ichthyic

    gotta love the preview…

    *pew pew pew*

    whoever hired their promo team… should be fired, immediately. Or did the guy make THAT in his garage too?

  4. 4
    Ichthyic

    The creator, Jon Hotchkiss, has a horrible blog post bragging about his show on HuffPo

    “Comments are closed on this entry.”

    huh, whodathunkit?

  5. 5
    NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

    I’m so glad the Mythbusters is still on TV. These knock-offs, including this bullshit misogynistic one, pop up and then disappear…

  6. 6
    fmitchell

    Once again dudebro culture tries to mimic nerd culture and totally misses the point.

  7. 7
    w00dview

    When it comes to facts and science, we will never elucidate, demystify, expound, oversimplify – you know, dumb it down?

    That preview I just watched summed up beautifully the state of “educational” television in the US. Tits and ass, BOO YA!, every single word wooshed onto the screen as the announcer speaks and conspiracy mongering: this is not dumbing down according to the moronic gobshites who made this drivel. If I did not know better I would swear the Onion was behind this. A pretence at being serious and academic while being as lowest common denominator as possible.

  8. 8
    Alex

    “will never elucidate, demystify, expound, oversimplify”

    WOW. I am speechless. In other words, so loquacious and eloquent that it leaves me completely verbose.

  9. 9
    Weed(less) Monkey

    I’m so glad the Mythbusters is still on TV.

    I’m not. I can pinpoint the exact moment when my disappointment with the show overcame my interest: they were going to destroy a moped with primer cord, with the standard gear, high speed cameras all around, and everything was looking cool. Until Adam decided it needed a gallon of gasoline just to make a fireball. Because fireballs are cool. So… the actual explosion disappeared from sight. Blechh.

  10. 10
    tyro

    He gave an interview on Skepticality recently and it seemed intriguing. But holy hell, the booth babes & getting laid cracks really turn me off.

    Pass.

  11. 11
    anchor

    Science-geek-nerd popularization reaches its nadir in the septic tank. Only a matter of time now when funded outreach programs try to emulate this crap too.

  12. 12
    Bicarbonate is back

    The best part is that they claim their show is a baby that has “an extra science gene”.

  13. 13
    Artor

    “When it comes to facts and science, we will never elucidate, demystify, expound, oversimplify – you know, dumb it down?”
    I am not worried about the ability of whomever wrote this sentence to “dumb it down.” I would be very surprised if they had much capacity to elucidate, demystify, or expound. Or even to read a fucking dictionary.

  14. 14
    boskerbonzer

    Elucidate: I do not think it means what he thinks it means. It’s kind of essential if you’re trying to explain something. But, he’s probably right: ‘We’ll investigate which is smarter, dogs or ca-…. oh, look! Boobies!’

  15. 15
    unnullifier

    elucidate, demystify, expound, oversimplify

    All together now:

    One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn’t belong,
    Can you tell which thing is not like the others
    By the time I finish my song?
    [...]

  16. 16
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    Caine: Right now, I’m so happy I don’t have televison anymore.

    Yeah. I have a TV, but I buy my shows directly on DVD or download, and they don’t include…well, most of anything made or shown on cable now. I gave it up three years ago, and I’ve never been happier with my media options.

  17. 17
    John Pieret

    Our only hope is the resistance the online community has for actually paying for content.

    As for Mythbusters, they do try to conduct empirical investigations (though I always have to giggle when they say “Don’t try this at home. We’re professionals!). Sure they are also entertainers, which is why everything eventually seems to blow up, but as “common man” science, they’re not bad . I doubt that the cable channels Mythbusters is on would be all that resistant to bikini babes but the show hasn’t gone down that route yet.

  18. 18
    Tom Foss

    Wait, this shit is supposed to be on actual television? From the descriptions, I figured it was going to be some YouTube exclusive nonsense. And from what I could stomach of the asinine infomercial-style video, it looks like it’s going to be online only, or something. There’s a lot about the namby-pamby networks.

    So those of you without television can still apparently watch it unless you get rid of your Internet.

    In any case, it looks like “Bullshit!” without all the academic women, wit, or attempts at actual explanation. It’s reminiscent of (the commercials for) that other Mythbusters-knockoff show that Kal Penn was hosting, which was also all dudebro’d up and explodey.

    I love Mythbusters, even with the gratuitous explosions (and when I was a Physics undergrad, inserting gratuitous explosions, liquid nitrogen, electricity, or lasers into unrelated activities was a favorite pastime), but its successes really make the rest of these cheap imitations look as threadbare and braindead as they clearly are.

  19. 19
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Fuck it, he’s incapable of eschewing obfuscation. Another asshat with a position in the dumb-down industry.

  20. 20
    Ichthyic

    but as “common man” science, they’re not bad

    actually, yes they are.

    they rarely even give lip service to proper experimental design, and statistics? what’s that? some sort of math?

    sorry, but it should be better than it is, by far.

  21. 21
    Weed(less) Monkey

    I love Mythbusters, even with the gratuitous explosions (and when I was a Physics undergrad, inserting gratuitous explosions, liquid nitrogen, electricity, or lasers into unrelated activities was a favorite pastime)

    I love gratuitous explosions! That only makes it sadder when they chose not to show what an actual high speed explosive (the moped I mentioned at #9 wrapped with detonation cord) does in glorious high speed video, but mess it up with fuel fire.

  22. 22
    24fps

    I work in television, and “I made this without a broadcaster because they only want vanilla” is code for “I pitched it to everyone I could think of and nobody would give me any money”. It’s the same line I hear from inexperienced producers and filmmakers (or just not very good ones) frequently.

    I also note the dude says what shows he worked on – he does not say in what capacity. I haven’t bothered to look it up, but if it’s a position of note, you generally mention it.

    Seriously, nobody makes a six part series in their garage and out of his or her own pocket unless they *have* to.

  23. 23
    G Pierce (Was ~G~)

    Now with 800% more whooshing noises.

  24. 24
    Weed(less) Monkey

    … ok I’ll stop talking about that explosion now. *shakes fist impotently towards the west CURSE YOU, ADAM SAVAGE!*

  25. 25
    futurechemist

    This is a real show?! Somehow I wound up getting loads of emails about it to my university emaiil, sometimes 3 times a week. Since I’d never heard of the guy, I assumed it was spam or a phishing attempt and that the many links were fancy ways of saying “Install Virus” so I just totally ignored it.

    I guess I didn’t miss out on much then…

  26. 26
    Weed(less) Monkey

    I did a bit of a naughty DNS proxy thing with my Netflix account to access the US site’s vast amount of American series and B-horror flix I love (no, I won’t go into details, and yes, you can google it and it works), and was astonished by the amount of drivel there was. Documentaries? They’re nearly all about WW2 (in a nauseating go USA! way) or ghost/bigfoot/ancientalien hunting. The category ‘faith and religion’? I didn’t know it existed.

  27. 27
    Inaji

    CaitieCat:

    Yeah. I have a TV, but I buy my shows directly on DVD or download, and they don’t include…well, most of anything made or shown on cable now. I gave it up three years ago, and I’ve never been happier with my media options.

    Yep. Being rural, we were stuck with directv, but we dumped it. Kept the television, because it’s hooked up to a blu-ray player, and we still netflix. I just couldn’t justify the sat tv fees for an astonishing amount of absolute crap.

  28. 28
    yubal

    You’ll know stuff your friends don’t, which will give you a temporary feeling of superiority

    Reminds of one of my major shortcomings during my teenage years.

    and might just get you laid.

    The asexual crowd remains unimpressed.

  29. 29
    Lofty

    Sad to say that even Mythbusters lost my interest about 5 years ago, I think there really is a limit to how many things have to go “BOOM” . I’m sure that PissedBusters will fit its target market though.

  30. 30
    kosk11348

    Apparently one of his friends and a show contributor is Mark DeCarlo of Studs fame. Yeah.

  31. 31
    Ichthyic

    PissedBusters

    LOL

    perfect.

  32. 32
    Ingdigo Jump

    The asexual crowd remains unimpressed.

    Hell this bisexual crowd remains unimpressed

  33. 33
    michaeld

    @22

    You can see his roles on his IMDb
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1010394/
    Mostly he was a writer but also various (co)producer roles. (he helped write the handicapped parking episode of bullshit (1 of 8 writers) what more could you want! *sarcasm*)

    I’ll also take this opportunity to say I’m actually embarrassed by my copies of bullshit!. Right now they’re hiding in a drawer, need to find a more permanent solution…. I wonder if there’s a sarlacc pit near by?

  34. 34
    Deoridhe

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. It’s like there are two ways of approaching knowledge. One is that it’s zero sum and competitive: I have knowledge, you don’t, so I’m better. One is collaborative: I have knowledge, I’m excited about it, I want you to know too.

    I’ve had a lot of people react to me as if I was dealing with knowledge in the former manner, even when I didn’t mean to (often with vocabulary; I know a lot of words), but recently I’ve become aware there are a lot of people who actually do treat knowledge this way, where it isn’t a neat thing that they know, but rather indicates they are an important person.

    I really dislike that use of knowledge. A lot.

  35. 35
    Charlie Foxtrot

    The asexual crowd remains unimpressed.

    Hell this bisexual crowd remains unimpressed

    Fuck that… they were pitching it right AT me!

    I remain… unimpressed.

  36. 36
    Alex

    Oh wow the disabilities act episode. That was the one that put the nail in the bullshit coffin for me content wise.

  37. 37
    Charlie Foxtrot

    (hmmm… on reflection that ‘Fuck that” seems dismissive of Indigo’s and Yubal’s comments, which was not my intent… My ‘fuck them’ (the producers) of disbelief at their crappy populism got crossed up with my “I can’t believe how badly they are marketing this thing” remark)

    Too much of this crap – I’m sooooo looking forward to the new Cosmos next year.

  38. 38
    rumleech

    I’m not the only one to be unimpressed by Penn and Teller? Good.

  39. 39
    cityzenjane

    Can’t stand Penn and Teller.

    But they are really handy when trying to keep the douchweasels out of your friends lists…And this show should help too.

    It does make me sad that the “skeptic” demographic is targeted as ripe for this sort of crap.

  40. 40
    cityzenjane

    Sorry I should say the male segment of the younger end of the skeptic demographic… ages 15-24 or so…prime years for trying to beat your opponent by being more of an asshat than he is.

  41. 41
    lostintime

    #18

    In any case, it looks like “Bullshit!” without all the academic women, wit, or attempts at actual explanation

    I couldn’t disagree more, I saw lots of shouting on the show but I can’t remember any wit. The academics they had were shills from the oil industry, CATO Institute members, Ted Nugent, Bjorn Lomborg and other libertarian hacks. They use the same creationist tactics of selective editing and overdubbing to ridicule their subjects, which is supposed to be funny but really it’s pathetic. I’ve no idea why anyone finds them impressive.

  42. 42
    Jessica Lundbom

    When it comes to facts and science, we will never elucidate, demystify, expound, oversimplify – you know, dumb it down?”

    This is how Idiocracy starts, right? What is this – the Dunning-Kruger show?

  43. 43
    don1

    Available oh Youtube is Dara O’Briain’s Science Club. If you haven’t seen it yet I suggest you try it.

  44. 44
    w00dview

    Oh wow the disabilities act episode. That was the one that put the nail in the bullshit coffin for me content wise.

    It was the Endangered Species Act episode that made me lose interest, hell any episode to do with environmental issues was shockingly piss poor. Does Gilette still think the vast majority of climate scientists are wrong on global warming?

  45. 45
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    anuran @1:

    Making people feel they are special and superior is always a winner.
    Everyone wants to feel she or he’s better than the common herd.
    Proselytizers understand it.
    Salesmen understand it.
    Politicians understand it.
    Why should “the modern skeptical market” be any different?

    Because we’re better than the stupid people who fall for the stuff proselytisers, salesmen and politicians push. Obviously.

  46. 46
    badgersdaughter

    Am I the only one who was reminded of the sort of dystopian science fiction where the anti-intellectual masses sit limply in front of drivel like this? Honestly, at first I thought it was literally a joke.

  47. 47
    Alex

    @badgersdaughter,

    Am I the only one who was reminded of the sort of dystopian science fiction where the anti-intellectual masses sit limply in front of drivel like this? Honestly, at first I thought it was literally a joke.

    I think Idiocracy was already mentioned somewhere upthread.

    Although, in that film, there are only anti-intellectual masses left and the smart thinking people went completely missing, so it’s not the classical brave new world scenario :D

  48. 48
    Alex

    (Although, one has to add that the reverse eugenics idea behind the Idiocracy film is not exactly good science)

  49. 49
    marko

    I note she links to Stewart Lee taking Richard Hammond to bits. I hate Richard Hammond too, and Lee makes some good points why we all should, but the reason for my original loathing of him was the British “science” show Brainiac. This sounds like it may have a lot of similarities.

  50. 50
    dWhisper

    To be fair to P&T, while they were horribly slanted and more than a little blind to the holes in their libertarian philosophy… they were at least up-front about it. They said it in the first episode… “we’re bias as fuck, but we try to keep an open mind.”

    They most certainly had some shows I didn’t agree with (Environmentalism, Taxes, etc), but they certainly had their hits as well.

    It’s just a shame that this guy missed the general message about including the T&A&D from working on BS! Sure, there were lots of naked ladies, but there were also lots of naked guys. And at least once a naked Penn…

  51. 51
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    When it comes to facts and science, we will never elucidate, demystify, expound, oversimplify – you know, dumb it down?

    Oh, the irony. The delicious, tasty, tasty irony.

  52. 52
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    I look forward to the episode where special gueststar ElevatorGate helps them “prove” that bitches ain’t shit.

    /fatal eye roll

  53. 53
    lostintime

    To be fair to P&T, while they were horribly slanted and more than a little blind to the holes in their libertarian philosophy… they were at least up-front about it. They said it in the first episode… “we’re bias as fuck, but we try to keep an open mind.”

    I’m not impressed by that though. It’s the kind of juvenlie handwaving crap that dismisses the need for integrity, and I can imagine the bellicose and obnoxious way in which it was delivered. Just take a look at any one of his appearances with Glenn Beck or Ted Nugent discussing gun control in the wake of Sandy Hook, you’d better have a bucket with you. Someone sent me a link once as well where he’s doing a piece to camera with a copy of Atlas Shrugged in his hand and he says something like “I just love Ayn Rand, I’d fuck her”. Ewww.

  54. 54
    dWhisper

    I’m not impressed by that though. It’s the kind of juvenlie handwaving crap that dismisses the need for integrity, and I can imagine the bellicose and obnoxious way in which it was delivered.

    His healthcare views are worse than his views on gun control (which are also bad), given that he wants all government funding cut to pretty much everything. And I absolutely think his views like that (and all views in general) should be given the skeptical eye, and he’s certainly not capable of doing it. But I wouldn’t equate being juvenile to lacking integrity. He’s opinionated and certainly obnoxious at times, and certainly tells the truth as he believes it. But unlike so many others that do the same thing (creationists, deniers, etc), he doesn’t seem to lie to make his point. He just states his views on it, even if they are wrong (and a whole lot of them are).

    And I can’t imagine wanting to fuck Ayn Rand, but to each their own. Eww to me, but you know, I’m sure there’s more than a few people I’m enamoured with that would raise an eww or two. There are plenty of reasons to dismiss and ridicule his views on things… just saying that’s not one of them (well, not the loving part… the believing in her teachings part most certainly)

    I look forward to the episode where special gueststar ElevatorGate helps them “prove” that bitches ain’t shit.

    /fatal eye roll

    It’ll be a two-parter. Part one will be testing that vital truth… “proving” that Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with.

  55. 55
    robertschenck

    Fmitchell: “Once again dudebro culture tries to mimic nerd culture and totally misses the point.”

    The show’s theme song shall be “We are the Champions”.

  56. 56
    UnknownEric the Apostate

    It’ll be a two-parter. Part one will be testing that vital truth… “proving” that Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothing to fuck with.

    It’ll bomb atomically. Socrates’ philosophies and hypotheses can’t define how they be droppin’ these mockeries.

  57. 57
    David Marjanović

    gotta love the preview…

    So they want to impress people by knowledge? I’ve got news for them:

    Preponderence: ur spellin it rong!

  58. 58
    zero6ix

    “Hailed as timely, relevant, and smart! By my grandma! She still has the macaroni picture I made her!”

Comments have been disabled.