Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

Season 3 Episode 2

Family Values

Aired Monday 10:00 PM May 02, 2005 on Showtime

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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out of 10
46 votes
  • A very disappointing episode in an otherwise fine series.

    I have been a fan of this series since the first episode, having become hooked on Penn & Teller’s unique blend of insight and humor. Some episodes/topics are stronger than others, but when they’re on – like the “Environmental Hysteria,” “P.E.T.A.,” and “Recycling” episodes – it’s some of the best stuff on television today. “Family Values,” unfortunately, is one of the weakest episodes I’ve seen. Starting with the very premise of the show, they rely on faulty reasoning, specious logic, and fuzzy thinking to make their points. And the most annoying part of this episode is that it’s unclear what point they are trying to make. Is the traditional concept of the family a complete sham, as they try to prove? Rather than presenting clear examples and psychological and sociological evidence based on research, they resort to their old crutch of presenting flat-out whackos to present the contrary view, and then spend their time mocking their arguments, presenting little evidence in the process. One concrete example: at one point the guy representing a Connecticut family group (the guy sitting in front of a wall of very bad religious art) states that gays and lesbians have done no professional and longitudinal studies of the effect of same sex parents on their children. A psychologist then mockingly counters this point by asserting a study of this nature has, in fact, been conducted. But then she neither names the study nor presents a single piece of date from the study. I would have loved to learn more about the study. Does it prove the points they were trying to make? Does it show that non-traditional family structures are as viable as traditional ones? We never find out. All in all, this episode was to me one of the most disappointing in the series so far. Here’s hoping they get back to their normal insight and humor in episodes to come.
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