Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

Season 5 Episode 9

Nukes, Hybrids, & Lesbians

Aired Monday 10:00 PM May 17, 2007 on Showtime
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Penn & Teller cover the dangers of nuclear power, whether hybrids are substantially fuel efficient and lesbians are just thrown in for fun.
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  • I'm a huge fan of **** and am quite a libertarian, so usually I have nothing but great things to say about an episode, unfortunately this one did not hold up well.moreless

    I'm a huge fan of **** and am quite a libertarian, so on most occasions I have nothing but great things to say about an episode, unfortunately this one did not hold up well.

    I'm only focusing on the Hybrid aspect of this episode, not the nuclear energy portion (although they do tie them in), but of course that was half the show. Anyhow, the poorly researched, produced, and written Hybrid portion set out to make one frivolous point: Hybrid cars are not as good as regular gas cars.

    They do this by biasely selecting pretty much the smallest and least powerful hybrid model produced in the country: Prius. So they go on to waste all their time showing how it can only go 0-60mph in 12-13 seconds and can't fit a family of four with luggage on a week-long vacation.

    WOW! You really needed an episode to prove that! Now this episode was probably filmed in 2006, so I'm willing to grant that its possible the newest luxury models of hybrid cars weren't available yet, i.e. Lexus, etc... But they did have Honda Accords (4DR) and similar LARGER sized cars that would also have substantially more horsepower (what's funny by the way is they actually cut to a shot of several large hybrid SUV's, but deliberately decided not to choose them for their little unscientific experiment). Certainly, you won't get the pick-up you get in a Corvette (that they chose to compare the freaking PRIUS to) or a Mini-Cooper, but since when was horsepower the #1 feature to look for when choosing a hybrid vehicle? I didn't realize two lesbians living in LA needed to be able to go that fast that quick.

    Look, if you want to make the argument that hybrids don't save much energy because of the resource expenditures that go into producing the battery itself (and eventually discarding it) or that they still produce harmful emissions that's one thing. And by the way, be prepared to provide a litany of scientific studies (not just two random Joe's who claim to be experts) that will almost certainly be composed of highly debatable and controversial (not to mention variably interpretable) findings. But, to spend half an episode of an otherwise excellent series to half-heartedly prove that hybrids are a waste of time (only) because they are small and slow (which was of course only true due to the blatant sampling bias) is honestly a shame. The writers should be embarrassed. What bothers me even more about this episode is that the writers who are usually pro-capitalism (i.e. buy whatever you want) chose to specifically bash a product in a highly competitive market (autos). That does not fit their libertarian profile. Now one might say that in the past **** episodes have been centered around showing why certain products or services (hair growth, plastic surgery, psychics etc...) should not be used. And, for good reason, because in many of these cases the products are useless and marketed (and sold) solely on lies and deception. But, even if one were to argue that Hybrids use EQUAL (not less) amounts of disposable energy and produce equal amounts of pollution as regular gasoline cars then even in that unlikely scenario there is still no reason to select out hybrids as a poor product in a free market. Not to mention it is quite likely that hybrids are at least to some small degree better for the environment in general. And maybe even more importantly for the savvy consumer it USES LESS GAS! So consumers that care about saving money on high gas prices with hybrids that get great mileage per gallon and have no interest in its (questionable) environmental benefits are being misguided or at least being given a highly unfavorable perspective of the situation.

    I don't own a hybrid and I probably never plan too, I don't work for a hybrid producing company, and I don't give two **** about the environment (go ahead and call me a partial-nihilist), but I felt inclined to point out the overall shoddy and lackluster production of an episode that is part of a television series that I admire deeply.

    I guess every great entity is bound to have an occasional lack of greatness.moreless

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