Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

Season 2 Episode 2

Safety Hysteria

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Apr 08, 2004 on Showtime
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Episode Summary

Penn and Teller examine the hucksters that tap into hysteria over personal safety to make big bucks from such products as gas masks, paper toilet seat covers and cell phones - while the average person is four times more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed violently at school. Special Guest Experts include: Laurene Mascola (Chief of the Acute Communicable Disease Control Program, Los Angeles County Dept. of Health Services) Katrina Miller, MD (Doctor) Paige Anderson (Car Model, Test Subject) Dr. Edward Hotchkiss (Internal Medicine Specialist/General Practitioner) Peter Hart (Media Analyst, FAIR) Ben Wizner (Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union) Cyril Houri (Co-founder/Chief Operating Officer, Safer America) Dr. Sam Milham (Former Chronic Disease Epidemiologist) David Ropeik (Risk Analysis, Harvard Center) Shelly Kalnitsky (Founder and President, Waveshield) Steven Milloy (Adjunct Scholar, CATO Institute) Dr. Michael Thun (Epidemiologic Research, American Cancer Society) Joshua Wright (Test Subject)moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (9)

    • Penn: Fear is useful, IF it's fear of something you can prevent. But, it's impossible to prevent the freak tragedy like Columbine because troubled kids will always find a way to break our hearts. And Michael Moore will always find a way to cash in on it.

    • Penn: But before we get the results, let's check back in with Cyril at SaferAmerica.
      [cut to Cyril still struggling with a mannequin head]
      Penn: We are such a**h*les.

    • Penn: After we swabbed the decks of our research monkeys, the swabs were delivered to a comprehensive testing lab in LA where the germs were transferred to a petri dish, allowed to grow, then run through a battery of tests and examined thoroughly by a fully qualified, state-licensed technician...who thought we were complete idiots.

    • Penn: Okay. 139 in 6 billion is fine odds. Worrying about things that are unlikely is a waste of precious life. Mad cow is total bullsh**. It's cowsh**! 139 in 6 billion, you're never even gonna meet someone who had a friend who had a friend who had mad cow! Our friend Paul Provenza says "The world is not made of 'Nerf' and there's sharp edges! You will get cut...but not too deep if you're careful." Not too careful, just careful enough.

    • Penn: The human a** is dirty...and sexy...but, but dirty too....and, and sexy...but, but dirty!

    • Penn: [on Houri's laughable safety demonstration] To be fair, the poor b*st*rd was nervous on TV. But, you know, you might be nervous during an anthrax attack too. If you knew about it.

    • Penn: For all us science geeks, our college dude is gonna give us the actual scientific reason cell phones don't cause cancer.
      Ropeik: The waves that come out of this device are too fat, they're literally too big, to hit an atom, break off an electron, make that atom go searching for another atom so it can add its electron and be balanced again, and rip apart DNA, and cause cancer.
      Penn: See! The waves are too big, they're just too big!

    • Milloy: If there were some health problems associated with cell phone use, we surely would've seen them by now. And we haven't. There have know...tens of millions of dollars of research have gone into cellphones, maybe more than a hundred million dollars and there have been no health effects linked with cell phone use.
      Penn: Okay, but that's just one guy from some wonky think tank in Washington. What we need is a real cancer specialist. Like a guy from the American Cancer Society.
      (Cut to a guy in a suit in front of a American Cancer Society sign)
      Dr. Thun: I'm Dr. Michael Thun, I direct epidemiologic research for the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.
      Penn: Yeah, like him!
      Dr. Thun: Well, there's no proven connection between cell phones and brain cancer or other cancers.
      Penn: And this is one of the top cancer guys talking. Look, he's right next to the sign!

    • Penn: Tonight, we're talking about safety. We're Americans! Give us liberty, or give us death. We aren't afraid of anything...well, nothing except for bacteria, mad cows, terrorists, electromagnetic fields, terrorists, toilet seats, TV, brain cancer, terrorists, D.D.T., sex, people with guns, and terrorists.

  • NOTES (0)