Penn & Teller: Bullshit!

Season 1 Episode 1

Talking to the Dead

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jan 24, 2003 on Showtime
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Episode Summary

In this first episode of Penn and Teller: Bullshit, Penn and Teller take on psychics and if they really are talking to the dead. In fact, famous psychics such as John Edward are using an age-old technique called cold reading where they obtain information by asking questions and guessing rather than "talking to the dead".

This episode will shock you and will be very entertaining as Penn and Teller take down modern psychics through proof and the humor that makes this show not only informative, but a whole lot of laughs! Experts interviewed or seen in archival footage in this episode include: Joe Nickell (Paranormal Investigator, Journalist) James Underdown (Executive Director of the Center for Inquiry-West in Los Angeles) James Van Praagh (Host of "Beyond" [Archival Footage]) Mark Edward (Magician and Author) John Edward (Host of "Crossing Over" [Archival Footage]) Rosemary Altea (Medium)moreless

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Penn: Before we bust up this party, and...goddamn it, we're gonna bust it up, we have to be very clear where our hearts are. We have nothing but empathy for the people who are experiencing the loss and grief of the death of a loved one. That guy who lost his mom...rips my heart out. I'm a momma's boy whose mom died a couple years ago and I'll...I'll never get over it. My dad died at around the same time, and I was very close to both of them. I loved them so much, there isn't a moment that goes by that I don't miss them. Houdini didn't REALLY go nuts busting these mediums until he lost his mom. Once you've felt that pure grief, seeing it exploited can...take away your sense of humor. Once a loved one has died, all we have is our memories of them. There's nothing more precious to me than my memories of my mom and dad. We don't give a rat's a** about the money these b*stards are taking from the grief-stricken. What we do care about, deeply, is the desecration of memories. These...performance artists...are, in a very real sense, mother*******. That poor guy's grieving memories of his mother are now all f*cked up by somebody else's images. All he will ever have left of his mom are memories and this pig has p*ssed on those for a buck and a little unearned fame. I'm sure these lame f*cks tell themselves that they're easing the grief, but skits for money cannot replace loving memories. How low do you have to be to exploit someone's true grief to sell some bullsh** book?

    • John Edward: You know, some of the misses that people think are misses, are not misses. You know, and I'm the first person to say, I am not 100% accurate. I'll come out and I say it all the time, I'll be like, "This is how I get it; I see it hear it feel it, I'm gonna do my best job I possibly can to interpret it for you. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I get it wrong. But, I get it."
      Penn: Oh yeah, we get it. When it seems like you're wrong, it's because you're right and the grieving are too stupid to figure it out!

    • Penn: You don't heal a broken heart by pretending it's not broken.

    • Penn (introducing the series): I'm Penn, this is my partner, Teller, and this is "Bullshit!". That's the name of our show. We're gonna hunt down as many purveyors of bullshit as we can. Sure, we lie, cheat and swindle--we've been known to deal a bit of bullshit ourselves, so some of you may ask "Why pee on someone else's parade?" One important difference--we tell you we're lying. You'll notice more obscenity than we usually use. That's not just because it's on Showtime and we wanna get attention. It's also a legal matter. If one calls people "liars" and "quacks", one can be sued and lose a lot of one's money. But "motherfuckers" and "assholes"--it's pretty safe. If we said it's all scams, we could also be in trouble. But "bullshit", oddly, is safe. So forgive all the bullshit language. We're trying to talk about the truth without spending the rest of our lives in court because of litigious motherfuckers.

  • NOTES (1)


    • Penn: John Edward -- the biggest douche in the universe!

      Penn references the episode of South Park "The Biggest Douche in the Universe," in which John Edward woos South Park with his cold readings, and at the end of the episode wins an award for Biggest Douche of the Universe--even defeating a giant alien douche. In fact, on the mini-commentary for that South Park episode, Trey Parker and Matt Stone mention that Penn sent them a letter shortly after seeing the episode telling them how much he loved it and that it was his favorite episode.