My Wife, Stef and I are big fans of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe and of course Mythbusters so when we saw the new addition to the line up, Smash Lab, we were eager to catch the excitement. We set the TiVo to record it the very day it was available on the recording list. Weeks passed and with each add that tantalized us we grew more and more excited to see the new "blow it up" show. So Wednesday it finely aired and was recorded. Last night we sat down to watch. Discovery, I want that hour back!
Lets start at the top. The rather uninspired opening set the tone for a lack luster hour of boredom. Our four main characters would be forgettable if not for the fact that both Stef and I were so annoyed by them that we actually started muting their dialog at times. I wont even bother trying to look the names of each of them up. My hope is that they will quickly go away and never bother any of us again but I will relate the thoughts that went through our minds mere seconds after they dribbled off the screen. ________________________________________________________ Our hot chick is simply atrocious. Her voice is grating. Her face, although all the right parts are there, simply fails to please. The body is thin and curvy which I personally love yet somehow she manages to get it all just a little out of proportion. Don't even get me started on her teeth. You're on TV get a stylist! And they bill her as the "Genius Scientist"! At what point did she even vaguely display even a little genius? If you're going to bill someone as the Scientist or Genius then you better be ready to back it up. At no point in the show did they ever manage to even slightly back it up. They even failed to show her "running the numbers" a pointless, but at least scientific, shot they could have at least attempted. ________________________________________________________ The three guys billed as "The Designer", "The Ideas Guy" and "The Engineer" are again forgettable if not for the slight annoyances they constantly displayed throughout the show. Both Stef and I were struck by how much "patting" was going on. They patted the cars. They patted the equipment. They patted each other. Enough with the patting already. One of them seemed to have his arms glued across his chest for the entire show. Always a great way to invite people to like you. (Sarcasm for those who missed that) Another had hair that would make Jimmy Neutron jealous (look him up). And at a critical moment in the show one was even "left hanging" with his fist bang. (Don't know what else to call it when two "manly men" bash their fists together in triumph.) All in all they simply failed in whole to capture even the slightest interest from us. ____________________________________________________________So what about those titles? At no point in the show did these "role defining" titles ever even vaguely manifest themselves. Each character went off and did virtually the same thing as the other. There was no "Scientist", no "Designer", no "Engineer" and no "Ideas Guy". Just four forgettable people wandering rather clumsily through the motions. ________________________________________________________ Before you go off the handle on my personal critique of their performance just remember they are the hosts of a TV show. Their primary job is to interest and entertain the viewers. They failed at that completely. ________________________________________________________ So what of the secondary job of smashing and blowing things up for our entertainment? Wow, I never thought that my reaction to seeing car crashes could be so indifferent. Seriously the cut in stock footage from crash test labs was more exciting than the actual crashes they preformed. To compound the issue they have their presentation all bass ackwords. Time and again throughout the show they send the car full speed running up to the obstacle that will go "crash and boom" only to hit us at the moment of impact with the super slow motion. It really killed the moment. Smash Lab learn from a success like Mythbusters, show the crash in full then come back and give us the slow motion high speed camera shot replay. Heck watch a football game sometime. The excitement of seeing the crash is simply derailed when you slow it down right as it was getting good. ________________________________________________________ To further the problem we saw the same crashes over and over. Yes science is repetitive. I know that. But you're doing a TV show not real science. Give us a bit of variety please. If you want to do science get yourselves to a lab and off my TV. We sat and watched virtually identical cars hit over and over into virtually identical obstacles. It was boring. Even if the first crash had not been derailed by the slomo cut, the next three to six times we saw the virtually identical crashes would have still been just that, identical. Again watch Mythbusters sometimes. They break it up. Give us a bit of this and a bit of that. Throw in a touch of science and some characters that are truly endearing in one manner or another and we will watch. ________________________________________________________ So what about the results? I mean they are billing this show as a science show, right? They claim that they are doing work to further our safety by applying various technologies from one application to another. What did they find out on this fine show? Nothing. Seriously the show closes the way it began on a whimper of mediocrity. They, in the end, failed to prove or disprove anything at all. All that smashing and yapping just petered out to a big "We learned nothing." It was actually kinda frustrating to watch this lack luster mix of repetitive crashes, uninteresting characters and poor direction all the way through and have no payoff at all in the end. I seriously felt cheated. ________________________________________________________ What were we watching this for? To be entertained. We were not. To be educated. We were not. To "meet", through the TV, interesting characters that we could come to identify with in some manner or another. We simply could not. With all this disappointment from their "Grand Opening" show I doubt they will get this one on track for the full season but then maybe Im wrong. Smash lab made a liar out of me once maybe they can do it again. But I doubt it.
Smash Lab kicks off its freshman, and likely only season with rampant incompetence. So-called experts don't know how to pour concrete, or apparently, how arresting a jet airliner (with a great deal more ground pressure than a passenger car) is different from stopping a car, and they focused on the aerated concrete like they had to use it, to the tune of utter failure in all tests.
This Mythbusters-like show fails to pull off the at least passable competence and intelligence of its parent show, and has started headlong down a road of fail and disappointment. Even if you're just looking to see a show where stuff breaks, I can't recommend this one, for the infuriating amount of dumb you have to sit through to get there. The show needs to improve in a big way if it's going to keep anyone's attention.
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