The fourth season of this award-winning series featuring master showmen Penn & Teller, delivers viewers an aggressive, humorous exposé of taboo topics, using the duos trademark humor, knowledge of carnival tricks as well as hidden cameras and blatant confrontation. Winner of the prestigious 2004 and 2005 Writers Guild Award for Best Comedy/Variety Series and nominated the last three years for the Emmy® for Outstanding Reality Program and Outstanding Writing for Non Fiction Programming, Penn & Teller: Bullshit! continues its controversial muckraking throughout season three by confronting many of the institutions society holds dear.
Libertarians may rejoice over the release of Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t -- The Complete Fourth Season
, another collection of Showtimes provocative series debunking popular theories and so-called conventional wisdom. Hosted with an infectious sneer by skeptic-magicians Penn & Teller, Bullsh*t
takes on issues of varying levels of seriousness and controversy, puncturing both liberal and conservative arguments whenever they seem, to the sarcastic hosts, specious. The Complete Fourth Season
kicks things off with a swift kick to the Boy Scouts, who are shown no mercy for enforcing discriminatory policies against gays and atheists while thriving on government funding at all levels: federal, state, and local. Bullsh*t
visits with paragons of Scout virtue who were nevertheless kicked out for being homosexual, but the episode does something more: It deflates the very notion that the Scouts are even important to the teaching of survival skills as well as wholesome values. Following that is a rather eye-opening show about prostitution, and why sex-trade workers can't always be described as slaves. An obligatory, though fun, visit to a brothel in Nevada (where prostitution is regulated by the state) is complemented by a day spent with a 25-year-old student paying her tuition through sex sessions with upscale clients. But there's pretty serious stuff, too, in the form of activist arguments on all sides of the debate about prostitution's alleged threat to humankind.
The series takes time out for silliness with "Cryptozoology," the arguably bogus "science" of studying (using no actual evidence) the likes of the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and every other mythical creature described through dubious eyewitness reports or blurry video. An especially funny episode, "Cryptozoology" follows the feckless wanderings of so-called experts who seem more adept at buying equipment than actually using it. An interesting change-of-pace is "Manners," in which the popular perception that Americans are more rude today than they were a century ago is attacked as ridiculous, given that people routinely urinated in the street at the end of the 19th century. An etiquette expert shows us which fork to use when eating a salad, but the overall idea here is that only a handful of manners are necessary for getting through life. Three other, very serious subjects are drenched in sarcasm. One is New York Citys inability to get it together on rebuilding the Ground Zero site. The episode tracks the many instances of overreaching and mishandling the delicate task, and finds that even a national tragedy doesnt mean the best intentions of government are free from screw-ups. In another episode about reparations, the question of whether America owes money to the descendants of African slaves and Indians is dissected with a wink. Penn and Teller also take on abstinence in a program that looks at whether sex education works, and wonder why it is that something that reduces stress and feels good the way sex does is so demonized. --Tom Keogh