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Penn & Teller - Bullsh*t - The Complete Fourth Season

4.3 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The fourth season of this award-winning series featuring master showmen Penn & Teller, delivers viewers an aggressive, humorous exposé of taboo topics, using the duo’s trademark humor, knowledge of carnival tricks as well as hidden cameras and blatant confrontation. Winner of the prestigious 2004 and 2005 Writer’s 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 Showtime’s 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 City’s 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 doesn’t 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

Special Features

  • All 10 episodes from the 2006 Season on 3 discs

Product Details

  • Actors: Penn Jillette, Teller, John Mayer, Steven Mintz, Sheila Murphy Nelson
  • Directors: Chip Selby, Christopher Poole, David Wechter, Joshua E. Kessler, Scott Firestone
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Mature Audiences Only
  • Studio: Showtime Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 288 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (176 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K7UBZ2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,752 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Penn & Teller - Bullsh*t - The Complete Fourth Season" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
After a slightly messy third season, I was a little wary of whether magicians Penn and Teller would be able to keep my interest going for much longer. The first two seasons of their show were amazing and dealt with great topics like Profanity, the truth of the Bible, PETA, talking to the dead, and creationism. However, the third season just couldn't compare. While there were a few very good episodes (family values, signs from Heaven), most dealt with topics that I see as harmless, and the jokes seemed to be falling flat. So I was pleasantly surprised when the fourth season began and the quality had been restored. The episodes once again dealt with controversial issues and the humor seemed to work again.

Nearly every episode this season dealt with its topic in an interesting way; if the topic was controversial, Penn and Teller didn't back down from remaining edgy, and if it wasn't, the duo exposed a new side of the topic. The best example is the Manners episode; in it, they criticize people who take good manners way too seriously. One of their guests is a guy from Chicago who gets annoyed to the extent of anger by even the tiniest of impolite gestures. Their look at the Boy Scouts was intriguing to me due to my feelings for the organization; a lot of the Scouts' policies are pretty discriminatory, and though they have received some heat in the past few years, there are some things that they do that haven't been brought to light.

Some of the episodes were really fun and allowed us to have a slight laugh as well as think about certain issues.
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Penn and Teller are often abrasive but they are good at what they do. They are good entertainers. They are good magicians. For the purposes of this program, they are good at debunking BS.

They go about their work methodically and give both sides' arguments to an issue. They then systematically destroy the arguments of the side they disagree with. This is usually done with a lot of sarcasm and contempt but there are exceptions. They do not try to gratuitously hurt people who are not trying to take advantage of others. If people are trying to take advantage, they take no prisoners.

Episode synopses appear below:

Boy Scouts - I really wanted to take exception with this one because I am a big fan of the BSA. Unfortunately, some things hit home. The BSA discriminates against gays and against atheists. Even P&T agree that, as a private organization, they have the right to set their own membership guidelines. The problem comes from the unique federal charter. The BSA does get tax payer support in some areas. They have a habit of claiming to be a private organization when that suits them and claiming to be entitled to public funds when that suits them. They need to decide who and what they are.

Prostitution - This is another episode where I have to agree with them on principle even though I don't want to. They argue that the criminalization of prostitution cause many more problems than it solves. As usual, they interview people on both sides of the issue. Unusually, they are fairly respectful of most. Their arguments are several. Prostitution will exists, whether legal or illegal; legalization will get rid of many of the abuses.
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No one else has done what Penn and Teller have done in this ruthlessly original series. With this season it's even harder to "pin" any political label on them; they seem to attack the left as energetically as the right. I guess if a label is needed, it's "libertarian." That is, any incursion into individual liberty by government is highly suspicious. By their topics:

Boy Scouts - in essence, Penn and Teller think that if the BSA wants to exclude gays and atheists, they should refuse direct and in-kind federal and state support. I agree - too much of what the Scouts do is uncomfortably close to "state action" and the establishment of religion.

Prostitution - according to the boys, it will be with us always, and making it illegal only makes things worse. It was a good segment, but I felt it soft-pedaled the viability of prostitution in Nevada. I saw a very pastel-colored picture of things out there from the boys, and I cannot say that it is as rosy as they depicted to serve their political ends...

Death Penalty - if we kill somebody, we run a big risk of regretting it later because we were wrong. Well, with our better technology of proof that we have today, does that mean that we should use the death penalty more? Not according to P&T.

Cryptozoology - irrelevant, although funny.

Ground Zero - I wish they would have "weighed in" on what their own preferred solution would be. Here, a lot of rocks are thrown but no viable solutions advanced.

Pet Love - I could not finish this one. It made me sick. However, if this is what makes people happy, I guess it's better than injecting heroin.

Reparations - hey, justice is as justice does, right?
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