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Reviews & Ratings for
"Penn & Teller: Bullshit!" More at IMDbPro »

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101 out of 131 people found the following review useful:

Best. TV Show. Ever.

Author: warlokc from Charlottesville VA
3 April 2004

Wow. This should be mandatory viewing for the entire human race. Con men of all stripes hate this show, and with good reason. If enough people see it, they'll be out of business. To re-cap the first season: Bottled water is the same as tap water. Your penis can't be enlarged. "Intelligent Design" isn't. ESP -an old con debunked 10,000 times over. When will people learn. As for "talking to the dead" -these people deserve prison.

And already in the 2nd season we've seen that PETA is a terrorist organization.

Of course, I already knew a lot of this stuff, but Penn and Teller do a fine job of presenting the truth with humor.

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88 out of 115 people found the following review useful:

Skepticism = Critical Thinking

Author: Buzz Vinard from Albuquerque, NM
8 February 2005

I've been a skeptical atheist for a while, now. It is great to have a show that, at the very least, confirms that I am not alone out here.

Penn and Teller are also skeptical atheists, so no one should be expecting an expose of religion to turn into an episode on the religious conversion of the duo. I don't understand many of the reviews here, suggesting that "thoughtful debate" should be the order of the day on this show. The show is called "Bullshit!" for a reason. You can count on any topic presented here as being something to be taken apart, limb by bloody limb.

The methodology they use is appropriate to their subjects. I personally hate PeTA and other extremist groups like them. The show about PeTA focused on the hypocrisy in their actions, since what they essentially offer is an extremist opinion, not science. PeTA euthanizes animals? PeTA gave financial support to convicted arsonist Rodney Cronado? PeTA vice-president Mary Beth Sweetland uses animal-based insulin, despite PeTAs firm stance that animals are "not ours to use—for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, or any other reason"? Holy cow!

The show about AA took a hard look at the success rate of the program, as well as focusing on the religious-based nature of the program itself, calling into question whether or not it is right for courts to order folks into it.

The debate on evolution vs. creationism being taught in public school was fascinating. The point being made, lost on many, was that creationism, "intelligent design", or any other theory that involves a divine creator is religious in nature, and therefore has no place being taught in public schools. What was seen as the outrage was that the prevailing majority religious viewpoint was being pushed to the front as a fact that all, regardless of religion, were going to be taught. This is as offensive as bizarre attempts to round off the value of pi by legislative coup.

Holistic/alternative medicine is a huge business in my home state. I know a lady who has used these remedies to help her back. I've known her for ten years, and she's been a strict adherent to these methods for at least that long. Her back has hurt for ten years, and it still does, today. There is no science at all on the side of the vast majority of these remedies. Some were even shown on this show to be aggravating to the conditions they were supposed to treat. Basic anatomy classes will show that there are no chakra points on the body, or any reflexology nerve pathways in the foot.

The main thing the guys want to get across is to use some common sense. Think critically about these kinds of things. Look at them from all angles. If a group of people offer an extremest and absolute point of view, but make exceptions for themselves, ASK WHY! If science is being trampled by religion, ASK WHY! If someone wanted your money to sell you a car, you'd have it checked out first, right? Do the same with anything holistic and/or psychic. Dig. Find some real answers. ASK WHY! And if someone wants to take your freedoms away, say NO!

When it comes to matters of opinion, Penn and Teller are not shy about their own. But they don't condescend the audience, telling what opinions they SHOULD have, just asking them to question the opinions and beliefs they DO have. Opinions and beliefs that can stand up to critical thinking deserve to be held on to. Those that can't are bullshit. That's the whole point of the show.

I do hope that the show returns soon. It's still at the top of my Tivo list, though an episode has not aired in months.

And if either of you guys read your own reviews, check it out: The two men who founded "Exodus International", a Christian "gay conversion" group ended up leaving the organization and their wives for each other. Please do a show about this!

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58 out of 74 people found the following review useful:

Best Approached With an Open Mind

Author: menardi ( from New York City, New York
30 July 2003

Showtime's recent series 'Bullshit!' garners widely-varying responses from viewers-- it has fanatically devoted fans as well as those downright offended by it. Abandoning Penn & Teller's usual material, dispelling myths surrounding magicians and magic, 'Bullshit!' is based on the duo's more serious beliefs. With episodes critiquing beliefs many people hold dear to their hearts, such as religion and environmentalism, 'Bullshit!' is an excellent show if you're looking for more than just the same old sensationalist garbage on television. Using a satisfying blend of humor and journalism, 'Bullshit!' is entertaining and informative. ****

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52 out of 70 people found the following review useful:

Hilarious and Informative

Author: MilB12 from Dallas
16 January 2004

When I say this is hilarious and informative, I mean it informs you of how stupid some people are. Penn and Teller do such a good job with this show, and do an even better job of de-bunking con-artists. Everything from Feng Shue to Magnet Medicine and these people who communicate with the dead (such as John Edward) are de-bunked. I just watched an episode where Penn and Teller got people to try out a "Mucas Mask". This was a supposed be a beauty treatment/facial massage in which people actually let somebody put snails all over their faces. You then see these people who have faces covered with nasty slime giving testimonials on how much better their wrinkles looked and how relaxed their face felt. This was something P&T set up just to show that these testimonials for other cons are not reliable. People can be so stupid, and Penn and Teller do a hilarious job of pointing out how gullible some people are. I reccomend this show to anybody.

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38 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

It may not be objective, but at least it'll make you think.

Author: SlimeyPete from Canterbury, England
9 November 2004

This is one of the most interesting shows I've ever seen. OK, so the portrayal of some of the issues is a bit biased, and it does descend into ad-hominem with worrying frequency, but it gets two very important things right: it's thought-provoking, and it's funny. So, although many of the arguments given seem watertight enough to me, if it's a fair and rigorous exploration of the issues that you're after, you're going to be disappointed; however, if you want to be introduced to new, intellectually-stimulating topics in an entertaining way then it's just what you're looking for. Oh, and they do have a talent for picking the funniest nutters imaginable when they're choosing their interview-fodder.

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33 out of 50 people found the following review useful:


Author: Snoopy1 from Watertown, MA
19 March 2003

Hilarious stuff.

"Bulls***", on Showtime, investigates things from the pop culture (like feng shui, bottled water) and reveals that they are, indeed, BS. There is also a bit of a candid camera element to them, making sure that the people look as stupid as possible.

e.g. They filled up fancy looking bottles with hose water and gave them what sounds like fancy names (like Aqua de Culo, which means "butt water" in Italian)...and people at a restaurant raved about how clean and tasty the waters were, as opposed to tap water.

Penn's cynical commentary is also hilarious. Him and Teller do a great job with this show.

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24 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Entertainment, not Science

Author: Voivod-2 from Berkeley, CA
17 October 2005

Speaking of bullshit, that's kind of what this show is. Not that it's bad-- it's good entertainment. But less critical viewers will need to be reminded that it's entertainment, not thorough scientific research.

While Penn and Teller do sometimes offer scientific research to bolster their arguments, the tend to present it in a manner that contradicts the purpose of serious investigation. I take issue with the way they enter their investigations with the assumption that something is "bullshit" and how they subsequently mold every piece of information that becomes available to them to reinforce their pre-determined conclusion. A real investigation would not involve them going into their research with the determination to prove it a fraud; it would involve a suspicion which they either prove or disprove after careful examination of the evidence.

I feel that the show manipulates your judgments by doctoring evidence, cutting and pasting phrases out-of-context, repeatedly showing loaded footage, making dismissive commentary without backing, relying on 'straw men' to win arguments, calling people "assholes" for having differing opinions, creating irrelevant "experiments" whose outcomes, at first glance seem to corroborate their point, but upon re-assessment, are not logically congruous with the evaluations you will make based on them (in other words, the experiments are misleading).

P&T essentially bully the viewer onto their side by creating an atmosphere in which you will feel dumb if you disagree; their ridiculously biased presentation ensures it. I'm not saying that most of the stuff they take on isn't bullshit, but their methodology is more akin to "Inside Edition" than, say "BBC News"; it's like a sloppy email forward, filled with ad-hominem attacks and hot-headed rhetoric, not a well-researched feature article. If it seems funny, well-intentioned, and consumer-advocatory, it is; but it's also manipulative and intellectually dishonest, at least for something that you given to understand is an unbiased documentary. That, in and of itself, should be a good reason to watch with caution if you're trying to get anything out of it besides entertainment.

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26 out of 45 people found the following review useful:


Author: delicreep from SF Bay Area
5 February 2003

How can this be? Not only does America finally get a skeptic-oriented cable show, but one hosted by Penn and Teller! The joy was almost too much for me, especially since the first episode was about communing with the dead, a scam enjoying a huge surge in popularity.

The opening dialogue by Penn was sometimes a bit shaky, but I suspect he'll adapt to the format soon enough. The series will hopefully continue to do what the first episode did: show the methods by which mystics and pseudoscientific opportunists take advantage of people in need.

Finally, I was impressed that the show managed to walk the line between skepticism and cynicism, never falling into the simple close-minded denial of the latter. There certainly is anger and sarcasm from the narrators/hosts, but nothing too terrible.

This is a funny show that is entirely relevant. I now have something to counter the pain of Dennis Miller's show being canceled. Watch a few of the episodes and decide for yourself.

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22 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Inaccurate at best

Author: greendaybsktc8se from United States
2 February 2006

When I first saw this show, I thought it was a great idea to expose the frauds that manipulate people out of their money on a daily basis. HOWEVER, this show fails at that goal miserably. They don't do the necessary research to give an objective opinion on anything, and slant their episodes to suit their needs.

As an example, they considered the "Center for Consumer Freedom" an "expert" for their PETA episode. For those who are unaware, the Center for Consumer Freedom is just a lobbying group for the meat industry, so of course they're going to bash PETA (

This kind of irresponsible decision-making keeps this show from reaching it's full potential. Perhaps if they would stand back a few steps and truly get both sides of an issue, they could make this show respectable. Until then, I'm turning it off.

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19 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Do Penn and Teller really believe their own bullshit ?

Author: jaahda from Australia
13 September 2006

I'm wondering if Penn and Teller actually really do believe the bullshit they present, albeit being very cleverly done and presented. They very successfully manage to 'chop up' intervews done to disguise their (almost) unapparent biases. Their show is an exemplary showcase for media students who may want or like to learn how to misrepresent people in the most impolite and morally reprehensible manner in order to support cleverly masked biases that underpin the views expressed in their show. My optimistic side suspects they may be 'tongue in cheek' whilst seeming to attack, as some of you have put it, 'a few sacred cows'. Anyone else out there reckon they are 'having a lend of us all' ? Or are they really fascists of the worst kind, using media as their weapon to air their proselytisations - presenting 'science as fact' and not opinion? Great show for people who don't like to think much and need someone else to do it on their behalf - for those amongst us who don't enjoy the weighing up processes of complex argument that arrives at 'opinion'. I find aspects of their shows very humorous - which perhaps I shouldn't as it is may be done at the (great) expense of so any who, whether or not they chose it, get misrepresented by the hosts. I also watch it 'read between the lines' of the interviews to guess at how they possible may have gotten their 'victims' to disarm and play along with them. It is this property of the show that leaves me wondering if the are 'taking a lend'. Or is Pauline Hanson really one of their distant cousins ? Jaahda

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