Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Season 1, Episode 1

Talking to the Dead (24 Jan. 2003)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Documentary
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 144 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 1 critic

Penn and Teller introduce their series, explain their use of profanity and expose psychics who claim to speak with the dead.

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Title: Talking to the Dead (24 Jan 2003)

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Episode credited cast:
...
Himself - Host
...
Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rosemary Altea ...
Herself - Psychic
Lisa Chiariello Coons ...
Herself
...
Himself - Psychic
Mark Edward ...
Himself - Mentalist
Joni Evans ...
Herself - publisher
Joe Nickell ...
Himself - Paranormal Investigator
Tony Ortega ...
Himself - Journalist
...
Himself
...
Herself (as Michalina Almindo)
James Underdown ...
Himself - Center for Inquiry
...
Himself - Psychic
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Storyline

The magicians Penn and Teller follow the tradition of _Harry Houdini_ and set out to debunk supernatural fraud in the first episode of a series designed to expose B.S. artists of all kinds. First they explain their overuse of profanity. The terms "liar," "quack" and "scam artist" will expose them to the more litigious of their subjects; but various obscene terms are legally acceptable. Choosing obscene terms over more precise ones will help keep them out of court. Later, they profile the celebrity psychics, _John Edward (III)_ and _James Van Praagh_, who claim to speak with their clients' dead loved ones. They set out to debunk _Rosemary Altea_, who professes the same ability. _Mark Edward_ is a psychic as well, but his motivation for appearing on this show proves a surprise. Written by J. Spurlin

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24 January 2003 (USA)  »

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Penn Jillette: You'll notice more obscenity than we usually use. That's not just because it's on Showtime and we want to get some 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" is pretty safe. If we said it was 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 ...
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User Reviews

 
An entertaining beginning to an instructive show; but I don't buy the excuse for profanity: a dry tone can do wonders on true believers
4 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The magicians Penn and Teller follow the tradition of Harry Houdini and set out to debunk supernatural fraud in the first episode of a series designed to expose B.S. artists of all kinds. First they explain their overuse of profanity. The terms "liar," "quack" and "scam artist" will expose them to the more litigious of their subjects; but various obscene terms are legally acceptable. Choosing obscene terms over more precise ones will help keep them out of court.

They profile the celebrity psychics, John Edward and James Van Praagh, who claim to speak with their clients' dead loved ones. They set out to debunk Rosemary Altea, who professes the same ability. Mark Edward, no relation to John, is a psychic as well, but his motivation for appearing on this show proves a surprise.

I don't buy Penn and Teller's excuse for profanity. Yes, I'd prefer they use curse words to terms that will keep them in courtrooms and off the air. But those aren't the only choices. A dry tone can do wonders; it can help lead true believers out of their beliefs. These are the types that will refuse to be pushed. Still, this is a good beginning to an entertaining and instructive—yet far from perfect—series.


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