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Penn & Teller: Bullshit!
Penn-and-teller-bullshit.jpg
Penn and Teller host Bullshit!
Format Infotainment
Starring Penn Jillette
Teller
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 79 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Randall Moldave
Star Price (2003-2006)
Eric Small
Mark Wolper
Michael Goudeau
Running time 28–30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Showtime
Original run January 24, 2003 (2003-01-24) – present
External links
Official website

Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, rendered Penn & Teller: B.S.!, Bullsh*t!, Bulls***! or Bull! for advertisements, is an American documentary television series that has been on the air since 2003 on the premium cable channel Showtime on Thursday nights at 10 pm ET. In Canada, the series airs on The Movie Network and Movie Central. It is hosted by professional magicians/comedians Penn & Teller. Many episodes aim to debunk pseudoscientific ideas, supernatural beliefs, popular fads and misconceptions, and often from a libertarian point of view, the political philosophy espoused by both Penn and Teller. The show criticizes proponents of what they perceive as nonsense and dishonesty — bullshit — often citing ulterior political or financial motives. The stated aim of the show is to apply critical thinking to misconceptions. As is indicated by the show's title, the program adheres to Penn & Teller's characteristically blunt, aggressive presentation.

Supernatural subjects of episodes include alien abduction, alternative medicine, the Bible, and ESP; other episodes cover social issues such as the War on Drugs, organic food, animal rights, gun control, and environmentalism. Penn & Teller approach the topics in the manner of Harry Houdini and James Randi (who has appeared more than once on the show), who are known for debunking claims of supernatural powers.[1]

The show has aired seven complete seasons so far.[2] The seventh season began airing on June 25, 2009.[3] With the start of its seventh season, it is now Showtime's longest running series.[4] The series has achieved worldwide success, being shown in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Contents

Episodes

Show format

In each episode, Penn and Teller debunk a chosen misconception such as cryptozoology, debate a controversial topic like gun control or expose the truths of an organization like PETA. Sometimes their objective is not to completely dismiss the topic at hand but to decry certain aspects of the topic that they believe to be pernicious, misleading, unnecessary, or overemphasized. For example, in the case of college they argue that while college is a great place "if you love to learn, if you love to drink beer, or if you need training for a certain career", they feel that using "student diversity" as promotion is "bullshit". Similarly, they state: "so the casual asshole, or just plain dickhead, might do well in an anger management program" but using "venting" as a technique in anger management is "bullshit" since venting increases aggressiveness in a person by "twice as much" over time, especially in cases of domestic violence.

Proponents of the topic make their case in interviews; however, they often end up appearing fallacious or self-contradicting. For example, in "Safety Hysteria", a manufacturer of "radiation guards" for mobile phones admits that there is no proven link between mobile phone radiation and brain cancer, but assures viewers that "you can't be too safe" (mobile phones use conventional radio waves for communication, which are non-ionizing radiation). When he states his background is in advertising, not medical science, it is implied that he knows his product is useless but exploits people's fears to turn a profit.[5] A second consecutive interview with another proponent is often started with the phrase: "And then there's this asshole..."

Penn Jillette has stated that those being interviewed know what show the interview is for and its purpose. One episode shows a video crew from the show going into a building to perform an interview, and Jillette points out that a member of the crew is wearing a Penn & Teller: Bullshit! baseball cap.[6] Opponents are then interviewed and they offer rebuttals to the proponents' arguments. These are usually experts, celebrities, or sometimes speakers from the Center for Inquiry, James Randi Educational Foundation, and the Cato Institute.[6]

Penn and Teller often conduct informal experiments. For example, in the episode "Bottled Water", diners in an upscale restaurant are presented with a variety of apparently fancy bottled water brands. After the diners praise and pick a favorite, it is revealed that each bottle was filled by the same garden hose behind the restaurant.[7] In one of their more serious experiments during the "Conspiracy Theories" episode, Teller fires a rifle at a melon wrapped in one-inch fiberglass tape to demonstrate that when a human head is shot, it is likely to be forced in the direction opposite to the bullet's trajectory. This demonstration was aimed at discrediting a John F. Kennedy conspiracy theory that points out that the fatal gunshot rocked JFK toward the shot through the use of simple principles of physics (i.e. "back and to the left." The fallacious belief that a shot from behind would cause a head to jerk forward is used as evidence that JFK must have been shot from the grassy knoll, in front of the vehicle). Penn and Teller look over the scene of the aftermath of the experiment to which Penn comments, "Second gunman my aching ass..."[8]

Penn and Teller often have skits and stunts performed with them on set or use stock footage, to combine reasonable arguments with straightforward, entertaining ridicule. For example, the "Sex, Sex, Sex" episode may be satirizing the media's obsession with sex appeal by having the hosts constantly surrounded by naked actors and actresses.[9] Penn and Teller often close episodes with an impassioned ethical plea against whatever they are debunking, explaining how this particular belief is harmful and should be resisted. The presenters distinguish between believers (often explaining that Penn and Teller themselves would like to believe these things are true, and showing compassion to the people who do think the things are true) and those they see as charlatans out for money or to advance a political agenda, at whom their anger is directed. For example, in their premiere episode, they debunk the idea that psychics can talk to the dead. While expressing the utmost sympathy towards people who are desperate for a chance to speak to a loved one who has died, they explain that charlatans take advantage of this love to get money from people, and deliver false messages that have nothing to do with the genuine character of the departed.

Since their act is not normally associated with a frequent use of profanity, Jillette explains their choice of using the term bullshit in the opening episode: if they referred to people as frauds or liars, they could be sued for slander, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of chicanery, but as "vulgar abuse" is not legally considered slanderous, referring to them as assholes or motherfuckers ostensibly expresses an opinion rather than a statement of fact and is legally safer for them.[10]

Title

Since the show's title contains an obscenity (by common standards in the United States), the series is often listed in newspaper television listings there under the alternate title B.S. Some printings of the show's DVD releases also carry this alternate title. Dish Network and DirecTV lists the show as Penn & Teller: Bulls...! Comcast Digital Cable lists the show as "Penn & Teller: Bull!" Netflix lists it as "Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t", while the iTunes store lists "Penn & Teller: BS" (though one of its graphic icons for it has "BULL SH T" with Teller standing about where the I should be). This bowdlerization makes searching difficult; on Netflix, typing "bullshit" in the search box results in Bullitt as the top result, while doing the same in iTunes gives various songs with the word in their title (rendered as "B******t" but searchable by the complete word); neither shows the Penn & Teller program in its results for this query.

In the very first episode "Talking To The Dead," Penn Jillette introduces the format of the show and furthermore explains the need for seemingly excessive levels of profanity in the show's title and content. Jillette states "...you'll notice more obscenity than we usually use...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."

In the "Profanity" episode, Penn tells the viewers that the planned title for Bullshit! was Humbug! This, Penn goes on to say, relates their skepticism (and TV show) to Harry Houdini's reactions to the popular misconceptions of his day; but the idea was scrapped because humbug had less of an impact than the more profane, more informal word, bullshit. It is also discussed during the profanity episode that humbug was considered as profane at one time as bullshit today. During that same episode, Penn and Teller themselves did not use any profanity, even changing the name of the show to Humbug! for that episode. At one point, Penn suggests the use of the phrase Jesus Christ! by a non-Christian is not profanity, but as Teller apparently drops a bowling ball on his foot just as he mentions the phrase, his yelling of the expression makes its use ambiguous. (See Wikiquote's transcription of the quote.)

When discussing Bullshit! on his radio show, Penn would either break the word in half, usually with a clap and a slight pause, for example Bulls[Clap]Hit, or change it to Bullshot. In an episode of the public radio program Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, Penn refers to the show as Bushlit. When discussing the title with the Showtime producers, Penn stated, "You can't make a show about bullshit, and then wimp out on the title."

Proposed topics

Plans to make an episode focusing on Scientology were believed to have been rejected by Showtime executives to avoid provoking legal action by the Church of Scientology, though Penn later revealed on his radio show that this was not true; instead, he has commented that he has slight interest in dealing with Scientologists despite being critical of their practices. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, friends of Penn and Teller, were motivated by this to create their own long-planned, controversial South Park episode lampooning Scientology, "Trapped in the Closet".[11] Another planned episode on airport security has been rejected from every season's topic list: "It turns out, to shoot anything on airport security, you are violating federal law. You're not allowed to shoot anything there," said Penn Jillette.[12] He has done radio, film and print regarding airport security, but has been unsuccessful adapting it for television.

During a Q&A session at the The Amaz!ng Meeting of 2005, as Penn described the upcoming season, he said that the episode about conspiracy theories did not cover Holocaust denial, since it should have its own episode.

Acknowledged bias

Many critics accuse Penn and Teller of being biased in their approach to debunking their opponents' arguments. In the episode "Family Values", Penn said, "... we're fair and we never take people out of context. We're biased as all fuck. But, we try to be honest."[13] Still, some critics who sympathize with the duo's over-arching message have expressed regret that they can occasionally slip into the same sensationalism as their targets. This was summed up in a review by Slate which stated: "One of the unwritten rules for winning an argument against an inflammatory, irrational opponent is to calmly adhere to a loftier set of rhetorical standards. Penn and Teller showily throw this notion out the window."[14]

While Penn and Teller are self-professed skeptics, critics have been quick to note that Bullshit! is not dedicated to fact-based debunking or inquiry. An otherwise favorable review by The Onion A.V. Club noted:

Bullshit! isn't journalism, exactly. The show is one-sided by design: P&T's field interviewers rarely confront their subjects with the evidence against them, preferring to let the crackpots ramble on so that Jillette's voiceover rejoinders can score points without inciting a real argument.[15]

During an interview on the January 31, 2007 episode of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, Teller claimed that the final episode of the show would be about "the bullshit of Bullshit!" and would detail all the criticisms that they themselves had of the show.[16]

During an interview at The Amazing Meeting 7, Penn admitted the show was, "...fair and very very biased." He went on to explain that the show is fair because they seek out and interview people of the opposite viewpoint, and never take them out of context, but is biased in that they make no secret their own opinion on the matter.

Environmental skepticism

Penn & Teller are environmental skeptics. Penn & Teller have made several television appearances debunking environmental concerns. Penn & Teller: Bullshit! — the U.S. Showtime television programme featured an episode entitled "Environmental Hysteria" in which Lomborg criticised what he claimed was environmentalists' refusal to accept a cost-benefit analysis of environmental questions, and stressed the need to prioritise some issues above others.[17] Rolling Stone stated, "Lomborg pulls off the remarkable feat of welding the techno-optimism of the Internet age with a lefty's concern for the fate of the planet."[18]

Awards and nominations

Awards won

Nominations

  • Emmy Awards
    • Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single-Camera) (2006)
    • Outstanding Reality Program (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
    • Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
    • Outstanding Main Title Design (2003)
    • Outstanding Main Title Theme Music (2003)

See also

References

  1. ^ ""Now You See It"". Riverdeep.net. November 29, 2000. http://www.riverdeep.net/current/2000/11/112900_magic.jhtml. Retrieved 2006-07-21.  
  2. ^ "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!: Finale", 30 August 2009
  3. ^ Penn & Teller | NEWS
  4. ^ http://www.amateurscientist.org/2009/07/inside-amateur-scientist-studio-michael.html
  5. ^ "Safety Hysteria". Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2004-04-08. No. 2, season 2.
  6. ^ a b "Environmental Hysteria". Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2003-04-18. No. 13, season 1.
  7. ^ "Bottled Water". Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2003-03-07. No. 7, season 1.
  8. ^ "Conspiracy Theories". Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2005-05-09. No. 3, season 3.
  9. ^ "Sex, Sex, Sex". Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2003-02-28. No. 6, season 1.
  10. ^ "Talking to the Dead". Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2003-01-24. No. 1, season 1.
  11. ^ "Hayes kept South Park creators away from Scientology". World Entertainment News Network (via Yahoo News UK). January 31, 2006. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/31012006/364/hayes-kept-south-park-creators-scientology.html. Retrieved 2006-09-14.  
  12. ^ "Penn Jillette on Bullshit Season Five". CanMag (Minds Eye One). January 5, 2007. http://www.canmag.com/nw/6302-jillette-bullshit-season-5. Retrieved 2007-05-22.  
  13. ^ "Family Values". Penn Jillette, Teller. Bullshit!. Showtime. 2005-05-02. No. 2, season 3.
  14. ^ Cass, Dennis (April 1, 2004). ""Masters of Disillusionment"". Slate. http://www.slate.com/id/2098134/. Retrieved 2006-07-21.  
  15. ^ Murray, Noel (April 12, 2004). ""Penn & Teller: Bullshit!"". The Onion. http://www.avclub.com/content/node/7838. Retrieved 2006-07-22.  
  16. ^ The Skeptics' Guide to The Universe Podcast Episode 80.
  17. ^ Bullshit, "Environmental Hysteria". Showtime.
  18. ^ "Early Praise for The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 26 February 2006.

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Penn & Teller: Bullshit! article)

From Wikiquote

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (2003 – present), also known as Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t!, Penn & Teller: Bullsh**!, Penn & Teller: BS!, and informally as Bullshit!, is an American, Emmy-nominated television series on the premium cable channel Showtime. It is hosted by professional magicians/comedians Penn & Teller, and inherits their characteristically blunt, aggressive presentation. The show aims to debunk an array of popular misconceptions, sometimes supernatural in nature. It criticizes proponents of such things, often citing ulterior or financial motives. The stated aim of the show is to apply critical thinking to misconceptions.

Contents

Repeated lines

Penn: And then there's this asshole…

Penn: I'm Penn, this is my partner Teller. And this is bullshit!

Season 1

Talking to the Dead [1.01]

[First lines]
Penn: [Posing over a fake grave of Harry Houdini] Hey, Harry! Can you believe it? The same bullshit you so thoroughly debunked almost a century ago is making a comeback. [To camera] See? Anyone can talk to the dead! Now, getting an answer, that's the hard part.
Teller: [Through the plastic gravestone] Bullshit!

Penn: [Penn explains why there is so much vulgarity on the show] You'll notice much 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 court because of litigious motherfuckers!

Penn: Before we bust up this party- and god dammit we're gonna bust it up- we have to make it very clear where our hearts are. We have nothing but empathy for the people who are experiencing the loss and grief of the death of a loved one. That guy who lost his mom rips my heart out. I'm a momma's boy whose mom died a couple of years ago, and I'll never get over it, and my dad died at around the same time, and I was very close to both of them. I loved them so much there isn't a moment that goes by that I don't miss them. Houdini didn't really go nuts busting these mediums until he lost his mom. Once you've felt that pure grief, seeing it exploited can take away your sense of humor. Once a loved one has died, all we have is our memories of them. There is nothing more precious to me than my memories of my mom and dad. We don't give a rat's ass about the money these bastards are taking from the grief stricken; what we do care about deeply is the desecration of memories. These "performance artists" are, in a very real sense, mother-fuckers. That poor guy's grieving memories of his mother are now all fucked up by somebody else's images. All he will ever have left of his mom are memories, and this pig has pissed on those for a buck and a little un-earned fame. I'm sure these lame fucks tell themselves that they're easing the grief, but skits for money can not replace loving memories. How low do you have to be to exploit someone's true grief to sell some bullshit book?

Penn: One of the weird things Houdini discovered is that some of these mediums actually slip into believing their own bullshit. They forget their own misses, or as John Edward, the Biggest Douche in the Universe, does, rewrite them as hits that we're just not able to recognize. Cold reading can be done accidentally. That doesn't mean the psychic is a better person. Lying to themselves does not make lying to others OK. It can make intellectually lazy scumbags more convincing and dangerous. But even if these fucks know they're just making this shit up and pushing people's buttons, they tell themselves, "At least I'm comforting the bereaved." Who the fuck are they to decide that lying about the universe and a dead loved one is what the bereaved needs!? That's condescending bullshit!

Penn: You don't heal a broken heart by pretending it's not broken.

Alternative Medicine [1.02]

[Opening lines. Teller is said to have a number of heartbreaking symptoms]
Penn: We're gonna see if we can cure him without the bother of going to a doctor... let's try some bullshit!

[After hearing that magnet therapy could be addictive if a patient puts magnets on their head at all times]
Penn: So magnets are a cheap, legal high. Why is anyone using crack?!

Doctor Brickerhoff: Let me hear you say "Hallelujah!"
Trucker: Hallelujah!
Penn: A lot of real scientists make you say "Hallelujah!"

Alien Abductions [1.03]

Penn: Ahh, yes! The famous alien probe! So versatile it works into any orifice. No matter how it looks, abductees all love the probe!

David Icke: If we could see beyond the limitations of our five senses, we would see George Bush the Father and George Bush the Son as reptilian entities.
Penn: You know, this is the first thing anyone's said that makes sense.

End of the World [1.04]

Penn: So when does Bruce believe the bombs will start dropping?
Bruce Beech: The date which a lot of people feel right at this moment is about the 8th of December.
Penn: Relax! He's talking about 2002 [which had passed]. You can start breathing again!
[Bruce Beech laughs hysterically]

Penn: You know, when you hear about people predicting the end of the world...they're always predicting 60 to 90 % of the world's population is going to get killed. It's odd how they're always planning on what they're gonna do when everyone else is dead. Teller and I have always played the odds, so, we're betting we're gonna die. You should see our credit card bills. They're higher than our cholesterol! Good thing we don't plan on paying 'em! [microphone appears] I'm sure that we...
Cameraman: Cut! Cut. The mike was in the shot. We have to go again.
Penn: Fuck you, it's the end of the world! If you live, you can fix it in post.

John Hogue: John Hogue; rogue scholar!
Penn: Get it? Hogue! Rogue! It rhymes! And scholar, well...not a chance.

Cameraman: Do you think that this tape will ever air?
Bruce Beach: I don't give that a very high rate of probability.

[on the subject of decoding Nostradamus' writings]
John Hogue: Quatrain 97 of century, Volume 6 reads, "At 45 degrees latitude, the sky will burn. Fire approaches the great New City." At latitude 45 degrees the only new city since Nostradamus' time that you could call great and new and vast is the city that rests between 40 degrees and 41 degrees latitude, which is Manhattan and New York. Now...that's a little off.
James Randi: Then, he's way off in Canada or some place. When [Nostradamus] said 'New City', he was referring to Naples [Italy]. He refers to it several times throughout his writings and makes it clear that he's talking about Naples. Not New York City.

Sex, Sex, Sex [1.06]

Penn: Naked people are their own reward.

Feng Shui/Bottled Water [1.07]

[After identical twins get the same exact haircut, one from a barber, the second one from a Feng Shui hairstylist]
Penn: Conclusion: it's bullshit! Save your money and go see Joe... and we'll tell you you're sexay for free!

[Teller is on a stack of chairs, which fall over]
Penn: [on the subject of Feng Shui] You know, Teller, I find it silly that some people think that how you arrange your furniture can affect your health. It seems so...so...so...hmmm, stupid. [drinks out of Penn & Teller: Bullshit bottled water]

Penn: [on the subject of bottled water] Consumers are offered water with names conveying pure and pristine water sources. Ever hear of Alaskan Falls water? That must come from the crystal-clear glacial waters of our 49th state, right? Sorry, folks. Alaskan flows from this liqui-box corporation building in Worthington, Ohio. Does the brand Yosemite conjure up visions of the cool, pristine waters rushing through California's high sierras? Well, then the marketers have done their jobs. The source of Yosemite bottled water is actually 400 miles away in Northwest Los Angeles. How about Everest Water? Could our piddly show possibly afford to send a camera crew to Nepal? NOT NECESSARY. Everest comes from the industrial section of Corpus Cristi, Texas! In fact if you read the fine print on the FUCKING LABEL, they even admit that the water comes from a MUNICIPAL SOURCE! THAT IS TAP WATER, brothers and sisters of the cult of the bottle!

Penn: In much of the rest of the world, [drinking] tap water equals rapid and severe weight loss, with the introduction of new, probably harmful, friends to your intestines and other organs. Are we so ashamed of our wonderful tap water, that we have to disguise it?

ESP [1.10]

[Teller is acting as a pet psychic by finding out what a turtle is thinking through ESP]
Penn: I'm a pet psychic... psychic! I can tell you what your pet psychic is thinking and feeling. Your pet psychic is thinking "This is safe. No one can contradict me and realize I'm lying. I don't even have the balls to be a human psychic. I feel like such a pile of bullshit!"

Eat This! [1.11]

Penn: When he (Norman Borlaug) won the Nobel Prize in 1970, they said he had saved a billion people. That's BILLION. "BUH!" That's Carl Sagan billion with a "B". And most of them were of different race from him. Norman is the greatest human being. And you've probably never heard of him.

Penn: Why is anyone fighting food advance? A very small percentage of the world's population is fortunate to have the luxury of turning down food. The rest of the world spends most of its time trying to get any food. [...] We need to spread all the technology all we can, so all people everywhere can deal with the problem of "too much food". We can't start getting picky because we've got enough food- that's just self-centered and racist. Unless you and yours are starving, YOU need to SHUT - THE FUCK - UP!

Norman Borlaug: We are almost 6.6 billion people, now. We can only feed about two-thirds of them. I don't see 2 billion volunteers to disappear.

[after some raw-foodists try to foist their food on other people, being rejected in the process]
Penn: We're pretty sure that if you live in a beach-house in the US, you probably shouldn't be trying to tell starving people in the rest of the world that you're fighting the technology that could feed their children.

Norman Borlaug: You can't build a peaceful world on empty stomachs and human misery.

Ouiji Board - Near Death Experiences [1.12]

Penn: There are two things you say for sure about the Ouiji board. One, it'll set you back about twenty bucks. Two, it's bullshit!

Season 2

P.E.T.A. [2.01]

Penn: We're not gonna tease or abuse the bull. He doesn't have a cute name like Elsie, or Moo-Moo, or Heiferlips. His name is Dave. Nothing funny about that. We wouldn't do anything to this animal that we wouldn't do to ourselves.
[Penn applies a branding iron to Teller's right buttock.].
Teller: [off-camera] Mother-FUCKER!
Penn: Hey! Cool, Dave, he can talk!

Penn: Ethical means moral or proper which differs for every person, it's something to discuss. It's not an absolute. It just sounds nice, it's like 'pro-choice' and 'pro-life', I mean- c'mon! Everyone is pro-choice and pro-life. It's for or against abortion that your group is about. And who wouldn't wanna treat animals ethically, anyway. Nobody gets off slapping their monkey or choking their chicken or roughing up their clam.

Penn: What shows like this!? Is HBO running a show called “Horse Shit” or “Crocka Shit”? What other shit shows are there out there? We rule shit!

Penn: In just a month after animals were released, they would be back in animal prison for trespassing, failure to pay their taxes, assaulting people- and each other, and for fucking and shitting all over the shitty, fuckin' place!

Jerry Vlasak: I think that violence and non-violence are not moral principles - they're tactics.
Penn: WHAT?!
Jerry Vlasak: Violence and non-violence are not moral principles - they're tactics.
Penn: Sweet evil Jesus! What did he say?
Jerry Vlasak: Violence and non-violence are not moral principles - they're tactics.
Penn: "Ethical," my achin' ass!

Penn: These are folks who don't want animals killed, hurt, exploited, or...embarrassed.

Penn: The PETA you don't know would outlaw fishing, circuses, dog shows, horseback riding and zoos. They even oppose using service animals like eye-dogs for the blind. Fucking blind bastards torturing those dogs! In PETA, there's no room for Kentucky Fried Chicken, or the Kentucky Derby. See you, Shamu! And forget about smearing honey all over your fuck buddy, because even bees are persecuted by the man. And pets are forbidden in PETA's world too. That's right! No pets. Hey all you pet lovers who donate to PETA, feel like a sucker yet?

[On PETA's usage of Holocaust footage for its campaigns].
Dennis Prager: We have a generation here in America, of young people, who don't know what evil is [cf. generations past]. They've never suffered. They don't know Nazism. They don't know Communism. They don't know torture, concentration camps, or death squads. And so they're so naive, that they think the worst evil is done to animals and the environment.

War on Drugs [2.04]

Penn: [Teller shows a pan] This is drugs. [Teller shows some eggs, with the description of several types of civil liberties written on them] These are your liberties. [cut to Penn on a steamroller] AND THIS IS THE GOVERNMENT.
[Penn runs a steamroller ("the government") over the pan ("drugs") and the eggs ("civil liberties"), crushing them.]
Penn: Any questions?

Recycling [2.05]

[On recycling jobs]
Penn: [sarcastically] Man! These are GREAT FUCKING JOBS! If only we didn't have to be LAS VEGAS ENTERTAINERS and TV HOSTS!

The Bible: Fact or Fiction? [2.06]

Penn: It's fair to say that the Bible contains equal amounts of fact, history, and pizza.

Penn: Now why wouldn't God just appear to Pharaoh, and say it himself? Because God works in mysterious, inefficient, and breathtakingly cruel ways.

Penn: Monty Python's Life of Brian was more historically accurate than Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

Penn [repeatedly]: Elvis didn't do no drugs!

New Age [2.07]

Penn: Sedona, Arizona. Home of beautiful red rock canyons, scenic desert landscapes... and every crystal-sucking, vortex-fucking asshole out to make a few bucks off of New Age hippie bullshit!

[After Sasha Lessin "explained" the tantric sex.]
Penn: See, even he doesn't believe it, he can't explain it, he just likes to FUCK!.

Profanity [2.10]

[Penn and Teller return after a segment on anti-profanity advocate Ginny Foster, who suggests saying "Santa vaca!" instead.]
Penn: "Saint cow". So she is literally saying, "Holy cow!", in Spanish. But "holy cow" is a derogatory reference to the Hindu belief in the sacredness of cows. Ginny certainly doesn't believe in the holiness of cows, so taking that Lord's name in vain is perfectly acceptable. She doesn't buy the holy-cow myth. Therefore, if you didn't actually believe that Jesus is God — and most of the world doesn't — if you were, for example, a Hindu, shouting…
[Teller drops a bowling ball on Penn's foot.]
Penn: … JESUS CHRIST'S!… name… in a situation where you… or someone you know, somehow, accidentally… dropped a bowling ball on your FOOT… would be, by Ginny's standards… perfectly polite. [Penn looks like he wants to smack Teller.]

Season 3

Family Values [3.02]

Penn: The most frequent question we get asked about this show is, why would assholes like Brian Brown and Michael Medved come on a show called Bullshit! to get called "assholes"? We do not lie to them; we make sure they know all about the show. We give them copies of past shows, and it's always pretty clear which side of the issue we're gonna be on. The long answer is that people who come on this show generally consider themselves to be bulletproof. Most have never talked to anyone with a dissenting view, and certainly no one with a real research team, like ours. If you say something on our show, we check it. If you lie or make something up, we know. But we're fair — we never take people out of context. We're biased as all fuck, but we try to be honest. Now, that's the long answer. The short answer? [Penn and Teller shrug.]

Conspiracy Theories [3.03]

[Penn speaks of the deaths during the September 11, 2001 attacks.]
Penn: And that's something we should never forget. But to conspiracy nuts, death and suffering… are just heart-pounding entertainment. They whack to tragedy!

Eric Hoffschmidt: My first reaction to Flight 93, was that the Military, after the towers had been hit, said "Uh-oh...wait a minute. That's not part of the plan! What is that plane gonna do? Shoot it!"

Jimmy Walter: I firmly believe that most of the alleged passengers on the alleged hijacked planes are still alive and quite frankly, I think they were all probably working for the government.
Penn: Fuck you! We really hope this fuck-up runs into a family member of someone who's died. They may not take kindly to the idea that Daddy's faking his death somewhere.

[Penn & Teller are mocking the Moon Landing Hoax Conspiracy on a stage set w/ Penn as director]
Penn: CUT! Jesus fucking Christ, Neil! How many times do we have to try this? "One small step for A man", not man. A man! And that's YOU! Everybody take five. Neil, practice your fucking lines! Ooh yeah, let's use real pilots. I wanna use real pilots! [to the camera] Faking the Moon Landing is easy. You need dirt, wardrobe, a sound stage, a lot of black paints, and some stupid suits. The hard part is shutting people up. It's been 36 years! You'd think the technicians, and prop people, camera people, directors, everyone who works at NASA, and the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, and all the nice folks at Cape Carnaval in Florida, plus members of the US Congress and the White House all shut up about this amazing cover-up for all that time? The Government couldn't even fucking cover up a break-in to a psychiatrist's office in a fucking cheesy hotel! Watergate is the answer to all this shit. If they couldn't cover that up, they fucking can't do anything.

Clyde Lewis: Do you really think that one morning in November, 1963, Lee Oswald just got up and said "I'm gonna shoot the President today"?
Penn: Yes, but that's not a very sexy answer!

Penn: If the conspiracy [to kill President Kennedy] is so big and evil, why hasn't it killed Jim [Marrs]? And how did crazy Oliver Stone's movie [JFK (1991)] ever come out?

Vincent Bugliosi: Instinctively, people find it incongruous that this could all happen as the result of the coincidental meeting of the President and a lone nut. They feel that a greater conspiracy has to be involved.

Penn: Second gunman my aching ass!

Life Coaching [3.04]

Penn: We don't know what the "center of our being" really is, but we hope it's chocolate cream!

Holier than Thou [3.05]

Penn: I sure hope Hell is bullshit, too, 'cause if not, we are going there for this one.

[Penn compares Tibet under Chinese rule vs. the Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama's rule.]
Penn: Since coming to power, the Chinese government have introduced to Tibet electricity, running water, secular education, and better health standards, so maybe life is better on the ground there. Of course they also have thrown millions in labor camps and prisons, stomped out as much free speech as possible, have death squads run amok throughout the country, and they have that whole fucked up Communist bullshit. But if you ask the Dalai Lama, His Holiness will tell you that he must return to power for the good of his people. In this case, "good" may translate into his people living in squalor and his government condoning slavery. Remember, the lesser of two evils… is still evil. And the enemy of my enemy… is not my friend.

College [3.06]

Penn: We're all offended, all the time, and we don't have a fucking right not to be offended! A free country is a marketplace of ideas, and college should be more free, not less.
Penn: Americans believe everybody deserves freedom to move up in the world. That's a great thing. But if moving up means spending four years in a beer commercial run by politeness police, maybe you should think twice.
Alan Kors: What unversities are saying by these codes, special protections and double standards to women, to blacks, to hispanics, to gay and lesbian students, is: "You are too weak to live with freedom. You are too weak to live with the First Amendment." If someone tells you you are too weak to live with freedom, they have turned you into a child.

Big Brother [3.07]

[Penn discusses the 2001 Patriot Act.]
Penn: The lawmakers didn't even read the law before they passed it. Assholes! All that protects us from their evil is their incompetence.
[Penn discusses the 2001 Patriot Act.]
Penn (voiceover): We can get more federal agents. Wow. What do we have to give in return?
[cut to penn and teller]
Penn: We have to give the government more power, but what power? The patriot act is "an act to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes". Other purposes? What the fuck is that all about? Other purposes. You shouldn't even allow that kind of loose language in a fucking gym membership contract.

Ghostbusters [3.10]

[Penn tells a campfire ghost-story version of the Texas ghost investigators' hotel experience.]
Penn: And then, the pseudo-scientists dressed in leather stumbled clumsily around the well-lit bedroom. One of them said, the night before, she felt a presence. And the other two… believed her! A battery… went dead. And then the video screen got… got a little weird for a few seconds. They took lots and lots of pictures, and weeks later, when they were developed, a couple of them had lens flare, and they didn't remember fucking up the pictures! And then, the electromagnetic gizmo, that they hadn't calibrated at all… (Dramatic voice) WENT FROM "3" TO "7"! (Teller faints)

Season 4

Boy Scouts [4.01]

Penn: You'd think our Bullshit! experiment would settle the whole "gay" thing. But then there's this asshole!
Hans Zyger: As the homosexual movement became much more entrenched into American culture starting in the late 60's...it really became an opportunity for pedophiles to make a mass assault on the Boy Scouts.
Penn: Fuck you in the neck, mother fucker!

Cryptozoology [4.04]

[Penn introduces the subject after mentioning a few examples.]
Penn: These people call what they do "cryptozoology" — "-zoology" meaning "the study of animals", and "crypto-" meaning "shit we made up".

Pet Love [4.06]

[Penn closes the show.]
Penn: There are so many people in the world who need our help, that it's sickening to spend all this money on pets. What about people? Couldn't all the money spent for fake dog balls, diamond collars, and cat food be spent to help people? Sure it could! But I have original mono copies of Bob Dylan's early albums […] Teller has an original bondage cross and handcuffs that Houdini owned […] We both spend three bucks for a cup of coffee, and live in houses that are way more than our families need. All that money could certainly go to helping people, too. Pets are more bullshit that people waste money on. But fuck, we're in glass houses on this one.

Reparations [4.07]

[In the segment on American Indians, Penn reviews past wrongs.]
Penn: The white man gave Indians blankets laced with smallpox, massacred them, broke every treaty they signed, and stole their land. And let's not forget F Troop.

Manners [4.08]

[Teller entertains dinner guests with a floating bread roll trick while Penn continues.]
Penn: Manners are habits we can cultivate to help us remain considerate of others, even when we're not thinking about it. Of course, real thoughtful consideration for others can easily replace manners. Teller considers that our guests might like to see how the trick works. Thank you, Teller.

Penn: In a recent poll, eight out of ten Americans said rudeness is a serious problem. The other two told our pollster to fuck off!

Dr. John Mayer: My postulate is that people are rude---
Penn: Oh! There it is! Thank you, folks! Good night everybody!
[The credits roll, but then cut back to the show]
Penn: What? There's more show? Damn!

Gloria: If you're in a restaurant with a tablecloth, you do not eat a hamburger with your fingers. Rather, you take your knife, cut it in half, and eat one half.
Penn: (voice over) Have some self respect Gloria. If the chef at this world-class restaurant thought his hamburger would be better eaten in halves, he would have cut the fucking sandwich himself!! You ignorant, self-serving, kill-joy, nit-picking, burger-cutting bitch!! Asshole! Whore! Cunt.

Abstinence [4.10]

[The scene cuts to a woman walking through a parking lot carrying large manila shipping envelopes.]
Penn: To learn about abstinence, we told our producer we wanted to talk to a woman with really… huge… envelopes. He's foreign. He didn't know that in America, every plural noun means "tits".

Joycelyn Elders: I'm against abstinence programs because I really consider "abstinence only" child abuse.
Penn: Oh, SNAP.

Penn: Today, a disturbing 35% of our school districts require that abstinence be taught as the only option for teens. Even worse, these programs prohibit the discussion of contraception, unless it's about that stupid small percentage of time when it doesn't work. Fuck! When did Washington turn into the Vatican?

[Steve Trombley, Chicago president/CEO of Planned Parenthood, talks about "abstinence only" programs.]
Steve Trombley: I think, in fact, we should really call it "ignorance only" education.
. . .
Steve Trombley: We teach abstinence in every course we do…
Penn: [voiceover] Yeah! Planned Parenthood tells kids not having sex is okay, too! The difference is they realize that kids don't fucking listen.
Steve Trombley: But we also live in the real world, and we know that over half of teenagers in this country engage in sexual activity.
[Cut back to Elders.]
Joycelyn Elders: We've tried ignorance for a thousand years. It's time we try education.

Penn: Now, we're not saying you should have sex because so many other people are. We're saying you should make your own rules, decide what's good for you, based on what you think is important. And don't let anything be thrust into you against your will — not a dick, and not someone else's psycho-religious kink.

Penn: So what have we learned? The U.S. government continues to dump hundreds of millions of our dollars a year into misleading, religion-based, anti-sex education. The only good thing about the program? It doesn't work. Most kids just ignore it. Sure, we're throwing away money, but only really religious kids are hurt by it. Our religion-based government can't fuck us up on this because bullshit detection is written into our genes. The sex switch gets turned on at puberty, and no matter how much government or religion twists the truth, they're fighting the honest beauty of love and sex. That's like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Season 5

Obesity [5.01]

[Penn talks about how people should not try to stop eating because we are wired to eat.]
Penn: If you have the willpower to overcome several billion years of evolution, cool, more for the rest of us. And you can stop fucking too, cool, more for the rest of us. Thanks.

Penn: You know, our pal Marvin Minsky, pioneer of Artificial Intelligence at MIT, says: "I don't work out because we don't know yet enough about the long-term effects. It appears that each hour of exercise may add two hours to one's life - but I don't know of any evidence that this leads to getting better ideas."

Wal-Mart [5.02]

[A hippie scene, while Teller is painting a Wal-Mart vest on a woman's otherwise bared torso]
Penn: Now hold on, this isn't some Wal-Mart lovefest. Sometimes, they're really assholes. In 2000, Wal-Mart reportedly paid $50 million to settle a lawsuit filed in Colorado by 69,000 workers who had been forced to work off the clock. In December 2005, Wal-Mart had to pay $172 million to 116,000 California employees for not giving them their legally-mandated 30-minute lunch breaks. So that's at least, uhh... 185,000 people who had a legitimate beef. And, uhh...don't spread it around, but I'm kinda-sort've a Target guy myself.

Penn: The fight to stop Wal-Mart has happened in small towns and big cities alike, all across the country. We went to one of those towns: Greenfield, Massachusetts, population 18,000. Greenfield is not just "Everyone's Hometown". It is, most importantly, my hometown.

Detoxing [5.04]

[Penn stresses the importance of colon cancer screening, while displaying images from his own colonoscopy.]
Penn: And then there's this asshole... Sometimes it must seem like I'm talking out my asshole. This time, I literally am.

[After hearing a colonic irrigation "therapist" say that a colonic irrigation treatment cleans out junk that lodges in a subject's colon]
Penn: That's bullshit. Your colon is not an English muffin. It doesn't have nooks and crannies. If we didn't put Chris through all this stupid shit today, he would've simply shat out all that shit tomorrow. It's as easy as that.

Exorcism [5.05]

[A videotape of an exorcism is shown. On video, the minister prays over the subject, pours oil on his head, and then throws a bucket of water over him.]
Penn: (Voiceover) Apparently these demons are vulnerable to a splash of olive oil. Maybe they're made of low density lipoproteins?
Subject: [on video] Ugggh! Get away from me! You motherfucking asshole!
Penn: (Voiceover) Took the words right out of my mouth.

Immigration [5.06]

[Two Hispanic men looking like Penn & Teller come up to the camera. The subtitles are in the corresponding (inaccurate) translation of the language - English subtitles for spoken Spanish, Spanish subtitles for spoken English]
Faux Penn: Me llamo Penn Jillette, y éste es mi socio Teller. ¿Qué chingados está pensando este güey? Los inmigrantes tomamos los trabajos que nadie quiere hacer y eso mejora--
[Translation: My name is Penn Jillette and this is my partner, Teller. What the fuck is that asshole thinking? "Illegal" immigrants are taking the jobs that no one wants to do and that's quickly improving our way of life.]
Penn: What the fuck? What the fucking fuck? What the f-- get the fuck out of here! These are our jobs! What the-- what the fuck? Star! These are our jobs!
[Translation: ¡Largate de aqui! ¡Estos son nuestros trabajos! ¡Star! ¡Estos son nuestros trabajos!]
Star: [off camera] But the other guys are cheaper!
[Translation: Pero los otros tipos son mas baratos.]
Penn: You are so fucking fired. And turn off this subtitle shit! This is America!
[Translation: Estas tan despedido, pendejo. ¡Apaga ese pinche subtitulo. Estamos en los Estados Unidos!]
[Teller kicks the subtitle header, it veers off view]

Faux Penn: Mientras América ofrezca la libertad y la oportunidad, las personas vendrán aquí con las rodillas manchadas de sangre. ¡Simón, güey! Cómo sus abuelos o bisabuelos lo hicieron. Una persona valiente para dejar su casa, la tradición, y la familia, para venir a América y trabajar para una mejor vida, para él o para ella misma y su familia, deberán de recibirlos con los pinches brazos abiertos.
[Translation: As long as America offers freedom and opportunity, people will come here on bloodied knees. Fuck yeah! Just like your parents or great grandparents did. A person brave enough to leave home, tradition, and family, to come to America and work for a better life, for him or herself and his or her family, should be welcomed with open fucking arms.]
Penn: And if you can mow lawn, or build fences, or juggle, or do tricks, or write comedy better or cheaper than what we've got, we'll hire your fucking ass. And will use all the time and money and effort you're saving us to-- to live a little. And you know, it's still our names on the fucking show. See, I told you we'd get tits in the show somehow.
[Translation: Y si tu corta cespedes o costruye las cercas, o juegos malabares o, hace las artimanas o escribe la comedia mejor o mas barata que lo que hemos obtenido, emplearemos la bola de cabrones. Y utilizaremos todo el tiempo y el dinero el esfuerzo que salvas, a vivir un poco. Y tu sabes, todavia estan nuestros nombres en el show. Ya ves, que de alguna manera los agaramos.]

Handicap Parking [5.07]

Penn: "Provide a Clear and Comprehensive National Mandate for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Individuals with Disablities." That's what the americans with disabilities act says it's gonna do. What the fucking fuck? What is wrong with us? Have we all gone fucking crazy? We think the government is so good at what it does, the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on war. The government is so fucking good at that, they can fucking do anything? They can make us all physically equal, they can heal the lame, they can make the fucking blind fucking see! How about the government sticks to courts, police, defense, and corruption, and leaves compassion to people that fucking have that! Motherfuckers!

Mount Rushmore [5.08]

Penn: Decadence is a freedom with a smile.

Anger Management [5.10]

Howard Richmond: It sounds a little pompous, but I do believe that I have a gift to tune into people. Some people would refer to it like I'm the psychic pianist.
Penn: It's not pompous to say you're psychic. It's BULLSHIT TO SAY YOU'RE PSYCHIC!! But I digress. I'm not angry.

Season 7

Orgasms [7.01]

[talking to an orgasm session participant who just met his partner 20 minutes ago]
Participant: We can get very intimate very quickly by doing this without going through long conversation and the usual uh, challenge that people, you know, through words.
Penn: Ahhh, wait. I have a Dickwad to English dictionary here... he means, uh, "who actually wants to go through the hassle of having to actually talk to the bitch?"

Penn: Uh-oh. Looks like there's trouble at Orgasmo University.

Penn: It takes a woman twenty minutes to reach orgasm. It takes a man two minutes. What other fucking proof do you need that there's no god?

Astrology [7.02]

Penn: Astrology is a 4000 year old form of bullshit that postulates a mystical correspondence between your destiny and the position the sun and moon were in when you were born.

Penn: Just because Charles didn't help her doesn't mean astrology is always wrong.
Phil Plait: No matter how you slice it, astrology is wrong.
Penn: Oh.

Video Games [7.03]

[Teller, wearing a high school letter jacket, plays on a computer while a group of students and cheerleaders cheer him on.]
Penn: Next time you feel like worrying about fake violent video games, try a little Gedanken experiment: imagine that video games were invented 100 years before football. Picture school video game teams and uniforms and hot-ass cheerleaders with big, bouncing pom-poms. Now imagine after 100 years of extracurricular video game fun, football is invented and introduced to schools. Thousands of kids get real, no kidding, no fantasy, no make-believe broken knees, legs, ankles, cervical trauma, heatstroke, and concussions! [Throughout Penn's injury list, the crowd quiets, eventually becoming totally silent.] ...What would parents do? From 1931 to 2007, 665 kids died... from injuries they suffered playing football. This is not video game violence - this is real violence done to real children by other real children, all encouraged by schools and society. Every parent worries about his or her kids; every adult worries about all children, but you need to pick what you think is worth worrying about.

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