In the investigative tradition of master illusionist and early 20th-century ghostbuster Harry Houdini, magicians Penn Jillette and partner Teller debunk the paranormal in their wildly entertaining Showtime series, Penn & Teller: Bullsh*t!
The first season of this unusual show finds the garrulous Penn and silent Teller taking aim, over 13 episodes, at such perennial hokum as “Talking to the Dead,” “ESP,” and “Ouija Boards.” But they also go after a couple of contemporary, exploitation-driven industries they believe con vulnerable people in the same way phony mediums rip off the bereaved and “regression therapists” lead on would-be alien abductees.
One of these industries is the network of charlatans promising sexual enhancement through bigger breasts or male genitals; the other is the publishing world’s raging river of self-help books. But our boys don’t stop there. Just to make sure each viewer comes away impeached at least once for championing a sacred cow, Penn and Teller take on creationists, anti-smokers, vegetarians, extreme environmentalists, and feng shui enthusiasts.
Everyone is bound to feel a little offended at some point in this boxed set’s 360 minutes, but P&T offset their indignation with wily humor and the occasional, dazzling trick.