MythBusters: Scents And Sensibility

PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content Moderatora 10000+ points - Super Pooperb 9000+ pointsc 8000+ pointsd 7000+ pointse 6000+ pointsf 5000+ pointsg 4000+ pointsh 3000+ pointsi 2000+ pointsj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

Walking into the restaurant on Manhattan's 7th Avenue, a block away from the Ed Sullivan Theater where my companions were to appear on Letterman the next day, some guy recognized Jamie and Adam. "Are you here to solve the myth of the pizza sauce?" he cracked. Jamie and Adam smiled. The man made a joke about blowing somthing up. Jamie and Adam walked into the restaurant, their smiles no longer as genuine.

Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are the stars of MythBusters, Discovery Channel's hit show dedicated to uncovering the science behind urban myths. For three seasons Jamie and Adam have devotedly applied the scientific method to bust dozens of widely held myths. But to the guy at the door and fans all over the world, they're known as the guys who love to blow things up. That's not how they want to be known, but that seems to be what gets butts onto couches, so that's how Discovery markets them. Discovery manages the MythBusters image carefully, and the image of two trigger-happy gung-ho scientists seems to be the one they've latched on to.

And that image, as Discovery has it, is incongruous with fecal matter.

And yet there I was.

We sat at the table for the interview that wasn't supposed to happen -- myself, Jamie, Adam, Peter, MythBusters' Executive Producer; Eric,

Dave and Jamie listen intently.

their Associate Producer; and my lovely wife Jenny. When I had first approached Peter about setting up this interview, he enthusiastically referred me to Discovery's PR representative. She refused to email me. A website dedicate to poo, she told Peter, doesn't jibe with Discovery's carefully crafted family-friendly image.

Spend five minutes with this crew and you can see why Discovery is apprehensive about putting them in the same room with a guy who spends his time contemplating the philosophical ramifications of poop. On the set, they told me, poop jokes regularly flow; Discovery knows this, and probably feared that my presence would be the catalyst that unleashed the true nature of their stars. But Peter felt loyalty to PoopReport -- this site was one of the first to write about the show when they first got started; and Peter didn't forget it. So he scheduled the interview himself. And sure enough, they were bursting with the kind of talk that would make a corporate publicity hack gnaw at her clipboard and mentally begin updating her resume:

"One of Adam's most unsettling experiences on the set involved poop."

"Peter keeps imagining a frying turd on a skillet."

"I once had one lodge across the bowl. I had to pour boiling water on it just to get it down!"

I print these quotes not to piss off Discovery, nor to frighten their advertisers, nor to appease those PoopReporters who are wondering when this article will finally start talking about poop; and certainly not just for shock value. (It shouldn't surprise anyone that a bunch of guys who work long hours together turn to poop jokes to pass the time -- most people would do the same.) No, I mention it instead to underscore the major theme of my forbidden ninety-minute discussion with the MythBusters team: the tensions between creative integrity and the corporate image.

Adam, Jamie, and Peter intend MythBusters to be an entertaining way to educate. Every week Adam and Jamie tackle urban legends, old wives tales, and conventional wisdom, deploying the scientific method to uncover the truth behind the myth. The point of the show is not to blow things up, but rather to apply science to situations in which science is not usually applied. The fact that things do get blown up at the end is the icing; but the one-dimensional positioning of the show causes too many people to overlook the cake.

"Our theory of the show," says Peter, "is the more {science} content you put in, the better. Discovery's theory about the show is spectacle. Each show has to have a stunt, an explosion, and Adam injuring himself." Recognizing this, the team has learned to use the system against itself. "Our technique is to use the way Adam injures himself to get more content in. So we can get the sequence of building something from three seconds to three minutes."

"The blowing stuff up is nearly always just a stunt," says Adam. "The research we've done and the data we've gathered is usually sufficient that we already know what to expect."

"The most interesting thing to us," says Jamie, "is that we're out there

Adam gives my lovely wife the eye. Back off, man!

exploring the world at large in all its various facets."

And indeed they are. One facet was the brown note, the sound frequency rumored to cause uncontrollable defecation (doesn't exist). Another is whether you will get stuck to an airline vacuum toilet if you're sitting on it when it flushes (you won't). Yet another is whether you can get electrocuted by peeing on the subway's third rail (you can't, unless you're peeing from only a foot or two away, in which case your urine will still be a stream instead of a bunch of droplets and you can expect one very charred wee-wee).

People believe urban myths because they make sense of society's unknowns. Many of society's unknowns, though, coincide with society's unmentionables. The constant struggle is to explore these unmentionables on a network with a censorship standard, according to Adam, based on whether one can "turn on the show at any moment during the edit and not be shocked by what I see."

It's that standard that meant viewers never got to see the aforementioned shot of the fake ass in the vacuum-toilet episode. "They felt that this one shot of a point of view from the toilet bowl of a big rubber ass lowering down on the toilet seat was unacceptable," said Adam. "Because if you were switching channels and didn't know what you were seeing -- 'oh my God!'"

Jamie recalls the episode Son of a Gun as another example. The myth they were exploring was a civil war story of a bullet ricocheting off a soldier's tibia, passing through his testicles, and then piercing the womb of a woman 150 yards away, impregnating her. With elements of biology, physics, and history, it was a perfect subject. But how do they illustrate the flight of the bullet when they're not allowed to show testicles? How do they discuss the viability of this method of artificial insemination when they're not allowed to say "sperm"? Discovery asked them to use the phrase "genetic material," which they did, until Jamie couldn't take it any more. "Genetic legacy?? It's SPERM! Any kid in grade school knows that -- helps make babies, y'know!"

That outburst, perhaps because it was grounded firmly in science, survived the edit.

What makes MythBusters click is how Adam and Jamie's skills compliment each other. Jamie is practical, as Peter told me, and Adam is experiential. Jamie thinks. Adam does. To illustrate this, Peter asked Adam to describe "one of his most unsettling experiences" on the set.

"We were doing the porta-potty explosion, and we had to test whether I was one of the 40% of Americans that produce methane in their farts. We were going to use a little amount of my poop in sample jars and test the methane in them. You know, I'm pretty regular, so right about 7:30 before I'm heading into work, I'm ready for my constitutional. The wife is giggling as she hands me a big Ziplock baggie, and I go into the bathroom and then there's five to six solid minutes of just trying to figure out the mechanics of how to poo in this bag." And to the chagrin of passing waiters and waitresses probably wishing that these celebrities would throw phones or punch photographers like Russell Crowe or Sean Penn instead of loudly talking about poop in the middle of the lunch hour, Adam described his thought process, and how he eventually settled upon a "kind of gymnastic squat" to get his poop into the bag.

"Of course," replied Jamie, "the mechanical approach you wouldn't have thought about would be to just get some Saran Wrap and put it on the floor and do it like you would in the woods. Pick that up and put it in the bag."

It's that kind of relationship -- one problem, multiple perspectives -- that helps the team

Peter and Adam peruse The Journal of Ass Production.

investigate their myths. And it frustrates them equally to see their creativity distilled down into montages of explosions for their promos; or to be on Letterman not to talk about bringing science to the masses but instead launching Paul Newman a hundred feet above 54th Street in a balloon chair; or to have some yahoo outside the restaurant recognize them not for the scientists and educators they are but for the pyromaniacs Discovery makes them out to be.

The ideal myth, Adam says, is "both shocking and illuminating." Maybe that's why Peter was so keen to interview with this purveyor of brown journalism -- because he could see this site takes the same approach. If shock was all we PoopReporters were after, then stark pictures of glistening ass batter would illustrate every story; but this site's aim is to analyze the social structure that makes us laugh at people who crap themselves while we're laughing at people who crap themselves. So if MythBusters were to take this site's suggestion and investigate whether toilet paper actually works (or whether wiping just smears an invisible layer of fecal mater on your taint), the end result would be both hilarious and enlightening: because it would explore the science behind something few of us have ever thought to analyze. Because it would open our eyes to the world we think we know. And because it would probably multiply bidet sales a hundred times once people learned the science debunking the myth.

Ultimately the media vehicles Discovery's publicity people love so much -- the Lettermans and the Regises of the world -- are the ones that advance science the least; while this interview here on (your #1 source for your #2 business! Buy a t-shirt!) is intended to be one of the more thoughtful the guys have ever had published.

So it's in the name of science that I close with this final quote from Adam: "We'd like to do the first lighting of a fart on television." Because after saying that, Jenny asked, "If you do that, is there a risk that the fire could go back up your butt?"

To which Peter responded: "That's the classic urban myth." And then he explained the scientific reasoning that proves lighting your fart creates absolutely no risk of a methane explosion in your colon. Myth busted.

100 Comments on "MythBusters: Scents And Sensibility"

MegaDump's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Dave, you are my new idol! Not only do you manage the greatest website in the world, but you've interviewed the most entertaining guys on television. I Just couldn't stop laughing at that episode where Adam and Jamie tried to get that skunk to spray them! Mythbusters is the best!

As for lighting your farts on fire, I think that is really true - on a live, late night episode of Big Brother, I witnessed housemates lighting farts on fire in the dark. It made a slight plume of flames then went down.

Fireball's picture

most people burn there assholes, lighting their farts, from their clothes catching fire. thats why you see people in fart lighting videos screaming in pain after and rubbing there ballon knot. When you lighten the brown take your pants down.

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

Very solid journalism, Dave-O! How's that for the ultimate PR compliment? I'm impressed that you got these guys to loosen up enough to talk to you and treat you like the legitimate intellectual journalist that you are. What I also glean from this is that Adam and Jamie can leave behind they myths they explode without batting an eyelash. A true PR'er is a true PR'er forever.

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

Pill Pooper's picture
PoopReport of the Year Awardk 500+ points

Great write up Dave. I met these guys in Manhattan a few months back and they are very nice, down to Earth guys.

-Pill Pooper

DungDaddy's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

Almost speechless Dave. Just when I was thinking PoopReport couldn't get any better.

Tydirium's picture
k 500+ points

Dave, you should be writing professionally. Also, Mythbusters should be interviewing you for their show. You are a true expert.

Slim Jim Junkie's picture

I wonder if I read too quickly and missed something.

There was one episode where they got together a ton of huge speakers in order to duplicate the Brown Note. They didn't make it happen.

Turtle Head's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Outstanding. I love those guys too, and it's great to hear firsthand they are as cool as they seem on the show. Maybe we can dream up some experiments related to our favorite past time that they could get on the air, and get a good PoopReport plug in at the same time? Can anyone think up some dookie related myths that are tame enough for the boys at Myth Busters to air?

Log Flume's picture

I love Mythbusters!. Its pretty cool to read about them on Poopreport. As always another great read!!

anon's picture

Dave, Wiper

Don't forget the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating contest is only days away. I've always wondered about the "aftermath". How about a report?

The Big Wiper's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Quality Moderatori 2000+ points

I've e-mailed Dave-O about the suggestion from 'anon' to see what he says. Sounds like a great PR idea to pursue!

Pulling My Pants Down For Peace, Plop and Posterity!

WhoFloatedTheAirBuscuit?'s picture

Excellent article Dave! I too am an avid fan of Mythbusters, loving the science and clever humor of the show above all. Adam and Jamie's show has to be the best format for bringing science to the masses that Discovery has to offer. Thanks for publishing an interesting interview with some talented researchers... Now if only they had time to join the 'crappy' family here at Poop Report! I'm sure the Mythbusters must have some great tales to tell.

Prissypooper's picture

I love Myth Busters! Thanks for the great article! :)

Gaseous G's picture

Nathans July 4 - Watch on ESPN and hopefully read the PR coverage later here.

Kobayashi, who secured his fourth straight win on July 4, 2004, by consuming 53

wonderpance's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

great interview! i'm kind of disappointed in Discovery after reading that, though. i won't lie, i like the explosions. but that's not why i like the show. i'd still watch it and enjoy it if they never blew anything up.

i love poop.

Dave's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardComment Content Moderatora 10000+ points - Super Pooperb 9000+ pointsc 8000+ pointsd 7000+ pointse 6000+ pointsf 5000+ pointsg 4000+ pointsh 3000+ pointsi 2000+ pointsj 1000+ pointsk 500+ pointsl 100+ pointsm 1+ points - Newb

What a big day for Wonderpance. Not only did she just become an uberpooper, but that comment above is the 30,000th comment posted to Well done!

another dave's picture

I saw Cameron Diaz the actress on a late night talk show talking about poop, exclaiming how great it is for the earth. She would make for a good poop interview.

Mattfn's picture

Dave....this was fantastic! A perfect mirror you held up to them. I can't give a greater complement for an interview article.

Their making an end run round to interview with you for the site, and sticking to their convictions about how MB should be shows the kind of folks they are. They know what is valid and what's not & stand up for it. And they are some of the most considerate, giving, and irreverent people I've ever met! I'll bet you enjoyed yourself!

Congratulations, Dave. You've managed to really describe Peter, Jamie & Adam, the show, and their frustrations in dealing with the suits to a T.

brixter's picture

can you blow up a toilet by throwing a lit cigarette into it after taking a dump?

Fart Poopie's picture

No. You can't. MythBusters did an episode debunking that one. They ended up blowing up toilet with black powder...if I remember correctly.

poopy scoopy's picture

Jamie and Adam!!! I love you!!!

PolishedPoo's picture

I stumbled across this site today, and now I am officially impressed! Gotta love Adam and Jamie. I'm hooked.

ChronicPooper's picture

Fantastic. Thanks for the great article! I love their show and sometimes get irritated by the spectacle overwhelming the science.

daphne's picture
PoopReport of the Year AwardSite AdminComment Content ModeratorComment Quality Moderatore 6000+ points

I would love the guys on the show, though, to address the fact that indeed, birds can die from rice. I've seen it at the rehab that I worked at in Kentucky.
I hope that I can someday talk to them about it!!!

.....hugging bunnies since 1969

PooperGal's picture

I've been away a while, and just read this article. Excellent writing, fascinating topic. Thanks, Dave.

Darren's picture

Love the show guys, keep it up... Adam, ur a crack up... Jamie, you don't have to look so serious... but then again Adam does it for both of you.

john bennett's picture

hi adam and jamie

the show has just been on tonight the 26/08/05 the one about turning a vacum cleaner into a jet engine the reason it did not work very well it was the motor had to much air if put a speed control on the motor it may work as a jet with a lot of force .
best regards
john bennett
bunbury western australia

wonderpance's picture
Comment Quality Moderatork 500+ points

yea, this isn't the MythBusters' website. we just did an interview with them.

i love poop.

doward statham's picture

Hi Jamie and Adam. I have been wondering if you could actualy make a jet engine out of a turbo. there are loads of instructions on the web and recon you can get spontanius combustion from a plan of a conbustion chamber they supply. I have built 3 and (forgot to montion i'm running of lpg) I can't run it of keroseine,could you please look into the myth you can run a home built jet engine of keroseine fuel instead of gas. I might add I love your program. Regards Doward

Fart Poopie's picture
j 1000+ points

Wait a sec, people actually think that poopreport is the mythbuster's website?!
Someone contact Adam and Jamie! They're getting mail on PoopReport!

mott the poople's picture
l 100+ points

Adam and Jamie Rule! I KNEW those guys were like you describe. Takes one to know one. Corporate America messes up all things cool.
Excellent writing Dave! Oh yeah...can those guys make a jet run on poop? I heard its possible... I just fired a double-wide triple-throw down mug chamber (that runs on log)...if I could just adjust the....(!)

Asphincter says WHAT...(!)

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

You got to meet Adam and Jamie. No fair!

I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

Asszphincta's picture

Great show!! Amazing they allowed the poop stories they did do. I hate suits!

Anonymous Coward's picture

I justlove too see on your program and i have almost seen all of your programs ...please writhe to me..(

Me's picture

Hey! I think that there should be a Junior Mythbuster Competition each week/month (whatever). They should let one kid on the show each episode! Whaddya think?

El Fartismo the Methane Powered Flamingo Dancer's picture
l 100+ points

Pictue this Dave bent over and Adam & Jamie with a lighter and a slow motion camera! Now that's TV worth watching.

No one is the same after I release my Methane!

SamDamnit's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorj 1000+ points

I knew a guy that lit his farts at every opportunity. Eventually, all his pants separated at the seem, because he had weakened the stitching
with each ignition.
Rectum Rector
The Church of Poop

The Emir of Crapistan

kamil's picture

i like your show iwant to send email but idont
have your email adress please kindly send your email adress (MYTHBUSTERS)

Poop Shooter's picture
k 500+ points

"If you do that, is there a risk that the fire could go back up your butt?"

Damn, I have always thought I would blow up! Got to go get my Zippo now :-) Poop Shooter

Poop Shooter!

Blushingrose18's picture

I need you to prove this wrong! Found it on a Snapple cap.

"A ball of glass will bounce higher than a ball of rubber."

Kinda tell people on tv,not trying to be self absorbed, tell folks theexperiment is for Blushing rose 18? But only if you want to. I don't watch TV too offten, so maybe you could send me a copy of the episode? Over e-mail?

Well, see ya!

Bunghole In the Jungle's picture
l 100+ points

T'would be the ultimate if there was a poo report segment run on each and every episode of "Mythbusters". My poopy, mythbusting-husband-in-his-own-right can only dream about that day.

May you always find a roll with paper

keeping the whack in tally-ho...

james lapic big fan's picture

can you do the myth about how people have those suction cup boots and they can walk up walls go all over the place you could use a vacume cup to give high presure.

The Shit Volcano's picture
Comment Quality Moderatorh 3000+ points

People, you do realize this is NOT the Mythbusters' site, right?


I found Jesus! He was behind the sofa the whole time!

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

I LOVE Mythbusters! I really enjoyed reading about the interview, Dave; thanks!

Their experiment with wafting fecal matter getting onto toothbrushes in the bathroom was right up PR's alley.

Now I can appreciate that Adam and Jamie are deeper than the ad-execs make them appear.

Kind of like Poop Report: More going on underneath the surface than what you see floating on top!

MME incontinance's picture

I've printed the article and it's now a poster in my room!

Stan's picture

Great article. Thanks Dave.

Kimling's picture
m 1+ points - Newb

Wow. PR and favorites!! *frolicks off singing The Sound of Music*

jake vannoy's picture

this is not about poop but this is the only site i can find to talk to you with. i have a myth that i think we all would like to see proven wrong or right... is it true a dogs mouth is cleaner than our own. i think you two would have a great time with that one. please think about it thank you very much

Double Flush's picture
k 500+ points

I think dogs are revolting! They eat poop and they eat carcasses that have been lying around. Humans clean their mouths at least daily. You be the judge.

Practicing the ancient Chinese art of double flushing... because sometimes, a single flush just isn't enough.

[Insert witty banter here]

GottaGoGirl's picture
i 2000+ points

Dufya, what does that have to do with Dave interviewing Adam and Jamie?

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