The Boyfriend of the Week

May 2, 2006

Three weeks ago, I had an enormously researched write-up on another guy practically ready to go to press when I was distracted by Ed Evangelista and Peter Jones from the TV show American Inventor. Convinced that the show was going to get the boot soon (and I must confess, I'm astonished it's lasted as long as it have because it's getting cheesier and harder to stand with each passing week, I'm afraid) I decided to put aside Other Guy and get a write-up on those two nuts done instead.

Last week, I was getting back on track with Other Guy when it happened again! Distraction! I was sittin' around Sunday afternoon flipping through the TV guide when I realized that the Discovery Channel was airing a little mini-marathon of my current favorite non-fiction television show, Mythbusters. I've been a huge fan of MB for a couple of years now -- I watch it as often as I can and absolutely adore it. But for some strange reason I completely don't understand, I'd never really thought about making its two stars Boyfriends of the Week.

Until now.

Confidential to Other Guy: I'm really, really sorry and am seriously still planning to make you a Boyfriend of the Week. Maybe next time. Unless I get distracted again. Which might happen, to be honest. I mean, I know that typically, if you get passed over twice in a row, that spells doom for your eventual addition to the site (g'bye Gary Sinise, Giovanni Ribisi, and Brian Dennehy -- I hardly knew ye!). But I will honestly, seriously, truly, madly, deeply try not to let this happen to you. Not just because you're cute and tall and I still love you, but because I watched about twenty of your movies last month, and most of them were utterly awful. I can't just pretend that didn't happen. I can't just get that time back. I have to make it worth something. Even if what it ultimately ends up being worth is three pages of me mocking you for your extremely bad taste in scripts. In any case, I assure you, you will triumph!

Now, I realize this actually happens all the time -- I have the shortest Boyfriend attention span of any gal I know. But by way of excuse, this is simply the most perfect timing in the world for a write-up on Jaime Hyneman and Adam Savage, the hosts and chief blow-stuff-uppers of Mythbusters. After all, just last week I was talking about how much I love mechanical things -- machines, inventions, etc., and Mythbusters is about the same sort of stuff.

Except, of course, that instead of building the machines, the Mythbusters guys like to set them on fire and then throw them out of an airplane. You know, in the name of science.

And oh, the things they've gotten to do in the name of science! Adam and Jamie totally have the sweetest jobs in the universe. Jobs I envy with the passion only a big, mean, green-eyed monster can exude. Every time I see them doing their thing, I think about how lame it is that I'm just a lowly librarian when I COULD be on TV trying to blow up a shark by shooting an oxygen tank that's been wedged into its mouth (note: not using a real shark, of course)! Seriously! That's the kind of crazy thing they do on this show!

For those of you who have never seen it, Mythbusters is about the debunking or verifying of a whole host of famous myths and urban legends (as well as the occasional movie scene, like the one I just described from Jaws). Jamie, Adam, and their crack team of experts take a theory and then try to prove or disprove it using a wide variety of scientific experiments. It sounds fairly straightforward, but the means by which these guys go about testing their theories never ceases to blow my mind. Actually, "blow my mind" is a pretty apt description, given the number of kabooms that seem to populate every single episode.

Because, you see, if at first the Mythbusters don't succeed, they try, try again. With explosives. And enormous power tools. And all kinds of wacky gadgetry. These guys are geniuses, and they're absolutely hilarious to boot. They are totally and completely, 100% the modern day MacGyvers and that's why, in a nutshell, I am completely bonkers about them both.

Still not convinced that it's a show for you? Well, do you like science? Do you like learning practical things -- things you can apply to your every day life? Okay, okay, I know a bunch of Mythbusters fans just chuckled at that last question, but seriously! You DO learn practical things on the show. For example, the next time you're throwing a party and you realize fifteen minutes before guests are to arrive that you forgot to chill the beer, it turns out all you have to do is simply shoot your six-pack with the entire contents of your fire extinguisher, and voila! Instant cold beer!

Too cheap to waste your $30 fire extinguisher on a $4 six-pack of beer? Okay, okay, then you can toss the beer into a cooler filled with ice, salt, and water, wait about six minutes, and you'll be ready to party down.

See? How many of you thought just dumping the cans in a cooler of ice was good enough? Yet as it turns out, that's the least effective way to do it. And aren't you going to be grateful for this little tidbit of info when, come Cinco de Mayo you realize you've left the Corona out in the garage? Trust me -- you'll be on your knees singing the praises of these two nerds and their nerdy television show and my nerdy web site. Ohhhh, so grateful. Because, honestly, there's just nothing worse than a warm Corona.

Well, except for a warm Coors.

Or a cold Coors, for that matter.

Still not impressed? Well, heck, have you ever wondered if you can actually raise a sunken ship using ping pong balls? Ever asked yourself, "Can an unsuspecting scuba diver be sucked out of the water by a fire-fighting helicopter and then get spit out in the middle of a forest fire and DIE?" Does shoving a banana in the tailpipe of a car actually make it stall? Does covering your car entirely with tin foil prevent cops from being able to tell how fast you're going with their radar speed detectors? If you throw a hammer off a bridge moments before jumping yourself, will the hammer break the water's surface tension just before you plunge in, softening the landing enough for you to survive? Can you really use water, a bicycle pump, and a couple of empty 2-liter plastic bottles as a means of efficient transportation?

These practical questions and more, more, more answered every week on Mythbusters! How can you NOT love this show?

But silly tests and theories aside, the greatest thing about this program, in my opinion, is the way it makes science both accessible and fun. Kids ought to love this show, if only for the parts in which the gang gets to set something on fire or make it explode into a gazillion pieces. I'm also especially partial to seeing just how much damage they can inflict on poor Buster, their test dummy. And, really, the best way to teach kids science (or to teach anyone else science, for that matter) is to make it entertaining and easy to grasp. You thought Bill Nye the Science Guy was great? Well, he's got nuthin' on these two guys!

But this isn't only a show for newbies -- I'm a science junkie myself and I learn something new every time I tune in. Mythbusters is simply one of the rare, perfect shows -- it's fun, it's informative, it's educational, it's entertaining. If you haven't seen an episode of this show yet, you are just missing out on SO MUCH! Cut it out, already!

Of course, the other thing that's great about this show is the fact it's helmed by two polar opposites who delight in driving each other utterly bananas. They're cute too, which always helps make me want to tune in over and over (I'm not ALL about the brains -- I did make Keanu Reeves as a Boyfriend of the Week once, after all).

First you have Jaime Hyneman -- the guy with the mustache and the silly hat -- famous primarily because of his company, M5 Industries Inc., a models and special effects shop that has worked on some of the biggest movies in cinematic history. But he's not just a models and effects guy (though those skills sure do come in handy on Mythbusters, especially when Buster's been dropped out of an airplane with a dysfunctional parachute -- again -- and needs rebuilding -- again). He's also a wilderness survival expert, a diver, a machinist, and an experienced sailor and ship's captain. In short, the man knows a lot about a LOT, and he's got the acerbic attitude to back it up. Yep, Jamie's a bit of a sourpuss. He doesn't laugh or smile or joke very often. But every now and then, when an experiment has finally come together, you catch a little glint of glee in Jamie's eyes -- and that makes all the growling you've put up with for the previous fifty minutes all worth it.

Adam, on the other hand, is the ridiculous, goofy, kid-like co-host. He too has worked a great deal in the special effects industry, as well as building sets and props for a variety of commercials and ad campaigns. He's also done some acting himself, and he teaches advanced model making at the San Francisco Academy of Art (also handy when it comes time to give Buster a fresh set of appendages). Additionally, Adam's an avid and successful sculptor, and he's worked as an animator, graphic designer, stage and interior designer, carpenter, welder and scenic painter. Adam's got tons of experience with all kinds of materials, too -- he knows how to work with everything from metal to glass, plastics to injection molding, and pneumatics to animatronics.

Adam's the guy who makes you laugh. His puns are atrocious, his jokes are ridiculous, and his attitude and enthusiasm are absolutely infectious. He loves to pick on Jamie, which is great fun for all, but even more, he has such an open, happy curiosity -- a broad fascination with everything in the world around him. And, most importantly, he has an absolutely unbridled adoration for making as big a mess as he can on any given day. He's the guy who loves to blow stuff up. Who loves to make the tests bigger, more complicated, more insane. He's the one who, when you say, "Yeah, this isn't really working," replies with, "Somebody get me a blowtorch!"

In short, Adam and Jamie are the perfect hosting team. Knowledgeable, balanced well with each other, and just plain entertaining, in all the best kinds of ways.

So, now you know why I wanted to bump Other Guy for one more week. The timing on this write-up was just too good! Inventions, machines, science, projects, thinking, thinking, thinking! American Inventor and Mythbusters go pretty well together (though MB is definitely ten times the show AI is). In fact, come to think of it, you know what would be perfect? If Mythbusters did a crossover show with American Inventor. Hey, that's genius! I'm dying to know whether or not that germ-busting toilet seat thing from AI actually works, for one thing. I suspect it doesn't, personally, and therefore I really want somebody to run some tests on it to find out just how stupid it really is. Not to mention some tests on whether or not germs spraying from your toilet are really something we need to be all het up about to begin with (if I remember correctly, one Mythbusters episode revealed that the toilet seat is actually the cleanest surface in your house). After all, I haven't died yet from brushing my teeth using a toothbrush that may have had aerated poop germs sprinkled on it (sorry, I know that's gross, but it did need to be said). Then again, I haven't died yet from eating raw cookie dough with uncooked eggs in it, and I'm pretty sure that should've killed me several times over by now. Maybe I just have a CONSTITUTION OF STEEL. Hard to say. Doubtful, but hard to say.

In any case, I'd love to see Jamie and Adam set that toilet seat on fire and lob it over a skyscraper with a catapult. You know -- in the name of science.

Mythbusters, Discovery Channel, Wednesdays at 9pm (or check the listings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, when they frequently run a few reruns back-to-back in a mini-marathon). Be there or be a four-sided equilateral polygon!

MacGyver Factor Score: 99.999%. Oh yeah, baby, you're reading that score right. I already said I thought they were the modern day equivalents of MacGyver -- weren't you paying attention? I can't imagine anything more fun than getting to hang out with these guys and watch them do their thing. Once, just once!, I want to be the one who gets to put Buster in a remote-controlled car and drive him off a cliff -- IN THE NAME OF SCIENCE! And then I'll grab a six-pack of beer and a fire extinguisher and head on up to the building's roof to chill out with The Boys and talk about science. Man, would that not be the most perfect date of all time or what?! Between you and me, Buster -- you're goin' DOWN!

Boyfriend-Related Links

The Official Mythbusters site
Mythbusters Fan Club
Mythbusters Fan Site
Unofficial Mythbusters site (show fan site)
The Sneeze Interviews Adam Savage
(The Sneeze is one of my favorite blogs, FYI)

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