I don’t watch TV. If somebody were to ask me what the favorite shows were and what was on them, I couldn’t tell you. Somehow I got out of the habit. Maybe that’s because I don’t have access to a TV right now, but by and large I don’t miss it very much. Frankly most of the shows on just didn’t appeal to me very much.
I watch videos on Youtube and DVD’s of movies and anime. On the computer, for the most part. Most of the videos are Japanese railroads and old guys making stuff with machine tools. There are a couple of shows that I make a true effort to watch. One is the new Mike Rowe show. The other is and has been for more than a decade now, the Mythbusters. I’ve made an effort to watch just about every episode. and sometimes it was an effort such as the long period that I didn’t have cable and I had to drive across the state to my parents house to watch it there. Still, Adam, Jamie, the build team and the rest made it worth the effort. Week after week they showed up and created fascinating and entertaining ways to explain things. Not all of them worked, because failure is always an option, but even their failures were amazing. Perhaps the best thing is that they never let failure stop them and that they put all that stuff on the screen.
It may seem amazing that the Mythbuster have outlasted so many shows on Discovery, but seeing them in action, that shouldn’t be a surprise. First of all there is the chemistry between Jamie and Adam. They say that they don’t like each other, and yet, the first person that Jamie called for the demo tape was Adam, which considering that Jamie knew some of Adam’s habits from long first hand experience is more than a bit of a surprise. Here’s Jamie describing how Adam quits jobs.
And keeping your cool with annoying people. What annoying person does Jamie know all to well.
Yet he did and it turned out to be the right chemistry. Week after week Adam proved to be the perfect foil for Jamie’s stodginess and the screw up that the show needed. The fact that the “stars” were apparently a bunch of screw-ups, yet got the most amazing projects built and did all that amazing stuff. While having great time the whole time.
As for Adam, I think that he knows that he needs a brake. Like a lot of us Adam doesn’t focus very well.
The thing is that he actually works well with Jamie.
He has had his failures. He has recovered from them.
The thing about Adam is that he is a genuine champion of making, creativity and science. For instance he speaks at Maker Faire just about every year.
He’s right. When I went to engineering school there was no shop. In fact it took me over ten years to find a place where I could learn basic machining.
It’s great that he’s going out of his way to get people to make things.
It’s the chemistry of two very different people that kept me, and I suspect so many other watching for so long. over ten years is an eternity for a TV show. To keep the quality going take s real effort. Indeed, the last few years have sort seemed a little tired. Or the stuff wasn’t as fresh as it was. I went to their live show in NYC and Adam said that they wanted to do audiophile myths and I suspect that the reason they didn’t is that signals on an oscilloscope don’t make for exciting TV. Imploding tank cars on the other hand, do but I’m actually not surprised by the results of that.
Being an engineer, I looked a some of the stuff they did a little askance. Some of the stuff was done wrong. Some of the things they did were plain silly. But that was a great part of the charm. These guys were learning this stuff for the first time and taking us along with them.
There were when they did things that were cringeworthy. Mostly because they were taking risks that they didn’t seem to know about. I don’t know if Jamie ever realized that those blast shield of his were actually dangerous if they had actually been hit with any real force. I saw far too many close calls with those because they were not secured or structurally sound. The worst one lately was the lawn mower episode where the shaft failed and the blade spun off and sheared through a thick steel pipe. Jamie should have used a shear pin there.
There were other cases where if just one thing had gone wrong the wrong way, it would have been ugly. The giant sling balls where the frame jumped about four feet and fell right back down in the same place. The frame with two logs on it for the Star Wars episode. There many case where a better understanding of structure and forces would have gone a long way. Fortunately the guys streak of good luck held to the end and they gave us a good show right to the end, ending a plowthrough of the entire show and a huge bang.
Mythbusters will missed. I know that Adam will be on Tested. I think that somebody needs to drag Jamie out and maybe get him talking. Hey Jamie, if I can do it for nothing in front of ten year olds as a volunteer, it’s not that hard. If nothing else, put up a camera at M5 and just leave it running through a build unattended. Consider it advertising. Or better yet, paying it forward. Which to me was what Mythbusters was all about. The myths were rather silly. Showing what could be done and doing it, that’s what was the key to Mythbusters. After all if a lead balloon could made to work, anything can.
And they went out with a bang. A large bang.