|Penn & Teller: Bullshit! - Seasons 1-3 (2006)
Starring: Penn Gillette, Teller
America’s preeminent smartass illusionist duo gets its very own DVD boxed set with this convenient (if not particularly budget-priced) collection of the first three seasons of"Bullshit!," their ongoing exercise in critical thinking and snark – not necessarily in that order – for the Showtime channel.
If you aren’t familiar with Penn & Teller, you should probably know going in that many of these episodes are not for the faint of heart. The episodes on circumcision and hair loss from Season Three are particularly wince-inducing, visually speaking, and your hosts consistently make liberal use of the obscenity and nudity allowed by the network. If you can get past that – and hey, considering where you’re reading this, you’d better be able to – prepare to be thoroughly entertained (and perhaps even educated). Perhaps no other show in America has this much fun blasting sacred cows to smithereens, or hits its targets so often.
It might seem disingenuous to deem a show hosted by magicians “important,” but "Bullshit!" deserves it. Critical thinking is dying a lingering death in this country, and what’s worse, buttheads like John Stossel earn a comfortable living pretending to use it; as a result, all kinds of nonsense pollutes the public airwaves without ever being thoughtfully evaluated by depressingly large chunks of the viewing population. Anything that encourages people to use their heads – even if it comes from a Vegas act – is worth the price of admission.Oh yeah, the price. If the set has a genuine drawback, that’s it; at a retail list of a penny under $90, it’ll cost you essentially the same amount of money whether you buy the three-pack or each season individually. Aside from nominal convenience, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to purchase this collection…or for it to exist, really. But this is a seriously minor quibble; either way, "Bullshit!" is worth owning – hell, maybe even the price of a subscription to Showtime.