If Jackass was about science and escape artists
Each episode has some experiments that focus on the main theme, leading up to the main escapes. Sometimes, the experiments, which are of a very homegrown variety and frequently take place around his home, are as interesting as the finales, because they are less formal and far more chaotic. For instance, when trying to learn about concentration and minimizing body movement, he has to escape being zip-tied to his dining-room table, while having a scorpion inside his duct-taped mouth (and his pal Mikey smacking him in the face, agitating the scorpion.) Watching the insect crawl into and out of Goodwin's mouth is easily one of the most horrible images I've ever seen, but he follows it up by being intentionally stung by bees on various body parts to see how he would react. If you've ever been stung, you can image how awful this would be to watch, and it's just one of several scenes that will have you watching through your fingers. Not all of the experiments are as masochistic, but pretty much all of them result in pain for Goodwin (and frequently Mikey as well.)
While the experiments are crazy, the feature escapes are simply insane, and show Goodwin to be a bit nuts. Whether it's trying to escape a box while covered in bees, on top of a rocking washing machine, or attempting to escape thumb-cuffs while a car drives over his head, the results are normally a tremendous amount of suffering on the escape artist's part. The most disturbing of the bunch has to be when he was buried alive in a coffin under thousands of pounds of dirt, as it's an escape that has killed others. Goodwin is not a magician, and these are not tricks, but rather the efforts of a resourceful man with extreme levels of physical skill and body control. Since these are escapes, and not performances, Goodwin occasionally fails to complete his goals, so there's an actual sense of drama and you never know if he'll succeed, a realistic atmosphere aided by the homebrew, handheld shooting style.
There's a lot about science and the human body that one can learn from this show, but there's also a good deal about physics, technology and construction that can be gleamed from the complex and ingenious escape devices created by Terry (with guidance from Goodwin.) The episode about ice, which sees Goodwin get submerged in freezing water, under a 300-pound, three-inch slab of ice, while chained to a block of ice, is fascinating as it shows the effects of cold on the body, a situation most everyone has experienced at some point, much like the experiments in dizziness. Unlike some shows that have a lot to teach the viewer, there's not a moment here that's boring, as the sense of humor shared by the three main players helps keep everything light, and the info isn't just valuable to a lunatic putting their life on the line as a human projectile, as it gives a better understanding of the physical world we all share.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks that don't offer anything particularly impressive, with center-balanced stereo mixes that are clear and distortion-free.
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