Penn & Teller Bullsh*t: The Seventh Season
Showtime // Unrated // $29.98 // May 4, 2010
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 16, 2010
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"Bullsh*t" is the "news" series on Showtime hosted by popular comedic/magic duo Penn & Teller. Each week, they focus in on a topic and go about exposing the "Bullsh*t" behind it. We're told that the duo have to call the fraud that they are exposing "Bullsh*t" for legal reasons - which seems like "BS" itself, but it's all still quite entertaining.

The nice thing about the series is that the two are offering information for consideration, informing and educating about topics, then leaving you - the viewer - to decide whether or not it's all a load of crap. The segments are wonderfully produced, with a mixture of facts and interviews that - to the show's credit, especially for what could argued is an "educational/news" show - is anything but dry. In fact, each episode of the series zips by with remarkable momentum.

By the seventh season of the series, "Bulls*it" still entertains quite a bit, but a few subjects are a bit of a stretch to create much of an argument against. The other issue with the series is nudity; I'm not being all conservative, but I don't believe the series had this much nudity to start with, but by this point the show has nudity fairly often - I was surprised to see that the "Lawns" episode even had nudity (although on second thought, maybe I shouldn't have been.)

As for "Lawns", the episode should have possibly gone against "Neighborhood Associations" instead, but does provide a rather remarkable discussion of the lengths that some people - and some associations - go to ensure that their laws look perfectly trimmed. The episode also ventures into the lawn chemical industry, although doesn't really find anything that most people probably didn't already know.

Better is "Organic Foods", which takes an in-depth look at the realities behind producing and consuming organic foods. However, the most shocking moment of this episode actually isn't even discussed by the hosts - at about five minutes in, there is a shot of a bunch of organic products on a table, one of which is called "Begley's Best" - actor Ed Begley now has his own line of organic products! Hilarious. The episode - which is one of the season's best - goes through the organic arguments and takes them apart one-by-one at "The Last Organic Supper". A taste test at a local farmer's market as to organic vs. non-organic fools the majority of participants, too. I'm not against organic food, but the episode provides a solid overview of the downsides and realities of organic foods.

Also of note is "Armageddon", which is an amusing look at the much-discussed (and also portrayed in "2012") apocalypse that was predicted many moons ago by the Mayans. The episode starts with a gag piece that has the duo trying to trick a Showtime exec to renew their contract in advance, then has a pair of believers shuttled off to the Yucatan Peninsula, who manage to stumble around, embarrass themselves and find nothing, even after a Mayan princess acts like she's (understandably) tired of the question and says no when they ask if there will be an apocalypse in 2012.

Other highlights from this season include "Astrology" (which offers up some terrific mumbo jumbo) and "Taxes" (Penn and Teller get to the bottom of the complex tax laws.) One surprising note (and there is no explanation of why) is that the episode "The Vatican" is nowhere to be found. On a show where the cover of the DVD notes, "The Right to Free Speech", having no explanation of why the episode is included seems like, well...

Season 7

70. 7- 1 25 Jun 09 Orgasms
71. 7- 2 2 Jul 09 Astrology
72. 7- 3 9 Jul 09 Video Games
73. 7- 4 16 Jul 09 The Apocalypse
74. 7- 5 23 Jul 09 Lie Detectors
75. 7- 6 30 Jul 09 Organic Foods
76. 7- 7 6 Aug 09 Taxes
77. 7- 8 13 Aug 09 Lawns
78. 7- 9 20 Aug 09 Stress
79. 7-10 27 Aug 09 The Vatican (this episode is not included.)


VIDEO: "Bullsh*t" is presented by Showtime in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality is quite good, as the image consistently remained crisp and clean, with excellent sharpness and detail. Colors remained bright and vivid, while a little bit of occasional shimmering was the only concern.

SOUND: The show's Dolby Digital 2.0 presentation was actually not too bad. While certainly dialogue-driven, some instances of musical score were nicely reinforced by the surrounds. Dialogue remained natural and easily understood throughout.

EXTRAS: Nada. Zip. Zero.

Final Thoughts: This latest season of "Bulls*it" offers a few lesser episodes ("Lawns" and while I love video games, the "Video Games" episode doesn't go anywhere new on the topic), but mostly sees another hilarious and enjoyable tearing down of various subjects. The DVD set unfortunately offers no extras, but fine audio/video quality. The lack of an episode in a set that bills itself as "The Complete Seventh Season" is disappointing, and hopefully that episode will appear on a future set as an extra. Fans may want to rent, given the missing episode.

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