Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Don't Try This At Home

Mythbusters is undeniably great TV.

I would love Adam and Jamie’s jobs. Imagine getting not only paid to do some fiercely cool shit, but imagine getting a budget of $60,000 a month to do that cool shit with.

It’s schoolyard talk given life. You know what I mean, which 10 year old hasn’t uttered the words : ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if you could build your own personal jetpack?'These guys get to actually do it…and I get to live vicariously through them.

Today’s edition of Mythbusters was based on this clip from a Japanese gameshow.

Remember the experiment you did at school, which was supposed to be teaching you about Newton’s Third Law (Every action has an equal an opposite reaction), but was really an excuse to mess around outside?

For those of you that never got to do this experiment, I’ll explain.

You get a 3 liter plastic soda bottle, and fill it one thirds full with water. You jam a cork in the end as tight as you can, and then push a foot-pump needle adapter (The one you use to pump up basketballs), through the cork.

You put the bottle on a stand, neck end down, and start pumping air into the bottle. The air pressure increases until it forces the cork from the neck, forces the water out, while the bottle heads skywards, rocket style.

Well, this Japanese game show took this to the extreme. They used not one, but about 25 bottles, strapped them to some guy’s back, and launched him across a lake.

Unfortunately, the clip is obviously faked. Look closely at the bottle ‘jet pack’. If it was the water bottles lifting him, they’d pushing upwards, tight against the netting…and not hanging loosely behind him.

Fortunately, this didn’t stop the Mythbusters from trying to make it work. They failed, but there where some pretty spectacular failures… and I mean spectacular in a good way.

However, despite the fact the clip is obviously faked, despite the fact the Mythbusters failed to make it work, and also proved trying to launch a human being with a water-rocket jet pack would result in some serious injuries, a broken neck being one of them…you know that right now, all around the country, there are literally hundreds of fuckwits on their way to Walmart to buy as many soda bottles as they can:

“Hey dude, that was cool, I bet we could make that work…we’ll need about a hundred Pepsi bottles!”

“I’ll get the car!”

These are the same people you see on the myriad humorous clips on the old interweb. The ones who think it’s a good idea to have firework battles, hold firecrackers in their teeth, or otherwise do incredibly stupid things, and harming themselves in all kinds of hilarious ways.

It’s a sad fact today that you can’t show anything even slightly dangerous on TV, no matter how incredibly dumb you’d have to be to try them (and I’m talking ‘Hey y’all! Watch this!’ stupidity here)… Without having the ‘Do Not Try This At Home’ warning.

I watched a car ad the other day, and at the end the car drives into frame, puts on its parking brake, and does a wimpy 4 degree skid. What appears at the bottom of the screen?

Professional Driver, Closed Course, Do Not Attempt

Anything even slightly dangerous is suing-bait. How sad is it that we have to go to the trouble of telling people not to push a hammer-drill up their nose?

Well, something has to be done.

In addition to the Stupid Law that I’m trying to implement, I’m also starting a new campaign.

I want all the ‘Do Not Try This At Home’ warnings removed from TV, Radio and Print Advertising.

Why? Well, there are hundreds of reasons. Here are my main two:

  1. I’m fed up of getting my intelligence insulted, when people assume that I need to be told that standing waist deep in a salt-water bath, while simultaneously forcing my wedding tackle into a power outlet might be a bit of a bad idea.

  2. The people these warnings are for are, quite simply, a huge burden on the human race, and all deserve a good Darwin Award death.

These people are a major hazard to the rest of the human race. The ones who think it’s a great idea to clean the inside of a gasoline tank while smoking. The ones who think it’s a great idea to set fire to themselves on video. (I actually saw the last one on the internet. Some guy poured gas down his front, and lit it on fire, grinning all the time at the camera, and totally freaked out when it actually caught fire. What did he think would happen?)

A woman got attacked at London zoo, after climbing into the tiger cage. Two weeks later, someone else did exactly the same thing! What kind of person sees someone get badly mauled on TV and says: “She’s stupid, I’ll go show her how it’s done!”

I say remove the warnings. Positively encourage people to commit acts of suicidal stupidity. This would have two amazing benefits:

First of all, there would be a lot, lot less stupid people hanging around, and secondly, because these people feel the urge to film themselves being incredibly and colossally stupid, you could make a reality TV show that would actually be fun to watch!

Imagine it! An hour of TV featuring nothing but people who assume all you need to survive a hundred foot drop is a bed sheet tied to your shoulders with string, or an hour of trashbag-hangglider theatre.

I say, if stupid people want to do suicidally stupid things, we should let them. All it would take would be a slight re-wording in the warning.

Okay, picture it. You’re watching another ‘clever and funny’ TV ad. A guy strips naked, covers himself in honey, runs into a room filled with a half million bees, then to escape, he jumps head first into a wood chipper.

At the end, instead of ‘Dramatization, do not attempt’ it reads:

Go ahead and try it. We Double Dog Dare you, you big fat chicken!

Then underneath, in the small print they love to use on those ‘Earn A Squillion Dollars an Hour for Doing Fuck All’ ads, it says:

You attempt these stunts entirely at your own risk, we do not accept any responsibility for any damage caused by you performing stunts you have seen on this show…you chicken! Buck, buck, buck, buckAHHH! Chicken!

The idiots would start dropping like flies.


MC Etcher said...

You'd think all of the 'stupid' genes would have been weeded out of the gene pool a few thousand years ago, but no.

Kato said...

Mmmm... Natural Selection.

You would think so, wouldn't you Etch? But I think it's a matter of accesibility: it's takes a lot less effort to due really stupid things these days. For instance, right now I'm dropping a bowling ball repeatedly on my crotch. Couldn't do that 100 years ago.

Paulius said...

you could with a cannon ball.

SquirrleyMojo said...

i think MC just debunked all of western science

OzzyC said...

I love those Japanese game shows. Do you ever watch MXC on Spike TV? I just love that show. I used to watch it when I was stationed in Okinawa. It was funny then. It's even funnier now with the great dubbing. If you haven't seen it, you've got to give it a try.

A thought about taking away all of the warnings. True, the idiots will take themselves out, deepening the gene pool. Problem is, it will also kill the people that provide me so much entertainment with their stupidity. Face it, there's a certain amount of humor in watching stupid people suffer.

Paulius said...

MXC (It's real title is Takeshi's Castle), was absolutely fantastic when I watched it in England, when it was just the Japanese show, translated to English.

Spike, for some reason thought they had to fuck with it with really annoying commentary, and those stupid ovices and storylines.

I just can't watch it any more. I can just about handle it with the sound turned off.

OzzyC said...

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one... I love MXC, and it's really the comments that makes it as funny and irreverent as it is.

Paulius said...

Yup, my biggest problem with MXC is that they spend far too much time talking.

The british version had most of that edited out, meaning more time devoted to japanese people running on rollers and falling painfully.