What do you get when you take one of Discovery Channel’s most popular shows, and combine it with one of the kitschiest shows the late 1980’s and early 1990’s had to offer?
I dare say you get pretty darn good television. For their 100th episode, airing February 20, the crew over at Mythbusters are tackling some of the most famous impromptu inventions by mullet bearing TV star MacGyver.
In a preview clip screened by B&C, Adam and Jamie test to see whether pure sodium, immersed in water, can really cause an explosive chemical reaction big enough to bust down a wall. The small scale results looked promising.
The team will also see if it is possible to build a plane a plane out of bamboo, duct tape and a small engine (below). The episode will conclude with a MacGyver challenge, pitting co-hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman against one another in a timed competition to see who can match MacGyver’s creativity in picking locks, developing film with household liquids, building a compass and designing a homemade signaling device for attracting the attention of a rescue helicopter.
The build team makes a plane out of bamboo and duct tape (Discovery)
Mythbusters originally started out testing urban legends, such as whether a magnet could erase your credit card (no) or whether eating poppy seed muffins can cause you to fail a drug test (yes), but in recent seasons the show has really let loose on Hollywood myths and viewer recommendations. Mythbusters recently aired a pair of specials examining some movie myths from the James Bond flicks.
Mary Donahue, the production executive in charge of the show for Discovery Channel, told B&C that the show is expanding their reach and testing common sayings (the show recently tested to see just how easy it is to shoot fish in a barrel and whether a lead balloon could actually fly).
In addition, the show has big plans for future seasons, including working with NASA to debunk moon landing conspiracy theorists. Adam Savage has also said in interviews that one experiment that he would love to run would be a test of natural selection, though he acknowledged that there are obvious technical problems in running an experiment of that scale.
The fact that they test such a wide range of myths, both plausible and far fetched, is a big part of the show’s appeal. After all, how many shows would celebrate a 100th episode with a tribute to MacGyver? For most programs it would be ridiculous, for the Mythbusters it makes perfect sense. Now if only they could test the myth of whether Richard Dean Anderson knew how ridiculous his hair looked, I would all be set.
Jamie, in full bomb squad gear, sits with Buster as "MacGyver" (Discovery)