It can’t be over! It just can’t be! This past Saturday on March 6, 2016, MythBusters aired its final episode. Somewhere out there are interns wondering what the next use for their unique construction skills will be, as well as car crash test dummies being used to test more car crashes and far fewer explosions. Ballistic gel and gunpowder sales are certain to dwindle, and there will be less ridiculous contraptions made out of every conceivable material you knew about and hundreds more you never even thought could exist outside of the realm of science fiction comics.
What there will not be is a shortage of people interested in science. The MythBusters – Jamie, Adam, Tory, Kari, Grant, and for a time, Scottie and Jessi, not to mention Buster – did a marvelous job of inspiring a new generation to pursue ventures in science by showing us all that such endeavors of study and experimentation are not the stuffy, mercilessly pragmatic, and downright boring examples often shown in film and television and most unfortunately, within the textbooks of students of all ages. When I was a child, if someone said “scientist” I thought of the typical image of a bespectacled man in a white labcoat standing over a notebook full of scrawled symbols and writing massive equations that take up every inch of a blackboard. Thanks to the likes of Bill Nye, Paul Zaloom, and the cosmic Carl Sagan, not to mention naturalists and animal enthusiasts like Steve Irwin, Jeff Corwin, and Jack Hanna, that stereotype was erased from my mind and replaced by the realization that not every scientist is a dork unable to speak to layman because he is too damn intelligent and not the least bit social. Furthermore, any man or woman of science could also be a showman who educates using the entertaining medium of television. Also, not every labcoat is white. The MythBusters completed this stigma deconstruction by shattering it into millions of little bits in an enormous explosion time and again. Yeah! Science, bitch!
However to be perfectly honest, it is impressive it ever picked up enough steam to last 14 years as one of the top shows on television. For a cable TV show about utilizing the scientific method to debunk everything from urban legends to old wives tales to internet hoaxes and so much more to have such a profound impact is remarkable. It’s all about finding your audience, and MythBusters did. From 2003-2016, the MythBusters blew up plenty along the way of 282 episodes that covered over 1000 myths with nearly 3000 experiments. The entertaining hosts brought an infectious fascination to all that they tested and helped make MythBusters one of the most popular shows not only on the Discovery Channel, but on any channel. This show was one of the last remnants of a time when the Discovery Channel did not whore itself out to 18-34 year old male viewers with increasingly senseless reality-based television as its finer, more science and tech-based shows were shifted over to the Science Channel, a.k.a. Discovery Channel 2.0. The Science Channel will now be the home of Mythbusters reruns, making it a fitting resting place for the paradigm-shifting show. The San Francisco science whizzes have come a long way since they first rocketed that Impala in the desert.
No matter what your favorite myth or moment or T-shirt based on one of Adam Savage’s quirky quips was, the show will remain a game-changer in science TV that hopefully continues to inspire future generations to always question; work as a team; remember that failure is always an option and that that’s okay; and ensure that when you finish something, you go out with a bang.
Thanks for reading, and to the MythBusters, thanks for busting! If you’d like to share your favorite memory or myth, or your opinion on what I should write next, leave a comment below or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay smart, stay safe, stay scientific, and come on back next week for more fun.