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Tube Talk: A Week of Discovery

September 30, 2009

By Paula Hendrickson

Contributing Writer

The first week of October will be spectacular for area fans of Discovery Channel. Not only does the always-entertaining (and often stomach-churning) Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe kick off another batch of new episodes Oct. 6, but two members of the MythBusters crew will be in town just four days before its season premiere airs Oct. 7.

Anyone who’s seen an episode of the long-running MythBusters—and seriously, who’s only watched one?—will know Kari Byron and Grant Imahara as part of the team that puts urban legends and common myths to the test. Along with team leaders Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, they scientifically dissect the myths and come up with a series of experiments aimed to either debunk the myth or prove it to be plausible.

Regular viewers should know the answers to such mysteries as: Can lead balloons really fly? Is it possible for someone to make a propane tank explode by shooting it? Is it really impossible to fold a sheet of paper more than seven times—even if it’s really, really big? Could Archimedes’ fabled “death ray” actually work?

If you think watching scientific experiments sounds dull, you’ve obviously never seen MythBusters. The group’s collective brainpower, creativity and curiosity help make science fun. So do the subjects they tackle. Not only do they blow a lot of things up, they also put their poor, beleaguered crash-test dummy, Buster, in jeopardy on a regular basis.

Saturday, Oct. 3, it’s your chance to see Kari and Grant’s live presentation, “Behind the Myths…” at the Coronado. Don’t worry, the grand old theater should be safe from explosions. During the fund-raising event for the aptly-named Discovery Center of Rockford, they’re scheduled to speak about some of the experiments they’ve done and their experiences on the series, show some outtakes, and answer questions from the audience.

One of Discovery Channel’s other extremely popular series, Dirty Jobs, entertains and educates viewers about the hard work millions of people do to make all of our lives a bit easier. While Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe won’t be making any local appearances anytime soon, if you have a difficult, thankless, or really messy job, you can always try to lure him to town by suggesting he come and give your job a try.

He’s attempted everything from scaling the Mackinac bridge to change a light bulb, to turning cow dung into bio-degradable flowerpots. His jobs have taken him underground, underwater, on top of buildings, and knee-deep into all kinds of goo. He’s sorted and washed dirty cloth diapers, wrangled reptiles, and run a printing press, yet has managed to find some fun in every job—usually thanks to co-workers.

You might think these shows would be running out of new ideas after so many seasons, but both rely on viewers’ suggestions on what to tackle next. You can submit ideas through their fan sites at http://dsc.discovery.com/, just choose your favorite show from the pull-down menu.

For more information about “Behind the Myths,” go to www.coronadopac.org or discoverycentermuseum.org.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to tubetalking-paula@yahoo.com.

From the September 30 – October 6, 2009 issue.

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