P&T Sink to New Low

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Pete Biro
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P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Pete Biro » November 13th, 2005, 9:27 pm

Pretty disgusting exposures. Too upset to write more right now... STAY TOONED :whack:
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 14th, 2005, 12:22 am

I found it to be a bad representation of P&T. The exposures didn't bother me so much because they gave anything away, it is just that there was no reason for it. They have taken there whole show and made it a sucker trick. HAHA look what the stupid scuba divers don't know. Although its a pretty impressive image to see the sub floating in the air like that, what more than a spit in the face of magic is this show. The whole thing spins around the idea that they are the smart guys and everyone else is dumb, drunk, and wrong. Sadly this works for America.

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Jeff Haas » November 14th, 2005, 2:00 am

Stuart...

You believed that last shot??? Looks like a computer graphic to me.

Jeff

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 14th, 2005, 5:03 am

Originally posted by StuartPalm:
...The whole thing spins around the idea that they are the smart guys and everyone else is dumb, drunk, and wrong. Sadly this works for America.
I happened to like the "only for TV" performance of absurd magic. In making it clear that these tricks were only for TV they opened up the doors a bit for real live performance (IMHO)

More generally, by saying and doing what others SHOULD NOT, they absolve others of similar responsibilities to say and do what they OUGHT. Now, without the pressure of responsibility, what do you wish to do?

Would you have preferred a shot of Godzilla or one of the creatures from the show "Surface" carrying the sub away?
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Steve Bryant » November 14th, 2005, 5:49 am

I was fully prepared to hate this one because of some of Penn's recent political spins, but in fact quite enjoyed it. Penn and Teller, magic aside, have become a great Abbott and Costello comedy team, with Teller doing all the hard-ass stuff (in this show, scuba diving, being buried in sand, etc.). I look forward to trying the four-ace cut that they exposed when I head for the beach in a week or so. Prior to the show I wasn't sure if ANY magician(s) could support a two-hour special, but it moved along at a nice clip. Partly it was enjoyable for the fantastic locale (P&T's best trick was talking someone into paying for this fabulous paid vacation). I just wanted to BE there. And the submarine vanish "exposee" at the end was a great gag. All in all, for me, nothing serious was exposed, and it was a pleasant two hours.

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Pepka » November 14th, 2005, 6:13 am

It was better than I thought it would be. They didn't really expose anything other than their own methods. I mean c'mon, how many of us use their method for the underwater subtrunk? And belive it or not, I actually guessed the method for the sub vanish! Well, I was REALLY close. :D

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby John LeBlanc » November 14th, 2005, 6:32 am

Originally posted by pepka:
They didn't really expose anything other than their own methods.
Well, by that yardstick, everyone should cease bitching about Valentino's shenanigans, right?

But what elements (concepts) did they expose for the sub trunk? A trap door; "regulation" handcuffs that are regulation for magicians only; timing the switching of positions with the cloth.

I've read some comments excusing away the exposing by suggesting your average audience member would not believe stage magicians use those methods. But that's confusing "method" and "concept."

Also, I've read comments stating that (smart) audience members know thsi sort of thing is how the trick works. Gee, no kidding. Your average smart audience member knows a woman isn't really cut into thirds for the Zig Zag Lady, too, but the secret actual workings of the thing baffled audiences for decades anyway.

I was disappointed in the show mostly because of the general attitude towards the audience first, and the insinuated digs at magicians in general. As I wrote in my blog last night, between Showtime's [censored], the interview on stage at MAGIC Live! last summer, and the show last night, Penn strikes me as magic's version of George Carlin -- a pissed off human being lashing out.

I wasn't entertained, but I'm just one person; maybe I'm in the minority. Besides, this is just my observation and my opinion about it. That and a five dollar bill will get you a small cup of coffee at Starbucks.

John
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 14th, 2005, 6:49 am

John LeBlanc is "right on" when he says: "Well, by that yardstick, everyone should cease bitching about Valentino's shenanigans, right?"

Penn and Teller -- especially that goofy blowhard Penn Jillette -- were, in a word, terrible!

They are even worse buffoons that I imagined.

It was simply bad TV, bad theatre, bad magic, and -- worst of all -- bad entertainment (of which there was virtually none!)

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby MitchSchneiter » November 14th, 2005, 7:14 am

Originally posted by pepka:
They didn't really expose anything other than their own methods.
How about Vernon's Four Ace Sand Trick?

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby John Smetana » November 14th, 2005, 7:16 am

Lamest show I've ever seen..an embarassment

John

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Tabman » November 14th, 2005, 8:58 am

Back in the 80s, Fox TV sent a black car to pick me up and take me to the local affiliate to debate Penn during one of their earlier programs in which they were supposedly angering magicians. Penn and I have a mutual music connection too so I tried to watch the show last night but just couldnt get into it and decided to come back to the studio to do some video editing instead. From the sounds of it, I made the right decision.

best to all,

-=tabman

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 14th, 2005, 9:15 am

I was very disappointed when they exposed the "Million Dollar Mystery" principle. And was it just a coincidence that they had a kid with the last name "Carter" sing during that segment?

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 14th, 2005, 9:34 am

Because I perform magic occasionally, my 9-year-old son wanted to watch the show. When they started exposing methods, my son got angry! "Why are they telling how they do it?" he anguished, and that sort of tells the story, I think. We turned the channel. Magic got another black eye on national television.

Peter Marucci hit the nail on the head, if you ask me.

Jon

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Pepka » November 14th, 2005, 10:11 am

How about Vernon's Four Ace Sand Trick?
No Mitch, that was Marlo's! :D I didn't even catch the Carter/Million $ Mystery connection. That had to be on purpose.

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 14th, 2005, 10:23 am

I missed the ace routine, had to cook for the bride.
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Ryan Matney » November 14th, 2005, 10:35 am

It was weird show...a magic show where nothing fooled anyone.

I always liked P&T's exposures of impossibly complicated effects. The Rocket Ship, Teller lighting a cigarette, and the Dolphin Ring effect. But some of the exposures this time were too much.

Also, I didn't feel like there was any point to them this time. I 'get' the rocket ship and I 'get' the cigarette routine and the cups and balls. What was the point of these exposures? And, if they are just laughing at magicians right now, what is the joke I am missing?

Anyway, it was too long and slow. I don't think their specials have ever lived up to their live show. They should have simply filmed their show in Vegas.
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby John LeBlanc » November 14th, 2005, 12:35 pm

And in keeping with the subject of this thread: the television ratings for last night have been released. Details here.

John
Penn & Teller beat up Reba

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Gord » November 14th, 2005, 1:19 pm

Originally posted by Ryan Matney:

But some of the exposures this time were too much. Also, I didn't feel like there was any point to them this time.
I feel the same way. There just seemed to be no point to it other than "Well, we expose, it's what we do, so we're going to do it."
The way I see it, the exposures were a way to lull the audience into submission so that they would believe the whole "Helecopters flying the sub" bit, but it still just seemed too much.
Also I felt the show was just too long. They didn't really have enough "A" material to fill in two hours.
Oh well, ratings stank anyway.

Gord

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby David Alexander » November 14th, 2005, 1:27 pm

I have never thought P&T came across well on television, and last night was no exception, although they did have a few good moments. I've seen their live theater show when they were on tour and enjoyed it. They just don't seem to come across well on the small screen.

Years ago I stopped watching them as magicians and accepted them as comedians/occasional social critics who occasionally used magic effects as devices for getting their point across.

They use an interesting, non-standard metaphor that differs from the standard illusionist/magician metaphor where the female assistant is Nature and the magician is Man, the Master of Nature. "Man" is the master of Nature and can do his will on "her," and she is restored to her original condition as Man wills.

That Penn is a parody of every loudmouth who has ever lived should be remembered by those who watch. He is "Life," "Government," "Authority" and Teller, being tortured by the loutish loudmouth, and who triumphs in the end, is the embodiment of "Everyman."

I think what we saw last night was a marvelous con by two clever guys who extracted a lot of money from the foolish people who run network television. These "executives" know little to nothing about show business and entertainment and P&T understood that. They conned them into paying piles of money, putting them and their crew up at the Atlantis Hotel, and giving them two hours of prime network time for the most nonsensical concept imaginable: an underwater magic show.

It should be pointed out that this is not new. David Berglas did a segment on "You Asked For It" in 1957. David did cigarette manipulations under water using stubs of white pencils that looked like cigarettes. He ended the routine by "lighting" one of the "cigarettes" and blowing "smoke." The smoke was actually milk that looked quite smoke-like on television. All quite clever, if not completely absurd.

I notice that P&T did not expose the Thin Model Sawing, nor did they put the girl back together after nearly getting her killed. Fortunately, a safety diver was there to save the day.

The business about the card trick at the pool with every card somewhere was clearly a parody, nonsensical card magic taken to its extreme.

I didn't see the Million Dollar Mystery as much of an expose, since properly presented, the illusion is quite baffling. The same for their underwater Sub Trunk. This will affect performers like the Pendragons not a bit.

It should be remembered that when the Camel Cigarette ads of the 1930s were outraging magicians all over the place, Harry Blackstone, Sr, put a blow-up of the exposure of Sawing A Woman In Half in the lobby of the theater and then proceeded to do the Buzz Saw illusion, doubly confounding the audience.

In looking at this you must remember H. L. Menckens observation: No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

Overall, P&T doubtless got a nice payday and two hours of network exposure which will benefit their gig at the Rio in Vegas. My club date business will not be affected one way or the other by what they did.

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Jeff Haas » November 14th, 2005, 1:59 pm

Actually, I think that the process that went into creating the card trick on the beach might be, "People think that the way a card trick is done, is that there are 52 different outcomes for it. Let's actually do that."

And then they tossed in one setup gag, the Ace of Spade/Eight of Spades bit, to show that they were "getting tired" and making mistakes after doing it all day.

I also agree that all the segments where they "show you the secret" were a setup for the end. They're giving the audience credit for being smart. A lot of people will say, "Wait a minute, that's a computer graphic!" and then realize that they did NOT give away how the sub vanished.

This is completely consistent with earlier material from the guys. Remember the bit where Teller "died" in a water tank because Penn couldn't find the card? And their cups and balls...I remember people in the lobby of the theater being more confused after they used clear cups.

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 14th, 2005, 4:45 pm

All the comments have made me very curious to see the show (which should happen tomorrow or the next day).
I had an illuminating talk with Teller about the show over lunch on Saturday at the History Conference. Perhaps he'll allow me to go public with some of it at some point, but you'd be surprised at how some of it came about.
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Ryan Matney » November 14th, 2005, 8:21 pm

Richard,
Do ask him for permission, that would make a great article. Like I said, the show struck me as odd...I'm very curious about the behind the scenes story.
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Pete Biro » November 14th, 2005, 10:39 pm

I'll venture a guess... The tourist bureau had a lot to do with it and came in with $$$$$$$$$$ too.
Stay tooned.

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 14th, 2005, 11:27 pm

I got what I expected

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Adrian Kuiper » November 15th, 2005, 6:27 am

Anticipating something special, I TIVO'd the show while watching. Deleted it immediately after.

'nuff said.

Adrian

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 15th, 2005, 2:32 pm

Yes, they gave away some secrets...skilled magicians will stay two steps ahead of them. We will continue to develop ways of presentation that will fool those who think they are wise to the secret. (ie. "I saw that on P&T's show, but that can't be how (YOUR NAME HERE) is doing it!") That's the real trick, right?

On the whole, I was disappointed with the show. Thought the best bit was the Pick A Card segment on the beach. And while I usually enjoy watching them perform, Penn's unrehearsed quality of droning on & on got old quickly. The show was very predictable...like you didn't know that two of those guys were going to get shoved into the pool. Ironically, the Fake Audience Reaction segment produced some of the most believable footage in the show.

JMHO,
DaSK

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 15th, 2005, 3:36 pm

NBC's special "Penn & Teller: Off the Deep End" was stuck in fourth with a 3.6/6, beating only repeats of "Reba" on The WB

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Steve Bryant » November 15th, 2005, 7:17 pm

I've never understood what the ratings on a one-shot special mean, other than that they reflect the prior opinions of the viewing public and, in this case, the network. Penn and Teller could have put on the best show in the history of television, but the only people who would have seen it were those who tuned in based on the ads, media attention, and previous familiarity with P&T. Hence, the ratings seem to me a higher indication of the expectations for the show than of the quality of the show itself. As to the network, they did the show a disservice (perhaps an indication of their opinion of it) by placing a two-hour special in a time slot that started an hour before prime time, not exactly the best time to catch a normal viewing public. And then there is the problem of a two-hour special in itself, not a normal length except for a basketball game or an award show. A one-hour special might have scored better. For whatever reasons (and there seem to be many here), the dice were stacked against this show doing well in the ratings.

A larger question is why so many seem to be thrilled that the ratings were bad. I guess we all have our issues.

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Pete Biro » November 15th, 2005, 7:20 pm

It could have been a BUYOUT... IE: The Tourist Bureau and/Hotel might have BOUGHT the time slot from NBC. They then own the time and get the income from commercials sold, but if that doesn't cover their investment they pay the balance.

We did that in auto racing in the early days to GET ON TV.
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 15th, 2005, 7:49 pm

Just finished watching the special. Without the commercials it came out to 90 minutes.

Considering the comments that have already appeared in this thread, it was far better than we (me and the missus) expected.

It was too long and would have made a much tighter 60 minute show, however there are reasons for what might be perceived as the various "problems" people have associated with it (whether it's the exposure of the Sub Trunk or the Million Dollar Mystery, or the fact that it seemed to go on for too long, etc.).

Also, the number of people actually watching improved in the second hour--past 8 p.m. But that's not the point: people watch shows that are heavily promoted and which are broadcast at the most heavily-watched periods. With the ratings that this show received, it would seem that there was not a huge amount of money poured into the promotion, and 7 p.m. is when the World of Disney is on, isn't it? Not exactly the prime audience for Penn & Teller.
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 16th, 2005, 6:46 am

Hey Kids,

Longtime lurker, first time poster. Megadittos and all like that.

Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, you've got to admit that at LEAST you're not getting that same old, "I'm here to re-awaken wonder in people, and allow them a chance to play like children again!" crap. (Or, god forbid, that, "I'm here to help people realize they have potential beyond their five senses." mentalist nonsense.

You also get none of that "Some of what I do is illusion, some of what I do is real. It's up to you to decide which is which." complete and utter BS that's currently in vogue with both magicians and mentalists.

You get what you get: two guys who readily admit that they are totally full-of-s#@t 'ripoff artistes'. If that's not your cup of tea, don't pour from the pot.

I know, many of you are still pissed off at the whole 'Jesus-on-a-stick' thing. But consider for a moment: How many of you have trampled on someone else's religion while doing a show? Ever mis-name something as being "Zen-like"? Ever use an image of Buddha badly screened on a prop? How about the old King Tut slum trick? (Pharoah's are living gods y'know...)

So lighten up. In the end, it's only a show.

Snappy

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Matthew Field » November 16th, 2005, 6:57 am

Originally posted by Snap:
So lighten up. In the end, it's only a show.
My sentiments exactly.

These guys have one of the most successful Vegas shows, and they've been doing the so-called "exposure" schtick nearly from the beginning of their careers. ("So-called" because it's methods they've made up, or which rely on duff camera angles.) It's all part of the "we're not going to insult your intelligence with stupid magic crap" that helps define their personas (personi?).

Love 'em or hate 'em, they are clever magicians who got a two hour special in prime time on network television.

Matt Field

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Joe M. Turner » November 16th, 2005, 8:50 am

I disagree with a certain element of Mr. Snap's commentary and reasoning, in that I think there is a legitimate difference between 1) misunderstanding or even trivializing a religious icon or persona out of ignorance, and 2) blatantly and purposefully mocking a religion or belief from a position of informed hostility. That said, I agree with Mr. Snap's ultimate conclusion -- it's a TV show.

I didn't watch the show, didn't tape it, and figured I'd probably hear whatever I needed to know about it later. Whatever my philosophical disagreements with Penn & Teller may be, I respect their talent and achievements. These guys are smart, funny, and brilliant performers. I may regret that they have chosen to use their gifts in this or that manner, but those are their choices to make. I get to make choices, too.

Either way, a week from now the special will be as forgotten as Harriet Miers.

JMT

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Todd Lassen » November 16th, 2005, 9:18 am

My family, who ran from the TV set when Chris Angel was on, stayed glued to the Penn and Teller special. They typically are not big magic fans, but can be cornered from time to time in just the right situation. My father, who is 83, enjoyed watching the Chris Angel shows. Go figure. But I am sure he would enjoy the Penn and Teller special alot, I haven't talked to him to see if he caught it. Anyway, you gotta admit that these guys have alot more going on than Chris Angel in the way of personality, and they definetely have fooled big minds in magic...or at least made them think real hard. I'm glad we have them.

Blindfold driving an actress to her thought of favorite sushi bar, type of stuff, will get a "I wonder how he did that reaction", and that's about it. But for my big layman entertainment buck, P&T should have it all. You get to be fooled, and then learn the secret. AND they make you laugh. Which do you think the layperson is going to enjoy more? And maybe there is another way to think about this. If the layperson learns how a few of P&T's tricks are done, maybe he starts thinking he knows how all magic tricks are done, and we all know that is a good thing...and it creates an interest, of course, another good thing.

I think most laypeople know that there is an expanation for TV magic. So going out of your way to sell all the mysterious dark zombie stuff seems freaky to lay people in some cases. Some can get away with it if the audience gets the idea they are weaving a yarn..like Burger for example.

Just rambling, but give me the Penn and Tellers, Amazing Jonathans, Vinnys from Hong Kong, or anyone that can hold an audience by keeping them amused, mystifed, and laughing. Adding the humor is great, and I don't believe it takes away from the magic.

Ok, have at me. Cheers.
Todd Lassen

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 16th, 2005, 9:24 am

Todd et al,

My only real problem with P & T, Amazing Jonathan and others is that they give some people the ok to act like boors both when attending a magic show and everywhere else for that matter. What ever happened to good manners and civility?

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 16th, 2005, 9:30 am

Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:
Either way, a week from now the special will be as forgotten as Harriet Miers.

JMT
>>>>

I hear her top change is almost as good as Clarence Thomas' bottom palm.

Ba-ZING! I'll be here all week.

Snap

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 16th, 2005, 9:50 am

Sometimes, P&T are about really cool magic for it's own sake: Miser's Dream, Needles, etc.

Sometimes, they're about socio/political commentary with magic as the vehicle: The Bill of Rights.

Sometimes, without: "[censored]."

Sometimes, they're about the nature of relationships using magic as the vehicle: The Water Tank, Bullet Catch.

Sometimes, without: Cuffed to a Creep.

Sometimes, they're about examining the nature of magic as an artform: Cups & Balls.

See?

Most of what they do has a point they're trying to make. In magic, that's rare as hen's teeth. No wonder it makes magicians uncomfortable.

Remember, though, when you approach magic the way they do, sometimes the mark is missed. Sometimes the point doesn't come across the way it was intended.

Maybe that's the case here. If it is the case, it seems weird that people would be so quick to jump on the corpse of the show and start devouring---considering how many times they HAVE hit the mark dead-on.

S

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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby John LeBlanc » November 16th, 2005, 10:00 am

Originally posted by Snap:
Remember, though, when you approach magic the way they do, sometimes the mark is missed. Sometimes the point doesn't come across the way it was intended.
Which has been my point. The biggest problems I had with this show was 1) I didn't see any obvious mark for which they aimed; and 2) I didn't find any portion of it entertaining.

Originally posted by Snap:
Maybe that's the case here. If it is the case, it seems weird that people would be so quick to jump on the corpse of the show and start devouring---considering how many times they HAVE hit the mark dead-on.

S
Just because they have been funny or intelligent or poignant or just plain great at any time in the past does not give them a "pass" on people discussing how this show was not any of those things.

That's why this is called a "discussion board."

Now, you have no problems putting forth your opinions about this, and people have read them and responded to them -- using their own names. Would you please identify who you are?

John
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Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Matthew Field » November 16th, 2005, 10:06 am

Originally posted by Snap:
Most of what they do has a point they're trying to make. In magic, that's rare as hen's teeth. No wonder it makes magicians uncomfortable.

Remember, though, when you approach magic the way they do, sometimes the mark is missed. Sometimes the point doesn't come across the way it was intended.

Maybe that's the case here. If it is the case, it seems weird that people would be so quick to jump on the corpse of the show and start devouring---considering how many times they HAVE hit the mark dead-on.
Right on the money, Snapper.

But P&T have made their rep baiting magicians, while simultaneously winking and saying to the magicians, "Hey -- it's just an act." Some magicians still don't get it, or can't take it.

These are serious guys -- read Teller's many wonderful essays or his book on David Abbott, for example.

I don't love everything they do, but I enjoy them as magicians and showmen, and as Snap said, as thinkers who incorporate ideas into their performances.

That makes them "edgy" and controversial. But to jump all over them for a TV show -- c'mon guys.

Matt Field

Guest

Re: P&T Sink to New Low

Postby Guest » November 16th, 2005, 10:12 am

[QUOTE]Originally posted by John W. LeBlanc:
[QB] Now, you have no problems putting forth your opinions about this, and people have read them and responded to them -- using their own names. Would you please identify who you are?


Jose de Gago.

;)

S


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