Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters” will launch its 13th season next month by testing the validity of some classic scenes from “The Simpsons,” Entertainment Weekly reported.
One of those scenes comes from an old episode, “Sideshow Bob Roberts,” in which Homer prevents a wrecking ball from destroying his house by placing himself between the ball and the house. The “MythBusters” hosts will, as always, use scientific methods to see if that actually works.
They’ll also throw a cherry bomb into a toilet to try to cause nearby toilets to explode with water, much like Bart did in Season One’s “Crepes of Wrath.”
“Several people were like, ‘This is a cartoon! What can you do with this?'” “MythBusters” co-host Adam Savage told EW. “We looked through many, many, many different bits on ‘The Simpsons,’ but I think that we found stuff that really is entertaining and not totally outside the realm of physics — unlike, say, Wile E Coyote stuff might be. We reached out [to ‘The Simpsons’ producers], and they were totally into it.”
In a 2007 interview with Vanity Fair, former “Simpsons” writer Conan O’Brien said the show’s creator, Matt Groening, didn’t want to make a zany, hair-brained cartoon with incredibly improbable scenes.
“He wanted respect for the laws of gravity, the physical properties of the basic elements,” O’Brien recalled. “I would run up against that sometimes. For example, you can’t have Bart shoot Homer in the face with a shotgun and make Homer’s face all black, and then have Homer be fine in the next scene. You can do it in a Halloween episode — you just can’t do it in a normal episode.”
In the episode “Marge v. Monorail,” Leonard Nimoy’s animated likeness beams out, which was something Groening had protested because it couldn’t actually happen in the physical world, O’Brien said. Eventually, though, the scene made it through because beaming out existed in the world of “Star Trek.”
“He wanted to make sure that we didn’t wreck this beautiful machine that he had built,” O’Brien added.
So if the show did pay special attention to things such as the laws of gravity, what other seemingly bizarre scenarios could the “MythBusters” guys actually re-create? Here are five scenes that we feel deserve consideration. (Disclaimer: Don’t try these at home!)
Is it possible to be bite down onto a ceiling fan and have it spin you around?
Simple premise: Grandpa Simpson falls asleep while babysitting the kids. Bart hatches a dental plan of sorts, stealing grandpa’s dentures and, eventually, biting down onto a spinning ceiling fan. He gets a few good spins in before he’s thrown off, sans fake teeth.
This looks like it could be a fun and affordable ride, so I want to know if I (or a smaller person) can actually do this.
Can you jump up and down on a skateboard while that skateboard is carrying you in the air?
I know this one falls into Wile E. Coyote territory, or at the very least comes close. But I have some legitimate physics questions (perhaps because the last physics lesson I had was in high school, but I digress…).
Homer rolls down a steep ramp and attempts to jump across a gorge. Technically, it’s possible. But he manages to say a bunch of stuff while he’s traveling mid-air, such as: “I’m going to make it! I’m going to make it! This is the greatest thrill of my life! I’m king of the world!” That takes Homer about eight seconds to get out, which seems like an awfully long time to be in the air. Just how big of a jump is this?
But even more vexing: Homer jumps up and down on that skateboard while the skateboard is traveling horizontally, and he moves with it. In real life, would that skateboard fall to the ground? Would Homer have gone down with it? Only one way to find out!
Can a baby drive a car?
I know it sounds ridiculous, but stick with me here, because this could be very adorable. I envision one scenario in which a Maggie-aged baby could drive a car: Place an object on the gas pedal to power the car forward, and place the baby on top of some books or something and have her steer.
Sound the safety alarms! Here’s a safeguard: Have the baby attempt to drive a driver’s ed car with a passenger-side wheel and a second set of gas and brake pedals. And have a human adult sitting in that seat. Let the cuteness commence!
Can you shake a beer can so much that opening it causes an explosion?
Bart’s April Fool’s Day prank blows up in his face, quite literally. The beer explosion ends in a beer shower that prompts Chief Wiggums to run to the Simpson house on foot.
Bart creates the explosion by placing a beer can in a paint shaker for an unspecified period of time. Once Homer opens it, there’s a giant explosion. While it’s unlikely that a similar-sized reaction could be recreated in real life, can anything deemed “an explosion” be caused by a beer can that’s undergone severe shaking?
Can you make a pig fly by clogging a dam with it?
Making a pig fly is a great premise for a joke and also a great prompt for an experiment. In this episode, new vegetarian Lisa pushes a barbecue-roasted pig on a cart into traffic; it eventually ends up in a river, where it clogs a dam. The pressure of the water builds up until it finally pushes the pig with such force that it’s shot into the air.
Can. This. Happen??? I want to know. Science demands it, “MythBusters.” Please get on it (but not you, at home; refer to disclaimer above).
Have a suggestion not included here? Leave it in the comments below.