A conversation with the 'busters about the weird, surprising, and sometimes completely disgusting world of the Discovery Channel's cult TV show
To celebrate the new season of MythBusters (check out the epic sizzle reel here), which premiered Sunday night on the Discovery Channel, we asked hosts Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage, Grant Imahara, Kari Byron, and Tory Belleci to pick the most insane myths they've ever tackled in their decade of busting.
Here's what they said.
CRAZIEST BOOM: Cement Truck Explosion, Season 3
Everybody seems to remember the cement truck as a favorite episode. We used 800 pounds of ANFO, which is a fertilizer/diesel fuel mix. The cement truck was there, and then it wasn't there. It was just gone, and that was cool.
BIGGEST SPECTACLE: Rocket Car, Season 1
We have yet to top what we did with the very first rocket car. Attaching rockets to a car, getting into a helicopter, and watching it take off and disappear—it doesn't get any better than that.
CRAZIEST MYTH FROM THE NEW SEASON: Riding A Motorcycle on Water
In terms of something that is like, "Can you actually do that?" one of my favorites this season is trying to ride a motorcycle across water. Having to push a motorcycle that's almost out-of-control fast to its very limits, and knowing that you're going to hit the water—who knows what's going to happen at that speed? It's thrilling, but your life is right there in front of you. We take all the safety precautions that we possibly can, but you play with fire, you can get burned. There was a problem with insurance on this story. They didn't want to let me do the test because of the potential of crashing on the far side of the water if I came out, so I figured out an ingenious way of solving that problem so that I could do the test.
MOST DANGEROUS MYTH: Escaping a Sinking Car, Season 8
A couple years after we did the first underwater car myth, we went and did it again—because most cars turn turtle when they hit the water, and it makes it much more confusing for the person who's in the car. The whole time we were leading up to it, Jamie and I were kind of spooked. It's not often we do something that's so dangerous. We thought through everything that could go wrong, and really addressed it. As I was sitting in the car on the barge in the middle of a quarry lake—Jamie was on the shore, about to give the signal to drag my car off the barge and pull it upside down—I thought, what the hell do we think we're doing? There's no permutation in which this is not totally insane. At this point I no longer think about it being crazy, but ... it's funny. You feel a little spooked about something, so you address what you're spooked about, but you never quite get rid of that feeling that you probably shouldn't be doing this. When we finally did the stunt, it worked beautifully, but we did need every safety procedure we had added. And my mom is still, to this day, not allowed to watch that episode.
CRAZY-FUN MYTH: Spy Car 2, Season 9
Jamie and I were testing myths about having spikes on your tire rims that tear up other cars. We built several different kinds—some from The Green Hornet, from Bond, and from Grease. You work out what you're going to do—you put spikes on the car, you make sure safety procedures are in place—and then you realize that this story requires Jamie and me to drive cars in the same direction at 40 mph and start smacking them into each other. It's one of the most fun things we've ever done, because when else do you get a chance to do something like that?
CRAZIEST MYTH FROM THE NEW SEASON: Airplane Boarding
We wanted to do a myth about boarding airplanes, but we couldn't find someone who would lend us a 747 to use for a day—so we built one. We rented enough seats and overhead bins for a full plane, we built a framework and a structure to hold them all in orientation, and the entire construction of that framework took—well, we only had two days to do it. We find ourselves in those parameters all the time, but that's the kind of challenge we really like.
BONUS! MYTH SO CRAZY THEY WON'T DO IT
There is a story that I don't want to do—it's just too freaking dangerous. It revolves around a truck full of liquid oxygen that has an accident and spills liquid oxygen all over the road. In order to make something burn, you need fuel and oxygen. A roadbed is a really nice bit of fuel because it's all petroleum-based, but it doesn't burn very well because it's very dense and all those molecules are tied up in the gummy asphalt. But liquid oxygen makes things [burn] like there's no tomorrow. In fact, it can take things like oily rags and turn them into—not even exaggerating—
GROSSEST MYTH: Making a Earwax Candle, Season 7
We were doing a myth from Shrek, where Shrek makes an earwax candle. A local ear/nose/throat doctor got us enough earwax—this is from hundreds of patients—to make a candle. It came in a little specimen jar, just a rainbow of colors. I didn't know that earwax came in so many colors! We decided that we would make a candle out of these bits of earwax by heating them up and melting them down. And that's when things went horribly wrong. We found out later on that the reason that the doctor had removed all the earwax from people's ears was because it was infected. And the smell that emanates from infected human earwax being heated caused instant dry heaves. I just could not deal, so I had to walk away from it. Everybody else formed it into a candle and then we tried to light it, but it didn't really work. That one was busted, and it was probably the grossest thing I've ever done in my life.