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Gonzo pop culture meets off-beat science as Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman — two special effects guys with over thirty years of experience between them — take on urban legends, ancient myths and tall tales of all kinds to debunk (or confirm!) them. The show debuted in January 2003 and is still ongoing.
With the help of their crack team of smart-ass builders (artist/sculptor Kari Byron, model builder/carpenter Tory Belleci, robotics engineer Grant Imahara, and formerly welder/metal worker Scottie Chapman and temporary replacement/metal worker Jessi Combs), as well as crack crash-test dummy Buster, Adam and Jamie meticulously take apart popular myths ranging from the legend of Archimedes' solar "Death Ray" to "free energy" to the most common Hollywood exaggerations (exploding cars, the knockback from a bullet).
They render each myth down to its component elements, then apply a goofball scientific rigor to reproducing those elements. Jamie owns and continues to run the Special Effects studio M-5 Industries, where he has all the equipment you would possibly need to build any sort of contraption they need to. And whenever they come across something that is beyond their expertise, they call in favors from colleges and other specialists. Their reputation has gotten to the point that they can get to just about any place because they provide excellent PR (to the point that sitting US President Barack Obama appeared on a 2010 episode) — a contrast to the first episode when Jamie found trouble trying to obtain a military grade JATO rocket; they ended up commissioning a custom one.
When a legend fails to pan out, as it often does, they usually escalate matters to the point where the legend's expected results do occur. This process is affectionately called "replicate the myth, then duplicate the results" — usually at a point so far beyond the normal parameters that it isn't even remotely plausible that it happened by accident (or at the very least, so incredibly dangerous that anyone capable of sound judgment wouldn't attempt it in the first place). Usually these escalations involve entertaining explosions (such as a popular one in a March 2005 episode which vaporized a cement truck, or, even better, an April 2009 episode where they annihilated a car with a rocket-sled).
Not every myth is busted, though — they are happy (although frequently surprised) when they prove that a story, however wild, is at the very least plausible. In "Big Rig Myths", they managed to confirm all three myths, and in their first episode devoted to viral videos, the myths that made it to air went four-for-four in confirmation. And so far, nearly every myth has some kernel of truth, whether or not it may or may not be applicable to whether the myth is plausible.
The show has a geek-chic atmosphere that is almost irresistible. Part of the attraction is the Odd Couple pairing of Class Clown Adam and stolid Jamie, with their frequent jibes and competitions, and the kind of "intellectual Three Stooges" vibe that the build team emits. Also, it's the humor and wacky sense of fun with which they all go about their mission. They once built not one, not two, but three different machines designed to drop buttered toast on the floor. For Christmas 2006 they built a Rube Goldberg machine to celebrate the holiday. The fact that Scottie, Kari and Jessi are three of the most attractive, genuinely intelligent women on TV doesn't hurt with the male (or lesbian or Bisexual) viewership, either. Grant and Tory also have their fans. (This series is a shining example of Geeky Is Sexy.)
They don't have official education in scientific experimentation, but are just skilled in engineering, model making, construction and special effects (prior to the show starting, Jamie's M5 Industries was a sought-after model-making company, and Grant and Tory worked for ILM). Because of that they carry across an image of being One of Us; their reactions are much like regular people. Here are some examples of the dialogue.
The show was nominated for an Emmy in 2009, 2010, and 2011, and is easily one of the most popular programs on the Discovery Channel.
In 2010, the show began airing a redux version of older episodes called "Buster's Cut", which features on-screen pop-ups containing behind-the-scenes notes, bits of humor and trivia, and points about the myth being tested that didn't make it on the episode.
Adam and Jamie originally gained minor celebrity when their robot Blendo was a competitor on Battlebots, and Grant was also a known competitor with his famed middleweight robot Deadblow.
See Also: Tropes Examined by the Mythbusters
Myth Busters provides examples of:
- Abnormal Ammo: The staggering amount of strange stuff they've modified air cannons or rifles to fire, among others (see the trope page for specific examples). They've even tried cheese, and it actually worked. Adam summed this up succinctly:
Is this awesome or what? We tripped all three of the shockwatch stickers, which tells us something we often learn here at Mythbusters: Everyday objects can in fact be lethal if Jamie builds a gun to shoot them.
- Absentee Actor: Jessi Combs filled in for Kari during her maternity leave.
- Acceptable Breaks From Reality: There are a few moments where the Mythbusters test a myth and admit they are stretching the boundaries of how it could have happened--the reason being that some myths are purely about whether it could be done at all, not whether it could be accomplished in the exact manner claimed in the myth. For example, in trying to build a crossbow out of paper while in prison, they agreed that you could use a table-mounted sander to shave a plastic spoon for use as the tip of the arrow. Therefore, they simply assumed it would be possible for an inmate to do the same thing scraping it against the cell wall.
- The Alcatraz: The Alcatraz, in an episode where the one-and-only successful (in terms of getting off the island) escape could've succeded in the sense of getting to dry land.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Jamie often expresses annoyance (or at least indifference) at Adam's antics and jokes, so it's a significant event when Adam actually gets Jamie to struggle to keep his facade.
- For example: when testing a myth about a woman who left her groceries unbound in the back of her pickup and was then killed when she hit the brakes at highway speed and her groceries flew from the back of her bed and hit her in the back of the head, Adam quips "Food for thought!" Cut to Jamie trying very hard not to grin.
- During the description of the "cannonball vs. splinters" myth in the first Pirate Special, Adam's oddball "pirate" accent actually gave Jamie a fit of the giggles.
Redbeard the Savage: 'E's speechless!
- All for Nothing:
- The Mythbusters attempt to retest the JATO Rocket Car myth, and the entire car explodes once the rocket engine is activated. The Mythbusters seem on the verge of tears during the wrap-up. Jamie even flatly says "The rocket car sucked" during the episode close-out.
- The test of the gigantic ball of Legos ended abruptly when the ball shattered about a third of the way down its track; the time it took to put the ball together in the first place made a retest impossible. That said, part of the myth was about how nimble the ball would be and thus the result showed it to be fairly fragile.
- Despite promising small-scale builds of Newton's Cradles in increasing sizes of ball bearings, the full sized build with five wrecking balls was spectacularly anticlimactic; it only gave three halfhearted clunks and stopped.
- Alliterative Name: Barry the Ballistic Bust, used for the lethal lava lamp legend.
- The All Solving Hammer: Grant often makes the suggestion that he could build a robot for a myth. Usually, this is a viable option (and the route they actually take), but occasionally he makes the suggestion when it's patently ridiculous.
- All There in the Manual / Deleted Scene: Some steps in testing a myth may be cut out due to time constrains, but are shown or referred to in the aftershow footage posted on Discovery's website, as well as explanations for some of their decisions.
- Aluminium Christmas Trees: The myths that get confirmed aren't always those you'd expect. For example, one experience seemed to confirm that elephants are indeed scared of mice. Adam himself was amazed by this and admitted that he knew this couldn't be possible, and yet, evidence was here.
- Anachronism Stew:
- During the first Pirate Special, Adam sees a passing tumbleweed, which he notes is not a "pirate thing"; this is while he is using an angle grinder to reshape a cannon ball.
- Adam, in regarding their construction of a tree cannon: "I'm not doing anything the Paks wouldn't have done if they had had a chainsaw."
- In the second ninja special, during one of the arrow firing tests, Adam is wearing medieval armor. Jamie calls him out on it.
- Ancient Grome:
- When they test the arrow machine gun, which was allegedly invented by Dionysius the Elder, a Greek, Adam wears some very Roman armor. They fire at a target that is dressed as a Greek hoplite, but they call it a Roman centurion.
- Adam wears the same armor while directing the ("Greek") mirror bearers during a Solar Death Ray revisit.
- And That's Terrible: During the "Killer CD" segment
Adam: (surveying CD-ROM shrapnel embedded in ballistics gel blocks) Look — it's embedded two inches into his flesh! That's bad!
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Seemingly deliberately invoked by Adam: "I think so, Jamie, but it's gonna be hard to find four oak doors and 30 feet of greased chain!"
- Ascended Extra:
- Kari and Tory both had minor roles on the show before being hired as part of the build team. After pestering her way into an off-camera job, Kari's first appearance was having her butt scanned to make a model. Tory first appeared helping build the Archimedes Solar Death Ray and looking kind of panicked when Adam pointed out that they actually didn't have a day and a half to finish the build like Tory thought, but in fact had only a few hours.
- Jess Nelson was a finalist in a viewer challenge to build a Death Ray and even though her team lost to another team, the production crew liked her enough to bring her in as a "Myth-tern."
- Ascended Meme: A parody/homage of the show used a myth that if you interlayer the pages of a phonebook the raw friction would make it unseperable short of destroying the books or "unweaving" the pages, with them coming to the conclusion you could not. The Mythbusters themselves decided to test this, ramping it up from a tug-of-war and two wheelburning cars until they tied the phonebooks between two tanks.
- Asian and Nerdy: Arguably, Grant plays this one for his own (and the audience's) amusement. The guy builds robots on any excuse and used pi as his "prisoner number" in the jailhouse rope episode. As if that wasn't bad enough, when they were testing a lie detector machine, it was revealed he had thought about building a female robot. In another episode, he was reduced to a stammering idiot when he met a high-tech bomb disposal robot. This vibe is intensified when you realize his college degree is in electrical engineering.
- As You Know: Many myths are introduced via a segment in which the hosts purport to "tell" each other about a myth with which both are already familiar. They vary on how staged this bit is.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: For an undisclosed amount of time while building the wrecking ball sized Newton balls, Adam and Jamie were distracted by smacking a large piece of scrap metal with mallets, making a variety of different tones like a giant xylophone.
- Awesome but Impractical: Rube Goldberg would be so damn proud.
- One in particular was opening a safe by cutting a small hole, filling it with water and dropping an explosive charge in it. Water doesn't compress so the power is distributed to the weak points of the safe, the door. The principle behind it is sound and works, but it took over 30 minutes to cut the hole and the stuff inside was charred from the cutting lance. Never mind the fact that the safe leaked like a sieve.
- The water stun gun.
- A sailboat can, in fact, be propelled forward by blowing a giant fan into the sail. But simply pointing the fan backwards works so much better.
- You can tenderize meat with explosives, or with a giant air cannon firing kevlar-wrapped meat into a steel target. You know, in case you don't have a tenderizing hammer close at hand?
- In the ninja specials, they tested being able to catch an arrow in midair (possible but unlikely) and catching a sword swing (only if you have hand protection). In both cases, it's noted that you'd be better served by dodging than trying to stop whatever's coming at you.
- Tailgating in a big rig's slipstream does in fact enhance your gas mileage. It's also likely to get you killed.
- Next time you're being attacked with a flamethrower and all you have is a super-powered fire extinguisher, remember that you can defend yourself with it.
- Ax Crazy: Jamie actually played this role in a short, silent film setting up a movie myth about awnings.
- Badass Bookworm: Jamie.
- Badass Longcoat: Adam during Dumpster Diving.
- Badass Mustache: Jamie again.
- Bad Bad Acting: Sometimes they don't try very hard to make the scripted myth-introduction scenes seem realistic, especially the build team.
- One notable aversion was when they wanted to test the Hypnosis Recall myth by plotting a tense altercation with some delivery boys. Adam and Jamie were in on the act and while the viewer could tell they were acting you could also see how Tory, Grant and Kari would fall for it.
- Especially invoked by Adam, who used to be a professional actor.
- Averted and lampshaded by the "latex masks" episode, when Adam and Jamie hired a professional acting coach to help them perfect how to imitate each other.
Adam: You're suggesting we get acting lessons.
- Bald of Awesome:
- Jamie's standard look.
- Adam's head was shaved in several of the early episodes, due to some of his hair (and one eyebrow, yeah that's where "Am I missing an eyebrow?" comes from) being burnt off in one of the first few episodes and he wanted to stay looking somewhat normal.
- Bamboo Technology: Part and parcel of some myths, and occasionally merges with Steampunk. They've had to test myths of plans for American Civil War era rockets and even a steam powered machine gun. Invoked literally on the MacGyver special where they built a lightweight plane out of bamboo, garbage bags, duct tape and a cement mixer motor. While it did roll on the ground just fine, it plummeted straight down as it rolled off a cliff to attempt liftoff. There's also the Hwacha!!!
- Banned From Argo: "And that's why we can never go to Esparto again." 
- Beyond the Impossible: The premise is more or less to deconstruct this. They find out what really is possible and what is not.
- .... And then they end up playing it straight almost as often as not, usually when a particularly dubious myth is confirmed. Perfect example: pretty much any myth involving duct tape, but ESPECIALLY the recent duct tape airplane myth.
- Inverted with some myths, that every single part of the myth is so completely busted, leaving not even a grain of truth left. For example: the myth of the giant rolling Lego ball. They could only get 1 million lego pieces after taking all the pieces from both Lego Land and the largest private collection, no where close to the five million predicted by the myth. They also only needed the 1 million pieces to make the giant ball anyway. Finally, the ball completely broke apart half way down the track.
- Blindfolded Trip: On the first trip to the "secret location" to shoot a fish with a minigun, Adam is not allowed to know where it is, so Jamie drives him there blindfolded.
- Blow Gun: As part of the ninja special.
- Body Horror:
- Tory's Meatman: a fake skeleton with pork sewed onto it to serve as muscle and skin, with its abdomen filled with various organs and fake blood. It was used to test the myth that if a deep sea diver in an old-timey suit lost his air supply (and a safety valve failed to work), the resulting pressure difference would crush the diver's body into the helmet of the suit. The myth was confirmed; even the helmet began to buckle under the pressure, with bits of Meatman beginning to leak out. Poor, poor Meatman.
Tory:His stomach is inside his helmet!
- Boring but Practical: Turns out, in a myth testing how to light a room with directed light and mirrors, that all Jamie has to do is step into the beam with a crisp white shirt. It lights the room nearly four times as brightly as any of their other methods.
- Brand X:
- Used to avoid having to pay out licensing fees and to preserve the impartiality of the show. Also used to reference movies or characters that they are blatantly testing myths about, but is iffy if they can use the character names directly, like Nocturnal-Echolocating-Flying-Mammal-Man. Ruthlessly Lampshaded constantly.
- Also done to keep people from trying to replicate their more dangerous myths (Don't mix Blur with Blur)
- Averted in a rare case when they tested soda fountains made by dropping Mentos chew candies into just-opened bottles of Diet Coke. During the taping of the experiment itself, Adam and Jamie stuck to the terms "cola and mint candies", but afterward they apparently got permission to use the trademarked terms; the narrator used the terms during the episode, and the hosts used the terms at the blueprint table. This could have been done just for the sake of being specific, as these were the terms used by the Eepybirds (among others). They'd also found that Diet Coke got the biggest reaction of the various soft drinks they'd tried. Finally, it was also a rare example of a myth that was perfectly safe for people (or kids) to try at home.
- Also done to keep people from trying to replicate their more dangerous myths (Don't mix Blur with Blur)
- Brass Balls: See Getting Crap Past the Radar below.
- Brick Joke: Can you mail a coconut without putting it in any packaging? Yes you can.
- In the segment testing ways to fool a speed camera, Jamie is seen doing something with the back license plate early on. Cut to the end of the segment, it turns out he was adding a rig to flip the license plate.
- Early in the Waterslide Wipeout episode during small-scale testing, Adam is doubtful that Jamie will be able to lubricate the entire full-scale slide with a weed sprayer and says he'll pay Jamie $100 if that's the case. It was. After the myth is declared busted, Jamie chimes in about the $100 Adam owes him. Adam begrudgingly pays him in the credits.
- Brief Accent Imitation:
- Adam, a lot. For the second Pirate episode, he does it so much it actually starts to annoy Jamie (which he does almost every episode, somehow).
- Speaking of, Jamie is very often a victim of this; most people on the set have mockingly imitated his voice and mannerisms at one time or another.
- In the 2011 season premiere Adam and Jamie disguise themselves as each other and attempt to fool people. The masks are good enough to work from a distance but each fails to imitate the other's voice correctly.
- Tory will occasionally affect a faux Italian accent.
- Bring My Brown Pants:
- After the massive fireball from the creamer cannon, we get this:
Tory: We've still got like 500 pounds of this stuff, should we try again?
- After Adam ignited hydrogen in a box causing it to explode violently:
Adam: WHOA! (in quiet, timid-ish voice) Okay... is everybody okay?
- Adam noted the latest Underwater Car test (where they tested in a pond to see if it was any harder to escape if the car "turned turtle") as being "a 10 on the Brown Pants factor."
- Subverted on occasion - the cast will wear adult diapers if pants-soiling is a supposed side-effect of the myth being tested.
- Heck, they even have a whole myth devoted to finding the Brown Note in the first episode of season 3
- Most recently Adam when he was attempting to use an excavator to climb into the back of a truck.
Jamie: Do you need to go to the bathroom or anything?
- Broke the Rating Scale: Most myths (from season 2 onward) adhere to the Busted/Plausible/Confirmed scale. There are, however, some deviations. Type 2s are not uncommon ("Plausible, but ludicrous" or variants being the most common), and there has been a Type 4. During the Supersized Special, the MythBusters performed a test that failed in a way that did not yield useful data--namely, Supersize Rocket Car (the car blew up as it was supposed to launch). Because the test yielded nothing useful, the MythBusters simply called it "Appropriately Supersized".
- At the end of the CSI fireball myth, the ramped-up version was rated "Gratuitous!"
- Bucket Helmet: Used in the myth about walking in circles blind in a forest.
- Bullet Time: They use high speed cameras that can record up to about 2000 frames per second. Used for a lot of experiments just so they can see what actually happened. Adam's favorite was mentioned as being a hot water heater rocketing out of a makeshift house. Sometimes they just do it for fun, like a sobering myth where Adam got slapped in the face by Jamie pretty hard. Adam: "That's the funniest thing I've ever seen!" The bullet time footage of a rocket sled vaporizing a car is likely the most popular footage ever, and likely paved the way for the show Time Warp, which revolves around nothing but Bullet Time. Then Adam's drunken treadmill running (and falling...and getting back on, only to fall even more violently) became a clip that he started showing off while doing lectures well before the show aired, because it just looked so funny.
- Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate:
- Jamie, though Adam tries to trash his white shirt. And you do not try to take his hat (although he did for one of the "discovery.com/mythbusters" bits, unknown if Jamie actually let him).
- Averted when they tested the "poop hits the fan" saying — Jamie was just as splattered as Adam after the final test. (And Adam was the only one wearing a protective jumpsuit. Jamie was in his normal attire.)
- But Now I Must Go: Jessi's farewell letter.
- Butt Monkey: Poor Buster. Adam and Tory get their own bruises, usually their own fault though.
Adam: This is the show. It's, like, 4 minutes of science, and then 10 minutes of me hurting myself.
- Call Back:
- On the Arrow Machine Gun test, after repeated failures, Adam repeats some "clean" words used during "No Pain No Gain"
Adam: Fudge! Babies! ...Baby hippos!
- Invoked; in the Popcorn episode, Tory copied Adam's famous line:
Tory: Am I missing an eyebrow?
- On a number of occasions, they refer to techniques, knowledge, or rigs acquired in earlier episodes. A great example would be the sword-swinging robot, which was refurbished and repurposed several times.
- Camera Abuse: They're not trying to destroy (expensive) high-speed cameras, it just happens.
- Dramatic shots being essential to the show, but expensive to lose, in later seasons the cameras start getting armored.
- Canada, Eh?: When a myth involves Canada somehow, the jokes usually fall into this.
- Captain Obvious:
Tory: Lemon juice stings when it gets in your eye!
- Captivity Harmonica: Tory humorously uses his voice, with his hands cupped in front of his face, to emulate this during the Prison Break myth.
- Catch Phrase: Several, most of which are recycled in the opening credits:
- "Well, there's your problem!" (Usually in response to a fully intended destruction of a vehicle, or when looking for parts or pieces for a build, and finding a car with no engine. Also applied to many other situations, such as when a fingerprint lock proved embarrassingly easy to fool.)
- "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing." Also referred to as the "Mythbusters Mantra".
- "When in doubt, C4."
- "Jamie wants Big Boom."
- "When in doubt, lubricate!"
- "Failure is always an option on Mythbusters."
- "This is why we can't have nice things." (Grant, usually right before something is destroyed.)
- "Will our insurance cover this?" (Usually right before they destroy an item that was hard to get, or are about to attempt something that is pretty questionable.)
- "For Science!!" i.e.
*sniffs the air* "Aah, it's a beautiful day for science."
- "X went away." Often used by Jamie as a euphemism for "X was completely destroyed by an explosion."
- Kari thinks all these catchphrases are AMAZING!
- Adam thinks, "That's beautiful!!"
- Although he sometimes reckons, "that's horrifying!!" Or the similar "that's a horror show!!"
- "Replicate the myth, then duplicate the results"
- Cavemen vs. Astronauts Debate: Apparently, the fansite was host to a nasty argument over whether a plane could take off if it were on a conveyor belt that was running in the opposite direction. Mythbusters result: Yes it can!
- Censor Steam: Subverted in this video. A last second move of the head blocks the actual decapitation then it shows the decapitation uncensored on the high speed.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The first season had accredited folklorist Heather Joseph-Witham give some background information and sociology regarding the current myth they were testing. She was phased out because she wasn't adding anything that couldn't have been explained by either the narrator or the hosts, her footage anyway was shot much like an interview and she didn't interact with Adam and Jamie, and the shift of the show from testing urban legends to testing tropes, scenes from film and tv, Internet videos, idioms, etc. would have made her useless.
- Clip Show: On occasion, but always with at least some new content.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Largely averted, although Adam tended to get bleeped roughly once an episode in the first few seasons when a lot more of the work on the myths was being shown on-screen. Also, there are the rare times when something goes seriously awry with a test or a build, such as Adam's profanity-laced call to the insurance company after being told he couldn't be a stunt double in a Hollywood myths episode, and Grant's reactions to his (repeatedly) failed "dental floss jail door cutter" machine.
- Adam Lampshaded this himself after getting slapped by Jamie the second time in the "Sobering Up" episode:
Adam: Holy bleeping bleepity bleep!
- In one episode the (normally taciturn) Jamie spends a lot of time and effort welding two large pipes together, only to realize that he's made an amateur welding mistake, closing off an opening that makes the whole thing useless. His reaction, especially when he has to explain what happened to Adam, is dutifully recorded in full and then just as dutifully censored.
- "No Pain, No Gain" included using this trope as part of the testing — specifically, whether or not cursing increased your ability to tolerate pain (it did).
- Multiple bleeps are required when Jamie and Adam plan out their poop-polishing experiment, mostly because they're discussing which words they can or can't use to describe the raw materials on the air. ("Is *bleep* okay?" "No.")
- Comedic Sociopathy: Whenever someone (usually Adam or Tory) has to get injured in the name of an experiment, the other team members will generally express glee about it, especially if they get to inflict the pain.
Scottie: Let's egg him on until he hurts himself. That's always fun.
- The Comically Serious: Jamie.
- Compensating for Something: Invoked by Grant as he brings out the hydraulic piston he just built... that's over 5 feet tall.
- Cone of Shame: Played for Laughs during one build. After cutting down a large metal funnel, the leftover piece (which looked just like one of these cones) was plopped on Scottie's head.
- Conspiracy Theories: They have tested a few of these, up to and including the all-too-common belief that the moon landings were faked. Pretty much all of them (yes, including the aforementioned moon landing) have been proven wrong. Naturally, this spawned the conspiracy theory that the Mythbusters were obviously throwing the tests in order to maintain status quo.
- Contest Winner Cameo:
- Most times when they need extra guinea pigs they turn to the crew, but for larger groups and very specific requirements they have been recruiting fans from Twitter. Subverted in that it's not much of a contest, usually the first X number who meet the requirements (and get their paperwork in on time).
- "No Pain, No Gain": Men, women who have never given birth, women who had given birth without epidural, and redheads were recruited to test pain tolerance. Recruits needed to be over 18 and in good health (without chronic pain).
- "Hair of the Dog": Approximately 200 fans formed a crowd to test myths about how to fool a sniffer dog. Recruits needed to be over 18 and free to stand around all day for filming.
- In one episode a few years back, four kids who won a Discovery-sponsored science competition got to be in an episode of Mythbusters.
- While not strictly a Mythbusters cameo, Adam and Jamie used the 150,000-strong crowd at the Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear) to test whether a large-enough crowd jumping simultaneously could cause an earthquake on national television. Busted. Although it had the strength of 100 35-mph car crashes.
- Contrived Coincidence: Enforced by real life in one episode, due to the uncertainty of when pressure vessels will fail. While waiting for a fire extinguisher to over-pressurize and explode, the build team starts playing charades. As Grant starts acting out a clue, Tory says, "Two words... sounds like...?" At that moment, the extinguisher erupts in a massive explosion.
- Cool Bike: Jamie's custom bike, brought in for the Tablecloth Yank test.
- Cool but Inefficient: A lot of construction myths turn out to be this. The claim made for the substance is true on a micro level, but is too flawed to use in the large-scale way the myth states. Examples:
- Using ping-pong balls to raise a sunken ship (true, but you need about a million of them);
- Using balloons to lift a person (a couple thousand just for a five-year old kid);
- Building ships from "pykrete", a mixture of ice and wood chips (the substance performed surprisingly well, but a small boat quickly started shedding). (This is one of the tests that led to a lot of debate, since the original concept was for making large aircraft carriers for use in the North Atlantic, and they would have been solid blocks of Pykrete, not the thin shell boat that the Mythbusters made and tested in a relatively warm California swimming pool.)
- The people debating that test appear to be Completely Missing the Point. They were testing how pykrete melted in comparision to regular ice and their newspaper-based pykrete, determining that wood-based pykrete melted slower than ice and newspaper-based pykrete melted even slower than that. Remember, they did eventually declare the concept plausible, even though they assumed that the intended aircraft carriers were meant to be able to travel to tropical areas.
- Cool but Stupid: Many a "carry a myth to its logical conclusion". Examples include a car with a golf ball surface and a boat made out of duct tape.
- Adam has summarized this trope in something he's said on a handful of occasions: "I've just had a 'what the hell are we doing' moment..." That is, the fact they are called upon by Discovery Channel to do something completely outlandish and absurd, something that anyone with a value for their time would never venture into, not only for our entertainment, but a paycheck at the end of the week.
- Cool Shades: Jamie's Julbo Drus sunglasses.
- Cow Tools: M-5 certainly qualifies, with one wall that spans almost the length of the main building (at least 75 feet) with shelves and cubbies to hold all sorts of things. Apparently Jamie doesn't like to throw anything away and the random trinkets do come in handy. Even lampshaded with lots of them having some strange labels, like the one labeled "RAW MEAT".
- Crazy Enough to Work: Every so often, they try something that they know can't possibly work, and yet does. Perhaps most famously, Kari managed to fool a motion detector by holding a simple bedsheet up in front of her. Or using an emergency escape slide as a parachute. Or skipping a car across a 120-foot lake using nothing but raw speed.
- Crazy Prepared:
- Jamie again, he keeps lard on hand for any situation.
Jamie: You gotta collect those skills to be ready for anything.
- Grant can build a robot for anything.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Became a problem in the 'Swimming in Syrup' myth. They brought in an Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer hoping that he would be able to provide consistent swim times. While his swim times were very consistent in water, once he got into the syrup, his technique was completely wrecked, due to his having spent so much time swimming in water and getting so used to it. They had to throw out his times in favor of Adam's, who was a more casual swimmer and wasn't nearly as affected by the differences in viscosity.
- Critical Research Failure: After failing to nail down a cannon and almost being seriously harmed by the recoil, the build team berates themselves for forgetting Newton's third law. Tory notes this to be the most dangerous moment in his history of working on the show.
- A semi-example with CSI. Jamie and Adam make an appearance in one episode of CSI when Nick Stokes is determining whether or not a stun gun can ignite a guy covered in pepper spray. Then, on an episode of Mythbusters, Jamie and Adam themselves do the exact same experiment to determine whether or not a stun gun can ignite a guy covered in pepper spray, inserting clips from the CSI episode.
- Of all the possible works of fiction to show in, they also made an appearance in The Salvation War. They busted the myth that rich men can't enter the kingdom of Heaven... yeah, it's a long story.
- Jamie and Adam were in the 2006 Darwin Awards, where they played two guys running an army-surplus store from which a Darwin Awards winner buys a rocket — leading to the JATO rocket myth.
- The second episode of Fall 2010 was a cross over with Discovery series Storm Chasers. They didn't so much test tornado myths as put the chaser's souped up armored tornado chase vehicles to the torture test (with a jet engine) and design/build/test a prototype portable single-person tornado shelter that would protect a person caught away from the car from 180 mph winds.
- The host of Ask a Ninja visited Mythbusters during a ninja special.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Any time Jamie and Adam do some type of build-off, Jamie, who is more experienced in engineering of the two, tends to kick Adam's ass quite easily. There are several exceptions, however, including "Needle In a Haystack" and "Paper Crossbow".
- Chekhov's Gun: Probably an unintentional example in the "Fire vs. Ice" episode. In the beginning, Adam is using a fire extinguisher to put out Jamie's homemade flamethrower, which appears as a cloud of dark blue gas to the thermal camera and covers the heat from the fire. This is the same method that the Build Team uses to obscure warm bodies from a heat-seeking camera in their myth later in the same episode.
- Deadly Rotary Fan: the ceiling fan decapitation myth.
- Deadpan Snarker: Jamie. Adam tries, but usually can't keep a straight enough face to fully invoke the trope.
- Deserted Island: Subverted in the "Duct Tape Island" episode. We never see anyone else but the two Myth Busters (and, briefly, some of the camera crew), but Adam and Jamie noted that the beach they landed on had quite a few footprints, and the overhead drawings included maps that looked suspiciously like the island of Oahu (the most populous island in the Hawaiian chain).
- Their access to sushi and fried chicken is also something of a giveaway. And in the "Aftershow" online episode they admitted they'd actually slept in a hotel. But all the builds they did were real enough.
- In the episode itself, Adam managed to catch a wild chicken with a duct tape trap, then gave a quick No Animals Were Harmed disclaimer to assure fans that the wild chicken was released, and the chicken he and Jamie eat later on was store-bought.
- Their access to sushi and fried chicken is also something of a giveaway. And in the "Aftershow" online episode they admitted they'd actually slept in a hotel. But all the builds they did were real enough.
- Don't Try This At Home: Before every episode is a little video with Jamie and Adam stating this. The build team often makes a second video announcement midway through the show. It's also usually stated throughout the show.
- Oddly, these little videos are entirely absent from the UK edition (with its British voiceover) shown on Sky. Make of that what you will. The most dangerous builds are still given a warning or two in passing during construction, though.
- During the YouTube Special:
Adam: If I find out that any of you tried this at home, I'll personally come to your house and kick your butt.
- Inverted, rarely. There have been a handful of myths the show has explicitly stated were okay for the viewers to try.
- During "Big Rig Myths", the Build Team tested the effects of drafting on fuel economy. Depending on the distance from the front vehicle, they found an almost 40% increase in efficiency. However, all involved parties stressed that drafting is highly dangerous, could get you killed, and even in the controlled conditions they were all clearly nervous about doing it.
- Adam Savage's twitter handle is literally "donttrythis".
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: To test a myth of a tornado sending a sheet of glass fast enough to decapitate someone, the Build Team made Neckman, a guy with a biiig neck. Now, take a look at him; if you don't see it, squint. Now, what does it look like?
- Double Entendre: Jamie, Adam, and the Build Team made a few from time to time, but the narrator absolutely loves making them.
Kari: (attempting to describe Viagra which was used for one myth) I'm trying to dance around how to say this, because families might have their kids watching. Um, Santa's little helper? Daddy's little helper? Maybe Momma's little helper.
- Regarding the speed governor of a modern elevator:
Jamie: So what you're saying is if you take the balls off, it don't work no more.
- Discussing a crossbow made out of newspaper:
Adam: Just thinking this one through from a mechanical standpoint...I'd be totally pleased with 2 inches of penetration.
Narrator (about a giraffe): She's just not taking Adam's banana... which isn't surprising.
- Dream Team: Occasionally all five Myth Busters will come together to work on a single myth like "Compact Compact", "Border Slingshot" and recently "Seesaw Saga".
- More of a modern variant as the "build team" used to merely help out and handle smaller aspects of the myth. Eventually they spun them off into their own workshop in order to generate more content faster.
- Driving Into a Truck: Mythbusters did it once, to see if it was really doable or just Hollywood magic. (It is really doable.)
- Duct Tape for Everything: Three entire episodes have been devoted to duct tape, in which duct tape has been used to build a cannon, build a boat, build a rope bridge, lift a car, hold a car's frame together, and cover the entirety of an airplane. The third, and probably most extreme, episode has Adam and Jamie surviving on an island, in the style of Survivor, Man vs. Wild, or Survivorman, with (almost) nothing but duct tape to help them. They manage to: build shoes and hats to protect their bodies; built spears and nets to fish and catch wild chickens, respectively; build water sacs to get fresh water from a stream; build shelter made of tarps and hammocks; make a fire bow to build a fire; make a chess set and surfboard to entertain themselves; and, finally, build a canoe and provision storage to escape the island! WOW!!!
- A recent Discovery Channel commercial claims that they've used 15 miles of duct tape over the course of the show.
- Dude, Not Funny: When Kari, Scottie, and Tory hook up an electric fence battery to an Ark of The Covenant replica, and trick Adam into touching it, his reaction is this. Mostly because, it was potentially lethal.
Kari: *Tilts head to the side* Did you feel God?
- Dungeon Bypass: In a test to see whether men or women were better at packing cars, one of the items that needed to be packed was an inflatable beach ball. Adam makes special note of one participant, who was the only one out of the total 20 participants who actually thought of deflating the beach ball before packing it.
- Ear Trumpet: Parodied by Adam during a build — he was assembling a huge funnel, and when he finished it he held it up to one ear.
What's that you say, sonny? I can't hear you!
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first seasons, when it was mostly just Jamie and Adam, with some secondary urban legend experts. Also, their rating system wasn't fully developed, so various terms (most commonly "true") were used instead of "confirmed", and "plausible" didn't even exist as a rating.
- Eat That: The "Cold Feet" myth went to great efforts to unnerve the Build Team, and required Kari, a vegetarian, to choose from a smorgasbord of bizarre and spoiled animal parts and live insects, ostensibly to test whether fear makes one's feet cold.
- Edited for Syndication: They also like to play the stuff that got cut in an end of season wrap up. Or, as stated before commercial breaks, most of the cut material winds up on the website. In one first-season episode, most of the "Octopus Pregnancy" segment (including all the testing) was chopped out of the US release.
- Education Through Pyrotechnics
- Edutainment Show
- Eek! a Mouse!:
- When testing the "Snowplow blows over car" myth, they get an old snowplow. Grant and Kari jump and yelp when they discover it has a rodent in residence.
Grant: I feel kind of bad now. This was its home.
- Adam and Jamie once tested the myth of whether elephants were naturally fearful of mice (as seen in many cartoons) by visiting an elephant reserve in Africa and actually placing a mouse in an elephant's path. They did this twice and in both cases the elephant didn't stampede away, but it stopped in its tracks at the presence of the mouse and actively avoided it, thus earning the myth a "Plausible".
- Epic Fail: This is usually the basis for most myths. Sometimes it actually happens while testing myths, with the Supersized Rocket Car Revisit being one of the best examples of such.
- A less spectacular (but generally weirder) case of this involves the Myth Busters and microwaves. In season one, Jamie decided to try building a "super-microwave" using four magnetrons pointed at a metal box. A glass of water was measured before and after being exposed to the microwave for several minutes. The super-microwave was very loud while in operation... but was not only ineffective at heating the water, the temperature of the water had dropped a couple of degrees.
Adam: You've made a refrigerator!
- A callback of sorts happened about three years later on the Holiday Special. One of the myths tested was whether a ship's radar could roast a turkey. The internal temperature of the turkey before being put on the radar: 50 degrees Fahrenheit. After an hour of "cooking" on the radar...45 degrees Fahrenheit. Did I mention that the external temperature was higher than that of the turkey?
Grant: Only on Myth Busters.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Subverted. They've tested several myths regarding this trope, and busted the majority of them. (It turns out it is possible for a car to explode on impact under the right circumstances, but gas tanks are positioned specifically to avoid those circumstances in the first place.)
- Everything Explodes Ending: Almost every episode in the later seasons.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: During the Western Myths episode, after Grant, Tory and Kari fire a lockpick through a dummy head, the narrator states that "if there ever was an experiment that was exactly what it said on the tin, this is it."
- Executive Meddling: Largely averted. The Discovery Channel executives give the Mythbusters a lot of creative freedom and basically let them call the shots. The only times they step in to block a test is really when they feel that the test might offend their sponsors or provoke legal action. The channel's insurance agents have also squashed or put serious restrictions on a lot of tests due to safety concerns for the crew. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say concerns for the hosts. They once vetoed Adam doing a stunt, but they were fine with Tory doing it.
- This includes one that actually jeopardized a myth they were trying to do. They were trying to see if a car could be turned over and flung into the air by the wind generated by a jet engine. The company that had loaned them the jet took it back due to them being worried that something might hit the plane and damage it, despite the fact that the car would be moving away from the plane.
- They eventually found an airline who agreed to lend a plane to perform this very experiment, which they tried on a car, a school bus and a small airplane. And it was awesome.
- Early in the show's history, Discovery execs pushed for Jamie and Adam to have American Chopper-style Docu Soap arguments on camera. There's a couple episodes where this made it into the finished show (the Quicksand episode notably), but the two of them finally told the execs no, that behavior wasn't professional, and they weren't going to do it any more.
- Played straight at least one time (though not shown on the show itself). Basically, they were going to do experiments on how easy it is to hack RFID chips, and per policy, called up the manufacturers (Texas Instruments) to schedule a conference call to talk about it. When they actually sat down to the scheduled call, lawyers from most of the larger credit card companies were involved, saying they were not to do the episode. Discovery could not afford to lose the advertising, and they had to cancel the episode. You can see Adam explain it at The Last Hope hacker conference here.
- This includes one that actually jeopardized a myth they were trying to do. They were trying to see if a car could be turned over and flung into the air by the wind generated by a jet engine. The company that had loaned them the jet took it back due to them being worried that something might hit the plane and damage it, despite the fact that the car would be moving away from the plane.
- Expansion Pack Past: Jamie; the man has lived an interesting life. May be more of a Multiple Choice Past depending on how much Adam is making a joke of it at any given time.
Jamie: Did I ever tell you that I worked as a concrete inspector for several months up in Seattle?
- While Adam and Jamie are interlacing the pages of a phone book (to allegedly make them inseparable):
Adam: Does this remind you of when you used to count money for the mob?
- Experimental Archeology: The basis of many myths. Escape from Alcatraz in a rubber life raft? Check! Lawnchair balloonist? Check! Build and sail a boat out of ice and newspaper? Check! Ming Dynasty astronaut going up in a rocket chair? Um... check, but only for a certain value of "going up". (Poor Buster...)
- Experiment Show: Mythbusters is considered the first.
- Expository Hairstyle Change:
- Sort of. When the series started, Adam had a goatee and short buzz cut, and sometimes had his head completely shaved (especially after the Goldfinger myth which required him to shave his entire body and the Exploding Cellphone myth which singed off his eyebrow and a chunk of his hair). Now, he has medium-length hair and almost a full beard.
- You can also easily tell how much post-production work and myth-testing time goes into the series just by looking at Kari: she'll sometimes have a different haircut or hair color during the expository segments (the ones where they establish the myth and brainstorm methods to tackle it), and sometimes even during the actual testing. Sometimes there are episodes in which Kari actually has THREE different hair colors (one in the expo sequences and two during testing) while tackling the same myth. Any person who cares for his/her hair knows the time that must be spent between dying sessions to not damage it, so this is an easy way to identify a myth that took a LONG time to test.
- Failsafe Failure:
- Played straight, usually equipment built by the Mythbusters themselves. The radio-controlled real cars are supposed to apply brakes when they get out of radio range, for instance. In the "Elevator of Death" test, as Adam put it: "Anticlimactically enough, I believe I've disabled the entire mechanism by removing this simple pin."
- Also subverted, as more than one "Busted" verdict has come about due to the presence of failsafes on equipment such as washing machines and elevators, and the sometimes absurd measures needed to defeat them in order to replicate the myth's results. In testing the hot water heater myth, they proved that if both safety devices are removed or plugged, the heater can become a rocket and will potentially demolish anything in its flight path... which is why there are two safety devices in the first place. It's worth mentioning that the failure of both was considered entirely plausible. In "Exploding Bumper," they heated a car bumper to see if they could make it explode from the pressure. Instead it vented out through a tiny hole. Without missing a beat Adam said "I'll bet that's supposed to be there."
- In the Bus Jump test, Grant put so many failsafes on the remote controlled bus that he claimed that if it went out of control, he'd eat his multi-tool case. The receiver battery died and the bus crashed into an all too familiar fence before stopping. No word on whether or not Grant actually ate his tool case...although he did say that he'd eat it "fried, with a little bit of powdered sugar."
- Five-Man Band: Considering it is a pseudo-reality show you know it was mostly intentional.
- The Hero — Adam. He is more of the actual host of the show. "I like to live my life as part action hero and part cartoon character."
- The Lancer — Jamie. He owns M-5 and is the most tech savvy of the team, but he brought on Adam considering himself to be too dull.
- The Big Guy — Tory. Reasonably athletic, he is the one who usually tests the more physically challenging myths.
- The Smart Guy — First Scottie, then Grant
- The Chick — Kari. The artist of the team, she usually does any sculpting, casting, and the like needed for a myth — though she's very intelligent and not afraid to get physical herself — as evidenced by her fondness for high-powered firearms and the time when she tore apart the car that Grant and Tory had to rebuild with duct tape.
- Sixth Ranger — Jessi. She filled in for Kari, but was more Gearhead over Wrench Wench.
- Guest Star Party Member — The MythTerns: Christine and Jess. Both were featured on-and-off in various episodes, then left the show.
- Team Pet — Buster
- There's also their stable of frequently-contacted experts: former FBI agent Frank Doyle, Bomb Squad Sgt. J. D. Nelson, rocketry expert Erik Gates (may he Rest in Peace), Firearms expert Lt. Alan Normandy, and audio engineer Dr. Roger Schwenke. Series announcer Robert Lee is more of a Spirit Advisor: he explains all the myths and narrates the action and can only be heard by the audience. He also offers "advice" to the Myth Busters, but because his narration recorded after the fact they tend to ignore it, often to their own peril.
- For Science!: The reason behind the whole show - up until you reach the point in the episode where they decide 'to hell with it' and blow something up.
- Foreshadowing: In the intro of the Phone Book Friction myth, the bluescreen first showed Adam and Jamie alone tugging on the phone books, then two groups of people, then two cars, then two tanks. These are the methods they attempted to pull the phone books apart. Guess which one worked.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Adam is sanguine, Jamie is melancholic, Tory is choleric, and Grant is phlegmatic.
- Freak-Out: The Narrator has a brief one in the Trombone Revisit episode after hearing Jamie tell J.D. how he used to play the tuba while doing business on the toilet.
- Funny Background Event: Oftentimes, if someone is expositing to the camera, someone else will slip into the background and mess around.
- Fun Personified: Adam is as close to a Real Life example as you'll ever get.
- Fun T-Shirt: Adam has plenty of them, often with quotes from the show.
- Fun with Subtitles:
- In one episode they were working a pulley system to ensure two semi-trucks would collide at a specific point. Jamie wanted to triple wrap the breakaway rope while Adam felt that a double wrap would be good enough. When the system fell apart because of the ropes breaking off too early, Jamie was a good enough sport not to boast about it. He explained to the camera (in a very fault-neutral manner) what happened and how they were going to fix it, the subtitles filled in what he was "really" saying.
- In another episode, Adam starts a bizarre "explanation" of a build in a fake French accent. The subtitler struggles with it for a while before finally giving up in confusion.
- In the "Bullet vs. RPG" episode, Grant asks if he can be the one to fire the RPG. John replies "We'll see". The subtitle below says "NO!"
- Gatling Good: When something involves shooting a gun, chances are good that they repeat the very same test with a minigun just for the heck of it.
- Gender Blender Name: Jamie and Tory (both male). Former cast members Scottie, Jessi, and Jess the Mythtern (all female). Also Robin Banks (male), the narrator on the European version of the show.
- It's worth remembering that Tory is short for the very male (and very Italian) name Salvatore.
- Genki Girl: Kari, and it shows.
- Genki Guy: Adam, even more than Kari fits the girl version.
- Genre Blindness: None of the cast, but in the "Jaws" episode, one of Adam's contacts from the special effects world was able to get him three of the yellow plastic barrels that were were actually used in the film, with the admonishment that they weren't to be damaged. This was remarked upon by Tory.
Adam: The only things we can't do are burn 'em, blow 'em up, or lose 'em.
- This gets repeated a lot when fancy stuff is used in myths, like original production swords and guns. The worst might have been an antique brass diving helmet that was "borrowed" for a pressure test, and all but destroyed. It's still in the shop, so apparently the owner didn't want it back.
- Genre Savvy: Adam has repeatedly mentioned that if nothing goes wrong in the small-scale tests, or the setup for the final test, there will be some kind of catastrophic failure at the end. He's rarely wrong. Also proven correct in the "Rocket Car Revisited" segment of the Supersized Myths Special, where almost every preparation step went on flawlessly only to have the entire car explode the instant the rocket was ignited as it hit the launching ramp.
Adam: I think somebody owes me ten thousand bucks.
- Every once in a while, the Mythbusters will predict how the show will be edited. This was especially apparent in the "Behind the Scenes" special.
- Usually they're right, because they're predicting a cut back to something they said earlier, which is now very foolish.
- Every once in a while, the Mythbusters will predict how the show will be edited. This was especially apparent in the "Behind the Scenes" special.
Adam: They're gonna cut back to me saying, "In six hours Jamie's still gonna be messing with this while we're all just kicking back." *cut* "About six hours from now, Jamie's still gonna be trying to find his needles while we're all kicking back sipping mimosas in the shade."
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: When Jamie - who for all his Memetic Badassery is terrified of heights - finally crossed a bridge made of Duct Tape that was suspended 150 feet in the air at a dry dock.
Adam: Ladies and gentlemen, they are made of brass, James Hyneman!
- The narrator gets in on the action from time to time.
- An easy one to miss especially since it references the space shuttle and has a mundane secondary meaning, but when Tory is trying to lift 200 lbs of weights, Grant cautions him to be careful or he'll blow out his o-ring. One could say he was making a NASA joke about Tory hurting his back, but since Tory was already using proper lifting technique, one could also say Grant was making a job of another sort.
- Glasses Pull: Tory does one of these (complete with a corny Quip to Black) after setting up a myth from an episode of CSI: Miami. There even a very subtle YEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! during the scene change.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: While filming on December 6, 2011, a misfire at the test range sent a cannonball over a hill and bouncing around a suburban neighborhood, including through a house, across a six-lane street, and into a (parked) car. It's a miracle nobody got hurt.
- Gonna Need More Trope: Sometimes they have to add more explosive components or other mundane things like rope, or distance, or weight, etc.
- Inverted in the "water on a grease fire" myth; at one point Adam and Jamie attempt to scale down the fireball by reducing the amounts of water and oil, as well as the size of the pan. The fireball ended up far bigger than they'd expected, prompting Adam to remark:
Adam: I think we're gonna need a smaller scale!
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: "Touch of Orange", the name Adam comes up with for his future cover band when they're testing flu myths and using a snot-like substance that glows orange under a dark lamp.
- Groin Attack: Tory gets clocked by a playful goat during the "Fainting Goat" segment of the "Viral Hour" episode. He also got hit by a rock attached to a kite's tail during the Ben Franklin myth. Appropriately, this happened immediately after he called it the "death kite" and the "kite of punishment". During the Superhero Special, he hit himself down there with a ballistics gel fist.
Tory: If I had a nickel for every time I got hit in the nuts on this show, I could retire.
- Had the Silly Thing In Reverse: inverted and thankfully averted, as Jamie reminds Adam that since his excavator is facing backwards on the dump truck, he doesn't have to set it to reverse.
- Hard Work Montage: Except for when the editors are having fun, the work is usually shown, in either a series of jump cuts (most often used with Grant building a robot) or an extended time lapse for something that takes longer than people think it should, or just the size (like putting together the paper used for the 8 folds myth).
- In more recent seasons, they add flavor by having a (digitally added) member of the Build Team standing a distance away explaining some aspect of the build itself.
- Helium Speech: Adam does this any time helium is used on the show. Also inverted when Adam inhaled sulphur hexafluoride to speak with a demon-like heavy voice
- Jamie gets in on the act during the Helium Raft episode as well, which is pretty hilarious since you don't expect it.
- Kari's kind of funny when she's been breathing in helium, also — which is likewise seen in the Helium Raft episode as they struggle to deflate it again.
- Hey It's That Music: Sharp-eared gamers may recognize one of the musical snips they sometimes use between shots as coming from the soundtrack of Mechwarrior 2.
- Hidden Purpose Test: When Jamie and Adam tested the Mission Impossible Latex Perfection mask, they tried it out on several observers who thought they were helping with a different myth.
- Honorary Uncle: Considering Adam's description of the team as "like family", it is fitting that Jamie has been occasionally referred to as "Uncle Jamie" — twice by Adam, of all people ("Ancient Death Ray", 2004 — during the "What is Bulletproof?" segment, and again during "Tablecloth Chaos" in 2010) and also by Robert Lee, the narrator ("Viral Hour", 2008, during the Sawdust cannon section.).
- Hot Mom: Kari now qualifies, having given birth to her first child, daughter Stella Ruby Urich.
- Hulk Speak: "Say it with me: 'Jamie want big boom'."
- Humiliation Conga: Usually happens whenever a myth just implodes on the guys.
Adam [Dangling upside-down, caught in a mesh net from the giant "helium raft"]: This wins as the strangest position I've ever been in...on this show.
- Hurricane of Puns: During an episode that eventually required dropping a pig carcass from a helicopter: "The Pork Chopper". There were many more.
- I Watch It For The Science
- Identical Stranger: Jamie is starting to bear an increasingly striking resemblance to Dr. Robotnik. Others feel he looks more like Doobie Brothers/Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Swedish painter Carl Larsson, or, as noted on This Very Wiki, Friedrich Nietzsche Nietzsche.
- Idiosyncratic Wipes
- Idiot Ball: Even they admitted it. They test fired a cannon designed to shoot out a 10 pound grappling hook... without taking into account the hook's mass in determining how firmly the cannon needed to be anchored down. Which law of physics is it again...
Kari: Oh, Newton's Laws! We forgot the Newton's Laws!
- Jamie called this on himself in "Killer Tissue Box", when his crash cart design didn't survive the initial setup test:
I didn't do the engineering, and I didn't do the math, because I thought I understood what was going on and I thought I made a good rig. But I was wrong. I should have done it.
- Jamie holds it again during the initial smokescreen test of Spy Car Myths. Driving a convertible as the spy car, Jamie didn't account for the low air pressure zone created by the open cabin. Some of the smoke from his smokescreen (intended to blind Adam, riding in a chase car) got sucked into the spy car's cabin and blinded Jamie as well. They later redid the test after moving the smoke bombs further away from the car, and thus confirmed the myth.
- Narrowly averted with a sword swinging robot, only because they realized after it was built that the horizontal swing arc was at head level...they were just really careful around it. Didn't stop Tory cracking his head on it anyway (while standing up).
- And let's not forget trying to test if a frozen or unfrozen chicken causes more damage to a aeroplane windshield, which they tested on glass not rated for bird strikes!
- Then in a recent episode, they decided to hang at the top of a building, right over a window ledge that sent Tory to the emergency room with a severely gashed open knee when he fell. Oh, did we mention that the test was to see how long you could hang on to the edge of a roof before you fell?
- The other two make a point of hanging off the building off to the side of that open window when the testing continues.
- Given that they're still hanging over a part of the building with the lettering cut into the wall, where you could still tear up your fingers pretty badly means they didn't quite learn the lesson. Thankfully, they did manage to keep from being injured.
- In the "Flying Guillotine" episode, Grant was testing his spring-loaded guillotine and stood too close when he set it off. A high-speed blade passed close enough to him to slice open his shirt.
- Tory and bicycles.
I thought I could make it. They said I made it.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Somewhat parodied. Jamie's standard outfit on the show is khaki pants, a white button-up shirt that almost never gets dirty, and a black beret. In one episode it was so windy Jamie almost lost the beret and Adam realized that it hasn't ever happened before.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: There are various experts they bring in who are certainly skilled with their guns, but they have proven that some skills like hitting a coin out of the air isn't a "first shot" kind of thing. And then on the "Davy Crockett split bullet" myth, Tory makes the shot on their last attempt before letting the expert get a crack at it.
- Incendiary Exponent: All. The. Time. In one episode, Adam mentions the only thing that separates him and Jamie from a couple of teenage pyromaniacs is that Jamie and Adam use protective glass.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: About evenly divided between the two leads, though as a general rule Adam's tend to be more blatantly funny and Jamie's more intentionally groan-inducing. For instance, after successfully making a lead balloon, Jamie suggested that next time they should take a crack at a lead zeppelin. And recently, he proposed calling an airborne dummy "Ariel" ("aerial"). These are also staples of Robert Lee's episode narrations.
- The Build Team are also very prone to this, especially Kari. Generally there'll be Chirping Crickets or a tumbleweed accompanying their puns.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Invoked preemtively by Jerry, the blind man who was helping them test the drunken navigator portion of the "Blind Driving" myth.
Adam: Are you willing to drive through our course being led by a drunken Jamie?
- Interactive Narrator: Usually scrupulously averted, but during the "Car Cling" myth, Adam takes a moment to nitpick a comment the viewer just heard the narrator make, then ends on a point where the narrator promptly picks up again.
- In one episode, Jamie introduces a guest expert, then asks the narrator to tell the audience their guest's qualifications. Robert Lee obliges.
- Irony: While building model Hindenburgs, which they intend to set ablaze later, one of them catches fire while Jamie is doing some repairs to the welds; Adam points out it is a textbook case of irony.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Adam drove back to M-5 with a small airplane fuselage in the back of his truck. He said on the road he got the strangest looks until they saw who was driving the truck. He has a similar story with a load of pig carcasses in the back of his truck. One episode was dedicated to showing where Adam and Jamie get all of their random parts.
Adam: I'm sitting in a bunker looking out at a Chinese dressed crash test dummy sitting on 70 pounds of gunpowder... sorry, I just had one of those "mythbuster" moments.
- Or this gem:
Adam: With all the safety precautions we are taking, check this, check that, you have to stand back and say: Damn! I'm lightin' salamis, man! I'm making a rocket out of meat!
- The Jimmy Hart Version: In an episode involving whether or not a car will always explode after it drives off a cliff, the Explosive finale included a song very reminiscent of, but legally distinct from, Guns N' Roses' "November Rain". Especially strange considering that "Don't Cry" is the Guns N' Roses video featuring an exploding car going over a cliff, and "November Rain" has a wedding reception as its climax.
- Keet: Adam, full stop.
- The Klutz: If Adam isn't hurting himself, odds are Tory is. And if it's not Tory, it's Grant. Kari usually manages to stay safe. Relatively safe, given her career choice.
- Laser-Guided Karma: In a myth involving hammers, Tory hit a wooden board in the exact same spot twice, missing the nail. Grant then asked him why he didn't put the nail there. The very next try, the hammer flew out of Tory's grip and skipped across the ground, passing the front of Grant's steel-toed boot and hitting him in the side of the foot. Hilarity ensued.
- Last-Second Word Swap: During the "Cold Feet" episode.
Narrator: If you actually flung feces into a fan, would everyone in the vicinity end up covered in sh--shrapnel?
- Latex Perfection: Tested in one episode. In some of the footage not featured in the episode (but shown when they went on The Colbert Report), the masks were shown to be good enough to fool Jamie's dog.
- Legacy Character: The original Buster has since been retired, but his name lives on through subsequent dummies, and even for some of the Simulaids (See The Other Darrin below).
- Limited Wardrobe: Unless it's for a test, Jamie is almost never seen in anything other than his standard outfit of leather work boots, khaki pants, a white button-down shirt with a black undershirt, and his beret. The "latex masks" test used deliberate differences in his wardrobe as part of the testing.
- Grant's wardrobe also qualifies; he's always wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans, occasionally adding a black button-down or a black leather jacket.
- Little-Known Facts: The source of many myths.
- MacGyvering: Many, if not most of the contraptions devised; not to mention the episode dedicated to MacGyver, who is frequently called "The Patron Saint of Mythbusters."
- Appropriately enough, the MacGyver episode saw Adam and Jamie improvise an unexpected solution: Grant and Tory put the two at an "enemy camp" and challenged them to signal a helicopter. The idea was for the two to cobble together a potato gun from the parts lying around, but instead they tore down the tent and made a kite.
- During the Pirate Special to test whether Tory could hold onto a knife as it ripped through a sail on the way down to the deck, they built a rig with a 200 pound counterweight that would make the sail shoot straight upward while Tory held the knife in the sail. For his safety, he wore a chain mail shirt, goggles, and a football helmet.
- Macross Missile Massacre/Rain of Arrows: The Hwacha!!!: a rig that fired 200 rocket-powered explosive tipped arrows almost simultaneously. The Hwacha worked almost perfectly (only one arrow failed to launch), but the build team actually underestimated its range, and most of the arrows overshot their foam "army" targets.
- Mad Bomber: All five of them. Just because they do it safely and legally doesn't make the trope any less applicable.
- Mad Scientist: Just about everybody on the show.
Adam: I wouldn't say Jamie's an evil genius... I'm not sure he's evil, and I'm not sure he's a genius, but, uh... * laughs*
- During "Helium Football":
Adam: I love...consistent...DATA! HAHAHAHA!
- During "Deep Sea Dive"
Tory: I give you... Meat Man! AHAHAHA! 
- Made of Explodium: Subverted in nearly every episode, as just about every myth involving an explosion usually results in the items said to be explosive stubbornly refusing to detonate. Even a car fuel tank shot with incendiary rounds or left to burn for over 10 minutes. Played straight on quite a few occasions as well, like the Thermite/Ice myth, which exploded on the first try. Hilariously done straight with the Hindenburg scale tests. Adam wanted to see how fast the material would burn with and without hydrogen by setting fire to the material stretched over a box filled with the gas. Upon adding the fire to it, the fabric exploded off the box like a gunshot. Adam was noticeably shaken. The model was even set ablaze while they were merely building it, prompting the amused Adam to observe "These things are always catching on fire!"
- From "Exploding Port-a-Potty"
Scottie: Maybe it's a myth that methane is flammable.
- Made of Iron: When Jamie responds to a pain test with an almost sarcastic "ow", the narrator says Jamie is so tough, he occasionally rusts.
- In a retrospective on Tory's bike crash, they pointed out that you can clearly see Tory faceplanting on the asphalt (his hands were tied up holding onto the bike). The fact he shrugged it off and seemed perfectly fine afterwards was an impressive feat on it's own.
- The Man Behind the Man: Peter Rees, veteran maker of science documentaries. Creator, producer, writer, and director of Myth Busters, and the guy who personally cast Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman on the show. Never seen onscreen except in certain specials like MythBusters Revealed. (Rees left the show in 2006.)
- Man Child: Pretty much everyone, but especially Adam.
- Especially if explosives, high-speed collisions, or both are involved in a myth.
- Man Hug: Averted by Adam, because he's that manly.
Adam: If I were a different kind of person I'd hug you right now. (pauses, then punches Jamie in the shoulder)
- Played straight in the Storm Chasers special; after the Storm Chasers' vehicles are put through winds equivalent to a category 5 twister, each one hugs a Mythbuster, thanking them for not destroying the cars, before they turn and hug each other.
- Manipulative Editing: Invoked. In one episode, Adam and Jamie are shown solving a Rubik's Cube, and then showed what they actually did, which was reversing the footage of them slowly scrambling the Rubik's Cubes. They even pointed out how they had crew members walk backwards through the shot so that when they reversed the film, they would appear to walk through normally (for added realism).
- Mascot: Buster, the constantly abused and rebuilt crash test dummy.
- Milestone Celebration: The 100th episode was celebrated by testing a bunch of stunts from MacGyver.
- Million-to-One Chance: A few myths they said were reasonably plausible in theory, but to do it by accident or even on purpose requires the right alignment of stars. Those myths involve the sniper scope shot with modern scopes and one with a belt buckle with a testimonial from a local police officer. One of the best examples is the exploding bumper, where nothing they did could get the result of a bumper being launched explosively from a burning car, yet were able to prove it IS possible given JUST the right circumstances by finding a person who actually had her leg broken by this happening.
- Doubly so in a number of myths (see Failsafe Failure above) where there are multiple failsafes in place to prevent exactly what the myth is about; requiring the Mythbusters to deliberately disable them to replicate the myth (where the myth is that this happened by accident).
- Missing Episode: A lot of general footage and some mini-myths are left out of the show, many of which they put on their website; the show then invites viewers to visit said site to see what was left out.
- One famous myth, though, was actually kept from airing at all because it was deemed a little too risque/immature. It involved the flatulence myths and testing if you can actually set your farts on fire. Confirmed, but most of the footage is of Adam spread eagle on a specialized chair holding a lighter near his crotch. Nobody really wants to see that. They finally did the experiment on an episode of Craig Ferguson which the cast were guests on. It worked. The segment itself finally partially aired during the "25 Best Moments" special.
- And at a live Q&A three years ago, Jamie mentioned that they once tested the myth of whether a cardboard cereal box was more nutritious than the cereal itself. The test as a whole did air, but one experiment which was cut involved feeding three mice cardboard pellets with a little sugar-free sweetener for taste. The next day Adam and Jamie, instead of finding three mice, discovered one fat mouse (and some remains)... Discovery Channel (or the producers) decided not to air the footage so the Q&A is the only way fans learned of it.
- The footage from the errant cannonball incident (see Gone Horribly Wrong, above) will not be released, in accordance with the wishes of the family whose house said cannonball went through.
- Plans were in place to do an episode about RFID tags, with research already underway. Legal council for every credit card company in the world explained to them exactly how much it wasn't going to happen, and it's never going to happen.
- More Dakka: Frequently employed.
- At the end of their live show, they bring out an anti-aircraft paintball gun to demonstrate what kind of armor Adam would wear if he were to play paintball (A full suit of plate mail).
- More Expendable Than You: Sort of. Adam once was disallowed by the producers from trying a dangerous myth because of insurance, while Tory apparently they had no problem with. Also, whenever Jamie and Adam are detonating something, they almost always have either a robot or a remote detonator to do it with. But half the time the Build Team is blowing something up, they just have Tory light it and run like hell instead. But Tory may be getting more respect these days, as the insurance company recently denied him permission to be pushed off the back of a truck by a running treadmill machine. They wound up going with sand-filled overalls (named Tory's "sand-in" by Kari) instead.
- Motor Mouth: Adam has a tendency towards this.
- Mouthful of Pi: In the "Prison Escape" myth, Grant's "prisoner number" is "3.14". Kari's is "5150" (the California code for an involuntary psychiatric hold, the title of a Black Sabbath song, as well as the title of a Van Halen song and album). Tory's is "000".
- Ms. Fanservice: Kari Byron, though to their credit they don't overdo that angle. Of course, that hasn't stopped them from mentioning (and showing pictures from) her FHM photoshoot. The trope is parodied when the narrator mentions that one of the cast will have to get fitted for a bra. Cut to Tory's hairy chest, with a bra on it. And let us not forget her first appearance on the show was getting her butt computer scanned. She also attempted to use a happiness punch to make goats faint; it only affected Tory, sadly.
- Multiple Choice Past: Occasionally when Adam makes up tidbits regarding Jamie's prior jobs/personal history, Jamie himself will chime in with an alternate scenario.
- Mundane Utility: During a presentation, Adam expressed great interest in testing more "mundane" myths, like comparing consumer products to see which ones perform better or whether they perform up to the standards their manufacturers claim. However, it will never happen because the executives are afraid of losing their sponsors or getting sued. The closest they get is when a myth item won't work, and they compare that to a consumer product (such as keys, cellphone, or shoe to break a window underwater; none worked, but the store bought breaker worked every time.)
Adam: Oh, look, a product that does what it's supposed to.
- In the break-in special, the Build Team attempts to bypass a motion sensor, but their first attempt (a "chicken suit" made from shag carpeting) fails. The next thing they try is their bottom of the barrel, "never gonna work" idea: holding up a bedsheet. It works.
- The Munchausen: Jamie.
- My Car Hates Me: Substitute R/C car, rocket, rig, Death Ray etc...then again, considering the number of these things that explode, crash or otherwise are broken, it'd hardly be surprising.
- My Friends and Zoidberg: "9 strong Mythbusters and Adam."
- Nausea Fuel: This shows up occasionally for the cast depending on the myth(s) being tested:
- Adam is very prone to seasickness, and just about every episode that's had him on a boat has shown him throwing up. He even puked in the rig during the "killer whirlpool" episode.
- Grant has also gotten sick in a few episodes, thanks to the motion sickness test chair.
- The Earwax Candle had the entire Build Team gagging, and Grant has confirmed it as his most disgusting myth to date.
- Kari is a vegetarian and is visibly miserable whenever they do a myth that involves copious amounts of meat. Usually because they mutilate it with swords or explosives.
- Neat Freak: Jamie.
- A sign Jamie put up in M5 says it all, "Clean Up Or Die".
- During one build, Adam broke Jamie's lathe. Watching the next clip, of Jamie talking to the camera, it's hard to tell if he's more upset about the damage to an expensive machine, or the fact that Adam didn't sweep up the sawdust.
- Neologism: Adam sometimes makes up words when he finds there's no word to describe the ridiculous awesomeness of the moment.
- Nerd Glasses: Adam.
- Never Bareheaded: Jamie has this reputation, though he doesn't quite fit the strict definition. That said, though, beret on is his default appearance; to the point that when he accepted a honorary PhD fans and students alike wondered if he'd wear his beret or an academic cap to the ceremony. His beret.
- Never Live It Down:
- The show sometimes digs up old clips of Adam's previous acting work when he was a child.
- Tory's little mishap where he faceplanted while riding the bicycle also counts.
- Nice Hat: Jamie's distinctive beret really makes him stand out in a crowd. As Adam mentioned in a behind-the-scenes special, "I get noticed much more when I'm with Jamie. I might be the guy from that show, but he is the guy from that show." Adam's fedora-styled hat also qualifies.
- Jamie invokes this trope when Adam puts on a Spartan helmet, and again after Adam makes a hat from duct tape.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Common, usually before the device is even completed. But they just soldier on whenever it happens. In a recent episode, Adam needed to chop a bunch of stuff out of a car so the guys could add a safety rig. He got carried away with the saw and chopped out the power line to the fuel pump...which then had to be replaced, because they needed the car to run. Oops.
- Nightmare Fuel: According to Adam, in the Underwater Car Escape episode, watching Adam up close as he struggled in a vain attempt to escape a sinking car filling with water was a horrifying enough image to Jamie that he couldn't sleep that night.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In 2010 Grant created a humanoid robot skeleton named "Geoff Peterson" to serve as a Non-Human Sidekick for Craig Ferguson on CBS' The Late Late Show.
- No Swastikas: The Hindenburg replica just had white circles on its tail.
- Non-Indicative Name: the "Warning--Science Content" label usually precedes the Mythbusters discussing the historical, and not scientific, context of a myth.
- Noodle Incident: During "Cheese Cannon", Kari states that they haven't used cheese as ammunition before. She then clarifies that she hasn't, and that she doesn't know whether either of the others has. Grant hasn't. But Tory has. And he doesn't care to talk about it.
- The Not-Secret: While describing the James Bond boat jump myth, Adam says that they are at a secret location, while standing in front of a sign that clearly states "Lake Yosemite".
- Odd Couple: Jamie and Adam respect each other, work well together and have excellent chemistry, but they have both said that they aren't particularly good friends. You can kind of sense it with a few projects they've done.
- Oh Crap: The Mythbusters have scared themselves from time to time.
- It happens whenever there is a malfunction in the rig they've set up for some large scale project. But the two biggest ones happened during the Demolition Derby special. A semi-truck went off its tow cable and was about 30 feet from going into Alameda Bay; if the grass bank hadn't been there to slow it down it likely would have. Another was in regards to an "improvised convertible" when a car went underneath a semi-trailer. It worked too well — the car cruised underneath the trailer, and the brake system design to stop the car after the collision failed. The car then hit the dirt embankment behind the trailer at near full speed, and flipped over it. Tory and Kari went from cheering about the car going under the semi to looking at each other and the camera in shock and then wondering what was actually on the other side...
- Non-dairy creamer cannon, and the gigantic fireball resulting from it. Grant went so far as to request clean underwear.
- Jamie's reaction to his difficulties in crossing the duct tape bridge. Made even worse by his fear of heights. Poor Jamie.
- Oh, Wait!: While testing a miniature steam cannon, it fires a tennis ball and wedges it behind a pipe on the ceiling, leading to this quote:
Adam: It's wedged in there like I don't know if I could build something that could wedge it in there that hard, oh apparently I did.
- One I Prepared Earlier: During the "Jaws Special", Adam was talking to the camera about the method he was using to build a fake shark, and pulled out a mockup "he'd prepared earlier".
- The Other Darrin: Occasionally, the team will pass off one of the Simulaids as Buster for some unexplained reason.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When the rest of the team (sans Jamie) give Adam a powerful shock as a practical joke, the normally genial Adam's look of genuine shock and anger followed by his stomping out of the room clued them in that they messed up bad.
- Adam later gave an interview where he revealed it wasn't the Build Team's idea, the producer made them do it, and it terrified and pissed him off to such an extent that the entire crew was mad for him, and when instructed to follow Adam, told the producer where he could shove that idea. In a show where they shamelessly recorded decapitation of dead animals, devices that can kill people, Kari undergoing Chinese Water Torture , and Adam vomiting multiple times , even they decided it would be crossing the line to bother him after what went down.
- That producer is no longer with the show. Make of that what you will.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Fans will most likely already label Jamie as calm, cool and collected, harboring a staunch and unwavering personality in stark contrast to the rest of the group. But long-time viewers who watch very closely will notice during experiments that concern the element of surprise (e.g. waiting for explosions), Jamie is pretty jumpy when the shock happens, which is more obvious next to Adam, who's pretty composed when the surprise occurs. This was actually an issue in the Unarmed and Unharmed myth, where Jamie dropped the gun on two counts.
- Padding: Practically every return from commercial break, or every segue from the Adam-Jamie myth to the Grant-Tory-Kari myth, includes a lengthy recap of what's already happened in the episode. This helps pad the episode out to an hour.
- Pirates: Two entire episodes devoted to pirate myths.
- Politician Guest Star: Barack Obama invited Adam and Jamie to the White House Library to request they retest "Archimedes Death Ray" AGAIN using child labor - I mean hundreds of middle school science students aiming individual mirrors. The report back to the president was obviously filmed right after the opening segment.
- Power Trio: The Build Team.
- The Power of Rock:
- They've proven that "hardcore, to the bone death metal" makes plants grow better than silence, kind or mean words, or classical music.
- Rocker Jaime Vendera broke a glass with the power of his voice alone.
- Power Walk: Most episodes usually end this way, with Adam and Jamie and/or Kari, Grant, and Tory walking away from the smoldering aftermath of their main event myth.
- Pregnant Badass: Arguably, Kari. Handled myths tossed at her (within reason, of course) until she absolutely couldn't, expecting the baby any moment. The viewers were informed of this this because Grant and Tory were joking with her about her being ready to just have her baby, and Kari herself got in on the jokes, asking something around the line of "Did my water just break?" before taking her hiatus.
- Pretty in Mink: When testing out James Bond myths, Kari put on an evening gown with a fur wrap, just to get that classic Bond Girl look.
- Product Placement: Happening in the later seasons, thankfully during commercials and not in the show itself. It's still blatant because they aren't actors playing characters, they are themselves, so Tory trying to prove the superiority of his diesel VW just reeks of Money, Dear Boy. Averted in the show itself, depending on the myth involved, as no company wants their product to be the one shown to be a) defective, b) dangerous, c) both (a) and (b), or d) used in an embarrassing myth. Most notably soda, which is even stranger when you get to the Mentos/Diet Coke myth they still couldn't mention the brand on air, but everybody knows what it was anyway.
- Actually, the narrator uses "Diet Coke and Mentos" throughout that entire episode. It's only during the actual testing that they used the term "diet cola and mint candies", indicating that by the time they got around to recording the narration for the episode they'd managed to get the necessary clearances to use the brand names. Adam and Jamie used the real names in a later episode.
- They aren't shy about revealing the brand names of some of the equipment, or tools they use in busting some of their myths.
- In the episode devoted to Big Rig myths, there's a loving shot of a Freightliner truck's logo and even have one of their employees talking about how many hours went into designing its streamlining. The test was filmed at the Freightliner test track, as was skipping a car across water.
- Two entire episodes were basically extended promos for the show Storm Chasers and the film The Green Hornet, respectively.
- Spoofed in one episode: After accidentally causing minor damage to a supplier's property, the camera focuses on store's name with the announcer noting it.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: The Build Team. They were promoted to full MythBuster status initially, then demoted back down to being the Build Team (though they remained in the opening titles).
- Pungeon Master: Bloody near everyone, but especially the narrator.
- Put on a Bus: Scottie, Jessi and the Mythterns all left without much fanfare.
- Pyramid Power: Does fruit stored in a pyramid rot more slowly? Can pyramids sharpen razor blades? The Mythbusters test them to find out! Answer: no.
- After this one, Adam opined that he wasn't a fan of such "oogie-boogie myths", and declared that there would be no more such nonsense on the show (it's perfectly fine with the nonsense it's got).
- Rated "M" for Manly: Guns, explosions, robots, redheads and manly mustaches galore!
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Possibly behind some of the fan complaints when the Mythbusters bust a commonly-believed myth. In addition, some myths that are busted on the show are actually true.
- Reality Show
- Recycled in Space: Testing whether or not cars explode when they fall off a cliff is pretty much Every Car Is a Pinto in a slightly different context.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Adam is the red oni to Jamie's Blue oni and Tory and Kari are red onis to Grant's blue oni.
- Refuge in Audacity: Seriously. These guys give Warhammer 40000 a run for its money.
- Remember When You Blew Up a Cement Truck?: Any time the MythBusters are about to set off a particularly big explosion, the first of these, the cement truck from Cement Mix-Up, is always going to be brought up, by the narrator if no one else. Same goes for any time the "big booms" of the series are brought up.
- Retcon: They are willing to re-examine older myths when the fans complain about something they supposedly got wrong when they originally tested them, if it can be proven they didn't adhere to the spirit of the myth, didn't use proper/enough equipment, or simply didn't go far enough (laughable, granted, but possible). So far about 60 percent of the retested myths have remained busted, while the others have been either outright confirmed (proving the Mythbusters got it wrong originally) or some footnote about a "plausible" verdict that comes from stretching the boundaries of the myth. Some notable examples:
- The myth of the barrel of a rifle splitting like a banana peel if you stuck your finger in it; it was busted even with welding an iron spike into the barrel, but a revisit showed a sniper rifle fired with an alignment laser still in the barrel was enough for the split.)
- The myth involving the plausibility of a Scope Snipe was retested using a Vietnam-vintage scope, since the most well-publicized occurrence of the feat was Carlos Hathcock's shot, which the sniper admitted was a fluke.
- For an example for a retested myth that remained busted, the myth of Archimedes' solar "Death Ray" was retested after massive Internet Backdraft with the Mythbusters actually telling the complainers to put their money where their mouth was and come on the show to prove it was possible. They couldn't. And at the end, a team composed of the Mythbusters, MIT, and one viewer set up an array of bronze mirrors (only things available at that time period) and attempted to set fire to an accurately made Roman ship that was actually in the water. Even after hours of coordinated efforts nothing happened other then some smoke. In the end, they set fire to the ship by tossing a jar of burning fuel at it. This myth even got another re-test, with none other than Barack Obama himself requesting it. It's still busted, though Jamie did comment that all of the mirrors on shore were blinding him (he was on the boat in a fire-resistant suit). He cited that as the "kernel of truth" from whence the myth came.
- Firing frozen chickens from a chicken cannon: they've revisited this one twice, too, and each time they reversed their conclusions from the previous test. Final result: frozen chickens do do more damage than non-frozen chickens.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Jamie's little marching helmet robots from "Breakstep Bridge".
Jamie: They were kinda cute, weren't they?
- Robosexual: Grant, as much as they can milk it in a PG-rated show.
- Although he DOES have a girlfriend (hopefully not a robot...)
- Room 101:
- Referenced by the narrator in a segment examining self-hypnosis, when Adam and the build team were testing Internet self-hypnosis tapes, Adam using one to get over his fear of bees. The control involved Adam sticking his arm in a box filled with bees.
- Long time fans may also remember a similar event as a finale to the Daddy Long Legs myth to help Adam with his (supposed) arachnophobia.
- Rube Goldberg Device: Building these is what they do on the rare occasions they don't blow stuff up.
- Rule of Cool: Does the experiment really call for several hundred pounds of explosives packed in a cement truck? Not really, but damn if it isn't awesome.
Adam: (after being told that attaching rockets to a swing set was spectacular) Well, hopefully, that's our job; to attach rockets to everything.
- In the Hurricane Windows episode, before exploding a tree:
Grant: In the name of science, and all things cool, we're gonna do it anyway.
- Rule of Funny: Pretty much why Adam — and Kari, Tory and Grant (to a lesser extent) — are there in the first place; if the show didn't have to be entertaining, it'd just be a bunch of Jamies.
- To stress that, this is precisely why Adam is on the show to begin with, Jamie has openly stated in a number of interviews that he brought Adam in because he sincerely believed he couldn't lead the show on his own due to him not being funny enough. And to his credit, he may very well have been right (not that the Beret'ed One can't pass a good laugh on his own, it's just that his interactions with Adam are where the comedy gold is - a straight man is only funny when there's a funny man too).
- Running Gag:
- Not intentionally, but how many times have they crashed through a fence — no, not a fence, the same fence — at the Alameda Naval Air Station?
- Jamie got really close in the episode where the guys try to navigate a straight line while blindfolded. Jamie, while driving a motorized utility cart blindfolded, stopped a few feet short of said fence during their testing.
- Lampshaded by the narrator in the episode about the rocket-propelled barrel cart by referring to it as the slowest fence collision in recorded history.
- Tory doing a Scarface "Say hello to my little friend!" with pretty much every cannon or cannon-like thing that gets built.
- As noted above, Adam taking advantage of Helium Speech whenever helium is used on the show.
- "And here we see the Hyneman in his natural habitat..."
- Adam's impression of Jamie, complete with making a "Cthulhu face" with his hands to represent his prodigious mustache.
- Self-Deprecation: When they confirm the myth that women have a higher pain threshold than men, Adam lets the "weaker" sex have it.
Adam: In your face men! ...oh.
- Shirtless Scene: The entire male cast has gotten a handful of these over the show's run (Jamie in the tree cannon episode, for example).
- During the gasoline trail myth, the narrator takes a page from another group of Busters when talking about how the crew has to avoid crossing gasoline streams.
- Savage's famous "I reject your reality" quote was taken from a terrible old '80s film called The Dungeonmaster(with an alternate title of Ragewar).
- Another episode has Adam sing the theme song for Milton the Monster.
- In the Soda Cup Killer test, Adam calls the driver of the other car "The Stig".
- When they were preparing the statues they got for the oddjob myth, one of their statues had to be covered up due to nudity. While Kari prepared a makeshift bra for it, Grant gave her a harsh crit, in the style of Tim Gunn, ending with his signature Make it work!
- While preparing a cinderblock wall to be blown up, Alameda County Sheriff J.D. Nelson quips "All in all, it's just another brick in the wall."
- Shrouded in Myth: Jamie, at least according to Adam.
Adam: It's been said that this crater is not unlike the one left by Jamie when he first came to Earth.
- Siege Engines:
- The boys recreated a Hwacha!!! or multiple arrow launcher.
- They also made a trebuchet out of an old boom lift. It didn't work so well...
- Sigil Spam: Though it is probably more for legal reasons than anything else, Mythbusters does this with just about every material they use that isn't gonna get blown up/crushed/shot in the next five minutes. They even lampshade it every now and then:
Adam: I only drink Mythbusters brand cola!
- Similar to the Show: Recent Product Placement has involved the Build Team "busting myths" for one of the show's sponsors at the start of a commercial break.
- A Simple Plan
- Slap Yourself Awake: Proved true; slapping yourself even sobers you up a bit.
- Something Completely Different: A couple episodes are just padding, like the Clip Show highlighting Buster's long (and painful) career and him being rebuilt a la The Six Million Dollar Man. Other times they substitute one of the myths they do in an episode and do something different like having a contest between two teams on building a hovercraft using leaf blowers, and once Jamie and Adam decided to just do a holiday special Rube Goldberg contraption. The behind the scenes episode holds a special place, because it showed where the Mythbusters obtain a good portion of all their trinkets and doo-dads, as well as small peeks into the homes of the hosts; there isn't much difference between Jamie's home and one of the part warehouses.
- Sound Effect Bleep: Used for both covering swearing and hiding the name of ingredients to dangerous substances.
Kari: I add a half-ounce of *donkey noise* to a half-ounce of *rooster crow* slowly.
- Lampshaded by Adam in "Hindenburg Disaster":
Adam: "This ingredient is made of blur. Ha! And this has blur in it too. Blur is very dangerous. You don't wanna mix blur with blur."
Adam: Remember, everyday objects can be made lethal if Jamie builds a cannon and shoots them at you.
- Special Guest: Primarily athletes brought in for myths requiring their abilities, though other celebrities sometimes appear.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Several of the cast members.
- Kari Byron, not "Kary" or "Carrie"
- Tory Belleci, not "Tori"
- "Tori" is usually considered a female spelling, short for VicTORIa. Since Tory is short for "Salvatore," it's not that strange.
- Scottie Chapman
- Jessi Combs
- Spent Shells Shower: Any time automatic weapons are fired or semi-auto weapons are fired rapidly in Bullet Time, viewers will see spent brass flying/falling away.
- Head Rush, which ran on the Science channel during daytime hours. It consisted of recut Mythbusters episodes with the commercial breaks replaced with school-grade science quizzes and try-at-home experiments and was hosted by Kari, who was clearly there for Parent Service. Obviously aimed at a younger audience, it had more censorship, not just of language but also of the "how to make explosives" portions of the show, as well as, for some reason, the Product Placement.
- Adam and Jamie are now hosting Unchained Reaction, which shows teams making various Rube Goldberg devices.
- Squick: In-universe:
- Several myth tests involving animal parts have grossed out the cast, especially Kari.
- The show's got a bad tendency to repeatedly show the cast getting hurt; in one test, Tory struck his shin on a window ledge hard enough to require several stitches, and the impact and his bloodstained jeans were shown over and over again.
- One very funny example was in an episode where Grant and Troy took a long, fleshy object out of its container and began to examine it.
Tory: Man, that is a long tendon.
- Few myths have been quite as revolting to watch as the human earwax candle, in part because of the nauseated reactions of the cast and crew.
- The "can you get the smell of death out of a car" episode where they left a pig carcass in a sports car long enough for it to thoroughly decompose. Everyone that worked on that was wearing protective clothing and respirators and they were still reeling from the smell (and the ammonia), and even people in buildings around the area were visibly disgusted by the stench.
- Star-Making Role: A few years into the show now, Adam and Jamie are big draws as speakers and have hosted a booth at Comic Con at least once. Failing that, they are fairly recognizable to most people, if not by name, at least as "the Mythbusters".
- Start My Own:
- Adam and Jamie try to start their own YouTube fad during the Diet Coke and Mentos myth. They fail, as none of their attempts are feasible and/or safe to do with stuff lying around the home.
- Adam attempts to use a smoke bomb of Jamie's design to get revenge on Kari for her Baghdad Batteries stunt. He fails miserably, and winds up being chased off with a fire extinguisher.
- Stock Footage: Very common in the early episodes, presumably to save money and pad out the length. It's become such a defining feature of the show that even though they can afford more expensive footage, they still use at least one piece of stock footage during the setup for each myth.
- They usually rely on custom-made animation to demonstrate myths that came from television shows and movies, which they'll replay a few times during the episode. But either due to the budget or their reputation, they are increasingly being allowed to use the actual television and film clips in the show.
- The Stoic: Jamie, with Stoic Spectacles for good measure. The most glaring example of such was during the Battle of the Sexes myth, where all five Mythbusters had to be photographed while portraying different emotions. Jamie was thrown out as a subject because all his photos had the same neutral expression.
- Stuff Blowing Up: And how. Some have joked that their methodology comes down to, "Let's try it again with 2 tons of TNT." Also, see Rule of Cool.
Jamie: That's what we do here on MythBusters! We blow BLEEP up!
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Jessi Combs is a thin blonde, has some tattoos, is proficient in welding and vehicle mechanics, and even copied Scottie's shipping-container-into-ramp trick that she did for the 2nd attempt at the JATO Rocket Car myth.
- Symbol Swearing: One myth was to test whether or not swearing helps you tolerate pain. Since the show blurs lips to prevent lipreading, this would have caused the episode's video editing budget to go way, way up. To help prevent this, Adam build a "swear shield" covered in Symbol Swearing to cover up their mouths. "Blur is expensive; bleeps are cheap!"
- Tap on the Head: Brutally averted when they tested whether hitting somebody in the head with an empty beer bottle was more dangerous than a full one. The least you would get would be a nasty concussion and lacerations from the broken glass. However, in the case of the full beer bottle, if it doesn't cave in your skull, you could still suffer catastrophic brain damage.
- Their initial testing showed that even hitting someone who was wearing a football helmet over the head with a beer bottle was too dangerous for them to do for real.
- Tattoo as Character Type: Both Scottie and Jessi are experienced mechanics and welders, traditionally a male dominated field, and carry a good number of tattoos to show for it. Scottie's tattoos were also referenced in an experiment about iron-heavy tattoo ink exploding in an MRI.
- Taught By Experience: "Failure is always an option."
- Taught by Television: The Mythbusters have spoken of being told by fans that things they've learned through watching the show have come in handy. One of the more commonly cited examples of this is people managing to escape from cars after accidents where they ended up in the water.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: One might imagine that they are Heterosexual Life Partners, but both Adam and Jamie have said that they don't like each other and don't spend any time together outside of work. On occasion, especially in the early episodes, this comes through onscreen. In the 10/19/2011 episode (exuberent excavators) Adam came flat out and said "We work together well but we don't like each other."
- Tempting Fate: One example of this happens while preparing to retest "Knock Your Socks Off". They need to see whether socks come off a smooth leg easier than a hairy leg, and to that end Tory is having one of his legs waxed.
Kari: (applying the wax) How's that feel?
- Three Plus Two: Inverted. It started with Adam and Jamie, and then added the Power Trio build team.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Their motto: "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing."
- They Bust Myths: Adam and Jamie.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Tory's reaction whenever he gets volunteered for a potentially painful or dangerous test.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Regarding a bullet-dumping robot:
Adam: This! Is! SPARKY!
- Tim Taylor Technology: Let's see...how about the time Jamie built a "Microwave of Death" by combining the magnetrons from six different microwaves? Or the time they made a car fly using high pressure water...Jamie turned it up and up until he reached the limit of what the pumping substation could supply. Grant's superhuman sword-swinging machine, or his punching robot.
- Jamie's air cannon... used to tenderize steak.
- Trope Overdosed
- True Companions: The Mythbusters are this. Adam has even acknowledged it during a Q&A session.
- Truth in Television: The underlying point of the show.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Usually the show intercuts between two (or more) myths, one worked on by Adam and Jamie, the other worked on by The Build Team with some minor crossovers here and there. Occasionally they'll team up and tackle one epic myth together.
- Under Crank: Used at times to indicate something happening over a long period of time, or the silver-on-blue doodles introducing each myth.
- Unpleasable Fanbase: Actually Played for Laughs. Whenever the team revisits a myth, they joke that the fans are hounding them about how they did it wrong or didn't test all of the variables. Even during the "You spoof discovery" special, several mythbusters spoofs joked about how the fans were going to complain about how they didn't do it right.
- Uncanny Valley: Pops up with a vengeance during the Latex Perfection myth, where both Adam and Jamie attempt to disguise themselves as each other using rubber masks. Up close, people can see right through the charade due to how deep they fall into this trope .
- Up to Eleven: In the episode where they bust the myth that paper cannot be folded more than seven times, they fold it literally to eleven.
- Urban Legends: Testing them is kinda the point of the show.
- Viewers Are Goldfish: Even though the Mythbusters themselves busted the myth that goldfish have a memory that lasts only 3 seconds, they do seem to believe their viewers have very short memory spans. Over the course of an episode, the viewer is constantly reminded of what myth the team is testing and how they are testing it. (Which is partly the producers and directors' fault, but also partly justified in that it lets viewers who tuned in late know what's going on.)
- Then there are the repetitions of "ballistics gel is similar to human flesh". Although it's just about reasonable to mention it every episode that uses ballistics gel, to inform any new viewers, the sometimes multiple repetitions in a single episode can sometimes get tedious.
- Lampshaded by Adam in "Killer Cable Snap" at the beginning of a segment: "The myth we've been testing, in case you haven't been paying attention..."
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Adam becomes seasick multiple times, and such shots (with the actual vomiting only occasionally blurred out) are naturally shown to remind the viewers whenever Adam is about to go out on the water.
- Warts and All: The show has no problem showing when the Mythbusters screw up or do something ridiculous. However, it gets taken even further in the "Behind the Scenes" special; the announcer even used the trope name to describe it.
- Weirdness Coupon: They provide the page quote.
- What Could Possibly Go Wrong?:
- Where's the Kaboom?: There's a very good chance of this coming up during a myth if explosives are used at some point.
Rob Lee: "Ah, Houston...we have a problem."
- Subverted at one point, when it turned out that the amount of explosives the myth called for resulted in a boom so miniscule it wasn't even noticeable. Played distressingly straight later that same episode, though.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
- Adam goes on the ocean to test myths an awful lot for someone subject to violent seasickness.
- Adam "volunteered" to get himself bitten by Daddy Long-legs spiders despite his supposed arachnophobia (though the very fact that he allowed this to happen so readily makes him having actual arachnophobia highly unlikely). Interestingly, the next time Adam was confronted with spiders (tarantulas this time!) he said he'd gotten over his "phobia" of them since the Daddy Long-legs myth.
- In another episode, Kari forces Grant to sit blindfolded with his feet in a bucket with live fish, because of his intense fear of them (they were testing driving performance under stress).
- In the Self-Hypnosis myth, Adam was forced to put his hand in a box of bees twice to see if self-hypnosis could cure him from his fear of bees. A later myth involving bees actually helped him a bit with this fear, thanks in part to the beekeeping outfit he was wearing for that one (he was less nervous around the bees the second time).
- Acrophobe Jamie spent most of the Hammer Drop myth on top of a crane, or jumping off a building in "Dumpster Dive", or walking across a wobbly bridge made of duct tape.
- Invoked with Kari, a vegetarian who finds the very sight of meat repulsive (except when she was pregnant, when she reportedly couldn't get enough of her mother's beef stew). Naturally, whenever testing a myth involves sheep heads/animal guts/pig stomachs/slabs of meat, Kari has to be present.
- To test the myth about "Cold Feet", the Build Team were deliberately exposed to their greatest fears. Tory was put in a stunt plane, Grant had tarantulas dumped all over his face, and Kari was forced to eat live insects.
- Grant actually explains this in the Top 25 Mythbuster Moments Special. The producers intentionally do it, since their reactions make for good TV.
Grant: [on the producers] They find your weakness. And they push it! Like a lil' button!
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: See Expansion Pack Past above.
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Grant has used this exact line a few times, and the narrator has sometimes referred to the the MythBusters' insurance premiums being high because of all the destruction they cause in the course of testing myths.
- Wildlife Commentary Spoof: Adam ribbing on Jamie, mostly. Grant also did it once (with Tory as the target) when testing the myth of the "sand necktie".
- Adam also does a similar gag while guiding a big ballistics gel block through a swimming pool:
Adam:: Now, the box jellyfish is one of the most lethal foes you'll encounter in your average swimming pool. They prefer temperatures between 79 and 82 degrees, and they give a nasty sting. If you see one, just swim in the other direction, and remember: he's just as afraid of you.
- Writing Around Trademarks: Spoofed in the Superhero Hour, when Adam announced that they were testing a myth related to... Nocturnal-Echolocating-Flying-Mammal-Man.
- See Brand X above for straight examples.
- Wolverine Claws: Made by Kari for the Duct Tape Plane myth.
- Wrench Wench: Kari and Scottie, in a real-world incarnation. While Kari was on maternity leave, Jessi Combs worked with Grant and Tory. From her bio, it looks like she qualifies for this trope as well.
- X Meets Y:
- Adam himself describes the show as "Jackass meets Mr. Wizard".
- During the "black powder line to the powder keg" explosion myth, Adam described "I like to live my life part as a cartoon character, part as an action hero, and this explosion satisfied both aspects of my personality."
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: "Ye Oldie Times"
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: In an early episode Adam was working on the Chicken Cannon that involved welding a 4 ft. tall pipe standing vertically on what will become the tank for holding the air pressure. Adam paused for a moment to adjust his glasses and a piece came off and fell into the pipe. Adam just stared bemused into the narrow tube, then at the camera, then back to the tube.
- During the "Knock your socks off" myth, they set off an explosion for the final phase of the experiment, and underestimated just how big the shockwave would be. It ended up knocking people off sofas, setting off car alarms and knocking down ceiling tiles in the town, and the news reported that the Mythbusters had in fact leveled the town.
- Which, incidentally, is short for the Italian first name "Salvatore"
- They did, he did (not seriously), and it was.
- Not that this kept the concept from being used in 1964 to salvage the sunken freighter the Al-Kuwait.
- I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth.
- She volunteered, but it reportedly bothered her for at least a few days until the bruises on her wrists faded
- due to seasickness