Penn & Teller: Fool Us: David Copperfield vs. P&T
June 19, 2019 5:19 PM - Season 6, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The sixth season of this magic show began June 17 on The CW. In the opener, Penn & Teller try to fool David Copperfield.
posted by sylvanshine (15 comments total)
I'm posting this show as I've enjoyed it for many seasons and just maybe there are other Mefites who do too. Magic tricks lend themselves to some discussion, I think? I watch very little of this sort of TV, but I've found that 40 minutes of magic tricks brightens my mood in an indescribable little way, which for me is magic in itself.
posted by sylvanshine at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2019 [6 favorites]

Wife and I love it too. It absolutely amazes me when magic seems truly magical.
posted by davidmsc at 11:51 PM on June 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting this. We haven't caught the latest, but I always look forward to calling one of these up on the DVR. It's a particularly great summer show, because we can watch it with the kids without any of the intrusions of homework and cross-country practice and needing to get to bed on time and suchlike. P&T are just so fantastic and charming (and gods I'm glad that Penn in particular can make a living at magic, because he would have been the greatest right-wing grifter of all time if he'd put his mind to it), and the premise is a great inversion of competition shows -- there are stakes, and you get just enough of each person to really want to root for them, but no one's competing against anyone else.
posted by Etrigan at 6:24 AM on June 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

"...He he would have been the greatest right-wing grifter of all time if he'd put his mind to it"

Well, he certainly gave being a libertarian evangelist (/grifter) a try with his show 'bullshit'.
posted by el io at 7:09 PM on June 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had no idea what David Copperfield looked like until today.
posted by riruro at 4:12 PM on June 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Was at Tannen's once long ago and this small thin guy waltzes in wearing a long black mink or ermine, Copperfield has presence!

I've seen a few of these, episodes are probably quite a range from oooh cool trick to, wait did that really happen without cgi. And the guys are pretty cool and deeply respectful of the performers and tradition, they seem to really deadpan it when fooled. One of the finest joys in life for the few is fooling another magician, and you can see it's an deeply almost religious experience for the performer when they admit to not guessing the gaff.
posted by sammyo at 3:39 PM on June 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

The college kid who did the time travel bit. If you change your phone's time zone, would it affect the stopwatch too?
posted by wittgenstein at 9:10 AM on June 24, 2019

What I immediately thought is that he put a sticker with the chosen number onto the display. I never looked back on it, but I have now and I think I'm right wrong lol.

I finally noticed that the stopwatch time is repeated in small print below the "stop" button, and it matches the 2 hour time in the big font. I don't think he could have altered both with stickers so I guess he diddled with the app somehow.

The sticker idea also wouldn't work because the display font downsizes to accommodate hours, once it gets to hours. The stopwatch app begins with minutes only, so "00:00.00", but the final display is "02:04:xx.xx".
posted by sylvanshine at 3:02 PM on June 24, 2019

I've only seen a handful of episodes of the show but always find it enjoyable. I remember one particular instance where the magician would have been able to fool them were it not for the fact that he'd had the same mentor as Penn so Penn already knew how to perform that particular illusion. But they paid him a great compliment on how well he'd done it. I love how much P & T genuinely appreciate the work of others and are always so delighted when they can't actually figure it out.
posted by acidnova at 11:07 AM on June 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I do enjoy this show, but I always find it slightly frustrating when P&T speak in code to indicate how they know the person did the trick, because it leaves me sitting here like dammit, I want to know! What does that code phrase mean?
posted by dnash at 12:15 PM on June 25, 2019

I remember one particular instance where the magician would have been able to fool them were it not for the fact that he'd had the same mentor as Penn so Penn already knew how to perform that particular illusion.

My favorite was when a performer brought out this nice old couple to help, and when it came time for P&T to guess, Penn yelled "DID YOU THINK WE WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE YOUR DAD, WHO INVENTED THIS TRICK IN THE 1960s?!?"
posted by Etrigan at 12:50 PM on June 25, 2019 [6 favorites]

Fwiw, if you google Penn's codewords, you'll likely find a cite for the secret of the trick. I think the idea is to avoid ruining it for everyone, but still allow a persistent 10 year old get started.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:34 AM on July 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure I'm in the minority but I love finding out how simple some of the secrets are, but how perfectly executed and how much practice they require. It blows my mind more when looking up the code words and unlike a lot of people (it seems?) it really elevates the art rather than diminishes it.
posted by Carillon at 3:46 PM on July 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I love the use of the code words:

Performer: Did I fool you?

Penn: Wow, we love this trick and we love the variation with the hat, which is so stylish. Uh, do you like pancakes?

Performer: I... like pancakes, yes.

Penn: I love them with maple syrup and blueberries. You?

Performer: No, I don't like blueberries

Penn: Wait

Teller: looks at Penn

Penn: You don't like blueberries?

Performer: Nope.

Penn: So you are saying you have the pancakes with maple syrup, but no blueberries

Teller: stares with mouth open

Performer: No blueberries at all

Penn: looks at Teller Well, you definitely fooled us

And I sit there wondering what the hell is up with blueberries.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:17 PM on September 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Letter of Recommendation: ‘Penn & Teller: Fool Us’ (NYT Magazine)
I suppose that’s what the show has become for me too: a regular reminder that kindness matters in all rooms of our lives, even the TV room, and that while discomfort and cruelty can be fun, the alternative is, well, a kind of magic.
posted by Etrigan at 11:32 AM on November 26, 2019

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