EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'Penn & Teller: Fool Us' recap: Science meets magic

Season 2 | Episode 8 | “Teller Plays with a Full Deck” | Aired Aug 24, 2015

Penn & Teller capped off tonight’s episode with a musical physics card trick, because Penn & Teller are the kinds of magicians who can do such a thing. The trick, like so many of Penn & Teller’s tricks, forces the audience to think a little to get the full effect of the mysticism. Tonight’s contestants also asked the audience to really think for their tricks, even if the tricks they were doing appeared to be simple — using standard tools of magic, like cards and silks.

Because I know I could never do justice to the brilliance of Penn & Teller’s final trick in this week’s episode, I’ll jump right into the rankings of this week’s contestants. As usual, they get more and more impressive as we go, culminating in yet another successful fooler.

Blake Vogt: The Technical Felon

Penn & Teller

The fact that Blake Vogt is the lowest-ranking magician in tonight’s recap speaks volumes about the quality of this week’s show. Blake’s trick, which involved destroying a dollar (he liked to remind the audience that the trick itself was illegal, as it’s technically against the law to destroy U.S. currency), was thoroughly entertaining I almost thought it would fool P&T. Blake made sure that the dollar was real and that we knew it was real by trading a dollar of his own for one from an audience member. Then he pulled Penn & Teller themselves onstage to witness the trick up close. I can’t help but give bonus to points to any magician who does this.

He cut the dollar in half, and cut holes in the center of each piece. Then he linked the pieces, like chains, unlinked them, then relinked them and gave the final product to Teller to examine and keep. It was ballsy (and Penn gave him credit for that), but not enough to fool P&T. It is only because of the incredible presentation of the other magicians on tonight’s show that Blake came in last in my ranking. It was a phenomenal trick.

Levent: (K)not Your Average Magician

Penn & Teller

Levent announced in his intro video that he specializes in taking old tricks and putting his own spin on them. Immediately, I knew this meant two things: 1) He was not going to fool Penn & Teller. That’s not an insult to a magician who likes to play with classics; it’s just a compliment to P&T’s encyclopedic knowledge of magic. It’s nearly impossible (maybe actually impossible) to fool them with a classic trick. 2) I also knew the trick was going to be stunning.

The magicians who come on Fool Us with a new spin on a classic trick tend to be veterans of the craft, master performers, and seamless with their art. Levent was all of these things. His trick involved six silks, two chairs, and two signs. Above one chair was a sign reading “Knot,” and above the other was a sign reading “Not.” Three of the silks were tied together (in knots) and three were left separate. He moved the “K” between the chairs, changing which was “Knot” and which was “Not,” and used a lot of fun, fast-talking wordplay as he did so. When the K moved, so did the actual knots. It was a beautiful trick and, while it did not fool Penn & Teller, it absolutely floored host Jonathan Ross, who was invited to participate in some of the trick up close. It was probably the most mystified I’ve seen him on the show.

Ben Seidman: Maybe Jesus

Penn & Teller

Ben Seidman’s performance was unique in its talking-to-magic ratio. Most of the performance wasn’t even magic at all, but a hilarious story that felt more like standup comedy than magic. Ben weaved a tale about talking to a down-and-out man, feeling sorry for him, and giving him the only bill in his wallet—a $100 bill. Mixed into the story were jokes about religion (along with an excellent bit about how funny it would be if Jesus returned to earth but no one believed him, so he became a magician). The whole package was just great.

By the end of the story, Ben pulls out an envelope and explains that the man he had spoken to stole his watch and his ring, and, of course, made away with all of his money—the $100 bill he gave freely to the man. He puts all three items into the envelope as he tells the story, closes it, then rips it apart, revealing that the items have vanished. The moral of the story is that the man was wrong to steal from a magician, because he didn’t successfully get away with the items. At this point, Ben reveals that the ring is back on his finger, the watch back on his wrist, and the $100 bill is back in his wallet. It didn’t fool P&T, but it was one of the cleanest, most confident tricks I’ve seen performed on the show. It was wildly entertaining, even apart from the magic.

Joshua Jay: Blind Talent

Penn & Teller

Tonight, one contestant did manage to fool Penn & Teller. Joshua Jay explains that he invented the trick he performs while trying to fool someone even tougher than Penn & Teller: a young blind girl. He explains that to really wow her with magic, he had to do the entire trick in her mind, which is difficult because magic is such a visual medium. He asks his audience volunteer to hold a deck of cards and, instead of selecting one of them, to just visualize any card in the deck. He then blindfolds himself and has the volunteer convey the card to the audience by counting out the number of cards that represent the number, and using a code for the suit. I wondered if he could hear this happening, but it’s kind of irrelevant once you see the rest of the trick.

Joshua guessed the card (the four of diamonds) while flipping through the deck, stopping at the card that the volunteer had chosen. He announced the four of diamonds before flipping the card he stopped on to reveal that it is, in fact, the four of diamonds. Then, in perhaps the most amazing part of the trick, he revealed that the rest of the cards have been blank the entire time; the four of diamonds was the only true card in the deck. The most amazing part of the trick? When Penn & Teller write down their guess as to how he did it, he gets to tell them that they were wrong.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like