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TV Review: “Adam Ruins Everything”

adam-ruins-everything-posterEscaping from ignorance requires refusing to take anything for granted. Culture presents us with a web of so-called normals that we are expected to conform to without giving them much thought. Usually if we peck and sniff at things just a bit, the surface peals back to reveal that most of our institutions are arbitrary illusions all too often driven by shameless marketing.

For those of us who relish the search for objective truth, getting under the skin of our cultural abstracts is a thrilling diversion…but for those who don’t typically question the very fibers of their reality, the truth can be a bit of a slap in the face. How marvelous, then, that we have Adam Conover to make the ugly truth in terrifically upbeat entertainment.

Adam Ruins Everything is a Documentary Sketch show with fast-paced, half-hour episodes that tackle some heavy-hitting topics with comedic aplomb. Adam’s affable and self-effacing style allows him to deliver bad news in a cheerful way that soothes the sting without diluting the message. You could not find a better celebration of scientific thinking and healthy skepticism outside of a lecture hall. The show’s brilliant device is to highlight an average, everyday person in each episode reacting in appropriate shock to each truth bombs he drops. This allows for a healthy conversation over each topic, and even though the discussions are likely scripted, it keeps the episodes from feeling like class presentations. The discussion of dissenting opinions forces the viewer to think a little harder and maybe even absorb the information in a more meaningful way.

Here are a few clips to wet your appetite. Let’s start out with the shameful reason why Video Games are almost exclusively marketed to boys:

Or how gerrymandering is legal election rigging:

Or how flushable wipes are most certainly not:

Thankfully Adam doesn’t stop at merely pointing out the sometimes painful reality behind the world that we take for granted. He ends each episode by offering the best ideas and out there for solving our most persistent problems. He gives us the insight to recognize when our habits are justified and when they are hopelessly wrong-headed. In short, Adam Ruins Everything is public service. These clips are just the tip of the iceberg. We desperately need more voices like this in the wilderness, standing up for facts and plausible solutions in the face of overwhelming ignorance.

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