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Season 7: Still Fooling After All These Years


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(edited)

Been a long time since I posted here, but I watched this last night.

It was a lot of fun…though none of the contestants’ tricks really wowed me the way some tricks in other season openers did.

Is the show running out of magicians who want to be on? While I like seeing old-time favorites, the show should—is designed to—have new talent, especially when they’ve already done returning magicians multiple times.

Farquhar’s trick was fine. I liked bringing elements from the last two tricks back; I didn’t like bringing the same jokes back. They made his routine seem far too schticky. Also, Penn says he and Teller knew what Farquhar was doing because they’d seen his first two tricks on the show. Was he really doing the same methods over again? That’s kinda disappointing here.

Helen Coghlan—ugh, I didn’t want to see her again. Her smug attitude really bothers me, and to this layman it seemed like she won on technicalities both times (two different tricks to trip P&T up on one, or they couldn’t guess the exact method of escape [behind a partition, grr]). This trick, however, was decent, and felt like it took more work. The dancers, however, were just irritating. Teller looked bothered when the guy came up to him. Annoying that she’s a three-time winner, though.

Ondřej Pšenička is always lots of fun, and I loved the trick(s). They felt more integrated with his past performances than Farquhar’s. Somehow, though, again it didn’t blow me away, give me a WOW, THIS IS MAGICAL! feeling. Maybe too much to ask for when magicians are working their butts off for these effects and professionals may get a wow for how difficult they are, but it’s always what I have looked for in magic (ever since seeing a magician do the floating-lady trick back when I was a little tyke!).

And Gertner is always wonderful, though he always appeals more to my analytic side than my emotional side (hm, that’s a remarkable illusion, rather than, once again, that WOW!).

The trick I really loved was Teller’s. I hadn’t seen it before, it wasn’t some jaw-dropping huge-scale effect, but it provided a sense of wonder.

All in all, a solid episode. Definitely looking forward to the rest of this season!

Edited by Salzmank
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2 hours ago, Salzmank said:

Farquhar’s trick was fine. I liked bringing elements from the last two tricks back; I didn’t like bringing the same jokes back. They made his routine seem far too schticky. Also, Penn says he and Teller knew what Farquhar was doing because they’d seen his first two tricks on the show. Was he really doing the same methods over again? That’s kinda disappointing here.

His was the only one that disappointed me. (Although I agree on Coughlan's demeanor.) It makes me wonder if because he was the first fooler and the first double-fooler that the chance to be a triple was obligatory on both sides. Or maybe he figured a US audience wouldn't be as familiar with that first performance from when this was a UK series? Whatever the reason his trick felt like a rerun. Which is a shame because if not for that, swapping a card from a deck and a page from a book seems like a great idea.

Very happy with the rest though, especially Teller's. 

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9 hours ago, Salzmank said:

The trick I really loved was Teller’s. I hadn’t seen it before, it wasn’t some jaw-dropping huge-scale effect, but it provided a sense of wonder—of, er, “magic.”

I also liked Teller's trick, it had Penn and Teller's edginess with the knife, and the willingness to expose themselves with the finger popping off, which also showed their sense of humor.  As did the bowling ball.  

I can't remember who did the trick where the signed deck became wrapped in cellophane in Alison's hand, but I liked that, and I don't know how it was done.  I haven't watched it back though. 

Also, I like the Paul Simon reference in the thread title. 

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I enjoyed watching the tricks, and I'm stumped on most of them. 

Teller's trick with the knife I'm pretty sure is just a trick with folds maybe. Or something else.

The last trick, was all about the Force. The only force I couldn't really figure out is Penn's number; but I think I noticed the card swap/force to get the Jack, and not showing the box after Teller did the pique pick was a bit obvious. Then it's all about deck manipulation to get the jack in the right spot in the end. Which was still pretty damn slick. 

52 * 51 is 2652, so if he did 2700+ takes he must have had a few mistakes. 🙂 But forcing Alison to pick that particular guru, yeah that's a stumper.

Spoiler

Unless of course they are all 2-faced with an Ace at the back so all he had to do was remove the false card of Alison's pick, and probably stash it on one of the other ones. 

I'd have to watch again to tell. 

 

As for the escape, I don't really know....

Spoiler

It took long enough that just about any method might be doable. Maybe there's a whole big enouhg to reach a lock to unlock and go from there, to the point she can climb out and reset the box. Penn did the obvious check on the bottom, but I'm not ruling out the possibility of some bottom shenanigans too, probably by lifting and/or sliding it.

Sadly, I wasn't paying close enough attention to the first trick to wager guesses on it; but what little I did watch seemed to be fun and entertaining. 🙂

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2 hours ago, MsTree said:

For those of us who enjoy watching P&T but are not magically-inclined, could someone explain exactly how a "force" works? Thanks in advance.

Basically means giving the volunteer no free choice of what they pick. They are 'forced' to pick that card or whatever other object they want. The method of the force can be a million different ways and knowing it is a force doesn't necessarily take away from the magic. P&T have an inside joke of almost always using the 3 of clubs whenever they perform a card force. 

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The term "Force" is nice because it works on multiple ways. 

The obvious way is that it "Forces" a random participant to pick what you want them to pick while giving them the illusion of free choice. 

But it also works in the Star Wars "These are not the droids you are looking for" because the participant thinks they have a free choice, but the outcome is determined long before it gets to them. 

And really, knowing there is a force explains the trick, but also doesn't explain it depending on how good the magician is; since often how they do the force is the beauty of the trick. 

I'm not a magician; I just watch a lot on TV. But methods of forcing include (This is Magic 101 basically): 

* deck swaps so there is only one real choice.

* switching the item before the reveal, so what they picked is irrelevant

* stopping the fan when you want just before or after they tell you where so you know what is there. 

* bags and boxes with false compartments filled with the item you want picked. 

 

And many more tactics that I can't even imagine at the moment. 

The force also isn't necessarily on what they pick, but it can also be on where they put it afterwards; a "Pick a card" trick can force the participant to put the card next to a card the magician knows so after the cuts the magician can find the picked card. 

Probably 75% of magic is all about the Force when you get right down to it. 🙂

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They can also use a gimmicked deck for a Force. For instance, the magician will hold the deck firmly in one hand and ruffle through the deck, asking the mark to pick a card. What they don't know is that

Spoiler

one of the cards in the deck was cut in half, so the card the magician is trying to force is visible during the ruffle for a fraction of a second longer, making it more prominent, and more likely to catch the mark's eye.

 

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(edited)

The best part of this show for me is watching Penn and Teller enjoy the show. Teller has such an expressive face and Penn's faux outrage when they are fooled is hilarious.Most of the time I enjoy the acts, too, but some of the magicians are too irritating to enjoy. For instance,

On 6/23/2020 at 2:56 PM, Salzmank said:

Helen Coghlan—ugh, I didn’t want to see her again. Her smug attitude really bothers me, and to this layman it seemed like she won on technicalities both times (two different tricks to trip P&T up on one, or they couldn’t guess the exact method of escape [behind a partition, grr]). This trick, however, was decent, and felt like it took more work. The dancers, however, were just irritating. Teller looked bothered when the guy came up to him. Annoying that she’s a three-time winner, though.

I wasn't quite sure what it was about her that bugged, but smug attitude is probably the closest term. Her act isn't even enjoyable to watch, and the beefcakes were an unimpressive distractions. 

Every so often, there is a magician that is so enjoyable to watch that Penn and Teller say they got lost in their enjoyment of watching the act, even when it's likely they knew how the trick was done. Seeing those magicians' excitement when they fool them, is almost as exciting as watching P&T. For example, Ryan Hayashi. 

Quote

MESSAGE FROM RYAN HAYASHI TO THE VIEWERS: Ryan Hayashi, The Samurai Madman and European Champion of Magic, fools Penn & Teller with his award-winning Ultimate Matrix coin act. Damn, this sounds epic. Well actually, it was. I AM Ryan Hayashi, this is my YouTube channel, and I am writing about myself. This was one of the most epic and emotional moments of my life. It was a very special performance for me, showing magic to two of my heroes in magic. I was staring them in the eyes and performing for them the whole time, and I was nearly in tears walking off that stage. When they found me backstage after the show and gave me more kind words, I lost my mind. I'm normally a solid performer, but looking at this video, my precision, stage presence and comedic timing were off the chart! I hope you enjoy watching this performance as much as I do. This aired on July 9, 2018 on Season 5 of Fool Us. Ryan Hayashi

 

Edited by Christina
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(edited)
On 6/28/2020 at 9:11 AM, Taeolas said:

 stopping the fan when you want just before or after they tell you where so you know what is there. 

An example for MsTree (it's an old performance, but a good example)...  and I'm going to use Spoiler Tags for this...

Spoiler

 

...search YouTube for the Fool Us performance by Anna DeGuzman... I think... last year.  Searching her name ought to be enough to find it.  Being aware a Force of the type described above is a key part of her performance... you'll see it.  I'd venture to say if you had no idea what a Force was, you might not.

To be fair to DeGuzman, there's another aspect to her trick that made the Force harder to do cleanly (and so easier to see).  She asked Alison first to name a day of the month by number.  That number figured in later in the trick to how many cards she'd count out of the deck to find the card.  Then she asked Penn to say "Stop' while she riffed a deck.  This means that she had to manipulate where to Force on the fly based on what Alison said, rather than having the stop point established beforehand.  That involved not only a crazy level of memorization and physical manipulation, but also means her options for how best to "cheat" Penn saying "Stop" and hide what she was doing were limited, because she had to cover being able to find 31 different possible cards to meet whatever day Alison picked (no doubt those cards were all deliberately in the last half of the deck, but even still it created a situation where the Force was a lot more obvious).


There's a bit more to the trick beyond that, but I'll leave that part to you watching it.  How she's doing the rest of it actually becomes obvious once you realize that she not only does that Force, and not only did a lot of memorization, but set everything up ahead of time for this result.  The fact that she also does Cardistry (that's explained in her introduction) is all distraction... as she even says during the act.

 

 

Edited by Kromm
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I liked P&T's trick in the Teller Talks episode.  Not so much the trick even, it was entertaining because of Teller's funny faces, and the pompous personality they gave him.  Very funny.

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Escape acts aren’t really my thing, but for whatever reason Miranda Allen’s escape was my favorite act this episode. It certainly wasn’t the “friendship” thing, which kind of seemed shoehorned in there… I’m not sure exactly; maybe it just felt unexpectedly exciting, well-staged.

Iñaki Zabaletta and Keith Kong seemed to have impressive methods that took a lot of hard work, but (speaking as a non-magician) neither one wowed me. With Zabaletta, I’m thinking that was because of the lack of patter; if Ricky Jay (or Penn & Teller!), say, had done this trick, he would have told a story around it, gotten us emotionally involved. I highly admire technique, but a large portion of magic is also showmanship. (Cue The Prestige references.)

I liked Guilherme Silveira, thought the showmanship was actually good, but the method seemed kind of obvious, largely because the e-mail was so weird and so much can be done with technology. (Watch, I’m wrong.)

P&T were fun, as ever.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 7/30/2020 at 5:23 PM, opus said:

Yay. On Try This At Home Too the 4 aces trick at the end worked for me. Usually somehow I mess up things like that when I try to play along.

I didn't try it, but I thought that was a pretty good trick for that "self working" genre.  I didn't try to reconstruct it, but I didn't see anything obvious about how it worked.  As opposed to the trick with the clock and the "think of a breakfast food" bit (I can't even remember if that was on the same show).  It seemed kind of odd having the cast of Nancy Drew there, but hey, one big happy CW family, right?

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On 8/2/2020 at 10:32 PM, rmontro said:

I didn't try it, but I thought that was a pretty good trick for that "self working" genre.  I didn't try to reconstruct it, but I didn't see anything obvious about how it worked. 

I think we all know the basic "math magic" that goes something like:

  • Think of a number
  • Add 7
  • Multiply by 2
  • Subtract 14
  • Divide by 2
  • Is that your original number??? Magic!

Clearly you're doing a thing and then undoing it, The trick is in how well obscured the "undoing" is. This was similar and it worked well because most people have never thought about the mechanics of various shuffling methods. It's so effective that something like this has been used for cheating at card games, with the culprits able to do it right in front of people who had no idea.

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43 minutes ago, Amarsir said:

Clearly you're doing a thing and then undoing it, The trick is in how well obscured the "undoing" is. This was similar and it worked well because most people have never thought about the mechanics of various shuffling methods. It's so effective that something like this has been used for cheating at card games, with the culprits able to do it right in front of people who had no idea.

I'm sure it was obvious to many people watching, but it wasn't to me, and I wasn't in the mood to go back and go through it.

But you make me wonder about how many magician types have seriously tried to make money cheating at cards.  I haven't heard many "Okay kid, we're taking you out back and breaking your hands" kind of stories.  Maybe there's a long history of them, I don't know.  Probably most magicians are too interested in performing and showing off to keep their skills secret enough to cheat at card games with.  Three Card Monte notwithstanding.  

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19 hours ago, rmontro said:

I'm sure it was obvious to many people watching, but it wasn't to me, and I wasn't in the mood to go back and go through it.

But you make me wonder about how many magician types have seriously tried to make money cheating at cards.  I haven't heard many "Okay kid, we're taking you out back and breaking your hands" kind of stories.  Maybe there's a long history of them, I don't know.  Probably most magicians are too interested in performing and showing off to keep their skills secret enough to cheat at card games with.  Three Card Monte notwithstanding.  

I don't know if the people have a crossover. That would be interesting to find out. But the techniques certainly do. If you look up the term "mechanics grip" it is described in equal terms as a magicians' trick or a cheater's trick.

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This will seem really odd, and I’m not sure if anyone here will be remotely interested, but I had a dream last night about Fool Us (which is odd because I haven’t watched it in weeks—I was away earlier this week, and last week was the special).

In the dream the show was taking my place in my high school auditorium, and one of the contestants was Gene Wilder! Wilder was playing Willy Wonka again and dressed up in that costume, and he had a supposedly Wonka-made machine on the stage that supposedly ‘let’ him do the magic. He did multiple tricks, but the only one I can remember involved shooting a tin can (or something like that) with a gun, which made it light on fire. One trick seemed to go wrong, but really it was part of the act. At one point Wilder/Wonka climbed a staircase and opened his mouth, and the music started into “Pure Imagination,” just for him to burst out with “Edelweiss”! 

Unfortunately I don’t think Dream-Penn-and-Teller ever got to give comments or anything, though I remember Teller speaking during one part of the trick, and I thought, Oh, that’s what he sounds like!

After a while (it was a long trick, and a much longer act than PT:FU would actually have), I realized in-dream that Wilder was dead, and that’s what woke me up.

Really can’t explain it. Such a weird dream even by my standards.

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3 hours ago, Salzmank said:

After a while (it was a long trick, and a much longer act than PT:FU would actually have), I realized in-dream that Wilder was dead

Now that's a trick!

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Anyone else really enjoy P&T’s trick on the Aug. 3 episode? (I just watched it last night.) I should have suspected something was up, but they’ve done “tricks for one person only” before (the knife-throwing routine, for example). 

Spoiler

We’re set up to think the audience and the, er, celebrity guest (I’d never heard of him) are in on the trick and the guy in the video chat is being fooled. My immediate guess was that the guy in the video chat was in on the trick, was told to pick the card (Eight of Diamonds, was it?), and P&T were really trying to fool the audience and the celebrity guest.

The Fool Us subreddit seems to think it’s more complicated than that because of a major Fool Us rule, but I can’t imagine that rule applies to P&T themselves. Even if this method isn’t how they did it, though, I rather like it; it feels like a Mametesque con. Whatever way, the reveal brought a smile to my face, and the people I was watching with were shocked! 😄

As for the other acts, I admired Hans Klok’s speed but am not a fan of those stage illusions and wasn’t particularly impressed by Michael Bourdada or Vincenzo Ravina (and it’s not some anti-Canadian thing on my part, really! 😉), but I did like Hedné. Was trying to figure out what Penn meant by ‘the trick we saw was not the one you did’… In some ways, that could apply to all magic tricks, but did it have a special significance here?

Good episode all around; this season’s been really high-quality.

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On 8/11/2020 at 10:45 AM, Salzmank said:

Anyone else really enjoy P&T’s trick on the Aug. 3 episode? (I just watched it last night.) I should have suspected something was up, but they’ve done “tricks for one person only” before (the knife-throwing routine, for example). 

Your spoiler explanation is probably right, and a nice little twist in itself.  I tend to consider that type of method "cheating" (if there could be such a thing as cheating in magic), but in this case it's almost like a punch line.

As for the other trick you mentioned, it's been a few weeks since I've seen it, but I do remember Penn's line ‘the trick we saw was not the one you did’.  I thought it made sense to me at the time, but I barely remember the trick now.  Actually the reason I got hooked on watching this show is I liked listening to Penn's coded explanations.  A lot of the time they're not as discreet as he (and Alyson) seem to think, however.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really like Lea Kyle's "quick change" act, that was one of my favorite acts I've seen on this show.  It even earned her a Fool Us trophy, but that seems secondary, because it was so entertaining.

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On 8/25/2020 at 10:15 PM, rmontro said:

I really like Lea Kyle's "quick change" act, that was one of my favorite acts I've seen on this show.  It even earned her a Fool Us trophy, but that seems secondary, because it was so entertaining.

As technically impressive as any Quick Change act is, at first I was rolling my eyes over the notion that this would be any different.  But I definitely knew better the moment she did the flying green dress part of the trick.  I can conceive of how she MIGHT have done it, but don't know for sure, and if it's even vaguely close to my notion, it's hella impressive that it actually works that smoothly.  The color transformation after that is pretty impressive too, although I've seen other similar things to it before, so it's mostly the execution I'm talking about with it.

I even appreciate the way she started the act. The thing with the hanger was cool, although again I've seen similar effects in other acts--one act with bird cages.  But then she does her first change inside that black curtained booth, and it only occurred to me later that this was to set the expectations low on purpose, since the big payout in these acts is inevitably doing the change under minimal or no cover.  My thought was literally initially "okay, that's barely a quick change".  She of course follows that soon with more impressive changes, but it's the escalation that makes this entertaining.

She again uses that subversion of expectations technique when she's wearing the silvery dress,  You can SEE The spaghetti straps and even a bit of the top of the next dress at her neckline.  I actually had the momentary thought she's made a mistake (which was silly since straps could hardly be a mistake, but I was more thinking of seeing the little line of black above her breasts). But it's NOT a mistake, because you're observant enough to notice that. the idea is clearly to mislead you, since while there IS a black dress below that silver one, the actual trick is not revealing it, but instead is HOW that reveal happens, with the panels of the silver dress all falling off by themselves. It's a brilliant moment.

But the flying green dress?  I mean come on! 

Even her confetti change was far better than most quick change acts. Usually they use ten times the amount of confetti/cover than she did.

I will say this... as part of the off-screen prep, she's got to be a HELL of a seamstress.  A big part of the act actually IS about that. And the materials can be ridiculously fragile too. 

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That quick-change trick annoyed me. I can't tell how all of it was done, except for the obvious use of a confederate inside the "closet" pulling of her clothes. When she goes from the red outfit to the all-black one, you can see the black pleather-type leggings underneath her dress as she turns, so that's just a fast tearaway. But the ikat-style dress to the little green shift, the camera moves to the stage right of the closet and a black-gloved hand reaches out between the curtains (shown in a poor screenshot here) to snatch the dress off. Not sure what the magic part was that P&T missed--maybe the shenanigans with the hangers on the side rack? The rest seemed pretty amateurish to me. Real magicians and aficionados are welcome to smack me down if I'm wrong.

Screen Shot 2020-08-29 at 6.59.54 PM.png

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90% of the quick change act was stuff she had on other other stuff. The technique is better than the old David and Danya act where I first saw quick changes. The stuff that was moving definitely could have been done by someone in the box with wires. I think maybe Penn and Teller just wanted her for their Vegas act. Then again, I'm not a magician and I can't explain every part of the act.

One of the funny things about the CW is that I'll see magicians like Hans Klok about 3 times on "Masters of Illusion" before I see them on Fool Us.

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7 minutes ago, ketose said:

I think maybe Penn and Teller just wanted her for their Vegas act.

Very possible.  As I said before, I loved her quick change act.  I don't really care how it was done, I thought it was entertaining.  I tend to like the visual effect of color changes anyway. 

But I don't trust Penn and Teller exactly, when it comes to this show.  I'm sure they do get stumped some of the time, but we have also seen them give out FU trophies when they knew how the tricks were done.  Sometimes out of respect for the magicians (like David Roth). sometimes because they wanted the act on their show (IMO).  Whether or not that was the case here I have no idea.  

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For me quick change acts are always kind of boring because as Penn mentioned, they know alllllllll the techniques. It seemed like there may have been one....something....she did that they weren't paying enough attention to because they expected it to be all standard quick change business, and that resulted in the fooling? But for me it was still kind of underwhelming because even if she did do something with a different than usual method, it all still looked like quick change to me. I feel the same about other fooling acts sometime where P&T guess one thing, and the routine didn't have a prover to indicate it wasn't that thing, but I'm like....OK so you made a new method for an old trick, I guess that's impressive but if the trick seems the same to me in the audience, unless you do prove you didn't do it the well known way, I'm going to assume you did and be unimpressed.

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5 minutes ago, theatremouse said:

For me quick change acts are always kind of boring because as Penn mentioned, they know alllllllll the techniques. It seemed like there may have been one....something....she did that they weren't paying enough attention to because they expected it to be all standard quick change business, and that resulted in the fooling? But for me it was still kind of underwhelming because even if she did do something with a different than usual method, it all still looked like quick change to me. I feel the same about other fooling acts sometime where P&T guess one thing, and the routine didn't have a prover to indicate it wasn't that thing, but I'm like....OK so you made a new method for an old trick, I guess that's impressive but if the trick seems the same to me in the audience, unless you do prove you didn't do it the well known way, I'm going to assume you did and be unimpressed.

In the 80's I remember those David Copperfield specials where he made giant objects disappear. It's big and showy, but the "trick" is mundane for magicians. The stuff that Teller does that are legit original tricks aren't necessary all that big. Probably after 7 seasons, there's just not that much out there. While P&T love debunking, fooling them has got to be maybe a once a season proposition unless they give the performers some leeway.

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  • 1 month later...

OK that Ring trick that fooled them last week, I'm stumped how that is even possible, especially with an ungimmicked ring. 

The only way I can figure that it could be done is to have a second gimmicked ring to use when doing the trick, and switching it when he's passing it to Teller for examining. Which would need VERY smooth slight of hand. Is that guess anywhere near right or is there something else going on that I don't know about? 

In any case, a great little trick that was fun to watch. Especially to do it while Teller is right there... hell to do it with Teller's own hand at one point. 

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It could be semantics, but Penn's comments were clearly all about the ring he had in his hand at the end of the trick, the one that Teller had a chance to examine. So Teller was basically saying "That ring you have there, if it is gimmicked, you didn't fool us." 

By technicalities, it doesn't eliminate a swap, since the gimmicked ring would be the cached one at those points, but damned if I know when and where the swaps would happen (I'd have to go back and rewatch if I was really curious about it).

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On 10/27/2020 at 9:55 AM, Taeolas said:

The only way I can figure that it could be done is to have a second gimmicked ring to use when doing the trick, and switching it when he's passing it to Teller for examining. Which would need VERY smooth slight of hand. Is that guess anywhere near right or is there something else going on that I don't know about? 

I was talking about this in the "Behind the Curtain" thread.  He sells a DVD that teaches the trick, and I haven't seen it but I read enough to know it's apparently all sleight of hand and doesn't involve any sort of gimmick.  A second gimmicked ring was what I had originally guessed also, but I read that he can do this with anyone's borrowed ring (as long as it fits), so I guess it's all sleight of hand.  Pretty impressive, I must admit.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Just watching the episode with Tony Clark, and that slight of hand was quite impressive. He won the FoolUs trophey, and I do think it was a legit fool and not just one in honor of Slydini. Tony was certainly one of the most heartfelt winners too; that was one of the most emotional wins I think we've ever seen on show. 

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  • 1 month later...

Watching Penn and Teller enjoying Malin Nilsson's act was the best part of it for me. I really wasn't getting into it with all the tea strainers, etc., then they cut to Penn and Teller in awe and I checked back in.

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The funny thing is the ONE thing Penn used as a justification for giving the Fool to the Swedish magician, the one thing he stated they couldn't figure out, is the one thing I'm pretty sure I understand to at least some degree (I'm talking about how the solid glass ball turned to water at the end).  Either Penn and Teller's view was somehow different than ours (unlikely--they had the same two dimensional screen view we did), or they just wanted to give it to her. Because I definitely saw the move she made--not that the whole act isn't still hugely impressive. I mean (and this could be the hair Penn is splitting), I could see the move, but the actual mechanics of how it worked aren't totally clear to me, even seeing where a substitution clearly happened was.

Edited by Kromm
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1 hour ago, Kromm said:

The funny thing is the ONE thing Penn used as a justification for giving the Fool to the Swedish magician, the one thing he stated they couldn't figure out, is the one thing I'm pretty sure I understand to at least some degree (I'm talking about how the solid glass ball turned to water at the end).  Either Penn and Teller's view was somehow different than ours (unlikely--they had the same two dimensional screen view we did), or they just wanted to give it to her. Because I definitely saw the move she made--not that the whole act isn't still hugely impressive. I mean (and this could be the hair Penn is splitting), I could see the move, but the actual mechanics of how it worked aren't totally clear to me, even seeing where a substitution clearly happened was.

I had a feeling they were going to give Malin the trophy, just because of how artistic it was.  I'm not convinced they were actually fooled.  Even if they didn't see the move, they could have made a guess on the move liked they've done many times in the past.  I think they just enjoyed the act and wanted to reward her.  The thing I liked about it was that it was very different.

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2 hours ago, theatremouse said:

My spouse said the same thing. There were bits we couldn't figure out, but the bit Penn specified as reason for fooling was not it.

The only aspect of that which wasn't clear was the storage aspect, so to speak (that's barely code, but whatever...). The move itself?  Not so much. 

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On 1/9/2021 at 10:20 PM, Kromm said:

Either Penn and Teller's view was somehow different than ours (unlikely--they had the same two dimensional screen view we did), or they just wanted to give it to her.

There have been a few occasions where I think they gave the trophy because they just really enjoyed the act. EDIT: I decided to find the acts I mentioned.

The quick change act, which I really enjoyed, is one of them. They could have easily guessed the way she did some of the things but didn't want to try.

The one with the man with the salt is another. I'm pretty sure I know what he did where they said they didn't.

https://youtu.be/9KQ2U-azaZc

I believe they didn't see the slight of hand with Tony Clark and the little box, but they had to have known how it was done.

https://youtu.be/_DwpOIAddkg

There hasn't been a time since the first season where I didn't like that they gave the award to someone, though. A couple of the acts that were cut from the American broadcast, even though they won, only did so because of technicalities that the show corrected on future seasons. Those comedians were trashed online, too. One was simply a language barrier and he was expecting them to answer yes or no but Penn was trying to speak in code, but others won because Penn didn't say something exact enough, and the people in the audience were saying it was clear they knew how the trick was done but the way the challenge rules read, they won. 

As I've mentioned before, I really enjoy seeing Penn and Teller enjoying the acts. I really like it when Penn tells them how much he hates everything about them and what they did, because they fooled them. 

Edited by Christina
Added video.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I just watched an episode that is labeled both Season 8 Episode 2 and Season 7, Episode 20+ so I'm putting it here. 

I have been a huge fan of Eric Chien since the first time I saw him, and actually tuned in to America's Got Talent when he was on. He did the same act on that show that he did on P&T. After seeing it, I watched an explanation about how it worked, which explained a few of the steps I didn't know before. He is excellent with sleight of hand and I knew how a lot of it was done when watching, but am still amazed at how polished his act is.

When Penn was telling him he was at a disadvantage because they were familiar with his act and had discussed him before, I was waiting for them to say he didn't fool then. Only Penn said he did. I can't figure out what changed between the acts that fooled P&T, or if it was another case of them missing something because they were just enjoying the act and wanted to give the trophy to him. It also would not be the first time that a magician had planned to perform one act and was act to perform another, like the man who did the nesting doll wine bottles, even though P&T would know how it was done.

I don't think this is the one I watched but here is a YouTube video explaining how the act is done, and here is the act on P&T

In any case, I'm happy he won and enjoyed the act, just really curious as to what fooled them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok, I need help! Can someone please explain the premise of the show? I watched P&T show the other day because there as nothing else on, and I have to admit I found nothing to the show. There were acts that came on and then after the act, P&T would decide if the magician fooled them or not. How do we know they were fooled or not? One magician came out, performed, and then P&T just said they knew how it was done! Huh? How do we know they know? Sure, P&T have around for years, but we the viewer want to know hoe they knew! At least I do. I would be fine if the show had several acts perform and a winner of the night was announced. Maybe given a cash prize and be able to perform in las Vegas. I love magic tricks and illusions, but this show fell flat for me.

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6 hours ago, rr2911 said:

Ok, I need help! Can someone please explain the premise of the show?

The basic premise is exactly as you said. A magician performs a trick or act and try to fool P&T. If you do they will invite you to perform at their show in Vegas. That is the prize along with bragging rights. The biggest reward that everyone gets is exposure. 

So how do we know they are fooled? There are judges who are told how everything works. They also can hear everything that P&T say when they are discussing off camera. They will be more detailed there. Now this show isn't "P&T Expose Your Trick" so they talk in code with the magician revealing how they think it was done. If you follow magic you at home can pick up on these codes as well. Adds to the fun. Now most times that is enough but there have been a few that required the judges to confirm a fool or not. 

They've been doing this show for over 10 years. 7 seasons in US and a few seasons on the BBC. People of all levels and fame come on the show. Sometimes just to get the exposure knowing they won't fool. Sometimes to show a classic illusion to a new audience. Many personally know P&T and are challenging themselves. It is a fun rivalry between professionals. We have seen magicians purposely do a move as a red herring to get P&T guess wrong. 

Over the years there have been some amazing acts. I wouldn't base your opinion on one episode filmed during covid. Track down some old episodes or just individual acts on YouTube. 

Hope that helps. 

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First, realize this is an entertaining show. It's NOT a competition show (like Survivor or AGT or stuff like that). Sure there is a "prize", but the real prize is the (inter)national exposure magicians get in performing their trick on TV (not to mention the thousands/millions of Youtube hits their trick will get afterwards). 

It's a way for P&T to use their own celebrity status to give a leg up to other magicians, either up and coming magicians, or experienced ones who might be less well known; or even famous ones that they just want to show off with. That's part of the reason why even when P&T aren't fooled, they usually gush about the trick in detail, especially if it is a younger magician still starting out. They don't want to discourage anyone and want to make sure new magicians are encouraged. In fact, Penn rarely is 'really' angry at a magician. He isn't the type to follow the "If you can't say anything nice...." policy, but on this show that is what he usually does. Over the long run of the show I think you could count on one, maybe two hands, the number of magicians P & T obviously don't like. (Of course one trick Penn often does is mock-anger. Usually it's only with a magician they already know fairly well so P&T know how they would take an anger filled rant, and usually it is because they are legit fooled by something the magician did. If Penn seems to be angry at you, it's a good sign you're about to get a trophy. 🙂 )

That isn't to say there isn't some amount of competitiveness involved. Like all fields, there is a certain amount of pride involved, and if a magician can do something that fools P&T, it is a significant boost for them. But for us the viewers, it's an excuse to watch 4-5 Magicians do some magic on TV. (including a P&T trick as well)

As noted, this isn't P&T Expose the Trick. That's why Penn talks in code. They do have backstage judges who fully know how the trick works (and make sure it follows the rules of the show; like making sure random audience participants are really random, and no camera tricks); and those judges will let Allison know if P&T guessed right or if they were fooled. 

I'd say when they are fooled, they are REALLY fooled about 80% of the time. The other times, it is obvious that they are just impressed by the trick and/or the magician and granted the FU trophy because of the act in general. 

And personally, as a long time viewer, I think the code talking Penn does is part of the charm of the show. I know I certainly listen closely and often google to try and translate the clues to get a better idea of how it was done. I think I can safely guess about 50% of the tricks now, but even knowing HOW they are done, I'm still completely amazed that they can pull that slight of hand off so smoothly.  

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lynxfx and  Taeolas, thanks for explaining the show. Ok, just to see if I understood you all. There are judges that know the trick. Penn is explaining how they think the trick worked "in codes". The judges confirm to Penn whether or not P&T got fooled or not. Right?

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