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The Crazed Spruce

S05.E01: Penn the Magic Dragon

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Watching right now. I liked Marcy, I didn’t really like the Sentimentalists (though at least the girl was cute). I was kinda disappointed that the former lost and the latter won, though I think hearing P&T laugh so hard at Marcy’s act should make it worth it for him. 

It seems like the Sentimentalists won mostly because there are so many possibilities for how the mentalism effect could be done. But it just didn’t seem particularly interesting or novel; I saw the same kind of trick, done rather similarly, in a ‘30s Charlie Chan flick (of all things…). The more I watch this show, the more I’m convinced of what Penn said about Marcy: it’s not the song but the singer, and I’m growing to appreciate how someone does a trick even more than the trick itself. Oh well, random musings...

Watching Andrew Evans right now. Looking forward to Piff, as always.

Edited by Salzmank
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It's true there are a ton of ways to do what the Sentimentalists did.  But really my guess would be a similar method to what The Clairvoyants used (pretty much every time) on America's Got Talent a few seasons ago.  I won't say what that was here in the clear, and it does take skill, but the concept itself isn't that hard, just the execution.

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I agree with you guys. In terms of performance I would rank it:

1) Marcy's powerpoint. Funny, and "Invisible Deck" / Ultra Mental Deck (ID / UMD) is perhaps my favorite trick.
2) Evan's levitation. Well presented and a fair modern twist on a classic.
3) The Sentimentalists. There just wasn't much to it, to the extent that I wonder if editors clipped it or they were told to rush. Fine trick, needs more "wow".
4) Chamber's beer production. The patter felt very forced. He needs to deliver in a way that sounds like he is speaking naturally and not in a way that sounds like he's trying to remember his lines while balancing glasses of beer. I thought the productions were fine if unsurprising.

The Piff & Pop trick is fun. I like combining the prediction scroll with a little bit of improv. The character contrast nicely highlight's Piff's grumpiness. I did know they've worked on t his a lot, but seeing Teller as the Squire was surprising and funny.

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15 hours ago, Salzmank said:

the more I’m convinced of what Penn said about Marcy: it’s not the song but the singer, 

It was really amusing to hear this statement right before the Sentimentalists came on, because I think they perfectly demonstrated that the inverse is equally true.

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12 hours ago, Kromm said:

It's true there are a ton of ways to do what the Sentimentalists did.  But really my guess would be a similar method to what The Clairvoyants used (pretty much every time) on America's Got Talent a few seasons ago.  I won't say what that was here in the clear, and it does take skill, but the concept itself isn't that hard, just the execution.

I’ll have to take a look at the AGT clip. Thanks.

I really like mentalism because it does seem truly amazing when you see it, especially when you see it live—but, like big-scale illusions (which I don’t like half as much as I like mentalism), it’s just not the best kind of magic for this show. (I know mentalists will take umbrage at that last statement because they don’t think they’re doing “magic tricks,” but so be it.) Still, of course it’s great to see all kinds of magic on here—which is exactly why the staging, the performances, etc., are so important. There was a couple a few seasons back who did a good job with a mentalism effect, and—though the actual performances were somewhat stilted—they came off as very warm and friendly when they talked with the host (I can’t remember if it was Jonathan or Allison) after the trick.

4 hours ago, Amarsir said:

3) The Sentimentalists. There just wasn't much to it, to the extent that I wonder if editors clipped it or they were told to rush. Fine trick, needs more "wow".

Definitely. More “wow” is a good way to describe it, a kind of theatrical je ne sais quoi. I also thought they’d do more than one trick (or are the producers and P&T following the “one trick [or, at least, one method] only” rule/suggestion/guideline more closely this season? All of the performers, other than P&T and Piff, seemed rushed or edited for some reason, at least to me). 

I liked Chambers, though the patter (especially in the beginning) did feel forced. I expected all the productions, but I greatly enjoyed the act.

Wasn’t an Evans fan, unfortunately. Something seemed off.

Piff and Penn… I liked it, I think the humor could have been a little better, though. I’ve never found Penn’s improv (or apparent improv) humor all that funny; I prefer it when the trick itself is humorous (“Lift Off of Love”) or when it’s Teller’s reactions that drive the comedy. I think Piff’s humor got better as the trick went on. Still fun.

1 hour ago, ae2 said:

It was really amusing to hear this statement right before the Sentimentalists came on, because I think they perfectly demonstrated that the inverse is equally true.

Aye. I don’t know what was up with the Sentimentalists, but everything was off with that trick.

 

And one major mystery remains: why does Piff’s dad have an American accent? These Ottawan dragons and their non-Ottawan accents, I tell ya! ;) 

Edited by Salzmank
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Has there ever been more than one fooler per episode? Because once it happens, that ruins the "suspense" for the rest of the episode.

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20 minutes ago, opus said:

Has there ever been more than one fooler per episode? Because once it happens, that ruins the "suspense" for the rest of the episode.

Yes, but more in the first two seasons than the last two. “A Bellyful of Needles,” from the first season, has two particularly good foolers. And some episodes don’t have any foolers at all—again, fewer episodes like that in the last two seasons, though. I think the producers want a fool per episode, which (as you say) is pretty ridiculous.

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1 hour ago, Salzmank said:

And one major mystery remains: why does Piff’s dad have an American accent? These Ottawan dragons and their non-Ottawan accents, I tell ya! ;) 

Pop the Magic Dragon skipped out on the family 300 years ago and moved to America. When he heard his son had it it big in Vegas he decided to reconnect in order to freeload. (Seriously, Penn came up with this backstory for him.)

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The Levitation trick was good, the patter was fun and it was a different take on a standard trick. I'm not sure how best they

Spoiler

anchored everything, other than she was clearly getting a shoulder joint in place to be levitated with. 

 

The power point card trick was fun. I think I understand how it could be done; the trickiest part was picking the card from where he stashed it while it was face down I think. Or something like that. I have no idea how the trick was done. 

 

The Aussie had some bad camera angles sometimes but it was fun and themed. 

 

For the Sentimentalists, there are many ways I could think it was done,

Spoiler

but it was without a doubt a 3 person act. Maybe it was a red herring, but one sheet did fall out of the booth as the rest were dumped in. I suspect that one was marked somehow and the image passed along, probably by the collector.

If someone does know how those clairvoyance tricks work, I am curious, and wouldn't mind reading it on the spoiler thread we have here. 

 

Piff and Pop's trick went on a bit long, but the scroll tricks are fun. 

Edited by Taeolas
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I was not impressed by the engineer guy. I liked the premise and the patter, but the execution was off, or maybe blame the camera guy/editing, but I saw him and her both do the things that give away how it works. I mean, I know how that one works anyway, but I've seen it done before where I only knew because I knew, not because I could see it.

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