When this past season of Mythbusters ended, so did an era. Tory Belleci, Kari Byron, and Grant Imahara, the erstwhile “Build Team,” are no longer part of the show. After Mythbusters started as a vehicle for Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, Tory, Kari, and Grant soon became an integral part of the show, handling their own myths in most episodes whilst bringing a unique energy and dynamic to the show. This trio will be missed, but in their decade on the show they tackled some tremendously fun myths. In honor of the Build Team’s tenure coming to an end, here are the best myths these three ever took on. Thanks for all the good times, guys, and good luck on your future ventures.
This was a small part of the Mythbusters’ “Special Supersized Myths” episode, which also showed The Build Team blowing stuff over with a jet engine. While that bit was cool (a school bus went flying through the air), it wasn’t quite as cool as the sight of Tory waterskiing behind an actual cruise ship. Supersized, indeed.
Seth Rogen’s The Green Hornet movie may not have had much success, but at least it led to a rather good episode of Mythbusters. In this myth, the gang built a replica of the car from the film, shot it up with bullets, and then tried to cut it in half with an elevator surrogate. That didn’t end up working, but then they cut a car in half, briefly drove it around, and then modified it further so that Tory was able to drive it for an extended period of time at 20 miles per hour. A silver lining stemming for a blockbuster bomb, if there ever was one.
This myth came from the trio’s penultimate episode, but it doesn’t involve any fancy explosions, or crazy builds. It was a much more practical assessment of whether or not there is a difference between weaving through traffic on the freeway, and staying in one lane. The mythbusting experiment was an interesting one to watch, with a result that had actual relevance to those of us who will never try and drive half a car. Along with their experiment about whether it’s faster to fly or to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles, this was also a window into the excellent camaraderie that the three had built up over the years. It is that dynamic that will be missed.
These guys seemed to build an inordinate amount of cannons. Ice cannons, duct tape cannons, and so on and so forth. So why does Cheese Cannon make the list while the others don’t? Because they shot wheels of cheese out of a cannon! Not only that, the cheese actually put a whole in a ship’s sail, confirming the myth. It wasn’t their most impressive cannon myth, but it was the most enjoyable.
Sure, a myth about building a weapon that can decapitate a person, and bring the head back to you is a bit grim. But it made for a good myth. It was one of many times where Grant, Kari, and Tory competed to create their own designs, and things culminated with Tory putting his winning design to the test in a makeshift ninja battle. Violent, but fun.
The “big booms” are synonymous with Mythbusters, but some of us don’t necessarily get overly excited about something going up in a big explosion or fireball. That being said, Sawdust Cannon is still awesome, because the result was so unexpectedly massive. In particular, when the gang made a bigger cannon, and filled it with non-dairy creamer, it created perhaps the most iconic fire in the show’s history. Sometimes, bigger is better.
A handful of myths tied into this one. First, there was the test to see if a frozen turkey could crush a human foot, or a small pet. The experiment involving the latter led to the great Kari Byron line, “That is messed up!” Then they tested different ways to keep a Christmas tree fresh and green. It was simple, but interesting, and there was some good humor in it as well. For example, we learned that Viagra might be good for a Christmas tree.
Fireworks Man is one of the myths that got revisited during the show’s run. The myth involved a man attaching 400 rockets to himself and flying 150 feet off a ramp before landing safely in a lake. The first time around, they got Buster the crash test dummy, off the ramp. But he crashed well before reaching 150 feet. When they revisited it, they tested with NASA, used 500 fireworks, got Buster to fly a whopping 700 feet, and changed the verdict from “Busted” to “Confirmed.” Science in action, and also a dummy with 500 fireworks attached to him.
Mythbusters sometimes took on experiments concerning ninjas, superheroes, and frivolous things like that. But they often led to some of the better myths. With Underwater Blow Dart the Build Team got to play ninjas, hiding underwater while trying to hit their targets with a blow gun. Every aspect of the test provided something interesting, even if they never put all of the pieces together at once.
The earliest myth on this list (from a 2006 episode), this became one of the most notable experimental procedures for The Build Team, as it led to the infamous curse of the snowplow. All Grant, Kari, and Tory had to do was test whether or not a high speed snowplow passing a car could cause the car to flip over. But they ran into a host of problems with the plow, which added some serious drama to the proceedings. The final result wasn’t all that exciting, but the process was memorable.
This wasn’t a flashy myth, but we got to see the trio dressed like old timey movie prisoners, as they climbed down the face of a courthouse. What the team members used in lieu of rope is made this one of the best myths. Tory used toilet paper. Grant used bed sheets. Kari used human hair. They all worked. Kari Byron made a rope out of human hair and then climbed down the face of a building. This is Mythbusters in one of its finest moments.
Another doubled up myth. The premise of the experiment is that a boat going 25 miles per hour can be split down the middle by hitting a channel market. The first time they got a boat, but only did the test on land with their boat the Mythity Split. So, the second time around, they tested it on water, a more daunting task, but once again it was busted. Then, naturally, they went to that awesome rocket sled place and completely split the boat in half. Also, while neither Mythity Split was one of their better, more elaborate works, the art and design done by the trio, particularly Kari, needs to be noted. There’s nothing wrong with science looking good.
An experiment that was both funny and practical, Tory and Grant tested various cures for the heat that comes along with eating certain foods. Basically, Tory and Grant ate spicy food, and then used stuff like toothpaste and petroleum jelly to try and alleviate the pain. Spoiler alert for those looking for an answer: milk is the only one that worked.
The Build Team tried to distract a guard dog with steaks (among other things), but that’s not where the magic happened. All the wacky designs the three came up with to try and get past the dog made for this myth experiment’s best moments. Tory hid himself under a barrel with wheels, which was amusing, albeit unsuccessful. Kari went America Gladiators on us with a giant hamster ball that almost worked. Then, of course, Grant built a robot. Specifically, it was a freaky-looking, but ultimately awesome robotic cat. Grant’s robotic skills were a huge boom to the show, and it will be interesting to see what the show does to replace them.
This one seems so simple, and so small, but it was one of the best things to come out of the show. The trio tested the myth of whether or not you can fold a piece of paper more than seven times. The early stuff was interesting, but it’s the big finale that was memorable. The guys took a gigantic piece of paper, and with a huge crew and a steamroller and a forklift folded it 11 times. You might not believe that seeing a piece of paper getting folded eight times makes for great television. Some of us would beg to differ.
This was the final big, spectacle of awesome that The Build Team performed on the show. In this episode we bore witness to two people standing on airplane wings attached to a moving truck hitting a tennis ball back and forth. Tory and a pro tennis player were on a truck going 35 miles per hour, were able to complete over five hits standing 32 feet apart. Being on an actual plane is the only thing that would have made this more impressive—but the myth as is was good enough.
The team got to tackle three skydiving myths from the seminal surfing bank robber movie Point Break, which meant that Grant also got to play Keanu Reeves in some cheap dramatizations of the film. Basically, it involved a bunch of people jumping out of a plane. But it was very entertaining, even if it robbed Point Break of some of the verisimilitude on which it thrives.
The Build Team went back to the snowplow to see if a certain kind of plow could split a car in half. This one was more successful than their first snowplow test, and we got to see cars get almost split in half, though none ever went all the way. That is, until they revisited things with the rocket sled, of course. At that point, they did split a car in half with a flying wedge that went 550 miles per hour, and then disintegrated.
This was the best build Grant, Kari, and Tory ever pulled off. They constructed a seven-foot ball out of Legos. They used millions of Lego bricks, and the ball, when finished, weighed 3,000 pounds. It was a sight to behold. Then they rolled it down hill towards a car, but the ball fell apart. It was too beautiful for this world. Also, the test proved that a similar video on the internet was fake—a shocking revelation for us all.
Mythbusters often tackled movie myths, and this was the best of them all. It dealt with four different instances of cars crashing into things while driving. There was a fruit stand, a locked gate, a camper trailer, and they also tried to drive under a big rig too. Some of the worked out. Some didn’t. The high speed footage of the car driving through the fruit stand was fantastic. And the vehicle did actually drive under the big rig, got its top ripped off, and then kept driving. Eventually it went over a berm, and flew into the air over a fence. The look on everybody’s face was priceless. This is how we shall remember Grant, Kari, and Tory.
Chris Morgan is an Internet gadabout who writes on a variety of topics and in a variety of mediums. If he had to select one thing to promote, however, it would be his ’90s blog/podcast, Existential Parachute Pants can also follow him on Twitter.)