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For its first season, TruTV's Adam Ruins Everything gave audiences a whopping 26 episodes, and with three different sub-topics covered in each, that means there were 78 different avenues of research for the show's creative team to travel down. When host and creator Adam Conover recently spoke with CinemaBlend about the recently debuted Season 2, I had to ask just how the show chose which subjects get pegged for closer inspection. Here's what he told me:
We have a real synthetic pitch process. We have a large writer and research room. Everyone is invited to pitch, and people just pitch topics that they're interested in. We put them on a corkboard, and the one that are strongest are the ones that we keep, and then we sorta say, 'Hey, let's see if these will go into an episode.' Now, there are a couple episodes where we know what we want the title of the episode to be, and so we try to find the topics to go there. We're doing one this year 'Adam Ruins Science,' that is gonna be towards the end of our season, and I knew I wanted to do one about science form the first year, about why science isn't perfect. And how science sometimes make mistakes. I think that's interesting. And in my head, that's not a knock on science. It's just the facts and the things that we misunderstand about science. I wanted to get that across that science includes tolerance for error. So we went out and said, 'let's find three topics within science.' That's kinda tough to do. So we usually try to put the most interesting facts on the board, and then find a circle to draw around them.
I don't know about you guys, but Adam Ruins Everything pitch meetings sound like some of the most fun times imaginable for a day-to-day gig. Sure, that sounds proudly nerdy, but I'd be all about sitting in a room full of intelligent minds, figuring out ways to make the general population that much smarter and more informed. Especially when the topics are generally enjoyable things that are relatable to many people, like sex, drugs, Christmas, summer, restaurants and the Internet. It might be occasionally disconcerting to get proven wrong on a few things that were assumed to be true, but it's all for the greater good.
A subject as broad as "Science," with all of its many different starting points for episodic purposes, might have seemed like a Season 1 topic, but part of the beauty of Adam Ruins Everything is that just about anything can work if it's angled the right way, offering near-infinite potential for future episodes. In fact, Adam Conover told me at least one episode in Season 2 was reverse-engineered from the above-mentioned method, allowing otherwise unrelated curiosities to combine for a common cause.
For instance, we're doing an episode, 'Adam Ruins His Vacation,' and that came about because we had three really great topics coming up, and we said, 'How can this go together?' We have the history of Mount Rushmore, that's got a really rich history. And we wanted to do this thing about how slot machines are addictive and are designed to be addictive. And then we wanted to do something about the history of Hawaii, because Hawaii has a weird and fucked up history that almost nobody knows. And we go, 'Oh, Adam could be on vacation, from Mount Rushmore to Vegas to Hawaii.' So that's how we arrived at that one. Just sort of see what we can circle.
When life hands Adam Ruins Everything a fruit, a container, a faucet and a sweetener, the show creates factual lemonade, no matter how it needs to get there. The writing squad doesn't have an easy job when challenging the topics at hand, because the show approaches topics in sometimes unexpected ways, while also dissuading viewers from continued faith in age-old beliefs based on untruths and disinformation. But even Adam Conover can't possibly ruin "dedicated researchers," and the truTV hit puts its citations where its mouth is, right there on the screen, just in case anyone thought the legwork wasn't being done behind the scenes. And we can all thank the host himself for the show's overly factual aesthetic.
Adam Ruins Everything is just getting into the swing of things with Season 2, which airs on truTV on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. ET. Check out what shocked Adam Conover about the childbirth-related season premiere, and then head to our summer TV schedule to see all the other new and returning shows hitting the small screen soon.