Saturday, December 26, 2009

Is MacGyver Not-So-Environmentally-Friendly?

Known for his phobia for firearms due to a childhood trauma, does MacGyver tend resort to not-so-environmentally-friendly ways of escape when faced with a sticky situation?

By: Ringo Bones

It did happen – or at least the shows writers and directors allowed it to happen – on a particular episode titled “Bushmaster” where MacGyver’s pathological fear of firearms resorted him to use a less-than-environmentally-friendly means of escape. While being unjustly imprisoned in a nondescript Banana Republic jail, Mac and company resorted to using a canister of Freon gas – probably the older highly ozone depleting variety – to bust a prison door lock by super-cooling the metal to make it brittle.

As I’ve wondered how much ozone molecules in our planet’s ozone layer Mac managed to deplete. It seems unlikely that the Mythbusters will be testing this particular MacGyver stunt in order to check out if it works in real life – as opposed to the film-physics of Hollywood – due to environmental concerns. More contentious still, this particular MacGyver episode was originally aired during the year when the leading industrialized nations of the world were busy finalizing the still groundbreaking global environmental treaty called the Montreal Accord. That called for a legally binding phase-out of the use of ozone-depleting chemicals in refrigeration and other parts of industry starting in 1987.

Did Angus MacGyver / Richard Dean Anderson used a real Freon cylinder / canister as a prop used to escape in the prison set of this particular episode? I hope not, given Mac’s environmental stance on subsequent episodes. I just hope that they used something more environmentally friendly in replicating the effect of breaking a prison lock via super-cooling than an ozone-depleting canister full of Freon. For those not so lazy MacGyver fans, please check out if this is so.


Heidi Gail said...

Have you seen that Tiananmen Square episode of MacGyver when he saves a dissident from the Mainland?

Ringo said...

I have vague memories about this particular MacGyver episode because I was juggling between college and ROTC at the time. This particular episode is where MacGyver rescues a Tiananmen Square dissident and one of the highlights is when "Mac" used a bunch of high-pressure water hoses as a jet-pack. Probably too politically scathing to be aired by the Hong Kong and Singapore based TV stations - and even as a subject matter in a Mythbusters episode - I may blog on this once I gather more info.

May Anne said...

This particular episode was titled Children of Light. It originally aired back in November 6, 1989 and for obvious reasons Hong Kong based Star World didn't aired it during their MacGyver reruns some years ago. Inexplicably, even Philippine based cable channels haven't aired it too.
The episode is about a Mainland Chinese student with a video tape of the Tiananmen Square uprising and subsequent massacre. The student seeks MacGyver's help in order to expose the atrocities of the Beijing Government to the world. The Beijing Government even protested when a Vancouver building was made into the episode's Chinese Consulate.
Other highlights of the episode includes a tool traced back to Mainland China due to its iron isotope content when tested under a mass spectrometer. And that unforgettable use of high-pressure water hoses by MacGyver as a jet-pack. Even the Mythbusters are "suspiciously" chickened out of featuring this - probably the Mythbusters' team's series franchise has vested interests with the Beijing government.