Mythbusters is a long-running show, with 14 seasons and 267 episodes under its belt. It was recently announced that the show was coming to an end, and stars Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman seem equal parts saddened and relieved by the news. 12 years is a very long time to work on a single show, and the shooting schedule for Mythbusters was often punishing.
There's much to say about the show, but one of the most interesting aspects of Mythbusters is the fact that the working relationship between Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman is built on respect and mutual appreciation for what they do, which is a very adult way to create a show for 14 seasons ... especially when the two don't like each other.
This may be news to casual fans, but it's been openly discussed for years. The two stars don't get along, and have no relationship outside of the show.
"We like to point out we’ve known each other for 25 years and never once sat down to have dinner alone together," Hyneman told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview. "We sort of managed to tolerate each other. I think it’s probably safe to say that continuing our onscreen relationship in front of the camera is probably not happening. I expect Adam may well pursue things in front of the camera, but I’m most likely not. It’s not who I am. This has been a very rewarding and interesting decade, but its not really what I’m cut out for."
Savage also addressed the situation in this video:
"We're not afraid to say something that will hurt the others' feelings, because we don't care," Savage says, which is a quote that sounds brutal on paper but works within the wider context of what he's saying. "We consider it a point of pride that the right idea always wins — it doesn't matter whose it is."
There are arguments to be made over the rigor of the experiments on Mythbusters, but the amount of work that goes into each episode, including the fabrication and design done by the team, is staggering. The fact that the two of them have been able to work together for this long while not being able to stand each other's company, more or less, is something rare in pop culture: It's a working relationship based purely on respect and mutual gain.
The fact that they're both so honest and open about it is also refreshing.
"We get on each other’s nerves and everything all the time, but whenever that happens, we say so and we deal with it and move on," Hyneman told Access Hollywood back in 2014. "There are times that we really dislike dealing with each other, but we make it work."
It's also interesting to note that these arguments used to be a larger part of the show, until they pushed back against an unnamed producer and worked on how their relationship was dealt with and portrayed on-screen.
It's not even like they're able to hide it that well: Savage always comes off as an enthusiastic puppy in front of the camera, happy to be there in front of people doing his thing. Hyneman always seems to barely be able to hide his irritation at the situation; he's the grumpy uncle who is willing to pose for family pictures because there's beer and steak afterwards.
"I’d put it this way: I like the building and engineering so much, and if I’m doing something in front of the camera, it takes 5–10 times as long as if I was just making it," he said. "For somebody who truly is interested in design and engineering, it’s frustrating. I’m like a race horse attached to a freight wagon."
This interplay between the two, based on equal parts respect and annoyance, made up a huge part of the show's appeal. They're a television odd couple that enjoyed blowing shit up and, as long as they got to do so, they were happy to be near each other.