OK, they're not exactly fictional, but...
"Am I missing an eyebrow?"
Tropes associated with Adam:
- Awesomeness by Analysis: In a few episodes, Adam is given the task of figuring out the measurements of certain props or rigs just by examining video footage. According to Jamie, he's well-known in the industry for his ability to do this.
- Brief Accent Imitation: A running gag during the exposition segments is for him to impersonate someone or something (like a walrus).
- Can't Hold His Liquor: During a first-season test of (supposed) ways to beat a breathalyzer test, Adam is getting pretty loopy ... and when tested, blows a 0.03 BAC (For non-US tropers, 0.08 is the minimum blood alcohol level for a Driving Under The Influence charge in most U.S. states, including California). Might be due to the fact that Adam is kind of loopy even when he's stone-cold sober.
- Character Development: Yes, it even applies to people who aren't playing characters. In the show's formative days, Adam was more lively than Jamie, yes, but certainly far more reserved than you see him in future episodes. Apparently as he grew hair, his personality became more vibrant (he started the show with a very short haircut and almost no beard).
- Several other cases throughout the series. For example, in the first episode of season two, Adam had trouble hitting his target with the gun provided (justified as he was a novice shooter at the time). This gave him an early reputation as a poor shot, which stuck with him until the "Shooting the Scope" myth showed his aim had improved significantly. His shooting skills have since improved to the point that he now seems to be better with a pistol than Jamie.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Fails onscreen more often than he succeeds, and Jamie usually designs better rigs, but Adam often replicates props from movies using only stills from the film or even occasionally gets the actual props themselves.
- Also, according to Jamie in one of the web videos, Adam is widely known in the special effects business for being able to make good models and machines extremely quickly.
- Dude, Not Funny!: An In-Universe example. Adam enjoys a prank as much as the next person, and probably dishes out more than anyone else on the show by far. But when the build team shocked him with a real electrical current during the "Bagdad Battery" myth, he did NOT take it well.
- It's worth noting the Build Team were directed to do this by one of the show's producers. That producer is no longer with the show. Make of it what you will.
- Eyebrows Burned Off: An accident during a first-season episode provided the page quote.
- Forgets to Eat: According to Jamie, Adam is known to forget to eat, which makes him cranky due to low blood sugar. Which means that Jamie's suggestion that Adam "go have a cookie" during a brief meltdown in the ping-pong ball flotation myth was actually not a joke. Apparently this happens quite a bit off screen as well.
- For Science!: "I ate a radio for science" is just one example of what he will do in the name of science.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Optimist
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: VERY Sanguine!
- Fun Personified: He's as close to a Real Life example as you're likely to find.
- Fun T-Shirt: Including several with his own quotes.
- Good with Numbers: He's often shown onscreen doing mental calculations, and he rarely gets them wrong.
- Green Around the Gills: His Weaksauce Weakness. Gets seasick during pretty much any myth where he and Jamie take to the water. When the show tested seasickness cures, the NASA-inspired motion sickness chair often triggered a nauseous response within seconds. He even got motion sickness in a few not-so-obvious scenarios (swinging the bone cage, bungee-jump apple bobbing).
- Honest John's Dealership: Adam will occasionally structure his "look what we just built!" into infomercial format. He goes full-Honest John about the thirty-second mark of this set of outtakes, when he tries selling the viewers cars that he and Jamie just rammed with a reinforced dumptruck.
- The Hyena: Laughs a lot, and it's notable whenever he doesn't find things funny because that usually means he's dead serious.
- Iconic Outfit: His black t-shirt and jeans.
- Identical Stranger: Adam bears a scarier resemblance to Danny Elfman. He's also been compared to a "foul-mouthed Gordon Freeman".
- Comic book artist and animator Bruce Timm looks like a younger, clean-shaven Adam.
- The Klutz: "He gives good pain", says the producers.
- Large Ham: Tory once said that he wasn't surprised Adam would end up in a show like this since he always acted like he was on camera anyway.
- Manchild: His optimism often makes him seem like he's acting like a teenager.
- Medium Awareness: He's the member of the team most likely to "interact" with The Narrator, and to predict how the show will be cut together.
- Motor Mouth: Used to the advantage of the show's production as he's often the one filling us in on the details of what he and Jamie are testing, combined with his quirky personality for flavor.
- Nice Hat: The cowboy hat he frequently wears.
- Also, if any test result is remotely compatible with his head, he will wear it.
- One of the Kids: Comports himself with the manic glee of a fourteen year-old with bullfrogs and an unlimited supply of firecrackers.
- Pyromaniac: He burned off his eyebrows in the first season, and still hasn't learned his lesson before, or since, but that's part of his charm.
- Snark Ball: He's usually goofy and energetic, but will sometimes grab this. Especially when Jamie is the target of the snark.Adam: Want to try [blowing up a trombone] again?Jamie: Sure, why not.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He and Jamie have made it clear that they have a good deal of respect for each other but on an interpersonal level they annoy each other to no end and do not hang out after work. Adam is fond of noting that they've known each other profesionally for over twenty years, but have never had dinner together. Occasionally, this makes it past the editing and we see Adam annoyed at Jamie's fussiness and methodical approach. With that said, their mutual joy at what they are doing is often apparent as well, and if Jamie is upset or frightened (such as when they test myths involving extreme heights, which Jamie hates), he does show a fair amount of concern for his co-host.
Tropes associated with Jamie:
- Badass Mustache: It has been compared to that of a walrus.
- Bulletproof Fashion Plate: Multiple members of the cast and crew have expressed bafflement at how he always manages to keep his white shirt spotless. Turns out he actually was using (and continues to use) a special clothing treatment that basically makes any fabric it's applied to impervious to most liquids.
- The Comically Serious: The show gets a lot of mileage juxtaposing his stoic demeanor and Adam's antics.
- Crazy-Prepared: He has a habit of not throwing things away if they could be useful; as a result, a great deal of useful stuff can be found in the vast and iconic "wall of boxes" at M5 (over 700 at last count). He also has this approach to life experiences; "better save up those skills; you never know when they'll come in handy"—as they often do on this show.
- Deadpan Snarker: His stoic exterior conceals a wicked sense of humor. Discovery has exploited this in two series of clips entitled "Jamie's Joke of the Week" and "AHA (Ask the Hyneman Anything)" where he tells jokes and dispenses advice.
- Doesn't Like Guns: He's said on Twitter that while he admires the engineering of a gun's design and enjoys using them in myths, he's never actually owned one and is okay with that.
- Expansion Pack Past: Provides the page quote. Adam frequently provides details on Jamie's past to the point it's almost a Multiple-Choice Past—apparently Jamie is descended from a line of "track-straighteners" dating back to the middle ages, worked for the mob, and may be an alien and/or over two thousand years old. Or Theodore Roosevelt, to whom he bears a pretty uncanny resemblance. His real past, though not as funny, is genuinely awesome: he ran away from home at 14 and hitchhiked across the U.S., has a degree in Russian linguistics, and has been, in alphabetical order, an animal wrangler, a boat captain, a chef, a concrete inspector, a machinist, a pet shop owner, a scuba divemaster, and a wilderness survival instructor. And that's not even a complete list.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Cynic
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic, complete opposite of the fellow buster he usually works with, Adam.
- Gender-Blender Name: James Franklin Hyneman commonly goes by Jamie.
- Hates Being Touched: Has no problems with handshakes or high-fives, but Jamie apparently doesn't like being hugged.
- Honorary Uncle: Considering Adam's description of the team as "like family", it is fitting that Jamie has been occasionally referred to as "Uncle Jamie" — twice by Adam, of all people ("Ancient Death Ray", 2004 — during the "What is Bulletproof?" segment, and again during "Tablecloth Chaos" in 2010) and also by Robert Lee, the narrator ("Viral Hour", 2008, during the Sawdust cannon section.).
- Human Alien: "This crater is about the same size as the one left by Jamie when he first came to Earth." — Adam Savage
- Iconic Outfit: His button-down white shirt, dark long-sleeved undershirt, and khakis that never ever get mussed up or stained.
- Identical Stranger: Jamie is starting to bear an increasingly striking resemblance to Dr. Robotnik. Others feel he looks more like Doobie Brothers / Steely Dan guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, Swedish painter Carl Larsson◊ or, as noted on This Very Wiki, Friedrich Nietzsche◊.
- Limited Wardrobe/Iconic Outfit: Rarely will you find Jamie not wearing his white shirt and beret. When he and Adam meet Barack Obama Adam is in a nicely tailored suit and Jamie is in the same clothes he always wears.
- Lampshaded in the Star Wars special, where he first teased Adam about his tendency to dress up, then willingly donned a Luke Skywalker costume for the Death Star swing escape.
- Made of Iron: During initial tests for the pain tolerance episode, Adam was showing his discomfort and Jamie, well, wasn't. Robert Lee commented that Jamie is so tough "he sometimes rusts".
- Memetic Badass: If he isn't among the fanbase, he sure as hell is among the cast and crew, who regularly describe him as "abnormally strong". In the "Car Cling" myth, Adam even cites a number of the badass things that Jamie's done over the course of the show, such as climbing up the side of a building using only a rope, and bashing down a door with his shoulder.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Thanks to Adam's joking around.
- Neat Freak: Perfectly encapsulated by the sign he put up in M5: "Clean Up or Die".
- Never Gets Drunk: Plays with the trope. It's often difficult to notice when he's drunk compared to sober, and he seems to be immune to the beer goggles effect. However, as shown in the "Driving Blind" episode, he can get sufficiently drunk to be a road hazard, even by proxy...not to mention a bit goofy.
- Nice Hat: His trademark beret. He realized that a shaved head looked better than a badly receding hairline but then realized that hair does things like protect the scalp from the sun and helps regulate body temperature so he started wearing hats. The beret stuck around because it works for him.
- Nice Shoes: His red Converse sneakers.
- Not So Above It All: Put him inside an outfit that fully covers him and obscures his face, such as the recurring bomb suit, and he becomes just as much of a goofball as Adam.
- Not So Stoic: Jamie has some issues with heights. Cue rope bridges and jumping from a 10m platform.
- One of the Kids: While drunk, comports himself with the sleepy goodwill of an exhausted, precocious toddler on a long car ride.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: One theory, proposed by Adam.
- Screaming Warrior: He does this while charging at Adam with a (fake) dagger when they test the "never bring a knife to a gunfight" myth.
- Shrouded in Myth: According to Adam.Adam: It's been said that this crater is not unlike the one left by Jamie when he first came to Earth.
- The Stoic: Especially in earlier episodes, where Jamie calling out Adam and the producers on deliberately trying to provoke him was practically a Running Gag.
- He seems to play up his stoic image for a laugh in the men versus women episode. When the MythBusters are told to show various emotions for a test to see who can read emotions better. Jamie says the emotion... then keeps his face completely expressionless.
- Not So Stoic: Has gotten more prone to joking around and visibly enjoying himself during myth testing as the show has gone on.
- This is perhaps a case of Character Development as with Adam since it's been mentioned that early on in the show, he was not particularly comfortable on camera and took the job fairly seriously. With time and exposure, it's possible he's gotten comfortable with the idea that for a fairly lighthearted show, it allows for a fairly serious platform for science and education.
- A more serious take on this trope appeared in the second duct tape episode, where they made a bridge using only duct tape. It was revealed then that Jamie is acrophobic (a fact that had been briefly mentioned in the Hammer Bridge Drop myth back in season one), and his voice increasingly betrays his fear as he continues to test the bridge, even as a) he's wearing a safety rig, and b) Adam already successfully crossed under the same circumstances. Becomes a heartwarming/awesome moment when he finally makes it and Adam announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, they are made of brass, Mr. Jamie Hyneman."
- Stout Strength: Visible during his occasional Shirtless Scene, such as while boring out the wooden cannon.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: He and Adam have made it clear that they have a good deal of respect for each other but on an interpersonal level they annoy each other to no end and do not hang out after work. When this makes it past editing, we notice that Jamie is annoyed by Adam's showmanship, competitiveness and occasionally sloppy work. With that said, their mutual joy at what they are doing is often apparent as well, and whenever Adam has been in trouble, Jamie looks legitimately worried, even to the point of sounding almost panicked when Adam rolled a car over while testing the 'driving on two wheels' myth.
- When Adam became too motion-sick to continue a bungee-jumping myth, acrophobe Jamie agreed to do the rest of the jumps to spare his co-host.
"I love those two words - 'bomb robot.'"
Tropes associated with Grant:
- The All-Solving Hammer: Sometimes, his "build a robot" suggestion is just silly (or at least played for laughs).
- Asian and Nerdy: He plays this up for his own (and the audience's) amusement. The guy builds robots on any excuse and used pi as his "prisoner number" in the jailhouse rope episode. As if that wasn't bad enough, when they were testing a lie detector machine, it was revealed he had thought about building a female robot. In another episode, he was reduced to a stammering idiot when he met a high-tech bomb disposal robot. This vibe is intensified when you realize his college degree is in electrical engineering.
- Catch-Phrase: "This is why we can never have anything nice."
- Crazy-Prepared: Grant can build a robot for anything.
- Fascinating Eyebrow: A skilled practitioner.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Apathetic
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- Green Around the Gills: Though not to anywhere near the extent of Adam - he lasts much longer in the motion sickness chair during the seasickness cure trials before eventually succumbing. (Hungover, though, is completely another story.)
- Identical Stranger: Grant looks like he could easily be a close relative of John Cho.
- Megane: He has had laser surgery since starting the show, but his personality fits.
- Mundane Made Awesome: In one episode, Grant spent the entire episode tossing cardboard boxes out of cars and trucks. He somehow makes this look awesome.
- Older Than They Look: He's the same age as Tory is and looks as old as Tory acts.
- Robosexual: His love for robots:
- He was once asked, under polygragh, if he ever considered making a "female robot". He has.
- The gang encounters a bomb-disposal robot. Grant is VERY impressed; where Kari and Tory jokingly tries to set them up. Grant, playing along, awkwardly tries to flirt with it.
- The Smart Guy: He builds the robots and is the closest to a stereotypical nerd.
- Smart People Build Robots: He specializes in building robots for testing myths.
- Squee!: Approaches squee-levels when working with robots.
- Also puppies.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Grant's solution to everything: build a robot.
"I see injuries in my future."
Tropes associated with Tory:
- The Big Guy: Of the Build Team members (and possibly the entire MythBusters crew), because he does the most stunts.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Occasionally, Tory will affect an Italian accent. (He has Italian ancestry, but the accent is used purely for humor.)
- Butt-Monkey: He suffers for our amusement.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: A lot of times, things The Team thinks are dangerous are lost on Tory.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Realist
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric
- Gender-Blender Name: Though his full name is Salvatore Belleci.
- Hidden Depths: He's a competent golfer. When squaring off against Grant's golf ball firing robot, he does better than it.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: He split a lead musket ball on an axe, on his first try at that particular distance.
- Iron Butt Monkey: He seemed fine after the bicycle accident, despite falling on his face and getting the bike on his back.
- Takes a lot more punishment than any other Mythbuster, usually for laughs (unlike Adam, who usually elicits a Dude, Not Funny! reaction). He is rarely seriously injured though.
- Apparently the insurance coverage for Kari and Grant would not allow them to perform certain myths, but Tory (who has the same coverage) is apparently allowed to do them. Tory, understandably, does not know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Especially since it caused Kari and Grant to give him simultaneous evil smirks.
- Made of Iron: His bike crash while jumping a little red wagon shows him clearly faceplanting and he shrugged it off with no ill effects.
- Older Than They Look: He's in his early 40s but he still looks young. However, he is starting to go visibly gray.
- Rainbow Pimp Gear: On those occasions when he wears a chain-mail shirt and a football helmet.
- Sarcasm Mode: Firmly in it when describing the Inverted Flat Spin stunt he's going to be doing for the Cold Feet myth.
"Science gets more fun when I get a bigger gun!"
Tropes associated with Kari:
- Ascended Extra: Her first appearance was being used as a butt mold subject.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted in a long-unaired episode where they test if girls fart or not, through Adam inserting a microphone into a pair of panties. She is the one who partakes in the experiment and she lets out a huge, wet fart. (This myth eventually aired on TV in a mailbag special.)
- Break the Cutie: She's every bit as badass as her male co-stars, but she was not able to handle being subjected to Chinese water torture. After enduring it for nearly an hour, she broke down into tears and had to stop.
- Can't Hold Her Liquor: Readily admits that she's "a cheap date".
- Distracted by the Sexy: When she wore a silicone-stuffed bra to test whether or not women with larger breasts received more tips, even Grant and Tory admitted they had a hard time keeping their eyes above her neckline.
- Fiery Redhead: Doesn't take crap from Tory. Ever.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The Optimist
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine
- Girlish Pigtails: One of Kari's three usual hairstyles, the others being clipped back and hanging loosely.
- Gun Nut: Even she was surprised by how well she took to guns, despite being a self-professed "vegetarian from California."
- The Gunslinger: On any occasion where they use guns. Kari is a skilled marksman and was responsible for taking out the engine block of the phonebook bulletproof van. And she cut a tree in half with a Gatling Gun.
- Ms. Fanservice: Sometimes, as she's prone to wearing tight-fitting tank-tops. Also, her first appearance on the show was dressing in spandex leggings to have her butt laser-scanned for computer modeling (to test a myth about getting stuck on an airplane toilet). In some specific episodes she is also seen in a "slave girl" outfit in the Goldfinger body paint revisit, wearing a bikini when out on a boat in the Bahamas and the show used her FHM photos for one of the myths (Diet Coke and Mentos).
- There's also the episode "Laws of Attraction" where the producers intentionally exploited her sex appeal by strapping a stuffed DD-cup bra on her to test if she'd receive more tips, complete with a slow-motion shot of her jogging down the sidewalk.
- Older Than They Look: Would you believe she's 43? She could easily pass for mid-20s.
- Parasol of Prettiness: Under the Californian sun down at the bomb range, or in the parking lot of M7 (for certain tests), Kari has been known to carry one.
- Running Gag: A few of her early appearances, it seemed like Adam or Jamie were deliberately having her be around dead animals or meat for comedic effect, given that she's a pescetarian.
- The Smurfette Principle: The only female regular in the Mythbusters, though early on she also worked alongside Scottie Chapman and Christine Chamberlain.
- Stuff Blowing Up: She's more than once related seeing an impressive explosion to "having your first kiss."
- Tank-Top Tomboy: She's a geeky Wrench Wench and sometimes wears one of these because it's practical for her work.
- Terrified of Germs: As revealed in "Fever Pitch". This quality enabled her to prove that it's possible to avoid contracting a cold or flu via indirect contact if you know what you're doing.
- Wrench Wench
- Written-In Absence: Her pregnancy and ensuing maternity leave during the 2009 season.
Tropes associated with Jessi:
- Action Girl: Pulled herself up from hanging off of a helicopter's skid and into its cockpit on the first try, and with far greater ease than either Tory or Grant.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- Guest-Star Party Member: She was a substitute Mythbuster during Kari's pregnancy.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Jessi Combs is a thin blonde, has some tattoos, is proficient in welding and vehicle mechanics, and even copied Scottie's shipping-container-into-ramp trick that she did for the 2nd attempt at the JATO Rocket Car myth.
- Tim Taylor Technology: She rigged a nitro-boost system into a car standing in for a Lamborghini (proper dimensions at a lesser cost but not fast enough normally) in the myth of a car skipping across a lake.
Tropes associated with Scottie:
- Early-Bird Cameo: Inverted. She appeared a few episodes after her departure, because the rolling stones myth was recorded over several months, and thus was still rolling when she left.
- Expansion Pack Past: She worked as a clown and thus had some experience to use with the Balloonacy myth.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic
- I Was Just Joking: When Tory was goofing around on a bike while at the Alameda Naval Base she infamously said "Let's egg him on until he hurts himself" on camera.
- Put on a Bus: It was suggested later that she got along great with the crew but had some issues with the producers.
Tropes associated with Christine:
- Ascended Extra: Ish. She got a little more focus in the second half of her tenure.
- Butt-Monkey: In 3 episodes in a row:
- She got a scolding from Jamie for nearly wrecking his lathe.
- Had her face burned by a shattering jawbreaker (which also burned Adam's arm)
- Sliced open her hand with a box cutter.
- Insistent Terminology: Mythtern, not Mythbuster.
- Put on a Bus: Was later described as having left "for love".
- What Happened to the Mouse??: Her disappearance wasn't explained for a while.
Tropes associated with Buster:
- Companion Cube: When he takes more serious damage than they planned, The Team tends to react as if a real person had been injured. Somewhat justified, as Buster is meant to look and react more or less the same as a real human, so when the team sees something bad happen to Buster, they're imagining what it would be like for a person to go through it.
- Legacy Character: The original dummy was retired long ago, but the Buster name lives on through other dummies.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In the Supersized Special, he claimed to be Adam's father.
- Killed Off for Real: In the Grand Finale, he was dressed as a superhero, attached to a rocket sled, and sent into a concrete wall at almost 800 mph, whereupon he promptly disappears in a small flash of light. The reunion show has Adam giving small glass cubes with the largest pieces to Grant, Tory, and Kari as keepsakes.
- Made of Iron/Made of Plasticine: Buster has seen more punishment than any other crash test dummy ever will, and even though the Mythbusters have made him more durable to withstand the forces they put him through, he still ends up in bits more often than not.
- The Voiceless: Except during the Supersized Special, when he got two lines (as submitted by fans).
- They Killed Kenny Again: Buster often "dies" at least once during a myth, and has had to be completely rebuilt a few times.
- We Can Rebuild Him: Often. Doing this was even the focus of one episode.
Robert: And in the pouch? Well, let's just say a sample of "genetic legacy" has been obtained...
Jamie: "Genetic legacy"? It's sperm! Any kid in grade-school knows that; helps make babies.
Robert: It's still viable...
Tropes associated with Robert:
- Added Alliterative Appeal: At Drinking Game proportions.
- Deadpan Snarker: On occasion.
- Interactive Narrator: Usually with Adam.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Though not as often as the puns or the alliteration, this occasionally finds its way into his narration as well.
- Talks Like a Simile: Sometimes, but it's easily missed because he uses more wordplay than a British crossword.
Tropes associated with Heather:
- Early Installment Weirdness: Her presence explaining the myths and their social significance lends the show to feel much different from later episodes.
- Put on a Bus: As the show's focus shifted to the mechanics of testing the myths rather than the social significance, her presence was eventually phased out.
"Fire in the hole!"
Tropes associated with Frank:
- Bash Brothers: When paired with J.D. Nelson.
- Deadpan Snarker: He is very deadpan.Tory: Frank, why are you standing so far away?
Frank: Because I want to continue to live.
- Retired Badass: He's a former FBI special agent.
- Stuff Blowing Up: His job is to make this occur without crossing into "People Blowing Up".
Sgt. J.D. Nelson
"I don't think they taught me this in bomb school...."
Tropes associated with J.D.:
- Bash Brothers: When paired with Frank Doyle.
- Deadpan Snarker: Compared with Frank, not quite as deadpan, but a bit snarkier.
- Stuff Blowing Up: His job is to make this occur without crossing into "People Blowing Up". When not working with the MythBusters, his job is the disposal of bombs, old military ordinance, and suspicious packages.