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Series / White Rabbit Project

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How deep does the rabbit hole go?

White Rabbit Project is a series commissioned by and is exclusive to Netflix, starring the Build Team from MythBusters - fan favorites Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara. In it, the team will take six legends and theories related to the topic of the episode and pick three criteria to be used to grade the epicness of the legend or theory. Aside from that, the show will also re-enact the events in the legends and dramatize theories using professional actors and stuntmen alongside Kari, Tory and Grant; and in many cases, Kari, Tory and Grant also get to do builds to test out theories as well as validate the legend. At the end of the episode, the team ranks the legends or theories based on the three criteria chosen.

The series premiered with ten episodes on December 9, 2016. It also spawned a live show which toured Australia. Sadly, however, Grant revealed that Netflix chose to not renew the show for a second season.

On July 13, 2020, it was announced Grant had passed away at the age of 49 from a brain aneurysm.

Tropes exhibited by the show include:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The "Too Smart Tech" theory in the "Tech We Love to Hate" episode, as the worst case scenario.
  • Anachronism Stew: In their recreation of various historical events they love putting it modern technology in the background as a joke. While following D.B. Cooper in his famous 1971 airplane heist, Tori showed his airplane ticket on his cell phone at the gate and later took a selfie during the hostage situation.
    • In "Invented Before It's Time?", Tori is not only able to teleport back and forth between modern day and the 1970s for the cell phone bit, but also uses a modern smartphone to take a picture while in the 1970s.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Kari makes one in "Invented Before Its Time?" when the three hosts are competing with different cars and different forms of navigation technology.
    Kari: An elegant American icon is going up against a shining star of Japanese tech and a flashy Italian showboating. But, enough about the drivers!
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Again, the "Too Smart Tech" theory in the "Tech We Love to Hate" episode, as the worst case scenario.
  • Big Honking Traffic Jam: The "Tech we love to hate" episode opens with a man trapped in one of these, caused by one of the annoying techs featured in the episode; traffic lights.
  • Brand X: During the "GPS" theory of the "Invented Before Its Time?" episode, the team did not mention Waze by name, instead calling it a "crowdsourced GPS app". The screen was also replaced somewhat in editing, but for a split second, a Wazer avatar was visible on the screen in one of the shots.
    • Its also clear that most of the computers being used are Macs with a sticker to cover up the logo. For some reason this doesn't apply to the iPad which is referred to by name at least once and doesn't have the logo covered.
  • Calculator Spelling: Spelling out 80085 ("boobs") is done in the Six Million Dollar Man spoof from "Where's My Hoverboard?".
  • Catchphrase:
    • "On this episode of White Rabbit Project, we'll go down the rabbit hole and ____".
    • Grant also has a minor, probably unintentional one: "There are a hundred/thousand little things that need to go right, but only one thing needs to go wrong."
  • The Coconut Effect: PC Load Letter. Printers since a few years ago have acquired large color LCD screens that displays more meaningful error messages and even step-by-step illustrated instructions on how to clear the error. However, this error message continued to be quoted since Office Space is such a cult film that it has been burned into many minds that printers display cryptic error messages on their screens when they malfunction.note 
  • Curse Cut Short: The show absolutely loves this trope. Tory was interrupted halfway through cussing during the "Bat Bomb" segment in the "Crazy WW2 Weapons" episode. Also used to cut off Grant in the "Tech We Love to Hate" episode as well as in several other episodes.
  • Destination Defenestration: In "Tech we love to hate", when discussing why printers are annoying, we get to see several scenario's of people throwing a malfunctioning printer out the window.
  • E = MC Hammer: In "May the G Force be With You" Charlie, the jouster Grant is working with, boasts that "mass plus acceleration equals ouch". note 
  • Genre Shift: Compared to Mythbusters, which was about science and experimentation, this show skews more towards a historical documentary format. The three hosts spend more time traveling, meeting with experts in different fields and narrating pre-existing footage than doing their own personal builds and testing theories. Even then when they build something it is usually a proof of concept of something they already know the mechanics around, showing it more for the audience benefit. That said, they retain the similar hands-on approach that characterized Mythbusters and the innate knowledge and skills of the hosts are put to use regularly.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted with the "Carbanak Gang" legend in the "Heists" episode in which they describe they very mundane way in which the hackers got into the bank systems with fake emails. However they did make gratuitous use of the old scrolling garbage text on the monitor effect, although at one point they used what looks to be the Linux SysV init bootscript.
  • Hologram: Covered in the "Where's My Hoverboard?" episode. Kari even shows viewers how to build a simple "hologram" viewer using some acrylic and an iPad.
  • It's Been Done: The entire "Invented Before Its Time?" episode is dedicated to this trope, covering technology that many people think is new but in fact decades old.
  • I Want My Jetpack: The theme of the episode "Where's My Hoverboard?" is futuristic tech that's, at best, still in development, including hoverboards, jetpacks, cyborgs, holograms, x-ray glasses, and healing lasers.
    • Kari also makes this complaint in "Invented Before Its Time?": "They promised us jetpacks and gave us selfie sticks!"
  • Just Plane Wrong: In the "Crazy World War II Weapons" episode, Tory says the proposed bat bombs were to be dropped by B-52s, which were only conceived after the war's end, and wouldn't see service until 1955. The plan actually called for B-24s.
  • Large Ham: In the spirit of its spiritual predecessor, the entire Build Team. But especially Tory and Grant.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The opening theme is cut short, the original full song is available on Youtube here
  • Mad Scientist: In the "Super Power Tech" episode, Tory claims that he's worried that Grant is actually one.
  • Manipulative Editing: During the "Traffic Lights" theory in the "Tech We Love to Hate" episode, they show a Parody Commercial for a drone Tory modified to carry a wireless megaphone. They then poorly edit Kari's testimonial to make it sound like she loves it (earlier in the episode, it's revealed that Kari hates drones).
  • Mind Control: Experimented in the "Super Power Tech" episode, with scary conclusions. Kari was able to manipulate and control Tory by using an experimental device borrowed from researcher Greg Gage. Before that, said researcher also shows off a way to control a live cockroach via Bluetooth. It was ultimately ranked the highest of the prospective "superpowers" examined.
  • Pac Man Fever: In "The Granddad Gang" segment of the "Heists" episode, one part of the reenactment of the crime was animated in the style of a "8-bit video game" - with sound effects lifted from the notorious Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man
  • Parodies for Dummies: In the Heist episode, a member of the Granddad Gang is shown "doing research" by reading Forensics for Dummies. Grant adds a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer, saying that the book really was found in one of the thieves' homes.
  • Parody Commercial: One shown as part of the "Traffic Lights" theory of the "Tech We Love to Hate" episode.
  • People Puppets: Looking into mind control Kari discovered legitimate methods of controlling someone's movements via electrodes, with the right series of connections someone can force you to make the same movement they are doing. It was more about introducing fake signals than complete control over the body, but the affect it had on Kari and later Tori had a very similar disorienting effect. Rather disturbing, an accident with spilled wine landing on the wires ended up locking Tori's arm into a specific position (we see the bemused realization and cut away just before he's about to panic).
  • Playing with Puppets: Kari does this with sadistic glee to Tory in the Mind Control theory segments in the "Super Power Tech" episode.
  • Ponzi: The Trope Namer itself is discussed and reenacted in the "Scam Artists" episode.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The leader of the Grandpa Gang, as he mentions as the Narrator of the flashback sequences rearding this gang, liked to sleep wearing a pink robe. This gang pulled off a borderline perfect heist, by the way.
    Narrator (addressing the audience as he gets ready to sleep: We all have our little quirks! Live and let live, eh?
  • Recycled IN SPACE!:
    • Much of the "May G Force Be With You" episode is familiar territory to those who watched Tory and Kari's Travel Channel series Thrill Factor, featuring tests involving roller coasters, bobsleds, race cars, and high-speed jet flights.
    • Grant successfully building a hoverboard in the "Where's My Hoverboard?" episode could be considered an update to the Levitation Machine myth that Mythbusters investigated back in 2004. With Grant succeeding where Adam and Jamie technically failed.
    • While none of the team members attempted to build a working jetpack for the corresponding legend in the "Where's My Hoverboard?" episode, Tory meets up with the inventor of a working jetpack, and gets an live-in-person demonstration of the device, updating the status from when it was last covered on the 2005 MythBusters episode.
  • Retraux: Several of the older legends are re-enacted in black and white with an old film effect filter in place. "The Granddad Gang" legend has one scene done with "8-bit animation" (sprite animation).
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Tory's ultimate response after the "crowdsourced GPS app" lead him through a frustrating drive through the back alleyways of Los Angeles in the "GPS" legend of the "Invented Before Its Time?" episode was to forget about the experiment halfway through, hightail it and go AWOL with the supercar he was assigned.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spiritual Successor: To MythBusters. While the series does majorly differ in format, it stars the universally beloved Build Team from the predecessor, they get to build stuff from time to time to test out theories or validate legends, and it sports the same sense of humor as its predecessor.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: The DB Cooper heist was examined on the "Heists" episode.
  • Stylistic Suck: In the DB Cooper legend of the Heists episode, most of the special effects are CGI, except a scene with Tory holding a model plane in front of a special effects fan and fog machine, for Rule of Funny.
  • Take That!: Kari calling "selfie sticks", "narcissistic sticks".
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The "Crazy WW2 Weapons" episode's first legend was regarding the British's plan to lace Hitler's food with estrogen. The episode then goes on to portray what the British think will happen should the plan be carried out, with Hitler hilariously getting more and more whimsical, culminating in the Führer growing breasts and aping a scene from The Sound of Music. It's ultimately revealed that the British never tried it, and switches to show what modern science says will happen instead.
  • Tunnel King:
    • One of the convicts in the "Jailbreak" episode is Mexican crime lord Joaquin Guzman (AKA El Chapo), who had miles of tunnels dug under the US-Mexico border to smuggle contraband narcotics across it. His method of escape upon being captured and jailed is, predictably, having his thugs dig a tunnel into his cell from the outside.
    • Also, the French officers who were captured during World War II - they dug a tunnel out of the camp and escaped against all odds, while at the same time documenting the escape on film.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: Used as a title of one of the escape shenanigans in the "Jailbreak" episode. A convict disguises himself as his visiting wife, trading places with her, to escape. The title comes into play in that the convict was poorly disguised, couldn't act like a woman convincingly, and got recaptured within 15 minutes.
  • Weird Historical War: "Crazy World War II Weapons" showcases some of the Real Life attempts by the Allies to create wonder weapons. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs as even the ones that actually worked when tested were too Awesome, but Impractical.
  • White Bunny: Not in the show, but the title itself proper (which is an Alice Allusion).