Adam Ruins Everything (2015) s01e03 Episode Script

Adam Ruins Cars

1 (indistinct conversing) Can you give it to me for 23,050? Oh, Mr.
Cordova, I would love to, but my manager, he would eat my feet.
But, you know what? I like you guys, so let me go talk to him.
(phone ringing) Unbelievable! (glass breaking) Do you realize, when the manufacturer sends me these cars, I've got to meet a quota? Let me tell you something-- a person is not a number! Taking weekend? out this Uh-huh.
Oh, that'll be nice.
Unbelievable! (glass breaking) I don't even know how you got-- Dad, calm down.
I'm about to get my first car.
These people are like vultures.
I hate dealerships.
Me, too.
Ha! And you'll hate them even more after I tell you the truth about them.
What are you, like, another car salesman? You're dressed like one.
That is a terrible thing to say to someone.
Hi, I'm Adam Conover, and this is "Adam Ruins Everything.
" (crackling) (ding-ding) (buzzer) Closed Captions Provided by truTV Okay, you can't ruin cars.
The car, like, represents freedom.
Hmm, how can they represent freedom when you have no choice in where you buy them? Why is it that if you want a new car, you have to go to one of these awful dealerships? Doesn't that suck? Yes! I hate haggling! I hate driving from one dealership to the next dealership.
I hate dealing with this guy! Hey! So, why do we buy cars this way? Like, why does every dealership only sell one brand of car? What if every business worked like that? Welcome to Peterman Clancy, serving all your Tom Clancy needs.
I'd like "The Hunt for Red October.
" Oh, okay.
Well, I can offer you a ten-chapter package for $20 a month for 36 months.
And would you like to add page strengthening? Why can't you just go to a car store and buy whatever brand of car you want for a fixed price? Do you have Toyota Camrys? Uh, sedans, Aisle 6, right next to the Accords.
Oh, I do have coupons for those.
And why can't you buy a car online? Hmm, never mind, it's cheaper on Amazon.
"Add to Cart.
" Why isn't that how we buy cars? (laughs) Because that would be crazy.
I mean, can you imagine such a world? Oh, boy, man, this guy, he sure is funny.
You know, that would be great.
Why can't I do that? Oh, because these guys got a law passed to stop you.
Come on.
Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Please! Please don't talk about this! Dealerships aren't owned by the car makers.
They're separate businesses.
And since the 30s, dealership associations have pressured every state into passing "franchise laws" that give them a virtual monopoly over new car sales.
That is a beautiful anti-competitive law, Senator! We are gonna make so much money off of this! These laws actually make it illegal to sell new cars unless you're a car dealership.
And if you want to become a dealer too bad.
It's also illegal to open a new dealership in another dealer's territory.
You are operating an unauthorized dealership! (sirens blaring) It's not actually that illegal, but you get the idea.
And the law also makes it nearly impossible for car makers to shut down dealerships, even when they suck.
Which means they end up getting passed from father to son like family dynasties.
This top financing.
Great job, son.
Push those leather seats, okay? Since they have no competition and no oversight, car dealers are free to force you to haggle and treat you like crap.
So, it's a lame law.
Let's change it.
That'll be tough.
20% of state sales tax revenue comes from car dealerships, which means Quint and his buddies pretty much run the show.
There you are, Senator.
(chuckling) You own me.
(both laughing) And all these middlemen do is cost you money.
I knew it.
It's estimated that if car manufacturers could sell to consumers directly, every car would be $1,800 cheaper.
Gah! That'll be $1,800 to replace.
Uh I hate these guys.
Yeah, but because of dealer franchise laws, you can't avoid them.
If you want a new car, you have no choice.
But, it's the only way to get around.
I need a car.
Yeah, so does everyone.
Isn't it kind of weird that a product marketed as the epitome of freedom is totally mandatory? Hell, your government-issued I.
D.
is a driver's license.
Well, mine's a learner's permit.
I have bad depth perception, so I'm still practicing, you know? Well, that's the way it is.
Man and car, forever locked in battle.
Yeah, but it didn't have to be.
Haven't you ever wondered why we built our transportation system this way? No.
But now, I do.
Oh, you're a little curious? Yeah.
Awesome! Well, the story begins when-- Excuse me, I'm looking for a sedan.
I don't work here! I have a pocket square! Here's the story of how the car took over the American street.
A century ago, the city street was a public place that was open to everyone.
It was shared by pedestrians, horses, and weird old-timey bicyclists alike, not to mention streetcars that took people to work.
Now, Teddy, you have a fun day at the sweatshop.
And remember, always walk in the street.
It belongs to all of us.
But when the car was invented, people started driving them at top speed through the crowded streets, and the results weren't pretty.
(crashing, screaming) My boy! He's dead! Oh, dear! So that's what happens when one's motor car strikes a peasant.
Naturally, everyone blamed the new invention for the carnage.
Seventh kid mashed by a metal death machine this week.
Huh, maybe these things shouldn't be allowed.
Public outcry grew.
Extra! Extra! Innocent boy killed by automobile! And some cities even discussed passing laws against them.
We propose that the streets not be filled with these high-speed two-ton metal projectiles.
Hear, hear.
We pay our taxes.
They're killin' us out there! Well, technically, we're killing them, Bill.
Ooh! Good point.
We gotta fight this thing.
I got it! (snaps fingers) We'll tell them the streets are for cars only.
And if a car kills ya, it's your own fault.
And we'll give the folks that walk in the street a really humiliating nickname.
What about "Irish walkers"? Now, that's pretty cruel, but we can do better.
(snaps fingers) I got it! "Jaywalkers"! Ugh, you disgust me! And I love it.
It doesn't mean much to us now, but back then, "jay" was a really offensive slur.
It basically meant "dirty hillbilly," which makes this really messed up.
Like, what if today we called them "(bleep) walkers," or "(bleep) walkers," or even "(bleep) walkers"? Hey, man, come on, there's "(a kid on set.
s"? Yikes! Sorry.
To publicize their new insult, the auto industry actually planted stories in newspapers blaming pedestrians for automobile deaths.
(typewriter dings) (gasps) Extra! Extra! Lame-brained jaywalker flings himself before a noble automobile.
My boy, a jay? Serves him right, I say.
I hate those good-for-nothing jays.
(spits, spittoon dings) So do we all, sir.
(spits, spittoon dings) Me, too.
I hope my stupid, jay son rots in hell.
(spits, spittoon dings) Today, jaywalking is a crime, and, in fact, most of our modern traffic safety culture descends from this kind of blame-shifting propaganda.
Think about it.
A group of private businessmen coined an offensive slur to promote their product, and it worked so well that today, it's a legal term.
That's like if the trash can industry convinced us all to call littering, "(bleep) dropping.
" Seriously, dude, do you even think before you speak? You know, funny, I don't.
As a result of this campaign, the street went from being a public place where everyone was welcome, to a terrifying off-limits death trap.
(cars speeding by) Stay back, Ethel.
The streets belong to the machines now.
(tires screeching) Thank you for granting us passage, metal majesty.
Well, so what? We needed cars to get around.
Actually, we already had a fast, efficient way to get around the city-- the streetcar.
At the time, almost every major city had them, but the automobile killed them.
A single streetcar can carry dozens of pedestrians.
But put each of those passengers in their own car, and they take up 100 square feet each.
(horns honking) And that means one thing-- traffic.
Once the roads were gridlocked, the old, reliable streetcar became too slow to be effective.
And that was the death of public transportation in America.
Whoa.
Once cars were the only way to get from place to place, we rebuilt our entire cities around them.
And that's when things really took a turn for the worse.
We started bulldozing entire neighborhoods to build urban highways, and in some cities, parking lots now take up a quarter of all the available land.
All this space used just to store cars while they're asleep.
(tires screeching) Uh, this part of the show is really weird.
Parking lots are deserts in the city.
Who's this dude? This "dude" is Professor Donald Shoup, our foremost expert on the economics of parking.
Oh, okay.
Parking lots don't employ any people.
They simply provide space for cars.
We have expensive housing for people, and free parking for cars.
We have our priorities the wrong way around.
And the worst part is, many cities require far too much parking, and this blights their downtowns.
We're killing our own cities.
It's a huge bummer.
It is an honor to animate you, sir.
(chuckles) When we design society so that it's more comfortable for cars, we make it less habitable for humans.
In a city designed around public transportation, this space would be full of homes and businesses, and you could walk from place to place.
But in most of our cities and suburbs, everything is so spread apart that nothing is within walking distance, giving you no choice but to drive.
And it didn't have to be this way.
We could have built walkable cities based around public transportation like western Europe and Japan did.
But we missed that chance, and now you have to have a car to get around.
So, write him a check.
Yeah! (laughing) (alarm blaring) Oh, yeah! Here it comes! Well, you know, son, I thought it was gonna be really cool buying you a new car and everything, but now I know that we've been tricked by a bunch of evil car guys, or whatever.
Nah, you know what? Even knowing all that stuff, I still love this thing.
Cars are still awesome.
(both screaming) Actually, I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of why cars suck.
Stick around.
After this, I'll tell you why your super safe car actually makes you less safe.
Oh, what's up? Hey, hey! Hey! Ah! Dude, sweet ride! Paige is gonna freak when we roll up to her party in this dope-- Death trap? Oh, no, uh, burden? How about "infrastructural tumor"? (chuckles) Who's the hair dude? Oh, greetings.
I'm Adam Conover.
Greetings, man, I'm Gavis.
I'm Trunt.
Greetings.
Hey, is he riding with us tonight? No, no, no! I'd be delighted to.
Oh, my God.
Aw, man, late night, chillin' with the boys, right? Yeah! You know, I've never done this before.
You'friends before?ut with No, but I have practiced with dolls at home, so, I think I can nail this.
Man, just too be we gotta drive to the party, right? (scoffs) Okay, dude, you know what? It sounds like you just hate cars.
You don't even have a driver's license.
I told you, Zack, I have bad depth perception! And, yeah, I do just hate cars.
And it is just my opinion.
But my opinion is based on a lot of statistics, and logic, and personal experience.
Oh, I hate them so much! (engine revving) Yo, can we pick up Stef-- Cars are great for long-distance travel, but they're an objectively terrible way to get around a city.
Hey, whatever.
I love driving mine.
Okay, well, do you love traffic? Because the average driver spends one work week a year stuck in traffic.
Duh, we can fix that.
You want less traffic, just build more roads.
Oh, that would be great if it worked.
But it's the roads that cause the traffic.
(scoffs) Yeah, right! It's a concept called Here, check out Gavis's sick cargo shorts.
His pockets look pretty full, huh? Oh, yeah, it's my cross to bear.
I don't know, maybe he just needs more pockets.
Great idea! Let's test it.
(snaps fingers, magic shimmers) Oh, green, sweet! Aw, man, it's already full.
Sorry, dude.
If I see an open space, I'm gonna fill it.
What can I say? I'm only human.
Thank you for the demonstration, Trunt.
Trunt! Historically, every time we've built more roads (horns honking) (bulldozers razing) The amount of traffic has gone up by an identical amount.
We can't build our way out of the traffic problem.
Cars equal traffic, period.
(popping) Nice! Plus, cars are inherently unsafe.
Uh, no, only bad drivers get in car accidents.
I'm fine because I'm a good driver.
Yeah, you and everyone else.
90% of drivers say they're better than average.
That's impossible.
Yep, plus, it's people who think that they're good drivers who are actually the worst drivers.
Whoa, really? Shut up, Trunt! 'Cause most accidents are caused by inattention, and you pay the least amount of attention to the road when you're confident.
Which is also why most accidents are caused on clear, sunny roads and to sober drivers.
Yeah.
I love that you know stuff! Yeah, well, I get that a lot, too.
Okay, well, this car is super safe.
It's like I'm driving a spaceship.
I have this super smart computer-- That mostly controls the air conditioning.
The car itself is still controlled by a human, an unreliable and easily distracted system that-- Aah! Oh, crap, oh, crap! Guys, it's okay.
It's just me.
(chuckles) What the hell? Ooh, TV magic, ahh.
But, he-- you-- you jumped in front of my car.
Actually, you missed the sign.
This area is a host crossing.
And maybe you missed it because your car is too safe.
Studies have shown that modern cars and roads that make us feel secure cause us to unconsciously compensate and drive more dangerously.
And it's a big part of why tens of thousands of Americans die on the road every year.
Hey, Zack, this guy's making me feel sad.
Ah, what a majestic creature.
(slurping) Okay, but when I'm in this baby, I'm free.
It's just me and the open road.
Yeah, you're free all right.
As long as you keep paying for insurance, fuel, registration, and repairs.
So, I hope you have a job while you're on the open road.
The average car costs $9,000 a year just to own.
Now, maybe you can afford that, but a lot of people can't.
The average American family spends 20% of their income on transportation.
That's more than they spend on food.
And for the poorest Americans, it's 32%.
Car ownership is a tremendous burden on the working poor.
Oh, hey! There's my friend, Tim Peters! Yeah, pull over, pull over! (tires screeching) Hey, Tim.
Hey, Adam, sweet ride.
Aw, thanks.
my bros.
Guys, this is Tim Peters.
He is the executive director of Door of Hope.
Would you tell them a little bit about what you guys do? Yeah! Hey, guys.
We help homeless families go from homelessness, to self-sufficiency, to permanent housing, and everything in between.
what your experience with, you know, automobiles has been? Yeah, transportation is a big issue with our families.
Car ownership can actually send them backwards.
So, how does a car make you go backwards? We had one client that was paying over 80% of her income on a car.
She thought it was more important to have a car than even a home, because if she ended up homeless, at least she had a car to sleep in.
And that had been her experience before coming to Door of Hope.
Families need a car just to get to work, or to be able to get around in the city.
But, sometimes, to make a car payment, they'll sacrifice their rent payment, or food, or even the basic essentials for their children.
Wow, thank you for talking to us about this, Tim.
Uh, hey, do you need a ride or anything? I think you're full already.
I'll ride the bus.
I'm okay.
(engine revving) That's awful.
Yeah, it is.
Transportation is a fundamental human need.
So, the fact that we built our entire country so that everyone in it has to buy and maintain one of these things just to move around their own community? That's a genuine tragedy.
They're monstrously expensive, you have to deal with a psychologically manipulative charlatan just to buy one, and we are so bad at driving them that there's an entirely different predatory industry based around the fact that we constantly crash these things and die.
Uh, you-- you're talking about the insurance industry, right? Yes, very good, Trunt.
What really kills me about all of this is the only reason we're stuck with this clusterfudge is because we were tricked into building roads instead of subways 100 years ago! The dominance of the car is a massive cultural mistake.
(door closes) (distant dog barking) But, I was gonna tell you how we can fix everything! Bros! (distant dog barking) (dialing phone) Hey, Mom.
Can you come pick me up? It happened again.
(tires screeching) (door opens) Get in.
Trunt's curious.
(whistling) I'll call you back.
(whistling) Stick around, because believe it or not, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Whoa, what is that? That, Trunt, is a subway station.
In Los Angeles? No way! Yep! And there are more on the way.
Hi, guys! I'm Seleta Reynolds.
I'm in charge of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
This is so weird.
We've been up, like, all night.
People say nobody walks in L.
A.
, but nothing could be further from the truth.
We have one of the busiest rail lines in the country, one of the busiest bus lines in the country, and more people walking and biking every day.
We figured out that we have to plan for people and not just cars.
(crunching) Is this a mirage? No, it's a public plaza.
This used to be a road, but the community leaders got together and decided that they wanted a place to gather, and created a true public space.
It turns out, when you make a great place to walk, it's really good for local businesses.
Yo, that's counterintuitive as hell.
But, I like it.
So, sometimes, even though it's controversial, we have to take space for streets and give it to people so that everybody has a great choice for how they get around.
And, look, no city has been shaped by the car more than L.
A.
, so if they can make positive changes here, we can make them anywhere in America.
Okay, but cars are still just fun to drive.
I know they are, Zack.
And they're a great option for certain kinds of travel.
But, maybe we should be thinking about cars more like roller blades.
They're a lot of fun when you're the only person using them.
But, it would really suck if that was the only way people could get to work.
So, you're saying I can keep my car, but I should use public transportation and support walkability initiatives.
Exactly.
Cool.
Can I go? Sure you can, buddy.
Put 'er there, dude! Put 'er there, Seleta! I gotta get back to work.
Bye, Adam.
Put 'er there, Adam.
(whistling) Please.
You know, I have to ask-- are you having a natural or a cesarean birth? Because, there are interesting downsides, in both cases.
(chuckles) Hmm.
Guess some people just don't want to learn.
Hmm.
Next time, on "Adam Ruins Everything" Cop shows present forensic science as infallible, but in reality, a lot of it isn't scientific at all.
No two fingerprints are alike.
That's never been proven.
Aah! The FBI gave flawed testimony in 90% of the cases they reviewed.
The only backup we'll need today is from scholarly sources.