Adam Ruins Everything

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Adam Ruins Everything
Adam Ruins Everything logo.png
Educational television
Created byAdam Conover
Developed byCollegeHumor
Directed by
  • Paul Briganti
  • Tim Wilkime
  • Laura Murphy
  • Matthew Pollock
StarringAdam Conover
Theme music composerJesse Novak
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes65 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Jeremy Reitz
  • Dave Oberg
CinematographyMatt Garrett
  • James Fitzpatrick
  • Kent Kincannon
Camera setupSingle camera
Production company(s)
Original networktruTV
Original releaseSeptember 29, 2015 (2015-09-29) –
External links
Adam Ruins Everything at truTV

Adam Ruins Everything is an American educational comedy television series starring Adam Conover that debuted on September 29, 2015, with a 12-episode season on truTV. The series aims to debunk misconceptions that pervade U.S. society. On January 7, 2016, it was announced that the show had been picked up for 14 additional episodes to air starting on August 23, 2016.[1][2][3] An hour-long election special was later produced.[4] On December 7, 2016, truTV announced the renewal of Adam Ruins Everything for a 16-episode season,[5] which premiered on July 11, 2017.[6] An additional miniseries of six animated episodes premiered on March 20, 2018.[7][8] On May 9, 2018, TruTV announced the show had been renewed for 10 more episodes, and would return late 2018.[9] On July 8, 2019, it was announced that eight additional season 3 episodes would air that year, beginning on August 13, 2019.[10]


Adam Ruins Everything is based on a CollegeHumor web series of the same name, and stars comedian Adam Conover. Each episode begins with an ordinary person (sometimes a recurring character, other times not) going about their daily lives before stating a common misconception regarding a certain topic. Adam appears seemingly out of nowhere and introduces himself, leading to the opening titles. Openly breaking the fourth wall, Adam deconstructs three specific misconceptions related to the episode's topic, using his "magical TV host powers" to introduce sketch characters, time travel, and animated segments, much to the other person's annoyance. To back up his claims, Adam refers to peer-reviewed articles, the citations for which appear onscreen, and pulls in experts in the field. At the end of the show's third act, the other characters' frustration will reach the critical point, their new knowledge making everything related to the episode's topic seem pointless, useless and impossible to fix. In the show's fourth act, Adam responds with a "positive takeaway", explaining how the new knowledge that's been gained actually improves the situation and explaining how they can do their part to improve society and their lives.

In 2016, truTV aired "The Adam Ruins Everything Election Special", which took a historical look at the American presidency and election system, and which was filmed before a live audience in Los Angeles, California.[11]

The first season featured segments titled "Ever Wonder Why?" which briefly touched on subjects unrelated to the episode's main topic. The second season replaces these interstitials with extended, out-of-character interviews with the show's experts. In season three, these are replaced with new segments where Emily talks about other subjects related to the main topic.


  • Adam Conover as himself, the series protagonist who serves as the guide for the audience and the secondary character of the episode. The reason he ruins popular ideas for people is because he believes that knowing the truth is always better. His social skills are somewhat limited by his need to bring up uncomfortable facts, and he constantly annoys people with his revelations but is genuinely kind-hearted.
  • Emily Axford as herself, a high school teacher who is Adam's friend despite being a frequent target of his debunking and is more on Adam's level: she will occasionally preempt Adam in debunking a false idea, such as in "Adam Ruins Sex" and "Adam Ruins Malls". In "Emily Ruins Adam," she hosts the episode to correct Adam's few mistakes. She also has her own personal segments.
  • Amos Vernon as Uncle Sam, a reoccurring character in Adam's explanations who resides in Americatown when not needed. He once ends up on the receiving end of Adam's debunking over his views on American greatness in "Adam Ruins America".
  • Brian K. Murphy as Murph, a high school PE/health teacher who eventually married Emily and is a friend to Adam. His life events (marriage, children) are a frequent target of Adam's revelations.
  • Hayley Marie Norman as Hayley, Emily's friend who started to date Adam before she is killed off in "Adam Ruins Death".
  • Veronica Osorio as Veronica, One of Emily's friends and an animal lover.
  • Rhea Butcher as Rhea Conover, a public defender and Adam's younger sister, with whom Adam temporarily lives after he loses his home. The character debuted in "Adam Ruins Football".
  • Nicole Roberts as Kendra Perkins, a former prisoner and a friend of both Emily and Adam. She acted as Adam's co-host in her debut episode "Adam Ruins Prison".
  • Punam Patel as Melinda, Adam's girlfriend starting at the end of "Emily Ruins Adam". She and Adam met online while editing the same Wikipedia page. In "Adams Ruins Conspiracy Theories", she expresses credence in Moon landing conspiracy theories, which Adam then debunks. She and Adam end their relationship in Adam Ruins the Future.
  • RuPaul as Gil, Melinda's boss at a luxurious water fountain company. He is introduced in "Adam Ruins His Vacation" and reappears in "Adam Ruins the Future".
  • Chris Parnell as the narrator of the six-part animated Reanimated History episodes.


These actors appear in featured roles, often as historical figures that help illustrate the origins of the ideas that Adam scrutinizes.


Adam Ruins Everything has received positive reviews from critics. Reviewing the series premiere, The New York Times reviewer Neil Genzlinger wrote, "Adam Conover's new television series isn't the first dedicated to the fine art of debunking, but it's one of the most entertaining."[12] Reviewing the second season, The Wall Street Journal critic John Anderson wrote, "In short, he's irritating. But he owns it. Which makes his quasi-educational comedy series so goofily endearing."[13] Writing in Fast Company, Christine Champagne described Conover as "the lovechild of Debbie Downer and the coolest, most contrarian college professor you ever had."[14]

truTV president Chris Linn stated in a 2018 interview that the show is "a breakout hit" for the network, and that truTV's research has found that viewer "sentiment is overwhelmingly positive, even for people who don't agree with [Conover]. They appreciate his approach."[15]

Reviews have praised Adam Ruins Everything's ability to encourage critical thinking and change its minds using comedy and facts, even when viewers have strongly-held beliefs to the contrary. Writing in the Pacific Standard, Andy Dehnart stated, "While one show may not singlehandedly slow society's metastasizing ignorance or save critical thinking, it does offer a highly effective model for overcoming the roadblocks between our brains and reality... There is so much resistance to having our ideological and filter bubbles popped that we protect them and fight off any perceived threats. But instead of coming at our bubbles with sharp swords of facts and judgment, Adam Conover sidles up in his own bubble, tells us a story, mocks himself, and lays out some facts. He's humble, informed, and human. With that combination, he's demonstrating a formula we might all use to attract, not repel, each other."[15]

Adam Ruins Everything has found use by educators in the classroom. In a paper entitled "Adam Ruins Everything, Except Economics", Pennsylvania State University lecturers Jadrien Wooten and James Tierney wrote that "Adam Ruins Everything touches on many economics topics that are relevant to introductory-level courses" and went on to describe how segments from the show could be used to teach concepts in economics.[16]

Writing in The Verge, Sean O'Kane criticized the episode "Adam Ruins Going Green"'s representation of a report on electric cars by Slate magazine. He wrote, "When Conover makes this crucial argument in the video, he cites a piece written by Slate's senior technology writer Will Oremus in 2013–a piece that's more about the difficulty of parsing all this information than it is about how electric cars might be dirty. What's more, Oremus spends a large chunk of his article explaining that how 'clean' your electric car is will vary depending on where you live, because different parts of the country use different percentages of these fuel sources to generate electricity.[17] A similar argument against the episode was leveled by Fred Lambert of the pro-EV publication Electrek.[18]

Adam Conover and researcher Peter Miller released a response to O'Kane's op-ed, in which they stated:

Unfortunately, while the rise of EVs is an encouraging trend, the evidence shows that in many cases replacing an efficient working car with an EV like a Tesla will actually increase your carbon footprint. O'Kane's piece presents no evidence that refutes this. In fact, behind the strong words, O'Kane affirms nearly every major point from our segment, and he argues against points we do not actually make.[19]

The episode "Emily Ruins Adam Ruins Everything", functioned as a "corrections" episode, in which Conover and Axford revealed and discussed factual errors the show made over the preceding season. In this episode, Conover stood by the facts presented in the "Going Green" episode but argued that the presentation could have been clearer, stating, "If that many people misread our argument, we should have done a better job explaining it."[20]

Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim, a chemist and science journalist working for Germany's public broadcasting, criticized a portion of the episode "Adam Ruins Science" about animal testing for making what she called misleading claims about scientists and misquoting sources.[21]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
12712September 29, 2015 (2015-09-29)December 22, 2015 (2015-12-22)
15August 23, 2016 (2016-08-23)December 27, 2016 (2016-12-27)
22616July 11, 2017 (2017-07-11)November 7, 2017 (2017-11-07)
6March 20, 2018 (2018-03-20)April 24, 2018 (2018-04-24)
4November 27, 2018 (2018-11-27)December 18, 2018 (2018-12-18)
3124January 8, 2019 (2019-01-08)January 29, 2019 (2019-01-29)
8August 13, 2019 (2019-08-13)October 1, 2019 (2019-10-01)

International broadcast[edit]

In Canada, the series premiered on January 12, 2017 on Much.[22] The series is also broadcast on SBS Viceland in Australia.[23] The series premiered on Netflix for the United States on September 30, 2018.[24][25]


  1. ^ Whitney Friedlander (January 7, 2016). "'Billy on the Street' Renewed for Season 5 on TruTV". Variety. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  2. ^ Wright, Megh (January 7, 2016). "truTV Orders More 'Billy on the Street' and 'Adam Ruins Everything,' Adds 'No Dumb Questions' Pilot". Archived from the original on February 5, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  3. ^ "Turner's truTV Announces 2016-17 Programming Slate with 16 New Creator-Driven Series, Pilots, Specials and Renewals". The Futon Critic. May 10, 2016. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  4. ^ "truTV Reveals Celebrity Guests for Season Five of "Billy on the Street," Announces "Adam Ruins Everything" Election Special". the Futon Critic. July 31, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  5. ^ Petski, Denise (2016-12-07). "TruTV Renews 'Adam Ruins Everything', 'The Carbonaro Effect'; Greenlights Two New Series". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  6. ^ "Adam Ruins Everything". Facebook. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  7. ^ "Adam Ruins Everything". truTV. Retrieved January 24, 2018.
  8. ^ Petski, Denise (2018-01-11). "TruTV Sets Premiere Dates & Guest Stars For 'Talk Show The Game Show', 'Adam Ruins Everything', 'The Chris Gethard Show' & More – TCA". Deadline. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  9. ^ "TruTV Orders 'Tacoma FD' To Series, Greenlights Ken Jeong Pilot, Renews 'Adam Ruins Everything' & More". Deadline Hollywood. 2018-05-09. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  10. ^ "truTV Unveils New & Returning Series in 2019-20 Programming Slate". The Futon Critic. May 9, 2019.
  11. ^ Greene, Steve (October 25, 2016). "'Adam Ruins Everything' Makes the Case That America's Going to Be OK". IndieWire. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  12. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (September 28, 2015). "Review: TruTV's 'Adam Ruins Everything' Challenges Beliefs About Giving". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  13. ^ Anderson, John (August 18, 2016). "'Adam Ruins Everything' Review". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  14. ^ Champagne, Christine (September 29, 2015). "Spoiler Alert: Adam Conover Hilariously Dispels All Your Beliefs To Teach You a Lesson". Fast Company. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  15. ^ a b Denhart, Andy (September 17, 2018). "Saving Critical Thinking, One Joke at a Time". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 29 November 2019.
  16. ^ Tierney, James (February 27, 2018). "Adam Ruins Everything, Except Economics". SSRN. SSRN 3125143.
  17. ^ O'Kane, Sean (December 29, 2016). "The Adam Ruins Everything takedown of electric cars is wrong because it's built on lazy research". The Verge. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  18. ^ Lambert, Fred (December 28, 2016). "Adam Ruins Everything (including his credibility) when he goes after Tesla and EVs with classic misinformation". Electrek. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  19. ^ Conover, Adam; Miller, Peter (2017-01-11). "Adam Ruins Everything Responds to The Verge". Medium. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
  20. ^ "Adam Ruins Everything Corrects Itself". YouTube. College Humor. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
  21. ^ Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim (November 22, 2017), TIERVERSUCHE | Mai reagiert auf Adam Ruins Everything (in German), de:funk (Medienangebot), retrieved November 23, 2017
  22. ^ "Adam Ruins Everything". Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Retrieved January 12, 2017.
  23. ^ "Adam Ruins Giving on SBS". SBS. Archived from the original on March 15, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  24. ^ "Info Page: Adam Ruins Everything". New On Netflix USA. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  25. ^ Conover, Adam (September 30, 2018). "Adam Ruins Everything on Netflix". Retrieved January 14, 2019.

External links[edit]