Ain't no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough to keep us from smash boom besting. It’s Death Valley vs. Mount Fuji! Journalist and podcast host Gloria Riviera defends sizzling Death Valley, while editor and podcast host Mary Harris fights for massive Mount Fuji. Which legendary landscape will take the win?

Vote below for the team YOU think won!

Also… do you have your Smarty Pass yet?? Get yours today for just $4/month (or $36/year) and get bonus episodes every month, and ad-free versions of every episode of Brains On, Smash Boom Best, Moment of Um, and Forever Ago. Visit to get your Smarty Pass today!

As an added bonus, your Smarty Pass will grant you access to a super special debate starring Sanden and Molly! Vote for the debate you want Molly and Sanden to tackle here.

Audio Transcript

Download transcript (PDF)

CREW: From the brains behind Brains On, it's Smash Boom Best.

ZORA: The show for people with big opinions.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hi, I'm Molly Bloom. And this is Smash Boom Best, the show where we take two things, smash them together, and as you to decide which one is best. Today's debate is a trek for the ages. In one corner, we've got the hottest spot in North America. In the other, we've got a sacred Japanese volcano. Ain't no mountain high, ain't no valley low, ain't no debate as awesome as Death Valley versus Mount Fuji. We've got journalist and Lemonada Media podcast host, Gloria Riviera, here to defend a sizzling Death Valley.

GLORIA RIVIERA: Death Valley is going to rock you!

MOLLY BLOOM: And host of the podcast, What Next and editor, Mary Harris, ready to fight for massive Mount Fuji.

MARY HARRIS: I am ready to blow you away with not one volcano, but three.

MOLLY BLOOM: And here to judge it all is Zora from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She's an avid swimmer, a Nordic skier. And when she isn't in school, she's out traveling. She's been to 29 national parks in 29 states. And I got to warn you, if you challenge her to rock, paper, scissors, you're going to lose. Zora is a rock, paper, scissors champion. Hi, Zora.


MOLLY BLOOM: So Zora, what is the key to winning a game of rock, paper, scissors?

ZORA: I don't really know. I just am good at it.

MOLLY BLOOM: You just-- how do you just, like, tap into the vibes of the universe, sort of like you get signals or something to know what the other person's going to do?

ZORA: Exactly.

MOLLY BLOOM: So do you have a favorite to play?

ZORA: I like playing paper.

MOLLY BLOOM: Why paper?

ZORA: I feel like if you're switching from rock to something else, paper is the easiest to switch to.

MOLLY BLOOM: Interesting. Like, just hand motion-wise or psychologically?

ZORA: Yeah, just hand motion-wise.

MOLLY BLOOM: Do you worry that now that you've revealed your paper secret, everyone's going to go scissors with you?

ZORA: Maybe. I'm not sure. I don't know if I'll be in any rock, paper, scissors competitions anytime soon.

MOLLY BLOOM: You're not going to take this to the NCAA is what you're telling me.

ZORA: Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very, very cool. Well, will Zora rally for Death Valley, or will Mount Fuji pique her interest? Only she can tell. Zora, are you ready to judge this thing?

ZORA: Yes.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Before we get into the debate, it's time to review the rules of the game. Round one is the Declaration of Greatness, where our debaters present fact-filled arguments in favor of their side. And they each have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's statements. Then we've got the micro-round, where each team will present a creative response to a prompt they received in advance.

Round three is the Sneak Attack, where our debaters will have to respond to an improv challenge on the spot. And to wrap it all up, we've got the Final Six, where each team will have just six words to sum up the glory of their side. Our judge Zora will award two points in the first round, one for her favorite rebuttal, the other for the declaration she likes best. Then she'll award one point in each round after that.

But she'll keep her decisions top secret until the end of the debate. Listeners, we want you to judge, too. Mark down your points as you listen. At the end of the show, head to our website, And vote for whichever team you think won. OK, Mary, Gloria, and Zora, are you ready to do this thing?

MARY HARRIS: I was born ready.

GLORIA RIVIERA: You don't have to ask me twice.

MARY HARRIS: So ready.

ZORA: Oh yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful, then it's time for the--

CREW: Declaration of Greatness.

MOLLY BLOOM: We flipped a coin. And Gloria, you're up first. Tell us what makes Death Valley a killer destination.

GLORIA RIVIERA: Imagine a galaxy far, far away. There's cracked desert Earth, sweeping sand dunes, all surrounded by tall rocky mountains. It's like you've been transported to Tatooine, the desert planet from Star Wars. But this isn't some distant galaxy. No, this is Death Valley in California, one of the most extreme places on the planet. That's why so many TV shows and movies were filmed here, including Star Wars.


Pretty rad, right? Death Valley is totally metal. And if it was a competition, it would take home all the medals.


SUBJECT 1: Welcome to the X Games, the most extreme competition show. I'm joined by one of the most iconic places on Earth, Death Valley. DV, you really scorched the competition this year, taking home trophies for lowest elevation and driest place in North America.

DV: How is it that I'm lower than sea level yet so parched? I mean, come on.

SUBJECT 1: There's that dry sense of humor! You're also one of the hottest places around.

DV: Oh, I'm flattered!

SUBJECT 1: Oh, I meant like, temperature-wise.

DV: Oh, yeah, yeah, that too.

SUBJECT 1: Oh, of course, right. But back to the stats, you hold the world record for hottest air temperature on Earth.

DV: That's correct. In 1913, I reached just over 134 degrees Fahrenheit.

SUBJECT 1: So hot! And well, that's all we have time for on X Games. Back to you, Gloria.


GLORIA RIVIERA: Death Valley's extremes have everything to do with its geography. For starters, Death Valley is so hot.

SUBJECT 2: How hot is it?

GLORIA RIVIERA: So hot you could literally fry an egg on the ground.


SUBJECT 2: Mm, ground eggs.

GLORIA RIVIERA: As I was saying, it's so hot because its basin is nearly 300 feet below sea level. So all the hot air gets trapped in the Valley. Even when the hot air rises, the mountains around the Valley are so tall, they keep the air from escaping. It's also so dry.

SUBJECT 2: How dry is it?

GLORIA RIVIERA: So dry, it gets just a little over two inches of rain per year.

SUBJECT 2: A year? That's drier than a cactus's armpit! How does that even happen?

GLORIA RIVIERA: Well, Death Valley is located hundreds of miles from the Pacific Ocean in what's called a rain shadow. Storms move in from the Pacific. And they have to pass over four mountain ranges to even get to the Valley. In each one, the weather clouds cool and condense, which leads to rain or snow. But that means the clouds are squeezed out. There's hardly any rain left by the time they get to Death Valley.

SUBJECT 2: Golly!

GLORIA RIVIERA: Death Valley is all about extremes. Its lowest point is below sea level. And its peaks scale over 11,000 feet. The difference between those two points is deeper than two Grand Canyons.

SUBJECT 2: That's deep, deeper than Adele's lyrics!

GLORIA RIVIERA: And despite its name, Death Valley is full of life. Hundreds of different animal species live here, from Bighorn sheep to roadrunners. And if you're lucky, you might catch a spring super bloom. Picture seas of yellow, pink, and purple wildflowers across the desert.

SUBJECT 2: It's beautiful!

GLORIA RIVIERA: Humans live here, too, like the Timbisha Shoshone people. Their ancestors relied on native plants like pinion pine nuts and mesquite pods for their diet and moved around the Valley throughout the year to beat the heat. For them, Death Valley isn't just an incredible place. It's home. Death Valley is extreme. It's dynamic. It's resilient and teeming with life, an out of this world experience, all here on planet Earth.

MOLLY BLOOM: A drop dead gorgeous Declaration of Greatness for the very much alive Death Valley. Zora, what stood out to you about Gloria's Declaration of Greatness?

ZORA: I really liked how you mentioned how Death Valley is so hot and why it's so hot. And I also loved the Star Wars mention. [LAUGHS]

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Mary, it is time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to tell us why Death Valley is America's litter box. And your time starts now.

MARY HARRIS: OK, let's start with the obvious. Death Valley? What is the one thing every human being is trying to avoid doing every day, day in day out, dying. I rest my case. And I have googled this. And even though it is the largest national park south of Alaska, only a couple people live there year round.

There is a reason, people. Also, is all that heat a good thing? Death Valley is brutally hot, dry as a bone. But should you really be bragging about that? Mount Fuji is full of life-giving water, two billion tons of precipitation--

MOLLY BLOOM: And time! 30 seconds really flies by. Gloria, anything you want to say before--

GLORIA RIVIERA: No, I think she covered it, which was not a lot. So we're good. We're good.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Mary, it's your turn. I know you got more to say. So tell us, what should we know about volcanic Mount Fuji?

MARY HARRIS: All right, I've got a riddle for you. What is a natural wonder so massive, you can see it from space, but so accessible that a kid just like you could conquer it? I'm talking about Mount Fuji, the highest peak in Japan and a cultural icon. Picture yourself. The wind is whipping through your hair. You're so high up that you're looking down on what the Japanese call Unkai, a sea of clouds.

Are you ready to lace up your hiking boots and do this thing? Yeah, of course you are. Starting from base camp, you and I are going to travel nearly a full mile straight up into the sky, as if we were climbing the Empire State Building in New York City four times. But every year, hundreds of thousands of people make this journey. It's not like Mount Everest. You don't need any special gear or hard core training.

A 79-year-old man named Jitsukawa Yoshinobu has climbed Fuji more than 2,000 times, sometimes twice a day. His nickname is Mr. Fuji-san. Search around a bit, you'll find pictures of kids summiting, too-- a four-year-old, an eight-year-old. Some even say a two-year-old once climbed this thing. As we set out on this adventure, you're probably going be asking yourself, why is it so dark?

Well, here's a weird thing. Mount Fuji's hiking trails are packed in the middle of the night. That's because so many people want to be on Fuji's peak to watch the sunrise. All along the path, there are dozens of mountain huts, places you can take a nap, get a drink, or slurp up a bowl of ramen.


And who doesn't love staying up late and eating snacks? Most people are inspired to hike this mountain simply because she's an icon. In fact, I think of her as a kind of supermodel.


MOUNT FUJI: Supermodel or super mountain? I'm both.

MARY HARRIS: Mount Fuji is used to striking a pose. She's been doing it for thousands of years.

MOUNT FUJI: Listen, I can't help being gorgeous. I have a perfect cone-like shape. In spring, I'm surrounded by cherry blossoms. In the winter, I have a cute little snow cap. I'm always picture perfect. Now, where's that matcha latte? You didn't forget it, did you?

MARY HARRIS: In the 1800s, the Japanese artist Hokusai made not one, but 36 woodblock prints of Fuji, some of the most iconic Japanese art around. There's still photographers today who've made documenting Mount Fuji their life's work, even though she can be temperamental. She is a volcano after all.

MOUNT FUJI: Hello? The latte? You don't want to see me blow my top!

MARY HARRIS: OK, that does not sound great.

MOUNT FUJI: Oh, don't worry. I'm bluffing. I haven't done that since 1707.

MARY HARRIS: Mount Fuji's beauty, it's more than skin deep. As one of Japan's three holy mountains, Mount Fuji has served as religious inspiration for centuries. Buddhists call Fuji's peak zenjo. That's their term for a perfect meditative state. Believers in the ancient Japanese religion of Shinto think of Fuji as the home to their goddess of volcanoes.


There's even a legend that when Fuji's volcano smolders, it's because it's filled with an elixir of immortality, set on fire by a heartbroken Japanese emperor. Side note, his heart was broken by a space princess. I'm not even joking. So on this hike, we're going to pass shrine after shrine. Hold it.

Look at that! We made it! I told you you could do it. And there's the sun rising over the clouds. This is truly a beautiful, spiritual experience. Would you rather be at the bottom of a valley, being fried like an egg in 140 degree heat? I didn't think so. I guess now I know what it feels like to be on top of the world.

MOLLY BLOOM: I'm feeling refreshed after that invigorating hike. Zora, what stood out to you about Mary's Declaration of Greatness?

ZORA: I really liked the explanation of what it's like to climb the mountain. And the food on the way sounded really, really great.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, ramen while you're hiking, why isn't that everywhere?

ZORA: It should be.

MOLLY BLOOM: I love it. All right, well, Gloria, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to tell us why Mount Fuji is less of a mountain and more of a molehill. And your time starts now!

GLORIA RIVIERA: OK, so first of all-- oh, shock, you can see the sunrise from the top of the mountain. Can't you see the sunrise from the top of every mountain? What makes that so different? Second of all, Mount Fuji is so common. I mean, Mount Fuji has so many impersonators.

It's like an impersonator of the impersonators. Around the Pacific Rim, there's Chimborazo, Sumeru-- in the US, our own Mount Shasta and Mount Drum. I mean, I can go on and on. But it gets kind of boring. And also, what is this unkai [? um-shmai ?] sea of clouds? I mean, yes, again, like the sunrise--

MOLLY BLOOM: And, time!

GLORIA RIVIERA: --there's always a sea of clouds at the top!

MARY HARRIS: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so, you know.

GLORIA RIVIERA: Oh, imitation is boring!


MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Zora, they've given you a lot to think about. But it is time to make your decision. We're going to give one point to the Declaration of Greatness you liked best and one point to the most awesome rebuttal. You get to decide what makes a winning argument. Did you like the jokes more, or were you won over by the killer logic? Award your points. But don't tell us who they're going to.

GLORIA RIVIERA: (WHISPERING) Death Valley, Death Valley, Death Valley!

MARY HARRIS: Do you get to influence her?

ZORA: I mean, you can try. [INAUDIBLE]

MOLLY BLOOM: Zora-- all right, Zora, have you made your decision?

ZORA: I have.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Mary and Gloria, how are you two feeling so far?

MARY HARRIS: I'm feeling really confident. I feel like Fuji's got this, 100%.

GLORIA RIVIERA: I mean, I feel like Mount Fuji rhymes with Mount Fungi. Do you know what a fungi is? It eats mold. It's like, no, no, no, no, this should be so obvious.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, well, time to pull out your canteens and beef jerky because we're camping for a spell. Sit tight and relax.

ZORA: And we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.


SUBJECT 3: You're watching State of Debate, home to raging rhetoric and awe-inspiring argumentation.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Hey, debatonaders. I'm Taylor Lincoln. And I'm here with my rebuttal buddy, Todd Douglas.

TODD DOUGLAS: That's me! We're here to report on the thumbtacks that are poking holes in good arguments-- logical fallacies, flaws in the logic of one side of a debate.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Today's fallacy is the anecdotal evidence fallacy. That's when someone uses personal experience instead of real evidence to argue a point.

TODD DOUGLAS: Anecdote? More like anecdon't. You got to watch out for that one. It can come from anywhere, even down on the farm. Let's check in on our cow friends, Darla and Sharon.


DARLA: Oh no, Sharon, you're lying down again? That means it's going to rain.

SHARON: What? No, it doesn't. It's a beautiful sunny day. And I'm just relaxing. Where is your evidence?

DARLA: When cows lie down, it means rain is coming. It's a saying. And last time I took a lay in the grass, it rained, like, immediately. So that proves it.

SHARON: That prooves, nothing.

DARLA: Well, don't come mooing to me when you get all soggy. I'll be in the barn.

TODD DOUGLAS: Whoa there, hold your horses! See what I did there, Taylor? Horses because we're on a farm?

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Todd, quit horsing around! We have a logical fallacy to report. Darla heard that cows lie down when it's going to rain.

TODD DOUGLAS: But she had her own experience as proof with no actual evidence. Rookie moove, am I right?

TAYLOR LINCOLN: OK, time to leave the farm, (SINGING) Old Todd MacDonald.

TODD DOUGLAS: We'll see you next time on State of Debate!


CREW: Smash Boom Best.

MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Smash Boom Best. I'm your host, Molly Bloom.

ZORA: And I'm your judge, Zora.

MOLLY BLOOM: And we love getting debate suggestions from our listeners. Check out this meaty idea from Cale.

CALE: My name is Cale. And I'm from New Hampshire. My debate idea is bone versus muscle.

ZORA: You don't need to be an M.D. to know that'll make a good debate.

MOLLY BLOOM: We'll check back with Cale at the end of this episode to see which side he thinks should win.

ZORA: And now, it's back to today's debate, Death Valley versus Mount Fuji.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's right. And it's time for round two, the micro-round. Today's micro-round challenge is called Seussian Stylings. Mary and Gloria each wrote a poem about their side in the style of Dr. Seuss. Gloria went first last time. So Mary, you're up. Does Mount Fuji hop on pop, or is it riddled with [? speeches? ?]

MARY HARRIS: I wanted to see what Mount Fuji was like. So I gathered my gear to go on a hike. And I called up a guide, Mr. Ichiteyike, who promised that even the tiniest tike could take on Mount Fuji by foot or by bike-- well, maybe not bike, he said with some glee. But Fuji holds secrets inside her. You'll see. First, she's not one volcano, but three. Three, I sputtered, with a pang of fear. Could Fuji explode when we start getting near?

Hogwash, said Ike, with a look of good cheer. She hasn't exploded in 300 years. But I'm scared I can't hike all that way. I'm too small. Your height won't prevent you from having a ball. Mr. Eich seemed to have not one care at all. He took me to base camp the next day at 2:00. And he said, now, you'll learn all the things you can do-- not three days, not four days, not even a week.

It takes just one day to reach the great peak. We'll pray to the gods at this magical place and make double sure that our laces are laced. And I promise, you'll go to the peak from the base and all of the while with a smile on your face. And that's how I conquered my fright on top of a mountain so snowy and white, looking down on the clouds from a perilous height on top of Mount Fuji with Ichiteyike.


MOLLY BLOOM: What a delightful story time. All right, Gloria, it is now your turn. Tell us, what would Horton hear in Death Valley?


GLORIA RIVIERA: Out West, there's a place where a few dare to go. The Earth is scorched dry. And water won't flow. This place will amaze with secrets galore. They call it Death Valley. Come, I'll show you some more. First, Bad Water Basin below the sea line-- bright white flats, sublime crystalline. Once a great lake, now, it's dry land, covered in salt you can hold in your hand. Next up, Mesquite Flat. Here, dunes reign supreme.

Play in that sand. Slide down if you're keen. See Racetrack playa, where mysteries abound. Enormous rocks move when no one's around. Or Devil's Hole, filled with water delish-- the deep dark home of the pupfish. Hike Mosaic Canyon, where flowers abound. Land bridges and ridges circle around. Oh dear, are we here? There's much left to say. But I'm getting quite parched. So let's call it a day.


MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent work. Pupfish definitely sounds like a star of a Dr. Seuss book. All right, Zora, what stood out to you there about Mary and Gloria's micro-rounds?

ZORA: I liked the use in the Fuji poem of the hike with an Ike and how that rhymed. But that's kind of an advantage to you that that works. And the last line about being parched in the Death Valley one was really great

MARY HARRIS: I felt like it sort of underlined the problem with Death Valley. And I know that I'm biased here. But I'm just going to say--


MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Zora, it is time to award a point. But don't tell us who it's going to-- again, criteria totally up to you. Is one of these books one you can imagine checking out at the library? Did one have more facts? Did one make you laugh? All right, Zora, have you awarded your point?

ZORA: I have!

MOLLY BLOOM: Fantastic. Then it's time for our third round, the super stealthy Sneak Attack. Your Sneak Attack is, what's that word? Gloria and Mary, we're going to give you three words related to your topic in secret. And it's going to be your job to get Zora to guess what your words are without using the word itself in your description. For example, if Mary got the word "cloud," she might say, it's a big fluffy thing in the sky that rain comes out of. And Zora would guess cloud. Does that make sense, Mary and Gloria?


GLORIA RIVIERA: Yeah, it does.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Zora, you can use whatever criteria you want to judge this round. It could be whoever gets you to guess most quickly, whoever has the coolest clues. It's up to you. Does that make sense, Zora?

ZORA: Mm-hmm.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. All right, Mary went first last time. So Gloria, you're up. Let's hear your first word. And your time starts now.

GLORIA RIVIERA: OK, Zora, let's do this. This slides through your hands. It's very, very, very minute-- minute pieces of material.

ZORA: Is it sand?

GLORIA RIVIERA: Yes, and it covers what? It covers what, that you can slide down?

ZORA: Dunes.

GLORIA RIVIERA: No, close, close, close.

ZORA: Sand dunes?

GLORIA RIVIERA: It covers something where you go out. And you're hiking and hiking or walking. And it's very flat. And sometimes in a restaurant, you eat it. You eat it if you add one letter. But in this case, it's covered with the first word, which was sand. And--

ZORA: You want to come back to it? Why don't you go to the next one?

GLORIA RIVIERA: Yes, I'll come back to it. I'll come back to it.

ZORA: I have no idea.

GLORIA RIVIERA: We'll come back to it. But don't worry. So in Death Valley, if you catch a spring bloom, what will you see? There's life in Death Valley. It's very beautiful, very colorful.

ZORA: Light.

GLORIA RIVIERA: It comes up from the ground. You need-- if you have them around your own yard, you need to water them.

ZORA: Oh, grass?

GLORIA RIVIERA: They can be-- no, close, close.

MOLLY BLOOM: And, time. All right, that middle word was-- do you want to reveal what the middle word was, the second word?

GLORIA RIVIERA: The middle word was desert.


GLORIA RIVIERA: I know, close, close.

MOLLY BLOOM: And what was the last word?

GLORIA RIVIERA: And the last one was wildflowers.

ZORA: That's a tricky one.

GLORIA RIVIERA: I know, I know.

ZORA: That was tricky.

GLORIA RIVIERA: But you were almost there. You were almost there.

MARY HARRIS: So close.

GLORIA RIVIERA: We should have just run with grass. We should have just run with grass.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Mary, you're up. Time to deliver your dynamic descriptions. And your time starts now.

MARY HARRIS: OK, this is fluffy stuff that falls from the sky. You can ski on it.

ZORA: Snow.

MARY HARRIS: Yes. OK, this is a mountain of fire.

ZORA: Volcano.

MARY HARRIS: Yes. OK, this is the female version of Zeus-- not the person, but the thing that she is. Some people would call Beyonce this. I don't know. It's like a-- someone in charge, but a lady. And Greek blanks that are in the sky.

ZORA: Oh, Greek goddesses?

MARY HARRIS: Yes, yes!

MOLLY BLOOM: Nice! Very good.

MARY HARRIS: You see the Beyonce connection now, right?

ZORA: Yes.

MOLLY BLOOM: And with 15 seconds to spare, nicely done. All right, Zora, nice work-- didn't know we were going to make you play a game today. But we did. Which side impressed you the most? Think about it. And award that side a point. But don't tell us who it's going to. Have you made your decision?

ZORA: I have.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Then it's time for our final round--

CREW: The Final Six.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Mary, you've got six words left to prove why Mount Fuji is the Everest of destinations. Let's hear them.

MARY HARRIS: Choose life, not death. Choose Fuji.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful campaign slogan. All right, Gloria, give us six words that prove Death Valley is more than just a good name for a metal band.

GLORIA RIVIERA: Mount Fuji, snore. Death Valley, roar!


MOLLY BLOOM: Very, very good. I see the Seussian Styles got you rhyming! All right, let's award a point for this Final Six. Have you awarded it?

ZORA: Yes, I have!

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, tally up those points.

ZORA: All righty, I'm done tallying.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK, so you're ready to crown one team the Smash Boom Best?

ZORA: Yes.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, drum roll please.


The winner is--

ZORA: Mount Fuji!


GLORIA RIVIERA: No, no! Say it isn't so!

MARY HARRIS: Do I get a statue?


MOLLY BLOOM: So Zora, was there a moment that decided things, that really pushed it over the edge for Mount Fuji?

ZORA: I would say in the micro-round, the hike with an Ike. It was really good.


MARY HARRIS: Oh, thanks. Gloria, I just want to say, I really loved your poem. I thought it was really good. And I heard it. And I was like, I'm going down. So I feel kind of surprised and amazed that I won-- so, awesome.

GLORIA RIVIERA: Well, Mary, you are a gracious winner, which is sometimes hard to do. But I really loved how you talked about Mount Fuji as this sacred part of Japan and how people as old as their mid 70s and even little kids can climb it. It's really accessible to everyone. It made it kind of feel warm and fuzzy. So I will say a slightly grudgingly good job to you as well.

MOLLY BLOOM: That is it for today's debate battle. Zora crowned Mount Fuji the Smash Boom Best. But what about you?

ZORA: Head to and vote to tell us who you think won.

MOLLY BLOOM: Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On and APM Studios. It's produced by Molly Bloom, Rosie DuPont, Ruby Guthrie, and Aron Woldeslassie. We had engineering help from Dereck Ramirez and Gary O'Keefe, with sound design by Rachel Bryce.

GLORIA RIVIERA: Our editors are Shahla Farzan and Sanden Totten.

MARY HARRIS: And we had production help from Anna Goldfield, Mark Sanchez, Anna Weggel, and Nico Gonzalez Wisler.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our executive producer is Beth Pearlman. And the APM Studios executives in charge are Chandra Kavati, Alex Schaffert, and Joanne Griffith. Our announcer is Marley Feuerwerker-Otto. And we want to give a special thanks to Austin Kross and Taylor Kaufman. Gloria, is there anyone you'd like to give a shout-out to today?

GLORIA RIVIERA: The people who helped me find Smash Boom Best, my sons, Tristan and Kaden, and my daughter, Sinclair. High fives to you!

MOLLY BLOOM: And how about you, Mary? Any special shout-outs or thanks?

MARY HARRIS: I also have to thank my family because this podcast helped us get through quarantine-- my husband Mark, my older son Leo, Stella, and also the Brooklyn Debate League, which my son was part of and introduced us to debate in general. It's super fun.

MOLLY BLOOM: That is so awesome. And Zora, how about you, any special thanks or shout-outs?

ZORA: I'd have to thank Smash Boom Best because it's really entertaining on our road trips when we go to new national parks.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, that's awesome! We're so glad you're here. All right, well, before we go, let's check in with Cale and see who he thinks should win his muscle versus bone debate.

CALE: I think bones should win because it protects your heart and your brain.

MOLLY BLOOM: Do you have an idea for a knockdown drag out debate? Head to and tell us about it. We'll be back with a new debate battle next week.




Oh, you're the smash, boom, best. Oh, put you through the test. Oh, you're the smash, boom, best. Oh, better than the rest. You're the smash, boom, best. You're the smash, boom, best.

GLORIA RIVIERA: You got to wake me up.

MARY HARRIS: Wake me up!

GLORIA RIVIERA: Wake me up. Am I going to wake up?


MARY HARRIS: We're both asleep.

Transcription services provided by 3Play Media.