Today’s debate is a marine dream! One side has a giant tooth that's brought it acclaim, while the other wobbles on without a brain. Get ready to dive into this debate because it’s Narwhals vs. Jellyfish! Actor and writer Allison Reese is here to defend notable narwhals, while podcast producer Tracy Mumford gets jiggy for team jellyfish! Which side will swim to victory? Team horn or team tentacle?

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Audio Transcript

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SPEAKER 1: From the brains behind Brains On, it's Smash Boom Best.

SPEAKER 2: 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 ask you to decide which one is best. Today's debate is a marine dream. One side has a giant tooth that's brought it to claim while the other wobbles on without a brain. Get ready to dive into this debate because it's narwhals versus jellyfish. Here to wrap notable narwhals is actor and writer, Allison Reese.

ALLISON REESE: Narwhals, you're about to get the point.

MOLLY BLOOM: And we've got podcast producer and friend of the show, Tracy Mumford here to get jiggy for team jellyfish.

TRACY MUMFORD: Can't squish this jellyfish. I'm ready to dish.

MOLLY BLOOM: And to judge it all, we've got Margaret from St. Paul, Minnesota. Margaret is part of her school's environmental club, went to a concert dressed as a banana, and was named after a Teenage Mutant Ninja . Turtle. Hi, Margaret.

MARGARET: Hi, Molly.

MOLLY BLOOM: So Margaret, tell me, which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle were you named after?

MARGARET: OK, so this is a bit of a long story. When I was being named, my brother came into my parents' room and said, hey, guys, what if we name her Joy for all the joy she's going to bring to our family, which is really sweet.

But turns out, one of my middle names is joy. I'm only named joy because that was the name of a new character in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that my brother had seen that morning. And it was also the nurse in Pokemon. So it was really because it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

MOLLY BLOOM: And I'm curious about the concert that you dress as a banana for.


MOLLY BLOOM: What was the concert, and why banana?

MARGARET: OK. So my sister came home for this concert we went to together. We saw Maggie Rogers at the Armory in Minneapolis. It was a wonderful concert. An hour and a half before we left, my sister says, OK, what if we dress up as a banana and a hot dog?

And I'm like-- we're at the dinner table, and she's bringing this up. The concert starts 7:00 PM. And she's like, because it would be funny. So then, we put them on, and we decided to come up with ideas for why we're wearing these costumes. I was a banana because I go bananas for Maggie Rogers.

And my sister was a hot dog because, hot dog, she loves Maggie Rogers. And Maggie Rogers' video team came up and got clips of us and pictures to go show her. We were going to be on her Instagram, but we didn't make the cut, which is sad.

MOLLY BLOOM: What did they have that was better than that?

MARGARET: Right? There's so many pictures they could have used, but maybe if she makes a tour documentary, we'll be in there.

MOLLY BLOOM: I certainly hope so. Will Margaret be swayed by the unicorns of the sea or tantalized by team tentacle? Only she can tell. Margaret, are you ready to judge this debate?

MARGARET: I sure am.

MOLLY BLOOM: Before we get into this sea-bound smackdown, let's review the rules of the game. Each debate consists of four rounds-- the declaration of greatness, the micro round, the sneak attack, and the final six. After each round, our judge, Margaret, will award points the team that impressed her the most, but she'll keep her decisions top secret until the end of the debate.

We want you, our listeners, 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. All right, Alison, Tracy, and Margaret, are you ready?




MOLLY BLOOM: Then it's time for the--

SPEAKER 3: Declaration of greatness.

MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, our debaters will present a fact-filled and passionate argument in favor of their side. Then, they'll each have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's statements. We flipped a coin, and Allison, you're up first. Tell us why narwhals are a whale of a time.

SPEAKER 4: Slow fishin' day?

SPEAKER 5: The slowest. There's nothing interesting in the sea these days.

CRUSTY JOE: You're just not looking in the right places.

SPEAKER 5: Whoa, who is that? You came out of nowhere.

SPEAKER 4: Oh, that's Crusty Joe, the oldest and crustiest fisherman around these parts.

CRUSTY JOE: I was out, alone in my boat, with nothing but a line and a song.

SPEAKER 4: Oh, here we go.

CRUSTY JOE: 'Twas a blizzardy night. Flakes falling every which way, and icicles in me beard. It was the kind of cold that makes the heart run away from your mouth. Suddenly, in the midst of this great storm was the most beautiful creature I ever did lay eyes on. He was bigger than me mom's 1968 VW bus, then had a spiral horn coming out of its head.

SPEAKER 5: Like a unicorn.

CRUSTY JOE: Aye, a see unicorn.

ALLISON REESE: A horned sea creature sounds like something out of a fairy tale, but Crusty Joe is talking about a very real animal-- the narwhal. Narwhals are related to warm-blooded marine mammals, like whales. And much like the emo tween in us all, they're cool and deep. Isn't that right, emo narwhal?

NARWHAL: I guess.

ALLISON REESE: They live in the Arctic Ocean, off the coasts of Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia.

NARWHAL: OK, cold, colder, brrr, and freezing.

ALLISON REESE: Not only do narwhals live in the intense cold, they also like to get deep. That's right. They can dive almost a mile underwater. Most mammals can't handle the intense pressure that deep underwater, but it's no biggie for narwhals. Thanks, in part, to their flexible rib cages and streamlined bodies.

NARWHAL: I'm just deep like that, but nothing as deep as my poetry.

ALLISON REESE: Because of the intense cold depths they live in, narwhals can be very difficult to study, which means they're very mysterious.

NARWHAL: I wouldn't be a mystery if people just read my poetry.

ALLISON REESE: OK, emo narwhal, let's hear that poetry.

NARWHAL: The sea envelops me, like a corn in its husk. Nothing but the cool Arctic water upon my mystical spiral tusk.

ALLISON REESE: Yes, a narwhal's tusk. That big spiral horn that grows out of their head is actually a gigantic tooth, longer than two baseball bats. Narwhal's tusks are one of the most mysterious things about them because scientists aren't sure what they're used for.

They could be used for mating rituals, battling rivals, breaking up ice, detecting sounds and temperatures. One thing narwhals have been spotted doing is whacking fish with their tusks. Stunning them and then gobbling them up. But because the narwhal is so difficult to study, much of the mystery surrounding their tusk remains.

NARWHAL: Everyone thinks I'm misunderstood because I'm a Scorpio. But even with my strikingly enigmatic personality, I know that I'm misunderstood because I'm a narwhal.

ALLISON REESE: Humans have been fascinated with these mysterious marine mammals for generations. They've even written them into myths and legends. During the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that narwhal's tusks came from unicorns and held magical powers.

And according to Native Inuit legends, the narwhal was once a woman whose long braided hair transformed into a tusk. The narwhal, magical and mysterious, reminds us that there's still so much left to discover in the world. Isn't that right, emo narwhal?

NARWHAL: I am an enigma, delphic, and perplexing, slipping through the freezing inky depths of the sea, where not even my pod gets me. But unlike the jellyfish, I, evermore the mystery, will never ever sting.

ALLISON REESE: Oh, dang, jellyfish. You want some Arctic ice for that burn? Or should I say, sting?

MOLLY BLOOM: A moody, mighty, and mysterious declaration of greatness for the narwhal there. Margaret, what stood out to you about Allison's argument?

MARGARET: I think the poem was very moving. That was a very impactful piece. I feel my entire world is altered after hearing that. I liked the appearance of Crusty Joe. I think he really added to the story. Also, I didn't know that the narwhal big spear thing coming out of their head was a tooth. I thought it was just a horn. And I didn't know how useful it was, but I think that's awesome. And I still think that they came from unicorns. I still think that--

ALLISON REESE: Nothing can convince you, huh?

MARGARET: Yeah, no, I don't think it can, which, honestly, might help your argument, knowing that the idea of them coming from unicorns.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, Tracy, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to prove why narwhals are ne'er do wells, and your time starts now.

TRACY MUMFORD: OK, look, I'll snap for some poetry, but here is my crusty rebuttal. Narwhals, you look like a dolphin ate a unicorn. And you shouldn't harm unicorns like that. Jellyfish looks like a muffin ate some yarn, and no one is harmed when that happens.

But you ate a unicorn, OK? And I think we all want the unicorns to live, not to be dragged a mile underwater. Also, the big thing's a tooth? It'ss a giant tooth? The only one who gets excited about that is dentists.

MOLLY BLOOM: And time.

ALLISON REESE: Respect the tooth. Respect the tooth.


MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Tracy, it's your turn. We're ready for Team Jelly.

SPEAKER 6: OK, Jelly, just tell me the story one more time because we're trying to figure out how a whole classroom of kids turn to stone. Again.

JELLY: I told you, we were learning about where names come from, and some of the kids brought in examples. Like, Kai brought in a shell because Kai means shell.

SPEAKER 6: And you?

JELLY: Well, when it was my turn--

SPEAKER 7: Jellyfish, do you want to tell us where your name comes from?

JELLY: Hi. So one of my scientific names is Medusozoa, which comes from a Greek legend. So I'd like you to meet who I'm named after.



SPEAKER 7: No, class, don't look.


JELLY: I brought in Medusa.

SPEAKER 6: The Greek monster with snakes for hair? All hissing and flailing around?


SPEAKER 6: The one where if you look straight at her, she freezes you into stone?

JELLY: That's the one.

SPEAKER 6: You brought Medusa in for show and tell?

JELLY: Well, I don't want people to think I'm named after peanut butter and jelly. I'm named after something much more powerful. See, my tentacles make me look like Medusa.

SPEAKER 6: OK, I hear that, Jelly or Medusozoa. But this is the third class you've frozen, so could you maybe agree that you and Medusa can just hang out solo from now on?

SPEAKER 6: OK. OK. It's just that some people don't recognize how old, and powerful, and full of tendrils I am. And they really should.

TRACY MUMFORD: In case you find yourself underestimating the powers of a jellyfish, here's what you should know about our Medusa namesake friends of the sea. First, they are ancient, and not just in a, oh, that's old kind of way, but in a, oh, wow, you have survived everything kind of way.

Jellyfish have been around at least 500 million years. That's older than dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, or even trees. They existed before trees. And that means jellyfish have survived everything that's been thrown at them, including five mass extinction events, when almost all life on Earth was wiped out.

Maybe there were massive volcanic eruptions or giant asteroids slammed into Earth. Whatever happened, the jellyfish were just like, we're good. We're swimming through all of it.

SPEAKER 8: Whoa, jellyfer, did you see that giant streak of light across the sky?

JELLYFER: Huh. I Wonder what that was. Anyway, want a snack? Second, jellyfish are at one with the water because they're literally 95% water and 0% brain. No brain. No blood. No organs. They can detect light and vibrations, but no brain means they're not worrying about anything.

They're just going with the flow, pulsing slightly to propel themselves through the water, grabbing snacks with their tendrils. Totally and completely at peace.

SPEAKER 8: You know, I haven't really seen anyone else around since that big boom sound, but I'm not stressing.

TRACY MUMFORD: And the third thing you should remember is that you should absolutely not mess with a jellyfish. Sure, many jellyfish are chill little sea surfers, who won't bother you, but there are thousands of kinds of jellyfish. And they are packing more powers than the Avengers. Let me introduce you to a few.

You've got your venomous jellyfish with incredible names, like the sea wasp or Portuguese man of war, which totally sound like superheroes. There are also nearly invisible jellyfish and some smaller than a pinky nail. Basically, giving Ant-man a run for his money on the tiny hero scale.

Plus, lots of jellyfish can glow in the dark. They use that to confuse predators. There's even some jellyfish scientists think could be immortal. If an adult version of this jellyfish gets sick or hurt, it reverts back to polyp stage. So basically, like a baby jellyfish, and then grows up again from there.

And it can repeat that over and over, meaning it could potentially live forever. So with powerful venom, invisibility, glowing auras, potential immortality jellyfish are truly not to be underestimated. No peanut butter around here.

MOLLY BLOOM: A stinging argument for the laid back and legendary jellyfish. Margaret, what stood out to you about Tracy's declaration of greatness?

MARGARET: Well, there were a lot of things. I think that the Medusa cameo was wonderful. I really, really liked that. I thought that the jellyfish led very much. It was a very obvious villain origin story, as someone said. I mean, I'm not saying that jellyfish are villains, but I'm just saying, that must have been hard to grow up with.

They've been around longer than trees? That's bonkers. Actually, I can't believe that. They're so unbothered, and I didn't know that either. They just go with whatever. I did love the background music, like the wrestling WWE kind of thing. And they glow in the dark? That's awesome.

TRACY MUMFORD: What can't they do? Am I right? What can't jellyfish do?

ALLISON REESE: Well, they can't think.

TRACY MUMFORD: They don't need to think. They don't need to think.

MARGARET: You don't need to think when you can glow in the dark.

MOLLY BLOOM: Exactly. All right, Allison, it's time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to tell us why Tracy's argument is all washed up. And your time starts now.

ALLISON REESE: OK, they're named after the Medusozoa? Medusa so what? Jellyfish only wish they could turn to stone, seeing as they don't have any actual bones. Jellyfish have no brains, no heart, no spine. Sounds like they have no guts. Am I right? I mean, they're basically amoebas. No wonder they're ancient. I mean, they're just amoebas that sting. They're basically spicy amoebas. And I could give a tendril.

MOLLY BLOOM: And time.

MARGARET: I love that phrasing. Spicy amoebas.

TRACY MUMFORD: We're going to tell the amoebas what you said about them.


TRACY MUMFORD: They won't be able to hear us, but we're going to tell them.

MARGARET: I'm calling them right now.

ALLISON REESE: Don't turn me into the amoebas.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Margaret, it's time to award some points. Give one point to the declaration of greatness you liked best and one point to the most pawesome rebuttal. You get to decide what makes a winning argument.

Did one side with you over with their logic, fascinating facts? Who made you giggle? Who made you think? Award your points, but don't tell us who they're going to. Have you made your decision?

MARGARET: Yes, I have.

MOLLY BLOOM: Tracy and Allison, how are you two feeling so far?

ALLISON REESE: I'm not going to say shook. I'm not going to stay stung. But I am feeling the heat.

TRACY MUMFORD: I don't know, are narwhals even real? Now, it's all up for debate. I'm feeling like--

ALLISON REESE: Oh, they're real.

TRACY MUMFORD: You just keep saying that. You just keep saying that.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, we'll take a moment to surface for oxygen or just float about.

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

SPEAKER 1: You're watching a state of debate, home to rage and rhetoric and awe inspiring argumentation.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: How are we doing, debaters? Taylor Lincoln here with my debater from another mother, Todd Douglas.

TODD DOUGLAS: Hello. Hello, Taylor. I just got back from the grocery store, and guess what I found? A big old logical fallacy.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Uh-oh. Clean up on aisle 9. A logical fallacy really rocks the wind out of your debate.

TODD DOUGLAS: Sure does. And I've got a real humdinger for you today, Tay-Tay. The bandwagon effect.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Oh, yeah. That's when you argue something must be true just because it's popular.

TODD DOUGLAS: Like, LEGOs must be more fun than board games because all of my friends play with LEGOs.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Oh. Or cats make better pets than dogs because everyone in my class has a cat.

TODD DOUGLAS: This logical fallacy is everywhere, even the ice cream shop. Let's go.

MILES: Hey, Kim. We just sold our 1,000th ice cream cone.

KIM: Wow, Miles. At this rate, we'll need to buy more ice cream.

MILES: You bet. But we should only give vanilla.

KIM: What? Why?

MILES: Almost everyone is buying vanilla, silly. Hardly anyone is getting chocolate, strawberry, or tutti frutti, hot and moody.

KIM: But we've been selling vanilla for years and only just started selling tutti frutti hot and moody. Shouldn't we let others keep trying it?

MILES: No way. People only want vanilla.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Hold up. That's two scoops of bad logic.

TODD DOUGLAS: I'll say, just because most people like vanilla, doesn't mean, Kim and Miles should give up on all their other ice cream flavors.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: That's right. Maybe people need time to try chocolate, strawberry, or tutti frutti hot and moody, like they tried vanilla. Maybe it's all a matter of time.

TODD DOUGLAS: So what exactly does tutti frutti hot and moody taste like?

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Like a fruity volcano exploding in your mouth. Let's go get some.

TODD DOUGLAS: Last one there is a melted sundae. This has been state of debate.

GROUP. Best Boom Smash. Smash Boom Best.

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

MARGARET: And I'm your judge, Margaret.

MOLLY BLOOM: And we love getting debate suggestions from our listeners. Take a listen to this summery debate idea from Anna.

ANNA: My debate idea is watermelon versus cantaloupe.

MARGARET: Watermelon versus cantaloupe? I've heard of mano-a-mano, but what about melon-a-melono?

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

MARGARET: And now, it's back to today's debate-- narwhals versus jellyfish.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's right, and it's time for round two, the--

SPEAKER 3: Micro round.

MOLLY BLOOM: For the micro round challenge, each team has prepared a creative response to a prompt they received in advance. And today's micro round is parallel universe. For this challenge, we asked Allison and Tracy to imagine a parallel universe, where their animal is the dominant life form.

What does a dimension ruled by jellyfish or narwhals look like? We're about to find out. Since Allison went first last time, Tracy, you're up. Transport us to tentacle town.

TRACY MUMFORD: Welcome to our five-star fish resort, Hotel Jellyville, where the entire world is underwater, and life is fine. Because life is always fine when you're a jellyfish. That's our motto in Jellyville. It's stitched on the pillows.

You can breathe underwater, right? Oh. Oh, you can't? Wow, air breather alert. We probably have a tank of that somewhere, but you should really work on that for your next stay with us. For now, just grab that scuba gear, and let's tour our little slice of tendril paradise, Hotel Jellyville.

Because life is always fine when you're a jellyfish. We have that stitched on the pillows. Did I say that already? I have no memories because I have no brain. So the way to get around Jellyville is to think of it like a lazy river at the water park, where you just hop on an inner tube and let yourself be carried away.

The water will carry you to your room and to the pool, which is all of it. To be honest, our world is 100% pool here. And if you find yourself getting hungry, the ocean currents are your room service. They'll bring snacks right to you. It is a little dark in Jellyville, but that's the way we like it-- mood lighting.

If you need some light, you can just turn on your glow. Oh, sorry, you are an air breather with no glow. Well, that's OK. At hotel Jellyville, we glow for you. We're basically a bunch of friendly lamps. We do hope you'll enjoy your stay because life is always fine, when you're a jellyfish. We have that stitched on the pillows.

MOLLY BLOOM: Packing my bags. Would love to turn off my brain. Just hang out with the friendly lamps for a while. Sounds delightful.

TRACY MUMFORD: It wouldn't be a bribe, but we do have a pillow for you later.

MARGARET: And what's stitched on that pillow?

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent work. All right, Allison, it is your turn. Let's hear about this brave nar-world.

SPEAKER 9: You have now entered a new dimension.

SPEAKER 10: Welcome, Alison.

ALLISON REESE: Whoa, this water is freezing. Wait, is this the spider-verse?

SPEAKER 10: This is the Narwhal-verse, an alternate dimension where narwhals reign supreme. Here, take this wetsuits. Your puny human body can't survive the icy cold depths of the Arctic. Come on, human. The first stop is the narwhal dentist.

Here in the narwhal universe, the best and easiest job to have is being a dentist because most males have just the one tooth. Looks like the dentist is with a patient now,

DENTIST: OK, open wide. Just kidding. Your tooth is right here on your head. But seriously, when was the last time you brushed this thing?

SPEAKER 10: Come on let's check out the rest of Nar-Washington. Here's our town square, and over there is the movie theater. Oh, they're showing my favorite this week-- Nar-Wall-E.

ALLISON REESE: Whoa. Look at those whales spearing popcorn with their horns. Neat.

SPEAKER 10: Come see the rest of our dimension's world wonders. There's the great narwhal of China. And of course, the Narwhal Street Journal headquarters.

ALLISON REESE: I hear they have some great puzzles.

SPEAKER 10: And lastly, the open Arctic sea.

ALLISON REESE: Wow, it's so beautiful and full of life.

SPEAKER 10: In the Narwhal-verse, the ocean covers the entire world.

ALLISON REESE: Thanks for showing me your home, narwhal. I got to get back to my dimension and thank my dentist for taking care of all 32 of my teeth instead of just one.

SPEAKER 10: Just remember the narwhal creed. We are a noble, intelligent animal, and are 100% better than jellyfish.

ALLISON REESE: I won't forget, narwhal. I won't forget.

MOLLY BLOOM: Chilling with the narwhals, getting your tooth checked. Sounds like a lovely time.



MOLLY BLOOM: Very nicely done. All right, Margaret, what stood out to you about those two dimensions?

MARGARET: The jellyfish hotel sounds like iconic. It just sounds so cool. I would love to stay there, if I were a jellyfish, how it's all water. That's just awesome. And on the narwhal side, a narwhal dentist? That's so bananas, how that even works. Call back to my banana costume.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, it is time to award a point. It is completely up to you what your criteria are, Margaret. It could be the place you'd like to live, a place you'd like to visit. Maybe one taught you something. Maybe one made you laugh. It is entirely up to you. Please award a point for this round. Have you made your decision?

MARGARET: I sure have.

MOLLY BLOOM: Then, it's time for our third round, the super stealthy--

SPEAKER 3: Sneak attack.

MOLLY BLOOM: This is our improv round, where debaters have to respond to a challenge on the spot. And today's sneak attack is dictionary duel. Allison and Tracy, for this challenge, we want you to invent a word that captures all of your animal's greatest qualities and write a dictionary entry for it.

Your new word can be as long as short as you want. Your dictionary entry should include a definition and, at least, one example of how it might be used in a sentence. Tracy went first last time. So, Alison, you're up. Give us your new word to sum up the greatness of narwhals.

ALLISON REESE: The new word in the dictionary to sum up the greatness of narwhals is narwhally stupendous. And it is defined as such. Narwhally stupendous, meaning so grand, beautiful, smart, and mysterious that one has to be in wonderment of it. To use in a sentence, the detective could not find any clues. They were narwhally stupendous criminals.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very good. It's going to be the word of the year.

ALLISON REESE: Yes. 2023 word of the year.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Tracy, it's your turn. Tell us your new dictionary entry for jellyfish.

TRACY MUMFORD: Mine's a verb. It's a jelly-yonder. You could jelly-yonder all over there, which is to just move through the world with a chill vibe, going with the flow.

So I think we all wish we could just like jelly-yonder through our days. We could jelly-yonder with our friends to somewhere we were hoping to go. So let's just-- we should all just be jelly-yondering as we go.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right, maybe they're tied for a word of the year of 2023. Two amazing entries. But Margaret, you have to choose one to award a point to. Again, the criteria are entirely subjective and entirely up to you.


MOLLY BLOOM: Have you made your decision?

MARGARET: I think I have.

MOLLY BLOOM: Perfect. Then, it's time for our last round.

SPEAKER 3: The final six.

MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, each team will have just six words to sum up the glory of their side. Tracy, let's hear your final statement for jellylicious jellyfish.

TRACY MUMFORD: Jellyfish forever. Narwhal? Nar.

MOLLY BLOOM: I love it. That's awesome. OK, Allison, your turn. Let's hear your knockout words for team narwhals.

ALLISON REESE: Real life unicorns. Narwhals are best.

MOLLY BLOOM: Two excellent final 6's. But Margaret, you have to award a final point for this final round.

MARGARET: This one's tough.

MOLLY BLOOM: I know. Have you made your decision?


MOLLY BLOOM: Are you ready to crown one team the Smash Boom Best?


MOLLY BLOOM: Drum roll, please. The winner is--

MARGARET: Jellyfish.

TRACY MUMFORD: Let's all jelly-yonder over to my house for the victory party.

ALLISON REESE: That is narwhally stupendous.

MOLLY BLOOM: It was a close debate.

MARGARET: Close game. Yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very close. Was there a moment that really like, in those one moment from one of those rounds that you were like, oh, man, that's a great moment.

MARGARET: I think it was when Tracy came up with the idea for the jellyfish word. What was it again?

TRACY MUMFORD: Jelly-yonder.

MARGARET: Jelly-yonder. I loved it. It was a verb. It was very much thinking outside the box. It was awesome. I thought it was also very-- I won't say historically accurate. I might say academically accurate with your original declaration of greatness to start off the discussion. I thought I learned a lot more about jellyfish than I have before. Both sides did great.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yes, they did. This was a hard one to judge, so we appreciate you judging.

TRACY MUMFORD: Narwhals, you are a delight. So glad to share the sea with you. Yes, I enjoy your sense of mystery. I even love your big tooth, even if I don't love dentists. And I'm just going to go back. I feel like that poetry was just-- it's got us. Just we should all snap for that. Incredible.

ALLISON REESE: Thank you. Tracy, I learned so much. I did not know that they were named after Medusa. That is a stone-cold awesome fact.


ALLISON REESE: Jellyfish don't have brains, but I'm digging the vibes. The vibes of the jellyfish that you brought was awesome.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's it for today's debate battle. Margaret crowned jellyfish the Smash Boom Best. But what about you?

MARGARET: 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.

ALLISON REESE: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Rosie DuPont, Ruby Guthrie, and our own Woldeslassie.

MOLLY BLOOM: We had engineering help from Alex Simpson and Sean Campbell with sound design by Anna Weggel.

TRACY MUMFORD: Our editors are Shayla Farzan and Sanden Totten.

ALLISON REESE: And we had production help from Marc Sanchez and Nico Gonzalez Wisler.

MOLLY BLOOM: Our executive producer is Beth Perlman, and the APM Studios executives in charge are Chandra Pravati, Alex Shafer, and Joanne Griffith. Our announcer is Marley. And we want to give special thanks to branT Miller, Andy Doucette, Molly Quinlan, Yuan Care, Austin Cross, and Taylor Kaufman. Allison, is there anyone you'd like to give a shout out to today?

ALLISON REESE: I'd like to give a shout out to my family in supporting my cold, deep poetry.

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. How about you, Tracy? Any special shout outs?

TRACY MUMFORD: Just to the evolutionary process that has brought us such magical creatures.

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. And Margaret, how about you? Any special thanks or shout outs?

MARGARET: I want to give-- can I give two shout outs?


MARGARET: I want to give a shout out to my best friend Maddy because I told her I would. I love her very much. Hi, Maddy. And then, also, my English teacher, Norah. We're doing a whole podcast unit in English class right now.


MARGARET: And she says she's going to listen to this, so, hi, Norah.



MOLLY BLOOM: All right, before we go, let's check in with Anna and see who she thinks should win her cantaloupe versus watermelon debate.

ANNA: I think cantaloupe would win because it is juicier, has a better taste, and has way less of its annoying little seeds.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hot take, Anna. 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.




SINGER: (SINGING) Oh, you have a smash boom best. Oh, put it through the test. Oh, you have a smash boom best. It's smash boom best. It's smash boom best.

MARGARET: How do they make the hotel, keep the pools clean, operate? I'm just wondering. It's just something to think on.

TRACY MUMFORD: They've surpassed capitalism. It's all I can say.

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