Today’s debate is a supreme smackdown of size and scale! On one side we’ve got a powerhouse pachyderm and on the other we’ve got a pretty fly dragon. It’s Hippopotamus vs. Dragonfly! Actor and improviser Jada Pulley is ready to go for Team Hippopotamus, while comedian, and podcaster Tim Barnes is ready to soar sky-high for Team Dragonfly. Head on over to and vote to tell us who 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!

Audio Transcript

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

MAN 1: 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 supreme smackdown of size and scale. On one side, we've got a powerhouse pachyderm. And on the other, we've got a pretty fly dragon, once known for its bite, while the other makes all the buzz. I'm so excited. And you're about to see why. Put your hands together because it's hippopotamus versus dragonfly.

In one corner, we've got actor and improviser, Jada Pulley, ready to go for team hippopotamus.

JADA PULLEY: Hip, hip, hip, hooray. Hippopotamus for the win.

MOLLY BLOOM: And in the other corner, writer, comedian, and podcaster, Tim Barnes, is here to source sky high for team Dragonfly.

TIM BARNES: Whoo. Breathe fire like a dragon. Buzz around like a fly. We're going to reach new heights of comedy and knowledge today. I guess I should have made that rhyme.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] And here to judge it all is Tai from Toronto. You may already know Tai as the host of the amazing podcast, Tai Asks Why from CBC Podcasts Hi, Tai.

TAI POOLE: Hi. Thank you so much for having me on again.

MOLLY BLOOM: Thank you for coming back. It's a delight to talk to you again. So Tai, in case our listeners have not already heard it, tell us about your podcast.

TAI POOLE: It's about a young me, small Tai, asking these giant questions, and going out into the world, and asking these brilliant experts and these brilliant people to try to learn just a little bit more about the world around me.

MOLLY BLOOM: And how old were you when you started making the podcast?

TAI POOLE: Oh, I was still in elementary school, grade five, grade six. My voice was way higher, so high, I'm not even going to try to make the voice anymore.


MOLLY BLOOM: And how-- what grade are you in now?

TAI POOLE: Now I'm in grade 12. I'm finishing my second semester. And I'm getting ready for UNI. Ooh.

MOLLY BLOOM: Do you know what you want to study at UNI?

TAI POOLE: Yes, I'm trying to study computer science. So hopefully, places like U of T and Waterloo, get back to me. Hey, guys. Think about it.

MOLLY BLOOM: Guys, Tai should go there, obviously. Do you have any advice for our debaters today?

TAI POOLE: I think just present the best case you can. And I'll judge it with fiercely, sternly, and hopefully, fairly. I mean, hopefully.


MOLLY BLOOM: We know you can, Tai. It's going to be great. So will Tai side with Jada or Tim? Only time will tell. Tai are you ready to judge today's debate?

TAI POOLE: Ready as I'll ever be.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Before we dive in, let's review the rules of the game. Every debate consists of four rounds of argumentation, the Declaration of Greatness, the micro around, the sneak attack, and the final six.

After each round, our judge, Tai, will award points to the team that impresses him the most, but he'll keep his 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. Jada, Tim, and Tai, are you ready?

TIM BARNES: Ready as ever.

JADA PULLEY: Was born ready.


MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. Then it's time for the Declaration of Greatness. In this round, our debaters will present a well-crafted immersive argument in favor of their side. Then they'll each have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent's statements. We flipped a coin. And Jada, you're up first. Tell us why your creature puts the hip in hippo.


JADA PULLEY: And now, straight from the Nile River Valley in sub-Saharan Africa for one night only, it is my great honor to present the underwater hippo ballet.


See the hippo ballerinas pure wet and dizzying circles. Watch them leap through the water, light as a feather. Glide across the pool like big, beautiful angels on Earth. They're gorgeous. Who knew hippos could dance with such unbelievable grace and elegance? This is the best day of my life.


More on how these humongous hoofers move with such grace in a minute. Honestly, though, it doesn't take a whimsical ballet for hippos to wow. These awe-inspiring crowd-pleasers attract attention wherever they go. Why? Because in every sense of the word, they're mega.

Hippos are some of the most iconic animals on Earth, partly because they're big. Males can grow more than 15 feet long and weigh almost 10,000 pounds. 10,000 pounds. That's the same weight as three small cars.


Mega. And how about those mega mouths? Hippos have the biggest mouths of any land animal. And their teeth can grow up to nearly two feet long. They also have some of the most powerful jaws in the animal kingdom, stronger than lions, jaguars, or even grizzly bears.


MAN 2: Today on Mega Mouth Mania, our contestants will compete to see whose trap is the toughest. The first, weighing in at over 8,000 pounds, we have the hippo. Whoa, that hippo just bit through a steel car bumper. Can we get another bumper over here please?


JADA PULLEY: And hippos are amazing on land and in water. In fact, they have a bunch of special features that let them spend pretty much all day in rivers and ponds. Their eyes, ears, and noses are all on the top of their heads. So they can still see, hear, and smell when most of their body is under water.

Their feet are webbed for paddling. And even their eyes have a clear, protective layer, like built-in goggles. But here's the wild thing, even with all those special traits, hippos can't swim. They just move through the water in a graceful, slow motion gallop, touching the ground with their tippy toes, like the world's biggest ballerinas.

Hippos are also environmental influencers. As they move between land and water, they reshape the land around them in ways that can help other animals and plants. At night, they nibble on tall grasses, creating what's called hippo grazing lawns. By keeping the grasses from taking over, they can help other plants take root, which can create richer and more diverse plant communities. [BURPS]

Hippos can eat around 80 pounds of plants per day, which means they poop a lot. [FARTS] Some estimate a single hippo can produce over 10 pounds of poop every day. And that puts important nutrients into rivers and streams so other plants can thrive.

MAN 2: Do you want potatoes that pop, watermelons that wow, and sunflowers that sing? Then you need Hippo Grow, the one and only fertilizer made from eco-friendly hippo dung. And best of all, it's free. Seriously, they're making so much. Please take some of this hippo dung. [FARTS]

JADA PULLEY: Plus, hippo influencers have adoring fans. Herons will perch on the backs of hippos while they're hunting for fish. Nice place to rest. Other birds, like oxpeckers, will ride around on hippos and eat ticks and other parasites off of them. Yum. And fish will even nibble away parasites on a hippo's legs under water.

Hippos, basically, have a whole squad of other animals hanging out with them all the time. So let's hear it for hippos. These super powerful environmental influencers are hugely important and enormously cool. Truly mega.

MOLLY BLOOM: That was a mighty mega argument for hippos. Tai, what stood out to you about Jada's declaration of greatness?

TAI POOLE: It was really interesting to me, not just the sheer size and ferocity of the hippo, but the fact that the hippo interacts with everything in its environment. It impacts the terrain around it. And it helps all the plants. And then it got a squad of things that help clean it and scrub it, if not for a little bit of taxi service in return.


MOLLY BLOOM: Awesome. All right, Tim, it is time for your rebuttal. Tell us why the hippopotamus is all bark and no bite. You've got 30 seconds. And your time starts now.

TIM BARNES: OK. Wow. The pressure's on. I'm so nervous. But Tai, while, I think it's really cool that you no longer have to ask why about-- ask anything about, really, hippo poop, you know everything about it now, I'm here to prove to you that bigger isn't always better.

And dragonflies, you probably think they're just always in the sky, but that's not where they start. They actually start in the water, much like hippos. And speaking of poop, I guess, when the larvae of the dragonfly, they propel themselves through the water through what I can only describe as fart power.

MOLLY BLOOM: And time. [LAUGHS] I love ending on the words "fart power."


JADA PULLEY: I got to say, bigger is better in almost every instance.


So I got to just start off with, you're wrong.


But hippos are-- if we're going to talk about starting in the water, hippos start in the water and stay loyal to it throughout their whole lives.

TIM BARNES: Oh, wow.

JADA PULLEY: Dragonflies is--

TIM BARNES: You're questioning the loyalty of dragonflies? Really?

JADA PULLEY: Oh, I don't need to question it because it's just fact. They start in the water. And then they think they're too good for water all of the sudden?

TIM BARNES: No, no, no. That's-- no, no, no, no, that's not true. That's not true because the dragonfly is returned to the water to produce more dragonflies.


TIM BARNES: They do come back. It's a hero's journey.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Well, tell us about that hero's journey please, Tim. Give us the lowdown on dragonflies.


TIM BARNES: I did a ton of research for this debate. I even got this big encyclopedia about dragonflies, but tests make me so nervous, and I really want to win. So I found a dragonfly professor online. And he's agreed to help. Charged me a lot of money to do it too, but that's besides the point. Let me just give him a call.




TIM BARNES: Is this Dr. Agon Fly?

DR. AGON FLY (ON PHONE): Oh, you must be Tim. Yeah, you wanted me to--

TIM BARNES: To give some information about all the awesome things dragonflies do.

DR. AGON FLY (ON PHONE): Yes. Yes. As an expert, I can tell you that they are beautiful creatures that make honey, weave baskets, and-- oh, they have laser beam eyes. Yeah.

TIM BARNES: What? That doesn't sound right. My encyclopedia says nothing about Superman powers.

DR. AGON FLY (ON PHONE): Well, I would know, wouldn't I? I'm an expert.

TIM BARNES: But bees make honey. Humans weave baskets. And dragonflies don't shoot lasers. Their eyes actually do something more original. See, right here, it says, they have nearly 360 degree vision. That means they see from almost every angle, which comes in handy for dragonflies because they can also fly backwards. Imagine how scared bad guys would be if Superman could do that.

DR. AGON FLY (ON PHONE): Oh. [NERVOUS CHUCKLE] You got me. OK. Obviously, that was a test. Now you're ready for a real fact, like dragonflies are one of the newest creatures on the planet. Yeah, they're like a fresh deck of Pokemon cards. They've only been around for like 15 years. Yup, very facty.

TIM BARNES: No, very wrong. They've been here for over 300 million years. They're one of the first bug species to evolve with wings. They predate the dinosaurs. In fact, there's one prehistoric dragonfly that-- let me find it.


Here it is. It was called the meganeura. And it had a wingspan of up to 30 inches long. That's about the length of a tennis racket or both of basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal's feet together. Can you imagine if Shaq's feet could fly? Whoa. I get chills just thinking about it.

DR. AGON FLY (ON PHONE): Oh, I'm Tim. I have a fancy book of dragonfly facts. So I guess you don't care for my expertise on how rare they are. You can only find them at indoor water parks in the continental US.

TIM BARNES: No, dragonflies aren't rare. That's what makes them so amazing. There are different types everywhere in the world, except for Antarctica, because it's too--


TIM BARNES: --cold. I'm hanging up.


Sorry about that. Never should have searched for an expert on TikTok. You don't have to make stuff up for dragonflies to be cool. Dragonflies are practically everywhere. There are thousands of different species. Some can even fly nonstop across oceans. They have all sorts of colors too. In fact, you could probably pair every crayon in the box with a real dragonfly. That's the same color.


(SINGING) You say purple, I say trithemius. You say yellow, I say pantalla.

OK. Let's call the whole thing off with my singing. Unlike plain gray hippos, dragonflies are a rainbow. They're also ace pilots who can bob and weave with amazing speed. Scientists are trying to figure out how they manage to maneuver mid-flight so well. And since they've been on this planet way longer than hippos, there are tons of ancient myths about them, like dragon dragons.

DR. AGON FLY (ON PHONE): Which, by the way, are real. I watched a whole documentary on how to train them.

TIM BARNES: I thought I hung up on you.


Where was I? Oh, yeah. In some cultures, dragonflies have nicknames, like Devil's Horse and Water Witch. But in Japan, for instance, they symbolize courage and success. Hey, come to think of it, it took a lot of courage for me to overcome my nerves and successfully convey all those facts just now. Turns out, I know way more than that supposed expert too.

Oh Dr. Agon just posted a new dance on TikTok. But they're just standing still and blinking? Unfollow. But I'll never unfollow my fabulous flying friend, the dragonfly.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, human fact checker, Tim Barnes, there with a great argument for dragonflies. Tai, what stood out to you about Tim's declaration of greatness?

TAI POOLE: I think I'm really starting to question Mr. Agon Fly's credentials. But that crayon--

TIM BARNES: Same here.

TAI POOLE: --fact was so interesting. The fact that they're just-- they come in all of these gamut of colors, and also the fact that they've been around for so long really interests me and makes me think about, they have all this evolutionary space to really hone themselves in, right?

MOLLY BLOOM: Mm-hmm. Jada, it is time for your rebuttal. Please tell us why we should give the dragonfly a swat instead of a crown. You've got 30 seconds. And your time starts now.

JADA PULLEY: I'm not surprised you couldn't find a real expert on dragonflies because frankly, they're a little bit too small to care about.


JADA PULLEY: You can have thousands of species because they didn't get it right the first time. Hippos only have two species, and they're both really cool and gray all day. Fly backwards out of here, dragonflies. Oh, gosh. Oh. And also, butts are not good ways to breathe.



TIM BARNES: Wow. You're so-- OK. I've never heard-- it's like you have a reverse Napoleon complex with hippos. This is so fascinating to me. But you have to admit that the hippos are singular to one space. The fact that dragonflies are everywhere is so fascinating. I'm sure that anyone listening can look up where they can find a dragonfly nearby.

How do you-- how do you-- when-- I don't want to say this. I know this is controversial. I'm not 100% sure hippos exist. I've never seen one in person.

JADA PULLEY: Wow. OK. Well, I would like to say that rarity is something that is appreciated. Sure, you can squat your hand and find a dragonfly, but hippos, you have to go on a trek to find because they very much exist, although, I can understand why you would mythologize them because they are so cool.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, good points all around. But Tai, it is time to award some points. Please give one point to the Declaration of Greatness you liked best and one point to the rebuttal that won you over. You get to decide what makes a winning argument. Did one team's jokes make you giggle? Was another team's logic awe-inspiring? Award your points, but don't tell us who they're going to. Both points could go to the same person or each person could get a point. It's entirely subjective and entirely up to you. Have you made your decision, Tai?

TAI POOLE: I think I have. Yes.


MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Tim and Jada, how are you two feeling so far?

TIM BARNES: I'm feeling nervous. I'm not sure-- I'm in a weird space, I'll put it that way.


JADA PULLEY: Well, I'm feeling pretty hip to how things work around here.


I think I-- I'm getting the hang of it because I really want to do hippos justice. I got to show out for-- I mean, I hippopota-must show up for these species.

MOLLY BLOOM: Well, it is time for a quick break. Head to a river or a swamp for a little rest.

MAN 1: And we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.


WOMAN: You're listening to State of Debate, home to rage, and rhetoric, and awe-inspiring argumentation.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Hello. How are you? What's new. I'm debate champion, Taylor Lincoln. And I'm here with my cheesy chum, Todd Douglas.

TODD DOUGLAS: Today's debate comes to us, courtesy of my pal, Patti Provolone, when she was shopping for new record albums.

PATTI PROVOLONE: Let's see if we can spot the problem in this musical homage to fromage. Excuse me. Do you have a section for cheese core records?

MAN 3: A fellow cheese core head. Nice. You can find them over there between the banana rock and the drip hop albums.

PATTI PROVOLONE: Cool. So I guess that's where I can find the new breeders album?

MAN 3: As if. The breeders are totally soft cheese rock. No. True cheese core music is only made up of hard cheese.

PATTI PROVOLONE: Oh, all right. All right. No problem. I guess I'll just take this old red hot chilli pepper Jack's album then.


TODD DOUGLAS: P you. That answer stinks worse than a wedge of Limburger that's been sitting on the counter for a week.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: You said it, Todd. Classic no true Scotsman fallacy. That's when someone has very strict rules about what something is and argues that if something doesn't exactly follow those rules, it's not the real thing.

TODD DOUGLAS: Well, I guess it's time to asia go go.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Ooh. Good one, Todd. See you next time on State of Debate.

TODD DOUGLAS: State of Debate.


MAN 1: Best.

WOMAN 2: Boom.

MOLLY BLOOM: Smash. Smash.

WOMAN 2: Boom.

MAN 1: Best.

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

TAI POOLE: And I'm your judge, Tai.

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

CLARK CARRIE: Hi, my name is Clark Carrie. I'm from Valparaiso, Indiana. My debate idea is grilled cheese with mac and cheese.

TAI POOLE: Well, I sure do love a good dairy debate.

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

TAI POOLE: And now, it's back to our debate, hippopotamus versus dragonfly.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's right. And it's time for round 2, the micro round.


For the micro round challenge, each team has prepared a creative response to a prompt they received in advance. For Jada and Tim, the prompt was, be my roommate. Tim and Jada, we all know that finding roommates is tricky. So for this challenge, we asked you to write a really compelling roommate ad. Make us want to be your roomie. Jada went first last time. So Tim, you're up. Tell us why a dragonfly would make the flyest roommate.


TIM BARNES: Hey, I'm erythemis simplicicollis, but my friends just call me Aaron. Want to be my roommate? OK, it ain't a room, more like some leaves at the edge of a pond. It's cool if you're a bug like me because honestly, I eat other insects. But if you are an insect, I promise, I'll try not to eat you or your friends and family. Hey, why don't I show you around?


Wait a minute, mosquito at 9 o'clock. My eyes calculate that I'll try darting to the left in 3, 2, 1. Oh, did I mention this room comes with free pest control? Where was I? Oh, yes. Over here, we have some reeds. And this is a cool rock. Watch out, frog.


They're basically enemy numero uno for us, dragonflies. Whoa, that frog's tongue almost got me. Luckily, I flew backwards to dodge it. Oh, and here comes my co-workers.


Hey, Aaron, talking to yourself again?

Nah, just making an ad. See you at the team hunt tomorrow, huh?

A lot of people don't know this, but dragonflies, sometimes, hunt in packs. And hey, if you end up choosing to live with me, I promise to bring you back some juicy, crunchy insects. Yeah, I'm right.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Delicious. I love it. You get some free meals. You get to hang with the cool dragonfly. It's a compelling argument. All right, Jada, it is your turn. Please share why hippos make the best housemates.


JADA PULLEY: Hey, hippo here. My means river horse, but I'm not here to horse around. I'm here, looking for a roommate to join my river in sub-Saharan Africa. The water is shallow and perfect for sleeping in half submerged. Who doesn't love a waterbed?


Imagine being lulled by the ambiance of rushing water, birds chirping, the sound of honks in the distance. There isn't a better ecosystem in the world.

I'm super easy to get along with. Nothing gets under my two-inch thick skin, not even when I'm an especially hungry, hungry hippo. I believe roomie should share. So if you want to use my homemade natural sunscreen, help yourself. I secrete the stuff from my skin. Just rub yourself all over me and you'll be set.

I can also protect you from predators. I mean, come on. I have more bite force than a lion, bear, basically, any mammal. Don't mess with this mouth.


And don't worry about a pesky security system. I spray my poop to mark my territory so folks will think twice before invading. [FARTS] I mean, if you don't have the green. Rent is so cheap, it's practically free, that's because we split the cost with as many as 150 hippos when it's dry season. Hopefully, you don't mind a crowd.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Free security system and free sunscreen. Oof. These are tough. I think there's a lot going for both of these animals. Tai, what did you like about these micro rounds?

TAI POOLE: This is a very interesting micro round. And I might have to start looking for a dorm buddy too. So I'm going to see if I might have to hit up a hippo or a dragonfly. The dragonflies were really interesting, especially with the pest control, because oh, my God, I hate mosquitoes. But it's actually really interesting to me that they do hunt in packs because I've seen only a few dragonflies, but it'd be so interesting to see how they maneuver around with each other and share the airspace.

And for the hippos, honestly, I am so-- when I heard the sunscreen fact, I assumed it would be something to do with putting mud on themselves. But I'm so curious how you make your own sunscreen and why we can't do that, because I hate putting SPF 50 on me.


MOLLY BLOOM: It would be so useful.

TAI POOLE: So useful.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, my goodness. Well, Tai, they're both excellent listings for roommates. But please give a point to the micro round that impressed you the most. The criteria are completely up to you. Did someone sneak in some good facts, some good jokes? Did someone make a listing that would make you respond? Please award a point. Have you made your decision?

TAI POOLE: I think I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Fantastic. Then it's time for our third around, the super stealthy sneak attack. This is our improvised round where debaters have to respond to a challenge on the spot. Today's sneak attack is called tongue twister.

For this challenge, you need to make up a tongue twister about your side. For example, if your side was a clam, you might say, how can a clam cram in a clean cream can? Debaters, are you ready for the sneak attack?

TIM BARNES: I have no idea. I'm panicking right now.

JADA PULLEY: No, I'm not.

TIM BARNES: How do you write a tongue twister?

JADA PULLEY: I'm not ready.


MOLLY BLOOM: All right. So Jada, you are up first. Tell us what's so hard about saying hippopotamus.

JADA PULLEY: Hip hop to the hippie to the hippie to the hip hip hop. You don't stop.


Oh, I guess I'll stop.


MOLLY BLOOM: Do that 10 times fast. It would be hard.


OK, Tim, it is your turn. Please give us your dragonfly tongue twister.

TIM BARNES: Dragonfly skydive in a swarm. Dragonfly skydive in a swarm. Dragonfly skydive in a swarm. Dragonfly skydive in a swarm.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. We got a new-- we have two wonderful new--

JADA PULLEY: I feel like I could say that 10 times--

MOLLY BLOOM: Let's hear it.

TIM BARNES: Well, let's hear it.

JADA PULLEY: Wait, what was it again?


TIM BARNES: No, I can say hip hop hippie to the hippie, the hip hip hop. You don't stop the rocking. But whoa.

JADA PULLEY: Dragonfly skydive in a swarm. Dragonfly skydive in a swarm. Dragonflies skydive in a swarm. Dragonfly skydive in a swarm.


TIM BARNES: You recorded yourself.

JADA PULLEY: I can say it seven more times but--


MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Those were both excellent twisty tongue twisters. Tai, it is time to award a point. Please think about which side impressed you the most and award your fourth point. Has someone introduced you to a great new tongue twister you can do before recordings to keep that tongue limber?

TAI POOLE: It's difficult. These are both really good. And hippopotamus and dragonfly are not easy words to say in their own right.

MOLLY BLOOM: It's true. They're just tongue twisters on their own. All right, Tai, think about which side impressed you the most and award your fourth point, but don't tell us who it's going to. Have you made your decision?

TAI POOLE: Yes, I think I've made my decision.


Perfect. Then it's time for our final around--


--the final 6. In this round, each team will have just six words to sum up the glory of their side. OK, Tim, don't be shy. Give us your final six for dragonflies.

TIM BARNES: So popular that they're basically everywhere.

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent. All right, Jada, it is your turn. Please, let's hear your last hurrah for hippos in six words.

JADA PULLEY: Shoo, fly. Think bigger. Choose hippos.

MOLLY BLOOM: Beautiful work. All right, Tai. It is time to award a final point for the final six. Have you made your decision?

TAI POOLE: It's such a toss up. Oh, God.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, my gosh. Go with your gut.



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

TAI POOLE: I think I am.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Drumroll, please. And the winner is--


TAI POOLE: Hippopotamuses.


JADA PULLEY: Yey. That was my biggie reaction. I'm so happy. The--

TIM BARNES: Well played.

JADA PULLEY: --validation.

TIM BARNES: Well played.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK. So Tai, was there a moment that really sealed the deal for hippopotamus?

TAI POOLE: Honestly, it was a-- it was a toss up the whole time. It was so difficult. But I think that that last six, it had that real motivational politician speech. It moved me. And I think that's really what pushed me over.


JADA PULLEY: Tim, I genuinely thought that you did a wonderful job. I loved how you took down Dr. Agon Fly with all of his fake facts with some real interesting true facts. And while I am a fan of gray, I can always appreciate a rainbow. So--

TIM BARNES: Wonderful job, Jada. You did fantastic. And I love that you-- I was looking up stuff about hippos, and I was like, how is anybody going to spin this secretion thing. And the way that you did that with the roommate, tried to turn that into a positive.

And Tai, word of advice, if you're looking-- actually looking for a roommate in college, and one of them offers you homemade lotion or homemade sunscreen, do not choose them. OK? That's just from me to you. I don't think that's a good choice.

TAI POOLE: OK. I'll keep that in mind.

JADA PULLEY: Free advice.


MOLLY BLOOM: And that's it for today's debate battle. Tai crowned hippopotamuses the Smash Boom Best. But what about you?

TAI POOLE: 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.

JADA PULLEY: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Anna Weggel, and Aron Woldeslassie.

MOLLY BLOOM: We had engineering help from Josh Savageau, Gary O'Keefe, and Evan Kelly with sound design by Aron Woldeslassie.

TIM BARNES: Our editors are Shahla Farzan and Sanden Totten.

JADA PULLEY: And we had production help from Rosie DuPont, Anna Goldfield, Hans Buetow, Ruby Guthrie, Marc Sanchez, and Nico Gonzalez Wisler.

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

JADA PULLEY: I'd like to give a shout out to myself because I'm a winner.


MOLLY BLOOM: Yes, you are.

JADA PULLEY: Tim, how about you? Any special shout outs?

TIM BARNES: Hey, I'd just like to thank my mom, my dad, and this awesome marketplace studio that makes me feel like I'm in the black Frasier sketch from [INAUDIBLE]


JADA PULLEY: And how about you, Tai? Any special thanks?

TAI POOLE: If I could just give a shout out to both of the debaters. You guys were so funny. You guys were hilarious. It wasn't just learning, I was laughing too. And that-- it just feels way better.

JADA PULLEY: I feel like I should do mine again.


MOLLY BLOOM: Before we go, let's check in and see who Clark thinks should win, the grilled cheese versus mac and cheese debate.

CLARK CARRIE: I think mac and cheese will win because it has more cheese.

MOLLY BLOOM: If you're between the ages of 13 and 18 and you'd like to be a judge, or if you're any age and you have an idea for a knock down drag out debate, head to and drop us a line. And make sure to subscribe to Brains On Universe on YouTube, where you can watch animated versions of some of your favorite episodes. We'll be back with a new Smash Boom Best debate battle in two weeks.

TAI POOLE: Too doo.


TAI POOLE: Bye bye.

TIM BARNES: Come back now, you hear?

MAN 4: (SINGING) You're the Smash Boom Best


Oh, you're the Smash Boom Best

Better than the rest

You're the Smash Boom Best

You're the Smash Boom Best.

JADA PULLEY: Buts are not good ways to breathe.

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