Today’s debate is a brawl between two terrestrial titans. A gritty gladiator versus a plucky plant. It’s Sand vs. Grass! In one corner, we’ve got editor and Brains On! co-creator Sanden Totten ready to grind it out for team Sand! And standing tall for team Grass is actor, voice artist, and improviser Billy Soco. Who will be crowned the Smash Boom Best? Vote below for 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!

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

CATHERINE: 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 brawl between two terrestrial titans. One side is the gritty gladiator who gets everywhere, while the other is the mean green stain machine found in every park. It's sand versus grass. We've got editor and Brains On co-creator Sanden Totten ready to grind it out for team sand.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Oh yeah, ready to put the pedal to the metal. No grain, no gain, baby.

MOLLY BLOOM: And actor, voice artist, and improviser Billy Soco is here to stand tall for team grass.

BILLY SOCO: Uh, sand is bland, but the grass is always greener.

MOLLY BLOOM: And here to judge it all is Catherine from Roseville, Minnesota. Catherine loves cold weather sports, doing theater, and making lefse. Hi, Catherine.


MOLLY BLOOM: So please tell me, what is lefse?

CATHERINE: So it's basically a flat pancake made out of potatoes that you use a griddle to flip and make. And it's probably one of my favorite things to eat, even though it tastes exactly like a pancake, but it has the same texture of a crepe.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oof, delicious. OK, what do we put on the lefse? Is it like a maple syrup situation? What do we do?

CATHERINE: My family likes to put butter with cinnamon sugar, but I personally like something sweeter, so I usually go with Nutella.

MOLLY BLOOM: Ugh, that sounds so good.

CATHERINE: It's amazing.

MOLLY BLOOM: So, Catherine, what is your favorite thing about cold weather?

CATHERINE: My favorite thing about cold weather is probably getting to bundle up. And I love hot chocolate. I love Christmas. And my birthday's in February, so that's another plus about cold weather. And just some of my favorite memories and things to do are in the winter.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's wonderful. So is lefse, would you say, is that better to eat in cold weather season, warm weather season, all year round?

CATHERINE: I'd say it's perfect for all year round, but we make it in the cold, so it's definitely a tradition in the cold weather.

MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Do you have any advice for our debaters today?

CATHERINE: I would say, read your notes, remember what you learned, and be focused, and you're going to do great.

MOLLY BLOOM: Excellent advice. Will Catherine side with Sanden or Billy? We can't wait to find out. Catherine, are you ready to judge today's debate?

CATHERINE: You bet I am.

MOLLY BLOOM: 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, Catherine, will award points to the team that impresses her the most, 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. Sanden, Billy, and Catherine, are you ready?



SANDEN TOTTEN: Grass versus sand, let's step on it.


It works for both.

BILLY SOCO: Oh my gosh.

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

ANNOUNCER: Declaration of greatness.

MOLLY BLOOM: 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 Sanden, you're up first. Tell us what makes the sand so sublime.

SANDEN TOTTEN: I have cool hobbies-- chainsaw ballet, grizzly bear juggling, extreme upside-down cookie dunking. But the coolest by far is reviewing sandy places. I have a whole blog about it, It's Canadian. Here's my latest review.



Malibu Beach, the sand here is perfect for A-list celebrities and F-list podcast debaters alike. It's supple, firm, and makes Dreamhouse-worthy sandcastles. Plus, when you sit on it, it perfectly conforms to your unique shape of buttock to give ultimate lumbar support. Five out of five stars.


Oh, and here's another one for my visit to White Sands National Park in New Mexico.


Do you wish you could play all day on a fluffy mountain of snow without freezing your fanny off? Well, then visit White Sands. These striking soft white dunes are perfect for sledding and making sand angels, no puffer coat necessary. And every visitor gets a free souvenir. Just check inside your shoes after you leave. 7 out of 5 stars.


The stuff at White Sands is made of a soft mineral called gypsum. Other minerals make black sand, green, even red, each prettier than the last.

HERMIT: I totally agree.


Hi. I'm Hermit the Crab. Contrary to my name, I'm actually a very social creature. And I'm a huge fan of your sand blog. The way you described that Malibu beach sand? Chills.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Oh, thanks, tiny talking crab.

HERMIT: And did you know that sand is even prettier up close? When I look at it with my microscope here, I see pink crescent rocks, translucent triangles, caramel-colored cones, and honeycomb stones.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Wait. Where did you get that microscope?

HERMIT: Oh, from my shell. What'd you think was in there?

SANDEN TOTTEN: Yeah, OK, makes sense. If sand were just a pretty face, that would be enough. But it's also the most useful thing in the world!

HERMIT: Eh, I'm not sure about that, Sanden. My smartphone here is pretty darn useful. I mean, how else would I look up the tide reports?

SANDEN TOTTEN: First, how are you fitting all this stuff in your shell? Second, there wouldn't be smartphones without sand. The glass touchscreen is made from a special kind of sand called silica. Sand is also used to make many other crucial things. Concrete for buildings, roads, and bridges, made with sand. Windows and mirrors, sand and sand. Even car parts are often shaped with molds made of?

HERMIT: Cream cheese?

SANDEN TOTTEN: What? No. Sand.

HERMIT: Oh! I thought you were going to throw us a curve there. But sand makes more sense.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Worldwide, we use around 50 billion tons of sand every year. Hoo. But sand's not just a builder. It's a teacher. We study sand dunes to learn how our environment changes over time, like how beaches erode or how rising sea levels from climate change might affect our coasts. Satellite imagery of sand on Mars has even given us clues about that planet's watery past.

But sand teaches us deeper things too. Buddhist monks use colorful sand to make art called mandalas. They pour the sand in intricate patterns on a table or right on the ground. It can take weeks. And the finished result is stunning. But when they're done, they don't frame it. They sweep it away.

It's a moving reminder that nothing lasts forever. Instead of waiting for the grass to be greener, we should enjoy life here and now.

HERMIT: Wow. Sand is so wise. Plus, it makes the perfect home. Just ask my baby sea turtle buds, snail pals, and sea grass bros. Here's a framed picture of the sand beach we live on. You can keep it. I have five more in the shell.

SANDEN TOTTEN: This shell physics is breaking my brain. But yeah, sand is wise. And it's fun, which brings me to my final review.


The sandbox at my local park, I took my son here, and boy, did we have fun. We pretended the sand was a dusty moon landscape. Then we made a dinosaur's den and an enchanted castle. Finally, we tested our agility when the sand was lava! This sandbox was a blank canvas for our imagination. Grass could never. A million bajillion stars.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Sanden. I've known you for years, and I didn't know you were the same Sanden who runs Sanden the Sand Fan Scans Sand blog!


MOLLY BLOOM: What? Incredible!

SANDEN TOTTEN: Yeah, a little side hobby of mine.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wow, OK. Catherine, what stood out to you about Sanden's declaration of greatness?

CATHERINE: I thought it was really cool that sand is in phones. I had no idea about that. And that's, like, so weird. Like, how does that work?

MOLLY BLOOM: Great question.


SANDEN TOTTEN: Great question. Well, sand is used to make parts of the phone. But if you take your phone to the beach, you'll also get sand in your phone in other ways too.


MOLLY BLOOM: Anything else?

SANDEN TOTTEN: You'll get sand, actually, in everything. And it'll be there forever.

MOLLY BLOOM: It's true! Catherine, what else stood out to you?

CATHERINE: That we use 50 billion tons of sand per year.

MOLLY BLOOM: That is a really good point. It's a lot of sand.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Ironically, without sand, we'd be living in the Stone Age.

MOLLY BLOOM: Whoa. OK, Billy, it's time for your rebuttal. Tell us why sand is simply irritating. You've got 30 seconds, and your time starts now.


BILLY SOCO: I agree with Hermit the Shellfish in that I think my iPhone does a lot more than sand. Can sand manage my calendar? I don't think so. Also, sandbox, more like boxing my creativity.


Right? Grass is everywhere. Sand perfectly conforms to shape, but who likes conformity? Am I right, people?

MOLLY BLOOM: And time.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Billy, OK, can I offer you a suggestion? Have you tried planning your calendar with hourglass?

BILLY SOCO: Wait a minute.

SANDEN TOTTEN: I'll admit, not pocket-friendly, but--

MOLLY BLOOM: OK, Billy, it is your turn. Tell us why grass gets the green light.

BILLY SOCO: Oh, hey. You made it. I saved you a seat. Spoken word shows are the best. Oh, shh. It's starting.

HOST: Thank you for joining us at the Deaf Pottery Jam. Next, give it up for The Grass Poets.

THE GRASS POETS: Green. What does it mean? To be seen by animal and human being, even dino? I know it's not easy being it. But seeing it is believing it. To be or not to be, turning a new leaf in it. Always on the other side, you'll find it's even it. Green.



BILLY SOCO: Grass is pure poetry, vibrant green and that smell.



Whenever I get a whiff of fresh cut grass, I'm reminded of some of my favorite childhood memories, like when my folks took my siblings and me to the park to have our first ever family picnic. I can still remember the feel of the soft bed of grass beneath us, keeping us cool and comfy, tickling our feet as we played games, the sound of laughter filling the air as we enjoyed the lush green, picturesque landscape around us.

But there's more to grass than just being the perfect backdrop to warm memories with family and friends. To start--


--grass has been this ancient guardian of our planet for more than 100 million years, back when dinosaurs walked the Earth. Some dinosaurs even snacked on its greeny goodness. Oh, and fun fact, did you know the grass family also includes other plants we know and love, like rye, wheat, corn, rice, and even bamboo? That's right. There are around 12,000 different kinds of grass out there, 12,000!

And grasslands, like savannas and prairies, cover up to 40% of the land area of the Earth, so grassy. And unlike sand, which just soaks up the sun and burns your feet, grass sucks up carbon dioxide and breathes out oxygen. It's like each blade of grass on Earth is a tiny air purifier. Grass is basically the ultimate superhero.


It doesn't just clean the air. It also holds down the ground, literally. Its strong roots work like a protective blanket to keep soil from being washed or blown away.

SPEAKER 1: So I was thinking of visiting Old MacDonald's farm this weekend.

SPEAKER 2: Ugh, you didn't hear? Old MacDonald had a farm. All the dirt blew away in the last big windstorm. (WHISPERING) Didn't have enough grass.



BILLY SOCO: Did I mention that grass can also help prevent landslides and floods? It's true. Those super strong roots soak up rain like a sponge, protecting cities and towns from flooding.


Grass keeps things safe and sound, which is why grasslands are home to all kinds of animals, from tiny insects to humongous African elephants. And grass feels like home for us humans too. It's in our front lawns, backyards, and, of course, our sports fields.


So many sports are played on grass-- football, soccer, field hockey, rugby, bocce, you name it, because playing on grass rules. When I play tag football, grass is always there for me, cushioning my fall like a springy best friend. I bet even volleyball players can't wait to start using grass over sand.


Grass is pretty awesome, right? It's the Earth's mightiest defender, quietly doing amazing things. Yep, grass has been there for me my whole life, looking after me, keeping me fed, making my games safer and my picnics comfier. And every day, it's working to keep our planet healthy too. So next time you're out in a field or just lying in a park looking at the sky, remember, grass has got your back.


MOLLY BLOOM: Wow. Grass tickling our toes and tugging at our heartstrings, beautiful work. Catherine, what stood out to you about Billy's argument?

CATHERINE: Something that stood out to me is that corn is grass.


CATHERINE: I used to eat grass as a kid, which was probably not the best idea.


And it tasted nothing like corn.


CATHERINE: So I don't know how that works.

MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] But now you can eat grass, and it's OK!


MOLLY BLOOM: What did the grass taste like when you were little?

CATHERINE: It tasted like grass. I don't--


If you ever had the grass-flavored jelly bean, that's what it tasted like.


CATHERINE: I don't recommend it.


MOLLY BLOOM: So good. OK. Sanden, it is time for your rebuttal. Please tell us why grass is gross. You've got 30 seconds, and your time starts now.

SANDEN TOTTEN: OK, look. I love grass, but I got to say, one of the things you left out is that it is used all over the place where it is not native. And every time people are planting those grass lawns, they're cutting out room where native plants could grow to feed local bees and provide habitats for local wildlife. And instead, they just have these grass landscapes, which are basically like local plant and animal deserts. They can't survive. They're not suited for it. Blech.

Also, lawn mowers? Huge cause of climate change, emitting greenhouse gases. Not a fan. Have you sat in grass lately? Wet butt, I hate it. Soggy butt.


BILLY SOCO: Wait a minute. Why are you--


BILLY SOCO: Just to throw it out there, there is a lot of EV lawn mowers out there now.

SANDEN TOTTEN: You never have to mow your sand, just saying.

BILLY SOCO: Um, there is a movement to stop grass lawns. I think there are a lot of alternative solutions right now. People are using pebbles and rocks that are bigger than the little sand pebbles because those little sand pebbles get really hot. And then you're going to turn up your AC in the house. And then your electricity bill is going to go up. And then the Earth is going to suffer.

SANDEN TOTTEN: You know what? Sand is best in the places where it occurs naturally. I'm not about-- I don't think we should replace the ground with sand everywhere. It stays in its lane.

MOLLY BLOOM: Mm-hmm. Catherine, please give a one point to the declaration of greatness that 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 unbeatable? Award your points, but don't tell us who they're going to. Have you awarded the points?

CATHERINE: Yes, I have.


MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Billy and Sanden, how are you two feeling so far?

SANDEN TOTTEN: I'm feeling sandtastic.

BILLY SOCO: I feel fangrasstic.


MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Well, it's time for a quick break. Plant your feet and get ready to rock.

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

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


TAYLOR LINCOLN: A chorus of hellos to all you debate heads. I'm Taylor Lincoln, and I'm joined by my debate comrade, Todd Douglas.


TODD DOUGLAS: Hey, Taylor. Everything OK?

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Yeah. I'm just trying to get these crows to leave so we can focus on today's debate. I thought I'd try talking to them in their native tongue to see if that would help.


TODD DOUGLAS: Oh. Let me see if they can understand me.


I'm sure we can still listen for the logical fallacy.


TAYLOR LINCOLN: Thanks, bud. With or without crows, logical fallacies make arguments easy to defeat.



CHET: 'Sup, Ares.

ARES: Hey, Chet. I started walking to school a couple times a week. It's only, like, half a mile, and I get some fresh air. Plus, it's good exercise.

CHET: Hold up. So you're saying you want to get rid of cars and walk everywhere?

ARES: Uh, no. Actually, I--

CHET: How would we take road trips? And what would happen to drive-throughs? They'd become walk-throughs.


TODD DOUGLAS: Sorry, Chet. But that kind of argument is going to get you sent to the principal's office.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: Yep. Sounds like Chet found his argument in the middle of a farmer's crop because that is a straw man fallacy.

TODD DOUGLAS: That's when you exaggerate what your opponent is saying to make it easier for you to make an argument, definitely a debate no-no. But you know what? I think it scared off the crows.

TAYLOR LINCOLN: I may have also told them that there's a swimming pool filled with birdseed two blocks over.


TODD DOUGLAS: I cawn't believe what a genius you are. We'll see you next time on--

TODD AND TAYLOR: State of Debate.


SPEAKER 3: Smash.

SPEAKER 4: Boom.

SPEAKER 5: Best.

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

CATHERINE: And I'm your judge, Catherine.

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

SONORA: My debate idea is acorns versus pine cones.

CATHERINE: That debate could really grow on me.

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

CATHERINE: And now, it's back to our debate, sand versus grass.

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

ANNOUNCER: Micro-round.


MOLLY BLOOM: For the micro-round challenge, each team has prepared a creative response to a prompt they received in advance. For Sanden and Billy, the prompt was amusement park. In this micro-round, each debater will take us on a tour of their side's all-new, totally cool theme park. Sanden went first last time, so Billy, you're up. Give us the lay of the land of your grassy fun fair.


BILLY SOCO: Welcome, adventure seekers of all ages, to the grand opening of Six Flag Leaves, the world's first grass-themed amusement park. At Six Flag Leaves, we are more than just an amusement park with a name that closely resembles another place but uses a part of the vegetative structure of a grass plant for word play. Come celebrate life, growth, and the green beneath your feet at one of our three incredible lands.

Explore our joyful Meadows Adventure Land. Here, laughter blends with the rustle of grass as you experience When the Going Gets Tufted, an immersive 4D augmented reality experience where you're a grass seed stuck on someone's sock, experiencing breathtaking views and incredible landscapes.

Next, immerse yourself in Grass Roots and Fast Loops, a land dedicated to the ancient emerald guardian. Step back in time millions of years as you experience exhilarating twists and turns on our four-loop prehistoric roller coaster. Each loop represents grass's epic battle against wind, water, fire, and dinosaurs.


Feel the rush of being chased by a Velociraptor while being strapped in securely with our patented, reliably resilient root system seat belts. Talk about strong roots. Finally, venture into our water-themed land, Bamboo Drip Drop, where the Hydration Harvest water ride awaits. You are a nutrient-enriched piece of topsoil that floats along the water path in hopes of staying viable for the next harvest. You'll get drenched.


Six Flag Leaves celebrates its 113th million anniversary. And we can't wait for you to join the magic of this plant kingdom where every visit is a great adventure.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh my gosh. That sounds like an amazingly wonderful time. OK, Sanden, let's see if you can top it. It's your turn to show us why your amusement park is a real day at the beach.

SANDEN TOTTEN: I got the weirdest invite in the mail. I'm pretty sure it was a mix-up. It said, quote, "For Mr. Sand." Uh, my name is Sanden. Hello? Anyway, it was for a sand amusement park, not a sand themed park, a park for sand. So I went.

Everything was micro-sized. And there were little grains of sand with their little sand families having the teeny tiny times of their lives. Obviously, I was too big for the rides, but they were so fun to watch. One ride, you pile into a pair of shoes and go up and down, up and down.


Another, you pour into an hourglass and do a death-defying dive to the bottom.


There were carnival games.


SAND 1: Step right up and guess how many grains of sand are in this bucket.

SAND 2: Um, a lot.

SAND 1: Correct!


SANDEN TOTTEN: And good thing I brought my bathing suit because there was a lazy river where sand grains get to just kick back and go with the flow. It was the only ride I could actually fit on, so I spent hours there. Oh, and jeez, my tush-tush is itchy. Hold on. There's something in my bathing suit.

SAND 3: Hey. Who turned out the lights?

SAND 4: Oh no.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Ha, oops. Looks like I brought the fun home with me. Hey, little guys. Want to try a new ride? It's called the washing machine.

SAND 3: New ride?

SAND 4: Oh boy!

MOLLY BLOOM: [CHUCKLES] You know, that's really nice. Sand does so much for us. I'm glad they can have a fun day at the amusement park.


MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Catherine, what did you like about Sanden and Billy's amusement parks?

CATHERINE: I thought it was cool that they have a root seat belt. I feel like that could either be very disastrous or very great.



MOLLY BLOOM: Good point.

SANDEN TOTTEN: A grasstastrophe?

CATHERINE: Yeah. And for the sand, I think pouring down an hourglass to fall down, I think that would also be disastrous or very great. But I think I would really like that. I think that'd be super fun. I am a big ride person.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah. I feel like when you're going on a good ride, that's sort of the vibe, right? Disastrous or really great. And that's where the thrill comes from.

SANDEN TOTTEN: If you know you're going to live, where's the excitement?


MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Catherine, it is time to award a point for this micro-round. The criteria are totally subjective and totally up to you. Did someone create an amusement park that sounds fun? Did they transport you there with their words? Whatever it is, it's up to you. Have you made your decision?

CATHERINE: Yes, I have.


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


ANNOUNCER: Sneak attack.

MOLLY BLOOM: This is our improvised round where debaters have to respond to a challenge on the spot. Today's sneak attack is called "By any other name." Debaters, for this sneak attack, we want you to come up with three alternative names for your side. So if you were arguing in favor of mountains, you might rename them dirt mussels or raised forests or maybe mega mounds. OK. Sanden, Billy, are you ready?



MOLLY BLOOM: OK. We're going to start with Sanden.


MOLLY BLOOM: Let's hear your first sandy pseudonym.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Baby boulders.

MOLLY BLOOM: Aw, baby boulders. OK. Billy, it's your turn. Please, let's hear your first turf term.

BILLY SOCO: Ground support.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hmm, very nice. OK, Sanden, the stakes are high. Please tell us your next name for sand.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Itty-bitty kitty litter glitter.


MOLLY BLOOM: [LAUGHS] Incredible. OK, Billy, what is your second name for grass?

BILLY SOCO: Little greeny ticklies.


MOLLY BLOOM: All right, Sanden, please give us your last alternate name for sand.

SANDEN TOTTEN: [CLEARS THROAT] Micro-dermabrasion for the feet.


BILLY SOCO: Oh my gosh.


MOLLY BLOOM: All right.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Exfoliate with every step.

MOLLY BLOOM: That's it. We have rebranded, truly. OK. Billy, what is your third and final alternate name for grass?

BILLY SOCO: Uh, my largest, oldest friend circle.


BILLY SOCO: They've been there for years.


BILLY SOCO: They've have been around.

MOLLY BLOOM: Hey, Hon. Hey, Hon. Have you mowed my largest, oldest friend circle today?


BILLY SOCO: Hey, Hon. I'm going outside just to say hello to my oldest, largest friend circle.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Ugh, my oldest, largest friend circle stained my jeans again.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh no. All right. Wonderful work, both of you. Catherine, this is going to be a tough decision, but it is time to award a point. Think about which side impressed you the most and please give that team a point. Have you made your decision?



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

ANNOUNCER: The final six.

MOLLY BLOOM: In this round, each team will have just six words to sum up the glory of their side. OK, Billy. Let's hear the six words to lay your path to victory.

BILLY SOCO: Grass will help save the Earth.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, beautiful. OK, Sanden. It is your turn. Give us your six rock-solid words for the win.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Phones, buildings, Mars, sand is everywhere.

MOLLY BLOOM: Very nice. OK, Catherine. It is time to award your final point for this final six. Have you made your decision?



MOLLY BLOOM: Wonderful. Tally up those points.

BILLY SOCO: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.

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

CATHERINE: Oh, yeah.

MOLLY BLOOM: All right. Drum roll please.


BILLY SOCO: Oh my gosh.

MOLLY BLOOM: The winner is--





BILLY SOCO: Oh my gosh!


BILLY SOCO: Woo-hoo!

MOLLY BLOOM: Wow. OK. Catherine, was there a moment that really decided this for grass?

CATHERINE: I feel like I really liked "Grass will help save the Earth." I feel like that was a tying seal-the-deal moment.

MOLLY BLOOM: So was it tied until that point?

CATHERINE: Honestly, yes, it was.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh my gosh. You cannot get closer than this. It came down to the final six.

BILLY SOCO: Sanden, I just wanted to thank you so much for having such a wonderful debate. Your approach to debating allowed for a meaningful conversation and exploring how wonderful both sand and grass are. And honestly, I am just fascinated. I knew sand got everywhere, but I didn't know it was literally everywhere. I think sand and grass can certainly live harmoniously. Wait. They do live harmoniously, don't they?

SANDEN TOTTEN: Billy, I was rooting for you the whole time. I love grass. I love sand. They're both fantastic. I really don't care who won because I think the real winner are the feet because they get to enjoy both of these turfs anytime they want. Go toes.

BILLY SOCO: That's so true.

SANDEN TOTTEN: And go Billy.

BILLY SOCO: And go Sanden. Go Catherine.

MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, you guys.





MOLLY BLOOM: Well, that is it for today's debate battle. Catherine crowned grass the Smash Boom Best, but what about you?

CATHERINE: 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.

SANDEN TOTTEN: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Hans Buetow, Anna Weggel, and Aron Woldeslassie.

MOLLY BLOOM: We had engineering help from Gary O'Keefe, Josh Savageau, and Juan Carlos Tirado with sound design by Rachel Brees and Hans Buetow.

BILLY SOCO: Our editor was Shahla Farzan.

SANDEN TOTTEN: And we had help from Rosie duPont, Anna Goldfield, Ruby Guthrie, Marc Sanchez, and Nico Gonzalez Wisler.

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

SANDEN TOTTEN: Yeah, my mom for naming me Sanden instead of Grassden--


--which would have been a terrible name.

MOLLY BLOOM: And how about you, Billy? Any special shout-outs?

BILLY SOCO: Uh, yeah. I want to shout out my mom for just taking us to the beach all the time and taking us to a picnic and having fun at the park. Shout out to Rotary Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

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

CATHERINE: I'd like to shout out my two close friends Mae and Linnea for saying that they're going to be your top listeners after this podcast comes out.

MOLLY BLOOM: Yes! Thank you, Mae and Linnea. Before we go, let's check in and see who Sonora thinks should win the acorns versus cones debate.

SONORA: I think acorns should win because they're not pokey.

MOLLY BLOOM: If they are 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 next week.

CATHERINE: Later, skater.



SINGERS: (SINGING) Oh. Yeah, the Smash Boom Best. Oh. Put it through the test. Oh. Yeah, the Smash Boom Best. Oh. Better than the rest. It's a Smash Boom Best. It's a Smash Boom Best.

MOLLY BLOOM: Wow. You guys got me to crack so many times.

SANDEN TOTTEN: Good. That's the real victory.

CATHERINE: I'm head clover heels for grass.




MOLLY BLOOM: Yes. It was so good.

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