This is a transcript of our episode “Flowers vs Rainbows”

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Announcer: From the brains behind the Brains On!, its Smash Boom Best, the show for people with big opinions.


Hi, I am 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, two breathtaking beauties take the stage. Known for their radiant bows and joyful petals, it's rainbows vs. flowers. These two are both colorful and culturally significant. Which team will take home the title of Smash Boom Best? We've got Harriet here to help us decide. Hello, Harriet.

Harriet: Hello.

Molly Bloom: Harriet, tell me what do you think about when you hear the word rainbow?

Harriet: I think of Kermit singing in 1979, The Rainbow Connection.

Molly Bloom: I love that song.

Harriet: I love it too.

Molly Bloom: Yeah. What about flowers? What do you think about when you hear flowers?

Harriet: When I think about flowers, I think about spring, so like change in a positive joyful way.

Molly Bloom: Very beautiful. Do you already think one side is cooler than the other?

Harriet: I can't, because then I can't judge.

Molly Bloom: I'm glad we're starting at an even spot here, unbiased judging. Harriet, I know you are an experienced debater. Can you tell me what debate activities you're doing this year?

Harriet: Yeah, so I will be debating for my high school and then I love to coach middle school in the winter and spring.

Molly Bloom: When you're coaching middle schoolers, what kind of advice do you give them?

Harriet: Number one advice, honestly, be confident and feel truthful in what you're saying and doing and then just have fun with it, have rhythm and you're all good to go.

Molly Bloom: Confidence goes a long way. What does having rhythm mean when it comes to debate?

Harriet: I think of a flow and like you say something and you go with it almost like improv.

Molly Bloom: Very interesting. I've never heard that before and I really like that. Well, it is time to introduce our debaters. Here to rep rainbows, the phenomena that brighten the rainiest of days, it's Joy Dolo. Hi, Joy!

Joy Dolo: Hello, it is awesome to be here and I'm so happy because I have so much rhythm that it's going to blow you away, Harriet. (beatboxes) You see that? That's rainbows for you in a nutshell. You're welcome.

Molly Bloom: Oh man. We are so ready. Joy, in just a single sentence, why do rainbows deserve to be crowned the Smash Boom Best?

Joy Dolo: I'm going to give you one better, you guys. I'm going to give you three words that describe rainbows. You're ready? Brilliant, beautiful, and bysterious, the three B's.

Molly Bloom: (laughs) And here to argue for the pollen-filled powerhouses that keep our fridges filled, it's Sanden Totten.

Sanden Totten: Hey, Molly Bloom. Wow, Bloom, that's such a great name. I really love it.


Feeling the name.

Molly Bloom: Sanden, tell us why flowers are destined for victory today in just one sentence.

Sanden Totten: They have got looks for days. They smell amazing. They're so fun to look at, and even animals totally stan flowers.

Molly Bloom: Very interesting start. I have a feeling this debate is going to get very, very colorful. Before we dive in, let's review our rounds of debate. First, we've got the declaration of greatness where debaters present the most persuasive arguments for their side. They use facts, logic, and all the charisma they can muster to win over our judge. Once they've made their case, the opposing team will get 30 seconds to make a rebuttal. Then we've got the micro round of fun, creative challenge both debaters have prepared for in advance.

Then we've got a sneak attack, a surprise challenge that will require the debaters to improvise a response on the spot. Last but not least, we've got the final six where each debater has to sum up the magnificence of their side in just six words. Can they do it? Harriet will award two points in the first round. One point for the best declaration and one point for the best rebuttal.

Then one point for the winner of each subsequent round. Listeners at home, keep track of your points as well. Download a score sheet from our website at or keep track of your points on a piece of scrap paper. If you want to hone your own debate skills, make note of the arguments you find most persuasive. All right, Sanden, Joy, are you ready to go?

Joy Dolo: I was born ready.

Sanden Totten: I'm here to put the petal to the metal.

Molly Bloom: Excellent. Then it's time for the-

Announcer: Declaration of Greatness.

Molly Bloom: We did a coin flip and Joy, you are up first. Let's hear your Declaration of Greatness for rainbows.

Joy Dolo: I've got a great story for you. It's about a girl named Dorothy and her dog, Todo. She sings this beautiful song somewhere over the flower. Nope, that was a rainbow! What about the famous Irish myth that there is a pot of gold at the end of a flower? Uh-uh, Rainbow too! For real it's time, for real you guys, stop it. I got it. This hip guy, Noah took animals into an ark and after it rained for a long time, they knew the storm was over because they saw a flower in the sky. No, no way! It's a rainbow again. Of course.

Now, I'm all for flower power but if we're talking about the best of all time, there is no comparison. It's like comparing chocolate to broccoli, or a beach to homework or winning the lottery to sloppy wet kisses from your Aunt Pam.

(sloppy kiss)

Stop it, I'm 33. Although Aunt Pam's overt affection can't be scientifically explained all the time, rainbows can be. Here is the breakdown.


When white light enters a water droplet, it slows down, bends, and splits apart into seven colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, otherwise known as Roy G Biv. When each of those colors shoots out of the water droplet, the sun reflects those colors into our eyeballs and creates the rainbow that we see. With the power of hip hop, do you see how cool a rainbow is?

And there's more! Rainbows are optical illusions. That means they're magic. Well, kind of. Rainbows are just a bunch of reflections. Sunlight bounces through water droplets and reflects into our eyes. When we move around, the reflection we see changes. That's why there is no end to the rainbow.

Aunt Pam: I can't see anything.

Joy Dolo: Open your eyes, Pam.

Aunt Pam: Oh.

Joy Dolo: See, Pam? Rainbows are gorgeous.

Aunt Pam: They are pretty but there is only one kind. Flowers have a variety.

Joy Dolo: Pam, have you been hanging out with Sanden? That is not the case. There are double rainbows. Moonbows made from moonlight, fog bows made from fog or mist, and white bows that have no color. You can even create a rainbow at home with a flashlight and a glass of water. It's called an indoor bow. An indoor bow…it was funny in my head. Oh, and ready for the icing on top? Rainbows are actually full circles.

While we're on the ground, we can only see a portion of this illusion, but if you're in a tall building, a plane, or on a mountain for some reason, you can see the whole thing. No wonder rainbows rule the skies and flowers are way down below begging for our colorful water droplets like orphans from the cast of Oliver, "Please, sir, may I have some more?"

Different cultures have been trying to translate rainbows' special meaning since the beginning of time. Aboriginal Australians who have some of the oldest religious beliefs in the world believe rainbows are caused by a rainbow serpent sent by their enemies to stop the rain. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed rainbows were the messenger god, Iris, and in Japanese and Norse myths, rainbows were thought to be a bridge between the gods and the earth. In Western culture, the 1960s Hippies used rainbows as a symbol to spread the message of peace and love, followed shortly by the LGBTQIA+ movement using the rainbow as a flag. No wonder rainbows are seen as a sign of peace and hope. Its mysterious powers have been spreading love and solidarity for centuries, especially for me.

The world is really tense right now and I'm feeling it. The pandemic is keeping us indoors. Protests for justice are sweeping the world. It can all be very scary and I'm not going to lie, I spend a lot of time in my garden with my flowers. One day was extra hard so I went for a walk with my dog, Didi.

As we walked around the lake, I looked up and saw a rainbow. I was so surprised. I took out my phone. I took pictures. I talked to the people on the path about how beautiful it was. I instantly felt at peace and connected with these strangers while we witnessed this phenomenon. I love my flowers, but when it comes to the greatest of all time, rainbows will always get my eyes.

Molly Bloom: You really put a very lovely bow on that declaration of greatness, Joy. Harriet, did Joy's declaration make an impression? What stood out to you about her argument?

Harriet: That was absolutely wonderful. I really loved how she's not trying to diminish the other team, but she's saying rainbows have a specialness and a sweetness that flowers don't have.

Sanden Totten: I hear that. It's like--

Harriet: I'm sure you do. (laughs)

Sanden Totten: It's almost that flowers are being overlooked for like how they deliver every single day.

Harriet: Okay, Sanden, you have time for your rebuttal. You've got 30 seconds to wield that flower power, and your time starts now.

Sanden Totten: Harriet, I think you bring up a great point. Rainbows are really cool, in concept, but they're often so faint and a lot of them are super rare, it's kind of like grading on potential. Which is a total rainbow move to be asked to be graded on a curve, which is unfair because flowers show up and bring us beauty and love all the time, all over the world, every day. They're even in Antarctica. They're showing up and doing the work and still manage to capture attention on a daily basis. That's real talent. Also, you brought up songs that have rainbows in them, there are so many flower songs.

Molly: Time.

Sanden Totten: Kiss From a Rose, Every Rose Has a Thorn--

Molly: Time. (laughs) I would like to hear you break into song, but I'm sorry (crosstalk)

Sanden Totten: (sings) Every rose has a thorn,

Joy Dolo: (sings) Just like every rainbow is in the sky (laughs).

Sanden Totten: Head in the clouds, Joy. You got your head in the clouds.

Joy Dolo: That's where I belong, baby, up in the clouds. (laughs) Harriet, I think I got a great story for you coming right up.

Harriet: I can't wait.

Molly Bloom: All right, Sanden, it is time for your declaration. Let's hear why blossoms are the best.

Sanden Totten: Flowers aren't just pretty. They're drop-dead gorgeous and there are so many kinds. They can be used to say, "I love you," or for medicine, or even as art, or you-- Okay, I'm getting carried away because I've got flower fever, and I'm not alone. Let me tell you a story.


It starts one inky-black night in Lancashire, England. A thief slipped past the security at the famous Silverdale Golf Course. The crook wasn't after cash or jewels or art. They wanted something much more valuable, and they got it.

Speaker 1: No, we've been robbed. Get the police.

Speaker 2: Get the press and get a chair. I'm fainting.

Sanden Totten: What treasure did they take? A flower. An ultra-rare, lady slipper orchid. One of the last of its kind growing in nature. Cuttings from this crimson and yellow beauty sell for thousands of dollars on the black market. Luckily, some of the plant was left behind. To keep it safe, it was eventually assigned its own private guard because those are some VIPs, Very Important Petals.


This isn't the first time we've flipped out over flowers. In the 1600s, people in the Netherlands were obsessed with tulips. Some cost more than a whole house. In the early 1900s, orchid hunters risked life and limb searching jungles for these incredible plants. Proof that we'll go to great lengths for fantastic flowers. Part of the allure is the variety. Rainbows, I guess there's some variation, but for the most part, it's just that same, old, tired pattern. Blah, blah, blah, Roy G Biv, whatever. That's nothing compared to flowers. You've got roses, daisies, daffodils, dahlias, sunflowers, peonies, lilies, lilacs. No matter who you are, there's a flower for you.

Hippy: What if I want something far-out and trippy?

Sanden Totten: Try a passion fruit flower. It looks like a purple sun with a yellow and maroon propeller bursting right out of it.

Harriet: Mondo bizarro.

Sanden Totten: I know, right?

Goth Guy: What about me? I'm goth, colors aren't my thing.

Sanden Totten: Like that heavy dark cloak you're wearing, flowers have you covered. Check out the black bat flower.

Goth Guy: Wow, it's got dark wing-shaped petals and little pods that look like trumpets. Trumpets that sound the call of eternal night that will bathe this world in darkness and soothe my cold, black heart.

Sanden Totten: Uh, sure.

Monkey lady: Hi, what about me? I only like monkeys. If it's not a monkey, I don't like it.

Sanden Totten: Very specific request, but check this out.

Monkey lady: Wow. Is that a flower with a tiny monkey face in it? I love it.

Sanden Totten: Yes, that's the monkey face orchid. These are all real flowers and they're all really amazing.

Monkey lady: I've never seen a rainbow with a monkey face in it, and I only like monkeys.

Sanden Totten: Okay, we get it. You only like monkeys. (chuckles) Where was I? Oh, yeah. Flowers also have special medicinal compounds. Take rosy periwinkle. It's long been used in traditional medicines, but scientists have also used it to develop powerful cancer-fighting drugs. I can't think of any life-saving drugs made from rainbows. Oh, right, because they don't exist, and that's a flower-flex. Boom. Flowers also have mood-boosting benefits.


A study from Rutgers University found that flowers made people happier than other gifts like fruit baskets or candles and that happiness lasted several days. Scientists in Japan found some flowers have stress-busting scents. So, why would we evolve to get so much pep from petals? Maybe because they're tied to food. By that I mean pretty much any fruit, nut, or vegetable you eat like apples, almonds, peaches, broccoli, watermelon, mangoes, walnuts, tomatoes, lettuce, cauliflower, and wheat, they all come from flowering plants.

Angiosperms, that's the science-y name for plants with flowers, make up around 80% of all plant life on earth. Lots of animals and insects also look to flowers for food, so they're low-key heroes of the entire earth ecosystem, but I think my favorite thing is how we use flowers to express our feelings. Like when someone's sick, you give them a get-well bouquet. On a first date, bring roses. Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, anniversaries, all celebrated with flowers.


Flowers can also be art. In Japanese culture, people make abstract sculptures using just a few carefully selected flowers, leaves, and branches. It's called ikebana. When you look at these minimalist arrangements, you feel a kind of peace.

Jose Salcedo: You have a lot of negative space. You have areas where the viewer's eye can rest.

Sanden Totten: That's Jose Salcedo. He teaches ikebana in Los Angeles. Jose says these arrangements eventually wilt, but that's part of their message.

Jose Salcedo: I've had students come up to me and say, "Well, that flower only lasted a day." My response is, "I hope you appreciated it, that for a day, you were able to enjoy that flower because you'll never see that flower again."

Sanden Totten: It's like that saying, "Stop and smell the roses." It's about enjoying the things you have right now because nothing lasts forever. But flowers also bloom again in Spring. They're a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Forever and right now, all wrapped up in this one precious thing. So yeah, I've got flower fever, but I am not looking for a cure.


Harriet: Wow.

Molly Bloom: Very lovely. Let's see if flower fever is contagious. What did you think about that one, Harriet? What stood out to you about Sanden's Declaration of Greatness?

Harriet: What I really liked was how flower's points is really the diversity of specialness, so a gift, a get well soon…

Molly Bloom: Very good observations. Joy, it is now rainbow rebuttal time. Let's hear you poke some holes in Sanden's tribute to flowers. You have 30 seconds, and your time starts now.

Joy Dolo: Here's the thing. Rainbows are specific to the person because it goes directly into our eyeballs. Literally, every single rainbow you see is different from the one that the person next to you will see. I think that's a very specific thing that flowers cannot have. Speaking of flowers, there are so many different flowers. There's a few different rainbows, right, but if you go to a restaurant and the menu is small and petite, usually, they do things really well. Those restaurants that have huge menus, they don't know what they're making. Do you want a burger, do you want pizza, do you want a hotdog, do you want hot cocoa? You don't know what you're going to get.

Molly: And time.


Sanden Totten: All those delicious foods, many of which, brought to you by flowers. (laughs)

Harriet: Whoa.

Joy Dolo: Once they figure how to grow, they take six months, your cauliflower.

Sanden Totten: Hey, the best things in life are worth waiting for. (laughs)

Molly Bloom: That is it for a very heated round one. Harriet, take a look at your notes. Make sure you're ready to award your first two points. One point goes for the best declaration and the other point goes for the best rebuttal. Have you made your decisions? Don't tell us who you awarded the points to, but have you made your decision?

Harriet: Yes. (bell rings)

Molly Bloom: Was this a tough decision?

Harriet: It really, really was. There wasn't a ton of trying to make the other team look bad as much as was about making yourself look good.

Molly Bloom: A positive, positive round for everybody. Listeners, take your time. These are tough calls to make. We're going to give Joy and Sanden a quick breather, but we'll be right back

Harriet: with more Smash Boom Best.


Taylor Lincoln: Taylor Lincoln here along with 36-time debate champ, Todd Douglas. Todd? Todd!

Todd Douglas: Taylor. Sorry, I'm late. I was in the archives listening to old debates on tape.

Taylor: Mmhmm?

Todd: I've got one here from 150 million years ago.

Taylor: Seriously?

Todd: Yes! It was recorded in the late Jurassic period in what's now Utah. A giant brachiosaurus got into a debate with a teeny, tiny stokesosaurus about which is better, eating plants or eating meat.

Taylor: The herbivore-carnivore debate. Classic.

Todd: It's seriously dynomite.

Breanna: (singing)Munching on ginkgos in the sun. I'm 62 tons of leaf-eating fun.

Stanley Stokesosaurus: Balderdash, Breanna.

Breanna: Well if it isn't Stanley Stokesosaurus.

Stanley: That's the name, meat-eating's the game.

Breanna: Meat? Blech. Eating plants, and only plants, is the best diet, and here's why. They're abundant, full of vitamins, fiber-rich, and being a herbivore is a peaceful life choice. It doesn't involve eating other dinosaurs.

Stanley: Please! Meat is a complete protein, super tasty, and it fills you up for days. Plus, hunting dinos is wicked fun.

Breanna: Hunting dinos might be enjoyable for you, but it's violent and cruel.

Stanley: I know what's really going on here. You're not clever enough to hunt for meat. It takes brains and you have to be brave. Two strikes against you, Breanna, because you're clueless and cowardly. That's why you eat plants. (buzzer)

Todd: Clueless?

Taylor: Cowardly?

Todd: Those are insults, not arguments. A classic logical fallacy if I ever heard one.

Taylor: Logical fallacies are debate mistakes that make it easier for your opponent to tear your argument apart.

Todd: Stanley Stokesosaurus just made an ad hominem attack.

Taylor: An ad hominem is when you insult your opponent instead of their argument. It's bad manners and it's bad debating.

Todd: Yeah, but Breanna didn't let Stanley get away with it.

Breanna: That isn't an argument, Stanley. That's an insult. Try again.

Stanley: Oh, yeah? Meat has protein and plants don't.

Breanna: Wrong, Stanley. Both meat and plants contain protein. They just have different types and amounts of them.

Stanley: Oh, you know I just realized I have to go eat some meat.


Taylor: Oh, Breanna Brachiosaurus showed him.

Todd: When you use an ad hominem attack, you're pretty much just being a big, old bully.

Taylor: Too true, Todd. Too true.

Todd: That's all for this week, debate heads. Catch you next time on State of Debate.

Announcer: Smash Boom Best.

Molly Bloom: We're back. You're listening to Smash Boom Best.

Harriet: The show about showdowns.

Molly Bloom: We get incredible debate ideas from our listeners all the time, like this one from Lillian from St Mary's County in Maryland.

Lillian: My debate idea is stuffed animals versus LEGOs.

Molly Bloom: We'll check in again with Lillian at the end of the show to see who she thinks would win. It's time to get back to the fantastical focus of this debate, rainbows versus flowers. Our judge, Harriet here is processing a lot. How are you feeling, Harriet?

Harriet: I am feeling pretty good. I'm just excited about what's going to happen next.

Molly Bloom: Excellent. Sanden and Joy, are you ready to keep battling it out?

Joy Dolo: I am ready for Sanden to bow down to me.


Sanden Totten: That joke is so bad, it should be thrown in prism. (laughs)

Joy Dolo: Oh, now you're thorny, Sanden?


Sanden Totten: Hey, this is right up my alley. Every time you throw a joke at me, it just makes my daisy. (laughs)

Joy Dolo: Oh, gosh, that had no stems to stand on.


Molly Bloom: I think we're ready for the Micro-Round. Today's Micro-Round challenge is Reality Show. Sanden and Joy were asked to create a hit reality show all about their side. Joy went first in round one, so, Sanden, you're up. Let's find out what kind of reality these flowers are ready to serve up.


Sanden Totten: Welcome to Tulip's Bulb Race, where flowers compete to be America's next top flower. With me, as always, is my BFF, that's best flower friend, Magnolia Visage.

Magnolia Visage: Hey, Tu. You look stunning as usual.

Sanden Totten: Why, thank you. Today, our flowers will be showing off lewks they designed around a theme: Pollination Prom.

Magnolia: That's right. Pollen is this microscopic dust made by flowers. It contains all the genetic information needed to fertilize a flower so we can make more of ourselves.

Sanden Totten: Know your biology kids! But for that to happen, pollen needs to be carried from one flower to another. Our flowers have to create looks to attract pollinators, animals, or insects, that come to the flower and help spread pollen.


Magnolia: First on the runway, it's lavender serving purple petal realness.

Sanden Totten: Lavender's flowers are full of sweet liquid called nectar which bees love. Bees are an excellent pollinator. Way to work.

Magnolia: Next, we've got saguaro, a cactus with large, white flowers that bloom at night to attract bats.

Sanden Totten: Ooh, A night pollinator. Shady and smart.

Magnolia: Finally, it's corpse flower. 10 feet tall, purple, green, and-- What is that smell?

Sanden Totten: That's the corpse flower's natural stink, honey. They're sneaky. They smell like rotting flesh. Insects come looking to feast on something dead, but end up covered in pollen instead.

Magnolia: Sickening. Like literally, I feel sick.

Sanden Totten: It's like my mom always says, "You catch flies with honey," but rotting flesh smell will work in a pinch too.


Sanden Totten: Coming up, more fabulous flower fashions.


Molly Bloom: Sanden, 10s across the board for that Micro-Round.

Sanden Totten: Thank you. I'm having a watch party at my house later if you want to see the rest of the season.

Molly Bloom: I very much do. Now, it's team rainbow's turn to shine. Let's listen in on this optical illusions hit reality show extravaganza.

Joy Dolo: Welcome to Phenomenally Phenomenal Phenomenon where we look at natural phenomena that's phenomenal. This week, our talent competition brings two new hopefuls to the runway. First up is Rainbow.

Roy G Biv: Actually, I prefer my acronym, Roy G Biv.

Joy Dolo: Sorry, the spotlight is yours, Roy G Biv.


Roy G Biv: I am the incredible, magical, mystifying Roy G Biv. Watch as I appear out of thin wet air.

Judge 1: It's so beautiful.

Roy G Biv: See as I mesmerize you while I gracefully bounce through droplets in the air.

Judge 2: I can't take my eyes off them.

Roy G Biv: Hear the laughter and awe of the children and adults as they see my colors shine and multiply in the air.


Judge 1: Encore. Roy, I have to ask. How old are you?

Roy G Biv: I'm timeless.


Joy Dolo: I don't know how we could ever follow that up. Join us next week when Flower hits the stage.

Flower: Hello, judges. My name is Flower and my talent is I grow. Just give me a second.

Judge 1: Straight yawns.

Audience Member 1: Boo.

Audience Member 2: I don't want to see this.

Audience Member 3: Get off the stage.

Audience Member 4: This is terrible.

Joy Dolo: Tune in next time on Phenomenal Phenomena that's Phenomenally Phenomenal where the phenomenal become phenoms. (laughs)

Molly Bloom: I would binge-watch that program. Stunning performances all around. Well done, Joy, but only one of you can win Harriet's precious point. The fates of these colorful competitors rest in your hands, Harriet.

Sanden Totten: Oh, man.

Molly Bloom: Take a minute.

Sanden Totten: You've got one half-hour. What channel do you change to?


Molly Bloom: We have Phenomenally Phenomenal Phenomenon or Tulip's Bulb Race. Take a minute to think it over and markdown a point for this round. Listeners, you too. Harriet, did you make your decision?

Harriet: I sure did. (bell rings) Both shows though were phenomenal.


Harriet: Phenomenally phenomenal.

Sanden Totten: Joy, do your fans call it Triple P, or P3?

Joy Dolo: Yes, PPP is what we call it.


Molly Bloom: Now, it's on to the most surprising and exciting of rounds, the sneak attack. Your sneak attack challenge is Initial Thoughts. We want both of you to write an acrostic for your side. That's a poem where the initial letter of each line spells out a word or a phrase. Take the word hat, for example. An acrostic for hat would be H, happiest head, A, around, T, town. Hat, happiest head around town. Does that make sense?

Sanden Totten: Yes.

Joy Dolo: Yes.

Molly Bloom: It doesn't have to be a full sentence. You can sort of experiment with the form. So that you have the same number of letters to work with, we're going to have, Sanden, you do an acrostic for the word flowers, plural. Joy, you're doing an acrostic for the word rainbow, singular.

Sanden Totten: Yes, Molly. You easily 'splained that.

Molly Bloom: All right.

Sanden Totten: See what I did there? "You easily 'splained it"?


Molly Bloom: All right. We'll give you a minute to think while we play this groovy hold music.


Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Blue

Indigo, Violet refracts for you

Roy G Biv, an illusion, oh yeah

Pollen, stamen, bees go wild

Flowers bear fruit and make us smile

Mm, what's in your bouquet

Molly Bloom: All right, Joy. It is your turn to go first with your acrostic. Let's hear it for Rainbow.

Joy Dolo: Righteous and incredible, non-believers ought watch.


Molly Bloom: All right, Sanden, your turn. Let's hear your acrostic for flowers.

Sanden Totten: Flowers: fresh, lovely, otherworldly wonders, easily raise spirits.

Molly Bloom: So nice.

Joy Dolo: That was cute.

Molly Bloom: All right, Harriet. Time to award a point for this cute, delightful, sneak attack challenge. Have you marked down a point?

Harriet: I sure have (rings bell).

Molly Bloom: Was this a tough one?

Harriet: You know it was. I thought the rainbows' one did make sense though.

Joy Dolo: Rainbows seem to make the most sense a lot.


Sanden Totten: Let me just say, Flowers literally make scents. That's what they do, they smell great.

Harriet: Ohhh.

Molly Bloom: Puns are only going to get you so far, Sanden.

Sanden Totten: Yes, but they'll get you pretty far.


Molly Bloom: Excellent. Now it's time for our fabulous final round.


Molly Bloom: The final six. It's our debaters' very last chance to woo our judge in six words or less. Sanden, you're up first this time. Win us over with the sweetest six for Team Flowers.

Sanden Totten: Okay, here we go. Beauty, medicine, food, flowers give all.

Molly Bloom: Excellent work. Team Rainbow, this is your opportunity to blow our minds somewhere over the rainbow. Go for it.

Joy Dolo: All right. Just pay attention to the tone. Phenomenally phenomenal phenomenon, brilliantly beautiful, bysterious.


Molly Bloom: There you have it. We've heard towering, fact-filled arguments, creative appeals, and pithy, pointed remarks. Now there's just one thing left to do. Harriet, have you awarded your final point?

Harriet: I just did (rings bells).

Molly Bloom: Oh my goodness.

Joy Dolo: Oh, I'm nervous.

Molly Bloom: The moment has come. Harriet, which of nature's beauties has come out on top?

(drum rolls)

Harriet: Flowers won this debate.

Sanden: Yes! (crosstalk)

Harriet: I'm so sorry.

Joy Dolo: Thank you for your apology.

Harriet: I know. I figured I should give one.

Sanden Totten: Here's a bouquet of roses for that. I just wanted to (cross talk).

Harriet: Oh, thank you.

Molly Bloom: Harriet, walk us through your thinking here, break down the rounds for us.

Harriet: So, round number one, the declaration of greatness and the rebuttal, it was rewarded to Flowers, so two points were awarded there. The extravaganza, of course, Rainbows, of course. Sneak attack, I just didn't find the Rainbow one as descriptive. Then I love at the end with the rainbow one in the final six, it was so joyful and lighthearted and so, of course, Rainbows won that round as well, but considering that Flowers started off the first round with two points, Flowers won.

Sanden Totten: I would say, Joy, color me impressed. I loved your arguments. I really loved you brought home rainbows like a personal story. I think that the greatest thing that rainbows have to offer is those magical moments when they come on just when you need them. Also, you are just the rainbow of joy in my life. No hard feelings, here's also a bouquet for you as well.

Joy Dolo: Oh, I will accept that bouquet. You know, Sanden, it's always a treat having these conversations with you, and I would say that something that I love about flowers, you made a great argument, obviously, like growing all over the world and being able to give beauty to someone else and I think that's a really great message, and I think that you're great and your show is funny. I would watch it, just let me know what platform it's on, and I would like your password. (laughter)

Sanden Totten: flowerpower22. There you go.


Molly Bloom: This was a delightful debate literally full of flowers and rainbows. Harriet crowned Flowers the Smash Boom Best today, but what do you think, listeners?

Harriet: Maybe you feel differently? Head to our website,, and cast your vote.


Molly Bloom: That's a wrap on this colorful debate battle. Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On! and American Public Media.

Joy Dolo: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Elyssa Dudley, Rosie Dupont, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten.

Sanden Totten: We had engineering help from Corey Schreppel,

Joy Dolo: and we had production help from Menaka Wilhelm and Kristina Lopez.

Molly Bloom: Anna Weggel is the voice of our hold music, and our announcer is Marley Feuerwerker-Otto. We want to give a special thanks to Taylor Coffman and Austin Cross. Joy, is there anyone you want to give a shout out to today?

Joy Dolo: Oh, yes. Always my husband, Graham. Thanks for being the rainbow in my life, and thanks, Harriet, for being with us today.

Harriet: Aw, thank you.

Molly Bloom: What about you, Sanden? Who do you want to shout out today?

Sanden Totten: Thanks to all of you for having me back. I always love doing this show. I want to shout out to all my Ikebana teachers. I study Ikebana in Los Angeles, and they helped hook me up with the guest I had, Jose Salcedo, so thanks to them.

Molly Bloom: Harriet, you want to give any special thanks?

Harriet: Big shout out to my friend, Henry. Similar to how I failed my driver's test five times and before I took every one, he texted me and said, "I know you're going to get it. You're going to do great." He texted me before this, he's like, "You're going to do great, and you're going to get it. It's going to be awesome," and he's just wonderful.

Molly Bloom: He was right about today: you did do wonderfully and great.

Harriet: Aw, thank you.

Molly Bloom: Before we sign off, let's hear some more from Lillian. Remember she suggested stuffed animals versus legos match up. Here's who she thinks would win.

Lillian: I think stuffed animals would win because you can just pick them up and go, but with legos, you actually have to pack them. You can't play with them in the car or in the store.

Molly Bloom: Thanks, Lillian. If you've got an awesome debate idea, we want to hear about it. You can share your ideas or just say hi at We'll be back soon with another debate battle.

Joy Dolo: Hasta luego!

Molly Bloom: See ya.

Harriet: Bye.

Sanden Totten: Later.


Sanden Totten: Joy, I think we should launch a campaign: Rainbows and Flowers for president. Of course, Flowers will be president, Rainbows will be vice-president.

Joy Dolo: We'll see what the people want. I mean I think what whatever the popular vote says we'll see.