This is a transcript of our episode “Avengers vs Star Wars”

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Announcer: From the brains behind brains on its Smash Boom Best.

Seth: The show is 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 is a very special day. We're doing something we've never done before. We're pitting two of the biggest movie franchises ever against each other in an all-out blockbuster worthy battle. It's Avengers versus Star Wars. Which will win: the marvelously superhuman Avengers saga or that space story from long ago in a galaxy far, far away — Star Wars? Luckily, we have a judge here to help us decide. Hi, Seth.

Seth: Hey, how's it going?

Molly: It's going well, thank you so much for being here today. Before this epic battle begins, I just want to learn a little bit about you, our wonderful judge. Do you like to watch movies?

Seth: I really like to watch movies. Cranking it down on the couch or on the theater with popcorn or nachos on an hour and 45 or two hours, it's pretty good, especially with these two franchises. They're really nice.

Molly: Are you an Avengers fan already?

Seth: I don't want to give bias, but I kinda like both. Both franchises were my childhood. I don't have a bias here.

Molly: You love them both very much?

Seth: Yeah.

Molly: How old were you when you first saw any of the Avengers movies?

Seth: I was about seven or eight. When I watched that movie, I can't process it but then as the months went on, like, "Yo, that movie was sick," and I started watching more and more and more. It's like, "Yo. This is amazing."

Molly: What about Star Wars? When did you first remember watching Star Wars for the first time?

Seth: There's this show, not the movie, but the show. It was called Star Wars, The Clone Wars. I love the idea of these soldiers and these cool looking helmets, these cool soldiers with the cool artwork and everything. After that, I just fell in love with the Star Wars world, like the Jedi, the lightsabers, and all the cool flashing lights and everything.

Molly: Because this is a debate show, we just want to know, do you debate yourself?

Seth: I do. I was inspired to debate because I was seven and one of my English teachers was like, "Hey, Seth, you like to talk, you should be in the debate team." I'm like, "Yo, that's cool." Then once I heard there was a debate team at my high school, I was like, "I'm going to take this chance," and I have loved the art ever since.

Molly: Do you have any advice for our debaters today?

Seth: Bring out passion and attack the arguments because I love the passion in debate. It's one of the things that lets me enjoy the art. Please, passion, passion, passion.

Molly: Very good advice. Well, now, it's time to introduce our debaters. We have Merk Nguyen and Nyge Turner. Hi guys.

Merk Nguyen: Hello.

Nyge Turner: Hey.

Molly: Merk an Nyge, are cohosts of the podcast, Adult ISH, a culture advice and storytelling podcast from Radiotopia and YR Media. Merk, a diehard Avengers fan hails from Seattle, Washington.

Merk: That's what's up. Gonna use my Pacific Northwest powers to bring some marvelly goodness.

Molly: In one sentence, Merk, why are the Avengers movies the Smash Boom Best?

Merk: Oh my gosh. So many reasons, but they are ultra-relatable, they are super, they're interdimensional and just good for the soul.

Molly: Nyge, dialing in from Oakland, California, is a Star Wars super fan. Nyge, tell us why is Star Wars the coolest fictional universe of all?

Nyge: Oh, man. I don't even know where to begin, but it's the groundwork behind almost every character that we know to this day.

Molly: I am excited to hear more. Merk and Nyge, we know you guys are friends in real life, but this is Smash Boom Best and things can get fierce. Anything you want to say to each other before we dive into this debate?

Merk: Dude, I took out my earrings for this. I'm wearing my Spidey shirt. Get ready to go down. This is going to be the death star of you.


Seth: That's good.

Nyge: I think that was really nice. I feel like my argument is strong enough to where I don't even have to do with the theatrics. I’ll let you have that one.

Merk: My theatrics are just a bonus on top of my arguments. You just wait, my friend.

Nyge: Looks like a sign of weakness to me, but it's all good.

Seth: I see some early challenges. I'm loving this already.

Molly: This fictional face off just got very real. Remember, it's not all about the force of your delivery.


Molly: You've got to have ironclad facts, research, and finesse too. Now, this debate is going to be a little different than our regular ones. Each round Merk and Nyge are going to have to defend specific characters from Avengers and Star Wars. In our first round, the Declaration of Greatness, Merk and Nyge will defend their side's most terrifying villains, Thanos and Darth Vader. The goal is to convince our judge their movies have the better bad guy. For the Micro-Round, Merk and Nyge will leave behind the dark side and represent Captain America and Yoda in a creative challenge where they have to give good grounded advice.

In round three, a Sneak Attack, Merk and Nyge will assemble arguments for a surprise challenge, and to wrap it all up, Merk and Nyge will have six final words to persuade the judge that their side is the Smash Boom Best. Seth will award a total of five points. One point for his favorite Declaration of Greatness, one point for his preferred rebuttal, and the remaining three points for the side he likes best in the final three rounds. He'll keep his scoring a secret until the very end.

Listeners, we want you to judge too. If you'd like to keep score on an official scorecard, you can download one on our website at and if you have any comments to share with us about the debate for, the judge's decision head to and send us a message. All right, team Avengers and team Star Wars, are you ready to rock this Smash Boom battle?

Nyge: Yes.

Merk: Born ready.

Molly: How about you, Seth, are you feeling prepared for this epic journey?

Seth: I'm feeling the storm that's about to come in. Let's get it on.


Molly: Excellent. Let's kick this thing off with our first round.

Female Announcer: The Declaration of Greatness.

Molly: All right, Merk, we flipped a coin and you're up first. Let's hear your Declaration of Greatness for the eternally terrifying Titan, Thanos.

Merk: Imagine you and your family are at home, about to have a really awesome dinner together.

Parent: Hey honey, food’s almost ready. Will you help set the table?

Kid: Okay!

Merk: You go get some plates, which only takes a few seconds but when you turn around, your parent … is gone. 

Kid: … Hello?

Merk: You’re now all by yourself. Because Thanos, the most evil villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and of all time) just used the Infinity Gauntlet. If you don’t know -- the Infinity Gauntlet is a big metal glove -- it’s gold and covered with 6 magical jewels called Infinity Stones. Whoever wears this glove can control the very fabric of reality. They just think of something -- then snap their fingers -- and boom -- it happens! So what does Thanos use the Infinity Gauntlet for? He instantly erases half of all living things in the entire universe. Not just your parents -- but also, your neighbor’s dog, famous musicians, world leaders... and even alien civilizations on planets you didn’t even know existed. All that, gone with a mere snap of his fingers.

What heartless, super awful, big meanie villain would do such a terrible thing? Thanos. He's the bad guy secretly controlling things in most Marvel movies -- and he's the main antagonist in the final two Avengers films. If you’ve never seen him before, you can’t miss him. He’s purple, 8 feet tall and weighs at least 1,000 pounds. Technically he’s a Titan -- a Herculean human-like alien species with impressive combat abilities who usually lives thousands of years. He’s got huge muscles and a six-pack for days! Not only is he built like the intergalactic football player of your dreams, he’s got all the qualities you need for an epic bad guy. 

The first thing that makes him a ruthless villain: his superhuman stamina, speed and strength. He was able to defeat the Hulk -- who is just as tall AND buff as him -- in one on one combat. Thanos also broke Captain America’s iconic shield, which is made from vibranium -- the strongest metal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Second, Thanos is an extremely smart master manipulator. His life’s goal was to collect all the Infinity Stones -- Those are the special gem-like objects that power the Infinity Gauntlet glove. But they were hidden across the universe. So he manipulated others to help him get them. Like in the first Avengers movie, he was able to trick Loki, the God of Mischief himself, into carrying out a secret plan! Which helped Thanos collect those stones and gain control over special things like space, time, and even reality…

My third point: he is ruthless. Not only did he raise and train a group of children to be his assassins, he sacrificed one of his daughters -- Gamora -- to get one of the magical stones for his Infinity Gauntlet. All that -- so he could snap his fingers and erase half of existence.  

Random Person: Oh snap...

Merk: I know, right?! Ruthless. Now you might be wondering why Thanos is so obsessed with erasing half of existence. Let’s ask him. Hey Thanos, why would you do such a terrible thing?

Thanos: To make the world perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

Merk: But you do realize by doing this you’ve torn apart friends, families and hurt lots of innocent beings everywhere?

Thanos: It’s a small sacrifice to pay for salvation. Look, I’m 1,000 years old. I know doing this will cost me everything. But I’ve lived to see people on my own planet die because they were running out of the food and water and other things they needed to live. I tried to tell them but they didn’t listen. They thought I was mad. The same thing is happening all over the universe -- it’s too crowded. Someone has to fix it -- and that someone is me.

Merk: Now, dear listener -- you might be starting to get a soft spot for this guy ‘cause no one was listening to him, he was misunderstood, grew up an outcast…  I mean, every villain has a tragic backstory. Does that make it okay to WIPE OUT HALF OF EXISTENCE? No way! But does it make him a compelling character? Yes way!  

He’s highly destructive and deeply flawed. And it’s because he’s around that the greatest superheroes in the MCU came together to form the Avengers, giving us the gift of the final Avengers movie -- Avengers: Endgame. The highest grossing box office movie of ALL time. Can Star Wars say the same? No. Is Vader the greatest villain ever? No! In the Star Wars movies, he has to report to the Emperor! Thanos is his own boss. And when his story ends, he has no regrets about what he’s done -- whereas Vader’s story wraps up by him changing sides to save his son’s life. 

My point is, an excellent villain makes the heroes look amazing. Thanos is that person! Er… villian. Er…alien. He makes us feel better about ourselves because we’re not the monster he is. And you gotta give him, snaps for that.

So, if you think Darth is a more evil villain THAN him, I say NOS. ‘Cause you know… Than… Nos.

Seth: Wow, that's it. That's the starting point. That's going to be hard to follow.

Molly: You got your work cut out for you in judging today, Seth. That was a very snappy argument, an infinitely awesome argument for Thanos. Seth, what impressed you specifically about Merk's declaration?

Seth: One of the things that I looked at, I was like the last part-- in debate, we call this framework, how do you want the judge to judge the round. Because this round is about who's the best villain, Merk said, "Best villain is those that brings the best in the heroes." I may be wrong. I was engrossed in this whole thing with the sound effects and everything. You got your work cut out for you.


Molly: Nyge, I know you are eager to tear Merk's tribute to Thanos apart. You have 30 seconds for your rebuttal. Your time starts now.

Nyge: I got to say, yawn, like--

Merk: What?


Nyge: What do I know about Thanos? He was a mean guy, yes. That's pretty much all I heard, said about five or six different ways. What I think is the most important part of being an amazing villain or the best villain is if you're multifaceted, and when you said, "Oh, yes, Thanos, you might be getting a soft spot--" I didn't fill a soft spot for Thanos at all. I'm not really worried about--

Molly: Time.

Merk: You're the heartless one. What?


Molly: The rebuttal is strong with this one. Lucky for you, you can strike back in your Declaration of Greatness for the Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Let's hear it.

Nyge: This is going to be easy. All I have to do is argue that Darth Vader is a better villain than big purple grape dude on steroids aka Thanos, however you want to say it. But that’s not even what I am going to argue. That would be way too easy. My argument is that Darth Vader is the best Villain ever. Like of all time. 

Let’s start with his very first scene in the very first Star Wars movie from 1977.

Stormtroopers just invaded the rebel ship. They’re firing lasers - they’re ducking, crawling, all the good stuff — they’re marching down the halls. Things are bad. Then - things get worse.

In walks the toughest looking dude OF ALL TIME. He has a huge black helmet that covers his entire face. He has an all black cape that is just flowing in the wind. He has to talk and breathe through a speaking box.

Darth Vader: Commander, tear this ship apart until you've found those plans! And bring me the passengers, I want them alive!

Nyge: Darth Vader calls the shots -- and people listen -- because he’s got the power to back it up. He’s super strong and super smart. He’s an ace pilot. He’s unstoppable with his lightsaber -- which is like this glowy thing that slices through anything. And he’s a master of the force.

The force, let me break it down for y’all, is this energy that binds the entire Star Wars universe together. Darth Vader can use it to stop laser blasts, influence minds, and he can even pick up heavy things with his mind -- and throw enemies across the room without lifting a finger. That’s power.

He’s so much more than just a villain. He is basically the blueprint for a character arc that has shaped film as we see it today. By the end of his saga, we’re actually rooting for him.

To explain, I'm going to take it all the way back to the beginning. Before he was Darth Vader he was Anakin Skywalker -- aka the chosen one.

His story begins when he meets this Queen named Padme Amidala. Padme is in a dusty, sandy workshop on a remote desert planet. She’s looking at some equipment in the shop, when all of a sudden a four foot little blonde boy with a bowl cut walks down some stairs and asks Padme -- with the sweetest look in his little eyes... 

Anakin: Are you an angel?

Padme: What?

Anakin: An angel. I hear the deep space pilots talk about them. They’re the most beautiful things in the universe.

Padme blushes. And we all, as an audience, blush along with her.

And from then on that little bowl cut boy has our hearts. And he grows up to be a powerful Jedi. He falls in love with Padme and they marry. But his weakness is his heart. He loves Padme so much and when he has visions of her dying -- he gets scared. He looks for a way to save her. He was lured to the Dark Side with the promise that if he embraced the evil -- he would be so strong that nobody would be able to hurt the people he loved ever again.

As the audience, we know it’s a bad decision -- but also, we get why he does it. I mean, we’ve all made bad choices before, right?

Rebecca: I think Darth Vader and the dark side wouldn’t be so interesting to us if they didn’t represent things in the real world around us that we’d really like to understand.

Nyge: That’s Rebecca Krause. She’s a PhD Candidate at Northwestern University and she’s written about why we love fictional villains. And she’s here to help me out.

Rebecca: In general, villains are more appealing when they are closer to us. Because it makes it easier to at least partly understand their actions. And if the villain seems like they're just randomly doing bad things that's less interesting...

Nyge: Darth Vader is the perfect example. The thing that makes him an amazing villain is you can somewhat understand his reasoning. He has depth. He’s not just evil for the sake of being evil -- you can truly understand his pain.

And this is where it really gets tragic. After going bad -- he does lose Padme -- and then he loses an epic fight with his former teacher, Obi Wan Kenobi. By the end, he’s so wounded he has to wear that famous black suit for the rest of his life -- just to keep breathing. He became Darth Vader. 

The story’s not over yet though. Years later -- Vader’s own son -- Luke Skywalker -- becomes a Jedi himself. Eventually, Luke takes on the evil Emperor Palpatine -- Vader’s boss basically. But the Emperor is way more powerful and he zaps Luke with evil energy. Luke is seconds away from death.

That’s when Vader sacrifices everything -- once again! This time to save his son. He picks up that gnarly old Emperor and tosses him down a shaft to his DOOM! Vader is mortally wounded in the battle and his last wish is to see his son with his own eyes -- without the mask.

Vader: Now go my son. Leave me.

Luke: No. You’re coming with me. I’ll not leave you here. I’ve got to save you.

Vader: You already have.

Nyge: ‘Scuse me while I wipe this single tear from my eye! (Sniff) So good!

You see -- unlike Thanos, who pretty much stays the same through all his movies -- Vader changes. He learns. He grows. He’s deep and multifaceted. He’s not just a good villain, he’s a good character.

That’s why he’s not just better than Thanos. He’s the best villain of all time.

Molly: Wow. A forceful argument for Darth Vader. Seth, what stood out for you in Nyge's declaration?

Seth: I really, really, really love how Nyge stated why Darth Vader is both powerful and at the same time, menacing. Dude, guy got a black helmet, a black robe basically be like the mascot for some kind of band or anything. I especially loved the last part when he brought up he represents real-world problems-- I see what's going on here. It's a tough decision right now, but really good, really good.

Molly: Well, let's see what Merk has to say. Merk, you've got 30 seconds to Hulk out on Nyge's arguments. Your time starts now.

Merk: Okay. Vader is actually weak. He's so weak because he can't even breathe without his helmet. All the force and all that stuff goes away because he's dead without it. There's one. Two, Darth Vader isn't even in all the Star Wars movies. We're looking at you know all the whole franchise. He's only in the first three. Boom, they didn't even want him in it that much. Thanos is there like way more than that. We have more Avengers movies to enjoy. Anakin arguably was a whole different person in is his past life-

Molly: Time.

Merk: -and he treated Padmé like garbage.

Molly: Excellent work, both of you. Seth, you have a hard decision to make. You have two points to award this round. One for the best rebuttal and one for the best Declaration of Greatness. Think about some of the things you liked and disliked about what you heard, where the passion was. Consult your notes. Now, mark down, two points but don't tell us who they're going to just yet.

Seth: I'm good.

Molly: Listeners at home, if you need more time to think, you can always press pause. Merk and Nyge did not make these decisions easy on us today. Merk and Nyge, how are you feeling so far?

Merk: I'm hot and I'm sweaty because I'm like--

Seth: Welcome to debate.

Nyge: A little shocked that Merk did that rebuttal like that because that wasn't even true but we're going to let it fly. We're going to let it fly because this isn't the last time for the debate.

Merk: You basically argue that Darth was a hero. That is not a villain.

Nyge: We said best villain.

Seth: Hey, the one thing I've learned, everything is debatable.

Molly: All right, debaters hang up the helmet and cape, put away your infinity gauntlet. We're leaving the villains behind. Next up, the heroes face off but first, we're going to take a quick break.

Seth: Yes, we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.

ANNOUNCER: This is STATE OF DEBATE, home to ragin’ rhetoric and awe-inspiring argumentation!

TODD: Todd Douglas here, along with 431-time debate champ, Taylor Lincoln! 

TAYLOR: We’re live, right outside the giraffe exhibit at the Bronx Zoo! 

TODD: Apparently, Glinda the giraffe has been having a heated debate with Pietro the pigeon for days about an eternally tricky question -- 

TAYLOR: --are wild animals happier than animals living in captivity?

TODD: Let’s find out! 

PIETRO PIGEON: Wild animals, like me, are free! Zoos? They are prisons! 

GLINDA GIRAFFE: Look, Mr. Pigeon. This zoo is my home. I’m well taken care of. I love my zookeepers. I am just as happy as you are -- maybe even more so!

PIETRO PIGEON: Nonsense! You couldn’t be! Don’t you ever think about breaking free and roaming the streets of New York!? 

GLINDA GIRAFFE: No! I am happy right where I am. With my long neck, I’ve got great views. 

PIETRO PIGEON: Ack! Zoo animals are opposed to freedom. You refuse to imagine all the things you’re missing! None of you have any imagination!


TODD: Logical fallacy alert!

TAYLOR: Yes! Logical fallacies are weak debate strategies that make it easy for your opponents to undermine your argument. There are a ton of different kinds--

TODD: And Pietro the pigeon just used one called a HASTY GENERALIZATION. 

TAYLOR: Hasty generalizations are when you make BIG, SWEEPING statements about a group-- 

TODD: --without enough evidence. So when Pietro said, “Zoo animals are opposed to freedom,” and “None of you have any imagination!” Those were hasty generalizations. 

TAYLOR: Not all zoo animals are the same! 

TODD: No! And they’re certainly not all “opposed to freedom.” Quick, let’s hear what Glinda the giraffe has to say about that ridiculous claim:

GLINDA: Pietro! Enough! The only animal I can speak for, is myself. I am not opposed to freedom and I do not begrudge you yours! Wild animals can get hit by buses, they can starve, they can be hunted down by poachers with guns, and lose their homes to bad weather and accidents. Me? Here in this zoo? I am protected and pampered. And that safety makes me happy. Animals can be happy in the wild AND in captivity. It is not an either or situation. The End.

TAYLOR/TODD: Woooo! / Go Glinda, go!

TAYLOR: She took Mr. Pigeon’s hasty generalization, and threw it back in his face! 

TODD: Just goes to show -- logical fallacies never win. 

TAYLOR: True that! But this debate is far from over. Are wild animals happier than animals living in captivity?

TODD: To be fair, I’d rather be a wild animal.

TAYLOR:You kind of smell like a wild animal, Todd.

TODD: Really? That’s the last time I buy deodorant at the zoo.

TAYLOR: We’re all learning. We’re all learning.


Molly: You're listening to Smash Boom Best, the show about showdowns. We get incredible debate ideas from our listeners all the time like this one from Siaorse in San Antonio, Texas.

Siaorse: My debate idea is beatboxing versus whistling.

Molly: We'll check in with Siaorse at the end of the show to see who she thinks should win. Now, it's time to get back to Avengers versus Star Wars. Merk and Nyge, are you ready to fight for your fantastic franchises?

Merk: 100%, bring it on, baby.

Nyge: Yes.

Molly: Excellent because it's time for the Micro-Round. Your Micro-Round challenge is Dear Debater. We asked Merk and Nyge to pretend to give guidance as Captain America and Yoda. They're both advise columnists who are responding to the following letter.

Dear Debater, last year, when I got to pick an instrument at school, I decided to play the trumpet but turns out, it's super hard. When I had my first recital last week, I messed up a lot. Maybe I'll never be good. Should I give it up? Please help, sincerely, Bad at Brass Blues.

All right, Merk went first in round one, so Nyge, you're up. Remember, your representing wise and tender-hearted Yoda in this challenge. May the force be with you.

Nyge (as Yoda): Worry you should not young one the trumpet force is within you. Hard Trumpets are to play. A Lot of spit they do collect. Fart noises you need to make with your mouth. Episode of Spongebob when they are making fart noises after every word like (thbb) and this (pbtt). You need to watch and study. Master it, you will young one. Believe in you I do. Hard it was to conquer some of my biggest fears. Struggle I did for sure. Ballet I always wanted to dance. Too short they would always tell me. I was - but fly high Yoda always could. Put my mind to it I did and in know time world renowned dancer Yoda became. Little green light foot they called me. Anything you can truly become. Just believe in yourself you have to do. 

Molly: Excellent advice and an excellent Yoda impersonation.


Nyge: Thank you.

Molly: Merk, it’s your turn to channel the bravery and brilliance of the first Avenger: Captain America! Let’s hear the wisdom Bad at Brass Blues is after!  

Merk (as Captain America): Oh boy, that does sound tough... But I know a fighter when I see one and you have it in you to keep on going.

You know, during World War II I wanted to enlist in the Army really bad but was told I didn’t stand a chance. I held out hope though. Did what I could to work toward getting stronger. You should do the same by practicing. Don’t give up! Whether it’s your scales, your breathing, posture, everything. I definitely wouldn’t be known as Captain America without messing up along the way.

If people make fun of you, they’re bullies. I don’t like bullies; I don’t care where they came from. Don’t let their negativity drown out the hope that’s inside you. And be patient with yourself. I learned patience the cold, hard way by getting frozen in ice for 70 years. I’m not saying freeze yourself for that long but -- patience and practice will go a long way. 

I believe if you remember those two things you’ll be so good that people will be saying to you, “Wow. That’s America’s brass.”

Molly: Wow, that was very rousing advice. I feel like I'm ready to go take up the trumpet. Seth, have you decided on a Micro-Round winner?

Seth: I have decided.

Molly: You did?

Seth: Yes.

Merk: That was quick.

Molly: Was it a tough decision?

Seth: No. (laughter)

Molly: Well, now, onto the sneakiest most startling round the, Sneak Attack. Your Sneak Attack challenge is Twinkle, Twinkle, I'm a Star. Merk, Nyge, for this round, you've got to channel two of the best strategic thinkers of your respective universes. You have to write a song, you, Merk, about Black Widow and you, Nyge, about Princess Leia to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Does that make sense?

Merk: That sounds awesome. Oh my gosh.

Nyge: This isn't fair because Merk is a rapper.

Merk: I freestyle rap, I sing to Nyge. Everyone's in for a special treat here.

Molly: Well, before you start writing, maybe just for people who may not know the characters. Merk, can you give us a very short summary of Black Widow's strength and style?

Merk: Yes. Black Widow is a spy from Russia who came to America and served SHIELD. She is suave, she's acrobatic, she is also a master manipulator kind of like Thanos. She's got cool outfits and awesome hair that changes colors when, depending on the movie.

Molly: Awesome. Now, Nyge, tell us who is Princess Leia?

Nyge: Princess Leia is one of the coolest princesses ever. She's a princess because her orphan mom was a queen and then she not only fought in wars but she fought in wars while pregnant. That's one of the coolest things you could ever do. I'm not worried about this at all. She's one of the coolest to ever exist.

Merk: I won't be so sure if I were you.

Molly: All right. Well, we're going to give you a few minutes to write your songs. I will play this soothing hold music.


Hold music: (singing) Captain America has a shield

Thor has a hammer he likes to wield

Wakanda forever

Marvel has appeal

In a galaxy far, far away

Lightsaber buzz get out of the way

Yoda wants to know

"Have you the first?"

Molly: Merk and Nyge, are you ready to sing your attributes to Black Widow and Princess Leia?

Nyge: Yes.

Merk: Yes, it might become a new preschool jam. Who knows.

Molly: Nyge went first last time so Merk, you are up. Let's hear your song for super-spy, Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow.

Merk: (singing) She was once a Russian spy

Now, she's an Avenger, a good guy (lady)

She outran Hulk with a twisted ankle

Her smarts and fighting moves make the bad guys stankle

Sacrificed her life because of the cliff she jumped off

to save the world, that's Natasha Romanoff

Molly: Oh, very nice. Very lovely. All right.

Nyge: Stankle's not a word, might to think that.

Merk: Hey, creativity, two points.

Molly: All right. Nyge, your turn. Let's hear your song about Princess and General Leia Organa.

Nyge: (singing) Princess Leia is so cool

She makes Black Widow hide under a stool

She has the best hairstyle I've ever seen

I wonder what products she uses to make her shine like shing

She never stopped believing in her son

She knows that this battle I already won

Carrie Fisher, you shine like the sun

I'm not a singer but I did it for you, and now I think my job is done


Merk: You just totally added a stanza to the song. I think that's like the Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star remix.

Nyge: That’s points for creativity.

Merk: Hey, what?

Molly: Oh Seth, another hard decision. Time to award a point for this Sneak Attack challenge. Which team's lyrics and style won you over? Which performance was particularly awe-inspiring? Listeners, you too, award your point for the best Sneak Attack song. Seth, have you marked down your point?

Seth: Yes, I have.

Molly: Fantastic. Now, everything has been leading up to this last challenge. It's about brevity, cleverness, word choice. It's the Final Six. Debaters, it's time to win Seth over with just six words about your side. Nyge, you're up first this time. Let's hear six stellar words for Star Wars.

Nyge: I'm just going to keep it short and simple. Star Wars is the best. Obvi. (fart sound)


Molly: Okay. Merk, wow us with six super-powered words for Avengers.

Merk: Marvelously told, cinematic, Magnum Opus, yeah.

Seth: How do you spell that again?

Merk: Magnum Opus.

Seth: There's just a lot of Ms.

Merk: Yeah, because it's Mm-mm good.

Molly: All right. Both teams have really brought it today. Now, there's just one thing left for us to do. Seth, have you awarded your final point?

Seth: Yes, I have awarded my final point.

Molly: Okay. Now, tally up all the points you've awarded, all five of them, and tell us when you're ready to reveal your decision.

Seth: I have my points.

Molly: Seth, tell us who is the winner of today's debate battle.

Seth: Marvel.

Merk: Yes. That's right. Let's go. Let's go, Black Widow, Spidey, Hulk.

Nyge: Beautiful storytelling, Merk. I really actually liked that a lot. Also, I really liked your Cap too. Like you're a motivational speaker anyway in our talks all the time because we are actually very close friends.

Merk: We are.

Nyge: I've gotten all those Captain America talks many times before. I appreciate them as well.

Merk: But your Yoda, that is honorable. Snaps to you there, very impressive.

Nyge: Thank you.

Molly: Yes, really excellent work both, Merk and Nyge. Are you still going to be able to co-host your podcast after this conflict-free?

Merk: Only if Nyge does his Yoda voice.


Molly: Well, Seth crowned Avengers the Smash Boom Best today, but who do you think won?

Seth: Whether you agree with me or not, we want your vote. Head on down to our website,, and cast your ballot.

Molly: That's it for today's raucous debate battle. Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On and American Public Media.

Merk: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Rosie Dupont, Marc Sanchez, and Sanden Totten.

Nyge: We had engineering help from Veronica Rodriguez.

Merk: We had production help from Elyssa Dudley, Kristina Lopez, and Menaka Wilhelm.

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

Merk: Of course, a big shout out to my homie, Yoda Nyge. A big shout out to my boyfriend, Samuel, who really helps me in my arguments in the last six but also was the person who's like, "Hey, we're watching these movies." I'm like, "Okay."


Molly: How about you, Nyge? Anyone you want to give a shout out to today?

Nyge: Well, a big shout out to Merk back. That's my dawg for real. Also, a big shout out to my fiancé, Brandy, as well, but she did not help me with that. She did help me to come up with the SpongeBob part of the Yoda thing because she's a huge SpongeBob fan. Shout outs to Brandyzzle.

Merk: Yes, Brandy.

Molly: How about you, Seth? Do you want to give any special thanks today?

Seth: Special thanks to Smash Boom Best for giving me this opportunity, as well as my debate team, Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate. They gave me this opportunity to debate and subsequently volunteer for this awesome podcast. Yes, a big shout out to them and everyone here.

Molly: Before we sign off, let's hear some more from Siaorse. Remember she suggested a beatboxing versus whistling matchup. Here's who she thinks would win.

Siaorse: I think whistling will win because you can do lots of different pitches and a melody.

Molly: Thanks, Siaorse. If you've dreamed up the best debate idea ever, we want to hear about it. You can share your ideas or just say hi at We love hearing from you. We'll be back soon with another debate battle.

Merk: See you.

Seth: Farewell, bye.


Nyge: Whoa, I shouted out her son. Carrie Fisher everywhere.

Merk: It's about her, not her son.