This is a transcript of our episode “Rats vs Pigeons”

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

Ethan: The show for people with big opinions.

Announcer: From the brains behind the Brains On it Smash Boom Best. The show for people with big opinions.

Molly: 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, we're switching it up. Smash Boom Best is going to fall on smash boom pest. We've got two pesky critters going head to head in today's debate. They're known for their love of big cities and dropped food. It's rats versus pigeons.

Feathers will fly. Tales will twitch, but which cunning creature will come out on top? It's tough to say but luckily Ethan is here to help us decide. Hi Ethan.

Ethan: Hello.

Molly: Ethan, when I say rat what comes to mind?

Ethan: Basically, this somewhat adorable, somewhat creepy creature that you'd normally find in an attic.

Molly: What about when I say pigeons?

Ethan: I would say a pesky bird that would come and eat your bread in New York.

Molly: Do you already think one of these animals is cooler than the other one?

Ethan: I think they're both equally creepy. Today I'm going to be judging it on creepiness.


Molly: Do you at home like debating?

Ethan: I've had debating discussions with some of my friends on like Minecraft or Fortnite or Marvel versus Star Wars and all different kinds of things like that. Actually recently in the Boy Scouts I had a little debate thing that had to do with a merit badge.

Molly: What tips do you have for our debaters today?

Ethan: A tip would probably be to give it your all and state your facts and just try to think on your feet.

Molly: Excellent advice. Well, let's meet our debaters here to defend, Wiley, and resilient team rat, it's Elyssa Dudley. Hi, Elyssa.

Elyssa Dudley: Hello, hello.

Molly: Elyssa, in a single sentence, why are rats the smash boom best?

Elyssa: Because a rat could save your life one day and a pigeon would just poop on you and maybe murder you with its poop.

Molly: Whoa, whoa. I hope you got some facts to back that up and here to represent intelligent, intrepid team pigeon it's Tom Weber. Hi Tom.

Tom Weber: Hello. Team pigeon, piu, piu, piu.

Molly: In one sentence, Tom, why are pigeons cooler than rats?

Tom: Pigeons reflect humanity, whatever you like about them is what you like about us and whatever you hate about them is really what you hate about us.

Molly: Whoa, getting deep all ready. Let's review the rules of the game. Round one is the Declaration of Greatness. When our debaters will use facts, logic and all the charisma they can muster to present the most persuasive arguments for their side. After each declaration the opposing team will have 30 seconds to rebut their opponent’s statement. Then we've got the Micro Round, a creative challenge each side has prepared for in advance. Round three is this Sneak Attack, a surprise challenge debaters will respond to on the spot.

Last but not least we've got the Final Six. In this round each team will have six words to make a closing case for their side. Our judge, Ethan, will award one point after each round but he'll keep his decisions top secret until the end of the debate. Listeners, we want you to judge too. This is a tough one. 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. Everybody, are you ready?

Tom: Yes.

Elyssa: I'm so ready.

Ethan: Excited to judge.

Molly: Then it's time for the--

Announcer: Declaration of Greatness.

Molly: Our debaters will present the most fascinating facts and awesome arguments in favor of their side. We flipped a coin and, Elyssa, you're up first. It's time for a Declaration of Greatness for those quick-witted and whiskered wonders, rats.

Elyssa: Ethan, your honor, our esteemed judge. We are here today to discuss rats and-

Person #1: OHMIGOD A RAT?! WHERE?!

Elyssa: There’s nothing to worry about, ma’am. As I was saying: rats are-


Elyssa: Yes. But I’m just trying to say that rats are actually-

Person #3: (blood curdling scream)

Elyssa: Alright, alright! GIVE IT A REST! Rats don’t have the best reputation…  

(movie clips)

Hollywood loves to hate on rats. They’ve been the villain, and the butt of jokes. They’re almost never the hero. That is, until… 

REMY: I like good food. And good food is hard for a rat to find!

Elyssa: That’s right, Ratatouille! The 2007 Pixar movie about an adorable rat named Remy who becomes a chef. 

Ok, it’s fiction. But Ratatouille got a lot right about rats. They’re super smart, exceptionally clean, work well with humans. And... 

FAST: They have really great sense of smell. 

Elyssa: That’s Dr. Cindy Fast.

FAST: They're nocturnal, like other rodents, which means they don't see very well. They're used to being out in the world in the dark. So they navigate that space using their nose. 

Elyssa: Dr. Fast works for a nonprofit called APOPO, where she’s in charge of training rats to save lives.

APOPO’s rats are trained from birth to sniff out danger - like landmines.

Landmines are explosive devices that are buried underground during wars or other conflicts. Because they’re hidden underground, it’s hard to find them. And if you accidentally step on one - they explode - which is very dangerous -- and even deadly.  Landmines prevent people from using land for things like farms or playgrounds. 

Enter… landmine-detecting rats!!

FAST: So they can use this really keen sense of smell to identify where a landmine is, by sniffing out the explosives that are in the landmine, the really dangerous part of it.

Elyssa: And luckily, African giant pouched rats are too light to trigger a landmine! So everyone stays safe while the rats are working.

Plus, these rats are easy to train, because they’ll do anything for their favorite food.

FAST: And for the rat, that's banana, they love bananas. So anytime we're working in the field, the rat just kind of trots along back and forth, sniffing the ground. And as soon as he finds something that smells like explosives, he'll stop, kind of sniff around and then dig very furiously at the ground. And we know instantly that something is there.

Elyssa: This year, one of APOPO’s rats, Magawa, won an award for his lifesaving work.

FAST: He has found over 60 items of explosives in Cambodia. So that’s more than 20 soccer fields. He searched all of that and said, this is now free of landmines. And the local community is now using that land.

Elyssa: Now Magawa wears a tiiiiny gold medal on his harness when he goes to work, and it is unbelievably cute. But that’s just one woman’s opinion.

There are over sixty species of rats, and the biggest difference between rat and a mouse is just their size! But when you imagine a classic rat, you’re probably thinking of a black rat or a brown rat.

These guys are playful, they’re good at problem solving and puzzles, and a recent study showed that these kinds of rats actually giggle when tickled. You have to use a special microphone to even hear it, but it sounds like this:

(clip of rat giggle)

Rats are empathetic too! Another study showed that they’ll save another rat from drowning - even if it means losing out on a tasty treat.

They also make great pets. I’m speaking from experience. When I was a kid I had a pet rat  named Amos.

Dad: Amos was this warm fuzzy critter that just wanted to snuggle.

Elyssa: Meet my dad! Who… in retrospect, was probably the one cleaning up Amos’ poop. Still, he sings his praises. 

But here’s the plot twist: my family had another pet too.

One day my dad found an abandoned pigeon nest while cleaning the rain gutters.

Dad: So I gently put the egg’s in the breast pocket of my shirt…

Elyssa: We got an incubator, and soon, one of the eggs hatched! We named him Jack. We fed him and he grew. 

Dad: Oh, he was imprinted. He was part of the family. He’d come flying down and land on my shoulder. He was very affectionate.

Elyssa: Until Jack the pigeon... BETRAYED MY FAMILY.

Dad: He’d fly down and start pecking on our hands really hard. It didn’t really hurt, but it wasn’t really warm and fuzzy either. I’m not sure what was going on in his little bird brain. I don’t think a whole lot to be honest with you.

Elyssa: So what’s a better pet: a rat or a pigeon?

Dad: Oh, a rat.

Elyssa: So take it from my dad, Ethan, rats are the clear choice. They’re cute, fun, smart as heck, and they’ll gladly save our lives if we just give them a little bit of love. And maybe some banana.

Molly: A heartfelt reputation rehab for rats there. Ethan, what did you think about Elyssa's Declaration of Greatness? What stood out to you?

Ethan: Just like the image of the rat in my head lowered my heart rate. Also you mentioned Remy, Remy the rat from Ratatouille, which I am super happy about. I thought that was a really, really heartfelt and put together presentation.

Molly: Excellent. Well, Tom, I'm sure you have a few thoughts to share. It's time for your rebuttal. Conjure up your most pigeon-like pizzazz. You've got 30 seconds to let it fly and your time starts now.

Tom: I'm all for the great stories about your pets. I really think that it's great that they're finding use for the landmine story that you talked about. What about the story in the Bronx recently where the guy fell through the sidewalk into a dark hole that was filled with rats. He was trapped for 30 minutes, true story, with rats crawling all over him, and to this day, he is traumatized. They'd been doing interviews with them. He says I can't walk down the street anymore without feeling those rats walking all over me. They're so-- yucky.

Molly: And time.

Elyssa: You know who's really traumatized by this story, Tom, it's the rats who were minding their own business in their home and a giant fell from the sky. They will never recover from this experience.

Tom: If that had happened into a big hole of pigeons they would've just flown away. They would've kept crawling all over them because pigeons can fly, and who doesn't like stuff that can fly?

Elyssa: I don't trust things that can fly.

Molly: (laughter) Tom, it's your turn. Let's hear more about those flying things. We want to know why pigeons are the smash boom best.

Tom: The year is 1918. World War I is raging in Europe and a group of American soldiers are caught behind enemy lines taking fire. In fact… some of the fire is from their fellow Americans… who don’t realize they’re there. 

They have to tell them to stop!  

They send messenger after messenger, but each one is shot down … until there’s only one messenger left. As this brave soul heads out into the fray, a shell explodes right beneath them! Oh no! All is lost!

But wait! The messenger is still alive! Injured but determined, they keep going, and deliver a note that saves the lives of nearly 200 American soldiers. 

That messenger was a hero. And they were also, wait for it… a PIGEON. 

True story! Shot through the chest and leg, the pigeon (known as Cher Ami) still managed to fly 25 miles to deliver that message. 

Then the same thing happened in World War II when a pigeon named… G-I Joe delivered a message to British commanders that called off an attack that could have killed a thousand fellow Britons. 

My declaration of greatness? Pigeons have saved lives. 

Pigeons have homing abilities -- meaning if you release them somewhere new - they can still fly home -- even if they are hundreds of miles away! Scientists don’t exactly know how they do it -- maybe they sense the earth’s magnetic fields or maybe they use familiar smells to guide them. Either way -- they are amazing navigators and can fly at speeds of up to 90-miles an hour!

People still train messenger pigeons today but there was a time when these amazing birds legit helped humans communicate.

But who doesn’t love pigeons? How many of you read that awesome series when you were a kid that includes the book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus?” That book has won a lot of awards!

Pigeon never got to drive the bus, but with those homing abilities… he probably would’ve done great. 

Also, pigeons are super smart! They can recognize letters and undertake tasks that require reasoning that we used to think only humans and other primates can perform. They’re one of the smartest birds on Earth!

Next point, Diseases. If you think pigeons are dirty, you might think they carry diseases. And they do… but only in their poop. So if you’re careful when you’re cleaning it up, you’re good!

Meanwhile, RATS are WAY MORE serious disease transmitters. They spread lots of gnarly diseases, including the bubonic plague, also known as the BLACK DEATH.

There was a plague outbreak in Madagascar in 2017. Scientists found rats to blame because they carried around the fleas that jumped onto people and bit them. 

The rats didn’t directly bite people - not as much as the fleas did - but rats were the buses that carried the fleas around to the people. 

Not even a pigeon would drive THAT bus!

Pigeons save lives. Rats help end them.

Oh, what’s that, rat enthusiast? You think pigeons are just dirty bottom feeders, always congregating on sidewalks and in parks when I’m trying to walk by or have a minute alone on that bench?

Well that, my friend, is why they’re awesome.

Yes, pigeons gather in city centers and well-trafficked areas. Yes, sometimes you’re near them when they flutter up and fly really close and it freaks you out. And yes, maybe you’ve been dive-bombed by pigeon poop before.

Yeah, not great. But this is really a big misunderstanding by us humans!

See, pigeons evolved on rocky cliffs and ledges around the Mediterranean Sea. A rocky cliff is a hard surface and so is… a building!

They’re used to building nests on hard, rocky surfaces, so building a nest in the window sill of a skyscraper is pretty natural! 

And we’re the ones who built these giant concrete birdhouses that attracted pigeons in the first place!

You might find them annoying -- but all they’re guilty of is adapting to humans!

They’re just really adaptable! Why hate that?

Especially when we really love another animal that has adapted a lot: dogs. Who’s a good boi?!?!?

News flash: Dogs kill grass when they pee on walks. But we’re only going to hate the pigeon poop? That’s on us, people. Team Pigeon all the way. 

All aboard the Team Pigeon bus!

Molly: A rousing Declaration of Greatness for team pigeon. Ethan, what stood out to you about Tom's argument?

Ethan: I think it was really cool how I heard that the pigeons can like save lives but I also heard that the rats can as well, so both of them can do very well in that. I took notes for both of them, and overall, rats are very heartfelt and kind creatures, and pigeons are very super smart.

Molly: We have some heroic animals that we're talking about today. Elyssa, I think you have some thoughts. Let's hear your 30-second rebuttal. What were the weaknesses in team pigeon’s declaration? Your time starts now.

Elyssa: I have so much to say. Maybe pigeons were heroes for delivering these messages back in world war whatever but guess what? These bird brains, obsolete. We don't need them anymore. Send a text, send an email, the end. Next point, the bubonic plague, recently a study showed that humans, who can have their own fleas, may have been spreading around the bubonic plague just as much as rats if not more, and you know what? It's a shared problem. Flees, humans have them, rats have them, only pigeons make their own poop diseases. Also, if you love pigeons too much--

Molly: And time. If you love pigeons too much, I want to know where that's going.

Elyssa: I'll tell you later. Don't worry. It's disgusting.

Tom: A messenger pigeon recently went for auction, I'm not even kidding, for $1.9 million. Find me a rat that would sell for $1.9 million. Messenger pigeons are still totally a thing.

Elyssa: People like a lot of weird things. I just want to say if you're a person that would spend that much money on a pigeon you are also the kind of person that might get a disease called pigeon fanciers lung, which is a rare pulmonary condition that people can get if they spend too much time hanging out with pigeons, gross.

Molly: Oh my goodness. Ethan, these are two very well-prepared debaters today. So many facts, so many heartfelt stories, but now it's time to award your first two points. One for the best declaration and one for the best rebuttal. Both points could go to the same debater or each debater could get one point.

Remember we're asking you to judge based on one simple thing, which side made the argument that their animal is cooler? You get to define what cooler means. Think about it and make a decision but don't tell us which side is getting the points.

Ethan: I awarded it on my little clipboard I got here.

Molly: Excellent. I love a judge with their own clipboard. It makes me happy. When there's a clipboard involved, it's official.

Ethan: It's very official.

Molly: Tom and Elyssa, how are you feeling?

Tom: Pigeon-rific.

Elyssa: Good. Great.

Ethan: Pigeon-rific?

Elyssa: Rat-tastic.

Molly: It's time for a quick break. Go dumpster diving or scan the streets for snacks whatever you need to do —

Ethan: and we'll be right back with more Smash Boom Best.

Todd Douglas: Todd Douglas here with 801 time debate champ, Taylor Lincoln.

Taylor Lincoln: Hiya, Todd.

Todd: Wow, that apple looks good.

Taylor: Here, try one. I've got a whole bunch from the orchard.

Todd: Nice.

Taylor: I went apple picking after I heard this awesome apples versus oranges debate.

Todd: Oh, I remember this one. The kid defending apples talked through his argument beforehand. Let's listen.

Kid: Mom, I know apples are better than oranges but Charlie doesn't agree with me. He can always list off a gajillion reasons they're not as good as oranges.

Mom: What are some of his positions?

Kid: Well, he'd say oranges have more vitamins and minerals than apples do. He'd probably say, an orange a day keeps the doctor away, not an apple.

Mom: What would you say to that?

Kid: Well, I'd say apples have slightly fewer vitamins and minerals that the difference is so small, it doesn't matter. Apples have more fiber than oranges do. Fiber is a super important part of every diet, so apples are just as healthy in a different way.

Todd: This Apple fan is using an awesome debate technique. He's thinking like his worst critic.

Taylor: Yes, he's imagining all the ways his opponent is going to attack him and preparing his defense beforehand.

Todd: Thinking like your worst critic is a great way to prepare for your opponent's rebuttals and an apple-solutely excellent way to win an argument.

Taylor: Ah, jeez Todd.

Todd: If you want to win your next argument debate heads, think like your worst critic. We'll catch you next time on State of Debate!

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

Ethan: I'm your judge, Ethan.

Molly: One of my favorite things about this show is all the amazing debate ideas we get from listeners like you. Check out this awesome debate suggestion from Rihanna in Irvine, California.

Rihanna: My debate idea is heroes versus villains.

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

Ethan: Now, it's back to our debate of the day, rats versus pigeons.

Molly: That's right. It's time for round two the

Announcer: Micro Round

Molly: For this challenge we asked Tom and Elyssa to pretend their side is running for mayor. They've both prepared speeches, which they're delivering today about why you should nominate them for mayor. Elyssa went first last time so Tom, you're up. Let's hear why our pigeon pals should helm City Hall.

Tom: My name is Samuel Pigeonface and I am running for mayor of Critterville!

After eight great years of Mayor MourningDove, it's time to pass City Hall to a pigeon.

Because always remember! Scientifically, doves and pigeons are the same animal! 

Our homing skills let us center our lives on Critterville, and we evolved from living on cliffs. So this city’s tall buildings are just as suitable. A pigeon would never neglect these buildings because they’re home!

Folks, this election is a battle for the soul of Critterville. 

My opponent Charlie Ratenhopper and his band of fleas will hurt Critterville. Charlie Ratenhopper has a history of bad faith actions!

Last year’s plague outbreak at the community center? That was Charlie and his fleas!

Pigeons know cities. We’re smart, spread messages quickly, and when we congregate that’s us being near the people and hearing their concerns. 

So if you’ve supported Mayor MourningDove and love doves… there’s no reason not to love pigeons too. We’re basically the same animal!

And if you want to keep a rat out of city hall, vote Samuel Pigeonface! You’ll be home with this homing pigeon.

Thank you all!

Molly: Four more years of avian leadership with Mayor pigeon face. Alright, Elyssa let's hear how a rat might rule the roost.

Elyssa: Good day, fellow rodents!! I’m Roz R. Rattus, and I’m running for mayor.

I ask you: when you walk these city streets, how often does one of your neighbors see you and shriek?

How often do they call us rats dirty?? They don’t know we groom ourselves constantly. Heck, we’re cleaner than your average dog or house cat!

And people looove to talk about that whole bubonic plague debacle, like yeah, yeah, not the best press for us rats. But GUESS WHAT. Some scientists think that it was actually filthy humans spreading diseases around in medieval times. Back then, those guys had their own fleas.

But listen I’m not running against a human in this race. No, I’m running against a pigeon.

And what do we know about pigeons?

Pigeons will steal a sandwich right out of your hands. And did you know these relentless sky demons can carry over 60 diseases!

But listen, people. Simmer down. Simmer down.

I’m not here today to tell you that pigeons alone are pests. We’re ALL pests. 

I’m here to tell you that us rats are the SUPERIOR pests. We feel deeply. We laugh when tickled. We can smell SO many smells. We make big sacrifices when our friends need our help - rats and humans alike! And sure, we poop wherever the heck we feel like. But at least we don’t make POOP RAIN FROM THE SKY!!

So cast your vote for the Rat Party this year. We’re committed to keeping poop where it belongs: on the ground.

Molly: Bold imagery in that campaign speech. Ethan, it's time for you to award a point for the speech that you liked best. Whichever criteria you want to use, who was more persuasive, who got your vote, but don't tell us, who gets it. Have you awarded your point?

Ethan: I have.

Molly: Alright, it's time for our third round, the surprising [background noise]

Announcer: Sneak Attack.

Molly: Our sneak attack today is, a haiku for you. We want you to write two haikus today, write a haiku about how great your side is and another one about how not awesome the other side is. Just to refresh what a haiku is, it's a three-line poem, five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables again in that third line. Tom and Elyssa, does that make sense?

Tom: Yes.

Elyssa: Yes, but I need more than a few.

Molly: While you work let's listen to some soothing hold music.

Singer: Rats love trash, what a tasty meal

their twitchy tails make people squeal.

Sewer life suits those ratties well.

Homing pigeons find their way,

leave them alone they'll coo all day,

swoop and poop, the smarty's of the sky.

Molly: Elyssa, you're up, let's hear team rat’s poetic side shine.

Elyssa: Okay, I'll start with rats, because rats are number one, so they should go first.

Rats love us humans,
they just want to be friends.
They poop where they should.

Okay, now my haiku about pigeons.

Pigeons peck your eye,
diseased poop falls from the sky.
Tom loves pigeons: Why?

Molly: Love some punctuation and a healthy dose of poop. Tom —

Elyssa: Punctuation is free in a haiku, you can use as much as you want.


Tom: Really, Yes, if you say the punctuation out loud, does that count against your syllables? That's what I don't know.

Elyssa: I don't know, it's a art. We can't question it.

Molly: It's up to our judge. Well, Tom, it's time for team pigeons to swoop in and switch things up. Let's hear some pigeon poetics.


Away you fur beast
Take your disease underground.
No one wants you here.

I got very into that. Now my pro pigeon prose, think of this, perhaps we can put the music underneath the instrumental from feed the birds from Mary Poppins, feed the birds, tuppence a bag. Here, you have that playing underneath maybe.

Fly away you bird.
I know you'll come back safely.
Misunderstood dove.

Molly: Wow, four beautiful moving haikus. Think about which ones really wowed you today, Ethan. Give the team that won you over a point, but don't tell us which one is getting it.

Ethan: Yep.

Molly: Was it a tough decision?

Ethan: Very.

Molly: This is a very, very close debate today.

Ethan: Definitely.

Molly: It's time for the last round.

Announcer: The Final Six.

Molly: Tom, you are up. Let's hear your last six words.

Tom: Rats spread plague, pigeons save lives.

Molly: Short and to the point. Elyssa, your turn. You've got six words to make a final impression on Ethan. Let's hear them.

Elyssa: I'm counting on my fingers as I go. Rat brains are bigger, flying: overrated.

Molly: Food for thought. We've taken a wild journey through the sewers and into the skies. Both teams have put up an impressive fight, time to award your final point. Ethan, have you decided which team's Final Six won you over? Don't tell us who it is, but have you awarded the point?

Ethan: Yes.

Molly: Excellent. Now tally up the points, because it's time to crown one of these animals, the Smash Boom Best. Ethan, are you ready? Have you tallied?

Ethan: Almost,

Elyssa: it's a stressful moment.

Ethan: I'm just building up the suspense.

Elyssa: My whole year is riding on this. Just know that.

Molly: No pressure.

Elyssa: No pressure. Don't worry.

Tom: All the pigeons are watching. That's fine.

Molly: Ethan, tell us today's winner is--

Ethan: Team rat by one point.

Molly: It was close, a squeaker if you will. Ethan, tell us, what's one thing that you loved about today's debate.

Ethan: I loved and I hated how close it was. When I was tallying it up and stuff. Putting team rat on my little clipboard over here, and team pigeon and putting all the things underneath it, they seemed so similar in a way, because of course, I've heard the expression before pigeons are just rats with wings. It was so hard to decide, but I just felt team rat, it had the cuteness and the strength and team pigeon, you showed its strength, but that's all I've found from team pigeon.

Elyssa: I just want to say, Tom, rats off to you. I was surprised at how many things pigeons and rats actually had in common. I think that's what made this so close.

Tom: I think that's the thing to remember. I go back to the point I made about pigeons in the opening round is that I hope that everyone listening, if you live in a city, perhaps, and you see a lot of pigeons or maybe you see rats every now and then, and they gross you out, or just the idea of them grosses you out, the truth is the only reason either of these animals gross you out is because they're actually just good at being around us.

It's really our fault that we litter. It's our fault that we drop food. It's our fault that we build buildings that look like rocky cliffs to pigeons. You really need to think long and hard about how much we're going to hate animals that are around us a lot, because we are the reason they're around us a lot. I hope that the listeners really got that about all of those animals and all the other animals out there that you think are real pests.

Molly: This has been an excellent debate battle today. Ethan crowned rats the smash boom best, but who do you think won?

Ethan: Head to and cast your vote.

Molly: Smash Boom Best is brought to you by Brains On and American Public Media.

Elyssa: It's produced by Molly Bloom, Rosie DuPont, Sanden Totten, Marc Sanchez, and Jennifer Lai.

Tom: We had engineering help from Eric Romani and Veronica Rodriguez.

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

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

Tom: All the people who love pigeons.

Molly: How about you Elyssa? Any special shout outs?

Elyssa: I really. want to thank Dr. Cindy Fast for talking to me about the awesome rats that work for APOPO. If you go to, you can check out pictures of the adorable rats, including Magawa, and you can even donate to adopt a rat and support them as they do their work, which does not mean, to my disappointment, a rat comes and lives in your home.

Molly: Do you want to give any special thanks today, Ethan?

Ethan: I want to give thanks for everyone here for having me. I want to give thanks to the Boy Scouts of America for teaching me how debate works.

Molly: Awesome. Before we go, let's hear who Rihanna thinks would win in her Villains versus Heroes debate.

Rihanna: I think heroes would win because heroes always save the day. Bye, Smash Boom Best. I love you.

Molly: Do you have an idea for a knockdown drag-out debate? Head to and tell us about it. We'll be back with a new debate battle next week.

All: Bye!


Tom: Pigeon. Pigeon. Pigeon. Sorry.