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David Rees Conquers His Fear on Season Finale of NatGeo's "Going Deep"

David Rees Learns How to Shake Hands
David Rees Learns How to Shake Hands
National Geographic

On the National Geographic Channel’s “Going Deep with David Rees,” the series star examines such mundane things as killing flies or tying shoelaces in extraordinary detail. Suffice it to say, the man knows how to do his homework.

On the season finale, however, Rees confronts a fear that literally makes him sweat: shaking hands. The satirist speaks with a hand model, arm wrestlers, and other experts to get a grip on his fear and develop a firm, confident handshake. Two researchers even use human cadavers to show Rees the amount of muscles involved in this friendly gesture.

Basic knowledge we think we know

Based on the titles alone, episodes such as “How to Dig a Hole” or “How to Open a Door” might seem like a gag up until the moment that Rees starts talking.

“That was the goal: we wanted to have episodes where people would see the episode and say ‘This has to be a joke. There’s nothing I can learn about how to tie my shoes.’ All these topics actually branch out into all different elements of science, history, aesthetics and philosophy,” Rees said during a quick one-on-one after his 2014 San Diego Comic-Con panel appearance.

The author of “How to Sharpen Pencils,” Rees said he wanted to show that using a 500-year-old communication device can be just as badass as using an iPad: “We wanted to make a show that would celebrate the everyday, the stuff we do all the time without thinking about it.”

Things you can’t do at Comic-Con

Each summer, pop culture fans descend upon the San Diego Convention Center to celebrate movies, comic books, toys, and creative costumes. Though Comic-Con earned a wild reputation over the years, David Rees learned that flying paper airplanes during a panel discussion definitely is not allowed.

“I respect their fear of these paper airplanes; I understand how hardcore these paper airplanes are,” Rees explained. “I guess their fear is somebody throws a paper airplane and it hits me in the eyes. I get a corneal abrasion. I go crazy and sue everybody. I shut down the comic book industry, all the studios collapse. This is all my fault; everybody is yelling at me.”

No matter if the subject is sharpening pencils or making clear-as-glass ice cubes, Rees seeks out the experts.

“For our episode on how to throw a paper airplane, we do a whole segment with John Collins, the guy who designed the paper airplane I was holding, the world record holder,” Rees said. “Basically, he’s showing me all these crazy plane designs, most of which don’t look like paper airplanes. One of them acts like a boomerang.”

Paper wasn’t flying that day in San Diego, but Rees did analyze my poorly-knotted tennis shoes.

“You know why you double-knot, right? It’s because your initial knot is unbalanced,” he explained. “A proper shoelace knot is called a double slippery reef knot. On a balanced knot, the more tension that is put upon it, the stronger it becomes. On an unbalanced knot, the more tension that is put upon it, the weaker it is. That’s why you double-knotted.”