Mister Fandango wrote:
But they weren't trying to replicate the results of the myth. The results of the myth was the guy getting busted before he could even finish the parachute, which means even if they were ignoring the actual myth and instead just trying to see if building a parachute would work, the 3-hour limit was irrelevant.
No, that's the result of the real event. "Replicating the result" means replicating what the myth claimed
would happen, and figuring out what it would really take to achieve that outcome. Here, the myth was not that the guy tried to make a parachute; that's simply a fact. The myth was what the guy believed
: that by making a parachute and jumping out the 20th-story window, he could escape the police. That's the "result" in Mythbusters terms: the outcome he believed would result if he did a certain thing.
The question the team was examining was, if
he'd actually made the jump rather than being arrested -- if he'd jumped just before the police stormed the room at the 3-hour mark -- would it have worked as he believed/hoped it would? (Sure, they could've tested the scenario that the police would've waited longer than 3 hours, but maybe that was standard procedure or something, so they decided to go with the alternative that only the criminal's actions were different.) And once they found that it wouldn't have worked, the next question was, what would
that criminal have needed to do to escape a hotel room via makeshift parachute? What would he have had to do in order to achieve the desired result?
Really, there's a whole subgenre of Mythbusters segments where they test escape schemes, starting with the first-season Alcatraz myth and including others like the salsa escape, the horse pulling out prison bars, the makeshift ropes made from various materials, the paper crossbow, the techniques for eluding bloodhounds, etc. Here, too, they were testing the feasibility of the criminal's escape plan -- not what actually happened, but what he wanted
to do. It's just that, unlike many of the other plans they've tested, this is a plan that never actually got put into practice.