Are prank shows just obsolete at this point?
(If so, no one tell the folks rebooting Punk’d again…)
Netflix seems to have stepped into a problematic pothole we didn’t even realize existed until now with its latest show.
Prank Encounters, according to the announcement last week, is a hidden camera show of the spooky variety — playing to the popularity of its host and executive producer, Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo.
Per the press release:
“Each episode of this terrifying and hilarious prank show takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.”
They even got the word “stranger” in there. Subtle.
It sounds more Scare Tactics than Candid Camera, but it’s definitely a classic TV throwback.
So… what’s the problem??
Shortly after the show’s announcement, people began bashing Netflix for exploiting the unemployed.
Responding to the news on Twitter, commenters said:
“This is so disgusting!”
“Genuine cruelty. Do better Netflix.”
“great, something else for the unemployed to worry about”
“I really hope you reconsider this. The concept sounds beyond awful. Nothing remotely funny about the concept. Just mean spirited.”
“16 is old enough to fire your f**king agent, right? Because this young man goddamn sure needs to get rid of whoever got him in on this. It’s vile and if the description is accurate should never be released.”
“Yeah because when I get a new job to support myself. What I really want is some rich kid already making 100x more then me pranking my ass on tv for laughs.”
And it wasn’t just the general public on social media!
The AV Club wrote it was “screwing with people trying to find work.”
Are people taking this show too seriously?
Netflix thinks so! The streaming giant heard the backlash and promptly responded with an official statement, reminding everyone this was all in good fun:
“The pranks in Prank Encounters are spooky, supernatural, and over the top, and everyone had a great time.”
So they say… but what about the people who thought they were going to be getting a real job?
Well… there weren’t any. Remember, this isn’t reality — it’s reality TV! Netflix assured:
“All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.”
So in a way they did get the job they were going for. A “one-day, hourly” job. Only it was to get scared on camera.
Prank shows have been getting their unwitting victims — er, participants — from temp agencies since the days of Allen Funt. (Look it up, kids!)
So have they always been wrong to do so and people are just now getting woke to it? Or is it a perfectly reasonable thing to pay someone for — and people are just too sensitive now??
How would YOU feel if your one-day temp gig turned out to be getting scared by Dustin from Stranger Things?
Let us know what YOU think about all this in the comments (below)!
[Image via Netflix /YouTube.]
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