Howie Do It TV Poster Image

Howie Do It

(i)

 

Don't let kids copy not-so-nice hidden-camera pranks.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show revolves around playing tricks on people, often intentionally putting them in uncomfortable situations for laughs.

Positive role models

Howie and his crew seem to delight in the iffy positions they put their "victims" in. It's all meant to be funny, but it still feels mean-spirited sometimes.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Lots of innuendo hinting at sexual topics like masturbation, foreplay, and intercourse. In one scene, a man says to a woman, "You have really nice legs. What time do they open?" In another, a man (wearing a shirt that says "Damn right I'm good in bed") watches as his girlfriend and another guy make out in bed. Porn is also mentioned.

Language

Occasional use of "bitch," "hell," and "damn." Multiple instances of "f--k" are edited.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some mention of cigarettes, and social scenes sometimes include alcohol.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this prank show gets laughs from putting unsuspecting people in uncomfortable situations. While many of the gags are harmless (a waiter who can't keep his fingers out of people's food, for instance), some are designed to rile their victims, who respond with anger, strong language ("damn" and "hell" are audible, while "f--k" is edited), and obvious discomfort. Dialogue often has sexual undertones -- referencing topics like masturbation and intercourse with a stranger -- and some scenes show couples kissing and fondling. In other words, this isn't a show for young kids or tweens -- but teens might get some laughs (albeit at the participants' expense).

What's the story?

In HOWIE DO IT, Howie Mandel puts his unique spin on the traditional prank show. In each gag, the "marks" (a.k.a. victims) are led to believe that they're being filmed for movie auditions, reality shows, or TV commercials -- what they don't know is that they're actually the brunt of elaborate practical jokes, some of which are designed by the subjects' own family members and friends. Howie himself plays an incognito role in most of the pranks, accompanied by multi-purpose "man on the street" Vic, Howie's son, Alex, and a rotating cast of poker-faced extras.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Remember the chuckles you got at the expense of the poor souls thrust into the spotlight in the classic TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes? How you laughed at their misfortune with equal parts pity and relief that you weren't the gag's brunt? Add to that feeling the unpredictable factor of Howie Mandel, and you're left with comical reality TV that, by today's standards, actually feels new. (Guess what? There are no eligible bachelors, bickering judges, or larva-eating survivalists anywhere to be found!)

That said, the show's pranks are more involved -- and often more suggestive -- than old standbys like mall shoppers stumped by dual escalators going in identical directions, and the series isn't age-appropriate for kids and young tweens. This is no Punk'd, but many of the gags are designed to cause their subjects real emotional discomfort (forcing a man to watch his girlfriend make out with another guy, or telling a husband that his wife's surgical makeover left her bruised and battered, for instance), and dialogue often has sexual undertones. Most of the marks are good sports when the joke is revealed, but some respond in clear frustration with strong language like "damn," "hell," and bleeped versions of "f--k". So save this one for after your young viewers are in bed -- and even then be sure to remind your teens that any practical joke has the potential to hurt its subject if taken too far.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference between jokes and mean-spirited pranks. What are the effects of jokes set up at others' expense?

  • Have you ever been the victim of a prank? How did it make you feel? Does it change your impression of a joke if the victim isn't a good sport about it? When does teasing cross the line to bullying?

  • How has the Internet changed the nature of bullying? Do you know anyone who's been cyberbullied? Parents: Talk to your kids about Internet safety and your rules regarding sharing personal information on the Web.

TV details

Cast:Howie Mandel
Network:NBC
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Howie Do It was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old January 10, 2009

Don't listen to mrbuffman

I have to admit when Howie Mandel is in disguise but if you were doing something regular would you all of a sudden say "It's Howie Mandel!!!" It is kinda funny, but it is not horrible.
Parent of a 11 and 18+ year old Written byMovieBuffman January 9, 2009

This show will be cancelled soon..

Not very funny at all. It is a "hidden camera" type prank show, but the skits are not funny and feels very "fake", like the people who the prank is on ARE ACTORS themselves. In the pilot a prank is pulled on a man's wife where a stranger kisses the wife passionately while the husband looks on. First and foremost, if this was "real", no husband will stand by and allow it and second of all, the skit is not suitable for young viewers. Another obvious thing is Howie Mandel is in disguise, usually just a wig, and particpates in the skits, but even with his disguise, he looks like HOWIE MANDEL!!! So it is obvious everyone are actors including the victims. Anyway, there are a billion prank hidden camera shows that have come and gone and this one is by far the worst. It will not be around long.
Teen, 14 years old Written byReyesfan7 March 29, 2009

Very Funny

Some of the jokes inapropriate but very funny. I do like to watch it!

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