A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Punk'd, both the MTV original and the BET remake, is a reality show about playing pranks on celebs on a grand scale. Jokes range from stealing and illegal gambling to physical altercations, police chases, and blowing things up. There's lots of swearing ("damn," "s--t"; "f--k" bleeped) too. Occasionally pranks involve sexual subject matter, including infidelity and the injury of genitalia. Kids may find these pranks funny, but they don't send the best messages. Viewers of all ages should be reminded that what they see here is produced by professionals and should not be tried at home.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
PUNK'D is a reality series featuring folks playing large-scale practical jokes on celebrities. The show, which was created and originally hosted by Ashton Kutcher, has undergone a series of transformations over the years, including moving from MTV to BET. But the show's premise has always remained the same: to feature groups of friends (many of them popular celebs in their own right) playing well-organized tricks on other celebrities to see how they react. From Justin Bieber fooling Taylor Swift, to getting Kevin Hart's friends on board to create a staged altercation with a supposed crazed fan, the reactions are as big as the pranks that are played on them.
Is it any good?
The now-classic series is fun, irreverent, and sometimes mean thanks to the large-scale pranks designed to elicit big reactions from the victims. Every installment of the show reveals clever setups requiring a talented team of actors, stunt doubles, and synchronized behind-the-scenes work. The BET version also features some behind-the-scenes discussions with the celebrities' friends and other planning details.
But though it's offered in the spirit of fun, the events are often humiliating. The stars' reactions are of such extreme relief or amusement that watching the surprise is irresistible. But when you get right down to it, it's a show designed to make you forget that it's generating lots of laughs at other people's expense.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how it feels to be the butt of a joke, when jokes are harmless, and when they hurt. When do pranks cross the line? What's an example of an inappropriate or harmful prank? How does it feel to be the butt of a joke?
What are the differences between the original MTV series and the BET one? Are the pranks any different? Does knowing what goes on behind the scenes make the tricks less kind?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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