Sometimes-mean show surprises, embarrasses celebs.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Practical jokes aim to embarrass, anger, and humiliate people.

Positive role models

Celebs, friends find ways to "get" stars. Some take it well, some don't.


Tempers flair, victims get angry. Staged tricks include fights, police chases, blowing things up, "accidentally" setting someone on fire.


Pranks sometimes involve sexual subject matter, references to genitals and sexual acts. Blurred nudity.


"Hell," "damn," "s--t"; "f--k" bleeped.


Apple products occasionally visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some pranks take place in bars.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Ashton Kutcher, King Bach, DeStorm Power
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byink February 5, 2010
Adult Written byForknose April 9, 2008


The show is ok. Nothing I would brag about really but it is watchable.
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008


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