Punk’d, MTV

by | Mar 13, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say of you liked it

Jolly japes from the high judge of jugular jocularity Ashton Kutcher which will make your sides splits with hilarity and all the fatty fast-food junk you’ve been coerced into buying through watching MTV will spill onto the floor where it will be pounced on by rats, only for the congregating vermin to be repelled by the plastic poison.

What to say of you didn’t like it

The capitalist equivalent of all those old Soviet films much mocked by Western audiences which brainwashed the Iron Curtain nations into an irreversible conformity of blank, mindless identities.

What was good about it?

• In two of the stunts, Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Rodriguez both exhibited the kind of selfish behaviour you always expect from these overrated “stars”. When faced by a traffic cop who accused her of lying about how much wine her “drink-driving” friend had consumed she quickly changed her story and said she had downed two glasses. And when Rodriguez caused a row of shelves in a convenience store to collapse domino-style on to an unfortunate “customer”, her concern for the injured man’s well-being was rapidly dispelled when she was accused of causing the incident. Of course, before any real damage could be done to either reputation, Captain Twatface arrived to end the lark.

What was bad about it?

• The apostrophe in “Punk’d” to suggest danger, anti-establishment attitudes and endearing juvenility when in fact is emblematic of the death of innovation, trapped in the rigor-mortis of corporate sponsorship and flaccid conformity.

• The quick-editing style when Ashton Kutcher introduces the skits which cuts from front view to side view as if observing his mendacious mouth from a different angle awards his amoral quest a certain authenticity. But the most vexatious feature of the programme, and in the top three most annoying physical movements on TV, only just behind Jeremy Clarkson opening her mouth and Dr Fox continuing to draw breath, is when Kutcher turns his baseball cap so he wears it either back to front or at a slight angle. It’s perhaps meant to signify character, when all it does is prove humanity has reached the apogee of its evolution and is sliding rapidly down the other side.

• The three stunts were all so very tame. Jesse Metcalfe was suspended by high wires to audition for a part as a villain in the new Spiderman film. Perhaps the banal dialogue he recited was supposed to be humiliating, but it bore little difference to the aural tripe

usually spouted in Hollywood “blockbusters”. The “punch-line” arrived when the wires seemed to give way, but as he was only six feet off the ground with a cushioned crash mat below him, Metcalfe was never in any real danger.

• Kirsten Dunst wasn’t even the subject of her “Punking”, as it was her in-on-the-joke friend who was threatened with arrest after their car was stopped on suspicion of being driven by a drunk.

• And Michelle Rodriguez’s temper was never tested as the moment she raised her voice, Ashton Kutcher raced into the store to tell her she’d been “Punk’d”.

• In the introduction to the Kirsten Dunst piece, Kutcher just happened to mention the name of her new film.

• The main hook (for those dolts easily impressed by celebrity) of famous victims is also the show’s greatest weakness. In British parallels such as Beadle’s About it was possible to push the quarry to the brink of insanity because Dan The Delivery Man would soon return to his hole of anonymity. But with Punk’d there is a definite reluctance to incur the “celebrity’s” wrath because of MTV’s need to produce their fawning, utterly

disposable, “Movie Specials” which may star one of the human ephemera they’ve targeted for a Punking, and this incurs a debilitating restriction on show.

• Ashton Kutcher – Apparently after some global Armageddon, such as an asteroid hit, nothing will survive except cockroaches. Well, to that singular list you can add Ashton Kutcher’s spite which will flourish and grow in such an atmosphere of destruction and human misery.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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