The Complete Second Season
Review by Gordon Justesen
Creators: Ashton Kutcher, Jason Goldberg
Audio: Dolby Surround
Video: Full Screen 1.33:1
Features: See Review
Length: 156 Minutes
Release Date: October 12, 2004
we're gonna do is basically shoot a large action movie…IN REAL LIFE."
You gotta give
credit to Ashton Kutcher and his team of fellow pranksters. Ashton still managed
to get even more celebrity targets fooled. Enough celebrities, that is, to bring
the show back for an even more hilarious and exciting second season.
The lone fact that
the phrase "You've just been punk'd" has worked its way into our pop
culture is further evidence that Punk'd
has gone on to become one of cable TV's most popular shows. Without a doubt,
it's the most popular hidden camera series since Candid Camera.
Think about that
for a second. The show was already a hit from minute one, various celebrities
who had yet to get punk'd must have been told to be on the lookout for such
hysterics. Not only was Ashton successful in pulling off such elaborate pranks,
but he managed to take the level of punk-ing even farther than in the first
season, where fooling such people as Justin Timberlake, Seth Green and Stephen
Dorff seemed virtually unsurpassable.
Once again, the
success of Punk'd is not only
attributed to the superbly outlandish stunts that Ashton and his "field
agents" manage to get away with. The show would not be what it is if Ashton
Kutcher wasn't the host. His energetic and purely wacky persona displayed in the
narrating segments of each episode blends downright perfectly with the show
Ashton opens up the
season by exclaiming by stating, "We've got quite an exciting season in
store, because I have a lot of penned up aggression. And I'm going to take it
out on YOU!" Kutcher is cleverly referring to the fact that during the
previous summer, he became hot front page news due to his high profile romance
with Demi Moore. How Ashton is able to sneak around areas and pull off pranks
while being a newsworthy target in the process is an accomplishment in itself,
unless of course the whole Demi fling eventually turns out to be a punk on the
public, which would also be another accomplishment.
Season 2. How does it compare to the innovative first season? Not only does it
measure up to it, but it may as well have surpassed it. Ashton and his team go
after many more various targets within the entertainment field, ranging from
actors to musicians. This time around, many of the targets are of a younger age
range, which makes sense since the industry has recently been dominated by those
under the age of 18.
Case in point,
young acting and singing sensation Hilary Duff, one of the targets in the season
premiere. Ms. Duff is about to get her driver's license, or so she thinks, as
she is about to endure the most nightmarish driving test anyone has had to
endure. Her driving instructor, one of Ashton's field agents, manages to pick a
tense argument with a fellow driver on the L.A. freeway.
After the driving
instructor douses the other car with a beverage and takes a baseball bat to a
headlight, he instructs Hilary to speed off. Ms. Duff, who doesn't even has a
license yet, fears that she has done something completely illegal. Just moments
later, their driving school car is confronted with the same driver, who chases
off the instructor, while an accomplice threatens Hilary with a carjacking.
Ashton, meanwhile is monitoring everything in a nearby fan, and laughing away at
every wrong turn.
And Ashton has got
even more punk-ees on his radar. The season's targets include pop music star
Usher being told his younger brother has been caught shoplifting in a women's
department store, actress Katie Holmes caught right in the middle of a bitter
argument between Charlie's Angels
director McG and his suspecting fiancée during an interview, R&B starlet
Mya experience a most bizarre date, comedian Tracy Morgan doing his best to
prevent his car from being repossessed, and former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter,
thinking he's about to help out in punking ex Motley Crue alum Tommy Lee. Carter
manages to let himself get punk'd while on the set of the show.
Among my personal
favorite bits; there's a lengthy prank involving actress Jaime Pressly, who's
about to give an interview about her new clothing line. She's then shocked
beyond belief to be confronted by the FBI, who inform her that one of her
factories has been enforcing child labor. Poor Jaime displays the largest set of
tears of any targets this season. Another involves BMX stunt rider Dave Mirra,
who's confronted by agents who tell him that his representatives have taken
money on his behalf for endorsements he hasn't shown up for.
But none of pranks
pulled on any season can measure up to movie-scale punk pulled on hip hop's top
group, Outkast. This prank came off as the most believable, simply because
Ashton and his crew were able to acquire everything from firetrucks to a
circling helicopter to help make this prank look like anything but a prank. The
prank: Ashton hijacks Outkast's rented car, a Mercedes MiBoch--which registers
at around $375,000. The car is placed in a downtown setting, where it appears to
have crashed into a store window. What follows is utter hilarity and chaotic
confusion as only Punk'd can provide.
With a third season
already in the bag, and a reported fourth season on the way, Punk'd
shows no sign of slowing down, which in my opinion is a very good thing. Few TV
shows have the ability to make me laugh as hard as I can. Only two shows, in
fact, have such an effect on me. One is fellow MTV show Viva
La Bam and the other is Punk'd,
perhaps the best thing to happen to reality TV, though it's too funny and clever
to rank amongst such a disposable genre.
One message to
Ashton Kutcher; keep on punk-ing!
For a full screen
treatment of a show whose visuals are mostly that of hidden cameras, I must
confess that this season of Punk'd
wasn't as flawed as you'd probably believe. The video treatment surpasses the
first season, maybe because the touch ups on the footage seen through the remote
cameras was simply better handled this time around. Colors are also given a much
bolder touch in this presentation, as well.
The 2.0 channel mix
provides some most impressive sound quality, and the kind you wouldn't expect
from a TV show with an alleged limited range. Music is delivered wonderfully, as
are spoken words--including those being picked up by the hidden cameras. Sound
effects which enhance the effect of the show are indeed the strongest point of
joke--Paramount's double disc package includes some seriously nice and kickin'
extras. There's a hugely funny commentary track, running on all episodes, with
Ashton Kutcher, series co-creator Jason Goldberg and field agents Steve
Rannazzisi and Ahmed Ahmed. Also featured are a number of deleted scenes, two
never before aired Punk'd segments, a Punk Your Friend option, and a behind the
scenes look at what went into the making of the Outkast segment, which is
definitely worth a look at.