don't blame me, blame Disney. Walk the Prank remains the most flabbergasted i've ever been at a show, and represents the greatest turnaround. it went from anathema to anthem for me in just a couple of episodes. i'm not sure i can pinpoint the exact moment of change, it was more a metamorphosis, the way Obama evolved on gay marriage or Jeff Goldblum turned into Kafka.
i was blasted with Walk the Prank while babysitting. which is interesting (or ironic?) cos most of the pranks are played on unsuspecting babysitters. i saw that pilot episode and i was floored. it was the most sarcastic, meanest, most cynical thing Disney has ever produced before or since. here were these middle (or junior-? middle) school children at that dreaded outdoor/indoor cafeteria table bullying each other with no hint of self-effacement or kiddish innocence. and they were the friends, not the bullies! the good guys. it was this strange scorched-earth policy adopted by youngsters clearly out of their depth at the hands of evil writers. oh writers i weep for you each night before my midnight snack of Gizmo cookies. like these were very knowing, adult, sneering insults leveled from one tyke to another like it was nothing, like air, like cotton candy. the girl punched as hard as the guys, even more so, cos you know how a lady's jeer can cut more deeply than a man's brass knuckles.
go online now that your parents are asleep and look up that first episode of this show. put it on and drop your jaw agape for a half hour. you won't believe what's coming out of these precious souls' pieholes.
what makes this show different from the myriad of tried-and-true, funny but ultimately repetitive and standard jokes shows, is the sitcom element attached to the pranks segments. i'm looking at you, Just Kidding, which was also on Disney XD. Just Kidding was creative, but soon they ran out of ideas and the kids weren't cute anymore. you started to side with the boring adults which is not good. i loved when Just Kidding would marathon during Thanksgiving, Pranksgiving, get it?, break along with that Japanese-game-show spoof, it was my oasis of calm, helped reduce the holiday stress. those days are gone and i'm back to being stressed.
Just Kidding was just pranks. Walk the Prank has a story element. there's an ongoing narrative which threads the prank ideas together. these aren't just a quartet (and Will) causing havoc in malls and mansions, the four kids go to school and you learn about their school days and some of their home life and when they all hang out after school at their Uncle Will's joke shop. i relate to Uncle Will cos Uncle Will has no friends his own age and nobody buys his pathetic whoopee cushions so his store is going under, and he's just trying desperately to justify his existence. like for instance if the prank involves aliens, watch all the aliens ones, they're the best, the storyline is one of the kids has to do a book report on if they think extraterrestrial life exists. the teachers at the school are all fat stupid clods. hero kids, remember? and there's the usual pre-teen angst about getting invited to birthday parties, first crushes, getting stuck in the school trophy case, that sort of thing. in the second season a new cast member and Prank Crew member is added, a foreign-exhange student from Russia who speaks in monotone about the horrors of life in Putinist Russia which is hardcore black humour. Bailey has a crush on him which angers the littlest one Herman, who remains unrequited. Bailey has her arm broken for most of the first season and it's fun to see how they incorporate that into the school storyline and the actual pranks. poor girl needs help=commence prank!
remember that youtube video i did ages ago when i still thought i would be the next Fred? it was about my theory of scaring people in these prank shows. if you were someone who had a bad past, lots of trauma in your past, you were predisposed to think the worst when you step out the door. you're expecting bad things to happen to you at every corner. so when you get put in a precarious situation or get scared or get blamed for something insane you didn't do or didn't mean to do and you have to pay up or go to jail, you say to yourself see? i knew this would happen and scream. the ones who have had a breezy, incident-free life thus far, when they're confronted with an unusual circumstance that can't be true but somehow is, they brush it off their shoulder and let it fall off their side. aliens? running through a priceless painting, ruining the irreplaceable? eh, whatever. happenstance. these people bat nary a lash at what's in front of them. they don't scream.
most of the victims are good sports about it. some you could tell were stoned. some run away. and friendships are lost cos the friend is the one who puts them up to it. Disney has lost Walt's meaning of friendship. i waited a long time but FINALLY the second season came on and i love early Saturdays again as i get treated to a DOUBLE DOSE of new episodes. let's keep the streak going till Kentucky!
Chance especially comes off as the worst kind of towheaded lout in the first episode but you grow into him VERY eventually. poor Herman just wants to join his older brother Chance in the first episode in the Crew. two words: inhuman initiation. and Dusty is Dusty, goes with the flow of the other pranksters and is quick with a quip and his disgusting grandma's dentures and relative to Uncle Will so you know how that family is. will Courtney Lynn get her just desserts is the question. oh yeah and that kid who eats anything in the cafeteria and anything in general so he's considered weird and gross. that says more about the cafeteria. and he's a growing boy, he should eat gross stuff.
Wonder Showzen is the most disturbing show of all time. the screams, oh the screams. it's Sesame Street on acid. like WAY more acid than even the Sesame Street writing room takes daily to come up with skits with puppets. there are parody songs and then there're songs which cut your pancreas they're too real. you learn math but it's the math of corrupt illuminati governments. letters, letters to your congressman unheeded. how young is too young to learn about slavery? gotta cut hate off at the bud i suppose. it makes fun of everything in life that's taboo and off-limits: race, politics, gender, food poisoning, child abuse, elder abuse, and the afterlife. it's not so much anti-comedy as anti-life. there's one skit about God's erections when cars crash. and it's funny as hell in an uncomfortably icky way. but man those poor kids they use to stand next to that deranged furry yellow puppet with the tiny green hat must all be traumatized by now. shame on you, Chauncey. is nihilism hilarious or a drag? i can't show any clips for fear of a fainting lawsuit. look it up on your computer box when your grandparents fall asleep.
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