Netflix’s New Prank Show (with Stranger Thing Star Gaten Matarazzo) Torments an Already Vulnerable Population

You know him as one of the kids dealing with the Upside Down on Netflix’s Stranger Things, but if you see him coming now–you should be the one to run. Gaten Matarazzo is producing and staring in a new prank show, Prank Encounters, and Netflix just ordered eight episodes. Deadline describes it as follows:

Each episode of this terrifying and hilarious prank show takes two complete strangers who each think they’re starting their first day at a new job. It’s business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.

Do you know what I have to say to this? No, no, no, and no.

Sure, we love to laugh at people’s misfortune–America’s Funniest Home Videos–made a fortune off people falling off step ladders and tripping over the dog. But, there’s a key difference here: people in that show submitted their own videos–they were laughing at themselves. This show sets people up for public entertainment with unasked for humiliation.

To keep reading, click here: Netflix’s New Prank Show (with Stranger Thing Star Gaten Matarazzo) Torments an Already Vulnerable Population

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9 thoughts on “Netflix’s New Prank Show (with Stranger Thing Star Gaten Matarazzo) Torments an Already Vulnerable Population

  1. Only someone who has no compassion for fellow employees, whoops I meant underlings would find this kind of behavior amusing. This sounds like pranks done on pledges to enter a fraternity and we know but recent problems (which have resulted in several deaths) that this activity is malicious in nature, however “funny”. It was one of those reasons, I considered fraternity/sorority membership obnoxious. Maybe, there won’t be any stunts that will endanger anyone but making people do things that demean themselves is also harmful.

  2. I really hope you get some answers to your questions from Netflix, and will share them here. This is a truly horrible show.

  3. I wouldn’t want to bet that these people are no fully aware of what’s going on in advance. All “reality” shows have script writers.

    And every. single. one. of these people have signed a contract with the show allowing the footage to air. In exchange for money.

    One thing you can be certain of with reality television is that it isn’t real.

    1. But in this case, how many of these people signed what they thought was a routine and normal NDA or other “go ahead and record me” agreement form for their industry and weren’t properly advised that it was actually an agreement to allow themselves to be broadcast on television?

      Please update this article if Netflix answers your questions!

      1. The standard agreement basically says “we can do anything we want with this footage, including deliberately ruin your life by making you look like an idiot or criminal.”

        If people sign that without understanding what it says, I have no sympathy for them. And if they sign it understanding what it says, I have even less.

        Again, all reality TV shows have script writers. That’s a clue.

        (And yes, they knew they were signing a release for the video to be put on television. It’s a specific type of contract, and no one in the industry will touch a show that doesn’t get one – for good reason. Netflix is a California company, and California has very specific laws about using someone’s image, and what kind of permission you have to get.)

        1. I was the organizer for my alumni organization in Memphis. Someone from a reality show found my name on my college website and emailed me asking me to share her email with all the alums in Memphis. She was looking for people to be on a reality show.

          I hit ‘delete’ and it went no further. I have no interest in that kind of thing and did not want to be the connection between anyone else in my group and that kind of thing.

          1. You deserve a cookie for that.

            I live too close to Hollyweird, and know too many people in the industry, to ever have anything to do with them. I was approached once by a court TV show over a small claims suit I’d filed. I couldn’t help but literally laugh at them.

    2. Nothing you are saying is reflected in ANY of the articles I’ve seen about this piece of trash show. It’s a hidden camera show, which is generally not the case with most “reality” shows. And the whole premise of the show is that the people involved DO NOT KNOW that this is a prank. That’s not the premise of other “reality” shows.

      If Netflix IS planning to actually tell people what they are in for, they should have no problem getting some answers to Suzanne, and every other columnist who has questions.

      To be honest, I’m not THAT shocked that a young celebrity is doing something like this. But is there no one in decision making capacity that has any sense, compassion or just basic moral compass?

      1. Are they filming in California? If so, you can be certain that everyone knows they are being recorded. Not only is California a two part consent state for audio recordings, it’s a *felony* (the only state in the US where that’s true, last I checked). And yes, it does occasionally get prosecuted.

        And the moment somebody turns down a *real* job offer to accept a fake one, the lawyers will be having a religious experience. (Plus, of course, no producer would ever negotiate the contestants’ (they are structured as a game show, because that way they can pay the talent a *lot* less) salary *after* filming is done.)

        The only real difference between a reality show and a traditional scripted show is that on the reality show, the contestants aren’t given specific dialog. But they are most certainly told what to do and what to say, even if they’re given enough discretion to put it into their own words. Often, several times, since it can require several takes to get all the proper angles.

        Whatever you’ve read, the news media is a propaganda machine, and joyfully works for Hollywood. If there’s no lawsuits over it, it’s standard reality TV. The last time somebody tried something like that for real, the lawsuits prevented it from ever airing at all. That was a good decade or more ago.

        Do a search for “shocking secrets of reality television” to see a few exposés from industry insiders on how those shows are made.

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