Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Punk’d’ packs new powerful punch

Matt Trapani

Celebrities. There seems to be no escape from them. They are all over our televisions, radios and magazines. In one year, they will make more money than most of us will see in a lifetime. Yet, they always complain for more money. It’s time someone knocks them down a peg or two. Ashton Kutcher is just the right man for the job.

MTV’s new show “Punk’d” gives Ashton free reign to do as he wishes to different celebrities of his choosing. The show has a feel to it, not unlike shows such as “Candid Camera” or “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.” Except that one of the major differences is that most, if not all of the pranks, involve a celebrity in some way, shape or form.

The first episode, which aired on March 17, was nothing short of genius. The first prank involved Frankie Muniz from “Malcolm in the Middle.” Ashton was quite annoyed with the fact that Frankie is only 16 years old, yet drives around in a rare Porsche. Ashton decided to teach Frankie a lesson by having one of his associates “steal” the car while he and Frankie met to discuss making a movie.

When the meeting was over, Frankie came out of the restaurant only to find that his car was missing. Someone suggested that Frankie should call his cell phone, which was left in the car, to see if the car thief picks up. What follows is a hilarious conversation where Frankie agreed to send the thief and his girlfriend on a free trip to Hawaii if his car is returned.

The second prank on that episode features a prank pulled on Justin Timberlake. Ashton’s associates went undercover as the “Tax Enforcement Agency” to repossess all of Justin’s belongings because of tax fraud. They had his cars impounded, his house boarded up and they even destroyed his guitar (well, a replica of it anyway). The rouse got so out of hand, that the ‘N Sync member almost start to cry.

Probably the funniest prank Ashton’s team has pulled to date was the one they pulled on Mandy Moore. Under the guise of the MTV show “Crib Crashers,” Mandy thought that she was helping to redecorate one of Ashton’s associates’ trailers.

The trailer was made up to look extremely crappy. The ceiling was falling apart, the plumbing didn’t work and there weren’t even any windows.

Right as they started to film the show, a large, steel beam falls off a crane and lands directly on the trailer. They blame this on Mandy, saying that she accidentally gave the hand signal for “release.” It may seem a little sadistic to make the pop singer believe she just wrecked someone’s home, yet it comes across as extremely funny.

The only downside to the show would be its longevity. The main “field agent” of “Punk’d” is Dax Shepard. Soon, celebrities will begin to recognize Dax from his previous pranks and know that they are being “punked.”

In addition, pulling so many pranks cannot be good for Ashton’s career, as well. If he ticks off too many people, they might not want to work with him in movies and television.

All in all, however, the show is quite entertaining. It is great to see these celebrities acting like real people and not like their television counterparts. It was great to see Muniz and Moore cursing like normal teenagers. “Punk’d” airs Monday nights at 10:30 p.m. on MTV.