June 14, 2024

The Magic Prank Show with Justin Willman Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

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The Magic Prank Show with Justin Willman Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online

They say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. They are, of course, as so often, entirely wrong. The prank, or practical joke, is the lowest form of wit. If, indeed, it counts as wit at all. It is more often cruelty disguised as humour, bullying cast in a form that makes it even harder for the victim to object to it. Even at their mildest and least malicious, practical jokes depend on upsetting someone, catching them out, making them look stupid. And if they are at their mildest and least malicious they are also anticlimactic and deeply boring. That is why there is no such thing as a good prank. I don’t know if you remember Game for a Laugh? Beadle’s About? Candid Camera? Rejoice in your good fortune if you do not.

And make sure you do not tune into The Magic Prank Show with Justin Willman. Willman is comedian, magician (with three series of Magic for Humans on Netflix under his belt) and television presenter who in this new show turns his hand to constructing elaborate pranks, involving elements of trickery and illusion, to deliver “karmic justice” on behalf of people who feel they have been wronged. The result is bizarre yet dismal.

The first episode, for example, comprises the invention of payback pranks for two sets of siblings. There is Vincent who wants to prank his sister Valerie back for all the times she has left a mannequin’s head in his bed (this has been going on for 13 or 14 years, using the same mannequin head, and my first question to Vincent would be – why not get rid of that mannequin head and at least force her to the trouble of getting a new one? People this lazy don’t deserve karmic justice). It is a boring motive, Vincent is boring, and Valerie’s reaction to the stunt they eventually deliver – making it look as though Vincent’s head has been frozen during a cryogenic treatment in a spa – is boring. Which is fair enough, as the stunt itself barely works as a concept.

Then there are brothers Kendrick, who owns a dance studio, and his accountant brother Kendale, who deliberately outed Kendrick to their family 20 years ago. This is, on the face of it, quite a big deal, no? But Kendrick is all smiles as he insists a prank – rather than, say, intense therapy and/or punching Kendale’s lights out – is all the restorative justice he needs. Kendale fears robots, AI and if he doesn’t quite believe the government is spying on his every move, he’s not a million miles from it either. So Willman and his magician/design and engineering contacts decide to fake him being a robot who can apparently read Kendale’s mind. Is this appropriate punishment? Or is this breaking the butterfly of someone’s psyche on a SFX wheel? Who knows? Who cares? Certainly not Willman and his crew, who treat it with exactly the same insouciance – interspersed with painful scripted banter – as they did the lowest-stakes pair previously.

In other episodes he fakes a road accident to teach a boyfriend not to text and drive, and sets up an actor-customer at a restaurant to Heimlich up an engagement ring and allow a man to make a proposal as “epic, theatrical and dramatic” to his partner as he is. By which point we have moved to almost pure spectacle and away from even the small glimpses and insights into magic and its operations that could be gleaned in earlier instalments. He fakes being a literal ghost on a date with a woman prone to “ghosting” (ask a young person) her boyfriends, because obviously that is the way to teach her a lesson.

Nothing makes any sense, morally, narratively, performatively, thematically. And some of it also leaves a genuinely bad taste in the mouth. A child who fell for one of Willman’s own tricks, played on the boy by his sister, whose distressed reaction then went viral, is given the chance to avenge her. So Willman makes everyone around her in a restaurant, after a faked news report about a spate of unexplained disappearances, vanish – including her mother. Two children’s distress broadcast to the nation is a funny definition of any kind of justice, karmic or otherwise, but perhaps I am just suffering another grave sense of humour failure.

What a shambolic piece of nothing. What dismal filler. A few worthwhile moments of actual magic shown as the gang work on constructing the various pranks, a couple of factoids about the history of magic to be gathered, and the rest is absolute junk. It takes a lot to make me think back

The Magic Prank Show with Justin Willman Review 2024 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online