The hidden camera premise has been painfully overused in the television industry. Most attempts have failed in all their unfunny glory. Impractical Jokers is different. Recently completing a successful third season on TruTV, this hilarious show already has an impressive 77-episode body of work. New episodes can make audiences fall on the floor laughing, while reruns have more replay value than most comedic shows currently airing. Let’s examine what makes this hidden camera show successful and better than the rest.
Impractical Jokers stars Joe Gatto, James Murray, Brian Quinn, and Sal Vulcano, four lifelong friends and New Yorkers who compete in ridiculous games and gags. From posing as movie theater employees to pretending to be dental assistants, the premise is simple. One joker acts as the employee, assistant, or whatever phony position is being utilized, and he must say or do whatever his three friends command of him in the presence of an unsuspecting citizen. The friends talk into the given joker’s earpiece and request that he say or do borderline unspeakable and sometimes absurd things.
If the joker says and does the things asked, he avoids taking a loss on that round. Each episode has an eventual loser, a recipient of subsequent punishment. The punishments have ranged from being forced to skydive to being tattooed with an embarrassing piece of ink. In this premise though, the hilarity ensues as a result of reactions. You have the reaction of the joker participating, the confused individual on the receiving end of the absurdity, and the three other friends talking and laughing into the earpiece.
As the show has progressed, the punishments have gotten more severe. The chemistry among the stars and production value of the show has also grown. With each member having a substantial Twitter following and the show pulling in strong ratings for a hidden camera series, it’s as if Impractical Jokers has gained confidence over the episodes. The show has won over its audience and successfully targeted its demographic. That work has already been completed. All that’s left is to keep having seasons picked up and episodes pumped out.
If reality TV or hidden camera premises aren’t your area of interest, Impractical Jokers might not be your thing. But then again, since the comedy is so real, so unscripted, so spontaneous, and the work of these four jokers is far above most shows of a similar nature, this one might just draw you in. Reality TV has never been much of an interest of mine. Comedic skits and ridiculous on-screen jokes haven’t either. That is, these components weren’t in my interest until coming across Impractical Jokers. Now, I’m just a fan waiting to catch the next new episode. Or maybe even the next rerun.