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Go Figure, MTV's Punk'd Was Fake'd - Here's How The Producers Manipulated Viewers

Updated September 20, 2017 1.8k votes 699 voters 122.3k views11 items

List RulesVote up the fake stuff you can't believe they pulled on MTV's Punk'd.

Everyone who's ever watched an MTV reality TV show probably knows that some of that so-called "reality" is a little bit unreal. For every celebrity that totally lied on MTV's Cribs, there's a producer or two who faked a scene on Pimp My Ride. Reality TV lies are a dime a dozen – but then there was Punk'd.

Punk'd was arguably one of the realest reality shows on MTV. But when you consider all the ways reality TV is faked, how real could Punk'd really be? True, one of the ways MTV fakes reality TV is by scripting scenes, and that didn't exactly happen in this case. Instead, the series was molded by the lawyers who stepped in to control the outcomes of potentially risky situations. Basically, Punk'd was pranking in a controlled setting.

Even the actors weren't really being themselves. Producers had no qualms about cutting up their actual reactions and making it look like host Ashton Kutcher could not be beat. They hid their failures and pranks gone wrong. It may not be the fakest show, but many of the ways MTV's Punk'd is fake have to do with lying by omission.

  • Photo: MTV

    The Producers Had All The Power

    Punk'd actors are responsible for making sure pranks actually happen, but it's the producers who control the actors. And according to performers, those individuals knowingly put them in situations that could have escalated poorly.

    Julia Wolov, who acted in an episode of Punk'd featuring Jadakiss, said that producers tried to get her to push Jadakiss to his boiling point, even though they knew he might be armed. According to Wolov, they said, "Don’t worry about it – just keep going."

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  • Photo: MTV

    Failed Pranks Were Canned

    Ashton Kutcher didn't have a sterling track record when it came to fooling his famous acquaintances. Nick Cannon was a hard one to punk. The crew reportedly tried to prank him four times with no success; none of his episodes ever aired. Instead, Cannon began assisting in the pranks in Punk'd Season 9.

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  • Photo: MTV

    The Pranks Took Way Longer Than They Appeared

    Justin Timberlake was not the sweet, helpless dude he appeared as in arguably the most viral episode of Punk'd. Instead, he got aggressive, but that behavior was cut from the episode. The prank itself, in which the pop star's possessions were supposedly taken by the IRS, was also way, way longer than what was shown on TV.

    Timberlake described his side of the story in a 2011 interview with Playboy:

    "What you didn’t see from the episode, because it was a 45-minute affair cut down to 10 minutes, was me showing up and being like, 'What the f*ck are you people doing on my property? Get the f*ck off my property! Get the f*ck out of here!'"

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  • Photo: MTV

    Sometimes The Celebrities Recognized The Punk'd Actors

    Of course celebrities occasionally recognized actors on Punk'd, as much as the show liked to pretend otherwise. The show had gotten way too popular to fly under the radar.

    In Lil' Jon's episode, Ashton Kutcher used some repeat actors to play customs agents. Lil' Jon was at the airport headed to Las Vegas when these fake customs agents told him he was actually heading to Ecuador. The rapper recognized the actors and asked Kutcher to reveal himself, reportedly yelling, "Come on, you can't punk the motherf*cking King of Crunk!"

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