resurrection of “Punk’d“ (which, honestly, seems like a really bad idea), it’s only fitting to explore a few TV pranks that are better than anything Ashton Kutcher could ever dream of—even if they are fictional. A joke with emotional, and possibly physical, payoff marks a prank as its own creature, one that lives and dies by the target’s response. Move past the bucket of water over the door or the combination of a line of baby powder and a blow dryer and into the realm of going after your victim’s sanity as you learn from these masters of the prank. Watch and learn, Kutcher.
Jay’s “Innocente” Prank from “Modern Family” Manny introduces Jay to a new Christmas tradition, straight from Colombia, of pranking people and he does it hard and fast by hitting Jay during their viewing of the classic “Miracle on 34th Street” by playing an altered video. Jay’s emotional roots in the traditional holiday moments of an American Christmas tug at your childhood heart strings and help you buy into the surprise element of his prank. He pranks them with his banning of Manny and Gloria’s different cultural celebration and then hits them with his acceptance as he shows off the fireworks that he bought to show that he wants to engage in their frivolity. Beyond the funny, this prank in “Modern Family” is better than an Ashton Kutcher prank as it contains a lot of heartfelt warmth and familial love, which makes the prank hit harder and pay off bigger.