Hidden camera elevator prank: horrifyingly hilarious

I generally find hidden camera shows to be an impossibly low form of reality television and humor, because they usually involve emotional manipulation of someone for a cheap laugh. (I am all for emotional manipulation when the subjects consent, like on SyFy’s hilarious Total Blackout or, you know, any other reality series.)

There’s just no challenge to most of the gags, nor does it ask for any investment on the part of the audience. They’re like Jay Leno jokes: disposable, pointless. Also, I desperately root for the subjects of these pranks to sue the producers of one of those shows into bankruptcy for thinking they can just screw with random people and cause them distress for an attempt at ratings.

However, this clip of a hidden camera gag–via Gawker and from Brazil’s Programa Silvio Santos, which frequently airs hidden camera segments–made me laugh and laugh. I don’t know why: Maybe because I have a sick sense of humor, but probably just because the situation is so absurd and so simple. And, you know, terrifying, since it involves a creepy doll-holding girl magically appearing in a malfunctioning elevator:

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.