Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Creeping Paranoia Prank Programme

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A prank show, yes, but with a different scale and intent. Rather than subjecting the nominated-by-snickering-family victim to a single outrageous situation designed to provoke a telegenic reaction, the star of this programme is, over a period of days, weeks or even months, subject to minor torments diligently arranged by the production team, such that, at or towards the end, the victim is left questioning both the accuracy of their memory and the integrity of their sensorium as well as, the programme makers hope, slipping into the early stages of environmentally-induced paranoia.

It would begin, perhaps, with keys going missing, pass through their car being moved to a new location in the workplace carpark, before heading onto (and beyond) family members flat out denying conversations or even shared experiences had happened, such that, ultimately, when the show's grinning prankmeister host steps from behind the wilted yucca in the victim's now thoroughly tinfoiled and squalid dwellinghole and reveals the truth - that it was all set up at the behest of their ostensibly loving family and friends - the poor star feels rushing through them not only a flood of relief but the hitherto unexperienced disquieted joy of the justified paranoid.

calum, Jun 10 2009

The Game http://en.wikipedia...iki/The_Game_(film)
Highly recomended. [MikeD, Jun 11 2009]

Banzai! - Mr Shake Hands Man http://www.youtube....watch?v=DkNaHI603zI
Place your bets now! [DrBob, Jun 17 2009]

Toyota marketting prank. http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=8776841
Ha! Baked! Saatchi & Saatchi are morons! [DrBob, Oct 16 2009]

[link]






       A marvellous show, guaranteed to get sued on a weekly basis, right up until they decide to prank someone who owns a shotgun! [-]
gisho, Jun 10 2009
  

       The mentalist / illusionist Derren Brown has done various scams that fit kind of this description…
Jinbish, Jun 10 2009
  

       Or at least, that's what he'd like you to think…
Ian Tindale, Jun 10 2009
  

       Ah, you mean just like in the movie "The Game", with Micheal Douglass. <link>   

       Years of participation in the Iraq conflict have left me with a healthy sense of paranoia and an instinct-like nessessity to have a fire-arm with-in arms reach. Your game would most assuredly become deadly, were I the unknowing participant.   

       [-] (For prior art only, I really like the idea)   

       That doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy playing, though.
MikeD, Jun 11 2009
  

       I've been waiting for Allan Funt to show up for some time now.   

       //Ah, you mean just like in the movie "The Game", with Micheal Douglass.//
I saw and very much enjoyed The Game a long time ago, and seem to recall that there the prank, such as it was, involved gunfights and Mexico and whatnot: the duration of the prank, and the amplitude, were off the scale. With the CPPP, however, the duration is extended but the amplitude is very low, really, the individual incidents themselves being largely self-inflictable by means of damaging (howsoever you decide) your short term memory.
  

       What's interesting is that two responses to the idea - hi there! - imagine that responses to the prank could concievably involve firearms. I never thought of that for a second. This could be because I come from a country were firearms are very much not part of everyday life (or even news reporting, to be honest). Alternatively, it could be because of the disjunct between the idea as it exists in my head and the text of the idea here. I didn't ever imagine that the individual situations would ever be any more confrontational or alarming than an analogue of a cow-worker hiding your stapler - the idea is that the paranoia is achieved by painstaking accretion and not thrust upon the victim by means of explosive set-pieces. Ech.
calum, Jun 11 2009
  

       Yup! I got it first time!. Not so much as a "Why I Orta..." moment as a "Thank Fuck I have a good memory and have generally rationalised my increasing paranoia logically to the point where either it is the World or just me, and I have just seen that it is, in fact, the World" kinda thang.
Bone (+)
gnomethang, Jun 11 2009
  

       [calum] said: "I didn't ever imagine that the individual situations would ever be any more confrontational or alarming than an analogue of a cow-worker hiding your stapler."   

       The moving car idea mentioned seems to be a lot higher than that. The story about the gang that left cars parked pointing the other way with a 'When we want it, we'll come and get it' note is urban legend, but I imagine that a real person finding their car not where they left it would trigger similar levels of paranoia. My point being that encouraging paranoia is likely to trigger people to act defensively, and if someone had latent mental instability, it might well trigger violence.   

       Even in people who weren't violent, I imagine that the knowledge "friends" had helped set something like this up would end friendships on the spot.   

       I'd only support this if you could pick victims who really deserved it, but unfortunately the people who would probably be the most deserving - domestic violence perpetrators - would also be the most likely to have a distinctly untelegenic reaction.   

       Fishbone will be withdrawn if the idea is edited to make it more clear that pranks are never individually hurtful. Maybe, instead of going for annoyance, you go for surrealism? Convince co-workers to change clothes in the middle of the day, for example, or make food *appear* in their fridge.
gisho, Jun 11 2009
  

       Agreed - the best candid camera stunts were always about cleverly teasing the victim, rather than ridicule and humiliation (E.g. A man (the victim)gets into a lift full of people - all looking bored and facing the front of the lift. As the lift travels between floors, on a prearranged signal, everyone turns to face the back of the lift. The victim looks bewildered, and sheepishly turns to face the back of the lift too. Excellent stuff.).
hippo, Jun 12 2009
  

       What [Jinbish] said - in fact, there was a Derren Brown on last night where a chap went into a photo booth and, under the influence of Mr Brown, fell asleep, only waking up after they'd transported him, still en-boothed, to the bewildering sights and sounds of the Grand Place El-Fna, Marrakech - a far cry from Surbiton, or wherever it was they had picked him up.
zen_tom, Jun 12 2009
  

       I'm not going for surrealism, because surrealism is more obviously external in cause and the aim here is, if I am totally honest, to bring about in the victim a either a lack of trust in their own faculties, or an initially scrappy but latterly self-reinforcing paranoia which can, at the climax, be artfully deflated for your viewing pleasure/outrage.   

       Unconnectedly, I must admit to not wathcing much TV, so Derren Brown has passed me by in all forms other than the not entirely reliable verbal recreations of idle colleagues. I suspect that in trying to drive a singular path between the prior art forms has led to said path straying, in the description, if not in my mind, into some or all camps at various times along the way. The main problem here is mine; in having presented yet another flavour of an arguably exhuatsed entertainment stripe.
calum, Jun 12 2009
  

       //exhuatsed//   

       I think you might be exhuatsed!
Jinbish, Jun 12 2009
  

       With careful planning this could be hilarious without actually being harmful or dangerous. The essence would be to limit the duration and the range of the prank.   

       For instance, let us say that EVERY time the victim parked their car, when they came back it had either moved, or been turned through 180 degrees. All other things being normal, if this went on for a week, a film of the unfortunate individual constantly checking on the car would be most amusing.   

       Then there might be the Men With Radios scenario. Many will have experienced the phenomenon; when trying to leave for work in the morning, and laready slightly late, the driver is confronted by a stream of traffic wherein the cars are moving at such a speed and separation that it is just not quite possible to pull out into the traffic stream. This is caused by The Men With Radios. They lurk just round the corner from your home, where they park several car transporters. They unload the cars, and when the Watcher gives the Secret Signal on his radio, they drive past in slow, stately procession, causing the victiom's blood pressure to rise linearly towards aneurism-rupturing levels.   

       How muc more amusing to arrange for a stream of cars to circle someone's residence, so that they see, or think they see, the same vehicles going round and round and round .....
8th of 7, Jun 15 2009
  

       Never been very keen on these sort of 'cruelty TV' shows. The only ones that I think justified are the ones where some publicity seeking celeb is cruelly decieved. Punk'd was a bit too smarmy though, Bo Selecta had it's moments but my all time favourite was from a non-prank programme, Banzai! Mr Shake Hands Man was exactly the kind of low-level victimisation that I think you're looking for, calum.

So, with the proviso that we are talking about using shameless, publicity hounds as the victims then I will give you a surreptitious croissant.

By the way, has anyone seen my wallet?
DrBob, Jun 17 2009
  

       Yes.
pertinax, Jun 17 2009
  

       Why not make it a nice prank?   

       I will admit Darren Brown has done this before but you could make someone 'lucky' over a series of weeks, or build their confidence.   

       I think doing this in a negative way is neither helpful or particularly entertaining except in a car crash kind of way.
miasere, Jun 17 2009
  

       Oh. I was hoping this might already be baked. If not, then I must be losing my mind after all.
English Bob, Jun 17 2009
  

       Following on from what [miasere] said, it could be worked the other way around, where a conspiracy of assistance is perpetrated on the unsuspecting victim over a period of time - thus traffic lights are always on green, there's always a parking space, queues magically go faster whenever he changes lane, he always wins at bingo, and all of his eBay bids are uncontested, and his bus always arrives just as he reaches the bus-stop - and always with plenty of seats to spare on the top deck, windows and doors left unlocked fail to encourage burglarisation, even his most pointless halfbakery ideas are bunned the moment he posts them - At a point at which he has descended into such a state of laissez faire complacency that he is completely incapable, the assistance is cut and he has to then deal with the chaos of the real world - the final paranoid results should be the same, but without actually having to be unpleasant to anyone (quite the opposite in fact)
zen_tom, Jun 17 2009
  

       Creeping Pronoia Prank Programme? As an idea, which is what it are, I like it better than mine (though it plays less well to my own peculiar areas of interest). I am not, however, convinced that engendering helplessness and then kicking the stool out from under the victim-beneficiary is significantly less cruel than the idea I posted.   

       //are there more of these calumisms//
Oh dear, I have started unwittingly parodying myself.
calum, Jun 17 2009
  

       A case in point of being kind to be cruel.
zen_tom, Jun 17 2009
  

       // a conspiracy of assistance is perpetrated// [marked-for-tagline], in fact, I intend using it more often in conversation.
4whom, Jun 17 2009
  

       what did they call that show again ?... oh yeah..."Harassment". [-]
FlyingToaster, Jun 23 2009
  

       //Oh dear, I have started unwittingly parodying myself.//

In a hole in the ground there lived a calum. Not the sort of luxurious, many-roomed mansion with hot & cold running servants that one normally associates with the moneyed classes of the legal profession, but a nasty, dark, damp hole lit only by the last stubs of guttering candles and with the ubiquitous sound of dripping water and chittering bats echoing from every nook and cranny.

Each evening the calum sat at a battered, worm-eaten, wobbly-legged old writing desk beside which stood many equally wobbly piles of ancient literary tomes, mainly Dickens, which, over a long career of ‘collecting’, he had filched from his sister’s workplace.

There, by the feeble, yellow light of the candles, he would select a volume at random and flip rapidly through it, reading with his huge, bulbous, luminous eyes every word and syllable at inhuman speed. Then, when he got to his favourite bit of the book, the part where some poor, half-starved unfortunate was subjected to further humiliation, degradation or other misfortune he would snigger. The snigger would become a chortle, the chortle an insane cackle and finally, as he could contain himself no longer, he would fall from his rickety chair and roll on the floor in merriment, tears streaming from his eyes. And there, unseen and unheard by the world at large, and with the bats whirling and wheeling around him in the near darkness, his roaring bellows of satanic laughter would echo throughout his cave and throughout the night, as he contemplated the joys of the human condition.
DrBob, Jun 23 2009
  

       Hahaha, excellent! Genuine office lollage!
calum, Jun 23 2009
  

       ;o)
DrBob, Jun 24 2009
  

       Just rewatched Amelie last night and now see that the number wur heroine does on odious greengrocer Collignon is pretty much as I describe here (without the televisual element (though she is watched!)), except that as Collignon is a horrid person, such pranking - pranking that causes him evident alarm and concern - is presented (and, I must say, accepted by me, at least at first blush) as nothing more unpleasant than the expediting of karma. Perhaps, then, if the CPPP is to be a true "prank" show, the victims could be chosen for their deservingness, though how to determine that is a bit of a sticky wicket what.
calum, Jun 27 2009
  
      
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