Netflix Has Done It Again with Another Binge-Worthy Series!

Hosted by Gaten Matarazzo of ‘Stranger Things’ (aka Dustin)

October 29, 2019

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Gaten Matarazzo may or may not be a household name – yet! But, he is the actor that portrays Dustin from ‘Stranger Things’ and at this point, even if you haven’t watched all 3 seasons, you likely know about how wild the show is rumored to be.

Well, Gaten – as it turns out – is a bit of a prankster. He is the host of a new 8-episode series on Netflix called ‘Prank Encounters’. Yes, it reminds me of the good ol’ days of MTV with Ashton Kutcher and ‘Punk’d’ (classic!).

Prank Encounters’ is a very elaborate prank show, each 20(ish)-minute episode revolves around a single prank and instead of getting just one person, this show pranks two people at the same time… with the help of several actors.

After watching the first episode (no spoilers ahead), they really go through the effort to set up the backstory and drop the right clues to make the situation as believable as possible (even though, as the story evolves, it seems pretty far-fetched).

During that first episode, I put myself in their shoes and honestly, with the initial presentation of the situation, I’m pretty sure I would have been just as vulnerable to be pranked too. As the prank got more and more absurd I found myself yelling at the TV - out of sheer amusement.

Just as the episode reaches its peak, Gaten appears out of nowhere (okay, a production trailer) and is recognized… not for his prank show (but if I ever meet that kid, I’ll be looking for cameras) but for ‘Stranger Things’. The two victims realize that neither of them were in on the prank and I think that really helps to sell the prank to each other since they didn’t know each other and were feeding off of each other's genuine reactions to the situation.

Though the series officially dropped to Netflix on October 25, there was a stir of controversy around the series 18 weeks ago which led to Gaten to release a cautionary video to his Instagram, stating that everyone involved had a good time and the victims of the pranks weren’t promised a full-time or part-time job as the initial set up to why they were 'on set' in the first place.

Thank you guys for your concern for these people. It means so much to me and the rest of the producers of the show. We hope you enjoy the show, and we are very excited to show you all what we’ve created❤️ and sorry you can only see half of my face. I don’t know what happened there--

A post shared by Gaten Matarazzo (@gatenm123) on

Aside from that, others are wondering if the whole show is fake or genuine. I still have 7 more episodes to watch and I don’t really care if the victims are genuinely pranked or not. I found the first episode to be entertaining and that’s what I’m looking for in a Netflix series. It seriously reminds me of ‘Punk’d’ and I’m all about that! Don't reveal the magic behind the curtain and I'll happily pretend it's real, even if it later turns out to be a prank on us, the viewers.

I would love to hear about what you think of ‘Pranked Encounters’ - hit me up on social media at @JMattMke (same handle on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok)!