TV prank shows are kind of like measles epidemics: They’re sudden, happen seemingly at random, and it’s hard to believe that they’re still popping up in the world in twenty-nine-fucking-teen. And yet, we feel compelled by public duty to note that people everywhere should be on the lookout for Stranger Things star Gaten Matarazzo, who has just begun production on an eight-episode Netflix prank series targeting our most laugh-ready of societal victims: People just trying to find a damn job.
Per Deadline, the “terrifying and hilarious” Prank Encounters eschews the Punk’d ethos—where you were really only in trouble if you were friends-of-a-friend with Ashton Kutcher, or an open, car-loving wound like Zach Braff—in favor of people who think they’re starting the first day of a part-time job. These lucky “contestants”—already presumably freaked out by the tenuous specter of employment in the modern economy—are then subjected to “business as usual until their paths collide and these part-time jobs turn into full-time nightmares.”
Props to Matarazzo—who’ll host the series as well as executive produce, alongside fellow EPs Ben Silverman, Howard Owens, Kevin Healy, and Rob Hyde: This is a far scarier premise than any monster that’s ever crawled out of the Upside Down. Demogorgon might take your buddies, but at least he doesn’t screw with you while you’re trying to make rent.
Update: Netflix has now issued a statement about the show, clarifying via a spokesperson that participants were paid for the time, and knew they weren’t applying for long-term jobs: “The pranks in Prank Encounters are spooky, supernatural, and over the top, and everyone had a great time. All participants came in with the expectation this was a one-day, hourly gig and everyone got paid for their time.”