Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

MTV to drag Punk'd and Singled Out back from the actual pits of hell

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Screenshot: MTV (YouTube)

Some things are just better left in the past, like wooden roller skates, jelly sandals (I don’t care what you say, Urban Outfitters—absolutely not), John Travolta’s career, and MTV shows like Singled Out and Punk’d. But because of you meddling kids and your pesky nostalgia, TVLine reveals that we’re getting reboots of both of these MTV classics—with a twist. Don’t worry, it’s not a fun twist like in an M. Night Shyamalan joint; it’s a twist that’s ambivalent at best, sort of like when you realize you only have one trash bag left. New episodes of both series will not air on that archaic thing you call a television, but will instead premiere on Quibi—a “mobile-first media technology platform,” or, as a sensible person might call it, a mobile streaming app. More than anything else, MTV is really committed to making Quibi happen, and it’s hoping that nostalgia traps like a second reboot of Punk’d will do the trick.


Quibi (they’re really going to make me keep saying that, huh) has ordered 20 episodes of both series, with each episode clocking in at a breezy 10 minutes or less. It’s unclear exactly how Punk’d and Singled Out will be updated for today’s youngsters, but the latter has the potential to be fairly problematic. For those unfamiliar, the original Singled Out premiered in 1995 and was hosted by Chris Hardwick (yes, that one) and Jenny McCarthy (ditto). Each episode had female and male contestants narrow down a pool of 50 singles ready to mingle using a little process of elimination. It was like Guess Who? for drunken ’90s college kids: The contestant would eliminate singles from the pool by picking a category from a board that included subjects like physical features and sexual preferences—essentially reducing people down to their most superficial qualities and reinforcing the wildly toxic idea that beauty and attraction are objective and quantifiable. But then Jenny McCarthy would pretend to pick her nose or fart and we’d all laugh at the hot girl doing the gross boy things. There’s obviously a way to revive Singled Out without all this gendered nonsense, but you’ll have to download (subscribe? buy?) Quibi to find out if MTV gets their shit together.

Punk’d, on the other hand, should be fairly easy to revive. The original show, which ran from 2003 to 2007, had Ashton Kutcher playing pranks on his famous friends. MTV already tried to revive the series once, but that was back before whatever the hell a Quibi is existed.