Alternate headline: “Iraqis invent greatest show in history of television.”
The show “Put Him in [Camp] Bucca” has drawn numerous protests but has stayed on air throughout the fasting month, broadcasting its “stings” on well-known Iraqi personalities.
All of them were ensnared by being invited to the headquarters of the private television station Al Baghdadia to be interviewed, but en route to the station a fake bomb would be planted in their car while they were being searched by Iraqi soldiers, who were in on the deception.
The unwitting celebrities are then secretly filmed, Candid-Camera-style, as they reacted with shock, disbelief and anger as fake checkpoint guards shout abuse at them: “Why do you want to blow us up?” “You are a terrorist.” “How much did they pay you to do it? You will be executed.”
Follow the link up top for oodles of angry complaints from the public. I’m going to rate this 99 out of 100 on the inappropriateness scale, just because somehow — and I’m really not sure why — the fact that they’re limiting the targets of the pranks to Iraqi celebrities instead of average people slightly mitigates the awfulness of it all. But enough blather; you want to see a clip, don’t you? For your viewing pleasure, below you’ll find 14 and a half minutes of pure, 200-proof freaky deaky. There are no subtitles so you’re really only obliged to watch two parts: The first 90 seconds, where we descend into the madness of the premise, and then another minute or so at 11:10 when the “joke” is revealed. (In case you’re confused, as I was originally, the guy in the striped shirt and jeans is in on the prank. It’s the guy in the dark shirt who’s the target.) I keep wondering what would happen if one of the targets was armed and started to panic when he thought he was being hauled in on suspicion of terrorism.
A possible series finale inspired by Shiite wrangling over the government: Ayad Allawi gets pranked and somehow everyone “forgets” to tell him at the end that he’s not really going to jail.