Impractical Jokers kicks off fifth season

Sal, Joe, Murr, and Q are back for a fifth season of their hit hidden camera prank show, Impractical Jokers. Season five premiered last Thursday with the episode “HellCopter,” an episode that, while having a lot of good moments, doesn’t really have the same punch as some of the other episodes that began their previous seasons.

For those who are uninitiated, Impractical Jokers stars Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Salvatore “Sal” Vulcano and Joseph “Joe” Gatto: four friends who dare each other into doing embarrassing challenges throughout New York City. These challenges usually involve doing or saying whatever the other guys tell them to do at White Castle, or getting the most hands raised for a presentation created by the other guys.

At the end of each episode, whoever lost the most challenges would be subjected to a special punishment, ranging from uncovering one’s car keys from a pile of elephant poop to being forced to skydive. Sometimes multiple jokers get punished, or a celebrity appears during either the challenge or the punishment.

The show’s comedy comes from many sources such as the reactions of the people the jokers prank on, the people the jokers meet or even the reactions of the jokers themselves. It comes from both a feeling of schadenfreude, as well as awe and amazement at what the jokers will and will not say or do.

The first challenge in this episode features the jokers posing as receptionists at a waiting room, doing and saying whatever the other guys told them to do. This challenge had a few good moments, such as Joe continuously sneezing into a corner, which leads up to him running straight into said corner just to sneeze again. But otherwise, I found this challenge to be rather mediocre compared to a lot of other ones.

The second challenge was notably better, where the jokers visited a wax museum featuring statues of celebrities and had to do and say whatever the guys tell them to do. Some of the tasks given to the other jokers by them during this challenge included Q taking crotch shots of the mannequins using his cell phone camera, to Murr posing as a mannequin himself while Sal applies wax to his head. This challenge was a lot funnier than the last one and brought the episode up quite a bit.

The punishment for this episode I found to be all right. Without giving too much away, it is a double punishment where two jokers are tied for amount of losses and thus, both are punished. In particular, both jokers had to experience a rowdy helicopter ride. However, instead of going straight to the punishment, there was a special challenge where the two loosing jokers had to compete in a race. The winner of the race got to sit in the helicopter’s only seat, while the looser had to sit on the edge of the helicopter, where they were more exposed to the rushing wind and speed of the flight.

What was especially funny was, because one of the loosing jokers was a few pounds lighter than the other, he had to wear a body suit in order to make it a fair race, which leads to some pretty funny events. Also, there is a surprise at the end of the challenge that I will not spoil. Otherwise, though, I just thought this punishment was okay. Not bad, not great, just okay.

All in all, this is far from a “bad” episode per say, but I was just expecting it to be different in some way or at least feature something special in it akin to the previous episodes. This episode, by contrast, plays it rather safe with the biggest draw being the pre-punishment race between the two losers that gave each joker a different experience, which was an interesting new idea, but it wasn’t really worth a season opener.

I give this episode a passing grade and a recommendation to check it out. If you were underwhelmed by this episode, or even if you really liked it, being your first experience with Sal, Joe, Murr, and Q, there is always four previous seasons worth of content.

New episodes of Impractical Jokers premiere Thursday nights at 10 p.m. on truTV.

Rating: 7/10


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