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Is Justin Bieber Hosting Punk’d?


 

Several people, starting with Josef Adalian, have reported that MTV and Ashton Kutcher are planning to do a revival of Punk’d with Justin Bieber as the host. Now, since this is Punk’d we’re talking about, I suppose it’s possible that this is some elaborate practical joke — what could be a more perfect prank than to pull one on the viewing audience? But assuming it is true, I wonder two things.

One, if Bieber does wind up hosting Punk’d, would that help or hurt his image? I would instinctively think that it’s hard to maintain an image as a nice, family-friendly, non-threatening guy if you make part of your living by helping to play cruel pranks on people. But it didn’t seem to hurt Dick Clark or Ed McMahon. And part of the point of Punk’d is to convey the feeling that the host is on our side, against the celebrities. That helped Ashton Kutcher convey the impression that he was kind of like us, and not one of those Hollywood phonies getting punk’d. Even though he was, in fact, a Hollywood phony completely at home with all the other Hollywood phonies we saw.

Two, will Bieber-mania dissipate by the time the new version is up and running? It might. That’s the problem with trying to build a show around a teen idol. It’s like all those movies with Fabian that came out in the early ’60s after Fabian’s records had already stopped selling.

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Is Justin Bieber Hosting Punk’d?

  1. It's been my suspicion since I became aware of his existence that Justin Bieber is an elaborate prank.

  2. Do not want.

  3. Would that help or hurt his image?

    I imagine that it would likely hurt his CURRENT image, but then, he's probably getting ready to abandon that image, I would think.

    This is always the problem for stars this young. How do you pivot to a more "mature" image without it all seeming disingenuous? Of course, there's nothing disingenuous about changing as a human being between the ages of 13 and 16 (the time between Bieber's discovery and today) but that doesn't mean that the public at large isn't nonetheless skeptical, and won't view a maturing of the person as somehow artificial. I'm curious to see how this plays out with a young male star, as it seems to me that we mostly see this sort of thing played out these days by young female stars trying to navigate adolescence and fame. It's fascinating, and often disturbing, how female stars in this age range are treated. Like, when the young 18 year old pop star is accused of getting breast implants – 'cause no one can possibly imagine a non-artificial way that a 16 year old's breasts might have gotten bigger over 2 years. The question is whether Bieber can hold on to his success as he ages. Is he a Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder type of child star, or will he end up more like all of the child stars who's names we can't remember? (and no, I did NOT just suggest that Justin Bieber is the equivalent of MJ or Stevie, so check that).

    So the question is, where will Justin Bieber end up on the child star career spectrum? "anonymous child star 1" (He's arguably already much too famous for this)… Soleil Moon Frye… Anna Paquin… or Jodie Foster?

  4. That's some serious hair on Fabian there. And LKO, agreed. The Beebs may be attempting to no longer be "The Beebs" as his tween girl audience ages. He'd be wise to get a new image.

  5. Justin Bieber is indeed an elaborate prank. Look closely: It's just Ellen Page under an old Beatle wig.

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