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Every late-night show has its gimmicks, recurring segments, and gags. What's wrong with this 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' prank?

‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!: Why the Halloween candy prank needs to go

Every late-night show has its gimmicks, recurring segments, and gags – that’s the nature of late-night talk shows these days. However, there’s one seasonal segment we just can’t get behind. Jimmy Kimmel Live! has a yearly segment where parents are asked to tell their children on November 1 that the candy they collected the night before, on Halloween, is gone because they ate it all.

What follows is a dozen or so clips where kids become understandably upset that the person they (likely) trust most in the world has just told them they’ve been betrayed. However, for every clip that’s chosen, there are hundreds of similar clips that were recorded & not picked – ultimately making the children’s suffering (no matter how temporary) unnecessary.

We’ve never found this segment funny, and the fact that it continues to exist with such praise and excitement confuses us. Here’s why we think it’s time for the segment to go.

It’s not funny

First and foremost, it’s just plain not funny. Most clips feature children crying, getting angry, and otherwise in distress – in no world do we find it funny, especially since it could have been avoided altogether. Causing an adult person’s emotional distress isn’t funny or okay, so why is it considered okay to intentionally thrust that upon your own child?

Sure, it might seem amusing that something so trivial could upset a child, but their world view is vastly different than that of an adult – us adults build up Halloween as something important & magical for kids, and as such so is the collection of candy they amass on that evening. To then poke fun at them for being upset that their hard work of canvassing the streets for treats was all for naught is verging on cruel.

When we see kids crying our instinct isn’t to laugh, it’s sympathy. Our hearts break when theirs do.

Inflicting pain

While some kids are shockingly kind & understanding about the whole situation, most children react poorly to the “news” their parent has eaten all their Halloween candy. These kids are usually around the ages of three to six, so they’re extremely young. In most cases their parents are still the two people they trust most in the world – to have that trust so brazenly disregarded is understandably hurtful.

While eating someone’s candy may, from an adult perspective, seem like a small transgression, for young kids it probably ranks pretty darn high on the list of mean things someone has done to them. This is because they just haven’t had the same experiences adults have. (We’ll be real though, even as adults we’d be pretty ticked if someone ate all our food without permission.)

Even if/when the parents admit they “pranked” their kid, some children don’t bounce back right away, because the idea of being lied to for “fun” is just as hurtful to them as their food being taken (if not more so). In the 2020 compilation video, one little girl admonishes her parent saying, “Jesus does not lie, remember you taught us that?”

Five seconds of fame

So, why do parents intentionally hurt their kids’ feelings on an annual basis? It’s simply done for a few seconds of fame so they can say they’ve been featured on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show. That’s it – that’s the reason.

Hundreds of parents do this to their kids each year in the hopes they & their crying child will be featured on live television. Which, by the way, a lot of those kids are probably not going to be happy to find out their tears were on TV – that’s intentionally humiliating your kid in front of hundreds of thousands of people.

Not for 2020

The one thing we can kind of commend Jimmy Kimmel Live! for, is the fact they said not to take part in the Halloween candy prank this year, because kids have been through enough already during 2020. We appreciated this sentiment quite a bit.

However, not everyone heeded this announcement and parents went forward with recording their prank videos.

When the late-night staff received a mass of video submissions like they do every year . . . they went ahead and made a compilation video anyway.

Time for something new

We think it’s time Jimmy Kimmel Live! retires the segment altogether, forever. It’s been around for long enough that it just makes sense to come up with something new & different. Besides, we’d love to see something fresh that’s more fun for everyone in the videos, rather than just the people using their kids as a prop for a mean spirited joke.

What do you think? Do you think the segment should stay or go? Let us know in the comments below!

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