Ed Driscoll

Your Mission, Mrs. Huffington, Should You Decide To Accept It...

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“Guys Prank Friend Into Thinking He’s Been In A Coma For 10 Years,” claims the Huffington Post:

Thought the government’s ‘don’t drink and drive’ campaigns have been hard-hitting over the years? Try this video.

Tom Mabe’s friend here had already been arrested five times for drink driving. So after passing out once more after a drinking session, his family decided to let Mabe and others teach him a lesson.

They put him in an office mocked up as hospital room – and when he woke up, told him he’d been in a coma for 10 years.

The prank included fake medical staff and even fake TV news reports – and if it wasn’t making a serious point it would, of course, just be downright cruel. Check out how it played out above. And remember: don’t drink and drive, kids. Hopefully this video will be enough to persuade you of that…

I’m getting a major “this video is faked” vibe from the clip, but either way, its makers knowingly or unknowingly imitated the exact plot of a 1968 Mission: Impossible episode:

The plan is to convince Barrett that he has a terminal illness, and at the same time have him happen to discover that a local doctor (Jim) is working on a cryogenic process to freeze people until cures can be found for their diseases (yup, that concept was already around by 1968).  Dr. Jim pretends to be reluctant because it’s illegal to freeze him while he’s still alive (he can’t wait because his imaginary disease is progressive and would be incurable if he waited), but Barrett is allowed to find out that Dr. Jim”s being “blackmailed” by Willy because he illegally froze his terminally ill wife (good grief, he’s Mr. Freeze!), so that gives Barrett leverage to force him to do the procedure.  It’s one of those episodes where the team goes to great lengths to appear to be discouraging the mark from doing what they want him to do, on the assumption that he’d get suspicious if they pushed him toward it too obviously.  But this guy’s no great brain, and he’s not at all suspicious about being told he has a terminal illness just after he encounters the cryonics doctor.  They didn’t have to go to so much trouble to avoid tipping him off.  (And I’m positive I’ve seen the cryogenic chamber in some other show, though I’m not sure if it was in Star Trek.)

Anyway, Barrett wakes up to find himself in the fabulous future world of… 1980!  There are futuristic concept cars in the parking lot, and his hospital room is dominated by what looks uncannily like a modern flatscreen TV.  There’s a bank of small cartridges that contain video recordings that play on the screen.  It’s kind of striking how prophetic it is.  But then Rollin and Cinnamon come in wearing clear plastic raincoats over their hospital scrubs, and suddenly prophetic gives way to B-movie hokey.  But the sequence redeemed itself when Rollin told Nurse Cinnamon to administer “5 ccs of cordrazine.”  Rollin’s a Trekkie!

These things always run much more smoothly when you’ve got Jim Phelps, Rollin Hand and Barney Collier on your team — but if you have to go to nearly as much trouble to convince someone not to drink and drive, it may be too late to save him already.


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(Via the London Daily Mail, which also appears to assume the clip is real.)

Update: Too bad the London Daily Mail and the Huffington Post didn’t bother to look up who Tom Mabe was before going with that story, a reader emails.