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Preview: Undercover High returns to freak out more high schoolers

Normally, I don’t like watching television shows where people get pranked. I physically cringe when someone is put into an uncomfortable situation that lasts for what feels like forever, squirming, while a joke plays out. Turns out I have no problem with watching high schoolers be the targets in YTV’s Undercover High.

Perhaps it’s because host–and head prankster–Lisa Gilroy makes it a ton of fun. The petite blonde, who bears a more than passing resemblance to Kristen Bell, wins viewers over with her spunk, charm and unique ideas for pranking two groups of high school kids in each of the five new episodes. I’m pretty sure, despite what she claims on-air, she didn’t come up with the situations on her own, but that’s not important. What is important is pulling off the prank with style, and Undercover High does that.

It helps that Gilroy is aided by a handful of actors and actresses to fill a variety of fake roles and elicits the students’ actual teachers to aid in making it all seem real. Saturday’s first episode visits Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East and St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School for the Arts, where mayhem ensues at both locations.

At CDCIE, teacher Miss Norohna suggests pranking her Grade 9 business class and the Undercover High folks come up with a doozy. After claiming her friend needs their help with a world record, the group enters the school gym to construct a tower of items created by a 3-D printer. Suffice it to say the printer isn’t real, the world record attempt is fake and the people organizing the whole thing are in on the joke. What isn’t fake are the reactions of the students when things begin to go south. I’m pretty sure I saw some actual tears and trembling chins as the minutes rolled by and the situation deteriorated.

Things don’t improve at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School for the Arts, where drama teacher Mr. Thomas pranks his kids by plunging them into a fake informercial where they find out–with seconds to go–that some will be reading Korean off cue cards while showing how an unknown kitchen item works. You can’t make up the red on the face of one lad who looks like he is going to pass out or throw up (or both) just before the cameras roll.

Kids are pretty savvy, and the secret to Undercover High‘s success is that the teachers–the people the students trust–are in on the joke. If they weren’t, the jig would be up within seconds. Luckily for us, they don’t catch on.

Undercover High airs Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
Greg David
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