Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

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Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Magic Newswire » January 13th, 2016, 9:20 am

Being outside the UK, I was unable to see the latest broadcast by Mr. Brown? Who saw it and what did you think? It seems to be getting mixed reviews because of the content. Staging a murder and abducting a child? I hope to hear from you!

I posted a link to an article with a video excerpt on my site, but here is the article from the Daily Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... URDER.html

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby mr_goat » January 13th, 2016, 9:42 am

a) [censored] the daily mail. They are worse than Fox.

b) It was brilliant. An hour and a half of perfectly crafted entertainment making the audience ultimately question why they should believe what they are told and act certain ways because they feel pressured to do so.

It was a little uncomfortable at time, and quite dark. But in the end, it was clear it was about making your own mind up about what you should do and how you should behave. And the 3 out of 4 that did push the guy off the roof were really empowered by the experience and were very happy. Like they'd been taught a lesson, or given an awakening about how they can control what they want in their lives.

As to the baby abduction thing, it was a doll and the mother was an actress. This was revealed immediately after the bit. I am a new father, my daughter is just 18 months, so it was horrible to watch in a way, but at the same time you knew it was a TV show and it wasn't real. As I said, [censored] the daily mail.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Magic Newswire » January 13th, 2016, 11:06 am

Thanks Mr. Goat! One day, some of these will make their way to US Television.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Chris Norris » January 13th, 2016, 5:45 pm

At the risk of stating the obvious, you can order the DVDs of (all?) his UK TV shows from amazon.co.uk and elsewhere, for very reasonable prices. You can them play them in the US on any "region-free" DVD player (and most DVD players have hidden settings to convert them to region-free). I find them all to be great viewing!

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 13th, 2016, 7:17 pm

I watched it, and it was not good. The emotional manipulation of the participants should be the subject of a lawsuit against the production company (even though the poor suckers most likely signed away the right to do that in order to get on TV).

It really was a vile display of emotional manipulation that could have unforeseen consequences in the future for the "victims." How could successfully convincing a person to murder someone not cause great trauma? The only way around this is for all the participants to have been stooged at some level in order to avoid subsequent litigation.

Not my cup of tea, at all.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 14th, 2016, 2:03 am

I'm sorry , i don't like or approve of this perverse form of so-caaled "entertainment." It brings out the worst, not the best, in people.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Edwin Corrie » January 14th, 2016, 2:47 am

I hadn't planned to watch as the idea sounded even more disturbing than some of the other recent Derren Brown specials, but I happened to catch the last part and was intrigued - as well as disturbed. Despite the participants saying they were glad they took part (and according to the Radio Times article Chris had applied to be on the show but thought he'd been rejected), surely this would be a deeply traumatic thing to go through. Admittedly the final message does make you think, but I do wonder if it was necessary to go quite this far.

Here's the Radio Times article explaining the idea, with links to a couple of others at the end:

http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-01-13/derren-brown-review-shock-awe-sausage-rolls---and-a-hard-hitting-final-message

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby erdnasephile » January 14th, 2016, 6:33 am

Edwin Corrie wrote:I hadn't planned to watch as the idea sounded even more disturbing than some of the other recent Derren Brown specials, but I happened to catch the last part and was intrigued - as well as disturbed. Despite the participants saying they were glad they took part (and according to the Radio Times article Chris had applied to be on the show but thought he'd been rejected), surely this would be a deeply traumatic thing to go through. Admittedly the final message does make you think, but I do wonder if it was necessary to go quite this far...


The "glad they took part" reaction is interesting, since that debriefing response is pretty typical for other Milgramesque-type experiments of the past. One wonders if that response is some sort of carry over from the compliance the majority of the subjects demonstrate during such trials.

Since the message conveyed in the show has been demonstrated many, many times before (including by Brown himself), putting the participants through significant negative psychological stress would seem to be along the lines of a cruel prank. How does this differ from humiliating and embarrassing a spectator on stage, except on a grander scale?

While the publicity may be heartening for Mr. Brown, I wonder if this is a net positive for magic in the public's eye. Perhaps he will have the last laugh by ultimately revealing that all the participants were stooges (as RK spectulates), and we were the people who were hoodwinked instead.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby mr_goat » January 14th, 2016, 7:07 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:I watched it, and it was not good. The emotional manipulation of the participants should be the subject of a lawsuit against the production company (even though the poor suckers most likely signed away the right to do that in order to get on TV).

It really was a vile display of emotional manipulation that could have unforeseen consequences in the future for the "victims." How could successfully convincing a person to murder someone not cause great trauma? The only way around this is for all the participants to have been stooged at some level in order to avoid subsequent litigation.

Not my cup of tea, at all.


And that is why it won't be on in America.

Brown has done LOADS of dark things. The Zombie video game thing. The face mask car accident when the person saw themselves in a crash, Russian Roulette, Seance, the bloke landing the plane etc etc. etc.

It's a magic trick. He is a magician. He has two very good writers working with him. I don;t believe for a second the people in the show were REALLY traumatised in any way. Stooges? I really doubt it, that is just too lazy. But I am as sure as a sure thing that lawyers would not let him make a show where 4 people really went through what they appeared to go through on a very slick, high production value tv show. The clues are there. It's a *TV* show. He's a magician.

Come on...

(Sure as hell makes good publicity though...I mean, if he can fool magicians into thinking it was all real...)
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Anthony Vinson » January 14th, 2016, 8:56 am

IMO Derren Brown is the most brilliant psychological magician working today. I generally love his material, even though some of it is lost on me. If, as Goat seems to indicate, the purpose of the special (in addition of entertainment) was to cause people to question their beliefs as well as examine their reasons for believing things, then good. Derren is known for this sort of thing, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone interested in watching. Besides, there’s always that off switch.

Anyone else see the BBC series Black Mirror? It was similarly thought-provokingly disturbing, which is fine by me.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Henderson » January 14th, 2016, 11:13 am

art exists to make us feel. And the array of feelings to choose from is wide and deep.

unless you live in america. We only want sugary drinks that put us into a mild coma. We want drivel that numbs. Or at least that's what they insist on feeding us.

producing drivel is cheap and easy. And a numbed consumer seldom realizes they are stuck to the teat.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 14th, 2016, 11:54 am

The thought experiment about sacrificing others seems popular these days.

One could take the position that there is no "they" and instead focus on your choices.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 14th, 2016, 12:15 pm

El Goatie wrote, "It's a magic trick. He is a magician."

No, this was not a magic show performed by a magician.

It was an exercise in psychological cruelty made solely as "entertainment." I haven't seen many of the other shows you mention, so if this is what Derren does on TV, I'm not the least bit surprised he's not doing TV over here.

There was nothing entertaining about it--it is an exercise in torture, played out for the delight of the TV audience. If the psychological torture of innocent and unknowing humans is a form of entertainment in Great Britain, I think it's shameful.

Don't you see how obscene that is? Hey guys, let's psychologically coerce an innocent human being into thinking that he (or she) has killed another human being for our the entertainment of TV audience and so we can make money.

And I don't believe it. What I do believe is that the participants were prepped in a way so while they might not have been told the exact details, they knew they were going to be prodded into doing something they would not want to do, and also reassured IN ADVANCE that there would be no harmful consequences to anyone should they follow through.

It's beyond distasteful. (And you can leave out the one about the Zombie Apocalypse--any fool who believes that deserves what he gets.)

Note that my comments refer only to the TV show I have seen. I have not seen Derren work on stage but once, and by all accounts his stage shows are excellent. He has a show in the west end right now and Max Maven came back from seeing it the night before The Session and said it was excellent.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Henderson » January 14th, 2016, 12:25 pm

how is it any more tortuous to the participants than forcing them to expose their most troubled experiences and fears while they are forced to sing in dance in hopes of winning a prize? at least in Derren's effort we end up thinking about concepts bigger than how many girls are following 'teen heartthrob contestant' on Twitter.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 14th, 2016, 1:18 pm

Death is more torturous. I think that's pretty plain.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 14th, 2016, 1:37 pm

Richard wrote:

"Death is more torturous. I think that's pretty plain."

Indubitably! And, I would add, particularly so in the context of murder.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Henderson » January 14th, 2016, 3:16 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Death is more torturous. I think that's pretty plain.


did any of the participants die?

I think death is preferable to public humiliation - prostrating yourself before the producers for the chance you might get a scrap from the table.

at least Derren didn't force them to make a sex tape.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 14th, 2016, 4:40 pm

Reminds me of the plot of this movie ...

Image

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 14th, 2016, 4:47 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:... didn't force them to make a sex tape.


wasn't that a Black Mirror episode?
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby mr_goat » January 14th, 2016, 5:14 pm

This is my point. Our intelligent noble leader, mr k, bought into the tv lie.

He's a magician. He understands reality that lies and editing and yet still he thinks it was real.

I don't.

Imagine what lay people felt.

The idea, to me, was to stir up dark thoughts. It worked.

I see little difference in making someone apparently think they are killing zombies or think they are seeing their own corpse or thinking they have to land a plane.

He's a magician. He's a magician.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 14th, 2016, 5:30 pm

mr_goat wrote:He's a magician. He's a magician.


I have not seen the program that is under discussion, so will ask this question ...

Is this a magic performance or something else, being done by someone who just happens to be a magician?

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby mr_goat » January 14th, 2016, 5:49 pm

Brad Jeffers wrote:
mr_goat wrote:He's a magician. He's a magician.


I have not seen the program that is under discussion, so will ask this question ...

Is this a magic performance or something else, being done by someone who just happens to be a magician?


Well on other shows as a magician he had made someone think he is killing zombies, made someone think they are seeing their own corpse in a car accident, made someone think they have to land a plane, made the country think he is going to play Russian roulette. Etc

In this he didn't state it was a magic show.

But with a track record like that...well...draw your own conclusions.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 14th, 2016, 7:00 pm

Sounds more like the television shows Punk'd or Scare Tactics.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby erdnasephile » January 14th, 2016, 9:22 pm

With respect, I think the essential difference between what Mr. Brown did and what the American Idol-like competitions do is that no modern Institutional Review Board worth it's salt would allow human subjects to be subjected to Mr. Brown's experiment. The same is not true for singing competitions.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby erdnasephile » January 14th, 2016, 9:25 pm

I think I know why Derren Brown doesn't film these types of specials in the US.

Given our crime statistics, it's apparent that many of us need no additional coercion to kill people.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby CraigMitchell » January 15th, 2016, 3:00 pm

Just finished watching the show - and enormous kudos to Derren and his team.

The show was gripping, dark and most of all engaging. It made you question what is and isn't possible ... The last 5 minutes were sublime - a horror film unfolding before your eyes.

Bravo!

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Richard Kaufman » January 15th, 2016, 3:16 pm

Certainly a horror for the four participants.
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby erdnasephile » January 20th, 2016, 2:38 pm

One thing I will say: the main special effect required to fake the corpse was astounding and I'm sure would find application in illusions that require fake heads and other body parts. However, I suspect that time/cost considerations would likely keep this particular technology from widespread use.

FWIW, here is a brief interview with Mr. Brown Re: the show:

http://www.channel4.com/info/press/news ... o-the-edge

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Jeffers » January 20th, 2016, 4:32 pm

erdnasephile wrote: ...the main special effect required to fake the corpse was astounding and I'm sure would find application in illusions that require fake heads and other body parts.

Whenever I require a fake head or other body parts, THIS is my go-to place.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 20th, 2016, 5:06 pm

That's great Brad, thanks for sharing that! And I was eating lunch! Personally, I just sneak into the county morgue - I find it to be much more realistic. Never got scared in there, either, except for the one time that I saw Mr. Brown in there conducting a really bizarre experiment. Then I got scared stiff!

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby performer » January 20th, 2016, 6:49 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Death is more torturous. I think that's pretty plain.


I think watching mentalism in the first place is the greatest torture of all.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby El Mystico » January 21st, 2016, 12:55 pm

That link was great.
In particular, I thought this quote was useful, in relation to Richard's view of the show:
"The nature of the whole journey is done in a way to make sure that ultimately it’s ultimately a positive thing for them. Within five minutes of the end happening, they were fine. Subjects, over the years and going back across quite a few shows, are always in a very positive place at the end of things. We aren’t in the business of doing horrible things to people and then laughing at them. This certainly isn’t about who’s a bad person or a good person. We all have a strong moral sense. The point of this situation that we move them into is what happens when a clear discrepancy is created between what you know is right and what you feel you have to do. That’s really what this is about."

OK, Richard didn't like the show, fine; this isn't going to change that. But it may go some way to addressing his concern for the welfare of the participants...

Personally, I thought it was the best TV I've seen for months. Although that is damning with faint praise.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 21st, 2016, 2:48 pm

El Mystico pointed out that in an interview, Derren Brown stated:

"The nature of the whole journey is done in a way to make sure that ultimately it’s ultimately a positive thing for them. Within five minutes of the end happening, they were fine. Subjects, over the years and going back across quite a few shows, are always in a very positive place at the end of things. We aren’t in the business of doing horrible things to people and then laughing at them. This certainly isn’t about who’s a bad person or a good person. We all have a strong moral sense. The point of this situation that we move them into what happens when a clear discrepancy is created between what you know is right and what you feel you have to do. That’s really what this is about."

While Richard is obviously more than capable of speaking eloquently for himself, I would point out that his original point was that this was not a magic show put on by a magician, but an exercise in psychological cruelty. Not only do I agree, but I seriously question the subjective pronouncement that this was "ultimately a positive thing" for any of the participants. Is it really a positive thing for the participants to have been manipulated into perpetrating the unspeakable? Moreover, the statement, "We all have a strong moral sense," depends on who "we" are and how one defines the very elastic and subjective concept of morality. So, assuming that the subjects were "move[ed} into what happens when a clear discrepancy is created between what you know is right and what you feel you have to do," and that "That’s really what this is about," I can't help but ask the question, WHY?

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Brad Henderson » January 21st, 2016, 2:55 pm

none of us can speak to the participants experience. only they can. Have any complained?

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 21st, 2016, 3:25 pm

I was not speaking for the participants, only for myself, and like I said, I simply question whether it was a positive experience for them. None have complained that I personally know of. But even if they have not complained publicly, or to our knowledge, that doesn't mean they have not complained to family, friends and/or associates. Furthermore, even assuming they have not complained, publicly or privately, that doesn't mean anything, because they may be too embarrassed, humiliated or traumatized to have complained to anyone at this point, if ever.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby El Mystico » January 22nd, 2016, 5:56 am

Magicbyalfred; I think if I understand your post right, there is nothing anyone can do - not me, not Derren, not the participants - to change your mind?

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby MagicbyAlfred » January 22nd, 2016, 9:27 am

El Mystico, I have no expectation or need for anyone to agree with me, but I do reserve the right to my own opinions and feelings regarding what i find to be offensive, distasteful, negative or wrong. Will no one be able to convince me otherwise? Well, I do see your question as more of a comment, and yes, perhaps you are right - not even if one were to attempt to psychologically coerce or manipulate me. But then I would suspect that you may also have certain opinions and feelings, about certain things, that are not subject to change, as well.

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Jonathan Townsend » January 22nd, 2016, 10:00 am

MagicbyAlfred wrote:... they may be too embarrassed, humiliated or traumatized to have complained to anyone at this point, if ever.


Are there published followup studies on the Milgram experiment participants?
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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby Bill Mullins » January 22nd, 2016, 10:36 am

Jonathan Townsend wrote:Are there published followup studies on the Milgram experiment participants?


Yes

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Re: Derren Brown - Pushed to the Edge?

Postby El Mystico » January 22nd, 2016, 11:51 am

magicbyalfred: sorry, I wasn't clear.
when you say you "reserve the right to my own opinions and feelings regarding what i find to be offensive, distasteful, negative or wrong" I'm completely with you.
We may have different views n the merits of the show, ad that's fine.

But you also say you "seriously question the subjective pronouncement that this was "ultimately a positive thing" for any of the participants" and follow it by seeming to say whatever the participants say won't change your view.

I follow Matt Galley on Twitter. He was involved in one of Derren's earlier pieces several years ago. He's never tweeted anything negative about it; but several positive things.
However - and this is for mrgoat, he did say this:
"I very rarely talk about "Hero at 30,000ft" ....but seen as how it's been 3 years this week that Derren decided to publicly air me [censored] my pants to the world, I thought I'd answer the one question that people still always ask...was it real? Well...although I haven't joined the police, he did brake my life long fear of flying (which means everything to me coz my family and little niece are in Dubai) so it was as real as you can get for me "
Now, I guess you can read that both ways, but my take is that this is a tacit admission that there was more to the show than met the eye.


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