Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder’s challenge to his fans to “accidentally” text their parents about a drug deal is extremely funny, a charming portrait of child-parent repartee we rarely get to see. But it’s also a compelling showcase of diverse parenting styles.
On Thursday, Fielder, star of the Comedy Central show Nathan For You, tweeted this prank to his followers: “text your parents ‘got 2 grams for $40’ then right after ‘Sorry ignore that txt. Not for you.’”
Many parents were all-caps enraged, their “WTH” and “WTF”-loaded reactions unpublishable in a family newspaper.
Many made threats, while others were clearly not just unfamiliar with the finer points of texting, but actually illiterate. A striking number of texts revealed that the impudent children had already suffered run-ins with the law. (“Really Jen? Might I remind you that you are on probation?” read one.)
Perhaps the most surprising responses were the nonchalant ones. One mom says coolly, “I hope you’re joking,” before moving onto the less fraught topic of Jeopardy. Reverse psychology, or just a shrewd mom with a nose for pranks?
Here’s a sampling of the exchanges:
“Austin Robert Schweitzer there goes your driving test ... and any hope of a car!”
“Say goodbye to college.”
“I didn’t mean to have you!”
The ultimate freakout
“2 grams of whaaaaaAtttttt???????? You’re freaking me out!!!!!!!! Erik. what the hell?????? You’re giving me a heart attack. Seriously!! What do you mean? Now you're doing cocaine? Ganja? What???? God help me. And you.”
“Grams of whag. Whatp. What.”
“Did you have enough money or do you need me to put some in your account?” (The answer is obviously yes.)
The modern parent
“You are overpaying if you are getting illegal drugs, you goof.”
Commenters have been quick to judge the various parental responses. Some have also expressed concern for mom and dad’s shattered nerves: “I doubt these moms are going to be relieved when they find out it’s a joke. They will probably spend the next few years looking for more signs,” wrote one reader on Deadspin.
If you’re a parent, how would you have replied to such a text?