What’s Worth Watching: ‘The Carbonaro Effect on truTV for Wednesday, July 29


The Carbonaro Effect, “Just Made History” (Wednesday, July 29, 10/9c, truTV)

In an entertaining mash-up of outrageous Candid Camera-style hidden-camera shenanigans and an inspired illusionist’s bottomless bag of tricks, magician/charmer Michael Carbonaro returns for a second season of memorable prankery in The Carbonaro Effect. He astounds his marks with elaborate gags that seem surreally real because of the often mundane settings in which he operates—such as a market where he demonstrates a magic juicer that gets a full pitcher of liquid out of a single orange, or squeezes a disgusting bulge of what he calls gluten out of a simple cracker. “This is a miracle,” exults an amazed bystander. Later, revealing a hedgehog residing in a melon, he explains, “We have a citrus squatter,” as if it’s a common occurrence.

Quite often, his dupes can’t believe their eyes, a gimmick that takes on extra resonance when he impersonates an eye doctor and has clients literally seeing double during an exam—and when he seems to remove his own eye during another consultation, it’s shocking even to those of us in on the joke. (I won’t even try to spoil what he gets up to in a science lab.) Allen Funt would have loved having this guy on his team.

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