A new show is coming to the CW and it's guaranteed to be unlike anything you've ever seen before. Comedian Taye Diggs is hosting Hypnotize Me, a series based on Britain's show, You're Back in the Room.
Hypnotize Me watches contestants get hypnotized, then perform a series of unpredictable yet everyday tasks, such as frosting a cake, drinking a glass of water, or throwing a pizza pie into the audience — all in their hypnotized state.
But is Hypnotize Me real or staged? Here's everything we know about the show.
How does Hypnotize Me work?
As Taye Diggs puts it at the beginning of the series premiere, "four complete strangers will work together as a team to try and win $100,000." The way that they'll try and secure the six-figure prize is by playing "extremely easy games," the host begins.
But there's a twist. "These games won't be so simple once we've hypnotized them," Taye explains. Luckily, it's not the Empire star who will be putting contestants into the trance state. Rather, the show depends on professional Irish hypnotist Keith Barry.
Keith Barry is a world-renowned hypnotist.
According to his YouTube page, Keith describes himself as a "mentalist, magician, and brain hacker." "As a student of human behaviour, I hack into people's minds," he wrote on Twitter, where he's amassed over 60,000 followers.
Hypnotize Me isn't Keith's first stint on TV. The Irish mentalist has appeared in the original U.K. show, You're Back in the Room, and also as the hypnotist on the Australian show of the same name. Additionally, Keith has worked on a number of films, consulting actors on how to convincingly perform magic tricks.
Is the CW show Hypnotize Me real or staged?
When he appears on the show, Keith explains the way he manages to hypnotize people in front of an audience. "Basically, you just relax down the conscious mind," he says, "which is where our rules and our inhibitions and our regulations lie."
After relaxing the mind, Keith "throw[s] those rules right out the window," and what follows is that contestants are left with "an overwhelming compulsion to follow all of my suggestions."
This all might sound too simple for skeptics of hypnosis, or even to people who've undergone hypnotherapy.
But that's not exactly to say that Hypnotize Me is fake or that its contestants are just actors playing along. What does come into play here is something called "stage hypnosis," which mentalist and hypnotist Derren Brown describes as "suggestive techniques," per Bustle.
He explains that after participants undergo Keith's mind relaxations, they are extra susceptible to him and either try "to experience the [hypnotist's] suggestions as real," or genuinely feel compelled to follow his orders. Hypnotist Mark Powlett goes on to say that stage hypnosis isn't very respected among mentalist communities.
"In the U.K. where I am based," the National Council for Hypnotherapy member writes, "I and all other members of professional bodies are not allowed to practice stage hypnosis."
Although that's not the case in the U.S., where "the profession of hypnotist can go hand-in-hand with stage hypnosis," Mark explains that the way stage hypnosis works is much more about getting someone to submit than getting them to reach a trance state.
So, it appears that Hypnotize Me is as real as stage hypnosis is. If you believe in the latter, Hypnotize Me might become your new favorite CW summer show, and you'll get to enjoy seeing the audience completely submit to Keith's mental gymnastics.
But even if you're not, it could be fun to see how Taye, Keith, and the CW as a whole try to pull this show off.
Hypnotize Me airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on the CW.
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