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'Impractical Jokers' scorecard: Sympathy for James Murray

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The boys are back in town - the guys from Impractical Jokers, that is. And they never really left town, they just went into reruns for a few weeks. Anyway, Sal, Joe, Q and Murr are back with fresh episodes full of embarrassing challenges (and a new opening title full of soundbites), and they start Season 3 off with possibly the worst punishment ever.

Plus, we've added a new feature to the Scorecard. We'll not only be telling you the loser for each challenge, but we'll be declaring a winner whenever a Joker particularly impresses us. Let's get rolling!

Challenge #1: Bell Hop To It
While working as bellhops at the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, the task is to get a tip from the people you're "helping" to their rooms. We put that in air quotes for a reason. No one's getting any real help here. Joe ends up mooning out the window of a hotel suite. Q gets off fairly easy (if any challenge is ever really easy), with his worst task being to make the expected threesome joke. Murr gets to unpack a woman's lingerie, which comes as a surprise to her significant other. Sal delivers half the towels in the hotel before borrowing one of them when he pretends to take a shower. Shockingly, Murr is the only Joker to get a tip without having to ask for it. Who'd have thought?
Loser: Joe
Winner: Q, for his convincing impression of a future murder victim. Also, hopefully that guy whose girlfriend's lingerie Murr had to handle.

Challenge #2: We Let The Dogs Out
The guys are manning a hot dog cart on the streets of New York City, while having to say and do what they're told. Sal has to tell a German tourist that he's related to Adolf Hitler. He then launches a woman's hot dog, prompting her to call him a "son of a bitch." Q takes to labeling his hot dogs like he's working the counter at Starbucks, before accusing an Australian tourist of being an undercover cop, then trying to sell him drugs, then pretending he's the cop. Perhaps frustrated by Murr's social media presence, Joe decides that Murr can only speak in lines he has previously tweeted. That's how we get the classic line, "Suck it, asparagus." He draws the line at stealing an adorable, polite kid's hat, though. Joe celebrates with his millionth customer, yet wisely takes the loss rather than make a joke about his new wife. Wise move, Mr. Gatto.
Losers: Murr and Joe
Winner: Joe, for correctly realizing that the wrath of a wife is worse than the wrath of a Joker. And the parents of that kid who ordered the pretzel, because clearly they're raising him right.

Challenge #3: Invention Intervention
This challenge is a Joker Showdown, pitting Sal against Murr with two losses at stake (and therefore ensuring that Joe, despite having the most losses up to this point, cannot be tonight's Big Loser). The guys are pitching inventions again, which has never been Murr's strong suit. Plus, while Sal gets the somewhat plausible "47 Hour Energy" bar to pitch, Murr is stuck with wireless tin cans. Really, the guys have done everything they can to stack the odds against the ferret. After some fairly unremarkable arguing, Sal wins by a score of three votes to one.
Loser: Murr

Big Loser: Murr
The Punishment: The other three Jokers, knowing Murr is deathly afraid of skydiving, decide that they're going to make him face that fear. They don't tell him that, though; he thinks they're teaching classes, and when he finds out that's not the case, he actually tries to leave. We don't blame him. Yes, the rule is that you can't say no to a punishment, but there's a line between a punishment that's embarrassing and funny, and one that causes somebody real distress. The end result isn't that funny; instead, it's actually uncomfortable. We love poking fun at Murr like everybody else, but now we just want to hug the guy.

For more Impractical Jokers, check out our interview with Brian "Q" Quinn, and our list of 12 Things Impractical Jokers Has Ruined For Us. Another all-new episode airs next Thursday at 10 PM ET/PT on TruTV.

(c)2013 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Examiner with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted. Visit my official website and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

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