During the sixth and last season of 30 Rock, Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon and her boyfriend, Criss Cross (played by James Marsden) make the mistake of going to an IKEA on Valentine's Day to shop for a table in the episode "Hey, Baby, What's Wrong?" In the ep, Liz is already wary about her tendency to entangle herself in hapless romances, and her decision to spend V-Day at a place depicted as a hellish, fluorescently-lit maze is based on the logic that the couple "better be able to survive a simple trip to IKEA," or else they're not meant to be.
Toward the end of "Hey Baby," Liz and Criss begin to predictably fight over the table they came for, which leads to this line: "We are not doing this! We are not letting this table be a metaphor for our relationship! That's what IKEA wants us to do!" The quote again pokes fun at IKEA, driving home the fact that it's the kind of place that, like the Milgram experiment, brings out the craziest and most heinous behavior in people. This running joke is exactly what happens in a viral video created and posted by a Norwegian comedy duo in 2013, in which unsuspecting customers get trapped inside the Swedish meatball- and cinnamon bun-selling furniture retailer as a prank.
The YouTube video "Lost in Ikea," which is seeing a resurgence in popularity on Reddit in r/videos, features a troupe of prankees poking around some of the room displays while brothers Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker, members of the comedy group Ylvis, watch them on camera from another room. After they give a signal via walkie-talkie, crew members in on the joke shut curtains, move around walls and furniture set pieces, essentially trapping the IKEA-goers inside of an elaborate, disorienting maze. This, of course, prompts them to freak out about as much as you'd imagine.
"Where did we enter? Did you draw those?" asks one man to a female companion at the beginning of the clip, turning on her immediately and following with, "Why did you close it?!"
Another man starts to literally try and break the walls apart as his partner yells after him, "Don't do it! Svein! You'll tear down the entire building! Stop it!"
However, perhaps the highlight of the reel is when Ylvis sends in a girl in on the prank, prompting a couple to "follow her!" — and she hides in a closet when out of eye-shot, leaving them totally bewildered.
Check out this IKEA-related nightmare come to life in the video clip below, complete with English subtitles.