I wasn't fearful for Buddy's life in that episode either....bad acting but quite funny.
I do believe alot of this is staged but it reminds me of some of the first shows like Andy Griffith and those where you know what's going to happen but wait to see how the actor's react to it.....and usually it was pretty bad acting but it still made it funny. Not picking on Andy that's just the first show of that sort that came to mind. I'm sure there are others but their names escape me at the moment. I know it's more like the first "horror" pictures like the "Blob" and those other teen-age movies with Frankie Avalon and Annette.