Skip to comments.No show goes lower than Joe Schmo (But None Is More HILARIOUS!!!)
Posted on 09/09/2003 1:43:15 PM PDT by PJ-Comix
Matt was trying to explain how it felt to put his left hand on the naked right breast of a high-priced hooker.
"Instantly, I felt life come into me," he told the television camera, and when he said "me" he clearly meant "a very specific part of me." Matt recalled deploying the counter-measures: He thought of Rosie O'Donnell and of baseball, which is no longer the American pastime but still stands unchallenged as a gender's pre-eminent distracting mental image. He envisioned hitting a home run but, dang it all, when he rounded third he pictured that naked, high-priced hooker waiting for him at home plate. Summing up his attempt to remain at ease, Matt adopted a forlorn visage and remarked: "It didn't work too well."
At this point, you probably have questions. Who is Matt? Why did he have his left hand on the naked right breast of a high-priced hooker? And, more to the point, Rosie O'Donnell? A crisis of that magnitude -- hand, naked breast, high-priced hooker -- demanded the mental imagery of at least Bea Arthur, and quite possibly all three Golden Girls.
The meeting of Matt's left hand and the high-priced hooker's naked right breast occurred during the premiere episode of The Joe Schmo Show, a new series that airs Tuesdays on the U.S. cable channel Spike TV, which brands itself as the First Network for Men. And may I just say: It's about bloody time. For too long now all those other several hundred channels have catered exclusively to women, denying the unfairer sex the opportunity to regard chesty ingenues and live sporting events and chesty ingenues competing in live sporting events. Now, mercifully, there is at last a manly oasis where manly men can watch manly programs that are about, I can only assume, manliness. (Note to editor: Please place preceding three sentences in a special font -- sarcastics.)
Joe Schmo is a parody of reality shows. This sounds simple, but it's made more complex by the fact that during the past couple of years, reality shows have themselves become parodies of reality shows, which means that Joe Schmo is in fact parodying parodies. Spike TV also airs a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation and I'd imagine that, were he called on to speculate, the android Data might warn that the parodying of parodies could prompt the television universe to collapse upon itself and cause a rupture in the space-time continuum, or at least the brain of a defenceless television critic. And then he'd probably go on about how he's fascinated by humanity and wishes to be more human and golly wouldn't it be interesting to have emotions and you'd have to kind of back slowly into the turbo lift, all the time thinking to yourself: "I should have just asked the freaking Klingon."
So here's the gimmick: The cast of The Joe Schmo Show is, with one exception, made up exclusively of actors. The exception is Matt Kennedy Gould, an amiable, twentywhatever law-school dropout from Pittsburgh who delivers pizza for a living and lives with his parents. Matt thinks he's on a show called Lap of Luxury, on which nine strangers must live together in an opulent mansion, with the victorious contestant winning US$100,000. But everyone else is actually playing a reality show stereotype: Among others, there's the gay guy, the conniving bitch, the virgin, the war veteran and the asshole, who is actually referred to on the show as The Asshole, a brash flaunting of profanity in prime time apparently being a hallmark of the First Network for Men.
The show is both repellent and fascinating, and there's every chance it's fascinating because it's so repellent. Matt is quite possibly the least annoying person ever to be cast on a reality series. He's a nice guy, principled, mannerly, a bit doughier than your typical reality-show mandroid. He's genuinely blown away by the presence of smoked salmon in the lunch buffet. When a fellow "contestant" brings up the topic of the show's jackpot, Matt immediately says he's not in it for the money. He then clarifies: "Getting that money will change my place in life. I've slacked off a lot and a lot of people my age are ahead of me, but ..."
Someone interjects: "So why ARE you here?"
Matt: "Because I have nothing else to do."
From that point on, anyone with even a reasonable facsimile of a heart is going to cringe as a massive, multi-million-dollar infrastructure is deployed for the sole purpose of exposing Matt to ridicule.
So on one hand, you feel just awful for the guy. The other hand, alas, is more likely than not to be wiping away tears of laughter. This is a very funny show. To their credit, the producers have not made it easy on themselves, nor their cast. The conventions of the reality genre are mocked so lustily that there are moments you simply cannot believe that Matt doesn't catch on.
There's the whole Hands on a High-Priced Hooker game, for one. That might have got some folks to suspecting -- although, as we learned, Matt's mind was otherwise occupied at the time. There's the Lord of the Manor Immunity Showdown, on which contestants compete for the right to wear the Pimped Out Immunity Robe. And let's not forget the Riches to Rags Eviction Ceremony, during which the show's host solemnly remarks of the evening's ousted contestant: "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, (contestant's name), you're dead to us." At which point he hurls a commemorative plate bearing the contestant's image into a fireplace. Yes, these are what folks in the detective business like to call "clues."
I can't say with any certainty how it will get there, but I think I have a good sense where this program will end up. Given the premise of the series, it seems implausible that the producers would decide on a cash prize of only US$100,000, which is a pittance compared to the Survivor windfall. It's fake money, so why not say the winner gets a million bucks, or two million, or five? I'd wager the reason is that at the end, after the secret is revealed and the abject humiliation captured, they're going to give Matt the money.
And should Matt ever again find his left hand on the naked right breast of a high-priced hooker, and suddenly feel life come into him, he can simply think back on how he felt the minute he found out he was Joe Schmo. A naked Bea Arthur would be positively arousing by comparison
True! This show is the FUNNIEST show on the air.
There's the Lord of the Manor Immunity Showdown, on which contestants compete for the right to wear the Pimped Out Immunity Robe.
That outrageous pimp-looking Immunity Robe is HILARIOUS!!! This show is a MUST-SEE. You will feel guilty about laughing at Joe Schmo but you will still be laughing so hard you will have tears in your eyes. It's on Spike TV again tonight with a NEW episode. Any other Joe Schmo fans out there?
Here in Milwaukee, Spike TV is about one week old and is the old TNN station.
If JS is nearly as funny as Extreme Elimination on Spike, I'll watch it.
On Sunday they had back-to-back episodes of EE. The American commentators are the funniest. Those with a healthy sense of humor would find EE really stupid but really funny.
Jo Schmo kind of sounds like The Truman Show with Jim Carey.
SPIKE TV is on the same cable channel as the old TNN.
So episode 2 is tonight? I despise these reality shows - only time I watch them is for about ten seconds whilst channel surfing - but your description makes this one sound worth watching - if at least only for the stereotype characters. Thanks for the review. I'll try to catch it.
It is mean and hysterically funny at the same time. "Joe" is really such a schlub. But you know they have to give him the $100,000 in the end, just so he doesn't sue their asses.
Part of the fun is watching and rating the actors. The Virgin stinks. So does The Veteran. And the Black Chick.
The Gay Cuban is absolutely hysterical. And The Asshole is really good too.
This show is very very funny. Too bad it will only work once.
I'm laughing just thinking about EE.
Those Japanese people are so little too. The women are all for it and don't seem to mind to "go for it".
My favorite are the logs, some of those falls look painful, but with the American commentating you can't help but laugh.
Yes, episode 2 is on tonight. There are two main elements that makes Joe Schmo HILARIOUS. One is the clueless Joe Schmo himself who despite a plethora of clues can't figure out that it's all a put-on. The second element is the parody of Reality Shoes, especially the super-serious smarmy host. Also the show is filled with the stock Reality Show characters such as a gay guy, a military-like older guy, a super-religious virgin chick, an annoying guy, a slob, a scheming chick, etc..
Typical twentysomething man. He knew the hooker was a looker. He even studied her rump versus her chest for a dollar bill, for his predestined "right hand on left breast" sentence.
According to the EDITED show, He didn't put 2 + 2 together until she removed her bikini top.
Good editing on the part of the producers. Twist the moment for maximum effect, humor, and humiliation.
Tell us Matt - you're a lurker - aren't you?
Was holding the breast of Tawny worth the humiliation? Since you're a law screwl drop-out, did you even bother to read the contract?
Yup! They won't be able to do this again. BTW, this might spell the death knell of all Reality Shows. The contestants won't know if it is real or not.
Reading these posts, it sounds like it's so awful it's funny, like some of those real bad horror flicks that came out in the 80's like "Slumber Party Massacre."
I'll give it a shot tonight.