Monday, September 08, 2003

One would assume I would have enjoyed Spike TV's The Joe Schmo Show more than I did. But I didn't.
The show rides a curious line between letting a guy humiliate himself on national TV, and trying to allow it's actors to be wacky enough to freak him out. But the truth is, pretty much NOTHING they attempted to do on the show actually seemed to work.
If you haven't seen the show or heard about it, the Joe Schmo Show is a "fake reality show" in which a "reality game show" is being taped under false pretenses. The host and other 7 contestants are all paid actors, and only Matt is an actual "contestant."
I guess the idea was to put a willing participant into a pressure boiler in which circumstances continue to grow stranger and stranger, but the reality is, "reality tv" is so over-produced and scripted to begin with, they really aren't able to
1) make Matt think anything weird is really going on
2) make Matt not act as completely insane as the rest of the cast is supposed to be doing.

Because everyone else is a paid actor, all of these actors are incredibly self-conscious of every move they make as their characters. Thusly, it all seems pretty tame compared to the nutcases who usually inhabit reality TV. Matt is pretty much just trying to ape what he's seen on other reality shows by forming alliances, etc... Unfortunately, as the show is "scripted", there's not much in the way of drama (or anything at stake) aside from whther or not Matt will think these people are actors (which they assume he will clue into). But as I said before, actual reality shows are populated with such a bunch of prima donna freaks that, coupled with Matt's unbridled enthusiasm for being on TV, there is no reason for him to suspect a damn thing.

The moment where I realized that the people putting on this show have a mindset which will probably utterly fail them was when, in episode 2, they had a game called "Hands on a High Priced Hooker" in which all 8 contestants were asked to put a hand or body part on a porn actress. Last person on won the pimping "immunity robe". (the immunity robe was probably the best part of the last hour I watched last night). The fatal flaw was that the punishment for LOSING the game was getting your own room (Joe Schmo had to share a bed with two others prior to this). THis just seemed like an odd choice of punishments, laundry room or no... in addition, it was assumed that this guy they plucked from middle-America would leap at the chance to hang onto a stanger's breast on National TV.

In short, it never occured to the producers of the show that 1) they were rewarding failure, or 2) that Matt might perceive he had more to gain by taking the high road on this one.

In short, I saw how the show was going to work, and I've seen enough of it. After a week or whatever in this house, this guy is not going to realize these people are actors, even if they totally screw up, as a few of them have already done. And it's safe to assume Matt is going to get the $100K the show promises, anyway, as compensation for being the butt of the show's 1 note joke.

In college, we would have loved how "meta" this show was. After being inundated with this sort of crap for so long, it's just the next logical step in the same crap heap all of these shows have become.

BTW, regarding Friday's posts... NOBODY has stepped up with the Space Sector of Earth's Green Lantern. And Jim gave a me a stern dressing down for neglecting to mention the greatest Green Lantern of the Giffen/ DeMAtteis JLA era, Guy Gardner.

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