Joe Schmo: new reality show

Spike TV’s “The Joe Schmo Show” may be the most diabolical, yet inspired look at reality television to date.The show airs Tuesday nights on Spike TV, formerly TNN, and turns up its nose at the major networks take on reality. The show is a combination of every reality show ever made with a helping of Jim Carrey’s film “The Truman Show”.”Joe Schmo” is Matt Kennedy Gould, a law school dropout and pizza delivery man from Pittsburgh, Pa. Gould answered the casting call for a show called “The Lap of Luxury,” not knowing that he was going to be set up for the amusement of America.The other “contestants” are stereotypes from every reality show imaginable. There is the manipulator, the rich girl and others that true followers of reality TV could recognize right away. The standouts of this cast in the first episode were Kip, the token gay guy, and the Hutch (think Puck from The Real World). Kip is played by Lance Krall and is probably going to be the hardest character to maintain. Kip is a gay Cuban with a heavy accent. Krall is not gay and does not have an accent. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up his ruse without slipping up.The Hutch is played by David Hornsby. His purpose in the house is to be the biggest jerk possible, which means picking his nose at the dinner table and picking fights everywhere else. His performance in the first immunity contest (Hands on the High Priced Hooker) was hilarious.The games are completely absurd as well as rigged. The first contest involved a fashion show where the contestants wore someone else’s underwear. The others had to guess who was in whose drawers. This went wrong right away. Matt got so many right that they had to change the answers to make him lose. This led to a little chaos with the cast members as they had to quickly get their stories straight.Matt again shocked the producers of the show in the first immunity challenge. The game was Hands on the High-Priced Hooker. The contestants had to keep a designated part of their body in contact with the actress playing the hooker. The game was scripted to come down to Matt and Hutch, but Matt was the first out. The other actors had to think on their feet and carry out the game on their own.The actors and producers became the real focus of the show in the first episode. The show has the feeling of a great practical joke when you hope for the players not to mess up more than you focus on the victim of the prank. Matt is very gullible and fell for everything thrown at him, but how long can it last? The fun is in watching the actors try to ad lib their way around their own mistakes.The real impact of “The Joe Schmo Show” may be how it affects future reality programs. A show like this can breed the kind of paranoia that could severely damage reality TV. Will contestants on new shows think they are also being set up? Will producers have to work around casts trying to outsmart them? Will anarchy and chaos reign supreme in the wonderful world of reality television? Gosh, I really hope so.

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