The Joe Schmo Show

From Academic Kids

The Joe Schmo Show is a reality TV show (actually a parody of reality game shows) on the American cable network Spike TV that began airing in September 2003.

It involves a setup that is reminiscient of the movie The Truman Show. One man, Matt Kennedy Gould, thinks he's on a reality TV show called Lap of Luxury. However, all of the other members in this reality TV show, including the host, are actually actors and the entire show is an elaborate hoax centered around the main character. All of the events and games played are staged to give a particular outcome designed to elicit a response from the main character for comedic effect.

The other "contestants" are stereotypes of common reality TV show contestants. They are (real names follow character names/descriptions):

At the end of the show, Gould received the $100,000 prize for which he was "competing." He later recorded commentary that was included in a rebroadcast of the series. The Joe Schmo Show was released on DVD with additional and uncensored footage in 2004.

Gould's plaintive cry "What is going on?" became a popular catch phrase.

Joe Schmo 2

In 2004, Spike TV created a second season of The Joe Schmo Show, calling it Joe Schmo 2 with the tagline, "The Schmo must go on". Rather than duplicate the premise of the first season, the staff of the show decided to spoof reality dating shows instead, along the lines of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, with a "show" called Last Chance for Love. In addition, instead of having one person who wasn't in on the joke, in this season there were two, a man (Tim Walsh) and a woman (originally Ingrid Wiese, but see below). The series began on June 15, 2004.

Ralph Garman was the only member of the original Joe Schmo cast to be featured on Joe Schmo 2. He again played the host, but this time he played a pompous British television host, Derek Newcastle. The head writer for Joe Schmo 2 was Brian Keith Etheridge from the original show. The original "Joe Schmo", Matt Kennedy Gould, taped a cameo appearance during an episode of Joe Schmo 2 (he pretended to be a pizza delivery man), but it was cut when a last-minute decision was made by the network to shorten the episode, though a short clip of him saying his phrase "What's going on?" was included in the final episode.

The show took an unexpected twist after three episodes. Wiese started to catch on to what was happening on her own, and made comments several times that the producers feared could ruin the show. The producers decided to let her in on the joke early, and offered her a choice of leaving the show or joining the cast; this aired at the start of the fourth episode. Wiese chose to join the cast. The producers then brought in another woman (Amanda Naughton) to serve as the second "schmo".

The cast members (not including Wiese) were broad stereotypes of dating-show personalities (real names follow character names):

  • Ambrosia, The Bitch - Gretchen Palmer
  • Austin, The Bachelor - Tim Herzog
  • Bryce, The Stalker - Kevin Kirkpatrick
  • Cammy, The Moron - Jana Speaker
  • Derek Newcastle, The Pompous Host - Ralph Garman
  • Eleanor, The Weeper - Jessica Makinson
  • Ernie, The Heir - Steve Mallory
  • Gerald, The Gotta-Be-Gay Guy - Jonathan Torrens
  • Ingrid, The Schmo Turned Actress - Ingrid Wiese
  • Piper, The Bachelorette - Valerie Azlynn
  • Rita, The Drunk - Natasha Leggero
  • T.J., The Playah - Jon Huertas

Wiese took over the storyline responsibilities of Ambrosia, who was "voted off" during the episode in which the joke was revealed to Wiese.

All three "schmos" (Naughton, Walsh, and Wiese) eventually received the same $100,000 that Gould earned on the original show, plus a few vacation packages they won playing contests during the show. In an ironic twist, Naughton and Walsh reportedly became a real-life couple for a brief time after the production.

The second series did not equal the ratings success of the first series, and soon after the show's last episode, the producers announced on the "Schmo Blog" Web site that plans for a third Joe Schmo were cancelled. Although it initially appeared doubtful that a DVD of the second series would be forthcoming, in April 2005, series producer Rhett Reese stated that a DVD release was indeed under consideration.[1] (

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