Thursday, October 16, 2003

Joe Schmo

Reality shows. I hated them for several reasons. First of all, TV is a break from my everyday life; reality TV only adds the drama and stress of others to my own, as if I didn't already have enough of those things myself. Secondly, reality TV brings out the worst in people. The entertainment is completely negative consisting mainly of cruelty, malice, and selfishness and does nothing to showcase the better side of being human.

I was beginning to lose hope when the Joe Schmo show came along. The Joe Schmo show is absolutely ingenious. They have basically created the first real Truman Show. And most importantly, just like Harry Truman, our protagonist, Matt Gould a.k.a. Joe Schmo really shines as a good person, someone we find likable and care about.

The gist of the show is that Matt thinks he is a contestant on a reality TV show called Lap of Luxury. He is placed in a house with nine other contestants for a week. They have immunity challenges (usually involving doing things with strippers) and vote each other off the show like in Survivor. What "Joe don't know" is that the nine other contestants are actually actors following a script. The characters they play are hilarious, ranging from "The Rich Bitch" and "The Hutch" to "The Gay Guy" and "The Buddy". They mercilessly entangle Joe Schmo in love triangles (one involving the host of the game) and drama, but also reward him with friendships and even loyalty.

In one episode, Joe Schmo and "The Virgin" (a buxom blond) are handcuffed together in the pool, he in swim trunks and she in a tiny bikini. Then, unexpectedly, "The Virgin's" boyfriend walks into the yard on a surprise visit playing a guitar and singing a serenade. This naive, straight-laced, conservative young man is appalled to find his attractive, blond, half-naked girlfriend chained to another man. He asks her why she is chained to another man and is dressed "slutty." Joe Schmo is dragged along with her throughout the house as she argues with her boyfriend and absolute hilarity ensues. Joe respectfully turns his back to the two the whole time despite the fact that he has a crush on her. In the end, the host of the show tries to make a move on her but Joe Schmo sticks up for her. "The Virgin" and the host end up in a bedroom together anyway.

What really makes the show is Joe Schmo himself. In every situation, he stands up for the little guy and is courteous no matter what the abuse he receives. He treats everyone fairly and well, keeps his word, and is loyal until the very last. He is the epitome of what a truly good guy is, and watching him be such a good and noble person makes me feel good knowing that people like him exist. I find myself rooting for him to beat the system because he deserves to.

Which brings me to my last point. I would find it absolutely hilarious if we found out at the last episode that Joe Schmo was an actor too and we were the ones being fooled. If at least, they purposely edited the show this way to make him even more likable. After all, he's almost too good a person to be true, right?