After an eight year hiatus, The Joe Schmo Show rises from the ashes tonight at 9PM on Spike and this writer is very excited!
The Joe Schmo Show was first introduced to audiences back in 2003 when Spike TV was best known for Bond Marathons and Dukes of Hazard reruns. The original idea was a brilliant spoof of the reality genre, which was really still in its infancy at the time. The central conceit was that the poor schlub of the title, Joe Schmo (aka Matt Kennedy Gould), thinks he’s been cast on a reality show called Lap of Luxury. In actuality, he’s the only one who thinks that, as the rest of the “competitors” are actors, playing characters designed to represent reality show “types”, such as “the gay guy”, “the grizzled veteran”, “the virgin”, “the schemer” and “the asshole” (who is clearly modeled on the King of all reality show a-holes, Puck from The Real World).
The real beauty of the show was in the details, like the ridiculous competitions that everyone unquestioningly participated in (like “Hands on a Hooker’), the pompous host who takes himself way too seriously (at one point, he gave the cast his head shots), and the “Riches to Rags” eviction ceremony at the end of each episode wherein the evictee’s commemorative plate (complete with a stunning likeness) was thrown into a roaring fireplace and destroyed. The surprise was that there was an underlying sweetness to the whole thing, as the cast admitted that they were surprised at how they grew to care for Matt during the shoot and were nervous about revealing the deception of it all when the time came to do so. And the reveal, in episode 8, was a doozy.
The second season of the show aired in 2004 with very little fanfare. Much like the recent webseries Burning Love, but way ahead of its time, the second outing was designed to look more like a Bachelor/Bachelorette spoof and was just as hilarious, if not better. This time, there were two “Schmos”, one guy and one girl, Tim and Amanda. Amanda, however, become so suspicious early on that she was brought in on the gag and the production soldiered on, focused solely on snowing Tim. Since it wasn’t released on DVD, and there is scant information about it online beyond the cast list and episode titles, all I can remember is that Natasha Leggero played a bachelorette who was constantly drunk (something she riffed on again for Burning Love) and there was a trained falcon that played an integral part in the proceedings.
This new incarnation is pretending to be a search for “America’s Next Great Bounty Hunter” on a show called The Full Bounty, and with the actual star of bounty hunter drama Renegade Lorenzo Lamas in the mix, it stands a good chance of being awesome. The host of the first two seasons, Ralph Garman, is back again as well. He’ll be reliably hammy, this time playing an actual bounty hunter (complete with trophy wife) who is serving as the competition’s host. Robert Belushi—yes, the son of Jim and the nephew of John—is featured in the “buddy” role. He’ll make friends with the mark and keep him on track. The rest of the cast is stocked with types like “the model”, “the ex-con”, “the deaf lady and her interpreter”, “the overachiever”, “the black guy”, “the ditz”, “the widow” and “the asshole”. The challenges should be off the wall. We’ll be tuning in for all the fun tonight at 9pm, when the first two episodes air back to back. Check out the first ten minutes of the show here:
Preview The First 10 Minutes Of The Joe Schmo Show
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