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Is $100,000.00 worth it? - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Is $100,000.00 worth it?
Every once in a while, a show comes along that sparkles so brightly with originality and crackerjack execution, it stands above the rest. It weaves its way into your mind and won’t let it go. drood showed me the way to my latest broadcast obsession, The Joe Schmoe Show on SpikeTV.

Matt is a really good guy. He’s all heart, all sleeve and he just wants to believe the best intentions of people. Matt has been thrown into a reality show where he is the only contestant, but he doesn’t know that part. He thinks his fellow nine players for $100,000.00 are also part of the game, regular people like him who are gunning for the cash. The others are, in fact, actors playing different classic unscripted television archetypes. There is the scheming bitch, the loose cannon, the stern old soldier, the dumb blonde and, of course, the flaming homosexual, and they are all in on the joke. Except for Matt.

The producers control the action from a remote control booth and they play puppet master, modulating the game for maximum embarrassment to sweet natured and endlessly cute Matt. The name of the game is “Lap Of Luxury,” it’s setting a new luxurious tract home on the outskirts of Los Angeles. All of the conventions of reality TV are in play from the silly competitions to the final voting ceremony; only the volume is turned up to eleven on all of it.

The host, playing his part brilliantly, is given to constant self-promotion and nasty asides. He shamelessly flirts with the blonde and shows contempt for the other teammates. During their “tribal council,” an event held in the living room, in front of a crackling fireplace, he warns that one of them are about to be kicked out of the house and “go back to the sad existence you came from.” Then, in a flourish worthy of an Emmy, the losing “contestant” has to address the group in a final good-bye while their tacky Franklin Mint collector’s plate is shattered in the fireplace. “Please leave. You are dead to us,” he says as the camera predictably pans the remaining members for their reaction.

On the last show, however, Matt’s reaction was unexpected. Usually they giggle behind the poor guy’s back as they knowingly lead him astray. But when his best friend was voted off, he broke down in tears and kept repeating, “This isn’t worth the money. It’s just not worth it.” The cast of actors began to question themselves for participating in this callous exercise. So did the producers.

Any given moment of this show is far better than the overblown The Truman Show, a beautiful script crushed by heavy-handed direction and the empty Jim Carrey. It is a testament to Matt, our hero, who we now watch to see what his reaction will be when everyone jumps from behind the sofa and yells “SURPRISE!”

The Joe Schmoe Show is deliciously cruel but if it weren’t for Matt’s sincerity and genuine nice guyness, this expensive experiment would fail miserably. I knew a guy like Joe; someone who would search for the best in people at any cost, a guy who loved being silly, a man who couldn’t imagine being insincere. Those are admirable and lovable traits, and I really hope Matt is able to find the humor in being the butt of a nationally televised joke. I hope the producer’s hand him the big check at the end.

But whatever happens, I also know I will be there watching every second of it.

Current Music: CNN

8 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: September 30th, 2003 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
The article is spot-on. After watching the first four episodes and watching Matt cry in pain over the eviction, I was truly moved, and in love with this guy. He is so sweet and so game. And I was moved in my pants when he talked about worrying about being "small" and "playing with it a little."
prowler323 From: prowler323 Date: October 1st, 2003 11:03 am (UTC) (Link)
OK, I admit it, I missed the boat on this one. Well, kind of...

The creator is one of our alumni, and he called pitching a story on the show. Problem is, he didn't call until about three weeks ago, to try and pitch it for a September publication. By that point, November wasn't even an option, though we did squeeze a tiny item into the issue.

Looked mean-spirited and tragic to me. You're saying it's not?
zombietruckstop From: zombietruckstop Date: September 30th, 2003 12:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
A very good friend/colleague of mine is the director of that show...

raptusanxieux From: raptusanxieux Date: October 1st, 2003 05:07 am (UTC) (Link)


That is the greates icon EVER!
Love it!
(Deleted comment)
zombietruckstop From: zombietruckstop Date: October 1st, 2003 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: I mean...

Thanks! It was taken at a pool party when someone was feeding me a dino-shaped chicken nugget...
backawayslowly From: backawayslowly Date: October 1st, 2003 06:58 am (UTC) (Link)
wow,this sounds absolutely amazing. when's it on?
lapalomita From: lapalomita Date: October 1st, 2003 09:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I want to see that show! Let me know when it's on chico!
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: October 1st, 2003 10:47 am (UTC) (Link)
makes me wonder sometimes if we all arent' in the middle of a joeshcmo show and just aren't aware of it? Am I the center of the universe?
8 comments or Leave a comment