Reality Interrupted

“The Joe Schmo Show” might be the most incredible reality television experiment of all time.

This is not your typical competition for a million dollars filled with wannabe actors. “Joe Schmo”  asks the question, “What if there was a reality show where everything was fake except one contestant?”

The Joe Schmo Show

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On the surface, it’s hilarious. Seeing a dozen trained improv actors (and, inexplicably, 90s celebrity Lorenzo Lamas) dance around one unsuspecting mark as they parody all your favorite reality tv tropes is an incredible hour of television.

Underneath the over-the-top parodies, though, “Joe Schmo” gives us a picture of how to adapt to reality.

The rouse is on the poor Schmo 24/7 (who, to be fair, is rewarded with $100,000, luxurious vacations, and other prizes for his troubles). To accomplish this high wire act, the cast spends months getting into character, rehearsing their roles, memorizing backstories, and creating a script to work from.

The cast knows all it takes is one slip up, one drop of an accent, one stumbled line, and a million dollars and months of hard work would be washed away. Perfection is essential.

Of course all of this preparation is thrown out the window when the wildcard element of the Schmo enters the picture. Continue reading