Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Joe Schmo 2"--episode 1

Previously on “The Joe Schmo Show”: the first season of the show was an interesting experiment. Matt was a great schmo, because he was an all-around great guy and everyone really liked him. He stood up for people and was nice to everyone. He also really deserved his prizes. (click for more)

Season two of “The Joe Schmo Show” changes the show up slightly, but with the same basic idea of hiring some actors and having ridiculous storylines. There are two main changes this time. First of all, there are two schmos now: Tim and Ingrid. That's because the format has changed also. Instead of a “Big Brother” style show, where everyone lives together and has dumb challenges to win prizes and/or immunity, we've changed it to a “Bachelor/ette” style show, where everyone lives together and competes for dates and a chance at “love” with one person. I put “love” in quotes because that's how it works on the real “Bachelor”. I don't know if I like using this format, because fucking around with people's emotions and love lives seems sketchy. I mean, when Matt looked like he might be falling for Ashleigh they immediately told her to fix it, which she did by saying she felt Matt was like a brother to her. They really did not want him to get involved with these people playing a part. So to design the whole show around having your real people fall in love with some actors playing a part makes me uncomfortable.

So this show is called “Last Chance for Love” which is a pathetic name. Would you admit you're on a reality show called “Last Chance”? Ralph is back as the host, but with a new name this time. Production meeting. For the first couple days, don't overplay your hand and go too overboard.

Tim arrives first, and then Ingrid. As Ingrid walks up to join Tim, he whispers “Jackpot” which is a word he says a lot. Also I guess he thinks Ingrid is hot. Ingrid says she's seen these shows before, and she knows the twists. She's a little nervous, but Tim reassures her that it'll be fun. The actors have cameras in their cars to talk to about how nervous they are. Gerald says he just has to remember to turn around for his “name”. TJ (“The Playah”) is the first actor to arrive. He says he has to poop. Great. Cammy (“The Moron”) gets the pseudo-porn music they like to use. Cammy is the token dumb blonde with big boobs. She says she works at Baskin Robbins, and so Ingrid announces to the group that Cammy works at Baskin Robbins, so you know, if they want a sundae later or something. It seems kind of shady. Gerald (with a hard G) (“The Gotta-Be-Gay Guy”) comes in with no drama. Then there is a random woman who doesn't get any introduction. Cammy explains in confessional that she's only there for the day, which is planned and will become clear in a minute. She introduces herself to everyone and Ingrid tries to make some small talk but then remembers they're not supposed to talk. A random guy comes in, and then there's a pause while a sound person adjusts Tim's mic. While there's a pause Ingrid asks the woman “How did they find you?” and she says “Through my agent.” Whoops. Did no one explain to these people what the job was? Were they trying to keep everything secret and it backfired? Why wouldn't you explain that you need to have a story and not to say you're an actor they hired for the day? The woman continues to explain that she just got the call yesterday. The producer interviews that they tried to take precautions but it didn't stick. So I guess he's throwing that woman under the bus. TJ asks Ingrid where they found her, in an attempt to change the subject. If she had just said “through my agent” at least you could have argued she was an actor trying to make it big so she auditioned for reality shows to be on TV any way she could. The “I just got the call yesterday” is not really explainable though.

Rita (“The Drunk”) is next and does seem to know they're not supposed to be talking. Gerald says they're shushed sometimes and everyone listens except Ingrid. A few more random people who are not introduced. Bryce (“The Stalker”) ignores everyone's greetings and won't talk to them at all. Eleanor (“The Weeper”) and Ernie (“The Heir”) and Ambrosia (“The Bitch”) arrive without screwing up. Then Ralph rolls up in a motorcycle side car. Ralph is playing Derek Newcastle, a British host with bleached hair and terrible false teeth. Hee. He makes a dumb speech about being the captain of a ship of romance looking for the greatest booty: love. The reason there are both men and women is because they've found one man and one woman, so it's like having both the Bachelor and Bachelorette running at the same time. Which they can't actually do with the real show since they cast each one with a loser from the previous season. Austin and Piper enter on litters carried by shirtless men. Ridiculous. Piper is cute and supposedly an opera singer and a jewelry designer. Austin (played by Tim Herzog
who I swear I've seen in other things but IMDB is failing me) is an athlete and model.

Derek pauses and says “Does anyone smell that? It's the infectious scent of love.” Jeez. Ingrid and Tim roll their eyes. It's time for the first elimination ceremony! Austin and Piper each get three black balls to eliminated three people right now. Tim and Ingrid freak out a little bit. There's a commercial cut, where the voiceover declares that coming up will be “the most shocking elimination ceremony yet”, which I only note because every time they mention an elimination it will be described as “the most shocking yet”. For the whole run of the show. Anyway the point of this is a dig at the shitty diversity of “Bachelor/ette” because the three people Austin gets rid of are all minorities. Ingrid notices this immediately and she's uncomfortable. Piper does the same thing. It's the “black ball” ceremony! Do you get it?!

Everyone left goes out back to the pool to have lunch and hang out. Bryce continues to be awkward. TJ tells Ingrid she has first dibs on him. Heh. Tim orders some vodka and Ernie thinks he's a good guy, treating this like spring break. It'll be a good time. Derek comes out to announce Austin and Piper, for no reason because they could have just come out. Derek tries to recite some Shakespeare and Ernie ruins it by reciting his next line. Heh. Then Derek names the wrong play, which is endlessly funny. Everyone introduces themselves to each other. Ernie says he works for his family's company. Which is a winery. And his last name is Gallo. NBD. He's lowkey about it. Rita gets drunk quickly, and she's kind of an annoying drunk. Lots of “sexy” dancing. Piper sits around with the guys, and Tim thinks she's still shy. Gerald rolls up and says “By my watch, it's Gerald time!”, then grabs Piper and leaves. Tim makes fun of Gerald some, because while I do like Tim and Ingrid they're not the super-nice awesome Matt. The snark is funny though.

Some time later (same day? Next morning? Who knows) everyone comes back out and Derek says they asked everyone to bring a gift for Austin or Piper. He makes a lame joke about a gift receipt, and then says “thank you for your courtesy laughter”. Cammy gives Austin her cell phone, so he can call her whenever he wants. Facepalm. Also it's a shitty flip phone but this was 2004. Rita claims she's going to retire her drinking glass, which I'm pretty sure is a fake coconut she got a drink in yesterday. Ambrosia has a tiara, which she says is from the first pageant she won. Ingrid interviews that these gifts are ridiculous and now she's nervous about her (normal) gift. Which is a copy of Madeleine Albright's memoir. Signed on Austin's behalf. Eleanor gives Austin a coupon book for like, a ten minute foot massage, french toast breakfast, stuff like that. Then Austin forgets her name.

TJ's gift is a black lace G-string and garter. Gerald (who announces “Piper, my gift is for you” as he walks up) gives her a basket of bath products. Sigh. Tim says he was told to bring a gift from the heart, “not a gift from Wal-Mart, no offense” so it's a photo of his nieces and nephews. Aww. Also you see what I mean about these schmos being different. Matt would have never said that to Gerald's face, but that was a solid burn and I approve. Bryce, because he's awkward and creepy, brought his pet frog. What. “I think he wants to be with you.” Bryce says he represents the prince you find when you kiss a frog, which is kind of sweet but not coming from a creepy person you met 24 hours ago. This is a frog big enough to eat mice. Ernie is last, and he says he adopted a child for Piper through his “family's” foundation. Also he adopted a child for everyone else here. As Ernie passes out envelopes, I think Tim and Ingrid are uncomfortable. It is kind of weird to find out someone adopted a child on your behalf.

Derek says Piper and Austin have gifts for them as well. Piper gives each of the boys a lock of hair which is slightly creepy. Austin gives the girls each a locket with his picture in it. The other half is empty, because maybe one of them will fill the other half of his heart. Then he asks them if they'll accept “this half-hearted locket” and I laugh and laugh. Well played, show.

That night is a game, where for some reason everyone is in the foyer wearing bathrobes and drinking wine. They will get in teams of two and perform “their very best striptease” and compete for tips. The team who wins the most tips will win a private hot tub date with Austin and Piper. Nice. Tim and Eleanor are first, with Tim in a gorilla suit and Eleanor in a banana costume. So dumb. Tim gets into it and is a dork, while Eleanor just sort of dances awkwardly. Hee. Gerald is an egg and Ambrosia is a chicken. Gerald is really intense and weird. They get $4. Ha. Ingrid and Ernie are a dog and steak, respectively, and Ernie interviews that she was really bossy about how this was going to go. TJ interviews that he thought Ingrid was a prude but she's got some moves. Austin says he was supposed to give Ingrid the most tips and it wasn't that hard. Cammy and TJ are paired, of course, and Cammy is a cow? TJ is a carton of milk? It makes zero sense but Cammy has some stripper moves. Bryce is a carrot and he is the saddest carrot. Rita is a rabbit but is clearly drunk and flailing. She doesn't even take off her costume. Anyway, Ingrid and Ernie win, and Ingrid is a little nervous about the date.

The next morning Derek calls them outside for a “Falcon Twist”. Austin and Piper are not there. The falcon flies in from outside the fence somewhere, over everyone's heads. They're all facing Derek so they all jump when it dives in. Derek calls the falcon “Montecore” and then reads the message. One woman will be evicted this evening. Also, whoever wins the game in the end will also win $100,000. However you are not allowed to tell Austin or Piper that there's now a cash prize involved. “The falcon has spoken.” Ingrid claims this doesn't matter because she still wants to see if Austin is someone she could end up with.

Time for the hot tub date. Ernie is wearing a shirt, because as a big guy he is supposed to be self-conscious about his weight and his body. Piper was nervous to be near Ingrid. While they're on the date, Tim goes to hang out with the other boys in “Club Gerald”. Heh. As they're talking (and insulting Austin for being full of himself), Bryce goes out to the balcony to stare at the hot tub. He claims he's the only guy who has a huge crush on Piper and he is really playing his role of the stalker to the hilt. Bryce says that his relationships always get ruined by outside forces, like her parents, or her job, or the police. Tim can't even pretend to agree and just laughs and walks off. Eventually Bryce goes back to staring at the hot tub while Tim, TJ, and Gerald hang out somewhere else. Tim wonders aloud how he passed the psych evaluation, and then labels him Cruiser from “Stripes”. When Ernie comes back, he says he's been going through his “checklist”. Like when you are interested in someone and you try to talk about certain things? I guess? Bryce gets pissed about how he has a list? I'm not sure, but Tim can't stop staring at Bryce in shock. TJ tells everyone to shut up because he has “fuck tips”. Lie and manipulate and tell people the opposite of what you think. Then Bryce is like, I can manipulate people, I took a course on hypnosis. Silence, before everyone bursts out laughing. Tim mocks him and he goes to leave, but TJ stops him so he can explain more. Bryce says the teacher told them not to use their powers for evil or whatever.

Eviction time. There's another fireplace, and a projector with the name of the show, and a million candles. Derek walks in from the patio, and makes a dumb speech. “Love. It's why we're all here. But tonight, one of you will be pulled off of the sweet teat of acceptance, only to sample the bitter aftertaste of rejection. For those of you lucky enough to remain, you'll receive Austin's ultimate symbol of love: a pearl necklace. Welcome to the first Pearl Necklace Eviction Ceremony.” Oh Jesus. From the look on Tim's face he gets the joke. Derek calls each woman up to plead her case. Eleanor says something about cherishing a pearl necklace. Cammy doesn't like “this intense talking stuff” and says she's just going to go with something she's memorized. “Vote for me! I'm Cammy!” At the word “memorized” Ingrid looks around in suspicion. Cammy explains it's from her running for student council one time, but it's still suspicious. Ambrosia says she's more deserving, God knows pageant judges in three counties know it. Ingrid would like more of an opportunity to get to know him. “I hope you give it to me”. Heh. Rita says she's not the hottest, but she's got a good heart and has had a really good time, what she can remember.

Austin asks the women not to take it personally, and he hopes they can be friends. Derek tells them to come up when called, lean forward, and receive a pearl necklace. If at the end of the ceremony your neck is bare, you're out. When Cammy goes up to get a necklace, Ingrid tries to ask Ambrosia in a whisper if she knew about the speech. Everyone gets a necklace except for Rita. Rita is fun but Austin wants someone more serious. She claims that maybe if there weren't all these cameras and other people and alcohol they could have hit it off. Derek gives her the goodbye speech: “Rita, your neck is bare, and so is your place in Austin's heart. Take your walk down the Last Chance for Love Trail of Tears.” Why did you go there? Sigh. You could have called it the Walk of Shame. As soon as Derek leaves Ingrid confronts the other women about the speeches. She wasn't warned that they'd need to plead their case, but everyone else's speeches sounded rehearsed. Hilariously when she tells Cammy that, Cammy thanks her. The producers hear her and start freaking out. She is telling everyone that everyone had speeches and they were well-rehearsed. “I felt like I was on like, 'The Truman Show'!” Oops. The other women are trying to deny it and act like they're shocked she thought their speeches were so good. The producers are frantically trying to get Tim away from her so he doesn't start to think about it too.

Next episode: Tim does not immediately figure out what is happening. There is grape stomping.

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