Welcome to season two of Joe Schmo. Or as the marketing geniuses have dubbed it: Joe Schmo2. It’s a lot like Joe Schmo, times two. Only not as fresh.
The opening montage sets the premise: Two schlubs are invited to take part in some lame reality show called “Last Chance for Love”. What they don’t know is that the whole thing is faked. All the other contestants are actors. The reality show doesn’t exist. It’s all been created to make them look stupid when they win.
It’s a funny premise that worked well the first time when they competely duped the dim but likable Matt Kennedy Gould. Now they’ve pushed it a little further into National Lampoon territory. The great thing about JS2 is not the stupid contestants, it’s the way they make fun of the whole reality-dating genre. If Saturday Night Live were good, it would look like this. And since this show is so funny, it’s hard for me to fire up the flamethrower.
Damn! How can I bash a show I LIKED?
This is how: The whole spoof is so over the top that even the stupidest government employee could figure out the joke. The “acting” is pathetic. No better than really bad soap opera, the sophomore class play, or those sniveling wannabes we saw two hours ago on Next Action Star. And the dialogue, while intended to be cheesy, is beyond processed cheese food; so laughably bad that it elicits sniggling from the two folks who are supposed to find it believable.
Note to the producers: While I found it to be a great lampoon of all that “Tribe has Spoken” seriousness we see on other low rent reality shows, it’s not gonna work if the Schmos figure out its all a hoax.
Obviously the biggest problem with creating Schmo2 would be locating two people stupid enough to miss all clues that reveal the hoax. Those would have to be two incredibly stupid people who are totally unaware of the first Joe Schmo series. Since SpikeTV’s core audience is, by definition, America’s Most Stupid, you can see the challenge.
This is similar to the problem producers had with “Joe Rodeo Millionaire 2.” They solved that by taking him to a place totally out of touch with America and introducing him to the desperate Gold-Diggin' Girls of Slutvakia. And the producers spent a summer in Europe banging the smelly Eurotrash castoffs.
But this is cheapo SpikeTV. There’s no budget for that crap. So where can the producers find two people who lack any reasonable grasp of their own foolishness, yet are so self-absorbed they missed one of televisions most talked about shows? Some place with domestic airfare, yet totally out of touch with America.
Yes, they went to Washington, D.C.
And that's where they found Tim Walsh and Ingrid Wiese.
Tim Walsh is the youngest of four kids born in Wilmington, Delaware. He has spent the last 20 years living in the D.C. area. He got a business degree from Mt. St. Mary’s College and hopes to own a bar. He is, in fact, an actual Schmo.
Ingrid Wiese is originally from Washington state, one of seven children. Her father is a neurosurgeon. Ingrid worked her way through the University of Washington by working as a Budweiser girl, which must have thrilled and amused Daddy’s friends. After college she moved to Washington D.C., where she works for the government and is studying to become a Foreign Services officer. She is a not quite a Schmo, but is no more than a few steps above Soiled White House Intern.
As part of the opening we get a quick run through the cast of actors playing the other roles. The actors are given reality-show names and stock personas. We have:
• Austin, The Bachelor; a model perfect man deeply in love with the mirror
• Piper, The Bachelorette; a model perfect woman desperately seeking love
• Gerald, The Gotta-Be-Gay Guy; strange and witty and a little hostile
• Rita, The Drunk; given one note to play, and thus plays it at 4000 decibels, epitomizing the worst of the School of Improv acting we’ll see tonight
• Bryce, The Stalker; who has never had a relationship end without a restraining order and thus is my favorite character
• Eleanor, the Weeper; who has no character at all, so you know she’ll be around for a while so that she can play her own Medea scene at 4000 decibels
• Ernie, The Heir; scion to the Gallo cheapo wine factory fortune, he’s a wealthy arrogant smarmy know-it-all who probably writes web summaries for reality TV shows in his spare time
• Ambrosia, The B!tch; a loving homage to (direct rip off of) The Apprentice’s Omarosa
• T.J., The Playah; a greasy self-styled ladies man who seems to have stepped in from a 1990s movie, the sort of guy Slater from “Saved By The Bell” became once he discovered the Camaro, Viagra and Jovan Musk
• Cammy, The Moron; really the Barbie Doll, who has all the baser attributes of a great stripper, but none of the intelligence
• Derek Newcastle, The Pompous Host; played by Ralph Garman. Ralph is the only actor returning from the first season of Schmo, but now he has his hair dyed neon yellow and he’s speaking in a dinner theater Shakepearean opera voice. It should go well with the bee costume