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Series / The Joe Schmo Show

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"They're all actors working from a script, but he thinks it's real!"

Matt Kennedy Gould: Hold the phone. Are you an actor? Tell me... just say it.
Brian Keith Etheridge: I am.
Matt Kennedy Gould: What the (bleep) is going on?! Someone fill me in!
— Matt (the Schmo of Season 1) discovers the truth.

The Joe Schmo Show was at once a Reality Show and a spoof of reality shows.

The first season centered around Matt Kennedy Gould, a regular guy who is selected as a contestant on the reality game show Lap of Luxury. What he didn't realize, however, is that everybody else around him was an actor, specifically selected to play a reality-show archetype such as "The Rich Bitch", "The Gay Guy", "The Asshole", and "The Smarmy Host". The scenes in the house were cut with standard reality-show style interviews, both from Matt and from the actors, who would describe how they felt about keeping the charade going on this guy. (Once they got to know Gould, and realized how much a truly nice and upright a guy he was, fooling him became emotionally harder and harder for the actors involved.) Despite several close calls, Matt didn't find out the truth until The Reveal in the season finale. Future television and movie star Kristen Wiig appeared on the first Joe Schmo in her first big role as Dr. Pat, the incompetent therapist.

Joe Schmo 2, the second season, brought in 2 schmoes, Tim Walsh and Ingrid Weise, for a parody reality relationship show, Last Chance for Love. This season was often criticized for taking the premise way over the top, and for practically daring the schmoes to figure out the truth (which one, Ingrid, eventually did; they kept things going by having her join the actors and bringing in a new Schmo, Amanda Naughton). As well, neither Tim nor Ingrid was really as likeable as Matt was. Because of this, season 2 never really did quite as well as season 1, ratings- or acclaim-wise. Jon Huertas played T.J., and Jessica Makinson played Eleanor.

The poor ratings for Season 2 seemed to kill the show but after a nine-year hiatus, Spike TV brought back The Joe Schmo Show in January 2013. The new program featured Chase Rogan, a married agronomist who is also the founder of PureTurf Consulting, who believes he is on a reality series called The Full Bounty, which supposedly will offer him a job as a bounty hunter and a prize of $100,000 should he win. But as with previous incarnations, everyone around Chase is an actor and events are scripted. For the first time, the program featured an actor that is already reasonably well known, Lorenzo Lamas, as himself. The program was filmed in July 2012, but poor ratings killed any hope of a fourth season.

That is until eleven years later when it was announced in May 2023 that a reboot would premiere on TBS in 2024. It stars Ben as the newest schmo competing in what he thought was the hottest reality tv show called The Goat with Cat Deely taking over the mantle as The Host from Ralph Garman and his eleven fellow contestants who are not only actors but also improv comedians so you know the show is gonna be more chaotic and wilder than usual.

The Joe Schmo Show provides examples of the following:

    In General 
  • Archetypal Character: The sad thing is how little they have to exaggerate the ridiculous people that appear on reality television. Each season features a different All-Stereotype Cast with too-on-the-nose titles including:
  • Berserk Button:
    • Kip only wants to see pictures of positivity in his photo album. He doesn't want to see anything negative, like, say, photos of someone else's buttcheeks.
    • Don't even think of harming Bryce's pet frog Everett.
  • Blatant Lies: In at least a couple of instances, the actors couldn't keep their stories straight and had to come up with complicated explanations to try to smooth things over. Generally, they managed to get away with it, except in the case of Ingrid, who managed to see through enough of the lies to pretty much piece the entire sham together.
    • Earl misidentified the underwear he was supposed to be wearing in Season 1.
    • In season 2 the actor playing Ernie was unable to come up with an explanation for how he knew how many contestants to buy gifts for.
    • Maybe the worst was in Season 3 when the actress playing Alison panicked after some pretty mild questioning from Chase and wound up saying she graduated from medical school at the age of 18.
    • In the "Money, Money, Honey, Honey" game in the first season, Matt was bound to Molly the virgin for a game in which everyone had to roll around in money while covered in honey and the pair that collected the most money on their bodies were the winners. Matt and Molly did great, but the contest was one of those that they were rigged to lose. As such, they basically had to just lie to Matt and drop heavy hints that he and Molly had ended up with a lot of $1 and $5 bills, whereas the winning team ended up with a lot of $50 and $100 bills.
  • The Bus Came Back: All three seasons include characters who were eliminated from the fake reality shows returning for contrived reasons. In Season 2, they even did this with one of the Schmoes.
  • The Cameo:
    • Matt Gould was supposed to have a cameo in Joe Schmo 2 as a pizza deliveryman with one of his lines of dialogue being his iconic "What is going on?". It was cut from the broadcast but included in the Season 2 DVD release.
    • Ralph Garman, The Host of the first three seasons, was slated to have a cameo in the reboot but production waited until the last minute before low-balling him on the offer.
  • Confession Cam: They had to be very careful with this, as the actors generally recorded their confessionals out of character. This led to a moment of panic in the first season when everyone thought that Matt Kennedy Gould had overheard Lance Krall ("Kip") speaking out of character.
  • Confetti Drop: This was done in every season, with the Schmo/Schmoes always coming in second, then immediately subverted when the truth was revealed.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Season 2's "Pearl Necklace" ceremonies and to a lesser degree the candle ceremonies to the point the Schmoes giggle at about every elimination ceremony. This was continued in season 3, with the contestants asking to enter Lady Justice to cast their votes.
  • Elimination Catchphrase:
    • "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, ——, you're dead to us." (Season 1)
    • "Your wick is cold / your neck is bare and so is your place in ——'s heart. Please take your walk down the Last Chance For Love Trail of Tears." (Season 2)
    • "You've gone from hunter to hunted. You're not wanted, dead or alive." (Season 3)
  • Elimination Statement: Often quite interesting, since the "contestants" being eliminated were actors. The special features on the DVD of the first season of the program contained much fuller versions and made for some very revealing viewing.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Since the characters were intended as archetypes such as "The Rich Bitch," "The Asshole" and "The Gotta-Be-Gay Guy," the show tried to have these early on in the first episode to get both the viewers and schmoes acquainted. One of the most memorable of these, in Joe Schmo 2, was certainly that of Cammy, "The Moron." All of the prospective suitors of Austin and Piper (this season parodying reality-romance shows) were supposed to give them gifts. Cammy gave Austin her cell-phone, saying that now whenever he wanted, he would be able to call her.
    Ingrid: (interview segment, Beat) ...But she just gave him her phone...?
  • Failure Is the Only Option:
    • Matt tried to work on making some reality show alliances and voting strategies, but given that everyone else was an actor working from a shared script. Not only that, but failure was always the only option in any of the games on any season that were rigged against the schmo.
    • In The Full Bounty, Chase Rogan actually won an immunity challenge that had been specifically rigged against him, powering through double-reinforced doors as if they were nothing.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Perhaps the reason for the 9-year hiatus between Joe Schmo 2 and 3.
  • Giant Novelty Check: Each of the schmoes was presented with a giant novelty check with their winnings at the end of each season, as well as Ingrid in the second season for completing her mission of being one of the show's actresses.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot:
    • Lampshaded, as with so many other tropes on this show, when the Network Executive demands that Molly and Ashleigh kiss to boost the ratings.
    • In the second episode of Season 3 two of the girls kiss in a failed effort to get an "informant" to give them an address. It was described as the least sexy girl-on-girl kiss ever.
  • Internal Reveal: The truth is revealed to the Schmo in the last episode of all three seasons.
  • Jerkass: The Hutch from Season 1 and Randy from Season 3 are both billed as "The Asshole" and are there to irritate other characters.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: A number of these were created for plot purposes.
    • In the first season, Dr. Pat accepted $25,000 to "voluntarily exit" the program. The votes revealed that The Hutch would have been eliminated had she not left. The Hutch was later ejected from the program for making threats against another contestant, but returned on a legal technicality and went on to "win."
    • A double for ''Joe Schmo 2". Bryce the Stalker was eliminated via the normal elimination but invited back to the show, only to then be ejected later on for supposedly killing the falcon, Montecore. Eleanor "The Weeper" Took a Level in Badass and quit the show after Austin had treated her badly.
    • The third season had LV up and quit for no apparent reason.
  • Player Elimination: This was the premise of most if not all of the fake games. The catch was that the games were rigged so that the eliminations were carefully determined according to the script, though there was always the wild-card of the schmo's actions in play. In one notable game in the first season, "Hands on a High-Price Hooker," it was Exactly What It Says on the Tin - the players all had to place their hands on supposedly randomly selected places on a hooker and the last one to let go was the loser. The catch was that there was a rule that whoever was last was supposed to keep their hand on a for a few seconds after everyone else had dropped out. "The Hutch," who was the pre-determined winner didn't do this, which was immediately pointed out by Matt, but Ralph Garman just powered through it and declared him the winner anyway.
  • Quote Mine: The show generally avoided this as they wanted to present the Schmoes in a flattering, but still honest light. However, in Joe Schmo 2, they couldn't resist this with a line of Amanda Naughton's in the season finale: "I want money. I want lots of money," used in the promo. The full line, heard in the context in the episode itself, was "I want money. I want lots of money. I'd love to live a very rich life, but not at the expense of somebody."
  • Reality TV Show Mansion: All three seasons of the program were set in one. One of the rules of the fake reality show in the first season was that anyone that stepped outside the front door of the mansion without permission was automatically eliminated. This led to a plot point when the character Molly threatened to walk out to chase after her "boyfriend," William.
    • As explained in Season 3, the need for one controlled location is essential. The "Real World" threatens their delicate house of cards every second the mark is exposed to it, as shown in their worry when the S3 Schmo has to go to the emergency room.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The show reused several themes from The Mole, including the theme played during eviction ceremonies, either as a nod to fans of that series or simply because they could because both series were from Stone Stanley Entertainment.
  • Serial Escalation: How over-the-top and stereotypical will Joe Schmo's competition be? Could any challenge be more insanely sadistic than the last one? And will any elimination ceremony top the last one in terms of sheer ridiculousness?
  • Sexophone: A musical theme that began with this was used regularly when showing scenes of something that was sexy, or wasn't actually, but they wanted to play it as it was for comedy.
  • Shocking Elimination: In-universe, poked fun at by including the phrase "the most shocking elimination yet" in several of the promos either going to break or at the end of the episode. This was done continuously for several episodes in Joe Schmo 2 as early as the first, and was likely the producers making fun of themselves, as many of them were also involved with the production of The Mole. The second season of that series had a bad habit of promising a shocking elimination, to the point where it no longer had much meaning.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The show often lampoons specific events from real reality shows. After Ingrid transitioned from Schmo to actress in Season 2, her character was accused of fabricating a death in the family for sympathy, which actually happened on the seventh season of Survivor. And in the first season, Gina was said to be a big fan of Richard Hatch, but later gave a speech that was referential of Sue Hawk's "snakes eat rats" speech. The planes with banners in the second season were referential of something that happened on Big Brother, which was even Lamp Shaded by Ingrid, after she had been converted to an actress. Karlee the deaf would-be bounty hunter and her interpreter Stan from Season 3 are a parody of Marlee Matlin's appearance with an interpreter in the 2011 edition of The Apprentice.
    • The single biggest blunder that tipped Ingrid Wiese off in Season 2—Cammy's "Porked and Beans" food fetish video—was inspired by the first season of Joe Millionaire and The Reveal that runner-up Sarah Kozer had appeared in fetish videos while she was in law school.
    • After Chase's convict escapes in Season 3, the Warden gives a speech that is a direct quote of Tommy Lee Jones's "hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse" speech from The Fugitive.
    • One of Derek's (Ralph's) elimination speeches in Season 2 was as follows:
    This ought to scare the living daylights out of you. Love is as precious as a diamond. And as we all know, diamonds are forever. But love sometimes is not. Tonight, should fate point its gold finger at two of you, you'll be evicted. That's right, we'll be having both a Pearl Necklace and Flame of Love eviction ceremony tonight. If Austin and Piper choose to sever their emotional bond with you, The World Is Not Enough to save you. The rest of you will have a chance to die another day. You have a lot to think about. The falcon has spoken.
  • Show Within a Show: Three truly terrible reality programs parodying three different reality show genres.
  • Smarmy Host: Ralph Garman's role being that of "smarmy host".
  • Surprise Party: A surprise party was held for Tim Walsh of the second season on his birthday, and Chase Rogan of the third season. Both were used as a way to advance the plot, with the former involving a face-painting party held by Gerald the Gotta-Be-Gay Guy in which Bryce the stalker painted "Piper" on his face, and in the latter, Randy the asshole taking advantage of the party to get closer to the host's wife. The second season, though, was generally more interesting, as Tim had never been given a surprise party before in his life, but had always wanted one. The party was said to be sponsored by "Club G" and even included Tim giving Gerald a lap dance as part of a game of Truth or Dare. Afterwards, Jonathan Torrens ("Gerald") said in an interview segment that his favorite theory of Tim's so far was "But I don't think he's gay. I think he's Canadian."
  • This Is a Competition: Several of the supposed contestants as well as Chase, the schmo of the third season. Averted by Matt Gould, who gets emotional when Earl is eliminated and says "No amount of money is worth this!".
  • Token Minority: Noting that contestants with an ethnic background typically tended to be eliminated first on reality-relationship shows, the producers decided to have a "black ball eviction ceremony" in the premiere episode of Season 2 in which several were eliminated before the program had even really gotten started. This bit them in the butt when one of the supposed contestants told Ingrid that her agent had gotten her the gig, causing Ingrid to be immediately suspicious.
    • Season 3 has several token minorities (the black Lavernius, the Latino Chico, the Asian Allison, and the deaf Karlee), if for no reason other than for the racist Randy to make fun of them.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Ingrid Weiss and Amanda Naughton are the only females out of the six schmos though the former would later join in on the hoax, making the latter the true female schmo.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: Lampshaded in at least a couple of instances.
    • In the first season of the show, Ashleigh stated that if she won the money, she would go to Fiji. In The Truman Show, Truman Burbank's dream destination was Fiji, because it was where he believed his first love to be.
    • Ingrid from Joe Schmo 2 likened the show to The Truman Show at one point. Later, when he is eliminated from the show in Joe Schmo 2, Tim tells everyone "if I don't see you guys, good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night," a play on one of Truman Burbank's Catch Phrases.
  • Uncanceled: There was nearly a nine year gap between Joe Schmo 2 and The Full Bounty due to low ratings of the former. This happened again when the even lower ratings of ''The Full Bounty re-canceled the show only to be revitalized for the reboot a full ten years later.
  • Voted Off the Island: Well, not really. Seasons 1 and 3 used this trope while in Season 2, the bachelor and bachelorette eliminates one contestant per episode.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?:
    • Kip, in the show's original season, was afraid of water a lot.
    • Chase, from season 3, really is scared of snakes, and the producers decided to exploit that in several challenges.
    • Matt, in season 1, is incredibly revolted by the taste of chocolate. This is exploited in a challenge where the contestants have to lick chocolate syrup off of a model, which causes Matt to gag and dry heave.
  • Word, Schmord!: The name "Joe Schmo" is a classic example, as in "Joe, whoever."
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Ralph Garman, the only recurring castmember, plays three different Smarmy Hosts in three seasons.
    • In Season 2 the same pair of actors played both Austin's parents and Piper's parents. (The show could get away with this because the first dinner was only with the male "contestants" and the second was only with the females. Part of the reveal for the final episode was when they called for Austin's and Piper's parents to come in, and only these two actors showed up.)

    Tropes in The Joe Schmo Show ("Lap of Luxury") 
  • Alliterative Title: The Show Within the Show that Matt thought he was competing in was titled "Lap of Luxury"
  • The Bully: Hutch was this to Kip, messing up his photo album, teasing him about not wanting to go in the pool and threatening to shove him in the pool and such. Part of the appeal of Matt was standing up for Kip, saying that he understands phobias can be scary and tries to help him conquer his fear of water.
  • Camp Gay: Kip (Even though the actor who played him is actually straight).
  • Censored for Comedy: During the "Money Money, Honey Honey" challenge from the first season, the men were shirtless and writer/cast member Brian Keith Etheridge's man-boobs were blurred. In an interview following the show, Etheridge stated that he did not even know that the post-production people did this until he watched the show on TV.
  • Cheek Copy: Kip only wanted pictures of positivity in his photo album, not pictures of negativity. So, naturally, Hutch, resident asshole, absconded with it and filled it with photos of his buttocks.
  • Crossover: Jerri Manthey from the second season of Survivor (and later, two more Survivor editions) appeared in the third episode as one of the judges for the talent contest.
  • Eat That: A good portion of the drama in one of the episodes focused on one of these. Matt Kennedy Gould said he was specifically assured before the show started that he wouldn't be put in a situation like this, yet one of the later episodes featured a gross-eating challenge. The dishes were all supposedly Foreign Queasine, such as monkey testicles or moufflon eyeballs, up until Matt's dish, which was claimed to be canine feces. Matt, having a well-known gag reflex, was immediately grossed out, but then seemed to decide that it couldn't possibly be real until he was assured by a producer that it was. (He later revealed that he had so grown to trust the producers that the fact that none of them would even look at him led him to believe that it really was real.) Having refused to eat the canine feces, Matt met with a fake Network Executive who told him that the challenge could still be won if he got Ashleigh and Molly to either kiss or go topless. Because Girl on Girl Is Hot.
  • Executive Meddling: invoked Parodied when the Network Executive insists that Ashleigh and Molly kiss to boost the ratings. This is one of the moments that even the Genre Blind Matt Gould picked up on as fake.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The first episode included a game wherein cast members had to wear other cast members' underwear while the others had to guess who said underwear actually belonged to. The sight of Brian "The Buddy" camping it up in a pair of tiny woman's panties was particularly disturbing.
    • In the third episode, the guests are split along the gender line and are asked questions about members of the other team. A wrong answer results in having to wear a penalty outfit. Unfortunately for the audience, all of the outfits are intended for women. This results in Earl wearing a Bo Peep outfit, Matt wearing a schoolgirl outfit, Hutch dressed as a French maid, and Brian in a Playboy Bunny costume. To make things worse, the penalty outfits come with a penalty action. This entails Earl pole dancing, Brian giving Matt a spanking, and Hutch giving Earl an oily foot massage.
  • Fanservice: Attractive female cast members winding up in bikinis in all three seasons. The show also had a habit of bringing on scantily clad models or porn stars to participate in the games.
  • Gone Horribly Right: The intention of the first season was to seek out the nicest guy they could find for their experiment, once it became obvious that Matt was every bit as decent and honest as he presented himself in his audition video the morality of lying to him became a central part of the show's drama.
  • I Feel Guilty; You Take It: A sumo slam contest was rigged so that Matt Kennedy Gould would win a spa vacation. Matt, however, had no idea that the contest was rigged and got a little too into it, accidentally causing a head injury to Dr. Pat that required a brief hospitalization. When she came back that evening, he insisted on her taking the prize. At the end of the show, though, when it was revealed that Dr. Pat (like everyone else) was actually an actress, the prize was awarded back to him, along with the show's big main prize of $100,000.
  • Indy Ploy: Done by the show in Season 2 when Ingrid Wiese, the female Schmo in the dating show, figured out that everything was fake. They enlisted her in the show as an actress and brought in Amanda Naughton to be a replacement Schmo.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Molly who is parodying the archetype of "The Virgin" but Matt pointed out how attractive she looks.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Ashleigh tries to warn Matt that host Ralph has a crush on Molly, "the virgin," and vice versa, but Matt doesn't really want to hear it from her because of her being the "bitch" for the season, and also because she herself has a crush on Ralph that she claims she would never act on during the show because it wouldn't be professional. When Molly is eliminated, Ralph lets her keep her plate and gives her a kiss. Ashleigh immediately points this out to Matt and he is forced to admit that she has a point.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: Hutch used this as his go-to excuse for his regular harassment and bullying of Kip, particularly his threats to toss him in the pool over his fear of water and stealing his photo album and filling it with pictures of his buttocks.
  • Manipulative Editing: While reality show contestants often complain of being portrayed in the worst possible light, the editors ended up going out of their way to portray Matt Kennedy Gould in the best possible light because he turned out to be such a nice guy that everyone involved started feeling guilty about conning him. Matt himself tried to downplay it a bit, basically saying that he wasn't quite the saint that they were trying to make him out to be. Not quite as true of the second season, though they did basically seem to make the Schmoes seem like good people.
    • Played straight with the teasers for The Reveal though, which made it sound like Matt went on a violent rampage upon learning the truth. Nothing of the sort actually happens.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Matt Gould, the original Schmo, turned out to be a really nice guy. He became genuine friends with some of the people trying to trick him and insisted on giving away his prize to a then-unknown Kristen Wiig after he genuinely injured her in a wrestling competition. This led to everyone feeling guilty for manipulating him and resulted in the games being rigged in Matt's favor and the footage being edited to turn him into the hero rather than the buttmonkey.
    • This is also the characterization of Brian "the Buddy" whose role is to befriend Matt.
  • Old Soldier: Earl.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The real names of the characters of "The Hutch" and "Kip" were given in publicity materials as Calvin Hutchinson and Carlos Calderas, but only "The Hutch" and "Kip" were ever heard on the show itself.
  • Raging Stiffie: Ashleigh and Molly sit on Kip's lap in the hot tub and start cuddling up with him. Lance Krall, in character as Kip, says "That's the chlorometer, that measures the chlorine level", and the girls quickly get off. Later in an out-of-character interview Krall admits that he couldn't get out of the hot tub for a while.
  • Reality Show Genre Blindness: Matt Kennedy Gould, the original Joe Schmo, had a heavy dose of this and admitted more than once that had it been a real reality show there would have been no way he could have come anywhere close to winning.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Heard when Molly announces to the group that she is a virgin.
  • Rich Bitch: Ashleigh was billed as this which led to an out-of-character moment when Melissa Yvonne-Lewis gave a heartfelt speech about how good a person Matt Gould was.
  • There Is Only One Bed: At the very beginning, Matt, the season's schmo, discovers that he has to share a room with two of the other "contestants," Earl and Dr. Pat and there is only one bed. One of the early plotlines involves the fact that Matt will do whatever it takes to get his own room with his own bed, even if it means purposely loses a competition and accepting the "punishment" of a small closet room. The show quickly arranges a plotline of him winning use of a luxury suite in order to make it easier to keep track of him.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: After The Hutch was kicked off the program in the first season, the promos for the next episode clearly gave away the fact that he was coming back.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: This was used in regard to Ralph's bee costume in the first season, such as Molly giving it a "bee plus."

    Tropes in Joe Schmo 2 ("Last Chance for Love") 
  • Ambiguously Gay: When Gerald asked if he wants to spend his alone time with Austin or Piper he hesitates for a really long time.
  • Ass Shove: Tired of Austin's abuse, Eleanor "The Weeper" finally grows a spine and quits, telling Austin that he can take his pearl necklace and half-hearted locket and shove them up his ass. This is re-played in the recap of the episode leading into the next episode, resulting in this...
    Derek: Did he? Find out now on Joe Schmo 2.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Derek does this just after the cast has watched Cammy's Porked 'n Beans video.
    Derek: "I'm sorry we had to see that [Beat] on such a small monitor."
  • Caught on Tape: This is one of the things that lead Ingrid Wiese to realize that something is very much off about what's going on and possibly the final nail in the coffin. Cammy leads her into the bathroom to tell her an embarrassing story about having been in a food fetish video called Porked 'n Beans, saying that she's worried the producers are going to find out about it and use it against her. As she's telling the story, the cameraman has to step outside because the batteries on his camera have gone out. Any normal person would keep telling the story and probably be grateful for not having the cameras there. Cammy, however, or rather her actress, Jana Speaker, stops telling the story, deliberately waiting until the cameraman returns to resume it, as if she actually wants everything she says to be on camera. (Which she does, as this whole scenario is going to be an important plot point going forward with the series.)
  • Comically Missing the Point: Bryce's frog Everett is killed off-screen (at least in the storyline created for the show anyway) by the falcon Montecore. Bryce, however, at first blames the ditz Cammy, who was acting as the frog's caretaker, for killing him by feeding him donuts.
    Bryce: You killed him by giving him a donut?
    Cammy: It was a maple bar. I love maple bars.
  • Disney Death: Everett the frog and Montecore the falcon, both of which were brought out in the finale and shown to be just fine. Additionally, Ingrid's grandfather. She stated that he was still alive and they could bring him out at the finale, but for unstated reasons, this didn't happen.
  • The Ditz: Dim Cammy is billed as "The Moron".
  • Double-Meaning Title: Joe Schmo 2 not only refers to the show being in its second season but now there are two schmos (Tim and Ingrid) that everyone is trying to fool.
  • Flanderization: After the hoax was revealed to her and she became one of the actresses, Ingrid Wiese's character became largely a Flanderized version of herself, talking about Communism with a love doll and doing a skit show while reciting the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. At least some of this was entirely of her own choosing.
  • The Frog Prince: The Bryce character believed that the frog Everett was a real person, trapped in the form of a frog.
  • Full-Name Basis: Austin often introduced himself by his full name of "Austin Newton-Rice," causing Tim's cousin to decide that he was a "pompous ass."
  • Genre Savvy: Ingrid Wiese, the original female Schmo, and the only one of five Schmos to figure out that the entire show was a fake.
  • Grew a Spine: Throughout Joe Schmo 2, Eleanor is a weeper who breaks down crying due to the smallest slights from Austin, usually because of him favoring the ditz Cammy over her. Just before she quits, however, she finds it in herself to refuse Austin's offer of a pearl necklace to remain the show, telling him...
    Eleanor: You can take your pearl necklace and your half-hearted locket and shove it up your ass.
  • Hypno Fool: Bryce hoped to turn Piper into this using the hypnotic command "mockingbird". The painful conclusion to this joke came when Bryce stage-whispered "mockingbird! mockingbird!" as Piper eliminated him.
  • Jaw Drop: Eleanor gets out her "coupon book of love" at the suggestion of Austin. She finds that one of the coupons, for a ten-minute foot massage, is missing. Cammy says that she had already used it with Austin, that she "thought it was okay," at which point Tim's mouth forms a perfect jaw-dropping oval at what's going on around him.
  • Lady Drunk: Rita "The Drunk" who like her Archetypal Character suggests, is pretty much wasted the whole time.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: The falcon was said to be a nightmare to work with. During rehearsals, he crashed into the doors to the mansion, so they decided to leave them open, only for the thing to end up getting into the house and flying all over the place.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: The show had to post one of these when Montecore the falcon somehow missed his target (Derek, holding a piece of meat) and instead plowed into the plate glass window with a loud thunk and fell to the ground.
  • Running Gag:
    • Towards the end of one episode, one of the producers revealed that Everett the frog had been killed by Montecore the falcon. Ingrid suggested a moment of silence and a memorial was shown on-screen to Everett. In the next episode, Bryce, the owner of the frog returned, but before a certain point, everyone kept avoiding the issue of Everett's death. However, the characters kept working in subtle references to Everett and, whenever they did, the memorial was shown again.
    • Before that turn of events, Montecore's habit of coming in low and scaring the bejesus out of the cast when he swooped in became a very funny Running Gag.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Ambrosia.
  • Sham Wedding: At the end of Joe Schmo 2, when Austin Newton-Rice and Piper Davidson decide to renew their commitment to each other, host Derek Newcastle ("Ralph Garman") suggests that he marry them right then and there on national television. He gets as far as the Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace bit when Bryce, who was eliminated from the show for killing the falcon Montecore, bursts in to say that he can't marry them because they're both actors and so is everyone else on the show, including himself, except for the two chosen schmoes.
  • Sommelier Speak: In "A Bottle of Red, A Bottle of White"', the lack of this is Played for Laughs. The Reality TV Show Mansion used for the season is situated on a vineyard, so naturally they want to have a wine tasting. However, as explained by Kevin Kirkpatrick, who played Bryce, they weren't allowed to be too specific about anything, leading the host to explain things like, "We'll start with a chardonnay. Now the chardonnay is named after the grape..."
    Kevin: It was all the basics of "Chianti." "Cabernet." They might as well have just said, "Here's red. And something very different from red is white."
  • Spoiler Title: The promo for the sixth episode promises that "We've laughed with them, cried with them and one of them is going to die." The episode is titled "Requiem for a Frog," purposely giving away that it's Bryce's pet frog, Everett, which dies in that episode.
  • Tonight, Someone Dies: One of the promos for Joe Schmo 2 promised "We've laughed with them. Cried with them. And on the next episode, one of them is going to die." The "death" was that of Everett the frog, who had supposedly been killed by the falcon Montecore. Later, Montecore was supposedly killed off as well. Both were brought out at the finale and revealed to be just fine.

    Tropes in The Joe Schmo Show: "The Full Bounty" 
  • Adam Westing: Lorenzo Lamas as an idiotic, vain, spoiled Lorenzo Lamas.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Amusing parody with Stan the ASL interpreter and Karlee.
    Stan: I love you.
    Karlee: [bored, uninterested] I know.
    Stan: Okay.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: A non-verbal example with Karlee the deaf contestant. Actress Jo Newman, who has normal hearing, apparently does not know American Sign Language.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Skylar was supposedly this innocent single mom whose husband died in a freak cement-pouring accident, but the husband was actually alive and the whole innocent thing was an act.
  • Bond Creatures: All the contestants (including Chase) are assigned spirit animals that they must bond with at every elimination ceremony. Chase, in this instance, is assigned a llama.
  • The Determinator: Chase is dead serious about becoming a bounty hunter and risks personal injury without hesitation, much to the crew's surprise.
  • Fan Disservice: Lorenzo Lamas and his European casual pouches, which he enticed the whole cast to wear.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Rather savagely parodied with Karlee the deaf and kind-of-bitchy contestant. Chase notes how silly the idea of a deaf bounty hunter is.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Chloe shows the other contestants her "modeling portfolio"—which is actually hardcore porn. (The actress playing Chloe makes sure to tell the audience that it isn't really her in the photos.)
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: One of the tasks involves the contestants making a truly terrible commercial for Jake.
  • Manly Gay: Lavernius, the token black guy on The Full Bounty. So much so that he wasn't even revealed as gay until the show actually premiered. When he revealed it to the schmo, Chase, he barely batted an eye and said that it didn't change his opinion of him. He even agreed to an alliance with him.
  • Perp Sweating: One of the challenges in the premiere involved this. Chase, the schmo, was described as coming "full on bad cop," but he didn't have a good cop to go with it.
  • Pursue the Dream Job: The chosen "schmo" for the season already owned a successful business but nevertheless went on the show, believing he was competing for a dream job to work as the understudy of a world-famous bounty hunter, and eventually perhaps gain similar fame.
  • Reformed Criminal: Chico.
  • Spirited Competitor: Allison the Overachieving Asian, up to eleven.
  • Tastes Like Feet: In a deleted scene from the broadcast's fourth episode but included on the DVD, Derek serves the group an awful British breakfast. T.J. comments that it tastes like "boiled ass," causing someone to ask just what exactly that tastes like.
  • Trophy Wife: Ralph Garman's character, Jake Montrose, has one as his co-host.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Each contestant who is fake-eliminated in Season 3 has to turn in their bounty hunter badge and stun gun.

    Tropes in The Joe Schmo Reboot ("The Goat") 
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each contestant is given a different color tracksuit to wear with Ben, the reboot's schmo, being assigned blue while the others are comprised of red, orange (Charles Michael), yellow (Jonathan), green, dark green (Agnes), dark blue (Braxton), beige (Chasity), grey (Ryan), tan, maroon and pink (Barbara). Meanwhile, Cat Deely dresses predominately in white and black.
  • No Name Given: In the reboot's trailer, the contestants wear tracksuits embroidered with their names but some (those in red, green, maroon and tan) were too obscure in the shots to make it out.


Video Example(s):


This Bird Is Insane

In "Joe Schmo 2," host "Derek Newcastle" (Ralph Garman) describes the struggles of working with Montecore, a trained falcon who delivers the "Falcon Twists" on the fake reality program "Last Chance for Love."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / NeverWorkWithChildrenOrAnimals

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