Theatre of cruelty

I don’t watch much TV, but there was something I couldn’t resist about Joe Schmo, the reality show in which only one hapless contestant — the Schmo — is real. Everyone else is an actor playing a reality show archteype:

  • The Buddy
  • The Asshole
  • The Grizzled Veteran
  • The Schemer
  • The Rich Bitch
  • The Gay Guy
  • The Virgin
  • The Quack
  • The Smarmy Host

All the “drama” is scripted and treads the fine line between over-the-top and believable (rather like some of the stories in this blog, come to think of it). Normally, reality shows fail to capture my interest for terribly long because they’re so terribly contrived. However, by actually increasing the contrivance to Truman Show levels, scripting the “drama” and giving the viewer that “in on the joke” feeling, I think they’ve actually made the show feel more “real” than any reality TV show.

Of course, I’m assuming that the Schmo isn’t also an actor faking that he doesn’t know that it’s fake.

I think I would’ve loved being on the writing team for Joe Schmo.

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