After weeks of watching Chase Rogan truly earn his “good guy” title on Joe Schmo: The Full Bounty, the time had finally come to reveal to this year’s “Joe Schmo” that the show he was on was, in fact, fake. But as fans of the series reveled in Rogan’s tearful response to news, one question continued to linger: Could they do it again? Is a season 4 possible?
The return of The Joe Schmo Show on Spike in 2013 was, for fans of the series at least, something they thought would never happen. When the show first premiered in 2003, Matt Kennedy Gould, the original “Schmo”, participated in a show he thought was called Lap of Luxury where, like with The Full Bounty, Ralph Garman as well as a stable of actors (including Kristin Wigg, who had to be taken to the hospital for a head injury) helped guide Gould through television’s most chaotic “reality” show of which he was the star.
After the much talked about finale reveal aired, in which Gould’s famous catchphrase, “What is going ON?!?,” was uttered, Spike decided to try it again, in The Joe Schmo Show 2. This time, things didn’t exactly go as planned.
In what was titled Last Chance for Love, The Joe Schmo Show tried to one-up themselves from the first season, this time having two “Joe Schmos”, Tim Walsh and Ingrid Wiese, battle it out in a crazed Bachelor/Bachelorette-esque game with actors and of course, Ralph Garman helping to guide them along their journey. And then… ‘Joe Schmo’ found out.
During early stages of filming, a day-player (not cast member) on the show revealed to Wiese that her agent helped get her booked for the show. This helped plant the seed in Wiese’s mind that something else was going on. What finally secured her doubt was when a cast member, who was supposedly telling Wiese a secret, stopped to allow a cameraman to change his battery. Shortly after, Wiese began to say in her interviews that she didn’t believe what was happening was real. Fortunately all was not lost, as Walsh, the other “Schmo”, still remained clueless.
In an attempt to make best of what happened, producers decide reveal to Wiese what was going on, ultimately turning her in to another actor in the cast. In the end, Walsh remained oblivious throughout. But for some reason, the second season finale reveal just wasn’t as rewarding as it was the first time. Perhaps The Joe Schmo Show had run its course. As it turns out, Spike had other ideas.
In late 2012, Spike announced that The Joe Schmo Show would be returning for season 3, called “The Full Bounty”. This time tapping “good guy” Chase Rogan as their new “Schmo”, fans began to wonder if Spike could really pull it off again, especially after what happened last time. Ralph Garman once again returned as host, and a new group of actors were cast in their stereotypical roles. As they say, third time’s the charm.
For all intents and purposes, The Joe Schmo Show: The Full Bounty was an almost perfect execution of the series’ intended format. Sure, the first season of the show was as enjoyable and as talked about as anyone would have hoped; however, season 3 saw lofty goals being set and executed (almost) perfectly, sometimes too perfectly. Sometimes pushing the limits of believability, Rogan did become suspicious about what’s going on. Thankfully, the many months they spent casting paid off.
As it turns out, Rogan really is a good guy, not just someone who is oblivious about what’s going on. Sure, he had his doubts, but it was his “good guy” trust in those contestants (actors) he considered close friends as well Ralph Garman that helped keep him onboard until the end. And with fans of the series consistently celebrating the show, the question of another must be asked.
Television loves its celebrated hits, and The Joe Schmo Show certainly falls into that category. Of course, what they love more is replicating celebrated hits over and over, season after season. But even though the third, delayed outing for Joe Schmo proved to be successful in every way, the way the second season played out might cause some doubts that a season 4 could happen anytime soon.
After all, Ralph Garman, who is an essential, required staple of the show, can easily be seen, heard and Google’d with ease. And with today’s social media network world, it doesn’t take much for people to remember quick phrases, like “fake reality show” and “joe schmo”, that may pass whatever social “timeline” they follow. So can The Joe Schmo Show season 4 happen? Absoutely. How? One word: casting.
It’s all about the casting, really. Statistically, there are more people who never watched or never heard of The Joe Schmo Show than have. Right now there around 115 million households, not people, in the US with televisions, 57 million with cable television. Out of that, let’s be overly generous and say that 15 million households either know of or watch The Joe Schmo Show. That’s still 100 million households with television that have no idea this show even exists. Even with an average 2.5 people per household, that still leaves a large selection of the population, likely men (thanks to “Joe-anne Schmo” in season 2), to choose from for season 4.
Even though statistics are on their side, producers are still going to have to spend a lot of time trying to cast the next “Joe”. While the large number of potential “Joes” are true, you also have to take into account the likelihood of someone going to a casting call, which shrinks your numbers by quite a bit. The only question, really, is: how can they make sure Ralph Garman returns as host. But again, it’s all down to statistics and casting.
So here’s a bit of a warning from Garman: “…the next time a shaman gives you a spirit animal, or a convict escapes when you’re watching him, or you’re forced to hold a gun on a complete stranger, you just might be on The Joe Schmo Show.”
But if you’re reading this article or watched the show, don’t count on it.