2013 Characters: Joe Schmo Show’s Mr. Wentworth

The Joe Schmo Show (Photo: Spike)
The Joe Schmo Show (Photo: Spike)

Though the premise of the Joe Schmo Show is a breath of fresh air in the over-bloated reality genre, nothing could quite prepare you for the introduction of Mr. Wentworth.

The Joe Schmo Show returned for a third season on Spike after a years-long, self-imposed hiatus. The premise of the series is genius in its simplicity: create a “reality” show where everyone except the mark knows it’s fake. This year’s fake show was “The Full Bounty,” a competition to find America’s Next Top Bounty Hunter. The mark was a guy named Chase, a landscaping specialist from Pittsburgh. The other “contestants” were your various tokens and archetypes of other basic cable reality shows, and Lorenzo Lamas.

Mr. Wentworth was not one of the contestants. Mr. Wentworth was a ventriloquist dummy for Karlee, “the deaf girl.” Whoever came up with the conceit of a deaf ventriloquist deserves a round of applause. Here’s Karlee and Mr. Wentworth in action:


As you can see, even Karlee (actress Jo Newman) can’t keep it together. If the exasperation of the people behind the scenes seems overblown, Karlee did slip a few times during the game, throwing the whole con in jeopardy. Despite this, Chase did not seem to figure the whole thing out until the big reveal.

Though the humor could be sophomoric at times (remember, this is Spike we’re talking about), the execution of the Joe Schmo Show was fascinating to watch. The downside is that we may have to wait a long time before another con could be attempted. Perhaps a Mr. Wentworth spin-off will hold us over in the meantime.

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About Mike McComb 669 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv