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Real DeceptionsThe Contemporary Reinvention of Realism$
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Jennifer Friedlander

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190676124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190676124.001.0001

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The Faux and the Schmo

The Faux and the Schmo

Parodying Reality TV

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter 5 The Faux and the Schmo
Source:
Real Deceptions
Author(s):

Jennifer Friedlander

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190676124.003.0006

This chapter engages with the reality TV show parody The Joe Schmo Show, whose premise rests upon a cast of actors convincing an earnest participant that he is competing in a Big Brother–style reality. It compares The Joe Schmo Show with a series of made-for-TV movies based around “true events” and “real people,” with which it aired contemporaneously. It argues that, unlike docu-dramas which enable viewers to “see through” the fictionalized scene, The Joe Schmo Show functions in an unexpectedly disruptive way. Through setting up a seemingly irresistible scene for “seeing through” the ruse and then exploiting its attendant traps, the show accomplishes the subversive task of undermining the power of the ideological call of mastery associated with the realist form.

Keywords:   The Joe Schmo Show, reality TV, parody, Laura Mulvey, sexuation, Big Brother, UnREAL

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