I'm curious to know if there was a defining moment that started the snowball of doubt.
Do you think you would have been as perceptive to little details and inconsistencies later if the model on that first day hadn't mentioned her agent? Was there any combination of evidence that you considered a smoking gun? Might you have remained mostly convinced if the creators had simply been more diligent in filling in the cracks and covering their bases?
- OR -
Was it really the lack of depth to the characters and your personal interactions with the actors? Which would you say affected you more: the rehearsed feel to the actors' performances or the often irrational behavior of the characters? Setting minor holes and screw-ups aside, did the overarching structure of the characters and show in general just seem compellingly implausible?
What would future Truman-like shows need to do to remain convincing? What aspects would you say need to be addressed the most to come close to the edge of ridiculousness without going over the edge (or at least, not going over too early)?
I don't think Joe Schmo is looking for the same type of "contestants" that other "reality" shows are looking for. Most "reality" shows generally don't want ordinary people. I believe such shows try to find people that can fill specific exagerated stereotypes and then prod them until soap opera-like conflict and drama ensues. This is why I appreciate the Joe Schmo show as a parody; the actors push the stereotypes and drama to the extreme. The marks, however, need to nice, open, intelligent, and honest everyday people that just about everyone can empathize with. If other "reality" shows filled their ranks with similar people, the participants would all be polite, rationally cooperative, with greater perspective, and never willing to seriously sacrifice their reputation to win a meaningless game. In other words, the show would be completely boring.
An unrelated tangent:
I've never much liked these post-Survivor machinated "reality" shows, and despite it being listed here, I don't consider Joe Schmo to be one of them. I do however very much appreciate straightforward reality shows like Cops or Trauma: Life in the ER, and I especially like prank shows like Scare Tactics and Girls Behaving Badly, which is where I categorize Joe Schmo. The scale, though, on Joe Schmo, is so much greater than its predecessors.
I was not impressed with the first season much, largely due to the creators playing it safe by choosing Matt (He believed the "prima facie" line? Obviously, he didn't even glance at his contract), but the acting, humor, and chosen marks were much more sophisticated and interesting on the second season, despite the constant stream of sexual innuendo. If they are able to continue this trend, future seasons will really be something.