WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
Welcome to The Full Bounty – the reality show that pits a houseful of hopefuls against one another in a competition to become America’s next great bounty hunter.
Meet Chase Rogan, one of the contestants on the show – and an all around great guy. What makes Chase different? He’s the only participant who isn’t an actor and who doesn’t realize that the competition is fake, he’s actually on The Joe Schmo Show, and is the subject of one of TV’s grandest experiments.
This is The Joe Schmo Show and it’s about to begin.
The casting agents have hired talented, but unrecognized actors and actresses. The writers have crafted unbelievable storylines. And producers have engaged in a nationwide search for the perfect “Joe” – a regular guy with high morals and a great attitude who just happens to want to become a bounty hunter.
After an exhaustive search, they decide that Chase is their man – a hell of a nice guy who is looking to fulfill his boyhood dream of having a cool job. He’s almost too good to be true!
As day one of the show approaches, we see the intense preparation of the production team (who must prepare for every eventuality) and the cast (who are performing in front of an audience of one 24 hours a day for the next several weeks). There are no guarantees that it’s going to work, but of course, that’s what makes it such irresistible viewing.
After a final rehearsal, Joe arrives and the game is ready to begin. After exiting the limo at the door of his new home, a palatial Southern California mansion, Chase meets his fellow “competitors”, including Randy (“The Asshole”), Chico (the Ex Gang Member who found religion), Karlee and Stan (the Deaf Girl and her Interpreter), Lavernius (the Black Guy), Allison (the overachieving Asian girl), Allen (the buddy), Skylar (the Airhead) and of course Lorenzo Lamas (as himself).
Things get serious when Jake Montrose, owner and operator of Montrose Bail Bonds and Fugitive Recovery Services and the host of The Full Bounty arrives to welcome his new trainees.
Jake explains the rules and the $100,000 prize – and introduces his trophy wife Wanda who seems to think the show is all about her.
Things kick off immediately with the first mini-competition- competitors must dig through thousands of keys to find the key to their room – all while a vicious dog on a chain snaps at their heels (well, actually their faces). Every 30 seconds, the dog’s chain is released furthers and further, upping the tension. Everyone quickly finds their keys- but there are none with Chase’s name. Ah, the mind games start quickly.
Although allowed inside the house, Chase is room-less. He’s crushed as he thinks he has to leave the house after having failed the very first competition. But as “luck” would have it, there was no key with his name because he was “randomly” selected to live in the best room in the house, The Top Dog Suite.
It pays to be lucky – and have the producers need to keep an eye on you 24/7.
Chase sees the event as one of the many “twists and turns” he’s probably going to have to endure during his time on the show. He doesn’t know the half of it.
Lorenzo Lamas, accustomed to the high-life of a B-list Hollywood star, wants the room. He misses his pre-divorce, pre-bankruptcy lifestyle and asks Chase point blank to give it up. Chase sympathizes but refuses to give up the suite.
The contestants are sitting around at lunch when Chase says that Randy looks familiar to him. The Producers gasp – Randy (an actor who has appeared in movies such as Super Troopers) has already been busted. But a quick discussion of how red haired people look alike and Chase is appeased…for now. But that was close.
Late afternoon brings the next meeting of the wanna-be bounty hunters.
The group was each allowed to bring a single comfort item into the house to remind them of what they’re fighting for. While most items show exactly how crazy these people are, Karlee the Deaf Girl introduces her ventriloquist’s dummy Mr. Wentworth and Lorenzo shows off his Speedo from his European undergarment company EuropeanCasualPatch.com, Chase shows his sincerity by bringing his cufflink from his late grandfather – that he wore at his wedding.
Next, everyone gets a gift from Jake: their very own stun gun! He tells them, “Men, treat it like a second dick – and women, treat it like you had a dick.”
Hanging out in the kitchen Lorenzo calls Chase aside to keep pressing him about getting his room. Being the great guy he is, Chase gives it up. Talk about an honest approach to the game. Chase can now room with his buddy – which gets him and Lorenzo in trouble with Jake. No switches or swaps allowed, Jake tells them. The producer’s needs to monitor Chase 24/7 so it’s back to the original rooming situation.
More preparation for the life of a bounty hunter. Tracking. Jake’s personal Lakota shaman arrives to tell the cast what their spirit animal is. An invasive ceremony reveals dogs, ducks and flamingos – with Chase getting the spirit animal of llama.
The first major competition is at hand. Enter the Shocktagon – A head to head battle in which the contestants face off in a stun gun sudden death. Be the last person standing and win the game. It’s shock or be shocked as Chase shows his ruthless side – stun-gunning Skylar even though she pleads with him not to do it. Chase is definitely here to play.
Day 1 is over but not without some close calls.
The next day begins as the cast and crew prepare for the day’s shoot. They have now recognized that Chase is a lay low kind of guy. He wants to fly under the radar through the early rounds of the competition. Looks like Lorenzo will have to bring him out of his shell.
Enter The Casual Pouch – the tiny men’s underwear that Lorenzo is pitching on screen. He asks everyone to wear one on camera. Soon, all the guys are showing off their junk in the Casual Pouch but Joe is hesitant.
The alliance Chase has formed (with Skylar, Allen and Lavernius) decides to vote off Lorenzo – so to keep up appearances, he too dons the pouch. This guy will really go that extra mile.
The first Full Bounty Immunity Challenge arrives in the form the Bomb Squad competition. One partner has a bomb filled with ink strapped to his or her chest while the other communicates directions on how to diffuse that bomb in under two minutes. Screw it up and it’s a face full of ink and no immunity – or perhaps worse, since the bomb actually blows up in front of the contestants during a test run.
Karlee the Deaf Girl and Chase are paired up. Ever the team player, Chase agrees to have the bomb strapped to his body while she attempts to save his life with verbal commands (and the assistance of her interpreter). After losing in hilarious fashion, Chase learns a little more about each of his fellow contestants.
In one outstanding moment, Chase observes that Lamas was on the TV show Renegade, which is pretty close to being a bounty hunter, thus making him serious competition.
Lavernius and Skylar win immunity (when they are able to discern a beige wire from a mocha colored wire) which is good for Chase’s alliance.
Chase brings Asian Allison into the alliance in an attempt to bring them all down to the final five – and start with voting off Lorenzo. She notes out of character that Chase is “in it to win it”
The next awesome challenge involves getting information out of a confidential informant (“snitches get stitches bitches”, Jake’s lovely wife Wanda reminds us). Jake has given the CI an address and the instruction not to reveal it. Teams will have to go in and get it out of him by any means necessary.
Chase is chosen lead a team of five into the interrogation. Chase plays the bad cop so well that it freaks out his housemates – banging a baseball bat on the table. They try everything including a lesbian kiss to get the guy to talk but to no avail. Chase is legitimately bummed. That’s two challenges in a row lost.
The producers have another scare when Karlee jumps when someone pops a champagne bottle at dinner. Um, isn’t she supposed to be deaf? Luckily, Joe is oblivious and the show goes on!
Privately, Lavernius reveals his secret to Chase, that this big, muscle-bound man is gay. Chase isn’t quite sure what to say – after all, nobody else but him knows. But keeping true to his outstanding character, he gives Lavernius his trust and full support. They high five, knowing they now share a bond.
Finally, it’s time for the wacked out Hunter to Hunted Eviction Ceremony. Someone is going home and everyone has a vote. Everyone’s spirit animal is present in cage. The bounty hunter “flame of fire” is lit. The “truth torches” are lit with gun shaped cigarette lighters. A giant golden Lady Justice stands in judgment.
Everyone inspects (or rubs) their spirit animal, stands before Lady Justice and says “I am of clear mind and heart. May I enter you?” and then enters the opening in her huge dress to vote. It really has to be seen to be believed.
After the votes are tallied Lorenzo Lamas is sent packing – edging out Chase by a single vote. He says goodbye to his spirit animal (the fox) and bids adieu to his former competitors sadly, “This is just like Season Three of Falcon Crest.” Then he’s lead away in handcuffs. And Chase is still buying it all.
Will Chase find out the real deal behind The Real Bounty? We’ll just have to watch and see – but one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a hell of a ride (one entertaining ride).
Watch The Joe Schmo Show, Tuesday nights only on Spike.