A moment with ... Ingrid Wiese, 'Joe Schmo' contestant
Education and sky-high career aspirations aren't enough to stave off schmo-hood, something Tacoma native Ingrid Wiese found out the hard way. Wiese, who lives in Washington, D.C., has a bachelor's in political science from University of Washington, a master's in international relations from Syracuse University and considers Madeleine Albright to be her role model.
No matter. After Spike TV's "Joe Schmo 2" hits cable, many will know the 30-year-old as Jane Schmo, the rube who thought she was competing for affection on a Z-grade reality show called "Last Chance for Love," replete with a faux British host (played by Ralph Garman) bursting with smarmy dialogue.
"Anyone smell that?" he utters at one point. "That's the infectious scent of love."
Not really. For unbeknownst to Wiese, all the players but her and fellow Schmo Tim Walsh, this season's Joe, were hired actors whose objective was to fool the pair. Before "Joe Schmo 2" premieres tonight at 10 on Spike TV, we decided to give the latest reality show representative from Washington state a chance to explain herself.
Obviously you're an intelligent woman. How does it feel to be known as Jane Schmo?
You're the first person to call me that, actually. I guess I'd better get used to it. I didn't expect to be a schmo, that's for sure ... it was a little embarrassing, but it's been a great experience so far.
Did you ever have a clue that something else was afoot?
Sure, there were lots of strange things going on. But overall, the idea that an entire show would be all about fooling me was a pretty big stretch. And as many clues as I would get through the show I never thought it was all designed just to fool me.
You're familiar with the reality genre, aren't you?
I've seen quite a few shows in passing. I'd enjoyed watching "The Real World" and all the different MTV shows. ... What else? I watched "Top Model," "The Bachelorette" and "Temptation Island."
Why did you try out for one?
It's interesting; a mentor of mine from grad school asked me the same question. He reminded me of this Chinese proverb: 'May you live in interesting times.' To me, it was going to be an interesting experience. I thought I would go on this show, be kicked off in a round or two and have an interesting story to tell my grandkids. I tried out for it on a lark, and they really came after me.
Were you angry when you found out you'd been fooled?
In terms of the humiliation factor? No, I've definitely learned to laugh at myself more from this experience. I feel like I'm really lucky to have been on this show, as opposed to a lot of the other shows that are out there, because I don't think this show was making fun of the people who were on the show, but the genre itself. And it could have been a lot worse. I could have been "Punk'd."
-- Melanie McFarland