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Average Joe Turned Me into an Existentialist
by Dr. Wilhelm Khovaltovish
As a professor of philosophy at the Clackamas Institute of Excellence in Clackamas, Oregon, I have read essays by the leading philosophés of this era. I have had dinner with the likes of Albert Camus and have played scrabble with Michel Foucault. Yet, having unprecedented access to these great minds has never altered my opinion on life as much as watching NBC’s hit reality TV show, Average Joe.
For those few who are unaware of the premise of this fantastic show, Average Joe was a reality TV show that dared to ask the question that philosophers through the ages have pondered: would an attractive person choose an average looking person with an exquisite personality over another attractive person that is lacking a great personality. The question of personality versus looks has been one of history’s greatest questions, one that great minds from Plato to Shakespeare have been grappling with all through their lives. Finally, a television show will answer this question and televise the extensive stages of experimentation needed to reach its natural conclusion.
Although this question may seem like a small one that should not interest a great philosophical mind like mine, I must admit that I had a bit of a personal stake in learning the answer. You see, I am not an attractive man and my ability to wax eloquently on the subject of whether a tree falls in the forest but nobody is there to hear it, does it or does it not make a sound cannot compensate for my natural cross-eyed look and hairy palms. However, with Average Joe on the air, I will be able to finally learn whether my hilarious (but insightful) stories about wondering around Amsterdam drunk and high with Stephen Hawking will be able to overcome my admittedly homely appearance if I were to have unprecedented access to a beauty for an extended period of time.
Prior to watching all three editions of Average Joe, I considered myself a humanist. Whereas many philosophers tend to view the world in a gloomy fashioned, partially due to their inability to obtain dates with sexy, sexy ladies, I was always able to retain a sunny disposition. However, my optimism was shattered when on the first Average Joe, stunningly gorgeous, former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader Melana Scantlin chose hunky ringer/waiter living with his freaking parents, Jason Peoples, over less attractive but humorous, Adam Mesh, who by the way also was a millionaire stock trader.
I admit: the results of the first Average Joe definitely shook my beliefs. I wondered, how could I continue to be an optimist in a world where a beautiful woman chooses the attractive but lesser man over the less attractive but far cooler man on a reality TV show. The fact that she made this choice with complete disregard over the fact that her choice would have huge ramifications as it was showed on national television definitely reinforced my newfound skepticism. Even if she had multiple reasons for choosing Jason over Adam, shouldn’t she have felt compelled to choose Adam for the greater good?
Regardless, I was still hopeful that the first edition of Average Joe would be the exception to the rule. I was overjoyed to learn that a second edition of Average Joe would soon be on the air and taking place in Hawaii. I interpreted this as a sign that even the producers of Average Joe found the results of the first Average Joe to be misleading and contrary to the thesis that they were positing to the American public. However, Average Joe 2: Hawaii only reinforced the results of the first Average Joe. Despite the presence of a submarine, competitive games of dodgeball between the ’hunks’ and the ’average people,’ and the baffling breakdown of one of the hunks in tears, Average Joe 2: Hawaii ended with femme fatale and Fabio’s ex-girlfriend, Larissa Meek choosing construction worker/aspiring actor Gil Hyatt over Bostonian Brian Worth.
I admit that I did not handle the results of Average Joe 2: Hawaii as well as I should have. Following the last episode, I sat in the corner of my basement seriously contemplating, ’Without love and without people, what is a person?’ This question was definitely a headscratcher, but I managed to rebound from my pondering to tune into the third edition of Average Joe 3: Adam Returns. This third edition seemed to be the best hope for a reversal of fortune. On this edition of Average Joe, Adam Mesh (the average man that lost on the first edition of Average Joe) would get to choose between a group of women that ranged from attractive but vacuous to not-so-attractive but awesome. Although, Adam was living my dream of being in a mansion with many beautiful ladies, I was convinced he would make the right choice.
About the Author:
Dr. Wilhelm Khovaltovish may or not be an existentialist at this moment in time, but he is a committed fan of Average Joe. Among his recent work is his critically acclaimed biography of 19th-century Russian author Fyodor Dostyevsky, Dostyevsky: Misunderstood Comic Genius? and his excellent Average Joe fansite.