''The Next Joe Millionaire'' has nothing on another Joe when it comes to plot twists. On the finale of Spike TV's ''The Joe Schmo Show'' (Tuesday, Oct. 28, 9 p.m.), contestant Matt Kennedy Gould, 28, will learn that while he's been under the impression that he's competing for a six-figure prize on a reality show called ''The Lap of Luxury,'' he's actually been surrounded by actors. EW.com talked to the law-school dropout and pizza-delivery man about ladies' underwear, betrayal, and why he's not ashamed of trying to get his female friends half naked on national TV.
You haven't done interviews until now. Were you simply too angry about being hoodwinked by the show's producers?
I was just trying to lay low a little bit for the finale. I was under contractual obligation not to speak, but I imagine they did that so we could get the hype going for the finale. To people who think I'm mad, I'd say watch Tuesday night.
Considering that all of the friendships you developed on the show were, at least in part, scripted, have you been able to mend fences with the cast?
So far most of our communication has been, ''Are you okay?'' because everyone has been so busy. You do have to stop and reevaluate. But looking back on it, I feel those guys were doing a job, and you can tell from watching the show how much care they took with me. The goal was to make a good TV show, but with keeping my best interests in mind. I think I found nine new friends.
The show's producers went out of their way to concoct outrageous challenges for you, such as making you trade underwear with Molly (Angela Dodson). Did you really show yourself a little ''affection'' to enhance your panty-wearing profile?
You do realize I was kidding about that, right? If I was serious I would never say that I played with myself. That's usually something we guys would like to hide. And as comfortable as I may have seemed on the runway, that was the most difficult game for me by far. Putting my hands on the breasts of a real, live porn star was completely insane, but I knew that the show was going to be on Spike TV and would be catering to men, so it didn't seem that odd to me.
Do you have any regrets about offering to get your female castmates topless in order for everyone to win wide-screen TVs?
I was under the impression that the show's producers wanted ratings, and I figured at the very least I could try. It's not something that I was in favor of, but I certainly wasn't going to ruin everybody's chance at getting a TV. I'm quite a moral person, but when it comes to sexual things or showing your body, I'm a little looser. And I'm not going to sit here and say I would have minded them taking their tops off, right?
The rest of the cast did slip up on occasion, such as when Earl (Franklin Dennis Jones) couldn't recognize ''his'' own underwear. At any time did you start to suspect the show was a hoax?
I chalked up Earl forgetting his own underwear as a senior moment. I didn't think the whole show was fake, but there were many, many times when I thought, I don't know if this is real. I wondered if the ''network executive'' might be an actor, or maybe if Hutch (''The Mullet'''s David Hornsby) was a plant. I questioned a lot of things, but it would have been a huge jump to say, ''Oh my God, I'm on a fake show and these are all actors!''
Does it make you crazy to think you may forever be known as Joe Schmo?
If I thought ''Joe Schmo'' was the only thing I was ever going to do, it would bother me. But I'm really confident that I'll do a lot more in my life than this show. But I don't mind. It's a catchy name. You sign up for a reality show, you get what you get.
Now that you've survived ''Joe Schmo,'' are you thinking of leaving your pizza-delivering days behind?
On the show I wanted to put my best foot forward, because my other goal was to hopefully parlay it into something in entertainment. I've put out some feelers with talent people and I've gotten so much positive feedback that I'm at least going to try my hand at it for a few years, whether that be acting or hosting. I just kind of feel that is what I was meant to do.
Do you think, having been tricked on national television, you're going to be savvier in dealing with Hollywood?
I just think people are inherently good, and I'm not more of a skeptic now. The one thing I did learn coming in is you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. But I have a feeling one day Ashton Kutcher might come calling, and he better watch out.